Also: Despite reports, the jury is still out on 'Joy' placement.
After The Weinstein Co. and Focus Features, rather controversially to some, decided on supporting actress campaigns for Rooney Mara and Alicia Vikander in “Carol” and “The Danish Girl,” respectively, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. has called foul.
I’m told the international press group, which puts on the annual Golden Globe Awards, has vetoed the studio’s submissions. Both performances will compete in the lead actress – drama category.
There was news elsewhere as well. Variety originally reported last month that Fox was considering a comedy submission for Ridley Scott’s “The Martian.” They went ahead with that, the HFPA voted on it and agreed, and now the film will compete alongside others like “The Big Short,” “Trainwreck” and “Spy.”
The team behind David O. Russell’s “Joy” also submitted in comedy, perhaps sensing a lack of major Oscar firepower in the category. But while the L.A. Times reported that the HFPA acquiesced, the group actually hasn’t even seen the film yet. After “Joy” finally screens for them on Nov. 29, it could suffer a fate similar to “Trumbo,” which was sent to the drama category after it was submitted in comedy.
Meanwhile, after A24 and Sony initially flirted with the idea of comedy submissions for “The End of the Tour” and “The Walk,” respectively, they opted for drama in the end. And in the former, Jason Segel has been designated a lead by the group.
Why does all this matter? As much as the Golden Globes are dismissed as irrelevant in the Oscar race (and in many ways, they are), what they are unequivocally is a marketing opportunity in mid-January just ahead of the Oscar nominations announcement. Representation on the nationally-televised show can be helpful at a key time.
As for the Mara and Vikander campaigns, it’s not too late to change gears if Weinstein and Focus want to. The danger is confusion leading to votes being divided between the categories, allowing for other contenders to slide through. And there is precedent for altering a campaign’s course after ads have gone out. New Line originally pushed Ian McKellen up for lead in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” before switching to supporting, where he was ultimately nominated, for instance.
Will the HFPA force anyone’s hand here or will the campaigns stay the course? It’s crunch time for the decision makers, that’s for sure.