Best Picture Oscar nominee The Favourite will finally hit UAE cinemas on February 21.
It's the last film nominated for the Best Picture gong to get its UAE cinema release, ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony on February 24.
This is by no means a foregone conclusion – UAE cinemas tend to focus on blockbusters, and even then movies sometimes release here some time after the bigger Western markets. Couple that with the adult themes that are often present in Oscar-nominated movies, and it means some notable nominees have failed to achieve a local release ahead of the awards in recent years.
Last year alone, Luca Guadagnino's Call Me by Your Name did not achieve a release in UAE theatres at all, while Greta Gerwig's Ladybird was only granted a last minute reprieve when the now-defunct DIFF 365 stepped in to hold special screenings ahead of the awards. The eventual Oscar winner, The Shape of Water, meanwhile, only managed to find its way onto release schedules after it had been named the best film of the year by voters.
In 2015 too, the four Oscar-winning Best Film, Alejandro Inarritu's Birdman, screened at Dubai International Film Festival in December 2014, but remained conspicuously absent from release schedules until after it had picked up the most nominations and wins of any film that year (four wins from nine nominations, tied with Grand Budapest Hotel).
Film fans had already begun questioning when Jorgos Lanthimos’ critically acclaimed historical drama would land in UAE cinemas after it picked up a total of 10 nominations for this year’s awards, with still no word of a UAE release date.
The Favourite released in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand in December 2018, and most of the rest of the world in January 2019.
The period comedy/drama tells the story of two cousins, played by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, vying to be the court favourite of Queen Anne of England (Olivia Coleman), in the midst of the country’s 18th-century war with France. There’s political and romantic intrigue aplenty as the pair seek to make the most of their relationship with the emotionally fragile queen.