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By David Poland

The Truth About Toronto & Oscar

The stark reality of Toronto

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68 Responses to “The Truth About Toronto & Oscar”

  1. jeffmcm says:

    A young, attractive actress, from outside Hollywood, who’s primarily famous for dating Tom Cruise, starring in a non-English film, competing against a number of familiar, previously-nominated actresses, will have an enormous uphill battle.
    For all the crap I give Crash and how awful it was for it to win Best Picture, it’s still a better movie than Memoirs of a Geisha, so we can be grateful that it’s front-runner status was quickly gone.

  2. T.H.Ung says:

    They’re just gonna have to move TIFF to later in the year.

  3. Crow T Robot says:

    The best actress award in this decade has pretty much been a beauty/popularity contest… Roberts, Berry, Kidman, Theron, Swank, Witherspoon…
    Thusly, if looking good is the new criteria for a win, Miss Cruz has got the nut flush.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    You have to remember that Kidman and Theron were playing with heavy make-up (they’re ugly = good acting) and Berry was playing someone of low social standing, Roberts, Kidman, Theron, and Witherspoon were playing real people. All those things that signify awards-worthiness. (And personally, I think Hilary Swank looks too much like Matt Damon to really be considered gorgeous.)
    Most importantly, all of them had paid their dues and were well-known to the Hollywood community. Penelope Cruz’s biggest American hit was Vanilla Sky. If she’s competing with the likes of Mirren, Streep, and Bening, she’s going to need a heavy push from and lots of luck just to get a nomination.

  5. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    dave dave dave. Cohen as a oscar contender for basically doing an impression in an extended TV skit. Next you’ll be saying Rowan Atkinson is a possibilitiy for the new Mr Bean. You amaze me sometimes.. so astute on some topics and so woefully wrong at other times. Its kind of cute that you have this naive kid in the clouds interpretation of film sometimes….however this is not one of them. If Cohen gets even a nom anywhere on earth I’ll eat a live rat.

  6. Sandy says:

    I’m so tired of the same names getting nominations, and as much as I would like to see new faces as winners, AMPAS should wise up and give Kate Winslet an Oscar before Penelope. She is a better actor than some of these recent winners, IMO.

  7. Why is Bobby dead in the water? Because you hated it?

  8. No Kristopher – its because no one can take BOBBY seriously.. click on my name to see why this film never rises above cable fodder

  9. Richard Nash says:

    BOBBY is a dead duck because it’s directed by Emilio Estevez. The actor also did MEN AT WORK which BOBBY makes look good.

  10. Shockingly enough, jaded critics don’t vote for Oscars.

  11. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Kris – judging from the reviews on your site – I’m guessing you’re under 25. {very tidy site btw} So it’s somewhat forgiveable that you’re wowed by the veneer of BOBBY. Those ol academy coots may be moronic at the best of times but even they won’t be swayed by the formulaic BOBBY.

  12. T.H.Ung says:

    Does anyone know if Emilio Estevez is in Toronto with his movie? Whether he is or isn’t is significant.

  13. Two months shy of it, Boam, yes. Though I would figure on the reverse all the same
    And it’s always interesting how age somehow becomes a deciding factor in things of this nature…I seem to recall being slightly chastised for disregarding “Little Children” because I was “young.” Funny, seeing as I loved the book.

  14. James Leer says:

    Has anyone even seen “Notes on a Scandal” yet? I know Dench is an Academy favorite, but can she “clearly” be ahead of the much buzzed-over Cruz, whose performance has been seen and raved over and whose potential nomination would come from another Academy favorite, Pedro Almodovar? Yes, Cruz has been perceived as lightweight in the past, but so had Halle Berry and Hollywood loves it when a disregarded beauty steps up.
    And Penelope’s got prostehtics to boast too…her apparently transformative padded fanny is mentioned in virtually every article about Volver. It’s the Virginia Woolf nose of 2006 (just kidding…kind of).

  15. T.H.Ung says:

    Kris, you guys are reviewing Bobby as an unlocked, work in progress, right? Can you describe the circumstances under which you saw it, like how it was introduced and by whom and whether comments were offered or solicited afterwards.

  16. Jeremy Smith says:

    ELIZABETHTOWN was shown as a “work-in-progress” at Toronto last year, but it was essentially finished (literally and figuratively). At this point in the post-production process, all you can do – short of substantial reshoots – is a bit of trimming. In general, what you screen is what you’ve got.
    And that goes double for BOBBY, one of the worst alleged awards contenders I’ve seen since CRY FREEDOM or TRIUMPH OF THE SPIRIT (Holocaust boxin’!). If Emilio could direct, he might’ve been able to shove his shit sandwich down the gullets of the most impressionable voters (it read like this year’s CRASH), but there’s just no denying what isn’t on the screen – i.e. craft.
    Still, I’m worried that most serious critics aren’t even bothering with BOBBY (for good and very obvious reasons), which might allow it to escape Toronto relatively unscathed. I thought the movie would be close to universally condemned by now; if it slides by, a top ten finish at the National Board of Review isn’t out of the question.
    I hate that I care about this nonsense.

  17. EDouglas says:

    I expect a lot more broken embargos on The Departed after the junket screenings on Thursday.

  18. I saw the film here in LA before Toronto. There were no “conditions,” though I know an original song will be added. Maybe they’ll change some stuff. I doubt it.
    And I maintain anyone who skewers this film really is missing something inside. It’s like the critical community has finally come to a point of being hungry for the power to destroy this film or that. Happens every year. But people keep making the movies they want to make, and at the very least, “Bobby” has passion. You just don’t come across that too often.
    I’ll sit back now and await the “you’re too young” bullshit.

  19. Sorry TH, you’re wording was “cirumstances,” not “conditions.” Hate to misquote…

  20. juligen says:

    why you never talk about Babel ?

  21. T.H.Ung says:

    Thanks Kris, I may have missed it, but are you in Toronto? Either way, do you know if Estevez is there with his film? It “has been showing a lot in the small VIP screening rooms the last couple of days, but it will face the press on a big screen tomorrow morning at 8:45 ayem.” do I need to attibute the quote to which I posted a reply, “TIFF may as well be a big guns screening labratory for TWC, what a way to use the human resources gathered there.” So I asked you, not knowing that you saw it in LA, “Can you describe the circumstances under which you saw it, like how it was introduced and by whom and whether comments were offered or solicited afterwards.”
    When I read this was going to Toronto as a work in progress and I saw the release date Nov. 17, I said jeeze, that’ll be tight. P.S. Jeremy Smith, locked and finished are not synonymous
    terms. Locked is when picture changes end (for all purposes) and finished is when you can strike prints, and I’m sure you know, all lot of things happen and a lot of money is spent in between.
    Kris, you’ve seen it, and you doubt they’ll change some stuff — in the editing room you mean — ok, hmmmm. “…people keep making the movies they want to make…” — who’s with/making Bobby now? Is Estevez there with the movie?

  22. TH:
    No, I’m not in Toronto. My writer, Gerard, is covering the festival for my site, however:
    Estevez is not in Toronto, if I’m not mistaken. He WAS in Venice (where the film was a big hit), but I don’t believe he’s in Toronto.

  23. David Poland says:

    I am willing to cut the ageism out of the conversation, Kris. But if you think Bobby is a powerful, emotional movie, you are missing brain cells.
    TWC, which wisely cancelled its early press screening for the film on Monday, has done a nice job of protecting this thing, but you can’t ask anyone who has seen the film here about it without getting a stunned look and a big laugh, followed by a diatribe about just how bad a movie it is. I have nothing against Estevez. I like much of his work. But this thing has no purpose for being. It is series of stunt-casting acting class scenes with wigs and make-up and no cohesive theme of any kind.
    This movie makes Crash look like a truly great movie. And it’s far from a stand alone opinion. Just because Tom O’Neil and Kris Tapley dig it doesn’t make it fly.
    And JBD, get that shoe ready. Have you even seen the movie or have you just decided that you know everything in the world that can happen? As one person remarked this week, “It’s the ones that everyone says can’t happen that always seem to happen.” There’s no way Clint Eastwood wins with some dark 3-person piece with Hillary Swank playing another butch, jokes about religion, a retarded guy in the gym, and controvery of assisted suicide. No way! Lord of the Rings can never win Best Picture. Charlize Theron is just a blinde Amazon bimbo. A pedophile who can’t come to the ceremony can’t beat the director of the Best Picture winner. Etc, etc, etc.
    You know when things CAN’T happen… when no one will say they can. Aside from that, history is spitting in your eye, not mine.

  24. David Poland says:

    P.S. “He WAS in Venice (where the film was a big hit)”
    Uh… do you really believe everything TWC manages to get written? Were you shocked when it didn’t win the award?

  25. Sergei says:

    Truer words have never been spoken, Dave.

  26. So nasty in here it’s like there’s something worth fighting over…

  27. Jeremy Smith says:

    “P.S. Jeremy Smith, locked and finished are not synonymous terms. Locked is when picture changes end (for all purposes) and finished is when you can strike prints, and I’m sure you know, all lot of things happen and a lot of money is spent in between.”
    Don’t take this as snappish, T.H., but I am well aware of the distinction. And I’ve also seen plenty of unlocked bad movies to know when one is unsalvageable. BOBBY is a sterling example of such a film. It’ll be making a lot of year-end worst lists. Deservedly.

  28. T.H.Ung says:

    Estevez’ been handed his hat. I got it, write narration voice over, tell the story in flashback and cut roles way back when things stall out.

  29. jeffmcm says:

    I would think that Dave would blame the snappishness of that post on exhaustion.
    I will bet anybody $100 right now that Sacha Baron Cohen will not get a Best Actor nomination.

  30. David Poland says:

    Not very snappish… kind, really.
    And betting against is easy. Grow some balls
    (i am tired now… sorry.. but grow a pair.)

  31. jeffmcm says:

    Yes, not snappish at all.

  32. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I’m really confused at David in this thread. Like, why is getting so bloody defensive? Geez. People have DIFFERENT OPINIONS. I don’t remember hearing any reports of Bobby being disastrous at Venice and I highly doubt that everybody who saw it at Toronto would laugh at it if you brough it up. I obviously want the film to be good, but if it’s not so be it. But I find it strange that you can’t even fathom people having a different opinion. We’re not talking about some shit like Basic Instict 2. I imagine many critics and audiences will like it. Does that mean they’re all braindead idiots?
    “Just because Tom O’Neil and Kris Tapley dig it doesn’t make it fly.”
    Just because David Poland doesn’t dig it doesn’t make it sink. Also Emmanuel Levy, Variety and the HR liked it. Take that for what you will, but their word is just as good as yours, Dave.
    Obviously, it could sink – it’s not out for another 2 months though so we won’t know til then. But, really, settle the fuck down or else you’re gonna have a heard attack before December.

  33. EDouglas says:

    I loved Crash. It was one of my favorite movies of last year (top 3) and the way so many critics were trashing it, I thought it was a longshot for Best Picture at best… here’s what I wrote in my column:
    “My Personal Pick: Best Picture nominations can often be linked one-to-one to the films that get the SAG nominations for Best Ensemble Cast, and one movie that is likely to get recognized for its amazing cast and their performances is Crash, written and directed by Paul Haggis, who wrote the screenplay for Clint Eastwood’s Oscar winning Million Dollar Baby last year. Although it’s also been snubbed by those rotten Hollywood Foreign Press journalists, it would be quite a coup if it gets into the Best Picture race based on the script and its talented cast.”
    And that’s exactly what happened. So Estevez and his talents as a director (or lack thereof) has little to do with it.

  34. T.H.Ung says:

    Here’s the stupidest thing I’ve read as an argument, “I don’t remember hearing any reports of Bobby being disastrous at Venice and I highly doubt that everybody who saw it at Toronto would laugh at it if you brough it up.”, against writing with passion and clear eyed reporting.
    And EDouglas, you can write anything you want, but Crash won because actors are a large voting portion and were brilliantly wooed at the last minute away from BBM. TWC thought they had a shot at repeating that this year, but even they apparently know they have a stinker on their hands.
    And as if I haven’t said it already different ways, I find it more telling than any words that Estevez isn’t in Toronto with his progressing baby Bobby.

  35. David Poland says:

    I watched Bobby with Emanuel Levy and we discussed it afterwards. I don’t know what he wrote, but I know what he said.
    And this hasn’t got me exercised. It doesn’t demand that kind of effort.
    Are you really accusing me of lying, Kami? Because I have been here for a week and I have had a lot of conversations about the film with a lot of different people and not one has stepped up to defend the film with any positive comment.
    Doesn’t bother you that the Variety review was from a critic who has written one review for a US release in the last 3 years, for The Road To Guantanamo? If it’s Variety, it’s all the same, no matter what the critic?
    Hey, you want to defend this thing… please feel free. If it was Crash, we’d be having a different conversation. Big difference between a film that has a gimmick that turns some off and some on and a film that just doesn’t work. But hey… “So nasty in here it’s like there’s something worth fighting over…”
    Exactly. Fighting a paper tiger. Poof.

  36. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, Levy gave it a B+ rating in his review. Not exactly a slam, wouldn’t you agree?

  37. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    I respect your opinion and I’m sure you thought it was a bad film (I have no qualms with that – you have hate or love any movie you wish), but I just thought it was going over the top to say that every single person hated it and that anybody who does is losing braincells (or whatever it was you said). Odd considering that you said everybody hated it when clearly there are, as of the moment, those who did like it. You’ve said MANY times that one person’s experience doesn’t equal everyone else’s.
    It was the vitriol I was attacking. I definitely didn’t accuse you of lying, I merely thought you were guilty of a little hyperbole. Am I allowed that?
    I believe Levy gave it a B+ btw. I can see how if you were talking to him it could sound negative.

  38. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    “you have hate or love” should be “you can hate or love”

  39. T.H.Ung says:

    You either want David to take the pulse and report or you want to rely on no nothings for your news. Or you want David to lie and make pretty posts that walk down the center and appease all regardless of what they come here and say. Pick one. A lot of movie goers no doubt will enjoy Bobby, that’s not what we’re talking about here, we are talking about TWC choosing to put Bobby “In Contention” and they’re taking their lumps with the critics — it’s not like they don’t know the movie they have and that they chose to roll the dice with it and gamble a little.

  40. jeffmcm says:

    TH, I don’t think anyone really has a problem with what DP said, I think the issue is how he said it.

  41. T.H.Ung says:

    Too bad.

  42. jeffmcm says:

    You mean too bad as in ‘I sympathize’ or as in ‘get over it’?

  43. T.H.Ung says:

    As in watering or toning things down would be a horrible mistake.

  44. T.H.Ung says:

    Especially since it would be done to prove that we can all agree to disagree.

  45. jeffmcm says:

    What would be so horrible about that, isn’t that the goal?
    It’s kind of a moot discussion since 99% of us have not seen Bobby yet.

  46. T.H.Ung says:

    Uggg, get a passionless job in an office if your goal is to make nice all day.

  47. jeffmcm says:

    I guess if you’re going to stick to that view you must be missing brain cells.
    Get it? Eh? Eh?

  48. T.H.Ung says:

    Jeff, I so don’t get what you’re trying to say, it’s not like I said make whoopie all day.

  49. jeffmcm says:

    Jeez, how obvious can I be.
    DP said he thinks Kris Tapley was brain damaged if he liked Bobby. Hence, if you don’t agree with me, I can argue the same.

  50. T.H.Ung says:

    DP’s right, read Wells on it.

  51. jeffmcm says:

    Wells sounds much more reasonable. Plus, you can actually read what he thought in non-song format.

  52. T.H.Ung says:

    What do you mean, he confirmed everything, it’s a cable movie, it doesn’t belong in contention, it’s hard not to laugh, if full of stunt cast roles and if you lower your expectation far enough it’s not that horrible.

  53. jeffmcm says:

    What do you mean, what do I mean. Wells didn’t say his ‘ire burns on and on” or whatever Poland said and he didn’t say one is an idiot to like it. That’s the difference between reasonable and, let’s be nice and call DP’s statements ‘passionate’.

  54. T.H.Ung says:

    He’s there now.
    Emilio Estevez answers a question during a news conference for the film ‘Bobby’ at the Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto, Thursday Sept. 14, 2006.
    Give this man an Oscar:
    Estevez is emotional about the film, breaking down at one point during the news conference _ joined soon in his tears by Stone, who caressed his back while he collected himself. Estevez wept recalling how he suffered a terrible bout of writer’s block, unable to get beyond page 30 in the script.
    “I was doing anything and everything I could to distract myself from the work. My parents dispatched my brother to my house because I think they were nervous actually about where I was at … and he said ‘Can I see those 30 pages, brother?'” Estevez said, his voice breaking.

  55. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    That picture of Sharon Stone(d) is priceless!
    But, yeah, my original issue was with the force David was dismissing the film because saying people are mentally deluded to like a certain movie is fuckin’ harsh. And when there are perfectly reasonable people out there, I could help but feel DP must’ve been exagerating somewhat.

  56. Joe Leydon says:

    I wonder if this might turn out to be a generational divide thing. I am 54, and — for reasons I won’t bore you with here — I am very eager to see “Bobby.”

  57. Pat H. says:

    For those who have not seen “Bobby” but are/were predicting big things for the film – what in the world led you to believe that Emilio Estevez was capable of writing and directing a Best Picture contender?

  58. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    That argument is pretty weak. It was the story and cast that lead people to think it would be a good film. Just like any movie directed by an unknown. People don’t go “Pfft, this movie is directed by an unknown, it can’t be good.”
    Maybe if Estevez had been making dud after dud for the last 10 years.

  59. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    Dave how you can compare Cohens goofy caricature to the following I have no fucking clue.
    “There’s no way Clint Eastwood wins with some dark 3-person piece with Hillary Swank playing another butch, jokes about religion, a retarded guy in the gym, and controvery of assisted suicide” – ACTUALLY A WELL RECEIVED FILM WITH PEDIGREE TO BOOT IN PREVIOUS NOMS AND SUBJECT MATTER.
    . No way! Lord of the Rings can never win Best Picture.
    Charlize Theron is just a blinde Amazon bimbo.
    A pedophile who can’t come to the ceremony can’t beat the director of the Best Picture winner. JEWS AND HOLOCAUST.. UMM DUH?
    I cannot wait to keep bringing BORAT up for a full year. Only reason Dave has picked Cohen is so he can play the lone wolf master guess if it happens… which it wont. it just makes him look silly for saying it.

  60. T.H.Ung says:

    Pat H., I’m sharing a story I find interesting. Posted: Sun., Jul. 9, 2006, 10:00pm PT
    Weinstein exec exits
    Burnett ankles praiser post at TWC
    Liza Burnett, exec veep of PR at the Weinstein Co., has ankled her post. She served for 10 months at the company after coming over from Dan Klores Communications, where she launched that company’s film division.
    Burnett will act as a consultant during a transition period. She was brought on last August to head the Weinsteins’ bicoastal, 23-person domestic publicity department, overseeing all staff and the film rosters for the Weinstein Co. and genre arm Dimension Films.
    Until a replacement is named, senior VP Liz Biber will oversee the Dimension publicity department from Los Angeles, and senior veep Dani Weinstein will oversee PR for all TWC films from Gotham.
    U.K.-based VP Paula Woods, meanwhile, oversees international publicity, and veep Sarah Rothman leads the Weinsteins’ corporate communications activities out of Gotham.
    During her stint, Burnett worked on such pics as “Hoodwinked” and “Transamerica.”
    Burnett was at Klores for six years.

  61. T.H.Ung says:

    Could her departure have anything to do with issues raised in this story about Harvey that Anne Thompson linked to? May I speculate and ask if there could be a “Bobby” connection to her departure?

  62. Pat H. says:

    >>>>”Maybe if Estevez had been making dud after dud for the last 10 years.”
    Hasn’t he?
    Here is his entire oeuvre previous to “Bobby”:
    Rated X (2000)
    The War at Home (1996)
    Men at Work (1990)
    Wisdom (1986)
    >>>”It was the story and cast that lead people to think it would be a good film.”
    In other words people guessed.

  63. T.H.Ung says:

    Huh? Pat, you don’t know there are people shaping and molding option, creating awareness, spreading buzz, planting ideas? TWC bought it from Bold Films (a guy with money) because they wanted it on their calendar and their PR department tried to figure out what they had and went to work.

  64. Well at least for David we can say he actually SAW the film before trashing it. Not the case with about 99% of the comments in here.

  65. T.H.Ung says:

    Kris? Jeffrey Boam, Richard Nash, Jeremy Smith didn’t see it? E. Douglas and Sergei didn’t claim to and Joe Leydon said he didn’t. (P.S. Enjoyed your Page to Screen.)

  66. jeffmcm says:

    I think I am very confident that Richard Nash did not see it.

  67. Thanks TH. Hopefully when the dust settles I can toss up a few more entries. Tough to get them to fall into order with the season breathing down my neck.

  68. djk813 says:

    I am so disappointed that the critics gave the FIPRESCI Prize to Death of a President. Even if they wanted to make a political statement with the award there were better films to do so with. And to the extent that Death of a President even tried to make a political statement (which was surprisingly not that much), it was pretty clumsily done.
    At least I liked the other award winners and runners up that I saw (Takva and Mon meilleur ami) and Reprise was the film I was most disappointed in not fitting into my schedule.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon