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David Poland

By David Poland

Looking For Meaning In The Guild World


22 Responses to “Looking For Meaning In The Guild World”

  1. Sam says:

    So, I have a question. When was the last time we had an Oscar Best Picture nominee that was not nominated by ANY of the four major guilds: PGA, SAG, DGA, and WGA?
    That’s the battle that Letters of Iwo Jima is fighting right now. Which, I suppose, would make it all the sweeter if it managed to land a Picture or Director spot at the Oscars. But things are looking more and more unlikely for it, alas. Ditto United 93, but at least that got a WGA nod.

  2. lazarus says:

    The Tom Stern omission is clear: his name doesn’t sound artsy enough. Look at these:
    Guillermo Navarro
    Caleb Deschanel
    Vilmos Zsigmond
    Rodrigo Prieto
    Emmanuel Lubezki
    Michael Ballhouse
    Phillipe Rousselot
    Phedon Papamichel
    How could you NOT want to vote for these instead? By comparison, Tom Stern sounds like the guy that carries the light off the truck. Robert Richardson barely survives due to alliteration and the nice way it rolls off the tongue. The days of John Toll and John Seale are over.

  3. lazarus says:

    and I know it’s “Ballhaus” can’t imagine how that happened.

  4. The Big Snake says:

    What defines “adapted” for the WGA?
    I gather BORAT is adapted because the character previously appeared on television.
    Couldn’t THE QUEEN and UNITED 93 be considered adapted from headlines?
    Anyway, my money’s on SUNSHINE and PRADA.

  5. movielocke says:

    I never much cared for the look of Flags of our fathers, and while letters from iwo jima was interesting I’d have preferred a pure black and white. In either case, I think the excessive DI use in both films was looked down upon by the guild, in a sort of ‘how can you tell how good it is when its been changed so radically’ sort of rationalization. On the other hand the Million Dollar Baby snubbing is hard to understand–maybe it is that his name isn’t European enough.
    I wish that ‘Peter Andrews’ were given a legitimate shot, Good German was the best shot film of the year, even if the movie wasn’t much of anything.

  6. EDouglas says:

    The Illusionist is one of the best looking films of the year. It won for my critics’ group and it was my #1 choice. No, Dick Pope didn’t do everyting in one 10-minute shot, but just getting that look and changing it halfway through… well deserving of a nom.

  7. EDouglas says:

    Pan’s Labyrinth among both groups is a shame… I wonder if Del Toro is a WGA member or if it’s the whole curse of being a writer/director.

  8. martin says:

    Um, more likely that it’s a genre movie and skews a bit young. Unless you’re LOTRs, it’s tough. And Pan’s is no LOTRs.

  9. Joseph says:

    Well, “In the Bedroom” and “Memento” were both ineligible for WGA nominations (something to do with the union, I forget why) so that’s why they were snubbed by the WGA that year yet nominated for an Oscar.

  10. Melquiades says:

    Totally agree that The Illusionist deserves this spot in the cinematography lineup. Would like to have seen Babel there in place of The Good Shepherd or Black Dahlia. Also The Departed and/or Volver.
    Another guild, another dis for Eastwood. And another spot for Babel. I’m glad to see Dave adjusted his lists accordingly.

  11. jeffmcm says:

    People were voting more for Zsigmond than for The Black Dahlia itself, which is well-shot but not really one of the year’s top 5.
    Glad to see Lubezki, Richardson, and Dick Pope got in there. Would have liked to see Tom Stern or Matthew Libatique get some respect too, though, for the Eastwood movies or Inside Man/The Fountain, respectively.

  12. Hopscotch says:

    I like the Peter Andrews reference and description. Very cute Dave.
    -I like the Apocalypto nod, because for a film shot on video, it looked pretty darn good.
    -COM I think will take it for Cinematography. Chivo is a widely, widely respected cat. The fact that he nor Roger Deakins has yet to win Gold is a shame.

  13. Aladdin Sane says:

    Nice to see the cinematography nod for Apocalypto, which was beautiful to watch.
    Gotta agree that Children of Men probably has this one sewn up. But stranger things have happened.
    As for screenplay, Borat as Adapted? Very strange but nice.

  14. Cadavra says:

    Sorry to sound like a broken record, but while liking DAHLIA’s cinematography as a whole, I was put off by the desaturated color. Obviously that wasn’t a issue for the ASCers.

  15. LYT says:

    Yeah, how exactly is BORAT an “adapted” screenplay? I suppose one could say that it has the same premise as the TV show — Borat coming to America to make a cultural documentary — but that seems to be stretching it. Nominating it for Best Documentary would be less of a stretch, I think.

  16. jeffmcm says:

    What put you off about the desaturation, Cadavra?

  17. Filipe says:

    Borat is based in a character who previously appeared in a TV show (doing pretty much the same sort of thing he does in the film), I think the surprise is less the category placement and more the fact that WGA nominated a film that has very little script.

  18. I’m glad that Black Dahlia got a cinematography nod. I’m still waiting for an explanation from Dave about why that movie is so apparently hidious.
    On the DGA. so glad to see The Devil Wears Prada and United 93 on there. With a scripter nod, Devil and The Illusionist (which I haven’t seen, not released here yet) are looking good for Oscar nods. While I haven’t seen The Illusionist as I said, I expected The Prestige to get more guild action that it. Oh well, dems the breaks.
    I think Children of men could get in for Adapted at the oscars. For whatever reason, the Academy didn’t nominate Patrick Marber for Closer and could easily happen again for Notes on a Scandal, especially if it’s seen as more of an actors showcase.
    And I’ve been thinking for a long time that United 93 could make it into the shortlist for Oscar. I’m glad the writer’s guild appreciated all the painstaking research that went into it.

  19. Cadavra says:

    Jeff, I’ve talked about this before, but basically, I hate desaturated color. It looks ugly and phony, and screams, “The studio was too chickenshit to let me shoot this in black-and-white, so we had to use this hideous compromise.” It’s particularly galling with films set in the mid-20th Century, like DAHLIA or SKY CAPTAIN, where garish, three-strip-Technicolor-style color would be a more logical choice for evoking that era.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    I understand but I don’t agree.
    Especially in the case of Black Dahlia – I am not aware of any noir movies shot in Technicolor. The closest I can think of would be Rear Window/Vertigo/North by Northwest, and those are all only tenuously noir.

  21. Sam says:

    Leave Her To Heaven (1945) is a Technicolor noir. It would not surprise me if it’s the only “pure” noir that’s in color. “Tenuously noir” is a good way to describe those Hitchcock titles, especially in comparison with the black and white Rebecca and Shadow of a Doubt.

  22. jeffmcm says:

    Wow, good job.

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“We don’t have any idea what the universe is. Wise people have always told us that this is proof you shouldn’t think, because thinking leads you nowhere. You just build over this huge construction of misunderstanding, which is culture. The history of culture is the history of the misunderstandings of great thinkers. So we always have to go back to zero and begin differently. And maybe in that way you have a chance not to understand but at least not to have further misunderstandings. Because this is the other side of this question—Am I really so brave to cancel all human culture? To stop admiring the beauty in human production? It’s very difficult to say no.”
~ László Krasznahorkai

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One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
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