Did the academy really think 'The Blind Side' wasn't a best picture?
There weren't all that many surprises among the Oscar nominations, except for the fact that virtually every breathless Oscar pundit managed to leave "The Blind Side" off their best picture prediction lists. But what really seems surprising--even strange--is that when the best picture nominees were announced, the academy dumped "The Blind Side's" three producers into its "to be determined" list.
Since the academy has a rule limiting a film to three producers (except under extraordinary circumstances), it is no surprise that "The Hurt Locker" went into the "to be determined" Dumpster, since it has four producers. One of them will get the ax. But "The Blind Side" has only three producers--Alcon Entertainment partners Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, who financed the film, and veteran producer Gil Netter, who started work on the project when it was at 20th Century Fox and was on board for the whole ride.
So why wouldn't all three men deserve credit? As Kosove told Deadline Hollywood's Michael Fleming Tuesday: "I was confused by that announcement because my understanding was that there could be three producers, and all three of us functioned in that capacity." Reps for the Alcon duo have been incessantly phoning academy officials today, but still haven't received an answer. I don't think there's any doubt that all three producers will end up getting credit, especially since the Alcon team, even though they are known as financiers, are members of the academy's producer branch.
But according to a pair of different academy insiders, here's the most likely reason why the movie was stigmatized by being lumped into the "to be determined" purgatory: The academy simply didn't think "The Blind Side" would earn a best picture nomination, so they hadn't gotten around to fully completing the vetting process. I guess that's the true meaning of being an underdog, when the academy thinks a movie is such a long-shot that they don't even check out the producers until after they've walked away with a best picture nod.
"The Blind Side" photo by Ralph Nelson / Warner Bros.