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This is the time of year the studio sends out thousands of "For Your Consideration" invitations to industry screenings in Los Angeles and New York as well as a smattering in San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas etc. For example, LINCOLN, which has screened at multiple venues in the usual places also screened in Washington, D.C.  The idea is for voters to see all the films the studios deem award worthy. And to generate buzz. Always the buzz.
These screenings aren't just held for Academy members expected to vote on Best Picture and the like. Since the various guilds bestow their own awards, their members also need to see as many films as possible in order to cast a meaningful vote, whether that's for Best Costume Design from the Academy, or Best Screenplay from the Writers Guild.  Or in MLH's case,  to vote on the films nominated by the Directors Guild of America for its Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film, an award which almost always correctly predicts the winner of the Oscar for Best Director.  Those voters need to see the contenders and the industry tries hard to make that happen.

I still get excited when I see that studio logo in the corner of the #10 envelope. Focus Features. Universal. Warner Bros. Lionsgate. DreamWorks. Fox Searchlight. The Weistein Company. Honestly, I'm half-hoping it's a forgotten paycheck intended for Mark (MLH - My Loving Husband) except those come from payroll services.

The usual routine is you call and RSVP. The screenings for popular films fill up in a snap; sometimes the recorded RSVP phone line will warn 'Arrive early. Your RSVP does not guarantee seating'
Hmm. Terrific. Nothing like showing up and not getting in. If the director or God forbid, the actors, are going to be there for a Q&A, you better get there a couple of hours early. And cross your fingers. Not something MLH and I are keen to do unless it's a movie I really really want to see. MLH is much more patient - and isn't a fan of lines - and therefore doesn't mind waiting for the film to hit the theatres, or even DVD. I like to see them sooner!
Sooooo imagine our pleasure when we learned that the studios are going to start sending screeners to members of the DGA.  We just received our first two for The Perks of Being a Wallflower (based on the book which I've blogged about here) and The Impossible (a film starring Naomi Watts that I've not heard of), both from Summit. MLH is a bit bummed because we haven't seen Argo and was hoping for a screener. We'll have to see if we get any others - we moved and I have a feeling MLH might not have put in our change of address right from the get go so we might be missing a whole mess of movies!
On the back of the screener you can see the names which might merit a nomination in a specific category. Often this is wishful thinking or even just empty talk to, once again, generate buzz. Adam Avitabile, the Visual Effects Supervisor on The Perks of Being a Wallflower may do a great job but he doesn't stand a chance against more effects heavy movies. You'll notice the screeners are pretty basic, but while they come without graphics they do come with a heavy heavy warning. Because of the rampant piracy endangering the film industry, each screener is individually coded with an invisible watermark that identifies the screener as your individual copy - an funny biz can be traced back to you.  We are not allowed "to copy, loan, rent, sell or publicly perform it;give it away or upload it to the internet." In a very Mission Impossible move we are to destroy the screener after viewing. How? The instructions say to cut the screener in two with a pair of scissors.
Please enjoy!