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Oscars: Is Warner Bros. hiding a potential Oscar contender? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Fascinating. Hours after reporting that The New York Film Critics Circle was moving its voting deadline back one day (to accommodate David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” it was believed), we’re learning – through a suddenly public brouhaha – that the film in question causing the date shift might have been Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” … and Warner Bros. isn’t bending to meet NYFCC’s demands.

The group’s chairman, John Anderson, reportedly sent a message informing NYFCC members that WB would not be able to screen Daldry’s anticipated film in time for the group’s early deadline because it would not be finished in time. Instead of compromising the director’s vision, the studio simply opted not to have it included in the NYFCC race (or the National Board of Review’s race, for that matter).

“Draw your own conclusions,” Anderson told the group, according to a message obtained by Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere.

What conclusions? That the NYFCC’s new deadline — as believed by everyone OUTSIDE of the NYFCC — is too early to honestly consider the best of 2011? That a studio made the right decision by supporting its director and not kowtowing to a critics’ group?

“We love critics groups. but nobody wants to compromise a director’s vision,” an anonymous publicist told Wells.

Exactly. Why would you? If Daldry’s film is outstanding, it will reach its audience and get into the Oscar race. If not, it won’t. And a NYFCC stamp of approval won’t matter one way or the other.

“I don’t know why John Anderson has reamed us, but it’s a witch hunt,” the publicist added. “I wish we could have had it ready earlier.”

As for In Contention’s Kris Tapley, he doesn’t mince words on his Twitter account, bluntly stating, “NYFCC’s John Anderson says “draw your own conclusions” about WB not having “Extremely Loud” ready in time for NYFCC? What an asshole. … You cravenly opt for a way-too-early voting deadline, then cast an aura of failure on a film for not meeting that deadline? Again: ASSHOLE.”

The minute NYFCC announced their early date shift, columnists predicted problems. How can a group seriously consider the year’s best in film more than a month before the year is up? Is the NYFCC more concerned with yelling “First!” Or do they want to see, and properly consider, every film released in 2011 … not just every film released in time for a group’s made-up deadline?

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