Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Must Talk Some More About ‘Compliance’

Blog Post #14

Dreama Walker
In particular, I must talk about one of the stars of Compliance Dreama Walker, who played the pivotal role of “Becky” in the film.

Dreama Walker as "Becky" in Compliance
See I saw Compliance at the 2012 Maryland Film Festival (My full review linked at the end) and it was excellent. While excellent I wasn't sure if such a small film would get any awards recognition and it has gotten some…some. Most prominently I’ve been reading about another star of the film Ann Dowd who played another pivotal role that of “Sandra”.
Ann Dowd as "Sandra" in Compliance
Ever since Compliance continued to traverse the festival circuit Dowd’s name has been mentioned as an awards recipient. At ever mention I think “What about Dreama?” Well actually at first I thought “What about that blond girl?”…then I looked up her name and thought…well you know.

Dreama in scenes from Compliance 
As both roles were crucial I think both deserve recognition. In my opinion Dreama did all the “heavy lifting” in the film. She wasn’t just a plot device. Without her performance you would never feel any bit of rage, and yes that’s what you feel, over the ensuing plot in the film.

Dowd recently received the National Board of Review (of Motion Pictures, founded in 1909) award for Best Supporting Actress for Compliance. The award was well deserved as you know I enjoyed Ann Dowd’s performance, but so did I Dreama Walker’s and she shouldn’t be disregarded.  

My review of Compliance

New Related

For 'Compliance' Star Ann Dowd, One Expensive Oscar Campaign

Magnolia Pictures wouldn't pay for screeners, so the character actress spent $13,000 for her own; Oscar winner Melissa Leo tells THR she should be reimbursed.

Being the subject of Oscar buzz should be an unadulterated thrill, but for one first-time contender it has come at considerable expense.
Ann Dowd, (pictured above left), a veteran character actress, earned the best reviews of her career for her performance as a restaurant manager targeted by a sadistic prankster in Craig Zobel’s controversial indie Compliance. The low-budget film was one of the standouts at January’s Sundance Film Festival, where it was acquired by Magnolia Pictures, which released it this fall. It never played in more than 21 theaters and grossed just $319,285. But Dowd’s performance, for which she was paid just $100 per day for 16 days, resonated enough to land her -- with virtually no campaigning -- the National Board of Review’s best supporting actress award and Indie Spirit and Critics’ Choice award nominations.
So why, then, did Magnolia not send screeners of Compliance to SAG’s nominating committee and/or the Academy’s acting branch?
Matt Cowal, Magnolia’s senior VP of marketing and publicity, tells THR they would have -- if Compliance had made money. “This is a film that, unfortunately, we’re going to take a loss on,” he says. “If it had worked, like some of our films have, we would have supported Ann with a terrific end-of-the-year awards campaign, like we did for Melancholia and I Am Love.” Instead, he says, “When a film is already out on DVD, supporting actress awards buzz does help, but it’s not a game-changer on the film’s bottom line, so we just are trying to be as responsible as we can.”
Dowd, a soft-spoken, working-class wife and mother of three kids, tells THR that the lack of screeners from Magnolia -- while her fellow contenders, few of whom have garnered the number of accolades that she has and almost all of whom were better compensated, had theirs paid for -- prompted her and her husband to make a difficult decision: to foot the bill themselves, putting $6,000 on their credit card and borrowing $7,000 from friends. They feel that this might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for her and that a nomination could change the course of her career, so they want to give her a fighting chance.

Two years ago, another veteran character actress, Melissa Leo, paid for several “for your consideration” ads promoting her performance in The Fighter. At the time, Leo said she did so because she had not been offered the same opportunities for media exposure as her younger and bigger-name competitors. The ads were criticized by some for being tacky, but the resulting controversy prompted many to rally behind her cause, and she ultimately won the best supporting actress Oscar. Leo tells THR that Dowd's situation “sounds a little familiar.” She adds, “I applaud her bravery in forging ahead, because there’s only regret to be had if she doesn’t give it her all in this moment. And I really hope they reimburse her and her husband.”
Dowd, meanwhile, says the whole experience has been an eye-opener. She emphasizes that she feels entitled to nothing and grateful for everything that has come her way this season, and says, “I had no idea what goes into bringing a name into the spotlight. It never occurred to me. I just had never been in that arena before.” Now, unless Magnolia elects to reimburse the actress -- which Dowd hopes they will, “not because they owe me anything” -- she and her husband will have 13,000 more reasons than most Oscar contenders to be crossing their fingers on nominations morning.

When the Oscar nominations were announced in January Dowd's name was NOT on the list.

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