By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 17, 2011 at 9:35AM
Sony Pictures Classics is having a good year. Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris is not only the most successful Woody Allen movie ever ($49 million domestic and counting), it's the only movie to play all summer long. After its successful launch May 20 after opening Cannes, co-president Tom Bernard refused to tell me when they were planning to release the DVD. "We're staying in theaters as long as possible," he said.
On August 26 SPC is broadening the movie again, back to 500 theaters (they were up over 1000 at their mid-summer height). The goal is to take the movie right into the awards season. SPC will have some other pictures entering the fray, including two films most press have not yet seen: the New York Film Festival opener, Roman Polanski's Carnage (released December 16), and David Cronenberg's NYFF gala selection A Dangerous Method (November 23).
Shown in Cannes were Pedro Almodovar's The Skin I Live In, Israel's Footnote, which will follow the fall fest route much like SPC's Waltz with Bashir and Lebanon, and Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter, which could become a critics' favorite, and boasts strong performances from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. Unlikely to make much of a dent this fall is Gus Van Sant's charming Cannes trifle Restless, starring Mia Wasikowska, which is skipping the fall fests, opening September 16.
SPC usually factors in the foreign film Oscar race; Footnote has a good shot at winning Israel's Ophir Award in order to become their official Oscar submission. And last out for SPC this year will be Iranian Asghar Farhadi’s marriage breakup drama A Separation on December 30. They acquired the film in May; it won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival and will play in Toronto.
While I doubt that any of the Midnight in Paris actors will get nods, with the Academy’s new best picture nomination process (designed to be inclusive of audience favorites), the film is looking good for a best picture nod. Allen should certainly land original screenplay and directing nominations.