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Oscar Momentum: Bright Star vs. Young Victoria

by Anne Thompson
February 3, 2010 3:40 AM
4 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

In the Oscar derby, what went wrong with Bright Star, which earned one Oscar nomination (for costume), and right with Young Victoria, which grabbed three?

It's the same reason The Blind Side outstripped Invictus and Crazy Heart pushed ahead of a pack of other small Oscar wannabes.

Momentum.

Thompson on Hollywood

With Bright Star, new indie distributor Apparition wanted to start out with a strong quality movie with Oscar written all over it: a Brit period Oscar romance, gorgeously mounted by a world-renowned Oscar nominated-director, Jane Campion. Back in 1993-4, after Campion's The Piano played the Cannes and New York Fests, it opened November 2 and grossed $40 million domestically, scoring eight Oscar noms and three wins (Holly Hunter, Anna Paquin, and Campion's screenplay).

When I heard at Cannes that Apparition's Bob Berney was planning a late September Bright Star release, I wondered, "Is it too early?" The risk: if a movie doesn't take off and hang on to screens, it loses luster. Bright Star was impeccably-reviewed, but topped out in November at $4.3 million. And year-end critics groups ignored it. Why? It just never took off.

Meanwhile, Apparition's more modest crowd-pleaser The Young Victoria opened well December 18 (with less stellar reviews), nabbed a Golden Globe nom for Emily Blunt and three Oscar nominations. It's possible that if Sandra Bullock and The Blind Side hadn't wowed Academy voters, Blunt might have slipped into a best actress nod. In three more weeks, Young Victoria should pass $10 million.

4 Comments

  • bill | February 5, 2010 3:15 AMReply

    Young Victoria was a bore.

  • mary | February 3, 2010 6:12 AMReply

    I wouldn't say that "The Young Victoria" is more modest than "Bright Star", because "The Young Victoria" has higher production budget than "Bright Star"; "The Young Victoria" was cost $35 million to make while "Bright Star" was cost $8.5 million to make. Apparition didn't pay money to produce these these two films, though.

    I think that one things was clear; Apparition put more effort and money on marketing "The Young Victoria" than "Bright Star".

    On the other hand, some films got eariler release than "Bright Star", but still gets major nominations (ie. "The Hurt Locker"). Maybe "Bright Star" isn't an Oscar film at all .
    Maybe Apparition should had released "Bright Star" in Summer instead of Fall; this film would be a good counter-programming to the season's popcorn blockbusters .

  • Rose | February 3, 2010 5:27 AMReply

    Emily Blunt >>> Abbie Cornish

  • GS | February 3, 2010 2:25 AMReply

    Bright Star is also a more intelligent, artier film than Young Victoria. Young Victoria probably isn't as good, but it's more accessible. Obviously, Sandra Bullock is as accessible as it gets.

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