20 Weeks to Oscar

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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20W2O: Episode 12 Wks to Go – The Desolation Of Smog

Next time you read, “X has happened and it’s changed the race dramatically,” take a deep breath and think. If the race has been between the same 15 movies and the same 35 actors, etc, for months already, does any one event really change… or even suggest anything changing amongst 5800 people who are, mostly, not voting for any of the prior awards?

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20W2O: Oscar III (Legit Awards So Far, 1)

Now is the spring of our discontent
Made hideous summer by this board of Review;
And all the artistic ambitions that lour’d upon our house
In the deep bosom of the award season buried.
Now are our favorite films bound with victorious wreaths;
Filmmakers’ bruised souls hung up for monuments;
Their stern pretensions changed to merry overlong meetings…

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Spikin’ It

There is a difference between what the why and the why is here. There is why there hasn’t been a greater embrace… and that’s because Spike won’t give his voice in support of his films, except in the most Spike-ian ways. I don’t think this is a “f— you” to Oscar, award season, or the industry. But it might be. I can’t answer the question because of the other “why.” That is Spike’s true why… and he’s not really sharing.

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20W2O: What About Mandela?

At the center of the film are two performances that are, simply, undeniable. Idris Elba grabs hold of all the things that have drawn audiences to him over the last 20 years and puts it all into this telling of a life – a great man who remains a man – showing a range heretofore unasked of him. 50 years… and it never once feels like a stunt. You feel the power this man must have to lead so many so effectively for so many years.

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Quote Unquotesee all »

“Fight Club was a movie where half the financing fell out before we started shooting. Bill Mechanic to his credit said: ‘I’m making this movie.’ Laura Ziskin, may she rest in peace, was there every step of the way saying: ‘Go, keep going, it’s great, we love the dailies, it’s amazing.’ When we cut the movie together and showed them the final thing is the first time everyone realized they were going to get fired. It’s a great cocktail story about doing this movie that’s so dark and twisted and then they see it and go, oh my god, what’s the poster here? How do we get people to see this? The marketing department shit all over the movie and said: ‘Men don’t want to see Brad Pitt with his shirt off and women don’t want to see him bloody so you’re fucked.’ So they devised a campaign for the film to sell it to people watching the World Wrestling Federation. I wanted to sell it as a satire. Madness. People go to the movies to see things they haven’t seen before. Call me a radical.”
~ David Fincher On Fight Club

“Being on sets and watching how shit went down, I watched a lot of directors get rope-a-doped. I could see that they wanted to execute something and the experts hired to support them said ‘We won’t have time for that.’ So I watched people I admired get spun and I vowed never to let that happen. I want to know what every motherfucker in the room does. I never wanted to be the person victimised by other people’s laziness.”
~ David Fincher on process