Every Winter, in Los Angeles and globally, the major film studios and distribution companies organise intensive and complex public relations campaigns aimed at those eligible to vote in the Oscars and its smaller precursor ceremonies, positioning their best-reviewed and most commercially successful films of the year as contenders in categories that recognise outstanding directing, producing, acting and a variety of technical elements.
Campaigns of this sort are known as ‘For Your Consideration’ (FYC) campaigns, with campaign materials traditionally asking voters to ‘Consider’ the film when casting their votes.
Dozens of FYC campaigns come and go every year, many using intuitive and compelling methods and arguments to get voters’ attention and affirmation. Yet one campaign has stuck with me over the past few years; one that made headlines for its clever ‘piggybacking’ on an existing social movement to garner glory for a film.
The film in question is Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game, a biopic of World War II British codebreaker Alan Turing, a mathematical and computer scientist who played a significant role in the Allies’ victory but was prosecuted for homosexuality and tragically died at 41. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Turing, and Keira Knightley as his close friend Joan Clarke.
The film’s awards campaign — run by Harvey Weinstein three years before he was ousted from the industry in the wake of sexual abuse revelations over which he has since been prosecuted— used a platform of ‘honouring Turing’s life and work’ to seek support from industry voters, a tactic that attracted a reasonable amount of media critique.
A major element of PR analysis is the conceptual ‘Stakeholders’ whose needs must be met by a campaign. To satisfy all relevant stakeholders, The Weinstein…