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'Sunshine' State

Why did ''Eternal Sunshine'' get overlooked for awards? Check out the latest Ask the Critic question and post your own

Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind | DEAR JIM Carrey gets a letter from the Academy
Image credit: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Ellen Kuras
DEAR JIM Carrey gets a letter from the Academy

Why did ''Eternal Sunshine'' get overlooked for awards?

I am outraged by the lack of attention that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has received during awards season. Do you think if it had been released later in the year, it would be garnering more Oscar buzz? — Pete
It couldn't have hurt. Eternal Sunshine has, of course, received a handful of awards and nominations, but there's a general perception in Hollywood that its early-in-the-year release date (March 19) didn't do it any favors. Had the film swapped calendar dates with, say, Finding Neverland (Nov. 12), it would now be a lot easier to imagine Jim Carrey looking at a Best Actor nomination instead of Johnny Depp. Given the extraordinary acclaim that has been lavished on Eternal Sunshine, it was all but inevitable that the movie would be viewed as a test case — by its studio, Focus Features, and by the rest of the industry — for the question of how an early release date ends up influencing a film's awards chances. The old conventional wisdom was, Hey, it didn't work against The Silence of the Lambs (Feb. 14) or Seabiscuit (July 25). The new wisdom: Remember Eternal Sunshine.

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Originally posted Feb 21, 2005 Published in issue #808 Feb 25, 2005 Order article reprints