On Saturday Deadline held “The Contenders” at the Directors Guild of America, a day-long symposium in which every distributor with Oscar hopes presented their award season wares, and many actors and filmmakers showed up to hustle. Most of the actors who showed up have outside chances at best, like newly-minted superhero Chadwick Boseman, who’s got a little buzz going for the James Brown biopic, Get On Up, and Shailene Woodley, who’s hoping to score a Best Actress nomination for The Fault In Our Stars. Those two do actually have a shot—pretty remote, but it’s there—but you know who doesn’t stand a chance? Jeremy Renner and Jennifer Aniston.
In Renner’s case, it’s kind of a shame because Kill The Messenger is his best performance since The Hurt Locker, even though the movie as a whole doesn’t stand up. But he was on hand with Focus Features, doing the Oscar jig. He doesn’t have a prayer of getting a nomination, but it was an industry-exclusive event, with a nearly-full house of producers, executives, and distributors as a captive audience. Renner’s production company, The Combine, has been quietly locking up rights to a lot of biographies over the last few years—including Steve McQueen’s—and he’s getting serious about producing output. This was a good chance to connect with future producing partners, if nothing else.
But I’m not sure what Jennifer Aniston was doing there. She wasn’t even on the invite list initially, but was a last-minute surprise addition tacked on at the end of the day to promote her movie, Cake. You know, the movie that didn’t quite cut it with critics at TIFF, and then failed to find distribution, forcing the producers to form a distribution shingle just to get the movie out. As Joanna said, the Oscars aren’t in the realm of possibility, but the Golden Globes, put on by those starf*ckers at the HFPA, is a more reasonable expectation—too bad this wasn’t an HFPA event. But that’s the thing isn’t it? They all want an Oscar, no matter what they say, and they’ll chase it even when it’s patently obvious that they’re wasting their time.