Does James Franco’s Work in ‘Spring Breakers’ Really Deserve Our Consideration?

By  · Published on December 3rd, 2013

It’s been no secret that A24, the distributor behind Harmony Korine’s bonkers blast of pure adrenaline (and, like, a lot of drugs), Spring Breakers, has been stumping for some awards acknowledgement for co-star James Franco for quite some time now (he’s wisely been touted for a Best Supporting Actor role). What started as a bit of a laugh and a lark has now blossomed into what appears to be an actual campaign, albeit one that stays true to the grilled-up idiocy of Franco’s Alien, a low-tier gangster who demands that we “consider his shit.”

The distributor has now released a For Your Consideration video (fine, a Consider This Shit video) touting some of the major praise heaped on Franco in the role alongside some of his greatest hits in the film. It’s a relatively straightforward FYC vid, much like the type we’ve seen for other, more traditional work from this year’s finest actors, but because it’s so serious and, yes, straightforward and traditional, it’s also something else entirely – it’s totally brilliant. After one minute of this video, you’ll be sold on nominating Franco for any and all awards for his work as Alien or, at the very least, you’ll be sold on the idea that this is work worth considering for the most prestigious awards in Hollywood, despite how low-brow this all looks (at least on the surface).

Give it a look and get ready to consider some shit:

FYC campaigns are usually confined to the Hollywood circles who are actually tasked with, well, considering work to be nominated for awards (the Academy, the HFPA, guilds, critics circles, and the like) – this is not marketing meant to mean much of anything to average consumers and regular moviegoers. It’s inside baseball, but Franco and the A24 team seem to be interested in engaging more than just the usual suspects. Just by launching a campaign for such a larger-than-life character in a seriously offbeat film, the team behind this FYC push has demanded attention from all kinds of people, even those who are in no position to “consider” anything more than which film they’re going to watch tonight.

The last time an FYC campaign caught on in anything resembling the mainstream, it was care of actress Melissa Leo’s infamously self-financed ad that popped up in various Hollywood trades back in February of 2011. Leo footed the bill herself, and the ads were mocked and appreciated in seemingly equal measure. While we can only assume she was stumping for a nod for her work in The Fighter (yes, of course she was, but let’s play along), the ads didn’t feature a damn word about the David O. Russell film, anything about her role in said picture, and she was purposely glammed up to look very different than how she appears in the film. (In fact, the only credits listed on the bottom of the ad were for Leo’s website, a photo credit, and a credit to the faux fur company that outfitted her – honestly, though, she really does look spectacular in the ads.) Leo’s ad made news because she financed it herself, she didn’t seem concerned with the film she was gunning for, and because there was something unexpected and wacky about her desire to take her professional fate into her own hands.

It worked. Leo was not only nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in The Fighter, she won. (She also won the Golden Globe for her part and The Fighter itself picked up a slew of ensemble awards to go right alongside Leo’s spoils.)

But does great advertising mean we need to consider Franco come awards time? No, but the various ads’ many reminders that people loved Franco’s performance and that it really was that revelatory do. Franco notoriously has his hands in all sorts of things – few Hollywood actors seem intent on adapting hardcore literary works and starring on soap operas – and he’s been widely mocked for such choices, which makes his work in Spring Breakers all the more transcendent. Franco is a seemingly very known entity and quantity, and when a performer can break free of the trappings of their identity and inhabit a role as, pardon, totally fucked up as Alien, that’s something else, and that’s the sort of thing worthy of, at the very least, awards consideration. That’s all he’s really asking for here – a chance – and he more than deserves it, especially if that means we can expect more incredible FYC (CTS?) marketing like this, at least enough to break the monotony of awards season with one hell of a snap.

Spring Breakers is now available on DVD and Blu-ray. James Franco is probably available to dress up like Alien and attend your holiday party, if you’re willing to slip him some cash and tweet about it.