It has been tipped as a major awards-season contender.
But a picture is beginning to emerge of the struggle faced by Martin Scorsese to achieve victory for his racy drama The Wolf of Wall Street at next year's Oscars ceremony after the veteran film-maker was harangued at an official Academy screening at the weekend.
Scorsese, who was in attendance at the Samuel Goldwyn theatre in Los Angeles for a post-screening Q&A, emerged from a lift to be told "shame on you" and "disgusting" by an unnamed screenwriter who had seen the film, according to a Facebook post by actor Hope Holiday which was first noted by The Wrap.
Holiday, 75, who starred in the classic 1960 Billy Wilder comedy The Apartment, hinted that the reaction reflected the views of many older, conservative Oscars voters for whom The Wolf of Wall Street's gleeful depiction of sex and drug-fuelled stockbroker life was just too much.
"Tonight was torture at the Academy — "The Wolf Of Wall Street" – three hours of torture – same disgusting crap over and over again," she wrote. "After the film they had a discussion which a lot of us did not stay for – the elevator doors opened and Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese and a few others got out. Then a screen writer ran over to them and started screaming – shame on you – disgusting." Holiday confirmed she also "hated" the film, though she admitted that other Oscars voters at the screening applauded.
The Wolf of Wall Street has been at the centre of impressive Oscars buzz from early screenings. But the reaction of some voters at Saturday's screening shows the difficulty Scorsese may have convincing the Academy's ageing membership that he deserves a second best director Oscar.
The Wolf of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the notorious financial fraudster Jordan Belfort. It features scenes of chaotic sex and drug-fuelled parties in the offices of Belfort's 1990s Long Island brokerage house Stratton Oakmont. The movie was named one of the top 10 films of the year by the American Film Institute earlier this month and has generally received rapturous praise from critics.
"On screen, in bespoke TV commercials, Stratton Oakmont is presented as a rock of financial probity, a gilded US institution," wrote The Guardian's Xan Brooks earlier this month. "Down in the boiler room, however, one finds a nightmarish circus of dwarf-throwing contests and rollerskating chimps; a world in which nobody knows anything and the product is vapour. 'Stratton Oakmont is America!' bellows Jordan, camped out at the front desk like some demented MC. How scary it is to realise that he may just be right."
"It's brutal," Scorsese told The Wrap on Friday. "I've seen it with audiences, and I think it plays. I don't know if it will be to everyone's taste – I don't think it will. It's not made for 14-year-olds."
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