Marvel fans were thrilled this week to learn that Disney is pushing for Elizabeth Olsen’s wounded performance as Wanda in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to win awards next year. The studio’s ‘For Your Consideration’ campaign showed the studio is hoping for awards panel to consider Olsen as a potential ‘best actress’ winner, as the filmmaking community embarks on its many rounds of voting ahead of the ceremonies next year.
Vindication at last, fans thought, for the maligned superhero genre which they felt is generally overlooked when it comes to awards glory. However, not all is what it seems.
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Here, we take a look at what ‘For Your Consideration’ campaigns are, who they’re for, and why Hollywood will push for anyone and everyone to win an award in the 2023 awards season.
You can’t ask for Academy Award votes. You can’t directly lobby for votes, which means studios take our trade ads, create glossy PR packages branded with the words ‘For Your Consideration’, and invite press to junkets to drum up interest in their nominees.
Origins of FYC. John Wayne’s hired a publicist nicknamed “Bow-Wow” to push Chill Willis’ role in The Alamo for the 31st Academy Awards. Although it didn’t work, it set the precedent for ads and throwing lavish parties where voters can meet celebrities to try and sway their hand.
The evolution of FYC. After ads in the likes of Variety, Backstage, and The Hollywood Reporter, the mid-1990s saw networks send out DVD box sets for Emmy nominations. These have been scaled back due to postage and environmental costs, this has largely moved online in recent years.
Everyone does it. Warner Bros. has a site dedicated to everything from The Batman to Don’t Worry Darling. There’s even a behind-the-scenes feature with Dwayne Johnson for DC League of Super-Pets. Sites like Collider have whole FYC sections, while streaming services are particularly aggressive in spending.
Stick to the rules. There’s a nine-page Oscars rulebook on what is allowed. Digital screeners must be watched through the Academy Screening Room and can’t include features like ‘the making of’. Mailers can’t include quotes from reviews or pleas to watch the movie. Failure to comply can lead to disqualification.
Spending big bucks. It’s reported that when Saving Private Ryan went head-to-head with Shakespeare in Love in 1998, Miramax spent $15 million on ads. In 2019, Variety estimated that studios will now spend up to $30 million on campaigns to lobby for Oscar votes.
No golden ticket. There was upset at the 2019 Golden Globes when expensive campaigns for Vice and A Star is Born saw them both beaten by Green Book and Bohemian Rhapsody in the categories of Best Comedy and Best Drama. Mo’Nique refused to campaign and still won an Oscar for Precious.
Thinking outside of the box. David Lynch lobbied for Laura Dern’s Inland Empire performance in 2006 with a bizarre campaign. He sat in a chair on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and brought along a cow. There was a printed banner of Dern in the movie, reading “For Your Consideration.”
Money talks. Lynch told Wired, “I don’t have any money. And I also feel that the Academy members must be sick of seeing ad after ad after ad costing a fortune with no one really paying attention.” Having Oscar-winning actor or director on your CV can give you a pick of projects or a salary boost.
Awards ≠ money. James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water could be a big winner at the Oscars, but needs to make $2 billion just to break even. The idea is that winning an Oscar will encourage more people to go back and see your movie — meaning more money.
Horror and FYC 2022. Jordan Peele’s Nope is already lobbying, with a special ‘For Your Consideration’ trailer hoping to follow in the footsteps of the director’s win for Get Out. 2022’s cult horror hit Terrifier 2 is also asking for Academy Award consideration.
It’s become a bit of a joke. There’s anger that Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder has been shortlisted for Best Visual Effects, while many older voters say superhero and horror movies shouldn’t qualify for nomination. Wide-appeal movies usually do well, but as Parasite proved, the landscape is changing.
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