BBC Culture

Did the Pope help Philomena's Oscar campaign?

Philomena Lee and actor Steve Coogan met with the pontiff and in doing so may have given a boost to the film Philomena’s Academy Awards prospects.

It is no secret that movie studios campaign for the Academy Awards. In fact, many producers even take out ads in trade publications like Variety and The Hollywood Reporter to encourage the 6,000 voters who decide the Oscars to choose their film for recognition.

But some industry insiders say these campaigns have become much more elaborate. The film Philomena’s star Steve Coogan and its real-life inspiration, Philomena Lee – a woman whose child was put into adoption by the Catholic Church against her will – met with Pope Francis in Rome. Similarly, in a much publicised gesture, Leonardo DiCaprio gave President Obama a DVD of The Wolf of Wall Street.

Tom Brook investigates whether or not these interactions with high-profile figures really have an effect on the movies’ Oscar chances.

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