It's only the first of September, but coinciding with the beginning of the Venice Film Festival, one Hollywood studio has already taken the first shot in what will no doubt be a long and grueling awards season war. Happily, it's one contender this pundit is not-so secretly gunning for.
It's not a stretch to say that "How To Train Your Dragon" is hands down the best film DreamWorks Animation has ever released. That's not only evident by the critical reviews, but the film's amazing word of mouth performance after a not-so spectacular opening. Unfortunately, while "Dragon" was a huge success, this little film called "Toy Story 3" hit the scene a few months later and has stolen a lot of the heartwarming tale's thunder. While it's easy to see why "TS3" appeals to many, the increasingly predictable Pixar formula is at least losing its luster with this writer. "Dragon," on the other hand, was the more original and visually inventive of the two 3-D films. Unfortunately, Hiccup and Toothless are underdogs once again. Woody and Buzz Lightyear found $1 billion worldwide and are gunning for not only a best animated picture win, but an overall best picture nod. Thankfully, DreamWorks isn't standing pat.
Today, the studio sent out a mailer inviting industry professionals to see "Dragon" in 3-D again in screenings in key markets (we're keeping that private for all you gate crashers). The invite features beautiful art by Pierre-Oliver Vincent and reminds potential voters about this "thrilling," "magical" and "heartwarming" adventure." Oh, and while listing all the possible nominees in different categories, the studio has no qualms about trying to fill one of the ten best picture slots themselves. Who can argue with that?
Next up? Who throws down the bucks for the first screener. We're guessing "Winter's Bone," "I Am Love" or "The Kids Are All Right." Place your bets…
[And apologies for the iPhone quality photos of the pamphlet below.]