Vulture’s Guide to Decoding 2011’s Oscar-Season ‘For Your Consideration’ Ads
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The King’s Speech
The Real Estate: Cover, November 29 The Push: Best Picture The Target: Every other Best Picture contender The Text: Those ghastly pictures from the film’s original, terrible poster The Translation: Front-runner? We’re so confident we haven’t even bothered to take new photos!
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Toy Story 3
The Real Estate: Full page, December 10 The Push: Best Picture The Target: Snobs who just can’t think of a Pixar film as a “real movie” The Text: A still from TS3's heart-stopping furnace sequence, plus the tagline “Not since Titanic ... " The Translation: We don’t care if we’re square. We’re still better than everyone else.
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How to Train Your Dragon
The Real Estate: Four-page pull-out cover spread, plus the full back cover, December 10 The Push: Best Animated Feature The Target: Academy voters who can’t shut up about Toy Story 3 The Text: Big, dramatic stills of sad moments from the movie The Translation: We’ve got heart, too! And money to burn.
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Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
The Real Estate: Inside cover, December 14 The Push: Best Animated Feature The Target: Anyone who forgot about that movie with the owls The Text: An owl, flying RIGHT AT YOUR FACE! The Translation: Vote for us or beware the owly consequences!
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Frankie & Alice
The Real Estate: Full page, November 29 The Push: Best Actress The Target: Anyone who watched any of Halle Berry’s movies since Monster’s Ball The Text: “Berry shows total commitment to the part, allowing herself to go unhinged ... a virtuoso job!” The Translation: Unlike in Die Another Day, X2, Gothika, Catwoman, X-Men: The Last Stand, Perfect Stranger, and Things We Lost in the Fire, she’s really trying this time!
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The Real Estate: Full page, December 6 The Push: Best Actress The Target: Voters who think Diane Lane has played too many complicated, interesting, sexually adventurous characters The Text: A huge, beautiful, gauzy photo of a blond-wigged Lane The Translation: This is as anodyne as she gets, Oscar voters. Seize your chance.
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The Real Estate: Quarter page, December 6 The Push: Best Supporting Actress The Target: Voters who might dare consider not nominating Jacki Weaver The Text: “Jacki Weaver sets the screen ablaze.” The Translation: And she will set your house ablaze, too, goddammit.
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I Am Love
The Real Estate: One-third page, November 29 The Push: Best Actress The Target: Anyone who hasn’t gotten to the bottom of their screener pile The Text: Ebert: “No Oscar voter should dare to nominate for Best Actress without seeing Tilda Swinton in I Am Love.” The Translation: We know our screener didn’t come in a fancy package like the Fox Searchlight ones. We can’t even afford color for our Variety ad! Please just watch the freaking movie.
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For Colored Girls
The Real Estate: Full page, December 6
The Push: Best Supporting Actress The Target: The nearly infinite number of Academy voters who have not seen the latest Tyler Perry film The Text: "I wish all nine actresses could be Oscar-nominated!" The Translation: If you like giving awards for Most Acting, look no further!
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The Real Estate: One-third page, November 22 The Push: Best Actor The Target: Friends of Michael Douglas The Text: "Michael Douglas is fully alive." The Translation: Michael Douglas is fully alive!
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The Real Estate: Two-thirds page, November 22 The Push: Best Actor, Best Actress The Target: Voters who haven’t seen the movie because they don’t want to slit their wrists afterwards The Text: A photo of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling smiling. The Translation: Look, guys! It’s not so depressing!
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The Real Estate: Half-page, November 29 The Push: Best Actor The Target: Voters who haven’t seen the movie because they don’t want to slit their wrists afterwards The Text: A photo of Javier Barden not exactly smiling, but not actually weeping or screaming The Translation: This is the best we could do.
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The Real Estate: Quarter-page, December 7 The Push: Ostensibly Best Actor, but really Biggest Mensch The Target: Ed Harris The Text: “Opens Friday, December 17 in Los Angeles.” The Translation: Ed Harris! You gave a wonderful and totally unseen performance in our teensy-weensy movie based on our real-life father. We couldn’t pay you jack, but at least we can buy you a Variety ad and an L.A. opening. You are awesome.
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The Real Estate: One-fifth page, December 7 The Push: Best Actor The Target: Vincent Gallo The Text: “Never less than stunning.” The Translation: There is no chance you will ever be nominated, Vincent Gallo, but we are terrified of you, so here are some "For Your Consideration" ads.
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The Real Estate: Full page, December 1 The Push: Best Director The Target: Anyone who thinks Ben Affleck is sort of a meathead The Text: Affleck literally looking through a camera, plus a New Yorker quote The Translation: We couldn’t find a photo of him doing that thing where you make your fingers into a square to frame the shot.
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The King’s Speech
The Real Estate: Half-page, December 1 The Push: Best Director The Target: Youth-loving voters looking for the next great director The Text: Apple-cheeked Tom Hooper talking to Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth The Translation: This movie was practically directed by a 14-year-old.
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The Real Estate: Inside cover, December 1 The Push: Best Director The Target: Everyone who hated Hereafter The Text: A photo of Clint The Translation: What, you’re gonna not nominate Clint, just because the movie was lousy? He’s Clint!
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The Ghost Writer
The Real Estate: Full page, December 9 The Push: Best Director The Target: Academy voters who badmouth Roman Polanski at parties but secretly voted for The Pianist The Text: “Winner 6 European Film Awards.” The Translation: We’re perfectly happy to give him awards in sophisticated Europe. Don’t be so provincial!
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The Real Estate: Quarter-page, December 16 The Push: Best Director The Target: Anyone who still thinks of Mike Leigh as the dyspeptic rabble-rouser of Naked and Life Is Sweet The Text: An adorable photo of a beaming, white-bearded Leigh The Translation: Why would you nominate Polanski? Our guy’s basically Santa Claus!
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The Real Estate: Half-page in Variety’s special Best Makeup insert, December 15 The Push: Best Makeup The Target: Voters who think makeup awards are only for movies set in the Renaissance or outer space The Text: Four photos of star Paul Giamatti at four different ages The Translation: You wanna talk makeup challenges? We had to make Paul Giamatti look more haggard!
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The Real Estate: One-third-page ads on five consecutive pages, December 14. The Push: Tech categories The Target: Art directors, editors, sound engineers, and anyone else who might be impressed by Tony Scott’s train movie. The Text: Quotes from critics about how good the crafts were The Translation: Hey, something’s gotta lose to Inception in all these categories. Why not us?
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The Real Estate: Half-page, December 13 The Push: Best Cinematography The Target: Legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond (or his agent). The Text: “FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION: Best Cinematography, Vilmos Zsigmond.” The Translation: I’m Dan Pritzker, billionaire director of a silent black-and-white passion project about Louis Armstrong. I’ve got enough money to hire Wynton Marsalis to play live jazz accompanying showings of my movie. So I can definitely afford an ad in Variety thanking an extremely experienced DP who may or may not have basically taught me how to direct a movie.
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The Real Estate: Full page, December 15 The Push: Best Original Song The Target: Hollywood lifers with CD wallets full of Celine and Cher The Text: A full-page photo of Diane Warren The Translation: Diane Warren rules Hollywood.