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David Poland

By David Poland

About The Saturday Awards

So, is Sideways a lock yet?

Not quite yet. 

It will be fascinating to see how things go with the New York Film Critics Circle on Monday, because only once in the shared period of history of both LAFCA and NYFCC has a film won with both of those groups and failed to get a Best Picture nomination… Leaving Las Vegas.  And that film was exactly the kind of the bleak, artsy, hopeless film that Academy members shy away from.  I suppose the closest we are getting to that – critics adoring, audiences/Academy types rejecting – is Bad Education, but if N.Y. and L.A. went for that film, you wonder whether there is enough Almodovar admiration out there for Academy members to make that leap.

In any case, Sideways is not so bleak, not so tough.  Like Leaving Las Vegas, it has two inevitable Oscar nods for acting coming… and one more for Giamatti still a hopeful and deserved possibility… and sure bets for screenplay.  Director is pretty likely and if the film gets a Best Picture nod, Payne will surely be in.

The other HUGE winner this weekend was Imelda Staunton, who swept the European Film Awards, the NY Online Film Critics and LAFCA.  She was the only one to achieve that feat, albeit Tom Church was not eligible for The Euro.  Ms. Staunton made it very clear in her early interviews for this film that she prioritized her real life over her professional life.  She was not posing.  And it is a fairly closely held story that Ms. Staunton’s mother passed away in the last month.  This is not a story that she would ever want to have become a part of her Oscar push.  But the loss has kept Ms. Staunton from being back in America for publicity during this critical period.  And as it goes, the adulation of the critics will keep her from being forgotten as the race tightens.  Sony Classics will wait for the Golden Globes and, I’m sure they hope, NYFCC to officially launch Ms. Bening’s campaign.  Of course, this may all be for naught as, in the end, Hilary Swank may be unbeatable, regardless of the critics groups.

LAFCA gave a boost to what seemed like a waning interest in Liam Neeson as Best Actor.  He is expected to get a Globes nomination tomorrow, though he could use one or two more feathers in his awards season cap before feeling too secure.

Michael Giacchino scored an important win with LAFCA for his The Incredibles score, if only to establish his name in the ears of an Academy used to voting for the same people over and over again. 

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One Response to “About The Saturday Awards”

  1. Mark says:

    The problem is you cannot name 5 better movies.

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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