Boston Society of Film Critics issues press release expressing regret over 'Margaret' screening procedures

Posted by · 12:31 pm · December 11th, 2011

This morning the Boston Society of Film Critics announced its list of award winners, and it was clear Kenneth Lonergan’s “Margaret” was close in a number of areas. Though whoever was controlling the organization’s Twitter feed made a note about how few of them were able to see the film, the group has issued the following via its official website:

“The Boston Society of Film Critics expresses its regret that Fox Searchlight refused to distribute screeners of the film ‘Margaret’ and scheduled only a last-minute screening after numerous requests. The film, which received an extremely limited release, was a favorite of many BSFC members and could have won several awards had it been made available for viewing within a reasonable time frame. Despite this disadvantage, ‘Margaret’ was a runner-up in three of the BSFC”s award categories. We encourage Fox Searchlight to not compound this oversight and to make screeners available to the voting body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and so give the film a fair chance in the upcoming awards competition.”

Bravo to them for that. Making screeners is expensive. “Margaret” is a wash for the studio and likely best left forgotten for them, given all of the litigation and whatnot going on behind the scenes. And they were very gracious to have set two screenings here in Los Angeles earlier in the week and a few more across the nation for critics groups.

I don’t really think it would have much chance at Oscar recognition outside of perhaps some acting attention, but that’s beside the point. It should have at least a chance to make its case. Remember in last week’s Off the Carpet column when I noted that the toughest thing to do this time of year is simply be seen? To give people a reason to put the film in the player? Well that’s doubly tough when the studio is basically working against making that happen.

You know if you heard the podcast Friday that I consider “Margaret” to be an accidental masterpiece and the year’s best film. But I would fight for this even if it was a film I didn’t care for but had an equally dedicated fan base behind it.

If you can spare the dollars, Searchlight, send out some screeners. You never know. Maybe all this fuss will have worked in your and the film’s favor.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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