“Foxcatcher”, the film about Olympic gold-medal-winning wrestling brothers Mark and Dave Schultz, had been nominated for five Academy Awards — including Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Director — but did not receive any Oscars during the award presentation in Los Angeles Sunday night, Feb. 22.
As reported by ABC News, in the Best Actor category, Steve Carell – who portrayed John du Pont, multi-millionaire heir to his family’s chemical company fortune who owned the Foxcatcher Olympic wrestling training facility – lost out to Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”. Mark Ruffalo, nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of late wrestler Dave Schultz who was murdered by du Pont, was passed over for J.K. Simmons of “Whiplash”. In the Directing category, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu received the award for “Birdman”, beating out Bennett Miller. “Birdman” also won an Oscar for Original Screenplay, another category where “Foxcatcher” was a contender. Even in the Makeup and Hairstyling category — where more than one wag said the movie might win “by a nose” because of Carell’s prosthetic nose to replicate duPont’s — “Foxcatcher” fell to “The Grand Budapest Hotel”.
“Foxcatcher” was one of five movies which had received five or more nominations apiece, joining “American Sniper”, “Boyhood”, “Interstellar” and “The Theory of Everything”, but was the only one to leave the Dolby Theater in Hollywood without a single gold statuette. The film, greatly anticipated by the amateur wrestling community because it tells the story of the January 1996 murder of beloved wrestler-coach Dave Schultz at the hands of John du Pont, had been viewed as an Oscar contender since it premiered at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival in 2014, where Bennett Miller won best director honors. As “The Hollywood Reporter” pointed out Monday, “while the film received recognition at the Gotham, Hollywood Film and Independent Spirit Awards, it didn’t win any Oscars. It previously received multiple nominations, but failed to win, awards at the BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes and SAG Awards. The film was also up for the Producers Guild Awards’ top prize and for best original screenplay at the Writers Guild Awards.”
The zero-for-five outcome for “Foxcatcher” may be a disappointment for the wrestling community – especially the actual wrestlers and officials who participated in the filming of the movie – it may not have been a surprise to Las Vegas bookmakers. As the entertainment publication “Variety” pointed out last month at the time the 2015 Oscar nominations were announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Vegas odds for “Foxcatcher” were very long in each of the five categories for which it was nominated.
“Foxcatcher” opened in theaters in New York City and Los Angeles just before Thanksgiving 2014, then had a slow roll-out in select cities throughout the US and Canada over the next two months, with a nationwide opening in January. It has earned $11 million at the box office. “Foxcatcher” will be available on DVD, Blu-ray and on streaming services on Tuesday, March 3.
“Foxcatcher” had been in the works for approximately eight years. Almost exactly three years ago, College Wrestling Examiner wrote its first story on the movie, reporting that Hollywood entertainment publications were reporting – incorrectly — that Channing Tatum had been cast to portray Dave Schultz in the film. Two years ago, most of the movie was filmed in Pittsburgh, rather than Philadelphia, in part to the fact the du Pont estate had been bulldozed, and the 700-acre Foxcatcher Farms site is in the process of being developed into a community of high-end townhomes and detached homes. “Foxcatcher” had been slated to have its world premiere in December 2013, but was pulled from the schedule and edited from a reported original running time of three hours down to 2 hours, 15 minutes.