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article imageOscar contenders banking on box office bounce as stars react, too

By Tim O'Brien     Jan 16, 2014 in Entertainment
There is a Catch-22 as movies get set to open this weekend on the heels of the Oscar nominations. Four wide releases enter, but the nominated films will steal many headlines.
That is a good thing, however, no matter what. The main idea is getting more bodies in the seats. When people talk movies, it creates buzz. Look for the Oscar nominated films to get some boost.
According to The Wrap, it will most likely be the smaller films that get that boost, because the big names already have that audience. It should also help "12 Years a Slave." That is usually the case as those smaller films are not seen by a wide part of the population when the announcement is made.
Heck, even after show, some can be heard exclaiming, "I have never seen any of these films." In fairness to the Academy, not lately. This is a great crop of movies that have been seen, and many more people will see them by March 2.
Four of the films have gone over $100 million ("American Hustle," "Gravity," "Captain Phillips" and "The Wolf of Wall Street") while two are over $50 million and they are "12 Years a Slave" and "Philomena." It will be interesting to track how "Her," "Nebraska" and "Dallas Buyers Club" do now. And that will be done.
Though not Oscar contenders, there are still movies to be released.
1. "The Nut Job" - 3,427 theaters
2. "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" - 3,000 theaters
3. "Devil's Due" - 2,700 theaters
4. "Ride Along" - 2,000+ theaters
So, it does get crowded at the box office and officially, "Captain Phillips" expands to near 1,000 theaters, but the screen count for many may change due to the clamoring for them with the Oscar nominations. Last week's champ, "Lone Survivor," surprised with the size if its win, so let's see if this weekend provides another. After all, it is January. It needs a few more hits.
But the truth is, some smaller films will never be seen by a mass audience and even if it was, it may be appreciated but not universally liked. That is why the Oscars are king. There is a difference between "best" and "favorite."
Meanwhile, reaction from the nominees are coming in, and Daily Variety has them.
Sally Hawkins, whose nod may have pushed out Oprah, said: "To be given this for being in a Woody Allen film - it's simply an amazing privilege. I am incredibly proud and delighted for us all."
Matthew McConaughey for best actor, noted: "This is the type of movie that you know going in is going to be pretty good medicine and bound to be important, but to have a homophobic hero and a good piece of entertainment, I'll take all I can get." They noted he was sipping tea and watching the sunrise when the announcement was made. His costar, Jared Leto, also nominated, said, after the announcement: "I'm going back to bed and then wake up and make vegan pancakes."
The Hollywood Reporter has a reaction on snubs, from best actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio: "I'm usually on the receiving end of that stick. I'm not used to seeing this." For more reactions, also head here.
The reactions also come in form of statements released.
Besides Oprah getting snubbed, look at Tom Hanks and his movie "Saving Mr. Banks." Robert Redford for his silent role in "All Is Lost" lost out as did "Inside Llewyn Davis," a critic favorite. "Monsters University" is not nominated in the animated feature category, either. Snubs have to happen. Not everyone can be nominated, but looking at the overall list, not bad at all.
Of course, the ratings for the show might be bigger if "Iron Man 3" or "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" were included. Blockbusters like that can settle for the fact that they entertained the mass audience week in and week out.
It also looked like the Academy held back on some emotion. They could have easily put in Idris Elba for "Mandela: Long walk to Freedom" or Paul Walker for "Hours." They did not because, overall, it just didn't add up, at least to the members of the Academy. When one notes a snub, look at those nominated and see which one would need to be replaced. That is not always easy. Elba perhaps was bounced for Christian Bale, as his name was wavering back and forth.
But Oscar Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), Joaquin Phoenix ("Her") and Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station") could also be declared huge snubs. All gave stand-out performances last year.
With nine Best Picture nods, that leaves four directors out as well. It happens. Meryl Streep has now been nominated 18 times. If Jennifer Lawrence wins she will be the first to get a actress and supporting actress award back-to-back.
Oscar odds from Las Vegas are in as well. Here is how the top film breaks down, according to The Las Vegas Review: “12 Years a Slave” 2-5, “American Hustle” 4-1, “Gravity” 10-1, “The Wolf of Wall Street” 15-1, “Dallas Buyers Club” 30-1, “Captain Phillips” 40-1, “Philomena” 60-1, “Nebraska” 75-1 and “Her” 100-1.
Next up: Adjusted for inlfation
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