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While fighting on in the face of certain defeat is often admirable, sometimes you’ve got to know when to fold ‘em. It’s a lesson playing out in real time with Universal Pictures’ Cats. Director Tom Hooper’s cinematic adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical has been lambasted by critics and ridiculed by the moviegoing public and now it is walking away from the table. The Cats movie is no longer part of the studio’s "For Your Consideration" awards page.
As noted by Variety, the much-discussed musical Cats has been removed from Universal Pictures’ 2019 "For Your Awards Consideration" page on its website, where the studio lists its qualifying movies as well as their individual categories. The FYC page also includes a schedule of upcoming screenings of the select films in various cities, with the hopes that Academy members will get out to see them and be moved enough to vote for them come awards time.
Cats is apparently no longer part of that effort for Universal and it isn’t even worth wasting the pixels and screen real estate on the studio's For Your Consideration website. Universal's FYC page now consists of an interesting mix of six films; Us, 1917, Queen & Slim, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Abominable, and The Secret Life of Pets 2. Some of those, particularly 1917, have a real shot at nabbing a statue.
According to one of Variety’s sources, Cats is also absent from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ streaming platform, which allows Academy members to watch Oscar contenders. So without a list of screenings or the option to stream it at home, if Academy members were really interested in seeing Cats, they would have to work to do so on their own, with no help from Universal Pictures.
Thus, any Oscar hopes Cats once held are seemingly ended. Those hopes were much higher once upon a time. The film is based on a long-running and award-winning famous musical and it features an all-star cast of modern music stars, Oscar-winning thespians, and new talent. Cats is also directed by Tom Hooper, who won one Oscar for Best Director for The King’s Speech, which won four Oscars overall, and whose previous musical Les Misérables was nominated for Best Picture.
So on paper, Cats had the makings of a contender, even if the trailers resulted in backlash, derision, and meme-making over the film’s jarring visual effects. Those visual effects were being worked on up until the last minute with theaters receiving new digital prints of the film with updated CGI after the movie screened for critics.
Cats did receive one Golden Globe nomination for the new original song “Beautiful Ghosts” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Taylor Swift, but that song was not even shortlisted for the Oscars. That may be the best Cats can hope for as even the power of schadenfreude hasn’t driven audiences to see the $100 million film, which flopped upon release.
Cats is now playing. Check out our 2020 Release Schedule to see what movies are headed to theaters next year.