Sure you made a boatload of cash last spring with director Tim Burton’s 3D Alice In Wonderland, but do you really think it’s worth reinvesting some of that money into a Academy Award campaign for a Best Picture nomination?
That’s according to Deadline, who is reporting that the studio has booked the picture back into the Arclight Hollywood and AMC Santa Monica theaters from October 18th to 21st. The intention is to lure Academy members in to see the film in the hopes of of earning Oscar nods in not just technical categories like art direction, costumes, makeup and visual effects but also Best Picture and Director nominations.
Now granted, it can be argued that the whole reason that the Academy instituted its new ten nominations in the Best Picture is to recognize pictures that were popular with cinema-going audiences. That’s the rationale that producer Dick Zanuck has as to why Disney is doing this, citing the lack of a Best Picture nomination for2008’s The Dark Knight as an example.
The problem is, though, that Dark Knight is a far better reviewed film than Alice In Wonderland. And if we look at the Best Picture nominees from the only year that this Rule of 10 has been in place, we can see that although there are popular films nominated, they also received stronger reviews than Alice did. Zanuck’s argument that Alice should be nominated just because it has grossed a billion dollars worldwide reeks of the false logic of “popular equals good”.
Sure, in Hollywood it does seem that success is the most important measure of a film and the Oscars can be seen as a back-slapping exercise of little importance. But this really strikes me as a bit more vainglorious than usual for even a Hollywood mogul and a surprising viewpoint for someone of Zanuck’s experience to be having.
If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t be placing the rent money on Alice In Wonderland making too many critics “Best of the Year” lists, let alone the final nominee list for Best Picture.