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David Poland

By David Poland

20 Weeks To Oscar – Do Politics Matter?

Four years ago, it was one of our softest Oscar seasons.
Eight years ago, it was one of our best.
How much does the election matter?
2004 didn’t seem terribly urgent, as the election went. As much as people wanted Bush out in this town, by this time of year it already seemed pretty unlikely that John Kerry had it in him to overthrow the W.
There was something rather retro about the season, with The Aviator, Ray, and Finding Neverland all set in the past; Million Dollar Baby feeling for all the world like a 50s period drama, and the only “current” movie was Sideways, which was, as most Payne/Taylor films are, kinda 70s.
Left behind were Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Fahrenheit 9/11, The Sea Inside, The Motorcycle Diaries, Collateral, House Of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, and others

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24 Responses to “20 Weeks To Oscar – Do Politics Matter?”

  1. Goulet says:

    Don’t you think VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA will get a Screenplay nod?

  2. David Poland says:

    I think it should certainly be on my list.

  3. OT, but how sad about Jennifer Hudson. Respects go out to her and the family. How shocking.
    Carry on.

  4. Also, don’t you think Winslet will be campaigned as supporting for The Reader. Considering the Academy’s unwavering desire to reward category fraud I could see Winslet snagging two noms.

  5. Roman says:

    Personally I’d swap “Australia” out for “Milk”. I don’t know, I’m just not feeling it plus I consider “Milk” to be the most likely to be nominated film of this year.

  6. Personally, I feel there’s only room for one Broadyway-Film adaptation.

  7. Chucky in Jersey says:

    “Revolutionary Road” looks from the trailer like “Far from Heaven” crossed with “American Beauty”.
    “Milk” is out-and-out pandering — play a sicko, win an Oscar. Name-checking in the trailer is another strike.
    “Frost/Nixon”? Oscar-whoring in the poster, which says the film screams KILL IT WITH FIRE.
    “Rachel Getting Married”? It’s an SPC release, which wins points with the Academy but not with moviegoers. Plus the female lead has an ex-boyfriend who’s going to prison for swindling.

  8. Is Chucky calling Harvey Milk a “sicko” or Dan White? For my sanity I hope he’s talking about Dan White because… well, if he’s going around calling Harvey Milk a sicko… then hell hath no fury.

  9. doug r says:

    Where’s the love for Tropic Thunder? I have expressed my opinion on RDJ and Ben Stiller before, but what about Best Original Screenplay? I mean, if Beverly Hills Cop could get nominated, why not?

  10. yancyskancy says:

    Chucky – so far Anne Hathaway seems to have come through her ex-boyfriend’s scandal unscathed (I’ve never seen any accusation of culpability on her part). You honestly think enough voters know or care about his troubles to affect her chances at a nomination?
    As for Milk, I would imagine the Oscar potential of the Dan White role was about number 10,000 on the list of “Reasons We Need to Make This Movie.” If the potential is there in the end result, then sure, the marketers may run with it, because awards can boost box office, especially for a film with limited commercial appeal.
    In what world are there people who say, “Hey, a film about Harvey Milk! Sounds awesome! Oh wait — Oscar whoring in the ads. Never mind.” Chucky’s world.

  11. yancyskancy says:

    Re-reading Chucky’s post, it occurs to me that he may be suggesting Hathaway’s ex-boyfriend troubles are affecting “Rachel’s” box office, not its Oscar chances. If so, I don’t agree with that either.

  12. Chucky in Jersey says:

    The Oscar voters are a reactionary bunch and they don’t like to reward anyone who’s buddy-buddy with a criminal element.
    Ex-boyfriend troubles are not affecting “Rachel Getting Married”. Distribution is. “Rachel” is not even in the AMC Empire in Times Square.
    As for “Milk”? A lot of anti-gay people hold positions of power in the U.S. I may not have that P.O.V. yet I know a lot of gay-bashers want to force their worldview on everyone.

  13. waterbucket says:

    Gay-bashers usually just need a good lay.

  14. jeffmcm says:

    Christ, Chucky, just admit you were wrong and act like a mensch for once in your online life.

  15. David Poland says:

    Rachel doesn’t belong in the AMC Empire.
    The idea that anyone is checking to see how many stage-to-film conversions there are is delusional… not like only one musical or only one indie comedy or only one period drama…
    And Beverly Hills Cop was a true phenom when it came out, it was the sixth highest grossing film of all time (higher than Empire Strikes Back), the biggest comedy of all time, and the biggest r-rated film of all time. Tropic Thunder isn’t even the biggest comedy of this summer… or the second biggest.
    Oh yes, an BHC was a great movie… not a sucky movie… and even if you loved it, try finding someone over 50 who dd… and then match your findings to The Academy’s history. When you find that nomination for American Pie (a much better script), give me a call.

  16. Aladdin Sane says:

    Dave, why not have Christopher Nolan on your list for directors? I think that if the movie manages to snag a best picture nod, then it will probably get a directing one too.

  17. David Poland says:

    He should be on the list… true ‘nuf.

  18. yancyskancy says:

    Yeah, or if Dark Knight is snubbed for Best Pic, Nolan might get a consolation nod, especially if Gran Torino doesn’t deliver.
    I see Mike Leigh near the bottom of the list, and I’m wondering if he could score another left field nod like he did for Vera Drake (I couldn’t find an ’04 prediction chart, but wasn’t he a bit of a surprise that year?).
    Since I’m not in the prediction game and have no cred to lose, I’ll go out on a limb and predict Fincher, Boyle, Van Sant, Nolan and Leigh. I’m sure to change my mind a few dozen times after the year end releases get reviewed and/or honored with critics’ awards.

  19. Chucky in Jersey says:

    David, the AMC Empire DOES play arty product. I’ve been there on many an occasion since it opened 8 years ago.
    The Empire opened “Synecdoche, New York” and “Changeling” this week. If that theater isn’t playing “Rachel” it’s likely getting turned down by SPC.

  20. Dave, considering that stage-to-film adaptations haven’t exactly been going that well this past decade when it comes to Oscar I don’t actually think that two suddenly great ones will pop up this year. I wasn’t saying people will not vote for one simply because they voted for the other, but that they won’t vote for one because one is simply not good enough.
    But, you know, that’s the good thing about OPINIONS. People have difference ones to you. It’s what makes the world go around.
    Chucky? What the fuck are you on about? Who cares about gay-bashers in positions of power when it comes to a MOVIE and the ACADEMY? And I would still like to know if you’re implying Harvey Milk or Dan White is the “sicko”? I don’t know what you would’ve said the earlier comment if you meant Dan White since the movie isn’t even about him and Brolin isn’t exactly the frontrunner for the statue right now.

  21. leahnz says:

    ‘”Milk” is out-and-out pandering — play a sicko, win an Oscar. Name-checking in the trailer is another strike.’
    ‘As for “Milk”? A lot of anti-gay people hold positions of power in the U.S. I may not have that P.O.V. yet I know a lot of gay-bashers want to force their worldview on everyone.’
    huh? i gotta side with kam on this one, that was a bizarre response that made you sound like an even bigger tosser than your first comment

  22. yancyskancy says:

    I don’t know what the AMC Empire is, but both Passengers and Rachel Getting Married are at the AMC Burbank as AMC Select choices, along with W., Religulous, Appaloosa, The Duchess, etc.

  23. Cadavra says:

    The AMC Empire is their 25-screen flagship on 42nd St. in NYC.

  24. David Poland says:

    Kami – The idea that there won’t be two good enough is quite a different argument than the idea that two could not be nominated.
    I do think that Doubt and Frost/Nixon, while completely different in tone, both do carry a certain stagey nature… as did The Queen, btw. Both will launch for the press, etc, in the next week and we’ll have a better sense.

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