James Franco Wins One for ‘Spring Breakers’ – Just Like That, A24's Awards Campaign ‘Feels More Real’

No, A24 wasn't joking when it launched a “for your consideration” campaign for James Franco — and now, the LA Film Critics have made it legit

Looks like awards voters are considering James Franco’s shit after all.

And now that the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has awarded Franco with a best-supporting-actor win Sunday for his memorable turn as the rapper Alien in “Spring Breakers,” expect A24 Films to ratchet up its fledgling campaign, too.

When A24 launched its “for your consideration” effort back in September, most saw it as nothing more than a clever marketing moment for a film that came out in March and had been released on DVD/Blu-ray a few weeks prior. Even the ad’s tagline was tellingly tongue-in-cheek: “Consider this shit,” read the ad (below, left), a callback to the fictional rapper’s most quotable scene.

consider.this.shit

At the time, a few Oscar prognosticators took a “why not?” approach to the notion of awards nominations for Harmony Korine’s polarizing cult hit – it was certainly a memorable performance. And there were even earlier outliers; writing for Hollywood.com, Matt Patches was among the first to declare Franco’s performance award-worthy, even commissioning a mocked-up “for your consideration” ad to accompany his piece that ran after the film's March release, stating: “James Franco's work in Spring Breakers is one of the best performances of the year. In fact, we're ready to call it award-worthy. Believe it, b**ches.”

But few saw Franco as a truly serious best-supporting-actor contender, especially since the campaign was coming from the scrappy distributor, whose consistently irreverent Twitter feed is reason enough to think it was all meant as a joke.

Also read: LA Film Critics: ‘Gravity’ and ‘Her’ Tie for Best Picture Prize

Individuals familiar with A24's thinking told TheWrap at the time that yes, they were having some fun with it – but the intent to stir up awards buzz was in earnest. And when they began to get traction with the idea in the blogosphere, they got a little bolder.

Exactly one month after running the first “for your consideration” ad, A24 made clear on Twitter that its Alien campaign was no goof:

The first concrete indication that someone else was taking it seriously came Saturday night, when the Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association nominated Franco for best supporting actor (winners will be announced Monday). A24 was already celebrating.

Then on Sunday, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association gave the win to Franco (in a tie with Jaret Leto, whose turn as a drag queen in the AIDS drama “Dallas Buyers Club” has been a contender from the very beginning). To be fair, LAFCA is notoriously contrarian – they love to dish out-of-left-field winners – and according to tweets from inside the room, Leto had built a big lead that led to a backlash, and a subsequent surge for Franco.

But the significance of the win wasn't lost on anyone; least of all the members of LAFCA. When the final vote stuck, critics described a “war whoop” that went up in the room.

See photos: 10 of James Franco’s Alien From ‘Spring Breakers’ Halloween Costumes – EVERY COLOR (Photos)

A24 execs never expected much more than a stray nomination for Franco here and there, with perhaps a runner-up or two to show for them – but between the Washington critics nomination and Los Angeles critics win, the campaign has, without a doubt, been legitimized. What started out as a half-joke suddenly “feels more real,” one insider said.

So far A24 has limited its FYC materials to online, most recently with a video ad (at the top of this post) that first appeared Monday on the Huffington Post. That’s A24’s style – even in its theatrical campaigns, the year-old, New York-based distributor favors clever DIY publicity and digital marketing over expensive print ads and site takeovers in the trades — the traditional arena for awards campaigns.

But if momentum continues to build for Franco, don’t be surprised to see a gold grill, cornrows and wraparound shades on the glossy pages this awards season. Weirder still, imagine the delicious discomfort of having James Franco back at the Oscars, where he hasn't exactly been welcome since his spaced-out performance as Anne Hathaway's co-host in 2011 — for playing Alien.

  • hopeglory1234

    Also note, Franco was nominated at 79th NYFCC Awards as Best Supporting Actor.
    Not sure why, some people are shocked he won as a tie. He so deserved this win, and hopefully the Oscars, seriously consider his performance as it is iconic.

  • CHRIS ONEILL

    @hopeglory1234:disqus “Iconic”? I saw it as an untalented high school kid's best attempt at trying to imitate Gary Oldman's Drexel Spivey character from TRUE ROMANCE. Now THAT was a truly great performance. Franco comes nowhere near that level of talent and yet he's winning awards and somehow convincing people like you that his performance was good (first post- possibly a PR plant?). This entire movie was a misguided mess from start to finish which, frankly, I'm stunned actually had people believing that a film with absolutely no narrative, story, characters, plot, meaning, theme or reason for existence was good film making. Four chicks peeing by the side of the road in biknis is just lazy not image busting (for an image busting example how about Denzel as the villain in TRAINING DAY). Franco's “performance” perfectly sums up the movie- “fuck you, you'll watch it” and although we're all entitled to our opinions and I respect that very much, I have to believe that those with a view like yours are basing it only on an exposure to cinema and entertainment from the last fifteen years- it's all new to you and I get that. Trust me. There's better out there. Before we go throwing words like “iconic” around, check out (trying to do a mix of decades here) -
    Sean Connery as Bond, Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones/Han Solo, Orson Welles in TOUCH OF EVIL, Robert Englund as Freddy Kreuger, Michael J Fox as Marty McFly, Tom Cruise in TOP GUN, Jim Carrey in ACE VENTURA, Peter O'Toole as LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, Lon Chaney as THE WOLFMAN, Ian McKellan as Gandalf, Bruce Willis as John McLane, William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Jack Lemmon in SOME LIKE IT HOT, Burt Reynolds in SMOKEY & THE BANDIT, Gene Hackman in THE FRENCH CONNECTION, Pacino in THE GODFATHER, John Belushi in BLUES BROTHERS, DeNiro in TAXI DRIVER.
    Point taken? Those can be classed as “iconic” performances and in alot of cases received awards. Franco as “Alien” in Springbreakers? Watch those movies and give me a reason to include it. Every generation deserves its icons- sadly, for this one, they got something as lackluster, dull and- arguably- mainly PR driven as Franco.

    • hopeglory1234

      “Iconic”? I saw it as an untalented high school kid's best attempt at trying to imitate Gary Oldman's Drexel Spivey character from TRUE ROMANCE, see that's the beauty of opinions, yes, you saw it that way, but I and many other's (importantly critics/voters who decides who wins or gets nominated) saw it differently.

      Also, I know that James Franco wears many hats but he doesn't owe a duty to the legend that is Gary Oldman (who should have at least 5 Oscars by now) or any other actor etc. When Gary played the iconic Drexel Spivey he was only on the screen for about 10-15 minutes, if I can remember (must watch that movie again, sometime soon) correctly. Again, any disputes regarding Oldman winning awards for any role should be taken up with the critics/voters who decide it and IMPORTANTLY has NOTHING to do with Franco.

      Franco role which he has stated in many articles and interviews was based in part to the rapper called Dangeruss with the assistance of Harmony Korine and Alien was on screen for half the movie, but MOST importantly without Franco there is NO MOVIE, hence he deserves every award under the sun.

      Again, Gary Oldman's role is iconic it's not going nowhere, there is room for James Franco's role to be added to iconic status also. Spring Breakers is already a cult classic, with people dressing up in particular as Franco for Halloween and getting tattoos. Also, I couldn't quite believe my eyes that at one point you had two rappers Riff Raff and Dangeruss fighting over Franco stating he's playing me (again, Franco has made it clear, it has nothing to do with Riff Raff but mostly to do with Dangeruss with other elements into the mix – you could argue style look can reference Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, Black Culture (YES, GARY OLDMAN DIDN'T INVENT THE LOOK, Alien is only slightly similar in looks – there are other actors throughout history on cinema who have come out with similar appears but it is what you do with the character that's the key), Al G plus even Kevin Federline.

      Why do people panic every time James Franco wins something, that's because you know that he did something special in his performance transformation and character. It's the first official win for Franco (hopefully, the start of many more) yet the haters are going overdrive. He won this via a tie, what on earth with the haters do when he actually wins individually and constantly regarding Spring Breakers and other movies this year.

      “Franco comes nowhere near that level of talent and yet he's winning awards and somehow convincing people like you that his performance was good (first post- possibly a PR plant?).”, wonderful news for you to state that BUT that's your opinion and I happen to disagree including many others. Hence, finally the critics/voters are finally being to see this and recognising this.

      Maybe, you didn't understand the movie because if you can't figure out that you can possible like a movie and be happy for someone without being a PR plant then how are you suppose to grasp this movie? Seriously, I'm not a RR plant, it seems when someone doesn't agree with the haters they are a PR plant. Your choice in liking the movie or not or his performance BUT in my opinion he gave one of the best performance of this year and yes, it's iconic it will last longer that some of the ones that win.

      This movie highlights the breakdown in our society, and this movie will be studies for years, it's more than what you initially see on the surface, maybe, you were expecting Project X and didn't understand the magic that is Harmony Korine.

      “I have to believe that those with a view like yours are basing it only on an exposure to cinema and entertainment from the last fifteen years- it's all new to you and I get that”, thanks BUT you haven't got a clue in what your talking about. I understand the meaning of iconic and I'm not basing Spring Breakers or Franco's performance on the last fifteen years. I'm no kid who doesn't know the history of movies so you really didn't need to list some iconic movie performances.

      Again, what's with the “Point taken?”, you're not communicating with a child. The good news is everyone has different tastes/opinions as I previously stated and yes, in my view Franco's role as Alien is iconic, I don't need to watch other movies to understand this.

      “PR driven as Franco”, hahahaha! Again, learn to understand that Franco has YES fans (I know who would have thought, and Actor/Director with fans etc) and lots of them plus just because you don't like something and it seriously doesn't mean it came from a PR driven machine in terms of Franco. Haters just deal with it – he WON.

    • MSJ

      You're just mad a quiet bookworm like wins something.

      • CHRIS ONEILL

        Your sentence is both incorrectly assumptive and grammatically appalling. I am not mad about anything, merely incredulous at the attention and praise heaped upon a person of such limited ability. This is, of course, highly subjective and I made a point to make fair comparisons but the fervent almost Messianic following of the Francophiles is- as in the case of most extremists- so utterly resistant to considering said objective comparisons that there is little for me to do except shut up, get out of the way and let you all steamroller forward to glory glory hallelujah. Enjoy.

  • CHRIS ONEILL

    Guys, you win, I gratefully accept it's all subjective and we have opinions. The overwhelming majority in the media is that Franco is an awards worthy actor and deserving of a huge career. I will never understand the fervent admiration of this guy's participation in films and I have nothing against him (I say clean up, James, make as much money as you can). I will await the day he does something that, in my opinion, approximates acting. Until that day, ladies and gents, he is, gladly, all yours to marvel over.