As 2011 winds to a close and the announcement of Oscar nominations approaches, I thought it might be interesting to catch up with some of the films many thought, at one time or another, would factor into this year’s awards race but never did.
Some screened at festivals in search of a distributor but didn’t find one; others found a distributor, but the distributor decided it lacked the money, manpower or time to mount a campaign this year. Some had distributors before they were in the can and simply were not completed in time to be released this year; others were completed in time to be released this year, but their distributors had their hands full with other contenders and decided to hold them until next year.
It is important to remember that just because a film is not part of this year’s awards race doesn’t mean it won’t be part of next year’s. True, some of these titles will never be heard from again — but others could follow in the footsteps of, say:
- Crash, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2004, at which time it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Lionsgate and held for the following year; was released theatrically in May 2005; and, in March 2006, won the best picture Oscar.
- The Visitor, which premiered at Toronto in September 2007, at which time it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Overture and held for the following year; was released theatrically in April 2008; and, in February 2009, was represented at the Oscars in the best actor category.
- Lovely, Still, which premiered at Toronto in September 2008; was not picked up by a distributor until 2010, when Monterey Media decided to take a chance on it; and was released in theaters in September 2010.
- The Hurt Locker, which premiered at Toronto in September 2008, at which time it was picked up for U.S. distribution by Summit and held for the following year; was released theatrically in June 2009; and, in March 2010, won the best picture Oscar.
- The Debt, Everything Must Go, The First Grader, Girlfriend, Meek’s Cutoff, Sarah’s Key, Tabloid, The Way and The Whistleblower, all of which premiered at Toronto in September 2010; were subsequently picked up by various distributors; and were held for release until 2011.
Without further ado, here is the class of 2011: