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Disaster, in the form of rain, strikes academy screenings of 'Invictus' and 'Nine'

December 13, 2009 | 10:41 am
Invictus nine oscars movies news

A fierce rainstorm hitting Beverly Hills late Saturday may dampen the Oscar hopes of two top contenders. The storm caused a power blackout that suddenly halted the showing of "Invictus" halfway through its screening at the theater in the academy's headquarters. "Nine" was supposed to follow it on the bill but was canceled.

Unfortunately, a final decision on whether the screenings would proceed wasn't made for hours while hundreds of academy members waited and waited, then gave up, stomping off in the rainstorm to head back home.

"Big blow for these two high-profile contending films!" one academy member told Gold Derby.

Another member skipped the "Invictus" screening that commenced at 4 p.m. and arrived to see the 8 p.m. showing of "Nine." He e-mailed us this report from his Blackberry: "So we get to the academy theater and the lady at the desk informs us that the power is out (and has been for three hours).  In the darkened lobby, there are a few hundred Academy members milling about hoping the power comes back on."

The member said they got "out!!! And it's pouring rain.  As we were driving away, all the people began departing in droves. Officially canceled!  Somewhere Harvey is frowning."

Gold Derby contacted a top Oscar campaigner for the Weinstein Co. and asked her what she planned to do for "Nine" in response. She e-mailed us: "I'm going to book several big screening rooms a.s.a.p. and email acad members, take an ad -- oy vey -- something -- quick!"

The official screenings will be rescheduled but probably can't get choice weekend slots at the fully booked academy theater. They'll have to settle for weekday times. Those screenings are almost always poorly attended.

Luckily for Warner Bros., academy members received DVD screeners of "Invictus" last Friday. However, they have not yet received DVDs of "Nine." Here is a list of which DVDs voters have received so far and when they got them.


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Photos: "Invictus" (Warner Bros.), "Nine" (the Weinstein Co.) 

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The comments to this entry are closed.


You mean these screenings were make or break for the voters, who will not venture out again to see these two films? A done deal? I thought you had to be strong and steadfast to make it in this business, and not be derailed by little inconveniences like power outages.

Well, if bad weather really does impact a film's Oscar chances, that just reinforces the basically bankrupt nature of the proceedings. Sheesh!

The Academy does have a backup generator, which kicked in and maintained impressive emergency lighting, elevator operation and other systems vital to the comfort and safety of the disappointed audience. The generator does not service all the systems required to screen a film.

It felt to me that INVICTUS, to the extent it was screened, was well-received.

After the blackout, the Academy staff were professional and did what they could to keep the audience informed, finally recommending that the screening be ended (which was fortunate, because the power to finish the screening that evening was not restored). The outage deprived the staff of the use of all landlines, further limiting what they could do to advise those coming to the NINE screening of the outage.

It certainly won't hurt "Invictus" as much as "Nine", and not just because "Invictus" has its screeners out (or is in regular theaters). All the missed screenings in the world won't change the three big names "Invictus" has going for it--Eastwood, Freeman & Mandela. If anything, it makes it harder for the actual movie to dissuade voters from voting for it based on those names alone.
Yes, "Nine" has a boatload of stars and a famous source; but in Oscar's eyes they don't add up the same way as "Invictus", especially since it's a musical.

I don't think watching the movies is really a requirement. "Crash" won Best Picture for 2005, making the Academy the laughingstock of the world. Surely no one who actually saw that PoS could have nominated it, much less actually voted for it as a best picture winner.

I really don't understand why the world comes to an end in California when it rains. I understand it was a big storm but it's not the movie's fault for Pete's sake. Why didn't they just go to home depot and buy a back up generator? I'm thinking they should send everyone fruit baskets or something. Maybe with a windproof umbrella in it.



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