M: Star Wars. Oscars. Assassins. December starts off slowly, but once it gets going it’s got it all.
E: If a film’s going to be eligible for Oscar, it has to play for at least a week before the year’s out. So Christmas, particularly, is packed full of last minute contenders jostling for attention.
M: It’s been a few years since I voiced this complaint, so I’ll do it again now. I hate the system that allows movies to be released on literally two screens (one in NY, one in LA) in December, then get release wide right around when people are actually voting for the Oscars. My proposal is this: to qualify for Oscars, at the time of the voting deadline the total number of screens your film is being shown on must be equal or higher in the calendar year you are qualifying for. So, if you release on two screens in December, you can’t expand beyond two until after the voting is complete. If you want to be eligible in 2016, really be a 2016 movie.
E: Thanks, M; that was not predictable at all. You get that it’s strategy, right? Studios want their movies to be fresh in voters’ minds when they vote. Almost never does a movie from the first half of the year get Oscar attention. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying, that’s the game.
M: That’s my point. The attention span of the Oscar nominators and voters is so insanely small that studios play to it, and movies that are really 2017 movies end up winning awards for 2016 because they play the game. I’d prefer to try to minimize the game playing, or at least punish people for the manipulation.
E: I’m not sure it really qualifies as manipulation. That said, the real point is that there’s so much good stuff in December; it’s a heady mix of blockbusters and grown up dramas, and I for one couldn’t be happier about it.