'Letters from Iwo Jima' eligible | The Moviegoer

Thursday, November 16, 2006

'Letters from Iwo Jima' eligible

Posted By on Thu, Nov 16, 2006 at 7:35 AM

Clint Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers companion film Letters from Iwo Jima will compete in both the Globes and the Academy Awards this year.  Originally, Letters was going to be released in February 2007, but because of the poor reception for Flags, Letters is being pushed up.

Flags' apologist and Eastwood gush-guy Tom O'Neil of the LA Times writes,

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has confirmed that "Letters from Iwo Jima" made the cut-off date last week to be eligible for Golden Globe consideration. Its official screening to HFPA members will be on Nov. 28. "Iwo Jima" must compete in the foreign-language film category because it's in Japanese, which excludes it from consideration for the top best-picture prize, but it's permitted to compete in all other categories, so Ken Watanabe will be a serious contender for best actor.

But "Iwo Jima" is eligible for the top prize at the Oscars since that category doesn't exclude foreign-lingo fare. A poster at The Envelope's message boards broke the news here yesterday that "Iwo Jima" plans to ambush the derby.

Warner Bros. will give it a qualifying run in a few Los Angeles and New York theaters during the last week of 2006, then open it wide in February after Oscar noms are announced. Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere.com confirms that a Landmark Theatre has been booked.

The decision is a surprise because it recently seemed as if the studio had given up hope that a Japanese-language film could do well at the Oscars and just pushed it off to next February so they'd be something new to talk about as "Flags of Our Fathers" made its run for best picture. When I asked Warner Bros. execs if "Iwo Jima" would get a qualifying run for this derby, they said, "No!"

But now that "Flags" has drooped at the box office, Clint Eastwood needs a new Oscar strategy. Lots of people behind the scenes have been saying all along that "Iwo Jima" was a better movie. Now we will soon see for ourselves.

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