And Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon to the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor races as Ramin Bahrani's “99 Homes” has landed domestic distribution after playing the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals. Indie upstart Broad Green Pictures has landed the film stateside with an aim to release in the spring of 2015. The film will not, however, be competing for Oscars consideration this year, despite early reports to the contrary.
I missed “99 Homes” in the four-day Telluride sprint, but HitFix's Greg Ellwood caught up to it and was highly impressed. “At first, Ramin Bahrani's drama feels like it might be slightly preachy, but it soon turns into a gripping drama that succeeds partially thanks to the amazing work from Garfield and Shannon,” he wrote, before going on to declare the actors' performances to be two of the very best of their careers. Prior to that, at Venice, Catherine Bray was slightly less convinced, but still found a lot of love for Garfield and Shannon's tête-à-tête. “Other than the unsubtle but vivid storytelling, the main joy of '99 Homes' is seeing two excellent but very different actors spark off each other for almost the entire runtime, in a brace of performances both brilliant and brilliantly matched,” she wrote.
I imagine the Oscar strategists will be circling in due time, as any new kid on the block would need all the help it could get. Saban Films found a huge helping hand in Roadside Attractions for the awards push on Tommy Lee Jones' western “The Homesman,” so maybe Broad Green can get similar assistance. And it's smart to stay out of the race this year. We all know the lead actor race is virtually impenetrable at this stage, though even without that ultimate recognition, just being in the conversation can help a film at the box office. In any case, this late in the game, best to just circle the wagons and hold off.
“I'm very happy to partner with Broad Green Pictures,” Bahrani said via press release. “Their passion and plan for this film felt like the perfect way to bring it to the US. What excited me the most was to see that audiences' reactions in all the festivals was so tremendous. Their passionate and visceral reaction convinced all of us that the country needs and wants to see a film like this. I'm thrilled to have such committed partners to make sure this film reaches a very wide audience.”
Garfield stars as Nash, an Orlando construction worker evicted from his home by Carver, Shannon's charismatic real-estate broker. Carver seduces Nash into his risky wheeling/dealing world and the drama unfolds from there. Very timely, clearly. I look forward to catching it when I can.