Oscar season is the time period in which Hollywood studios release their more critically acclaimed films, hoping to win at the Academy Awards. Oscar season usually begins in the fall, around November, although the date in which the summer blockbuster season ends and the Oscar season begins are ambiguous, and dependent on the year.
The Academy Awards occur every late February or early March, and films that win awards typically see a boost in sales. To take advantage of this, the studios release films they deem "Oscar worthy" in the fall, before the eligibility cut-off, so that the films remain fresh in the memories of critics and Academy members right before the Awards, increasing their chances of being nominated.
During Oscar season, studios heavily campaign for their films to win, spending large amounts of money in an attempt to influence Academy voters. Harvey Weinstein, of Miramax, is especially notorious for his campaigning. Weinstein was alleged to have spread rumors that John Nash was antisemitic, to hurt the chances of A Beautiful Mind, which was competing for the awards with the Miramax film In the Bedroom. It was also suspected, although unproven, that Weinstein was involved with the nomination of The Reader in 2009, a film that received mixed reviews from critics.
The studio head is usually personally responsible in campaigning for the studio's films. This comes in the form of hosting celebrity-filled private parties for "friends" before the Awards. The CEO of Universal Studios, Ronald Meyer, for example, attempted to influence Academy members—such as Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Frank Langella—by hosting a cocktail party at Nobu West.
- Drucker, Zach. "Trailers tease Hollywood's upcoming blockbusters and Oscar-season favorites". Tufts Daily. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Bourdeau, Annette. "2010's Most Transparent Oscar Bait". Moviefone. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Obst, Lynda. "A Diminished Oscar Season". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
- Sperling, Nicole (February 5, 2009). "Oscars 2009: 'The Reader' Changes the Game". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2010.