Feature

Oscars 2014: The upside of this year’s snubs

Welcome to the new economics of Hollywood.

So sorry, Tom and Oprah, said Andrew O’Hehir in Salon.com. Tough break, Mr. Redford. Though it’s never surprising that a few stellar films and performances go unacknowledged when Oscar nominations are announced, this year felt different. Not only did some great but relatively dark work get snubbed—like Inside Llewyn Davis and the documentary Stories We Tell. There wasn’t even room among the finalists for such would-be crowd-pleasers as Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips), Oprah Winfrey (The Butler), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), and Robert Redford (All Is Lost). Welcome to the new economics of Hollywood, said Ben Fritz in The Wall Street Journal. If 2013 seemed to produce a higher number of quality movies than a normal year, credit “two intersecting trends.” First, a growing number of independent financiers are backing “mid-budget ‘prestige’ dramas.” Second, the big studios have so tightened their budgets recently that great actors and directors aren’t turning down as much pay when they commit to passion projects. American Hustle, a Best Picture front-runner, tapped into both trends, getting a major cash infusion from independent producer Megan Ellison and snaring stars who agreed to forgo huge up-front fees. Nobody’s saying the wave will last, said John Horn in the Los Angeles Times. But at March 2’s Oscar night, the industry will truly be celebrating “a golden year for film.”

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