Hammond’s Early Blind Side Call

L.A. Times/Envelope columnist Pete Hammond was way in front of everyone on calling The Blind Side as a Best Picture contender and especially as a Best Actress shot for Sandra Bullock. Here’s how it went down, according to an e-mail he sent around this morning:


(l. to r.) Sandra Bullock, Pete Hammond, Roger Durling.

“I first saw The Blind Side on the WB lot on October 15th. This was roughly five weeks before opening, and there were about five people in the screening room. I called WB the next day and asked them afterwards if they knew what they had, that this was Bullock’s Erin Brockovich, and said she can get an Oscar nomination if they campaign it. They weren’t even planning to do that at this stage.

“I held off writing about it and predicting the Oscar nomination until Nov 4th — the first time I talked it up.

“The same day I participated in the first Gurus Of Gold on November 4th and was the only pundit predicting Bullock then. (Aside to Poland: If I hadn’t put her on there she wouldn’t have even made your Gurus list, David!)

“On November 23rd I wrote about it again after the opening weekend’s boxoffice report and put out a public plea for someone, ANYONE to join me on buzzmeter in predicting Bullock. Again I was still alone.”

Wells to Hammond: I might have joined you, Pete, if the brainiacs at Warner Bros. publicity had the horse sense to invite me to their early screenings, which of course in their stupendous and magnificent obstinacy they don’t.

Hammond, Durling and myself at ’07 Santa Barbara Film Festival.

“That article was used by Santa Barbara Film Festival chief Roger Durling in convincing Sandra’s reps to commit to a tribute and award at the SBIFF when a Best Actress nomination seemed still like a longshot. He first contacted them after the first article on November 4th. He hadn’t even seen the movie at that point.

“This coming Friday night I am hosting the SBIFF American Riviera award tribute to Sandra’s career at the 2200-seat Arlington. Roger told me it is the fastest-selling tribute in the 25-year history of the festival.”

33 thoughts on “Hammond’s Early Blind Side Call

  1. Congratulations, Pete Hammond! I know that the road was hard, the obstacles aplenty. Along the way there were naysayers of all stripes, and those who said it just. Could. Not. Be. Done. But you proved that with hard work, inspiration, persistence of vision, and the best goddamn support team in this business (yay!) that anything is possible. This night is yours. Celebrate. Dance. Drink well. Eat heartily. You have earned it, my friend. Tonight, a weary but grateful town raises its glasses and tips its hats. To you. No one else. But you.

  2. With all due respect to Pete, who I like a lot, this is the second year in a row that he’s taken credit for predicting something that he didn’t predict. True, he floated the idea of “The Reader” getting nominated last year and he floated the idea of “The Blind Side” getting nominated this year, but when it came time to pull the trigger and include them in his final projections he didn’t. As the only regular Oscar blogger who DID predict “The Reader” (http://bit.ly/dkODfB) and one of only two who DID predict “The Blind Side” (http://bit.ly/aSmPBh), it’s hard to stand by and watch that silently.

  3. Those SBIFF folks sure sound a little, I dunno, lame. Fastest selling ever for Bullock? No way, there must be something else there as well. Free drinks?

  4. Jeff must be writing up a lengthy tribute to David Brown not to have commented on his passing yet.

    The phrase “an end to an era” is pretty overused these days, but Brown certainly deserves the tribute. Salinger at 91, Brown at 93 – who is going to complete this threesome?

  5. And I “called” Ray Rice blowing up this year by drafting him in the 6th Round of my fantasy draft….

    It’s the same thing, isn’t it?

  6. Yes, but I also got Rice – in the 15th round. I’m multifaceted awesome.

    (I’m obviously just ribbing Hammond’s e-mail. I’m sure I could also dig and find my prediction that, no way, Americans aren’t going to elect a black guy named “Obama.”)

  7. I think that the folks running Carey Mulligan’s Best Actress campaign have a serious shot at taking down Sandra Bullock, if they go about it right (which is to say, flooding the voting body with screeners, taking out lots of ads, etc.). Think Maggie Smith in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which was a huge upset in 1970, Think Marion Cotillard. Think Juliette Binoche. Surprises are always more apt to happen in the actress categories, and Bullock looks to me like a very soft front-runner.

  8. I took Ray Rice in the sixth round as well. However, if you’re playing in a league where Rice was still available in the 15th round, then – I’m sorry – you’re playing with a bunch of nincompoops. Either that or you’re playing in a league with only four teams.

  9. Pete needs to send out an email to remind us what he thought of last year’s other big movies:

    Extract – Flat-out hilarious. A terrific, smart and really funny comedy.

    G-Force – Hilarious! Pure family fun: Action, laughs and heart.

    Old Dogs – Riotously funny!

    It’s Complicated – Movies don’t get any funnier than this!

    Amelia – Amelia is grand entertainment in the best tradition of the movies.

    Battle for Terra – Mind-blowing 3-D animation.

    Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – The most purely entertaining and inventive animated comedy of the year.

    Race To Witch Mountain – Race To Witch Mountain has it all!

    Earth – Earth is a breathtaking motion picture achievement.

    Race To Witch Mountain – A fun, heart-racing adventure

    A Christmas Carol – Spectacular!

    The Maid – First class…simply superb!

    Whip It – Juno’s Ellen Page is superb

    The Boys – Extraordinary!

    The Burning Plain – A certain must-see this fall!

    Brothers – An Oscar-worthy must-see movie for our times.

    17 Again – Zac Efron shoots and scores!

    Confessions of a Shopaholic – Hilarious! Confessions is a nonstop laughing spree.

    Hammond was named 2009′s Whore of the Year by eFilmCritic for his non-stop deluge of raves for every movie he sees — http://efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=2904

    He may be a “nice guy” but jeesh, what a publicity whore!

  10. I called Sandra Bullock back in August!

    Of course that was for All about Steve.

    And it was for a Razzie.

    But I was right! Where’s my celebratory fellating email to my colleagues?!?

  11. That Hammond email is RIDICULOUS. It’s a desperate plea that says Hey, remember me! I’m relevant! And while we’re playing this SILLY game, you weren’t the only one predicting Blind Side, Feinberg, and I doubt you’re counting me as the other one… but your predictions were a factor in my own so thanks for that… http://theinsneider.blogspot.com/2010/02/insneiders-final-2010-oscar-predictions.html

    As soon as I saw Invictus I knew it’d be a Freeman-only nominee (it wasn’t — Damon got in too, UGH!) but you don’t see me sending out a mass email poking fun at everyone who was still predicting it’d make the 10, based on the Clint Eastwood MYTHOS.

    Gotta love the Oscar blog game. The knives came out in the past 24 hours. Jeez!

  12. “Jeez, I’m really curious as to what jdmabby did.”

    He/she/it was a spammer – nothing controversial.

    As for my fantasy football league, I play in a 10-team league (yes, one woman) – BUT we play with individual defensive players as well, so our draft goes a lot longer and “sleepers” are taken later than usual.

    Ok, back to our movie discussion…

  13. Now we know exactly who to blame for this if she wins. I can tolerate a nomination…. but if she wins (as it’s becoming likely) we can all shake our fists and yell “HAMMOND!”

  14. Well, not to brag, but I told everyone the Best Picture nominees would be a mix of popular blockbusters and critic favorites so, you know, I’m a game changer like Hammond. Oh, and I’m going out on a limb and saying right now that “Toy Story III” is going to be nominated for best animated film.

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