Universal’s upcoming remake Cats is primed to miss several key deadlines for this awards season, potentially hurting its Oscar chances. Based on the beloved musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats follows a group of felines (known as Jellicles) who, every year, decide which of them will be granted an afterlife in a place known as the Heaviside Layer. The upcoming film boasts a star-studded cast including Idris Elba, Judi Dench, Ian McKellan, and Taylor Swift.
The movie received a lot of attention online following the release of Cats first live-action trailer in July 2019 due to its motion-capture work; seeing beloved actors in head-to-toe fur was too reminiscent of the Sonic The Hedgehog movie for many people. Cats‘ “out there” plot also hasn’t done the film many favors. Still, Cats remains one of the most successful musicals of all time, ranking among the longest-running shows both on Broadway and London’s West End. It was even recently announced that Swift has written a new song for the film along with Webber.
The end of the year is when studios ramp up their awards efforts with screenings and campaigns, but Cats will be late to the party. The Playlist reports Cats will not make the deadlines for any of the major guilds, which are often precursors to Oscar nominations. This includes the Directors Guild, the Screen Actors Guild, and the Producers Guild. The film will also miss out on screenings for critics groups. While it is not confirmed, there is still a chance Cats can be submitted for the Golden Globes, and with Oscar nomination voting not opening until January 2, it could still score those coveted Academy Awards nominations. However, these roadblocks may make it trickier.
Many were expecting Universal to put up a strong campaign for Cats due to its talented cast, musical status, and director. Tom Hooper directed previous Best Picture nominees The King’s Speech (which actually won) and Les Miserables. However, even if it misses out on awards season, Cats could still be primed for financial success, as musicals tend to do well during the end of the year, with the blockbuster The Greatest Showman being counted among recent examples.
This is just another hurdle Cats needs to overcome if it wants to succeed. The original Cats trailer did not gain a lot of supporters, and these new reports of it struggling to reach key deadlines do not bode well for the film’s future. There is a chance the musical’s stacked cast can draw fans into theaters, as well as its status as one of the most well-known shows of all time. Of all the musicals to adapt for the big screen, Cats is certainly a strange choice, but it’s hard to get the full picture without seeing the film. As long as things stay on track, audiences can do so in a little under two months, as the movie will release on December 20.
Source: The Playlist