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« Top Ten: The Best Sister Acts in Hollywood History | Main | FYCs, Ours and Yours »
Tuesday
Dec172013

7 Things You Need to Know About the 289 Eligible Oscar Contenders

As you may no doubt have heard AMPAS released the list (included below) of 289 Feature Films which have qualified for Oscar consideration this year in all categories beyond the specialties with complex eligibility rules (documentary, animated, foreign film, shorts). Here are seven things you should know about the list. 

Most Will Come Nowhere Near a Nomination
This list is 289 pictures long but typically only 25-30 feature films each year (excluding, again, the specialty categories which play by different rules) receive nominations of any kind with a few key pictures hogging the goods. In 2012 only 22 pictures won nominations (!) with Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Miz, and Silver Linings hogging the goods whereas the wealth was spread out more in 2011 when 32 pictures were nominated in some capacity.

Too Easy
This year five films will be nominated for the Best Animated Feature title but only 19 animated films are eligible. Can you imagine if it was that easy proportionately for features, animated or otherwise, to win Best Picture nominations? If it was we'd literally have 75 Best Picture nominees this year since 289 films qualified. Instead we'll have a more sensible number, somewhere between 5 and 10 according to current rules, the number determined by how many films can rustle up enough high ballot support in the Academy membership. MORE TRIVIA AFTER THE JUMP

Multiples
Movie fans joked about the color of the year being “Blue” given the four titles that used it (Blue Jasmine, Blue Caprice, Blue is the Warmest Color, Blue Ruin ... the latter of which is not on the Oscar eligible list). But that's not the only multiple. There are always a million "Two" or "2" (or the new trend "Chapter 2")  titles given Hollywood's franchise addiction so two is disqualified from trending. The number of the year is surely 12. Three acclaimed movies use it in the title: rock documentary 12.12.12, Best Picture hopeful 12 Years a Slave, and the one of a kind indie Short Term 12. Twenty-six more movies feature numbers in the title in 2013 but 50% of those are sequels with the number "2" (or higher) just shoved in somewhere.

Consecutive Days
To be Oscar eligible a film must have played in Los Angeles theaters for at least seven consecutive days. That should be a great rule since it suggests and open ended run and prevents an errant random festival showing from counting as a release. But the studios have of course subverted it to their purposes and it's long since been adopted as a stop gap measure to actually NOT open theatrically... but "qualify" and then wait and see if they can get awardage before the actual real open-ended run. So they're obeying the letter of the law but not the spirit. If you haven't heard of a movie on the list there's a good chance that it might be a dread “qualifier” which opened only to attempt to get a prize.

The Missing Picture is a confusing case: Eligible in foreign film; No longer eligible in documentary; Eligible for everything else due to a stealth qualifying run.

Foreign Film Race
Each year the Academy invites the world to submit one film to represent them in the Oscar race and usually about 65 countries respond with a movie. Foreign Film hopefuls are NOT required to show in L.A. for seven consecutive days to qualify for that particular category but they are required to do that if they want to be eligible in other categories, too. A few brave films opt for a traditional release and others just wait until the following year and hope they get nominated for some added marketing power. This year eleven of the submissions received either regular open-ended or qualifying releases (marked with an asterisk) which makes them eligible in all categories. Those films are Austria's The Wall, Belgium's Broken Circle Breakdown, Cambodia's The Missing Picture*, Chile's Gloria*, Denmark's The Hunt, France's Renoir, Hong Kong's The Grandmaster, Iran's The Past, Italy's The Great Beauty, Saudi Arabia's Wadjda, and Turkey's The Butterfly Dream*. We salute them for doing it right! But here's the confusing catch. The other 50 or so films competing for Best Foreign Film attention may still be eligible for Oscars next year (though not in the foreign film category) IF a) they don't get the foreign film nomination and b) they receive a proper release in 2014. Are you still with me? This is why you'll notice two of last year's non-nominated foreign film submissions on this new list of 289 eligible titles: Afghanistan's The Patience Stone and Australia's Lore

Shortest and Longest Titles
I wish I had running times because it would be fun to note the shortest and the longest actual movies but for what it's worth, we're talking titles. The Mortal Instruments City of Bones or The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug aren't even close to the most unwieldly mouthfuls as film titles go. The prize for most obnoxiously long movie title goes to Tyler Perry's Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor. Honorable mention to the nonsensical sounding anime Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie - Rebellion. The titles keeping it real simple? baseball drama 42, Spike Jonze Her, the animated epic, and the horror flick Mama.

Upstream Color - not eligible for Oscar

There Were More Than 289 Feature Films Released This Year
...but not every film submits the paperwork necessary to "qualify"... and those titles are usually indies or foreign films. Examples of films which didn't bother: Shane Carruth's Upstream Color, Joe Swanberg's All the Light in the Sky (which I was told opened but I haven't seen evidence and it's so good!), Claire Denis' Bastards, last year's non-nominated Spanish Oscar submission Blancanieves, and indie oddities like The History of Future Folk, Some Girl(s), and Simon Killer.

 

2013'S OFFICIAL LIST OF 289 OSCAR ELIGIBLE FEATURE FILMS

  • ABOUT TIME
  • ADMISSION
  • ADORE
  • AFTER EARTH
  • AFTERNOON DELIGHT
  • AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS
  • ALL IS LOST
  • ALONE YET NOT ALONE
  • AMERICAN HUSTLE
  • ANCHORMAN 2: THE LEGEND CONTINUES
  • THE ARMSTRONG LIE
  • ARTHUR NEWMAN
  • AT ANY PRICE
  • AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY
  • AUGUSTINE
  • AUSTENLAND
  • BAGGAGE CLAIM
  • BALLAD OF RUSTOM
  • BATTLE OF THE YEAR
  • BEAUTIFUL CREATURES
  • BEFORE MIDNIGHT
  • THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY
  • BETWEEN US
  • THE BIG WEDDING
  • BLACK NATIVITY
  • THE BLING RING
  • BLUE CAPRICE
  • BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR
  • BLUE JASMINE
  • THE BOOK THIEF
  • BRAVE MISS WORLD
  • THE BROKEN CIRCLE BREAKDOWN
  • BROKEN CITY
  • BULLET TO THE HEAD
  • THE BUTTERFLY'S DREAM
  • THE CALL
  • CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
  • CARRIE
  • CHARLIE COUNTRYMAN
  • CLEAVER'S DESTINY
  • CLOSED CIRCUIT
  • CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2
  • THE COMPANY YOU KEEP
  • THE CONDEMNED
  • THE CONJURING
  • COPPERHEAD
  • THE COUNSELOR
  • THE CROODS
  • DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
  • DANCING ON A DRY SALT LAKE
  • DEAD MAN DOWN
  • DELIVERY MAN
  • DESPICABLE ME 2
  • DIANA
  • DISCONNECT
  • DON JON
  • DOWN THE SHORE
  • DRINKING BUDDIES
  • THE EAST
  • ELYSIUM
  • EMPEROR
  • ENDER'S GAME
  • ENOUGH SAID
  • EPIC
  • ERNEST & CELESTINE
  • ESCAPE FROM PLANET EARTH
  • ESCAPE FROM TOMORROW
  • ESCAPE PLAN
  • EVERYBODY HAS A PLAN
  • EVIL DEAD
  • THE FALL OF 1980
  • THE FAMILY
  • FAST & FURIOUS 6
  • THE FIFTH ESTATE
  • FILL THE VOID
  • FILLY BROWN
  • FOR NO GOOD REASON
  • 47 RONIN
  • 42
  • FRANCES HA
  • FREE BIRDS
  • FREE CHINA: THE COURAGE TO BELIEVE
  • FROZEN
  • FRUITVALE STATION
  • G.I. JOE: RETALIATION
  • GAHAN WILSON: BORN DEAD, STILL WEIRD
  • GANGSTER SQUAD
  • GETAWAY
  • GIMME SHELTER.
  • GIMME THE LOOT
  • GIRL MOST LIKELY
  • GIRLS AGAINST BOYS
  • GLORIA
  • GO FOR SISTERS
  • A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD
  • GRACE UNPLUGGED
  • THE GRANDMASTER
  • GRAVITY
  • THE GREAT BEAUTY
  • THE GREAT GATSBY
  • GROWN UPS 2
  • GRUDGE MATCH
  • THE HANGOVER PART III
  • HANNAH ARENDT
  • HANSEL & GRETEL WITCH HUNTERS
  • A HAUNTED HOUSE
  • HAUTE CUISINE
  • THE HEAT
  • HER
  • THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
  • HOLLYWOOD SEAGULL
  • HOMEFRONT

  • THE HOST
  • HOURS
  • HOW I LIVE NOW
  • HOW SWEET IT IS
  • THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE
  • THE HUNT
  • I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE 2
  • I USED TO BE DARKER
  • THE ICEMAN
  • IDENTITY THIEF
  • IF I WERE YOU
  • IL FUTURO
  • I'M SO EXCITED!
  • THE IMPALER
  • IN A WORLD...
  • IN THE FOG
  • THE INCREDIBLE BURT WONDERSTONE
  • THE INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF MISTER & PETE
  • INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
  • INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2
  • INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED
  • THE INTERNSHIP
  • THE INVISIBLE WOMAN
  • IRON MAN 3
  • JACK THE GIANT SLAYER
  • JACKASS PRESENTS: BAD GRANDPA
  • JAYNE MANSFIELD'S CAR
  • JEWTOPIA
  • JOBS
  • KAMASUTRA 3D\
  • KEVIN HART: LET ME EXPLAIN
  • KHUMBA
  • KICK-ASS 2
  • KILL YOUR DARLINGS
  • THE KINGS OF SUMMER
  • L.A. SUPERHEROES
  • LABOR DAY
  • THE LAST EXORCISM PART II

  • THE LAST STAND
  • LAST VEGAS
  • LEE DANIELS' THE BUTLER
  • THE LEGEND OF SARILA
  • A LETTER TO MOMO
  • LIVE AT THE FOXES DEN
  • THE LONE RANGER
  • LONE SURVIVOR
  • THE LORDS OF SALEM
  • LORE
  • LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED
  • LOVELACE
  • THE M WORD
  • MACHETE KILLS
  • MAMA
  • MAN OF STEEL
  • MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM
  • MENTAL
  • METALLICA THROUGH THE NEVER
  • THE MISSING PICTURE
  • MONSTERS UNIVERSITY
  • MORNING
  • THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS: CITY OF BONES
  • MOVIE 43
  • MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
  • MUD
  • MUMIA: LONG DISTANCE REVOLUTIONARY
  • MURPH: THE PROTECTOR
  • THE MUSLIMS ARE COMING!
  • NEBRASKA
  • 99% - THE OCCUPY WALL STREET COLLABORATIVE FILM
  • NO ONE LIVES
  • NOTHING LEFT TO FEAR
  • NOW YOU SEE ME
  • O APÓSTOLO
  • OBLIVION
  • OFFICER DOWN
  • OLDBOY
  • OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN \
  • ONE CHANCE
  • ONE DIRECTION: THIS IS US
  • ONLY GOD FORGIVES
  • OUT OF THE FURNACE
  • OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL
  • PACIFIC RIM
  • THE PACKAGE
  • PAIN & GAIN
  • PARADISE: LOVE
  • PARANOIA
  • PARKLAND
  • THE PAST
  • THE PATIENCE STONE
  • PAWN
  • PAWN SHOP CHRONICLES
  • PEEPLES
  • PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS
  • PHILOMENA
  • THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES
  • PLANES
  • POPULAIRE

  • PRINCE AVALANCHE
  • PRISONERS
  • PUELLA MAGI MADOKA MAGICA THE MOVIE -REBELLION-
  • THE PURGE
  • R.I.P.D.
  • REACHING FOR THE MOON
  • RED 2
  • REDEMPTION
  • RENOIR
  • RIDDICK
  • RIO 2096 - A STORY OF LOVE AND FURY
  • ROMEO & JULIET
  • RUNNER RUNNER
  • RUSH
  • SAFE HAVEN
  • SALINGER
  • THE SAPPHIRES
  • SAVING MR. BANKS
  • THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY
  • SHADOW DANCER
  • SHORT TERM 12
  • SIDE EFFECTS
  • A SINGLE SHOT .
  • THE SMURFS 2
  • SNITCH
  • SOMM
  • SOUND CITY
  • SPARK: A BURNING MAN STORY
  • SPECIFIC INTENT 2
  • THE SPECTACULAR NOW
  • SPRING BREAKERS
  • THE SQUARE
  • STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
  • STATE 194
  • STILL MINE
  • STOKER
  • TEXAS CHAINSAW
  • THANKS FOR SHARING
  • THIS IS MARTIN BONNER
  • THIS IS THE END
  • THOR: THE DARK WORLD
  • 3 GEEZERS!
  • TIM'S VERMEER
  • THE TO DO LIST
  • TO THE WONDER
  • TOURING TALKIES
  • TRANCE
  • THE TRUTH ABOUT EMANUEL
  • TURBO
  • 12.12.12
  • 12 YEARS A SLAVE
  • 21 & OVER
  • TWICE BORN
  • 2 GUNS
  • TWO: THE STORY OF ROMAN & NYRO
  • TYLER PERRY'S A MADEA CHRISTMAS
  • TYLER PERRY'S TEMPTATION CONFESSIONS OF A MARRIAGE COUNSELOR
  • THE ULTIMATE LIFE
  • UNFINISHED SONG
  • UPSIDE DOWN
  • WADJDA
  • WALKING WITH DINOSAURS
  • THE WALL
  • WARM BODIES
  • THE WAY, WAY BACK
  • WE STEAL SECRETS: THE STORY OF WIKILEAKS
  • WE'RE THE MILLERS
  • WHAT MAISIE KNEW
  • WHITE HOUSE DOWN
  • WHY WE RIDE
  • THE WIND RISES
  • WINNIE MANDELA
  • THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
  • THE WOLVERINE
  • WORLD WAR Z
  • THE WORLD'S END
  • YOSSI
  • YOU'RE NEXT
  • ZAYTOUN

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Reader Comments (13)

Just imagine if it were mandatory for nominators to watch each film... Maybe then Emma Watson could win Supporting Actress for The Bling Ring. (wishful thinking)

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Museum Hours is not eligible and that's all I needed to know.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

I know there are technical categories some of the more obvious commercial titles on the list are aiming for but it's sort of sickening to see so many shitty no chance in hell titles submitting the paper work just to make the list—ew.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

It's such a shame that Bollywood films are never submitted, since they would really liven up the Original Song category.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

Considering that it landed some semi-high profile precursor love (2 Gotham nods, 2 Spirit nods, a LAFCA runner-up slot), the Upstream Color miss seems a bit bizarre. It obviously wasn't going to compete, but at least submit-every couple years there's that Screenplay nomination that no one saw coming.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Is it worth even bothering if you're not campaigning? As in, has a movie ever (in the last 20 years) gained a single nomination without at least FYC ads, actors on the circuit and (most importantly) issuing screeners?

That's not rhetorical, by the way, any trivia would be greatly appreciated!

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkermit_the_frog

"Blancanieves" not submitting strikes me as a bit of a surprise since I thought it had an outside shot in Costumes (it's one of the quirkier branches that does occasionally nominate more obscure stuff).

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRax

Rax & John T -- agreed. why not go for those one outside shot categories? I mean i also thought the blancanieves costume nod was possible.... IF the members watched it, they'd probably nominate it.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

So Only God Forgives is eligible, just not in the music categories. So whoever has the rights really doesn't care if it gets a nomination to boost the profile of the film.

And I was kind of hoping Resolution would have submitted (it did get a qualifying run in January), but I'm not surprised to see they didn't go for it. It's such a tiny horror film that it's hard to justify the marketing costs. It's spectacular and actually got a standing ovation at NYCC in 2012 (which is harder than you'd think for film screenings). The acting is very good and the screenplay is really strong and super inventive.

It's basically a horror film about two friends trying to fight against their own reality when someone (or something) starts dropping off film reels that show off their many horrible potential futures. And that's happening under the backdrop of one friend committing to getting his best friend clean for the first time in years. It's a balancing act of desperation that really could have picked up a lot of critical attention with a wider release.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Wait - when did The Missing Picture and Gloria have qualifying releases? Does that make them 2013 or 2014 theatrical releases? I'm ok with it as a matter of distribution strategy but grr so confusing!!!!!!

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Ahhhh, Lore. So Good! (I promise that's the last time I'll bring it up!)

Re: the foreign films, I'd be curious to know what percentage of submissions from any given year end up released in the States at some point. I'd be shocked it it were anywhere close to half.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Evan -- it actually used to be more than half (albeit stretched out over the year in question and the next two years) but times are tough now that VOD, cable, and so on and so on have shortened theatrical windows and grosses have been shrinking for foreign films for a long time in the states.

December 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The only thing I took away from this is that someone needs to make an awesome mashup parody called Short Term 12 Years A Slave, starring Brie Larson as a woman in the south disguised as a white man (Brad Pitt) helping to free Chiwetel Ejiofor from lame b-movie underwritten roles and stock characters. I smell more Oscarsssss.

I had no idea Afternoon Delight actually came out at some point. I loved Jill Soloway's elegant work on Six Feet Under but that movie didn't even make a blip on my radar since I never heard about it again after Sundance.

Gloria, you need to be in my life nowwwwww.

December 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

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