2002 slate has history with 'Rings,' 'Gangs,' others

The official awards season lasts about four months, but the planning takes much longer. In the current race, for example, planning took about 25 years.

In July 1977, Variety ran a two-page ad touting “Gangs of New York” as “now in preparation.” At about the same time, there was talk about turning Broadway’s “Chicago” into a film starring Goldie Hawn and Liza Minnelli.

But “The Lord of the Rings” has an even longer history. There have been many plans for a pic version over the decades — including, in the early 1970s, a pic collaboration between Mick Jagger and Stanley Kubrick.

In her long day’s journey into the bigscreen, Salma Hayek fought for seven years (and bypassed two rival projects) to get “Frida” made. Writer Antwone Fisher first discussed his idea for an autobiographical script with producer Todd Black back in 1993. Directors John Musker & Ron Clements first proposed “Treasure Planet” in those days as well.

In addition, there are several films whose gestation period may not have taken decades, but they’re based on old material. “Catch Me If You Can” was first published in 1980; “Red Dragon” debuted the following year and “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” hit the bookshelves in 1982. “8 Women” is inspired by a 1960s play. Also from the ’60s was the novel “Solaris.” Pics like “The Pianist,” “About Schmidt” and “The Hours” took two to four years each, making them seem like dizzyingly fast projects.

So when studios announce their current development slates, pay attention. Some of those films may become Oscar front-runners in 2027.

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