Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil has
written that Lincoln is “looking good” for the Best
Picture Oscar, “but don’t wager money on it…it’s
not a lock. Lincoln will probably have the biggest tally
when nominations are announced on January 10th and that’s key. The
movie with the most bids wins the top Oscar about 75% of the time.
However, it’s very vulnerable and its
rivals are strong.”
O’Neil suspects that Lincoln won’t win Best Picture
from the Critics’ Choice Awards on January 10th “and that usually
matters a lot,” he writes. “Over the past 10
years, that trophy...
With all the online-voting issues going on, you’d think the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would extend
the balloting deadline by 72 hours, or to Monday, January 7 at 5
pm. Give people a bit more extra time to watch those
screeners, etc. But no — they’ve decided to bump it a mere 24
hours. The new deadline is Friday, January 4th, at 5
Those who can’t finagle their way through the Academy’s
much-lamented online voting software will have the option of
submitting a paper ballot. They can buy #2 pencils and erasers at
CVS or Walmart.
“By extending the voting deadline [by 24 hours] we are providing
every opportunity available to make the transition to online
balloting as smooth as possible,” Academy COO Ric
Robertson said in a
statement. In other words,...
Today and yesterday friends and readers have told me they’ve
gone to the site and seen nothing — a blank page.
Or they’ve gone to the site, seen the front page but gotten nothing
when they click on a jump page. I noticed this myself early this
morning while using Firefox and Google Chrome browsers, and
occasionally with Safari. (I don’t use IE or Opera.)
I naturally took this up with the all-but-worthless,
know-nothing techies at my appalling internet service provider
known as Softlayer. I
started a trouble ticket with them but it took hours to find a tech
support person whose vocabulary and attitude indicated even a
glimmer of intelligence and/or a willingness to try and solve the
This is my fault, of course, because I didn’t ditch these guys
last year. My life becomes a head-throbbing hell
when this stuff happens. And it totally turns off the juices...
I was working on a Most Noteworthy HE Jottings of 2012 piece. Pick and highlight the best stuff posted throughout the year, month by month. But that was too hard to do in a single day. I should have begun a few days ago — my bad. And then some more technical crap happened. Awful stuff. I’m glad I don’t own a gun. Sometimes I just want to inject opiates. But there’s comfort, at least, in knowing I’ll remember Fake Armond’s “fine mulled wine” tweet for many years to come.
It’s being reported that Republican intransigence will cause Congress to miss the fiscal cliff deadline, and so the country technically will go over it tonight…but with a bungee cord. So forget crashing on the rocks.
2012 began with the depression of The Artist being the
all-but-guaranteed Best Picture winner, and it’s ended with the
depression of Oscar handicappers (Gurus of Gold, Gold Derby guys)
lazily forecasting with all the vim and vigor of a 74 year-old fat
man that Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln has
the strongest head of steam, blah blah. Please
don’t listen to their tired consensus thinking, which is a kind of
virus that spreads from one lazy mentality to the next.
Not Lincoln — I’m down on my knees — and anyone but
King Poobah Rajah Sultan Spielberg. Zero Dark
Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow, Silver Linings
Playbook‘s David O. Russell, Amour‘s
Michael Haneke…please! And dear merciful God,
As The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a very tedious film to sit through, I find it appalling — almost mystifying — that fans the world over are paying to see it in record numbers. $222,703,000 stateside, $464 million overseas and a general worldwide haul of $686 million. There really is something wrong with spending that much on a film this tiresome and overlong. Taste (even geek taste) has little to do with it. They saw the Rings trilogy so they have to see the new one. Obsessive, sad, depressing. I’m averting my eyes from here on.
New Year’s Eve (i.e., Monday night) is always lame and New
Year’s Day is the emptiest day of the
year…flatline. The ballot deadline for the
Writers Guild awards is at 10 pm on Wednesday,
January 2nd with the nominations out the next morning. The
Oscar ballot deadline is late on Thursday, January
3rd. And then the National Society of Film Critics
will announce their awards on Saturday, 1.5.
And then come the all-important DGA nominations
on Tuesday morning, January 8th. The BAFTA
nominations will be known on Wednesday morning, January
9th. Oscar nominations happen the next morning —
Thursday, January 10th — at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am. That night
the 18th Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will
broadcast. And then the Golden Globe awards happen on Sunday night,
their importance somewhat diminished by...
Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, my longtime Oscar Poker partner until we split up two or three months ago, accepted my invitation to do another one for old time’s sake. We covered everything, except I thought Sasha was recording and she thought I was recording. We talked for a good 90 minutes or so, and it was all for naught. Then I started recording and we did about 49 minutes’ worth. Happy New Year.
A tweet this morning from The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg asked if Andres Muschietti‘s Mama (Universal, 1.18) might have a Norbit-like affect upon the chances of Best Actress contender Jessica Chastain, who plays Mama’s female lead. Reactions were swift and dismissive. Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro, is being described as somewhere between good and not half bad.
The following story about Steven Spielberg‘s
initial connection with Lincoln star Daniel Day
Lewis was apparently included an
11.30 Oprah Now interview. I may have heard it and
brushed it aside, but I don’t think so.
“For a time I was going do [Lincoln] with Liam
Neeson,” Spielberg explained. “But then, you know, we just
decided to move in two different directions. I was sitting around
at home one day realizing I’m never going to make Lincoln.
It’s just never going to happen.
“And Leo DiCaprio came over for dinner that
night. It was just my wife and Leo and myself. We were sitting
around and Leo said, ‘What’s happening with Lincoln?
You’ve been, what, five years on...
Mom isn’t just weeping after seeing Les Miserables; she’s fairly devastated and having trouble explaining why. Everyone else in the car either has a case of the giggles or is going “okay, I respect your reaction but not so much on my end.” (Tip of the hat to Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone.)
I like to think of my own life in this way. I am living a kind
of Steve Winwood “high” life without the big
money, or life as defined by a series of highs rather than one of
“stability” in the old-fashioned, white-picket-sense of that term
(which my parents invested in). I live in order to feel high and
spread highs of a certain kind.
Another way to put it is that I live in order to celebrate dream
states that have obviously been made, at root, to fuel the fires of
commerce, which is where the vaguely dirty aspect comes in. Except
I love revenue. Who doesn’t?
There’s also the “constant fighting with people who disagree and
are looking to spread poison by tearing you down any which way”
aspect, but that will never go away.
All I know is that writing this column sure beats working. Which
“Art is an inherently amoral and ruthless
enterprise, however much we may want to believe
This is a quote from Andrew O’Hehir‘s
12.29 Salon analysis of the Zero Dark Thirty
shitstorm. Many of us go to films hoping to be blown away or
mesmerized or emotionally melted down, period. We just want the
movie to work. We’re not uninterested in its
political leanings, or oblivious to same, but most of us, I think,
are willing to process this as connected-but-separate dish.
Others want their movies above all to stand on the right
side. They want their art to be moral and
compassionate. In exactly the same way, I feel, that the
Soviet bureaucrats of the 1930s wanted their art to celebrate the
glorious wheat farmers of the Ukraine. The...
12.27 N.Y. Times interview with Zero Dark
Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow, Brooks
Barnes writes that Bigelow and ZD30 screenwriter-producer
Mark Boal “have succeeded — perhaps a bit too well
— in renewing a conversation about America’s use of torture to
But Bigelow “was not particularly keen to discuss
torture over lunch, she said, partly because she wants her
work to speak for itself and partly because she is aware that
any public comments could just add fuel to the
I love and admire Bigelow, but c’mon. The anti-ZD30
rhetoric has obviously been raging over the Christmas holidays, and
it’s become clear that the Hollywood Stalinists have
The only time Harry Carey, Jr.
half-got me was when he played young Dan Latimer in Howard
River (’48). He’s on his horse, gently calming the
herd…”whoa, dogies, whoa”…when Tom Dunson (John
Wayne) and Matthew Garth (Montgomery
Clift) come up to chat. Latimer tells Dunson that when
they reach Missouri and everyone gets paid he plans to buy his wife
a pair of red shoes.
An hour later the cattle go on a stampede and Latimer is
trampled to death. They find what might be his body but can only
presume it’s him because he was wearing a checkered shirt. Dunson
tells Garth to give full pay to Latimer’s wife, “just like he
finished the drive…and, uh, … anything else you can think of.”
I know the 1950s are generally regarded as a moderately prudish or at least somewhat restrictive era in terms of sexual content in movies, TV and advertising. But I doubt if any copy for a 2012 one-sheet would allude to a woman’s “soft mouth” for fear of sounding soft-porny. This poster is currently hanging in the Academy’s main lobby as part of a general Stanley Kubrick exhibit.
Quentin Tarantino attempted one of his
career-resuscitation moves when he cast Breaking Away‘s
Dennis Christopher and 48 HRS. and
Drugstore Cowboy costar James Remar roles
in small Django Unchained roles. Very good for all three.
But I’ve watched Django one and a half times and I
never recognized Christopher or Remar. Certainly nothing
they said or did popped through. I had to
read about it, etc.
12.27 Hollywood Reporter story about how
Academy members are having difficulty with online Oscar
voting (possibly due to forgetting passwords, but with
more than one industry source describing the site as a
“disaster,” says Feinberg) is the equivalent of
a weatherman reporting rainshowers on election
It simply means that some of the older voters (who tend to vote
in a conservative, status-quo, go-along way) might possibly throw
up their hands and not vote, which probably means a slight
weakening of support for lazy-default favorites like Lincoln,
Life of Pi and Les Miserables. I can’t imagine what
else it might portend. Older people have always had and always will
have trouble with passwords and whatnot, and software guys always
have and always...
There are only five blazingly well-crafted, obviously
levitational 2012 films that truly deserve to be Best Picture
nominated. Not eight, seven or six…five. One of
these is Michael Haneke‘s Amour, although
I’m presuming it’s been relegated in most minds to the Best Foreign
Language category. The second of these, Leo
Carax‘s Holy Motors, has barely been seen and
hasn’t a chance. Joe Wright‘s Anna
Karenina has been seen, but has been widely dismissed by too
many critics (to their eternal discredit) that it’s almost
certainly a non-starter.
That leaves Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark
Thirty and David O. Russell‘s Silver
Linings Playbook. These are the only two main-event sluggers
with that special blend of craft, command and
transportation that people...
12.27 “Top Ten Worst movies of 2012″ piece, Rope of
Silicon‘s Brad Brevet has called Joe
Wright‘s Anna Karenina a “dud.” No, it
isn’t. It’s a brave and visionary film (in my view the
bravest film of the year) that people with Brevet’s sensibility
have, to their profound shame and discredit, tried to characterize
as some kind of dud embarassment with a litany of flip, snarky
There should be laws and prosecutions and penalties for this
kind of thing, I swear to God.
Anna Karenina is in no way, shape or form a
shortfaller. The shortfallers, trust me, are the
critics. It’s a “serious, drop-your-socks knockout — the
first truly breathtaking high-style film of the year, a non-musical
successor to Moulin...
I’ve never called Silver Linings Playbook a romantic
comedy, although it is comedic and unmistakably
romantic at the end, and it does, to its detractors’ discomfort,
use a familiar and formulaic romcom-type ending (although
David O. Russell shapes and renders it in a novel,
engaging, live-wire way). It’s a much smarter and deeper thing than
your typical Kate Hudson or Katherine
Heigel film, for sure, and much more skillfully made. But
you wouldn’t be wildly off if you called it a “romantic
I would call Silver Linings a manic romantic
dramedy about anxiety, obsession, family and
sports-betting superstition. It obviously doesn’t walk or talk and
go for the easy-lay emotion like the other romcoms, but it’s
certainly an oddball cousin...
In this Sunday’s N.Y. Times Oscar section, critic
provides a nice reputational upgrade to David O.
Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook by comparing it
Michael Haneke‘s Amour, or more precisely
by evaluating them as equally strong and honorable films.
Amour and Silver Linings Playbook “are as
different from each other in mood, look, feeling, cinematic
technique and visual style as is possible to find in theaters,”
observes. “[And yet] both are love stories. One shows love and
a shared life at their inception; the other shows life, and the
love that it sustained, ending. How Mr. Haneke...
Today I ordered an English Bluray of Liliana Cavani‘s The Night Porter, which in my book is probably the most artistically valid expression of the Nazi-Fascist Perversion cycle of the early to mid ’70s. (Along with Salo and 1900, I suppose.) This scene is arguably the iconic-erotic highpoint of Charlotte Rampling‘s early career. I’m 90% sure someone is now going to write in and say “thanks for the warning…watching this video could get me fired!”
I’m sorry if the title of this post has struck some as vulgar, but (a) I love the sound of it and (b) with what other story or riff could I use it?
The best part of this
Throck Morton video is the gas station fill-up. The LACMA
Kubrick exhibition tour portion isn’t riveting, but it does give
you a pretty good idea of what it is. The fisheye-lens headcam
delivers reasonably good quality. I intend to purchase one for my
own adventures. I’m thinking of visiting the LACMA Kubrick show
sometime this week. I saw the show at the Cinematheque
Francais in May 2011, and reported as follows:
“The Stanley Kubrick exposition at the Cinematheque Francais is
a very thorough, abundantly detailed and absorbing presentation of
Kubrick’s 54-year career, beginning with his photographer period
(which began in 1945 when he took a...
I told a friend that I had a dream the other night, and in it a
well-known critic was murdered. It was a horrible dream. A kind of
nightmare really. The friend suggested that the critic was being
dispatched because he’s a fan of Lincoln. I laughed and
said “that’s funny,” but I reminded her that I’ve never hated
Lincoln. I hate the Lincoln Best Picture talk —
that’s the difference.
I reminded her that I gave Lincoln a passing grade in
my initial review….a pass with reservations. A good, intelligent
film that is also a doleful, talky, slow, ponderous civics lesson.
Plus that hateful Janusz Kaminski lighting scheme
as a kicker. Yeesh.
“But there are worse films than Lincoln that could win
Best Picture,” my friend replied. “Good intentions and all of that.
Lincoln has made $120 million at the box office and is the