New Globally Minded Focus Features Roars Back in the Oscar Season

This year’s Oscar season has been highlighted by the dramatic return of a former mainstay: Focus Features. Under a new regime that began evolving two years ago at a time when many had written off the Universal Pictures specialty division, Focus came roaring back, with 14 nominations across three films, two of them in the motion picture Academy’s top category.

Joe Wright’s “Darkest Hour” and Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Phantom Thread” each earned best picture nominations in January, marking the first time Focus has scored twice in one year. Also recognized were leads Gary Oldman, as Winston Churchill, and Daniel Day-Lewis, as a circa-1950s London fashion designer. The two films received six nominations apiece, while Stephen Frears’ “Victoria & Abdul,” starring Judi Dench, picked up a pair. Overall, Focus was second only to Fox Searchlight Pictures in total bids per studio, and Oldman is considered the front-runner for the actor Oscar.

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