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Last Oscar season, one “elevated horror” flick released during the first half of the year proved a critical and commercial triumph en route to a best picture Oscar nomination. That, of course, was Get Out — and this season, another is being positioned for a similar push.
A Quiet Place, which was co-written and directed by John Krasinski, and in which he stars opposite his wife, Emily Blunt, was the focus of a mailer sent last week by ID, the public relations firm that represents Krasinski and Blunt, to a number of entertainment industry journalists. Enclosed was a DVD of the film along with a letter that begins, “As we enter the second half of the year and you begin to work on your awards coverage, we wanted to remind you…”
Perhaps recognizing that the secret to convincing Academy members to back a horror film is to emphasize that it has subtext with real-world applicability and import, the letter goes on to say: “While the film is viewed as a terrifying, nerve-shredding horror, Krasinski did not take this project on for the scares. He was influenced by the story’s universal message around family. This film is a ‘love letter’ to his daughters. He visually demonstrates how it feels to be a parent in this day and age, and the lengths to which a parent will go to protect their children.”
The mailer also includes two pages of quotes from critics championing A Quiet Place, and makes note of the fact that the film, which was released nationwide on April 6, has a 95 percent favorable rating at RottenTomatoes.com and has grossed nearly $400 million worldwide on a $17 million budget.
While it’s one thing for a PR firm to urge journalists to keep a film on their radar, it’s a far bigger and more expensive challenge to capture the attention of 8,000-plus Academy members. So it remains to be seen just how much of an awards campaign the film’s distributor, Paramount Pictures, intends to mount. Back in April, Hollywood’s oldest studio lost its longtime awards strategists, and no replacements have been announced yet.
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