Silver Linings Playbook Hired Obama Deputy Campaign Manager For Oscar Season
Hollywood surely loves patting itself on the back with big glamorous award shows, but the real reason the industry puts so much emphasis on the Academy Awards is that studios stand to make a lot of money off of a big win. A film that wins Best Picture immediately has the attention of the entire world, and because it will be the movie that everyone is talking about, that means that people will clamor and pay top dollar to see it (after last night's big win I can assure you that Blu-ray and DVD sales of Argo do quite nicely). Because so much is at stake, studios will make bold moves to make sure that their film gets noticed. For example, Harvey Weinstein actually hired President Obama's 2012 deputy campaign manager to run the Oscar race for Silver Linings Playbook.
Now that the season is finally at an end, Vulture has posted a story revealing that Stephanie Cutter was actually hired by the Weinstein Company as the film rolled toward Oscar night. According to the report, the studio was worried that their film didn't have the same kind of cultural resonance as fellow Best Picture nominees Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln, and wanted Cutter to send the message that the movie was an "especially politically significant film that was shaping the national conversation about mental health triggered in part by the shootings in Newtown, Connecticut." They were even able to reach top levels of government with the campaign, the article noting that Vice President Joe Biden met with Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell to discuss "chat about mental-health reform."
Evidence of the deputy campaign manager's support for the movie can actually be found on her personal Twitter page as well, which in recent weeks has featured messages like, "We're a little over a week away from Oscars. Check out the making of Silver Linings Playbook. Love this movie." The site sent an email inquiry to Cutter that was not returned yesterday and Weinstein declined to comment. They did, however, recieve an official statement from a studio spokesperson, who said,
"When it was clear that Silver Linings Playbook's treatment of mental health issues was becoming a topic in the advocacy community and political circles Harvey Weinstein sought the advice of a number of friends with experience in those areas, including former Senator Chris Dodd, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kristen Gillibrand, and Stephanie Cutter, who he knows from his work as a supporter of President Obama.”
It's hard to say if any of the campaigning really paid off. The film didn't end up winning Best Picture, Best Director or Best Adapted Screenplay, and of its four acting nominations only Jennifer Lawrence took home the prize.
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