'Hurt Locker' Gains Oscar Momentum With Gotham Win Despite Ignorance at Summit

Photo: Summit Entertainment

I can see the folks in the Summit offices right now, patting themselves on the back for picking up The Hurt Locker and now watching as it picks up Best Feature and Best Ensemble Performance awards at the 19th Annual Gotham Independent Film Awards. They can celebrate the fact they hardly distributed the film into a grand total of 535 theaters and didn't market the film as it managed to make $1.2 million less than their loathed 3-D animated film Fly Me to the Moon. After all, they're floating around over there on a river of Twilight cash, a film series that can't manage to win over critics who would much rather praise a fan favorite feature than pan it. But who cares? Hot Topic is stocked with a battle of t-shirts pitting Team Edward vs. Team Jacob and now the company can claim ownership of Venice Film Festival Gucci Prize winner, critical favorite and now a double winner at the Gotham Awards.

Where it goes from here is unknown, but it obviously hasn't been forgotten after Summit buried it in June. When I asked director Kathryn Bigelow about the release date decision rather than releasing it late 2008 for an Oscar push she replied, "Yeah, I was thinking that would be a pretty viable course of action, but on the other hand, this might be perhaps a better approach because it kind of singularizes it."

Obviously being diplomatic Bigelow didn't get too involved at the time, and the film has been singularized... at least for now. The Gotham Awards aren't any kind of major Oscar indicator, but it's nice to see the film hasn't been forgotten. It will be interesting to see where things go from here.

Best Feature

  • The Hurt Locker - Kathryn Bigelow, director; Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro, producers (Summit Entertainment)

Best Documentary

  • Food, Inc. - Robert Kenner, director; Robert Kenner, Elise Pearlstein, producers (Magnolia Pictures)

Best Ensemble Performance

  • The Hurt Locker - Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, Brian Geraghty, Ralph Fiennes, Guy Pearce, David Morse, Evangeline Lilly

Breakthrough Director

Breakthrough Actor

  • Catalina Saavedra in The Maid

Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You

  • You Won’t Miss Me; Ry Russo-Young, director/producer

You can check out the list of the nominees right here.

  • Vince

    I'm really pulling for "The Hurt Locker" to get a few noms come Oscar time. I think that if anyone's deserving of a nomination, it has to be Kathryn Bigelow. This film works so well because of her fantastic direction. I'm not saying that she might beat out Rob Marshall, Jason Reitman & the rest of the big hitters, but her work should be recognized.

    This post just reminded me: I forgot that "Big Fan" came out this year. Never saw it, and I'm pretty sure that the Academy forgot about this movie too (though I do plan on renting it when it comes to DVD).

  • Shawn

    It's definitely getting one of the ten Best Picture slots.

  • JM

    A 535-theater release isn't exactly burying a film. Burying a film would be what Lionsgate did to "Repo! The Genetic Opera," which at its highest point was in 11 theaters. Last year's "Rachel Getting Married" got a similar release to "The Hurt Locker" and made about the same amount of money. It's just that some films aren't really the wide-release type of films. "The Hurt Locker" is one such film. I don't think it would have made a great deal more in wide release, at least not enough to warrant the extra marketing costs.

  • http://thekingbulletin.blogspot.com Danny King

    Great to see The Hurt Locker get this recognition. I think the film's ensemble is terribly underrated in terms of the Oscar race. Geraghty and Mackie should be considered for supporting just as much as Renner is being considered for leading.

    It's also terrific to see Robert Siegel being recognized. After "penning" The Wrestler and directing this indie gem, he is a name to look out for.