Night Moves

20 Weeks to Oscar

21 Weeks To Oscar – Carlos & Joey & Cash, Oh My! (Part 1 of 2)

How could I write about what a con the Hollywood Foreign Press Association was – and is – with its eight-something barely-employed writers puffing up with self-importance and raping studio coffers all year long while showing no semblance of journalistic integrity whatsoever, and be charmingly amused by Carlos who made up awards, chose winners by himself in negotiations with distributors, with no other purpose than to line his own pockets? I was being a hypocrite.

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22 Weeks To Oscar: Bring On The Narratives!

Even before we really know – and no one really knows jack excrement this early, especially in this season – we do know some of the strategies waiting to be unfurled in the next two months.

If you wanna to win an Oscar, you gotta have a narrative.

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31 Weeks To Oscar: Telluride, Toronto & New York

I feel like all the pieces are in the right place after announcements from New York (FIRST!) and Toronto, with the Telluride schedule showing itself more clearly than ever because of TIFF’s new rules about opening weekend and North American premieres. I hate the idea of this all being a competition between the festivals. All three are so distinct. They each have a purpose. And for me, the more above board everyone is, the better.

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32 Weeks To Oscar: Toronto, Telluride, and Collateral Damage

Whatever corner was turned by Telluride and by distributors, make no mistake… Telluride is now in the “me-first” Oscar race game. After 33 years of not having a single Oscar nominee for Best Picture, suddenly they were cranking out at least one a year. This kind of thing just doesn’t happen like the breeze shifting directions. But most of these films “officially” premiered at Toronto. So TIFF made claims to being the first stop for Oscar as well. And TIFF’s pedigree in this regard started 7 years earlier than Telluride… 1999… with American Beauty. And they’ve had 8 Oscar winners in 13 years. And 3 Audience Award winners won Best Picture in the last 6 years.

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Louis Zamperini, 97; War Hero.

Inspired upcoming Unbroken Louis Zamperini, War Hero. Only 97 Years Could Take Him Out.

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48 Weeks To Oscar: Reviewing The 2014 Oscar Show

The best thing I can say about this year’s Oscar show is that there isn’t a whole lot to say. Ellen was good. Someone on Twitter found exactly the right note… it was like a sleepover. The only real downside is that only about a dozen people in the room were really included. Meryl Streep and Brad Pitt were at the center of it all. Kevin Spacey was the camera hog who found a way into every picture. Lupita Nyong’o's brother was the kid from another school who found a way to fit in. Ellen didn’t dance. Smart.

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20W2O: Rebooting The Independent Spirit Awards

There was nothing really wrong with the show yesterday. But with due respect to some lovely moments with some lovely talent, to call the show “vanilla” would be an insult to vanilla. Really, the show jumped the shark over three years, 2008 – 2010…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: 3 Days To Go

There’s no real sport to making Oscar picks. The star athletes have, in most cases, completed their work over a year ago. The others, including the director, have been done with the work of creation for at least 4 months. Nothing will change between this last Tuesday and Sunday evening.

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20W2O: 12 Days To Go – Season of Pudding

I have to say, I am pretty agnostic at this point. I have my favorites, but I know that a very good film will win Best Picture, great performances will win the acting categories, and so on. I can foresee very few opportunities for me to really feel that anyone is going to win an Oscar this year leaving me feeling like the result was bad.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Media, Publicists, And Trying To Do Harm

My perspective on this season is that the movies have been well-liked and the fighting mostly affirmative. Inside Llewyn Davis asserted itself intensely and with some really beautiful efforts… and didn’t get the votes. Nebraska pushed hard with actors, but not much else, and did get the votes. Go figure.

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20W2O: What The Oscars Should Learn From This Super Bowl

The Oscars benefit from and have long benefited from what the Super Bowl does. It is an institution. Like all live events (and ironically, like opening a movie), no one knows what the content of the show is going to be. All they know is that they want to participate in that event. They want to have fun. They want to go, “ooooo.” They want to get ticked off. They want Jen Lawrence to trip going up the stairs but to be the world’s biggest movie star once she gets to the podium.

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20W2O: 10 Best Picture Nominees – Part 2, Call & Response

This column was inspired by some smart people arguing that, somehow, the expansion to as many as 10 Best Picture nominees is a failure and worse, is dragging down the entire Oscar franchise. I disagree.

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20W2O: 10 Best Picture Nominees – Part 1, Why It’s Good

Was there something to complain about here? Did we all want to see Winter’s Bone kicked to the curb? Was Inception not worthy? The Kids Are All Right? If 500,000 more people see Philomena, Dallas Buyer’s Club, Her, or Nebraska because they were Best Picture nominees, viva la system! These are terrific films that are not easy to market. I just don’t see how it’s not a win for everyone.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Nominations Morning

The Oscar nominations are in and the big surprise is… no real surprise.

Yes, there are people with expectations and disappointments and preferences all over the place. But I think by the end of December, everyone kind of knew what this year looked like… lots of good candidates and not a whole lot of sure bets.

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20W2O: The Morning After Pillory

This is the field of play on which we who cover the awards season now toil. We are a part of The Machine. I am part of The Machine. And The Machine could not care less about legitimacy or honor or respect for the work being celebrated. The Machine just grinds on, growing annually, fed by ambition and dreams and even real passion, until it’s too big to seriously examine, whether you are NBC News or The New York Times or some blogger idiot (or some blogger genius). The Machine abides.

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20W2O: “Hey, Mister… I Got Something Shiny For Ya.”

The basic fact is that an October award show intended to honor the best in film of the year is, at best, doomed to be so off the center of the season as to remain meaningless, and at worst, to be an embarrassing farce that actually makes talent accepting awards look desperate and fake.

It’s in “Hollywood’s” interest not to pretend there is any legitimacy to the Hollywood Film Awards at all. Because while it is a red carpet opportunity early in the season, the more we pretend that it means something, the more problematic the whole exercise becomes.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Why Amy Adams Deserves To a Win Best Actress This Year (Spoilers)

American Hustle is about the human condition. And almost everyone in the film is on some kind of con. At the center of the emotional parallelogram of the film is Sydney Prosser, played by Amy Adams. She is not a good girl. She is perfectly willing to play the game… whatever game will get her where she needs to get right now.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: The Great Settling 2013

Yes, it’s that time again. Time for all good voters to spend a week with their screeners (and hopefully, screenings), deciding for themselves who really does deserve their votes. But this may be the least predictable season I have ever witnessed. There is… and will be… only one legitimate blockbuster in play. Gravity. $652 million worldwide.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“The city to me is the only possible vehicle we have to measure human achievement. We’re an urban species now. If you look at Karachi or Mexico City or Hong Kong or London or New York or Yonkers or Baltimore or any of these other places, the pastoral is now a part of human history. We’re either going to figure out how to live together in these increasingly crowded, increasingly multi-cultural population centers or we’re not. We’re either going to get great at this or we’re going to fail as a species.”
~ David Simon

“I wondered how different it would be to write a novel and it’s totally different. It’s very internal. The weird thing about it is that I found that novel-writing was much more like directing than it is like screenwriting. You’re casting it, you’re lighting it, you’re doing the costumes, you’re doing the locations, you’re doing it all yourself as a director would. In screenwriting, you don’t do that stuff. You don’t describe the face of the actor or the character when you’re writing a screenplay because Tom Cruise is going to do it and he doesn’t look like that, whereas in the novel to describe what he is is what he is. The actual act of writing, just like shooting on a set, is a slow slog. It’s going to work every day.”
~ David Cronenberg On Screenplay vs. Novel