You may have noticed that The Impossible has been fading on my Oscar charts these past couple of months. I always thought it a chancy Oscar prospect. Though it's undeniably technically impressive -- I'm not sure I want to know what Naomi Watts had to go through to film the tsunami scenes -- and emotionally compelling if you can get past its blonde privileged whiteness in a Thailand-set disaster epic. But its profile also seems quite low for a potentially major player. Summit is either planning a mega-blitz at the tail end of the year (a risky strategy with several giants opening at Christmas) or they're too busy rubbing their hands together gleefully whilst awaiting those Breaking Dawn Part 2 dollars to remember that they have an inspirational drama to push!
But lately I've been wondering if Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath might turn people off of The Impossible. More...
Remember what happened with The Gangster Squad? It was stumbling towards a public relations nightmare -- the trailer's big set-piece featured machine gun armed men firing at a movie theater audience shortly before The Dark Knight Rises gun-violence tragedy hit -- but it wisely vacated its release date. Distance helps. I don't mean to be indelicate: a shooting is not a storm and a hurricane is not a tsunami. For all the destruction and disruption Sandy brought to the East Coast the loss of life was thankfully miniscule given a well prepared government and mandatory evacuation orders... hundreds of thousands of lives lots to a sudden unpredictable tsunami is a whole different story than millions inconveniently losing power for days and thousands sadly losing property. But the point is this: the mind does make associations.
Will anyone be in the mood to watch Naomi Watts screaming her head off and worrying that her children are dead somewhere else in the storm? Will it play cathartic or queasy to American audiences with the worst storm to ever hit the East Coast so fresh in the memory? And is there really room for two Oscar hopefuls that have audiences free-associating with natural disasters; Will the Academy prefer the lyrical moving Beasts of the Southern Wild or the Hollywood-like gloss of The Impossible?
I'm surely overthinking it. Whatever will be will be when The Impossible begins its Oscar-qualifying release in December.