Awards Profile 2019: Jim Jarmusch’s ‘The Dead Don’t Die’ From Focus Features

Welcome to the 2019 Awards Profile series, where we talk about films coming to a theater near you in the coming year (at least at this time of writing). The series analyzes the films and their awards season potential, most notably for the Academy Awards, based on the talents attached, filmmakers involved, and story and source material.  Monday through Friday until mid-May, AwardsCircuit will bring you a new and exciting project and discuss its chances for success. If you have a suggestion for a movie we should cover, include it in the comments section below. If you miss a film covered, click on the tag or category for “Awards Profile.”

FILM: “The Dead Don’t Die”

DISTRIBUTOR: Focus Features
DIRECTOR: Jim Jarmusch
PRODUCERS: Joshua Astrachan and Carter Logan
WRITER(S): Jim Jarmusch
CAST: Adam Driver, Bill Murray, Chloë Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Caleb Landry Jones, Selena Gomez, Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Tom Waits, Carol Kane, Austin Butler, and more
SYNOPSISThe plot is currently unknown. (IMDB)

SCHEDULED RELEASE: June 14, 2019

POTENTIAL HIGHLIGHTS:

Jim Jarmusch is not what you’d normally consider to be an Oscar-friendly filmmaker. His tastes are rather eclectic and on the independent side of the spectrum. However, voters do occasionally like to finally embrace an indie auteur who they’ve previously ignored. Here, Jarmusch puts his spin on a zombie comedy, after a few years back trying out vampires with “Only Lovers Left Alive.” If anyone can make something new and exciting out of that, it’s this particular storyteller.

The Dead Don’t Die” represents a chance for Jarmusch to woo the Academy by having fun. Along for the ride this time are previous acting collaborators Adam Driver, Bill Murray, and Tilda Swinton. The three of them together in anything would be noteworthy, but being in this project is especially exciting. They’re a part of a top notch cast that includes Steve Buscemi, Danny Glover, Selena Gomez, Caleb Landry Jones, Chloë Sevigny, Tom Waits, and more. In particular, if this really is a laugh riot of a comedy, there’s the potential that either Jarmusch’s screenplay or someone in the cast could stand out and demand awards attention.

POTENTIAL CHALLENGES:

As mentioned above, Jarmusch isn’t someone that Academy members gravitate toward. In fact, he’s pretty much the opposite of who they cite. Zombie comedies aren’t exactly up their alley, either. This makes “The Dead Don’t Die” a tough sell. Focus Features may be up to the task, but they’re still clearly figuring out how and where to position the movie. As of this writing, it doesn’t have a firm release date, likely due in large part to needing the boost of a film festival later on this year (update, it now has a June 14th release date). If “Only Lovers Left Alive” and “Paterson” couldn’t do it for Jarmusch, there’s reason to suspect “The Dead Won’t Die” could suffer the same fate.

POTENTIAL AWARD CATEGORIES IN PLAY:

  • Motion Picture (Joshua Astrachan and Carter Logan)
  • Director (Jim Jarmusch)
  • Actor in a Leading Role (Adam Driver)
  • Actress in a Leading Role (Chloë Sevigny)
  • Actor in a Supporting Role (Bill Murray)
  • Actress in a Supporting Role (Tilda Swinton)
  • Original Screenplay (Jim Jarmusch)
  • Production Design (Alex DiGerlando)
  • Cinematography (Frederick Elmes)
  • Film Editing (To be announced)
  • Makeup and Hairstyling (To be announced)
  • Visual Effects (To be announced)
  • Original Score (To be announced)

POTENTIAL KEY NOTICES FROM OTHER GROUPS

  • Best Feature (Film Independent Spirit Awards): A beloved indie icon, the Spirit Awards could look to cite Jarmusch once again here, if the budget allows
  • Robert Altman Award (Film Independent Spirit Awards): With a cast like this, perhaps this would be the place to give the movie a moment in the sun? Again, it’ll only be if the budget allows for it

Are you excited or skeptical about Jim Jarmusch’s “The Dead Don’t Die?” Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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