The Hollywood award season is now in full swing. While certain films have made an impression, other – just as well produced – projects have seemingly faltered under the weight of the competition. It’s a disheartening sight for any self-respecting cinephile to witness, and it’s a plight felt even at the very top of the Hollywood food chain.
Writing a guest op-ed for The Hollywood Reporter, major film producer and studio executive Harvey Weinstein blasted the current state of the Hollywood awards season as well as its effect on the industry at large. He concludes:
The fall has become so dominated, so top-heavy with adult-driven awards releases that it has made it almost impossible for quality films to reach their full potential unless they dare release at another time of year, where they are quickly forgotten come awards season.
Weinstein would go on to explain that the fall and winter award season for films has become so overly stuffed with films that for studios, it has essentially become more about competing with opposing films rather than creating a work of art that will have a positive influence on audiences. So many laudable films hit theaters this fall – particularly in October – that many worthwhile films found themselves lost in the rush to make an impression on audiences. Weinstein notes Burnt in particular, which proved an overall mediocre film, but featured an all-around powerhouse performance by Bradley Cooper that deserved much more audience adulation than it received. He similarly notes that the same thing happened to Sandra Bullock in Our Brand is Crisis – a rare political film made all the more rare by its use of a female lead.
He also shows particular disdain for the way audiences and critics tend to brush off a film, and its Oscar chances, based solely on what time of the year it is released. For example, in terms of lead performances, both Woman in Gold as well as Southpaw -- In Harvey's humble opinion -- featured particularly strong performances from Helen Mirren and Jake Gyllenhaal, respectively. However, due to the fact that these films came out during the summer season, very few people have considered them real contenders for major awards.
However, it’s not all bad in Harvey Weinstein’s eyes, he makes a point to note that men such as his consistent collaborator Quentin Tarantino do in fact champion fellow filmmakers and foster a synergetic environment. However, there simply aren’t enough filmmakers partaking in this sort of practice.
His solution for this perceived problem is really not all that complicated to begin with. Distributors simply must start releasing higher-quality movies all year round. In addition to this, audiences and critics alike must alter their perceptions of any given year and willingly advocate that a film released in March have just as much of a chance at winning major awards as one released in October or November. Remember, a year is a long time, and as such, we shouldn’t limit our consumption of high quality films to the fall season.