×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Inside Move: ‘Passion’ confession: No Oscar campaigning

Gibson pic bypassing pricey Best Picture push

When it comes to chasing Oscars for his film “The Passion of the Christ,” Mel Gibson has chosen a strategy that would make the Vatican proud. He is preaching abstinence.

Gibson and his Icon partner Bruce Davey said they won’t spend a cent on Oscar ad campaigns that have become a common part of the business plans of year-end films trying to build their profiles through awards season. Icon has already sent “Passion” DVDs to Oscar voters, and will hold screenings. But that’s it.

“At the end of the day, films should be judged on the merits, not on how big your pockets are or how elaborate the campaign is,” Davey said. “You should make your film available for Academy and guild members who might not have seen it during the normal course of release. It should not be a matter of how many times you’ve seen the ad.”

The “Passion” play is a surprise, but this is a film that became the biggest-grossing film of all time by veering wildly from the traditional marketing and distribution script. Gibson put up his own coin and made a film with actors who spoke in Aramaic and other obscure dialects.

The film could be a longshot in the best picture category, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. decided to relegate it to the foreign-language category for Golden Globe consideration.

In the current red state/blue state world, the Oscar telecast might well get a ratings injection from a red state crowd rooting for “Passion.” The prospect of that audience’s introduction to blue comic Chris Rock, who’s hosting the kudofest, would make for a colorful convergence.

It won’t be the first time Gibson hasn’t Oscar-hyped a film he directed. He wasn’t exactly shaking hands and kissing babies for the Icon-produced “Braveheart,” which went on to win for picture and director.

Oscar campaign strategists and voters queried by Daily Variety had mixed reactions to Icon’s declaration. Some said the pic’s enormous profile will ensure it doesn’t get forgotten. Others noted “The Passion” has completed its theatrical and DVD revenue cycle and doesn’t have as much to gain as a year-end film, which could gross tens of millions of dollars if it gets a slew of nominations.

And some suggested the maneuver could actually heighten the pic’s Oscar profile.

Said Davey: “We just decided to let the chips fall where they will fall.”

More Film

  • Bruno GanzSwiss Film Award in Geneva,

    Bruno Ganz, Star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Dies at 77

    Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for dramatizing Adolf Hitler’s final days in 2004’s “Downfall,” has died. He was 77. Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer. In addition to delivering one of the definitive cinematic portrayals of Hitler, [...]

  • Bruno GanzSwiss Film Award in Geneva,

    Bruno Ganz, Star of 'Downfall' and 'Wings of Desire,' Dies at 77

    Bruno Ganz, the Swiss actor best known for dramatizing Adolf Hitler’s final days in 2004’s “Downfall,” has died. He was 77. Ganz died at his home in Zurich on Friday, his representatives told media outlets. The cause of death was reportedly colon cancer. In addition to delivering one of the definitive cinematic portrayals of Hitler, [...]

  • Steve Bannon appears in The Brink

    Sundance Film Review: Stephen K. Bannon in 'The Brink'

    Stephen K. Bannon drinks Kombucha (who knew?), the fermented tea beverage for health fanatics that tastes like…well, if they ever invented a soft drink called Germs, that’s what Kombucha tastes like. In “The Brink,” Alison Klayman’s fly-on-the-wall, rise-and-fall-and-rise-of-a-white-nationalist documentary, Bannon explains that he likes Kombucha because it gives him a lift; he drinks it for [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Oscar OScars Placeholder

    Cinematographers Praise Academy Reversal: 'We Thank You for Your Show of Respect'

    Cinematographers who fought the decision to curtail four Oscar presentations have praised the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for reversing the exclusions. “We thank you for your show of respect for the hard-working members of the film community, whose dedication and exceptional talents deserve the public recognition this reversal now allows them to enjoy,” [...]

  • Peter Parker and Miles Morales in

    'Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse' Colored Outside the Lines

    The well-worn superhero genre and one of its best-known icons are unlikely vehicles for creating a visually fresh animated feature. But Sony Pictures Animation’s work on the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” shows throwing out the rule book and letting everyone play in the creative sandbox can pay off big. “I think we [...]

  • Denis Villeneuve

    Denis Villeneuve's 'Dune' Gets November 2020 Release Date

    Warner Bros. has scheduled Legendary’s science-fiction tentpole “Dune” for a Nov. 20, 2020, release in 3D and Imax. “Aquaman” star Jason Momoa is in negotiations to join the “Dune” reboot with Timothee Chalamet, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Ferguson, Stellan Skarsgard, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Oscar Isaac, and Zendaya. Production is expected to launch in the spring [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content