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Beasts comes to Oscars with tiny budget, first-time director

Published on Feb 23, 2013 6:09 AM

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Beasts of the Southern Wild, nominated for four Oscars including Best Picture, is one the most unlikely contenders ever for Hollywood's top honours.

Produced for just US$1.5 million (S$1.9 million) by a collective of first-time filmmakers who bunked in a fishing shack during the shooting, it is considered a long-shot to win the top Oscar, but it has already set a new standard for thrifty filmmaking in an industry that routinely spends 100 times more for a major picture.

"It's the perfect combination of art and commerce, but the commerce was made a lot better because of that price," said Fox studio chairman Jim Gianopulos, whose Fox Searchlight Pictures unit distributes the film in the United States (US).

The film, set in the swamps of Louisiana near New Orleans, portrays the fierce pride and intimate, if dysfunctional, culture of a community on the furthest margins of society.

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