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Oscar Hype Kicks In

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Let the games begin. The Oscars may be five months away, but Artisan Entertainment apparently figures that if Bush and Gore are out there pressing flesh, it can start campaigning too. The studio kicked off the Oscar-hype season Nov. 5 by placing full-page ”For Your Consideration” ads in Variety and The Hollywood Reporter for its new drama Felicia’s Journey, touting Bob Hoskins for Best Actor. Isn’t that a tad premature? ”With the competitiveness of the race, you have to change the rules,” defends Artisan senior VP of publicity Paul Pflug, who says the ads were meant to coincide with the film’s Nov. 12 opening. In any case, the rest of Hollywood took notice. ”We all went ‘What?! Why?”’ says an awards strategist at a major studio, adding that her company’s Oscar ads won’t start for a month. ”I just giggled. Someone else here said, ‘Well, here we go!”’