Oscar nominations close tomorrow (there has been trouble with the on-line voting) and one woman hoping to make the cut is Ann Dowd who has already received accolades for her performance in the creepy (but good) film Compliance. Look at Dowd and you will recognize her. I watched Philadelphia again over the holidays (for the zillionth time) and there she was as Tom Hanks' sister.
But let's be clear, Dowd is character actress, something of a journeywoman, who spends most of her time in the theatre and in bit parts in films. Doing what she does and being the success that she is can pay the rent (hopefully), but it does not make you rich. She's got no big team strategizing about her career and making decisions on parts to take and events to attend.
She's on her own. That's why it is so astounding that Dowd has used her credit card and borrowed money from friends to pay to send out screeners to Oscar voters hoping for that important thing that would stay with her forever – Oscar nominated actress. While it is hard to say this even before the nominations are announced, Dowd should she get a nomination, will have to be satisfied with her nomination because if she gets one – and that is a big if – she's got virtually no chance of winning with Sally Field and Anne Hathaway in the field. But who knows? There is always hope until the big night.
There is a bit of a precedent for actresses taking matters into their own hands. A couple of years ago Melissa Leo took out those controversial "for your consideration" ads because she didn't think the studio was doing enough for her. She got a lot of shit for that but it paid off. She won the Oscar.
Dowd was in the teeny tiny film Compliance which was released by Magnolia Films. According to the Hollywood Reporter she made only $1,600 for the whole shoot and on box office mojo the gross for the film is at $319,000. But she is getting good notices and has been honored by the National Board of Review for best supporting actress and has gotten an Indie Spirit and Critics Choice nominations. But you can't get an Oscar nomination if people don't see your film, and Magnolia made the decision that it wasn't worth it to send out DVDs to voters. Dowd decided that she couldn't pass this opportunity up, hit up her friends and got out the credit cards and paid for the DVDs to go out.
There are not many times when an actor has this type of opportunity. It would be great if Magnolia stepped up and reimbursed her for her efforts because it really is their job to pay for this. She has a shot, she's done the hard work gotten the nominations, good notices and wins. Now it's up to the Magnolia folks to do the right thing.
Read my interview with Ann from last summer.
For 'Compliance' Star Ann Dowd, One Expensive Oscar Campaign (Hollywood Reporter)
Oscar Q&A with Ann Dowd (Deadline)