September 06, 2011 9:03am PT by Scott Feinberg
First Oscar Screener Mailed to AMPAS and SAG Nom-Com Voters Over Labor Day Weekend
In case the arrival of the Venice, Telluride, and Toronto film festivals hadn't already made it clear that the awards season is officially underway, I learned this morning that the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the members of this year's Screen Actors Guild nominating committee received their first awards screener over the holiday weekend: Jim Kohlberg's The Music Never Stopped, a film that was released theatrically in March and features a critically-acclaimed performance from noted character actor J.K. Simmons (Juno) that Roadside Attractions, in partnership with the public relations firm PMK*BNC, has decided to push for a best supporting actor nomination.
In the moving film -- which is based on the renowned Oliver Sacks short story "The Last Hippie," and which earned a 65 percent favorable rating on RottenTomatoes.com -- Simmons plays Henry Sawyer, a man struggling to re-connect with his long-estranged son after the younger man develops a brain tumor that prevents him from forming new memories, and who finds that listening to his son's favorite music (namely, that of The Grateful Dead), which had long ago come between them, now provides him with the best hope of healing their relationship.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Kohlberg is a distant relative of mine, although I haven't yet had the opportunity to meet or speak with him. I hope to rectify that in the near future.