All quiet on the Oscar screener front

Studios slow to send out DVDs of contenders

Kudos season is under way, but where are the screeners?

At this point last year, Oscar voters had received about 15 screeners. This year: three or four.

The screener tsunami usually starts at Thanksgiving: Last year, more than 65 discs arrived in November and December. Logic would dictate that studios would want to avoid that logjam, but so far this year, only a few have opted to avoid the holiday rush, including Sony Classics (“Frozen River”), Focus (“Burn After Reading”) and the Weinstein Co. (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”).

In some ways, the slow trickle is not surprising. A lot of companies have disappeared in the last year. And, in the economic climate, a studio may be cutting back on the volume of pics to save costs.

One awards voter laughed that he actually may have received more screeners, but discovered that the newish eco-friendly, economical packaging was so lightweight he thought it was junk mail and threw one DVD away — but later discovered his mistake.

But sometimes the simplest explanations are best: It may just be about timing.

The screener drought seems to be one more manifestation of Hollywood’s offbeat timing this year. Studios are keeping more films unscreened until the last minute, are keeping their campaigns in slow gear and are holding back on screenings and parties/events.

L.A. Film Critics announce their winners Dec. 9. Golden Globes noms will be unveiled Dec. 11. Oscar nom ballots are mailed Dec. 26.

Folks — it’s later than you think!

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