One the most entertaining thrillers of the year was Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer." With strong reviews, the Summit Entertainment release battled negative publicity over Polanski's house arrest in Switzerland over a possible extradition to the United States (which never happened) to an OK $15 million at the box office in February and March. Considering the great word of mouth, that seemed rather low, but the studio was careful not to overspend after dumping too much marketing money in "The Hurt Locker" (long before it's Oscar win) and "The Brothers Bloom" the year before. The film seemed like the sort of smart, well-acted, pedigree thriller that could thrive during awards season. Surprisingly though, that hasn't been the case.
Granted, the campaign is at the beginning of a long and rocky road, but beyond an awards party Summit is holding on Tuesday, it's unclear how far the studio will go to push the picture. Eight years ago, Polanski's decades old legal troubles took a backseat to the Academy's adoration for his work in "The Pianist." Now, there is an uneasiness that has returned to the filmmaker in the mainstream media. Whether that has quelled Academy campaign plans is only conjecture on this writer's part, but considering the tough competition to make the 10 nominee field, Summit may be smartly sitting this one out. It also doesn't help that possible nominations for Pierce Brosnan in supporting actor and Robert Harris and Polanski in adapted screenplay are looking much harder now than they were six months ago. A strong showing in critic's top 10 lists could change that and so could showings in events like the European Film Awards which announced its nominations Saturday.
"Writer" led the field with seven nominations including the top prize, European Film. This year's batch is already controversial with critic's favorites, "The Illusionist," "I Am Love" and "Another Year" absent from the major categories. The winners will be announced on Dec. 4 during an awards ceremony broadcast from Tallinn, Estonia.
The Euros don't amount to much in Hollywood, but at this point, "Writer" will take whatever it can get in the buzz department. A complete list of this year's nominations are listed below.
"Des Hommes et Des Dieux (Of Gods and Men)"
"The Ghost Writer"
"El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret in their Eyes)"
Olivier Assayas, "Carlos"
Semih Kaplanoglu, "Honey"
Samuel Maoz, "Lebanon"
Roman Polanski, "The Ghost Writer"
European Actressi, "The First Beautiful Thing"
Zrinka Cvitesic, "Na Putu"
Sibel Kekilli, "When We Leave"
Lesley Manville, "Another Year"
Sylvie Testud, "Lourdes"
Lotte Verbeek, "Nothing Personal"
Jakob Cedergren, "Submarino"
Elio Germano, "La Nostra Vita"
Ewan McGregor, "The Ghost Writer"
George Pistereanu, "If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle"
Luis Tosar, "Cell 211"
Jorge Guerricaechevarria & Daniel Monzon, "Cell 211"
Robert Harris & Roman Polanski, "The Ghost Writer"
Radu Mihaileanu, "The Concert"
Carlo di Palma European Cinematographer Award
Giora Bejach, "Lebanon"
Caroline Champetier, "Of Gods and Men"
Pavel Kostomarov, "How I Ended this Summer"
Baris Oezbicer, "Honey"
Luc Barnier & Marion Monnier, "Carlos"
Arik Lahav-Leibovich, "Lebanon"
Herve de Luze, "The Ghost Writer"
European Production Designer
Paola Bizzarri & Luis Ramirez, "I, Don Giovanni"
Albrecht Konrad, "The Ghost Writer"
Markku Paetilae & Jaagup Roomer, "The Temptation of St. Tony"
Ales Brezina, "Kawasaki’s Rose"
Pasquale Catalano, "Loose Cannons"
Alexandre Desplat, "The Ghost Writer"
Gary Yershon, "Another Year"
European Discovery (FIPRESCI Prize)
"The Double Hour"
"If I Want to Whistle, I Whistle"
"When We Leave"
European Animated Feature
"Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage"
Best European Documentary
"Nostalgia for the Light"
"Steam of Life"