Today a rep for IFC Films confirmed that Patricia Arquette will compete in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Richard Linklater’s highly-acclaimed Boyhood, instead of competing for the Best Lead Actress trophy as a small few suggested she might.
Ever since the film’s release it seemed more or less decided that Supporting was the right way to campaign Arquette, but the confirmation from IFC (via Gold Derby) will at least provide a little prediction flexibility and clarification to those pundits who thought Arquette might wind up campaigned as Lead, and thus put her high up in their predictions for both acting categories.
Beyond Arquette, the film looks poised to remain firmly entrenched in the awards conversation throughout the fall, aided by IFC’s hiring of Cynthia Swartz and her PR firm Strategy PR to provide the Oscar campaign know-how the small studio desperately needs. Swartz is a bit of an awards campaign guru, having stumped for many a Weinstein release in the 1990s and early 2000s and then having brought both Crash and The Hurt Locker to Oscar glory in 2005 and 2009, respectively. It’s worth noting that both of those films were small summer releases — just like Boyhood.
Of course, releasing so much earlier in the year than its competitors has its fair share of drawbacks, but if IFC and Strategy PR can keep milking the film’s central production gimmick for all it’s worth — the film was made over the course of 12 years — we could see multiple nominations for the film in some of the more elite categories, such as Best Director (Linklater), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, on top of nods for Best Supporting Actress (Arquette) and the prestigious Best Picture prize.
It’s anyone’s guess how Boyhood will fare over the next few months, but with so many question marks throughout the ballot, there’s no counting out the year’s best-reviewed film just yet.
Let the campaigns begin.