Paramount Unveils New 'Big Short' Push for Oscars Homestretch (Exclusive)

With just 10 days remaining before the final round of Oscar voting closes, the backers of one of the three films thought to be most seriously in contention for best picture — The Big Short, Adam McKay's dramedy about America's recent economic crisis — are rebooting their campaign with a new TV spot and billboards that emphasize the film's emotional impact and real-world relevance, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

Paramount Pictures' marketing team created the 60-second TV spot (watch it at the top of this post), which will hit the airwaves this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning before expanding widely to networks ranging from CNN to Comedy Central. Additionally, the studio will unveil its billboards on Monday morning in the same high-traffic, Hollywood-area spots where its famous "Because It's Awesome" ads for The Wolf of Wall Street ran two years ago — by the 101 near Universal and on Sunset by La Cienega.

Megan Colligan, Paramount's president of worldwide distribution and marketing, said this new content didn't come together overnight. "We've been working on it for a little while," she said. "We wanted to remind people of the emotional elements of the movie beyond the fact that you laughed."

The TV spot interweaves high-stakes scenes from the film with daunting statistics about the real-world economy, and ends by quoting a USA Today review that suggests another collapse could happen, followed by the words, "Make a difference. This is the year. To go big." Colligan gushed, "I love this spot so much. I wish I had $30 million to run it everywhere." (She would not specify how much the studio has spent on this or any other aspect of its campaign for a $28 million film that has grossed $65 million domestically and $49 million abroad.)

Colligan also emphasized that the promotions for the film — which became only the third ever to receive a Congressional screening on Wednesday, after 2012's Lincoln and 2014's Selma — are intended not only to court Oscar voters, but also to entice more people to see the movie. "L.A. is still a very important grossing market for us," she said. "We're still getting a lot of business out of this town."