The Animal Kingdom Oscar campaign begins

As anyone who follows the Oscar race already knows, there is no such thing as a “starting date” for proceedings. Films are in perpetual flux of Academy Award competition. That being said, the yearly flood of For Your Consideration ads started early this year, with DreamWorks bursting through the gates at the beginning of September; a full six months before the actual ceremony.

So far this year we’ve only seen FYC ads for How To Train Your Dragon and, ahem, Piranha 3-D. However, it looks as if Sony Pictures Classics are gearing up to push Australia’s own Animal Kingdom for Oscars.

Kris Tapley over at In Contention recently received some promotional swag along with his screener of the film ahead of its DVD and Blu-ray release: a t-shirt with Jackie Weaver‘s menacing matriarch offering the film’s most memorable line.

Although AMPAS voters have not received the shirt (it’s against the rules), they have been supplied with early screeners of the film. The major categories may be out of reach for Animal Kingdom (which grossed less than US$1 million during its run in American cinemas), but Jackie Weaver is a genuine Supporting Actress contender. Deadline recently spoke to SPC co-presidents Michael Barker and Tom Bernard, who revealed that they would aggressively pursue a Supporting Actress nod for Weaver.

Sony Classics knows that small, independent pictures need to make their mark in the minds of Academy voters early on; in 2009 they mounted a campaign for An Education that led to a Best Picture nomination (among others), and one year earlier they scored Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay nods for Frozen River.

I spoke to Animal Kingdom director David Michôd about the film’s Oscar prospects, so keep an eye on the blog for that interview in the coming weeks.

Discuss: What are AK’s Oscar chances?

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