Do SAG, Golden Globe voters have enough time to see 'Extremely Loud'?
Director Stephen Daldry's highly anticipated "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" finally started screening in earnest this week, with Warner Bros. hosting industry viewings over the weekend and during the week in both New York and Los Angeles. The theaters were packed, and the audiences seemed rapt with the emotional drama centered on a young boy's search for clues about his beloved father, played by Tom Hanks, who perished in 9/11. The film arrives in theaters Christmas Day.
There's plenty of time for Oscar voters to see the movie before nominations for the Academy Awards come out in late January. But what about voters from both the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., who must make their nomination choices before deadlines Monday? Both SAG's nominating committee and the HFPA voters must turn in their ballots at the beginning of the week with SAG's nominees set to be announced on Wednesday, Dec. 14, while the HFPA will reveal its nominations on Thursday, Dec. 15.
Screening the film for the 80-member-strong HFPA isn't nearly as challenging as luring in the SAG nominating committee's 2,150 members, who reside on both coasts. Between all the holiday parties and other obligations around this time of year, the award campaigners are certainly cutting it close trying to get so many voters to see the film before the looming deadlines.
"Extremely Loud" has been the one wild card film voters have been waiting to see before determining their picks for best films of the year. Warner Bros. and producer Scott Rudin waited to screen the film until the score by Alexander Desplat was finished -- a factor that prevented both the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle from considering the film in their year-end choices.
Now that the cat is finally out of the bag, the new question is whether it's good enough to be recognized by voters. The film, based on the novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, features a well-pedigreed supporting cast, including Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Max von Sydow, Zoe Caldwell, Viola Davis and Jeffrey Wright. And every movie director Daldry has made -- "Billy Elliot," "The Hours" and "The Reader" -- has earned him a best director Oscar nomination. Yet "Extremely Loud's" success rests on the slim shoulders of Thomas Horn, a 13-year-old who was discovered for the part after winning the teen tournament on "Jeopardy." This is his debut role.
Advertising is now going up for "Extremely Loud" -- whether the next round of promotions will feature a slew of accolades will become much clearer next week. Stay tuned.
-- Nicole Sperling
Photo: Thomas Horn and Tom Hanks in "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." Credit: Francois Duhamel / Warner Bros.