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This is what the fight for the Oscar nominations for “The Peasants” looks like from the inside.  “Such a campaign is expensive”

This is what the fight for the Oscar nominations for “The Peasants” looks like from the inside. “Such a campaign is expensive”

– The fact that we have a film distributed by Sony definitely helps us, because we know that they focus on valuable film projects. They are a distributor that always tries to buy films that have an Oscar chance – says Sean Bobbitt, one of the producers of “Peasants”, in an interview with Gazeta.pl. The production started fighting for Oscar nominations.

Although the 96th awards ceremony will take place on March 10, 2024, and the official nominations will be announced on January 23, there is very little time left to fight for a place in this race. We will find out whether they have a chance for the statuette later this year. Members of the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will start voting for their favorites on December 14.

Producer of “Peasants” for Gazeta.pl: We are glad that Sony bought the rights for the USA

As a result, a week later the so-called “shortlists” will appear, i.e. shortened lists of films and names of creators with the highest number of votes. Candidates for nominations for all categories will be selected from among them. Therefore, if “Chłopi” does not appear on this list, we will have to say goodbye to hopes for an award and the Polish team’s participation in the Oscar gala. Fortunately, however, this year’s candidate submitted by Poland has a relatively good chance of moving on, which is indicated by quite a few circumstances. One of the producers of “Peasants”, Sean Bobbitt, told us more about it.

Justyna Bryczkowska: What does the Oscar campaign for “Peasants” look like at this stage?

Sean Bobbitt: After announcing that we were the Polish candidate for the Oscar, we jumped on the list of favorites to the so-called shortlist [skrócona lista filmów, które mają szansę dostać nominację do Oscara – przyp. red.] – we are very happy about this. The film has not yet been released in theaters in the US, which means that people who saw it saw it either at a festival in Toronto, the Hamptons, or Los Angeles. To reach as many members of the American Film Academy as possible, we organize special screenings of “Peasants”. We send them letters inviting them to a screening and a meeting with the creators. And that’s what this campaign is mainly about, to reach as many people as possible who will then vote and decide on the nominations. The film is scheduled to hit theaters in December as part of a qualifying screening – it will be a week in Los Angeles and it seems there are plans for a week in New York. Then even more Academy members will have a chance to get acquainted with it.

I understand that the previous nomination for “Loving Vincent” helps you pave the way?

Of course! Even in the case of “Vincent”, the film “Peter and the Wolf” helped us because it had previously given us recognition of the academic environment related to animation. This was very useful when we were fighting for an Oscar nomination for “Loving Vincent.” Then we had an invitation to all the biggest Hollywood studios that deal with animation: Pixar, Disney, etc. Then we also talked to people who work there, and some of them are also members of the Academy, so that’s a cool thing. However, it is known that if someone has already had some success and was previously nominated for an Oscar, at least all the articles mention it. This immediately makes people more interested in the next title.

I guess it’s good that Sony decided to distribute “The Peasants” in the USA?

The fact that we have a film distributed by Sony also definitely helps us, because we know that they focus on valuable film projects. They are a distributor that always tries to get films that have an Oscar chance, just like the distributors Neon or A24. We are very happy that Sony has bought the rights to “Peasants” for the USA and South America. This seems to increase our chances. It is worth remembering that they also have their own opportunities to contact various people and invite them to shows. Then the chances increase.

How else can you act?

My partner Hugh Welchman is a member of the American Film Academy and now he went to see Camerimage, for example. A meeting was planned there between Polish members of the Academy, plus foreign guests who are members and came to the festival were invited.

The situation is such that, for example, the cinematographer’s section usually does not vote for the best foreign-language film, and recently it has become possible for anyone interested to sign up and tell us how they want to vote in an additional category. If an Academy member decides to do so, he or she must commit to watching at least 5-6 mandatory films. Such volunteers are then simply given an allocation of films that they must watch, and then they can vote for any title. They are not obliged to choose from these allocated productions. In our campaign, it is also important to encourage eligible people to vote for both an animated film and an international film.

“Chłopi” will also compete for a nomination in the music category. Not long ago, music from the film was performed live at the prestigious Sound and Screen Deadline show in Los Angeles. LUC presented his work alongside composers such as Oscar winner Mark Ronson (“Barbie”, “A Star Is Born” with Lady Gaga), Martin Phipps (“Napoleon”, “The Crown”) and Michael Giacchino (“Spider Man”, “Jurassic World”).

The circle of professional film music composers has been quite closed for almost forever, so this is a very difficult category. However, we often hear at these shows that people are delighted with the music, which is a huge plus for us. It is clear that this is a new world for LUC. His job will be to convince these old professional composers who have scored countless films that his compositions are worth paying attention to. Especially since it was his debut as a film music composer.

What else is worth knowing about how to run an Oscar campaign for a film?

Such a campaign is expensive. All industry magazines – “Variety”, “Deadline”, “The Hollywood Reporter” – have special issues devoted to specific categories during the awards season. It is worth having some advertising in them, because these are the issues that people buy to read about these films, about who has the greatest chances, etc. During Oscar season, these ads are, of course, the most expensive.

Can viewers do anything more than buy tickets? And yes, congratulations on your sales results in Poland.

We are just delighted. I always said that we were aiming for 1.5 million tickets, but the distributor was definitely more conservative in his estimates. But I think after three weeks we exceeded their projected results. Now, after the second weekend of November, we have probably 1.236 million. This is actually a very slight decline from week to week, less than 10%. The fourth weekend was almost at the same level as the first.

I can say that I know teenagers who loved The Boys, so that’s really cool.

Recently, I even had a meeting because there is a high school near the studio and I was invited there. After the presentation of the film and the conversation, two girls who had previously seen “The Peasants” during the cinema festival came to me and one told me: “I couldn’t get out of this movie for three days. I was thinking about it non-stop.” This is very important to me, because these were girls aged 14-17 who were moved by our film, it is important to them.

In summary?

We are monitoring the situation, it is important that as many people as possible watch our film. I think we have a good chance, at least for the first shortlist. And then there will be a fight for the nomination.

Source: Gazeta

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