Oscar 2014: Film Festivals as Launching Pads of Best Picture Contenders

In 2014, all eight best-picture nominees contenders had debuted at a major American or international film festival.

Festivals have become more strategic and influential once the Academy had moved the Oscar ceremony to a month earlier, in late February instead of late March.

“Boyhood” and “Whiplash” bowed at the January 2014 Sundance Film Fest, where Linklater has been a regular presence.

“Grand Budapest Hotel” premiered at the Berlin Film Fest, as opening night, in February 2014.

“Birdman” went to Venice Fest in late August and then Telluride in earlt September, skipping all together the Toronto Film Fest.

“The Imitation Game” played at the Telluride and then Toronto Film Fest in September.

“The Theory of Everything” also played at the Toronto Film Fest.

“Selma” and “American Sniper” bowed on the same day, November 11, at the American Film Institute (AFI) Fest,