‘Shutter Island’ Essentially Knocked Out of Competition


The breaking new story today is the shock that Paramount has chosen to delay Martin Scorcese’s Shutter Island to February 19, 2010, eliminating it from competition at this year’s Oscars. This is particularly surprising because buzz surrounding this film was very positive and most speculators (myself included) had it down as a frontrunner for Best Picture.

It still has a chance to go for Oscars in 2010, but we all know how hard it is for a February release to get any awards attention, even when it is a film by Martin Scorcese. I had it down as the 7th most important movie to see in order to be prepared for the Oscar ceremony. I also predicted it would get nominations in 3 categories, including Best Picture.

The reason for the delay, according to Nikki Finke, is simply for monetary reasons. Paramount does not have the budget right now to mount the type of Oscar campaign it would take to put the film over the top. A studio source tells Finke:

Given where the DVD business is in 2009, our only hope is the economy and the retail business rebounds in 2010 because the hardest hit segment has been movies that play to an older adult audience.

Another reason that is being mentioned is that Leonardo DiCaprio is not available this fall/winter to promote the film internationally.

Paramount has not abandoned their hopes at Oscar glory, however. The studio executive goes on to justify the February 19, 2009 release date to Nikki Finke:

…that’s when Silence Of The Lambs came out” back in 1991 and it won the Oscar. “Now that the Academy has expanded Best Picture to 10 films,” my insider notes, “it will be easier for a movie that came out in the beginning of the year to get nominated.

I think that’s quite an optimistic outlook, but more power to them. The Academy Awards season has drastically changed since 1991, but then again, it’s always drastically changing. However, the February release will have it coming out three weeks before the previous year’s Oscar ceremony. Most people agree that the season doesn’t really start until after the Awards.

I didn’t think that Shutter Island was destined for an awards sweep. I had it barely hanging on to the tenth spot in the Best Picture predictions and missing in all of the other major categories. However, there is no doubt that this announcement changes the race. Paramount’s other high profile release this fall is Jason Reitman’s Up in the Air, a film that is said to have one of George Clooney’s best performances in his career. The studio’s time and money will no doubt be spent on that film’s inevitable Oscar campaign.

Don’t count Shutter Island out for 2010, but consider me skeptical.

[Source: Deadline Hollywood Daily]

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