Martin Scorsese has a present for you this Christmas

Posted by · 3:31 pm · October 29th, 2013

Were you fretting over the release date of Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street?” Well, you didn’t really have to do that. We told you on Sept. 23 it was going to move off its Nov. 15 release date but that the goal was to release on Christmas Day. I Tweeted on Oct. 15 that the film was going to make that date. And today, after a few weeks of other outlets tripping over themselves to “exclusively” report that very simple information, you can “officially” rest easy, as Paramount has gone ahead and confirmed the Christmas release.

The email blast from the studio states, with brevity, “‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ a Red Granite Pictures production previously scheduled for November 15, 2013, is now scheduled on Wednesday, December 25, 2013 (wide).” So there you have it.

The film will reportedly be 165 minutes long. Various outlets have reported that it was cut down to that from 180 minutes, but I’m told it was really closer to 220 minutes not all that long ago. (There were also plenty of elements that basically made it an NC-17 film, which Scorsese was keen on releasing, a source told me, kind of like the X-rated “Midnight Cowboy” of 1969.)

This is all typical of Scorsese, by the way, which, again, we noted in our early report. He always starts with a massive cut and whittles down. But obviously at 165 minutes, it’ll be a robust piece of work, and overall, it’s a big win for everyone. Fans get the movie they’re dying to see sooner rather than later. Red Granite gets to make back its investment this year rather than next. And Paramount gets a new toy to play with in the Oscar season.

Recently we pushed “Wolf” up on a number of our charts, but that’s pure speculation for now, obviously. It’s going to be a dark comedy, which isn’t a genre that tends to go over well with the Academy. Paramount will be campaigning it in the comedy/musical category at the Golden Globes, which could help give it some spark there. (And the new trailer for the film certainly backs that up.) But what’s interesting is that “Nebraska,” one of the studio’s other awards season hopefuls (and the one with the most wind in its sails after hitting the festival circuit again in Telluride) is also a comedy for Globes consideration.

This would appear to be a bit of a conflict. It’s not like both couldn’t get into the comedy/musical Best Picture category at the Globes, but that field will likely be stacked this year, representative of an awards season on the whole that is hugely contentious. “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “August: Osage County,” “Before Midnight,” etc. will make for stiff competition. I must say, as much as I’m personally looking forward to seeing “Wolf” sooner rather than later, I can’t help but wonder if the smarter play would have been to get out of dodge, like “Foxcatcher” did, like “The Monuments Men” did. But into the season it goes.

Can Leonardo DiCaprio, so often a bridesmaid in the Oscar race, crack a dense Best Actor slate? With nine Golden Globe nominations to date, you can at least expect the HFPA to show him some more love. Can Jonah Hill, said to be a dominant figure in the film, keep his stride with a second Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination in three years? Can the film find as much support as “Nebraska” has been able to find and nurture, but in a shorter amount of time? Will “Wolf” – and, for that matter, “American Hustle,” which is also said to lean comedy – prove to be too, well, fun for the Academy?

Or could these films be just what the doctor ordered for a season so far dominated by such sobering efforts as “12 Years a Slave” and “Captain Phillips?” Time will tell…

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