Oscar Poker #19 is a discussion between myself, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and Hollywood & Fine‘s Marshall Fine about the stunning Oscar-race turnaround of the past week. Here’s a non-iTunes link. And here’s a bonus link to the first half-hour of yesterday’s Oscar Blogger podcast.
Seth Rogen, James Franco — Saturday, 1.29, 9:55 pm.
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, King’s Speech screenwriter David Seidler — Saturday, 1.29, 10:45 am.
Some guy I don’t recognize (sorry), Seidler, Toy Story 3 screenwriter Michael Arndt (hat, dark greenish-gray military shirt).
Santa Barbara Film Festival “cancer bear” (signed by celebrities).
For whatever reason, watching this clip an hour ago just lifted me out of my King’s Speech melancholia. I’ve been living with it for six days now. It’s been like a chest cold only worse. Now, suddenly, I feel like there’s oxygen in my system again. Go figure.Read More »
Every time I re-watch my Bluray of Tony Gilroy‘s Michael Clayton, which seems a bit more masterful each time, I feel a little bit worse about not being more enthusiastic when it first came out 40 months ago. I didn’t put enough feeling into my riffs about it. Calling it “never boring,” “a tense adult thriller about some unsettled and anxious people” and “as seasoned and authentic as this kind of thing can be” didn’t get it. I held back and over-qualified. And I’m sorry.Read More »
John Barry‘s Oscar-winning Out of Africa score was his masterpiece, I think. And this orchestral, overture-like version of Barry’s Born Free theme is much more moving than the pop song that everyone knows. Something about the vastness of Africa obviously moved Barry, and this, I think, should be his legacy.Read More »
Last night’s Santa Barbara Film Festival Chris Nolan tribute was fine. Nolan was gracious and charming in his usual curt-but-frank sort of way, and moderator Pete Hammond asked lively and intelligent questions. And it was cool when Leonardo DiCaprio (wearing a super-short 1930s haircut for Clint Eastwood‘s J. Edgar, which starts shooting on 2.5) stepped out to present the Modern Master award.
Modern Master award recipient Christopher Nolan (l.), moderator Pete Hammond (r.) at Santa Barbara’s Arlington theatre — Sunday, 1.30, 8:40 pm.
The after-party happened at some ESPN tin-shack honky tonk-type joint on lower State Street. I’m sorry but I’m not very big on places that have...Read More »
The King’s Speech has won SAG’s Best Ensemble award, thus triple-confirming the inevitable Best Picture win. Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. Actually they probably do know what they do and don’t give a shit about the judgment of history.Read More »
In today’s N.Y. Times, A.O. Scott has lamented with good reason “the peculiar and growing irrelevance of world cinema in American movie culture, which the Academy Awards help to perpetuate.” Diminishing education standards have surely fed into this. American backwater types have long regarded foreign-language films as too challenging or not comforting enough, but I’ve been sensing gradually lessening interest levels even among urbans over the last 20 or 25 years.
“There are certainly examples from the last decade of subtitled films, Oscar-nominated or not, that have achieved some measure of popularity,” Scott writes. “But these successes seem more and more like...Read More »
No one cares about Henry Cavill being handed the big role in Zack Snyder‘s Superman: Man of Steel — nobody. The film will sell tickets when it opens and the Comic-Con fools will do their usual-usual and not a bird will stir in the trees. I agree with Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet that Snyder’s statement (“I am honored to be a part of [Superman's] return…I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are” about this) indicates that hiring Cavill wasn’t entirely his decision.
Last night’s James Franco tribute at the Santa Barbara Film Festival started out badly due to Franco arriving on stage almost exactly an hour late, apparently due to an Oscar rehearsal session running late. But after he finally sat down with interviewer Leonard Maltin, Franco was so Zen and relaxed and articulate in a kind of shoulder-shrugging way that he wound up seeming like the coolest, most spiritually together guest this festival has ever hosted.
He just didn’t try to “turn on the charm” or project or win anyone over. He just sat there and smiled or smirked when the mood struck and just let it all happen, man…whatever. Well, not “whatever” but a kind of...Read More »
The Santa Barbara News-Press website is apparently too lame to link to its own front-page stories, so I’ll just summarize a portion of Ted Mills‘ 1.30 article about yesterday’s SBIFF screenwriters panel at the Lobero theatre. Mills mis-characterizes a question I asked of The King’s Speech screenwriter David Seidler and mis-leads about the facts behind it, so I need to straighten this out.
Mills reports that my “stunner” of a question “asked Seidler to respond to charges from from Christopher Hitchens [in a 1.24 Slate article] that The King’s Speech glorifies a monarch who was anti-Semitic.”
All right, stop right there. I never uttered the term...Read More »
I’m of two minds about this afternoon’s Irish Wake at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, otherwise known as the Santa Barbara Film Festival Blogger’s Panel (4 to 5:30 pm, 1130 State Street). On one hand I’d like as many people as possible to come because it’ll feel like a less miserable thing with friends offering hugs. On the other hand the only way to get through it might be to bring a quart of Jack Daniels and pass it around. Either way you don’t want the panelists to outnumber the audience.
Because the only thing anyone will want to talk about is last night’s impact grenade — i.e., The King’s Speech‘s Tom Hooper winning the DGA award for feature directing, and thereby all but settling the Best Picture race. It’ll basically be an occasion for...Read More »
Here are some quotes I’ve read over the last 12 or 13 hours since the news broke that Tom Hooper has won the DGA award for best feature directing, and thus more or less confirming a forthcoming Best Picture Oscar win by The King’s Speech.
(l. to r.) DGA nominees Tom Hooper, David O. Russell, Darren Aronofsky, Chris Nolan and David Fincher at last night’s event.
“Being in the room last night for the DGA Awards, I can tell you the audience was stunned over the Hooper win…Kathryn Bigelow (who read the winner) was visibly shocked…one of the other directors (not Fincher) couldn’t contain himself and let out a howl of laughter. Having been to a lot of these award shows this season a bit…I’m sure all of the directors want to win themselves, but get the...Read More »
Devotees of eternal cinematic Movie Godz justice are tonight contemplating the drinking of hemlock, the inhaling of lethal gas and leaping from high cliffs. For Tom Hooper, a highly talented, handsome, intelligent and quite likable fellow who directed a very commendable 1993 film called The King’s Speech, has won the DGA award for feature film directing…and when I heard this news about 80 minutes ago, I folded. My face turned ashen gray and I died a little inside. Because I knew then and there that the Best Picture Oscar race was all but over. The King’s Speech will almost certainly win and The Social Network will lose.
As satisfying and well-wrought as The King’s Speech is in the realm of old-fashioned, emotionally reassuring cinema, this is an Oscar night that will live in infamy...Read More »
Last night’s Annette Bening tribute at the Santa Barbara Film Festival (i.e., a bestowing of the American Riviera Award at the Arlington theatre) was a pleasure — good conversation between Bening and SBIFF festival chief Roger Durling, a toney film-clip reel that Durling had personally supervised in editing, a gracious award-presenting speech from Kevin Costner and a pace that moved right along.
An elegant after-party was held at the sprawling Montecito estate of SBIFF board of director honcho Jeff Barbakow and his wife Sharon. Anne Thompson, Dana Harris and I...Read More »
A friend with a migraine is sleeping it off in my Santa Barbara hotel room, so I went down to a Starbucks at the corner of State and Cota to do some filing. I saw an empty table with a cup of latte-or-whatever sitting on top of it, but no one in either chair. I figured the person who’d ordered was in the bathroom. The general rule, of course, is that single customers can save a chair but not a whole table, which are frequently shared. So I sat down in one of the chairs and plugged in the computer, etc.
Knock-knock. Some tall guy outside who was talking on his cell phone was tapping on the window next to the table and gesturing at the coffee cup. I grinned and gestured as if to say, “Yes, that’s your coffee and your chair, but you don’t own the table, pal….sorry.” He rapped on the window again, more sharply this time, emphasizing that the coffee cup meant that he has hunkies and does in fact own the table, including both...Read More »
Why stop with Egypt? Let the revolutionary wildfire spread across borders and continents and into conference rooms. Get rid of every greedy, corrupted and insensitive top dog in every country, city, corporation and poorly-managed Walmart. Cleanse the world of all snakes and dogs in one great tidal backwash. Obviously I’m joking, but why can’t the fever just spread up and down the Nile and out into the Mediterranean and across the oceans? The idea is thrilling.
Yesterday morning the conventional wisdom was that either that (a) Mubarak, his family and associates leave Cairo in a helicopter in the wee hours, or (b) Cairo will become another Tiananmen Square. Now the word is that Cairo cops...Read More »
This is nearly a week old and covered with dust, but the universe isn’t big enough for two icky-sticky downer movies about poor Linda Lovelace. I wasn’t overjoyed about Matthew Wilder‘s Inferno (the former Lindsay Lohan project, now starring Malin Akerman) but I was willing to deal with it on some level. But a second competing version starring Kate Hudson as Linda and James Franco as Chuck Traynor is just impossible. There’s just not enough psychic space for both. One of them has to go. In fact, kill them both. Wait a minute…
Brainstorm: Combine both casts for a single film about Linda...Read More »
I could watch this kind of thing all day. The mirror work is so great. Received a few hours ago by Fox Searchlight’s Nicolas Sera-Leyva…thanks.Read More »
My understanding of Charlie Sheen‘s sad and tedious situation is that eventually (five, ten years down the road) he’ll understand where his life is going, wake up and change course, or eventually (five, ten years down the road) he’ll be found dead. And no one will be the least bit surprised.
I’ll never been able to understand how cocaine use goes along with enjoying the company of prostitutes. Because in my experience with this idiotic substance (I dabbled in the early ’80s), it was clear early on that doing lines “interferes,” so to speak. An old Robin Williams coke joke — “makes me paranoid and impotent…aahh, give me more of that!” — pretty much summed it up.Read More »
Because he’s a heavy-cat artiste drawn to an “off” visual style, Filmmaker magazine’s Jamie Stuart (i.e., the New York blizzard short-film guy) has shot interviews with Martha Marcy May Marlene costars Elizabeth Olsen and John Hawkes in a way that obscures their faces in amber-rosey shadows.
Remember that early scene in Reds when patrons of a Portland art gallery call Diane Keaton/Louise Bryant‘s photographs “blurry,” and how Warren Beatty/John Reed makes the same remark when he visits her studio?Read More »
Susanne Bier‘s In A Better World, winner of the 2010 Golden Globe for Best Foreign Feature, was the last film I saw in Park City. Within a half hour I knew I’d be putting it at the top of my Best of Sundance list. This is an emotionally vivid, sharply written drama about forgiveness and revenge, and how their coexistence can cause conflict and distress. In this sense In A Better World is like a moralistic cousin of Clint Eastwood‘s Unforgiven.
What’s especially strong about Bier’s film is that she shows us how the latter option can sometimes feel better and more “right” than gentleness and compassion and turning the...Read More »
For me a great or very good ending is almost half the game. The rest is covered by (a) the famous Howard Hawks dictum about a good film needing “three great scenes and no bad ones,” and (b) the HE rule that a lead character can’t irritate or alienate or piss you off. But a great ending can persuade you to forgive a film for an awful lot of things.
It’s understood that most Sundance films either don’t get or are unable to subscribe to the great ending rule. And I realize, of course, that people would completely reject any Sundance film that tries to imitate the finale of Billy Wilder‘s The Apartment. We all understand that it worked back...Read More »
I posted nearly 50 times during my eight-day Sundance stay — riffs, photos, reviews, video clips, complaints, praisings, interviews — and saw about 22 films, give or take. I was up at 6:30 or 7 am every day and usually quit around 1 am, and despite this I couldn’t cover what I wanted to cover and deliver decent HE material.
No one-man-band can beat that festival. You can only go there, work your fingers to the bone, do your best and not nail it. Every year my Sundance experience is about a win-lose ratio of 40-60, if that. You’re always missing two or three or four things in order to do one thing, and then the next day you’re seeing stuff that you missed a day or two earlier, but that means missing more new stuff. You tell yourself that you’re going to work harder than ever before, and it doesn’t effing matter.
It didn’t help that I...Read More »
“Anyone who has worked at the N.Y. Times understands that it is a uniquely complicated organism…the hubris, the institutional arrogance, the rigidity, the arena of court politics,” says TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman. “[But still] a vital contribution to democratic society that we can hardly afford to lose.”
And yet Andrew Rossi‘s Page One, she says,...Read More »
The standout factor, for me, isn’t the violent conflict between young Egyptian militants and police in Cairo, or the economic factors driving the fury. It’s that none of this would be happening if it hadn’t been for the recent government overthrow in Tunisia. Political rage can ignite very suddenly. Why did many Eastern European socialist governments all topple within months of each other in 1989? All it takes is a flash of a match.
It’s too bad in a sense because Hosni Mubarak, autocratic dictator that he is, has been essentially pro-Israel and a force for political moderation and stablization for the last three decades. If he goes...Read More »