[CORRECTION: Much like Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group, I fucked up. Sony Pictures Classics had nothing to do with Moon’s non-existent awards-campaign. It is the fault of SPWAG and this article has been updated where appropriate. My deepest apologies to Sony Pictures Classics] One of the best science fiction films in years, Duncan Jones’ Moon has been largely absent from this year’s awards race. A large reason for that is because Sony Pictures Classics, the studio behind the film, has failed to give the film any promotion, especially where screeners are concerned. According to Movieline, the reason they’re not sending screeners out to voters is fear of piracy. Already a poor excuse since other studios take the risk to get their films into Oscar contention, SPWAG’s reason is nonsense since the film is already on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK where it has been available since November 16th. I don’t mean to cast aspersions on the British people, but I’m pretty sure they have the technology to pirate movies.
Hit the jump for more outrage from me and from Jones.
Jones has been the full force behind getting this film on Academy voters’ radars. Furthermore, he’s not doing it for himself but for star Sam Rockwell. If you look at the IMDb page for the film, you’ll see that Rockwell is pretty much the only actor in Moon. I’ll admit there’s a minor obstacle in promoting him, it’s in not giving away the plot. But a “For Your Consideration” campaign could easily overcome this problem. You could just pull quotes from reviewers, “Sam Rockwell is magnificent,” (my Moon review) or “Rockwell’s performance in Moon is better than your kids,” (a line I should’ve put in my Moon review).
Here’s SPWAG’s side of the story via a representative for Sony Worldwide Acquisitions Group:
“The DVD and Blu-ray come out on Jan. 12 – next Tuesday – and it was felt that to preserve the integrity of the film, we didn’t want to send screeners,” the rep told me. “We’re concerned about piracy. The thing about Moon is that its particular genre is very predisposed toward being uploaded onto the Web. We really just wanted to protect that aspect of it. It’s a simple as that. […] A lot of publicity for Moon is coming out next week. Hopefully that will remind all the consumers, all the readers – and especially any awards folks – that this terrific title is out there.”
No, big movies that everyone saw are “very predisposed towards being uploaded onto the Web.” Here’s the list of the top 10 most pirated films of 2009. All of them made over $100 million worldwide. By comparison, Moon grossed $7 million worldwide. It would be great that there’s going to be “a lot of publicity” next week for the film except it’s really too late in the game to accomplish anything awards-wise. Unless SPWAG is planning one of the biggest marketing campaigns of all-time from January 12th through January 23rd when AMPAS nominations polls close, then it looks like Moon won’t be getting a single nomination. Want to know something funny? Moon won big at the British Independent Film Awards last month. Just throwing that out there.
So most of the support for the film is coming from Jones and fans of the films. Jones recently tweeted that he and Sony execs had knocked heads over their lack of awards-support for the film. Fans have been petitioning for a nomination for Rockwell since October, but the representative said he didn’t know anything about that (so if you needed another sign that SPWAG has no interest in pushing the film for awards, there you go).
SPWAG should just admit they dropped the ball on this one. I’m not saying they’re a bad studio or that they’re eeeevil or anything like that. But it looks like they’ve thrown their weight entirely behind An Education. That’s a perfectly reasonable decision. But they could’ve had another horse in the race by giving Moon at least some attention.
Moon hits DVD and Blu-ray in the US on January 12th. It’s a great movie and you should pick it up. Don’t be shit and pirate it.