Wednesday 19 December 2018

'We're pinching ourselves' - Irish producers of The Favourite celebrate five Golden Globe nominations

Element Pictures shareholders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe
Element Pictures shareholders Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

The Irish producers of The Favourite are celebrating the news that the film has been nominated for five Golden Globes.

It equals A Star is Born and Green Book in terms of the number of nominations, beaten only by Vice, Adam McKay's film starring Christian Bale, which has six nominations.

The Favourite is the latest from writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos and stars Olivia Colman as Queen Anne and Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as members of her court.

Colman has been nominated for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy while both Weisz and Stone are competing for Best Supporting Actress.  Tony McNamara is up for Best Screenplay and The Favourite is also in the running for the big prize, Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy.

The Favourite. PIC: Yorgos Lanthimos
The Favourite. PIC: Yorgos Lanthimos

Dublin based Element Films co-produced with Scarlet Films and Element co-founder (along with Ed Guiney) and The Favourite executive producer Andrew Lowe revealed that they were "crossing our fingers" ahead of the announcement.

The film had already been very well received, premiering at the Lido in Venice where it won the Grand Jury Prize and Olicia Colman won Best Actress.  And today's news comes just days after the film earned a record-breaking 10 awards (from 13 nominations) at the British Independent Film Awards.

"We were sort of pinching ourselves to be honest," Lowe tells Independent.ie. "If we had got four or five we would have been very pleased."

Of the Globes nominations he adds, "We were ambitious for this film and it took a long time to put together and one of the key decisions for us was partnering with Fox Searchlight, who are the preeminent global distributor for 'specialty' films, with that term as it applies in Hollywood, so not cloak and dagger mainstream films.

"Fox Searchlight have been doing this for a long time and they’ve won more Oscars than anybody else.  Certainly last year they dominated the Academy Awards.  They’ve been brilliant at positioning the film and looking out for us all on the campaign trail," says Andrew.

The Globes are often an indicator of how a film will fare at the Academy Awards, and The Favourite is certainly well-placed now ahead of the Oscars campaign thanks to Fox.

"It helps on a number of levels," says Andrew.  "First and foremost, and most importantly in a way, is the film is now on general release in the US.  It has really helped in terms of targeting attention and bringing an audience to the film."

The film, which was shot by Irish cinematographer Robbie Ryan and was partly post-produced in Dublin, has been garnering rave reviews from US critics and is performing extremely well at the US box office.

The film, which opened at just two sites in New York and two in LA two weeks ago before expanding to 34 sites last week, had the highest per screen average on its opening weekend since La La Land two years ago, and also the third highest in the history of the studio.

"It’s expanding gradually and that’s a very common strategy, to build like that, so by the time we get to the Academy Awards we’ll be at full flight, if you like," says Andrew. 

"Nominations get attention for the film over many other great films out there at the moment and it also helps with Academy and votes, and people making a point of seeing the film.  It certainly won’t harm our chances."

The film marks the third collaboration between Element Pictures and Yorgos Lanthimos following award-winning films The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer.

"Yorgos is a filmmaker we've grown very close to and we're really proud to work with," says Andrew, who reveals they have a number of other projects in the pipeline.

Element also enjoyed Globes success in 2015 with Lenny Abrahamson's Room, which was nominated for three awards and won Best Actress for Brie Larson.  Their relationship continues with a "slate of projects" at various stages of development.

Production will begin in the spring on Sally Rooney's Normal People, which the young Irish author is adapting for the BBC with Lenny directing.  It will be six hours and 12 episodes of drama.

Element is also currently in production of Dublin Murders, also with the BBC.  Based on the Tana French novels, the series will be set in the fictitious world of a Dublin murder squad, and boasts a cast including Sarah Greene, Killian Scott, Moe Dunford, and Tom Vaughan Lawlor.

The Favourite will be released in Ireland in January 2019 through Fox Searchlight.

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