Typically, when a studio releases a Nazi-related film in the final weeks of December, Oscars are at least a small consideration (especially since Holocaust movies practically never make any money) — but with Tom Cruise's forthcoming WWII send-up, Valkyrie, due on December 26, awards are the furthest thing from anyone's mind! And now, MGM has decided not to hold an official critics' screening for the film until December 12, a move that makes it ineligible for prizes from the New York Film Critics Circle or National Board of Review, both of whom vote on nominations before then.
This apparent forfeiture was first pointed out last Wednesday night by the Star-Ledger's Stephen Whitty, who promptly received an upset e-mail from a studio spokesman: "When did a December release date mean that a film exists first and foremost for award consideration?" says MGM's Mike Vollman. "We want Valkyrie to be judged on it's [sic] own, not as one of a cramped herd of dissimilar artistic endeavors lumped together unfairly due to the vagaries of the calendar and the marketplace." Vollman also says the studio has been arranging private screenings for critics who request them (we'd love to see it!) and that Valkyrie will indeed be "eligible for every guild honor" (though its chances of actually winning are probably not very good if hardly anyone's seen it before they vote). Anyway, all of this should make it even more exciting when Tom Cruise wins Best Actor next February.