By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 3, 2012 at 5:05PM
Open Road is reopening David Ayer's powerful must-see LA cop drama "End of Watch" and Joe Carnahan's wilderness survival adventure "The Grey" for awards consideration nationally on December 7.
Ava DuVernay's smart, elegantly shot and well-acted "Middle of Nowhere" is also getting another crack at LA and NY for a one-week run. The critically lauded "Middle of Nowhere" played in limited release around the country on October 12. The film won best actress (Emayatzy Corinealdi) at the Gotham awards and earned four Indie Spirit nominations, including actress. (Here's a Q &A.) While some are hoping for an original screenplay nod for DuVernay, that's a long shot, although the film should wind up on some year-end ten-best lists.
Well-reviewed "End of Watch" boasts strong performances from Jake Gyllenhaal (my interview with the Broadway star is here) and Michael Pena, who earned an Indie Spirit nomination for supporting actor; Roman Vasyanov was also nominated for Best Cinematography. The film, which opened September 21 and scored an outstanding $39 million at the domestic box office, will be available via Blu-ray Combo Pack with UltraViolet as well as DVD and Digital Copy on January 22, 2013, well after Oscar nominations are announced.
Although Roger Ebert wrote that "Jake Gyllenhaal's image-transforming work as a very tough cop in David Ayer's 'End of Watch' may help the film win a Best Picture slot," the movie still has a tough slog to get there unless critics groups give it a boost in the next weeks.
The same is true of "Middle of Nowhere," which has less money behind it, as well as "The Grey," which features a standout performance by Liam Neeson and opened to number one back in January 2012, taking in over $50 million at the U.S. box office. Open Road is making both films accessible for free admission to members of AMPAS, ACE, ADG, ASC, BAFTA, CAS, DGA, HFPA, MPEG, MPSE, PGA, SAG NOM COM, WGA.
Screeners of all three films have gone out to various groups.