Warner Bros. has launched its 2015 FYC site! While it’s certainly a time for excitement for those of us wanting the Oscars to ride eternal, shiny and chrome, we must also remember that the mere presence of a film on an FYC site does NOT mean that said studio is going to campaign a) at all for the film or b) vigorously. I recall seeing Transformers: Age of Extinction boasting an FYC for Best Picture in 2014.
But, uh, and Mad Max: Fury Road, the fourth film in the Mad Max franchise, is being campaigned in Best Original Screenplay. Huh? More on that later.
Let’s get a LITTLE excited. Warner Bros. has had successful Oscar years since winning Best Picture for 2012’s Argo. They had Gravity, Her, and The Great Gatsby clean up at the 2013 Oscars, while they crashed the party in 2014 with nominations for American Sniper, The Judge, The Lego Movie, Inherit Vice, and Interstellar. One of Warner Bros.’s biggest issues has always been spreading its resources too far, failing to focus on either one or a few films. Just look at how scattered their 2013 race was, despite trying to mount a Best Picture campaign.
But this year (at least so far), Warner Bros.’s is remaining focused. We’ve got Our Brand Is Crisis, which is likely making a play sole for Golden Globe Musical/Comedy prizes. Curiously, too, Billy Bob Thornton is being pushed Supporting for that race for that film, leaving Sandra Bullock as the film’s sole Lead campaign. Then there’s Scott Cooper‘s Black Mass, which seems to be in the perfect place to get Johnny Depp his first Oscar nod since the Bush Administration, and might have the legs to pull his by-the-numbers gangster flick to a Best Picture, Best Makeup, and Best Supporting Actor nominations.
Then there’s George Miller‘s masterpiece, Mad Max: Fury Road. Will Warner Bros. manage big time Oscar nods, or will the die historic on the fury road? Will they force the Oscars to “witness” Miller’s miracle? The film’s FYC site reflects that it will be pushed in every category, including actors not named Charlize Theron. Typically these types of listings are contractual in nature and don’t 100% mean that the studio is going to waste time asking people to vote for Tom Hardy. Nevertheless, it is so reassuring and awesome to see the list. It should also be noted that all three of Warner Bros.’s films are listed in every eligible category, so Black Mass fans can freakout just as much as we mortal bloodbags.
Finally, what’s with Mad Max: Fury Road being campaigned in Original Screenplay? Unlike our fearless leader, Clayton, I happen to think both screenplay races are equally stacked, but with Adapted Screenplay seemingly having more “wiggle room” than Original at this stage. And yet…Warner Bros. is going all in on Original Screenplay. There’s clear precedence for this script to be considered Adapted by the Academy, ranging from recent nominees Toy Story 3, Before Midnight, Before Sunset, In the Loop, and Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. Despite campaigning, the writer’s branch has as recently as last year, rejected such clearly foolish category campaigning (even when they make the wrong decision, i.e., Whiplash). While I think Mad Max: Fury Road has a long road to a screenplay nomination in any category, this discussion certainly won’t end now.