Pity the poor Oscar nominees. By the time they reached the Academy Award nominations announcement last week, many of those inducted in marquee categories were feeling something close to bone-weary in their moment of triumph. Having pressed the flesh and smiled for the camera at an unending procession of movie-critic meet-and-greets, champagne toasts, and press events just to get to Oscar’s finalist round, these actors and directors felt fatigue compounded by a terrible new knowledge. After veering dangerously close to overexposure via attendance at lesser awards shows, industry panels, and countless red carpets during the unofficial five-month stretch of awards season, the contenders knew the real work of bringing home Academy gold still lay ahead.
Hailed across Hollywood as “Phase Two,” the span of weeks between the Jan. 15 nominations and the close of Oscar balloting 34 days later typically showcases a last-ditch promotional blitzkrieg that can decide the difference between glory at the Dolby Theatre and the awkwardness of a grimacing cutaway reaction shot. Phase Two is fourth-quarter football, a period of grand studio marketing gestures and come-from-behind onslaughts. But unlike other times during the year when filmmakers and publicity departments are free to go crazy when it comes to getting Academy voters’ attention, this period is governed by hard-and-fast rules. READ FULL STORY