11:59am PT by Scott Feinberg
Paramount Reboots 'Interstellar' Campaign, Placing Greater Emphasis on Its Actors
The early teaser trailers for Interstellar, released back when nobody really had any idea what Christopher Nolan's latest film was about, didn't offer much information about it. All one could really deduce from the visuals and Matthew McConaughey's vague ramblings (perhaps they were his audition tape for the Lincoln commercials?) was that its focus would be on the exploration of our solar system.
Now that the film has been unveiled and the awards race is heating up, Paramount wants to bring that focus back down to earth by highlighting its central performances by lead actor McConaughey, lead actress Anne Hathaway and supporting actress Jessica Chastain.
Interstellar was not nominated for any SAG Awards on Wednesday morning. (Screeners of the film were not ready in time to reach the nominating committee prior to the close of voting, but it's not clear that they would have changed the outcome anyway.) The studio feels, though, that it still can and should make its best possible case to the acting branch of the Academy, which determines the acting Oscar nominees and accounts for one-sixth of the Academy's overall membership, all of whom get to weigh in on the best picture category.
This studio knows that the failure to land a SAG nom doesn't always mean an actor's Oscar prospects are squashed. In recent years, Revolutionary Road's Michael Shannon and The Wolf of Wall Street's Jonah Hill both overcame the same sort of early setback that McConaughey, Hathaway and Chastain endured Wednesday.
But for that to happen, Paramount will have to highlight not only the ambitious and audacious nature of the film — points it certainly needs to hit to have any chance of landing best picture or best director Oscar noms, for which it is currently thought to be on the bubble — but also the acting challenges that came with it.
To that end, the studio will now be focusing more on the human and emotional aspects of the film and its three principal performances in all of its campaigning. (It is also going to highlight supporting actor Michael Caine, although that presents a bit more of a challenge because he's not based stateside and his scenes in the film contain major spoilers.) Starting the week of Dec. 15 — Oscar nomination voting begins on Dec. 29 — the studio will begin running 60-second television spots centered around each of those performances. (The McConaughey installment debuts exclusively at the top of this post.)
When Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 15, will Interstellar have been brought back down to Earth or lost in space? It will be interesting to find out the answer.