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James Schamus Talks Comcast Deal at the Gotham Awards

The Focus Features CEO answered a few questions on the fly Monday night.

Focus Features CEO James Schamus was at the Gotham Awards Monday night and answered a few questions on the fly:

THR: You have several movies out or coming soon that may lend themselves to awards season. Is there any one you focus on in particular? And how do you play awards season?

Schamus: We listen carefully and then we react aggressively. You can't pretend that something is what it is not, but you also listen very carefully.

THR: Any favorites or likely contenders for Focus?

Schamus: [Pauses, decides not to say.] I really ... What's fun about this process is who would have thought this early in the season that Hurt Locker would beat Avatar. That's what makes this fun.


Is there any predictive value of the Gotham Awards for Oscars or awards season overall?

Schamus: Absolutely not, and there shouldn't be. This event is only about us New York weirdos getting together. It has nothing to do with the rest of it.

THR: With the Comcast merger nearing regulatory approval, is there any opportunity or risk for Focus Features?

Schamus: Once the deal closes, our plans for world domination will be revealed. Look, Universal, which of course owns Focus, has been owned by everybody from battery companies to booze companies to sewage companies. I kid you not. Vivendi at that time was a sewage company. And it's actually kind of cool that somebody is buying the company who actually has an interest in content. If you are a sewage company, Lord knows why you would buy Universal Studios. So, people are pretty excited.

THR: Any ideas you have pitched to Comcast?

Schamus: Because of the legalities of the deal process, you can't even say hello to them in the hallway.