For Your Consideration is a rock solid satire of Hollywood’s awards season and holds up over 15 years after its 2006 theatrical release.
I knew this was a funny film when I saw it for the first time in 2010. However, my only knowledge of awards season at the time was through what I saw on TV and read in magazines. Since this time, however, I’ve become an awards voter myself. I have a first-hand look into how awards season works as a result. Where this film really misses is in its lack of awards season shindigs. The film doesn’t bother with showing any of the reshoots. It simply goes to the Oscar buzz and press appearances to promote the film. We do not see any of the parties or meet-and-greets with voters at any point during the film. No, we mainly see the obligatory news show appearances. Thankfully, I’ve yet to encounter anybody similar to Hollywood Now hosts Chuck (Fred Willard) or Cindy (Jane Lynch).
Talk about foresight. The film in For Your Consideration is titled Home for Purim. What this means is that both Marilyn Hack (Catherine O’Hara) and Callie Webb (Parker Posey) are also in the awards season conversation for playing Jewish characters. I’m assuming that their characters practice the same religion as them in real life. Disregard the studio interference that comes later on but there’s no pushback to non-Jews playing Jews. If you don’t think the Judaism is essential to the picture, it’s about a Jewish holiday! The same conversation that many of us are having in 2021-22–and feeling ignored–is one that Christopher Guest’s film should have kicked off in 2006! Oh, well.
Hack and Webb co-star in the film with Victor Allen Miller (Harry Shearer), Brian Chubb (Christopher Moynihan), and Mary Pat Hooligan (Rachael Harris). It is a period film and Hack is the dying matriarch of the family. Chubb stars as their son returning home from war while Webb returns home with her partner. But because the studio feels it is too Jewish, they decide to intervene and change the holiday at hand. Martin Gibb (Ricky Gervais) thinks the film won’t reach a broad audience. He decides they should rename the film to Home for Thanksgiving. I get that Thanksgiving is the quintessential American holiday but once again, it removes the Jewishness. If a film is too Jewish for you, that’s on you. It should never be on the filmmakers. What is wrong about having representation in films?
I can go on and on about what it means to remove Jewishness from a film. Maybe Guest and Levy are trying to say something about previous studio intervention? I can also go on and on about non-Jewish actors playing Jewish characters, too. It’s a longstanding problem and the fact that Marilyn Hack and Callie Webb both miss out on an Oscar nomination is a relief in this way. This argument is proving to be divisive even within the Jewish community. Talk to Jewish actors, especially women, and the answer is one thing. But talk to Jewish men and they don’t think non-Jews playing Jews is a problem. But what happens when they start talking about how other areas should have authentic representation. It goes back to what David Baddiel, Sarah Silverman, and others have said: Jews Don’t Count.
Film production aside, the satire is on point. You get set interviews with journalists throwing softball questions. Once the Oscar buzz starts building, the Hollywood Now duo show up for an interview. I also love the Love It, Hate It aspect. I watched Siskel and Ebert and Ebert and Roeper for a number of years so I love what Ben Lilly (Don Lake) and David van Zyverdan (Michael Hitchcock) are doing here. Following the Oscar nominations, Chuck decides to basically stalk all three stars of the film who did not get any Oscar nominations. It’s so funny how Brian Chubb is the only cast member to receive a nomination.
The press tour does show some of the stuff that is wrong with awards season. Actors are fielding questions that have absolutely nothing to do with the film in question let alone their career. I mean, asking an actor if they have any nude scenes while making comments about your own genitals? How rude! I could not help but roll my own eyes at the remarks. It goes without saying that at least one journalist in real life has asked a filmmaker for nude photos of an actress in a film. Somehow, that journalist still managed to keep having a career following the unprofessional incident. And Marilyn Hack? She ends up getting both breast implants and major plastic surgery to her face to the point where she isn’t even recognizable.
Guest departs from his usual mockumentary style. It is for the best because the style would certainly not work for this film. Imagine having a mockumentary style for the press tour! The filmmaker reteams up with many of his regulars in the cast. Character actor veteran Richard Kind makes a cameo appearance. John Krasinski, Sandra Oh, Simon Helberg, and Scott Adsit also have small appearances.
For Your Consideration might not be as funny as his previous work as a filmmaker but the satire still holds up.
DIRECTOR: Christopher Guest
SCREENWRITERS: Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy
CAST: Carrie Aizley, Bob Balaban, Ed Begley Jr., Jennifer Coolidge, Paul Dooley, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, Rachael Harris, John Michael Higgins, Michael Hitchcock, Don Lake, Eugene Levy, Jane Lynch, Michael McKean, Larry Miller, Christopher Moynihan, Catherine O’Hara, Jim Piddock, Parker Posey, Harry Shearer, Deborah Theaker, Fred Willard, Scott Williamson
Warner Independent Pictures released For Your Consideration in theaters on November 17, 2006.
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