Oscar season

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The Oscar season is the time period in which Hollywood studios release or promote the films they consider most likely to be critically acclaimed, hoping to win at the Academy Awards.


Oscar season usually begins in the fall[1] following the usual slate of summer blockbuster movies. While October lends itself to horror releases, the first batch of prospective Oscar films tend to come out that month, followed by a steadier release in November and December.


The Academy Awards occur every late February 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.[2]


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, was especially notorious for his campaigning.[3] 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.[4] 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.[4]

The Oscars represent a rare slice of Hollywood where independent film distributors with their moderate and low-budget films can best the major studios and their blockbusters. Because Oscar voters gravitate to serious content that is abundant in indie films, the glossy major-studio films are usually passed over. The awards campaigns involve placed advertising labeled with the subtle “for your consideration”, talent appearances in industry seminars, by-invitation parties, soliciting press coverage, screenings of films in theaters, online or via mailed DVDs, and direct email and print mail marketing messages to voters.[5] The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences that confers the Oscars also sets rules limiting overt campaigning by its members, which the movie industry generally complies with.

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.[3] 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.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Drucker, Zach. "Trailers tease Hollywood's upcoming blockbusters and Oscar-season favorites". Tufts Daily. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  2. ^ Bourdeau, Annette. "2010's Most Transparent Oscar Bait". Moviefone. Archived from the original on 2012-03-23. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Obst, Lynda (20 February 2009). "A Diminished Oscar Season". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Sperling, Nicole (February 5, 2009). "Oscars 2009: 'The Reader' Changes the Game". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 29, 2010.
  5. ^ Marich, Robert (2013). Marketing to Moviegoers: A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics (3rd ed.). Southern Illinois University Press. pp. 235–48.