There aren't many movies gunning for awards consideration that haven't been screened yet, but the most prominent is "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," the Stephen Daldry-directed drama that stars Tom Hanks and is based on the Jonathan Safran Foer novel. There's no concern that the movie will miss its December 25 release date, but today we learned that it won't be ready to screen in time for two major awards groups to see it: the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle. That shouldn't impact its Oscar chances, but you never know.
The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), which had initially planned to announce their winners on Monday, November 28, said today that they've decided to move it back a day so that their members could see "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." But that didn't help Warner Bros., who insisted that "Extremely Loud" wouldn't be screened for anyone until Friday, December 2. (Better yet, it's prompted a minor skirmish between NYFCC and Warner Bros. about whether, in fact, the studio had promised the organization that the film would be done in time for them.) That also puts "Extremely Loud" out of the running for the National Board of Review (NBR), who will be revealing their picks on December 1.
This news hardly means "Extremely Loud" is now dead in the water when it comes to award consideration: There are plenty of other groups who will be voting later than that. (For instance, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, of which we're a member, votes December 11.) But losing out on NYFCC and NBR consideration certainly doesn't help -- precisely because they're two very different groups. The NYFCC is a select collection of prominent New York film critics, and their awards carry with them a certain stature. As for NBR, well, they're a much more disheveled group of "knowledgeable film enthusiasts, filmmakers, academics, and students," but they did give Daldry's earlier film, "The Hours," their Best Film prize. The NBR don't get a lot of respect, but they do tend to favor films that end up in the Oscar hunt.
But whether you personally respect or ignore end-of-the-year awards, the fact is studios care very much what these groups have to say. Between now and the Oscar nominations in January, places like Warner Bros. want their films' names to be everywhere -- specifically in for-your-consideration ads and award announcements. Every time you see "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" in print, it's just another opportunity for an Oscar voter to remember that it's out there and ready for Academy Award love. Daldry's film suddenly has two less opportunities for that to happen.
New York Film Critics moves awards date to see 'Dragon Tattoo' [24 Frames/Los Angeles Times]