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True Indies Set Pace in Oscar Race

by Anthony Kaufman
December 6, 2007 3:46 AM
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Every year, there's the big story about how the Oscars are dominated by independent film. But we all know better, of course: that Hollywood's specialty divisions are a different kind of independent film, often developed, financed and test-marketed within the belly of the corporate monster. As I wrote yesterday, there are always exceptions, where auteurs find a way to retain their aesthetic goals within the system, but I've always been peaved by the lack of understanding around the term "independent film." So for Variety, I'm happy to report I wrote up an Oscar piece about truly indie films ("For studios, indie means missed opportunity"), none of which were set up at a Hollywood studio. (The only one that sits in a gray area is "Juno," which was acquired by Fox Searchlight in a negative pick-up deal just weeks before shooting was to commence.). But the rest -- from "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" to "I'm Not There" to "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" to "Lars and the Real Girl" -- were made completely outside of Hollywood influence, and all can wear their independent label proudly.

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