Sony Pictures is disputing a report that its George Clooney drama "Monuments Men" will not be waging an Oscar campaign this season, saying that story jumped the gun and is incorrect.
"It's premature for anyone to make any assumptions about what we have planned for the season," Sony spokesperson Steve Elzer told TheWrap on Wednesday when asked about the report. "We have a studio team in place and we continue to add to it.
"George just finished principal photography a few weeks ago. He is still cutting as we speak and that's his focus right now. What we have seen of the film from dailies looks absolutely incredible."
A story by Tom O'Neil on the GoldDerby.com awards website suggested that "Monuments Men" will not be waging an Oscar campaign in the Best Picture, Best Director and acting categories "because it's chiefly a popcorn thriller, not gourmet Oscar fare."
O'Neil wrote that Sony might mount a campaign in the below-the-line categories, but that "none of the rock-star awards strategists has been hired to oversee the kind of push a film normally gets when it's seriously in contention."
In fact, a person with knowledge of the discussions said that Sony has had conversations with top awards consultants about "Monuments Men," though no one has been brought on board yet.
The film, directed by Clooney and co-written by Clooney and Grant Heslov, is based on the true story about a group of men who were recruited to save priceless artworks before they could be destroyed by the Nazis in the final days of World War II. In addition to Clooney, its cast includes Oscar winners Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett and Jean Dujardin, as well as Bill Murray and John Goodman.
The initial trailer was released last week, but the film itself is not on the slate of any of the major fall film festivals, Venice, Toronto or Telluride (the last of which which doesn't announce its bookings ahead of time). It is not slated for release until December, making it one of the last awards contenders to bow.
(Two of Sony's other major Oscar contenders, David O. Russell's "American Hustle" and Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips," do have a top Oscar consultant already on board, in addition to the studio team.)
It might be worth remembering that three years ago, rumors were briefly rampant that Sony was scaling back its awards push on behalf of "The Social Network" – a movie that ended up landing eight nominations and winning three Oscars on the heels of a robust and expensive campaign.