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Most serious award-nominated flicks won’t hit WV until January

By Staff | Dec 28, 2011

Surely you’ve seen those television spots or movie previews that state that certain highly touted, independent, film festival and/or film critic picks will only be shown at “selected theatres?”

So basically, don’t hold onto your bucks waiting for them over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday period. As of Dec. 15, West Virginia is not on track to land a print of any of the award-nominated flicks such as “The Artist,” “Tinker, Tailor Soldier Spy,” or “The Iron Lady.”

Word comes from Curtis McCall, president of Marquee Cinemas, which has multiplexes in West Virginia and up and down the east coast that there are “no platform releases” available at this time, meaning only “wide” (i.e. nationwide) releases will be unreeling in the Mountain State.

To illustrate the print saturation that takes in West Virginia on these so-called “art” or “independent” specialized films, “Young Adult” which expands to 1,000 prints will come to Pullman Square. It’s the only Marquee location in the state for the flick, which stars Charlize Theron.

Although mainstream holiday movies came out of the can to soft response from viewers (“New Year’s Eve,” “The Sitter”), the studios are not sending any arthouse hotties to the rescue. McCall has been trying as of this publication’s mid-December deadline, to book two of them – George Clooney’s “The Descendants,” and the comic tribute to sex idol Marilyn Monroe, “My Week with Marilyn” – into some of his larger megaplexes. McCall said he’s been “turned down” by the studios, meaning those serious flicks aimed at a niche market will likely gradually filter down to the Mountain State sometime in January.

“The Descendants” and “My Week with Marilyn” have received multiple nominations for Golden Globes, (Broadcast) Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards. The three awards presentations – along with nearly endless Ten Best Lists by critics – provide hints of which pictures, filmmakers and performers will be favorites for Academy Award nominations, which come out Jan. 24. The Oscars are presented Feb. 26.

“The Descendants” and leading man, George Clooney, who plays a grieving father attempting to hang on to his two daughters as their mom lies comatose in a Hawaiian hospital, captured nominations for “Best Drama” and “Best Actor” (or the equivalent) from each of the award presenting organizations. Similarly, Michelle Williams received nominations from each for her “My Week with Marilyn” performance as did Kenneth Branagh, sweeping the three for supporting actor nods playing Sir Laurence Olivier in “Marilyn.”

Directed by Alexander (“Sideways,” “About Schmidt,” “Election”) Payne, “The Descendants” has a life-affirming nature even with its tragic premise. Actually, Payne’s accent on visual storytelling and ambiguous endings best describes “The Descendants,” (in an indiewire.com interview) as “life observing” in that tragedy happens, then we move forward.

Although the “platform” releases will not roll out here until January, the holiday releases have achieved honors, too. Steven Spielberg’s “The War Horse” has been nominated for two Golden Globes, including “Best Picture – Drama” and John Williams for “Best Original Musical Score.” In addition, “War Horse” has seven Critic’s Choice nominations. “Young Adult” received a “Best Picture-Comedy/musical” nod along with Charlize Theron for “Best Actress.” Rooney Mara (“Girl with Dragon Tattoo”) and Leonard Dicaprio (“J. Edgar”) have been nominated as well.

“The Adventures of Tintin” and “Arthur Christmas” have been honored with “Best Animated Feature” nominations. Martin Scorsese has multiple nominations for directing “Hugo,” which collected eleven Broadcast Critic’s Choice nominations. “Hugo” is also a Golden Globe nominee in the “Best Motion Picture-Drama” and “Best Musical Score” categories.

Two films available on DVD, “The Help” and “Drive,” have received multiple top tier nominations, while “The Ides of March” and “Moneyball,” headed for DVD release soon, received numerous nominations.

Warner Brothers has been keeping a tight lid on its 9/11-related, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.” It debuts in limited release Christmas Day and goes wide Jan. 20. Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock star but Thomas Horn, who plays a child whose dad perished in the attacks, has drawn accolades. Horn, Shallene Woodley (“The Descendants) and Elle Fanning (“Super 8”) Fanning have received “Best Young Actor/Actress” nominations from the Broadcast Film Critic’s Association.

Sean O’Connell, a critic for HollywoodNews.com, has seen the film but is under embargo restrictions. Though full reviews are not yet allowed, comments on awards potential are permitted. O’Connell wrote that “Extremely Loud” has an “intense gravitational pull.” Director Stephen (“The Reader,” “The Hours,” “Billy Elliott”) Daldry has a perfect three for three record for Academy Award nominations. As for Horn, his performance is “an uppercut to the gut,” O’Connell wrote.