The date change is altering the way Academy members will be seeing movies. It’s all starting much earlier, this recent post by Jeff Wells at Hollywood-Elsewhere illustrates — although Paramount also held a similar screening for Not Fade Away. This is a great way to get Academy members to see your movie early, and specifically movies that are better seen with a crowd, what with the date change and all:

There was an Academy-members-only screening Thursday night at the Laurel Canyon home of sound editors Michael and Nancy Ross (who also hosted that Not Fade Awayscreening & after-party that I attended a few weeks back), and I’m told that someone called it Capra-esque. Maybe, yeah…but Capra Redefined for the 21st Century and a Culture of Edge and Anxiety. I hate Capra myself. I think people who fall for It’s A Wonderful Life are easy lays and overly susceptible. But if you want a fairly good explanation how and why SLP comes together, read Brian Ondorf’s 10.24 review on Bluray.com.

Favorite Ondorf line: “When Russell calls on cliche to dig out an ending, he does so with extraordinary skill and euphoric cinematic energy.”

Before the showing Russell told the crowd how Matthew Quick’s book first came to him from Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack, who of course are both gone now. But still with us through this film.

A veteran director friend who attended the Ross screening texted as follows this morning: “Silver Linings Playbook was terrific…has to be the front-runner [now]. Jennifer Lawrence must be favorite for Best Actress Oscar…she hits it out of the park…movie comes doubly alive when she’s on-screen. Bradley for a Best Actor nomination but no win. De Niro probably. Lawrence dead certain. Stand-room-only with Academy voters fighting each other for seats. Cheers at the end.”

The Ross screening was co-hosted by Colleen Camp, Nancy Meyers and Lisa Tomei, I’m told. and was presided over by Oscar strategist Lisa Taback.

 Jeff Wells is currently Silver Lining’s biggest champion and really wants to see it ride the winner’s train all the way home.  A few more movies left to see and then we’ll have a better idea of how this Oscar race is going to play out.  It’s still too soon to know.