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David Poland

By David Poland

BAFTA Announces…

… and joins the list of irrelevant precursors.

Just as Sideways competing against no major candidate at the Indie Spirits makes that award show irrelevant, BAFTA’s The Aviator-only position means that the award means nothing… unless it loses, in which case it’s an embarrassment.

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264 Responses to “BAFTA Announces…”

  1. gombro says:

    I’ll leave the SIDEWAYS snub debate to others for now, but will point out that the headline over on Movie City News is just plain wrong when it suggests that BAFTA “passed over” MILLION DOLLAR BABY. The film hasn’t opened in Europe yet so it’s not eligible. Just as MONSTER is only eligible there this year for actress, MILLION DOLLAR BABY will be eligible in England the year it opens in England. It works the same way here, you know. It’s not BAFTA’s fault that Warners didn’t open M$B there in ’04.

  2. Lota says:

    Yes, I suppose The Awards mean nothing if The Aviator wins, but a boost to Spanish speaking movies if they win as they made out very well in noms, including the neglected Bad Education.
    The award means SADNESS if Vera Drake sweeps and once again Mike Leigh gets rewarded for his particlar brand of thinly veiled hating on blue collar folks. A fair protrayal for life as is, is all we ask, guv.
    Hope Shaun of the Dead does it. Yo Go Zombie.

  3. gombro says:

    P.S. As Eastwood pointed out in his Oscar speach in 92, the British (specifically the BFI) were the FIRST people to take him seriously as an artist, and he thanked them for that.

  4. Lily says:

    Sorry but MDB was eligible for this years BAFTA awards. Variety ran a story about the film not making it through the first round of voting.MDB was eliminated in the first round of BAFTA voting. Variety reports the snub may have been due to a lack of screeners.
    Congratulations to The Aviator on it’s 14 BAFTA nominations, leading all nominated films.

  5. bicycle bob says:

    bafta means less than the globes

  6. NathanielR says:

    Lota, I’m alarmed that anyone can think Vera Drake is anything other than pro-working class. Strange reaction there.
    But that said I think all this talk of which awards are irrelevant obscures the idea that to some degree they SHOULD be irrelevant. If all any of these bodies is good for or wants to be good for is predicting the Oscars, why are they giving out their own awards? Just make predictions and be done with it. I like it when there’s different ideas flying about it. What is so bad about a variety of opinions.
    I’m thrilled that for once an awards group thought outside of the 6 approved films (Sideways, MDB, Aviator, Rwanda, Ray, and Neverland) –because well, there are those of us who don’t think those six in combination are that great of a representative pool of the year.

  7. Pork Chop says:

    I’ve got to agree with NathanielR. I disagree that leaving M$B and Sideways off means they are irrelevant. They simply picked other movies all of which are deserving. I think the only suspect nominations are in the supporting categories frankly. I wasn’t visited by a revelation like everyone thinks you should be by watching Sideways nor M$B. In fact, I really didn’t like either one all that much. Nice to see Collateral get some love for once.

  8. Gombro says:

    I stand corrected on M$B. Sorry. This might also have to do with cultural differences, especially the SIDEWAYS absence in major catagories. I’m sure there are people over in England who think we snubbed Ken Loach or Mike Leigh over the years for films that just are too profoundly British for US audiences to fully connect with. I agree with Nathaiel that we should consider each group separately. If BAFTA likes AVIATOR more than SIDEWAYS, well that’s their choice.

  9. D says:

    David thinks they are irrelevant cause they left out his 2 favorite movies. They simply prefered to nominate other movies. Have you ever realized that there might be some people that don’t like them as much as you do? That doesn’t make them less relevant… And I am happy that there is at least one group of people than can see that are much better movies than Sideways or MDB… It’s just their choice!

  10. Geek, Esq. says:

    Saying the BAFTA’s are “irrelevant” is really insulting and narrow-minded. These are the British Oscars–they certainly aren’t irrelevant and they certainly do mean something to people in the UK, or those receiving nominations. That’s some serious America-centrism you’re pushing there.
    I’m sorry your pet causes didn’t do well there, but that’s no reason to slam the awards.

  11. Lota says:

    Nathaniel R, I think Imelda Staunton is a good actress, and I think it is a brave choice of subject matter to portray what lack of access to abortion meant for locking women into poverty, but I cannot like the way working class individuals are portrayed in this movie as character stereotypes.
    I think Shaun of the Dead is the real British gem of the year with individuality and ingenuity and still managed to do well despite ‘competing’ with a Dead remake. I think this is the British movie of the year.

  12. Stella's Boy says:

    What was so offensive about the way Leigh portrayed the working class in Vera Drake? I thought it was rather sympathetic towards them. Shaun of the Dead is fairly entertaining but ridiculously overrated.

  13. Rob says:

    I agree with Geek.
    It is utterly insulting to call BAFTA an irrelvance, with over 50 years of awards giving, I have always looked forward to the BAFTA’s, as much as the Oscars. They have made some inspired choices over the years: Kubrick for Barry Lyndon, Scorsese for Goodfellas, Manhattan as Best Film, Sigorney Weaver as Supporting Actress for The Ice Storm…..
    As a Briton its wonderful to see them break the mould this year and forget about trying to second guess oscar nominations. They have chosen films that have been well liked in the UK, and respect to them for that.
    BAFTA gets so much abuse in the British press because it ignores British films ever year since its pre oscar move. They have different tastes.
    I find it refreshing that they have avoided ’rounding up the usual suspects’, and gone their own way. I have never seen a mike leigh film get so much love at nomination time.
    I appreiciate BAFTA’s unpredictability. Their awards are amongst my favourite every year.

  14. D says:

    This “irrelevant” issue is really bothering me cause it doesn’t make any sense. I suppose that if Sideways doesn’t win any single Oscar David will call the Oscars just an irrelevant precursor. Calling the British Academy Awards irrelevant cause they snubbed Poland’s 2 favorite movies sounds pretty ridiculous doesn’t it, Mr. Poland?

  15. David Poland says:

    Cheap shots and not accurate.
    I have always had the same position… not my own, but that of the industry… in the end ALL that matters is the Oscar. And if your award show doesn’t speak to that reality, it is irrelevant.
    People can scream and whine all they want, but the truth is that every group, BAFTA and HFPA more than anyone, tries to suck off of Oscar’s golden teat. And the Academy date change has made the entire pre-game, outside of the most general field setting, nothing but a loud junior varsity.
    There is no Pianist in this year’s BAFTA selection… no film that is going to leap forward because of BAFTA at all (and I think that people gave too much credit to BAFTA for the Pianist success that year)… I am thrilled that Vera Drake has a place at the table. But it’s not a Best Picture candidate at the Oscars. You all know that.
    The headline is about Oscar influence. And it has none this year… even though it moved dates again to try to have more.

  16. Lota says:

    re. Mike Leigh, ‘rather sympathetic’ may be underlying my disquiet as I almost saw it as slightly condescending rather than empathetic, and I had a nagging sense that the blue collar folks were living up to the middle class perceptions of them. But maybe that’s me and Mike Leigh. I felt slightly manipulated I suppose. As as far as overrated goes, considering the number of noms that Vera Drake received, I think it’s the more overrated picture.
    re. BAFTA’s “irrelevance”. They may be irrevelant to the Academy voters, but certainly not irrelevant to fans.
    I wonder does anyone know the number of British-born actually in the Academy and what the influence of the BAFTAs might really be?
    I am happy for the BAFTAs when they nominate overlooked pictures (motorcycle diaries), but I can’t see it affecting how DGA and SAG vote.

  17. Geek, Esq. says:

    You essentially said that, because The Aviator got fourtee nominations and that M$B and Sideways combined for one, the only film that could really be hurt by the BAFTA’s (in terms of Oscar chances) is . . .
    The Aviator.
    Please. You didn’t slam the BAFTA’s last year when they snubbed Mystic River and Seabiscuit. When everyone KNEW that Mystic River and Seabiscuit were getting nominations.
    The only difference is your level of affection for the snubees this time around.

  18. David Poland says:

    Nope… the difference last year is that we all knew who was winning the Oscar by this time last year. BAFTA meant nothing then either.
    Had they nominated Sideways and not the other two, I’d say the same thing.
    And I wrote today that all three films had positives and negatives from HFPA.
    If you don’t believe that being the only “sure bet” in a field of “also rans” and losing is a problem, then we just think different. Same thing would be true for Sideways and Indie Spirit, except that ISAs are announced after Oscar balloting closes… so completely irrelevent.
    Just because you think on a curve based on what you like does not mean I do. I found no one at the Globes last night who thought the Globes particularly helped or hurt anyone… neither filmmakers or studio heads. And even the one guy who is still predicting that Finding Neverland will win the Oscar agrees with my thinking on this. So….

  19. Geek, Esq. says:

    You don’t think that a snub in any way hurts the films that were snubbed? Crazy. This is perception we’re talking about, and the story that The Aviator is dominating across the Atlantic certainly while the other two, either because their studios screwed up or because they don’t play that will with the Brits, got ignored is going to make the headlines.
    You responded to the snubbing of M$B and Sideways with a nasty, snarky insult to the BAFTA’s. I recognize that kind of language–it’s the language of fans, not observers.
    Your claim that your personal bias isn’t influencing your prognosticating would be a bit more credible if there wasn’t a consistent anti-Aviator, pro-Sideways slant to what you’re writing. But that slant is very, very consistent. Just like it was last year, when you completely missed the boat on Seabiscuit’s nomination (which was painfully obvious to anyone looking at guild nominations) while seriously overestimating the success of In America.
    The bottom line is that M$B is losing steam, and needs WINS to turn it around. It needs to WIN a major precursor, and it only has three chances left: SAG, PGA, and DGA. If it goes 0-3 on those, stick a fork in it.

  20. Neil FC says:

    Despite some inspired choices (like those mentioned by Rob above), I’ve always thought the BAFTAS were often a bit of a joke. They can also make the most dreadful choices (Four Weddings and a Funeral for Best Picture over Pulp Fiction?, Hugh Grant for Best Actor for the same film?). I know they are the British Film Awards, but their jingoism can be ridiculous . Just look at the number of times Maggie Smith has won a BAFTA (great though she is), or more recently Judi Dench (one of the most over-rated actresses in my opinion.) And who could forget the lunacy of giving Peggy Ashcroft the Best Actress award for her supporting performance in A Passage to India, while the same year giving Rosanna Arquette the Supporting Actress award for playing the main character in Desperately Seeking Susan! I mean, what’s that all about?

  21. Mark says:

    Not nominating Baby and Sideways? Means irrelevance.

  22. Stella's Boy says:

    So there is simply no way a group could possibly believe that both Sideways and M$B are not among the best five films of 2004?

  23. Mark says:

    If you are talking about the five best films of the year? Yes.

  24. Stella's Boy says:

    And how is it that you are the authority on this?

  25. Mark says:

    You gave me the authority. I’m surprised Shaun of the Dead didn’t crack BAFTA’s awards.

  26. Mark says:

    The fact is two of the top three films of the year will not be present at BAFTA. How does this give any legitimacy to the award?

  27. Stella's Boy says:

    Two of the top three according to whom?

  28. Lily says:

    Yes according to whom? I wouldn’t call the two snubbed films two of the top three films of the year.

  29. Mark says:

    According to every critic in the United States. But they don’t know much.

  30. David Poland says:

    I hate to say it Geek, Esq, but I’m rubber, you’re glue.
    You throw around that bias stuff as though the bias wasn’t yours.
    I have never said – unlike MANY other professional observers out there who aren’t publishing – that The Aviator can’t or won’t win. But that’s not enough for you. You need me to see every Aviator victory as a movement towards a lock.
    It’s not complicated… if there are three clear front runners and they are not competing in your race, it is not a paticularly Oscar relevant race. If there are three clear front runners and all three are in your race, but one is seperated by category (drama vs muscial/comedy) and all three get two major wins, it is not particularly Oscar relevant.
    If Cate Blanchett and John Logan and Leo and Marty and The Aviator had won last night, people would be really considering that. But it didn’t happen.
    Likewise, BAFTA voters being pissy because they didn’t get screeners and don’t ever like American comedies are simply not a bellweather.
    That does NOT mean that Aviator won’t win the Oscar. It just means that neither of these events matter.

  31. Eric says:

    Man, I’m going to be laughing at all of you– ALL of you– when Anchorman sweeps the Oscars.
    Read the tea leaves, suckers! My man Burgundy is smoke all you prognosticators like a pack of Kools.

  32. right says:

    the one guy who is still predicting that Finding Neverland will win the Oscar agrees with my thinking on this
    Dave Karger?

  33. right says:

    David wrote: “If you don’t believe that being the only “sure bet” in a field of “also rans” and losing is a problem, then we just think different. Same thing would be true for Sideways and Indie Spirit…”
    That makes no sense. The Aviator has already gotten further than it’s so-called competitors against this field of “also-rans.” If it doesn’t win the whole thing, didn’t it still do much better than Sideways and M$B?
    It’s nothing like Sideways and the Indie Spirit, because Sideways’ key competitors were never eligible for the Indie Spirit Awards. Sideways’ whole angle in the Oscar race is as the beloved critical indie (see also: Lost in Translation, In the Bedroom). If it can’t beat the indies, that hurts its argument a lot. (Although not in a practical sense, as Dave mentioned, because of balloting schedules, etc.)

  34. PeppersDad says:

    According to Mark, The Aviator, Sideways and M$B are the top three films of the year “[a]ccording to every critic in the United States. But they don’t know much.”
    Actually, the critics’ top-10 lists have been tallied and their top three films are The Aviator, Sideways, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. M$B placed at #5, tied with The Incredibles. (Hey, Mark, defender of the majority rule: How’d you like to see The Incredibles – A SUPERHERO COMIC-BOOK MOVIE – nominated for Best Picture?)
    Check it out at

  35. Mikey says:

    David Poland: “I have never said – unlike MANY other professional observers out there who aren’t publishing – that The Aviator can’t or won’t win.”
    I distinctly remember that a couple months ago Poland wrote that the Aviator might get a nomination but had “ZERO CHANCE of winning”. Anybody else remember that quote??? It was around the time Poland said that Phantom was a lock, lol.

  36. Clay says:

    The MCN top ten tally has Sideways, Eternal Sunshine and Million Dollar Baby as the top three, with The Aviator and Before Sunset a good deal behind.
    Personally, I think any group that doesn’t nominate Eternal Sunshine has its head up its collective ass. But that’s just me.
    My prediction: Either Million Dollar Baby or The Aviator will win Best Picture, and right now the momentum is with The Aviator.

  37. Clay says:

    Actually, Mikey, DP said this:
    “The only movie that can keep The Phantom of The Opera from winning Best Picture is The Aviator.”

  38. gombro says:

    To some extent David is right to say “BAFTA and HFPA more than anyone, tries to suck off of Oscar’s golden teat.” After all, they did jockey the dates of their awards when Oscar moved its date up. That tells you something. But what does that “sucking” mean? In the end, I think it just means those groups want stars going to their awards ceremony, and they know that there will be less of that if the stars think there’s no Oscar boost to be had from showing up on their red carpets. To some extent the Palm Springs and Sundance Film Fests have benefited, in terms of stars and publicity, from that too.
    Still, as someone who’s had a vote on festival juries over the years, I can say that the last thing that entered my mind in voting was whether or not I would seem “relevant” down the road to bigger and more powerful award-giving groups. If someone told me to not vote for my favorite film and vote for something more mainstream, because the Academy would pay me more heed if I caved in to “conventional wisdom,” I’d tell the to shove it. Smaller awards may not mean much in terms of box office, but they can be very important in terms of a filmmaker’s career and his or her ability to get projects made down the road.

  39. Mark says:

    Exactly. And any award nominations without Sideways, Baby or the Aviator is not relevant. Aviator has a lot of pressure on it now to win this. Prissy Brits.

  40. Nick says:

    If the Oscars were awarded on merit the list of Best Picture nominees would look like this: Farenheit 9/11, Hotel Rwanda, Eternal Sunshine Of the Spotless Mind, Maria Full Of Grace, and The Assassination of Richard Nixon.
    But everyone knows that the Oscars are more political than our own Presidential elections. Oscars (and nominations) have very little to do with quality, and everything to do with marketing, hype, and other issues (like a need to nominate EVERYTHING a legendary director does, regardless if it’s any good or not)
    Frankly, The Aviator’s got to be one of Scorsese’s worst films. It’s a mess. If he wins the Best Director Oscar for this, it will be the equivalent of Al Pacino winning for Scent of A Woman.
    The performances (esp. Di Caprio and Blanchett) are waay over the top, and it’s failure at the boxoffice (it’s made about 50 million and cost at least twice that much to make, not to mention the cost of marketing, and p&a, etc.)proves that audiences aren’t responding to it the way critics have. Maybe it’s because they don’t have an agenda, and just see it for what it is. A boring, overlong, overdirected, poorly acted, pointless mess.
    I’m suprised Poland put it on his top 10. Didn’t he diss it back in December??
    Don’t even get me started on Sideways. I think the NY Times hit the nail on the head calling it the most overrated film of the year. Will ANYONE remember this film in 10 years??
    The only films released this year that will stand the test of time (whether you like them or not) are: Farenheit 9/11 and The Passion Of The Christ.

  41. Mark says:

    F911 hasn’t even stood up til January.

  42. PeppersDad says:

    I will just die if The Incredibles is not nominated for best picture. I will blame a right wing conspiracy.

  43. Clay says:

    Mark is right… Fahrenheit 9/11 had lasting power until Nov. 4, not a day after. If it slithers into the Best Picture race, it will be a travesty (and this comes from a Bush-hater).
    The Aviator is Scorsese’s best since Last Temptation… it deserves a spot in the top five and I wouldn’t mind a win. My personal favorite is Eternal Sunshine but I fear its chances are slim. My other favorites — Before Sunset, Life Aquatic and Bad Education — I know have no shot.

  44. Mikey says:

    “Actually, Mikey, DP said this:
    “The only movie that can keep The Phantom of The Opera from winning Best Picture is The Aviator.”
    Oh, I know he said that. But he said that before he had SEEN The Aviator. After he actually saw The Aviator, he said it had zero chance of winning the best picture Oscar.

  45. gombro says:

    Quick question for everyone. If you had the power to nominate five films for a medium sized award, and let’s keep this completely abstract and not think about any real films for the moment, would you nominate your five favorite films or the five you thought were most likely to get the Oscar voters to think you were “relevant”, whatever that means exactly?

  46. Joe Leydon says:

    I would set aside inconvenient principle and narrow-minded, purely subjective value judgment, and vote for the films of those five producers who sent me the best swag, the most money and/or the hottest babes. Because, really, isn’t that what makes this such a great country? Think about it. More of that in the Soviet Union, and the Berlin Wall never comes down.

  47. Lily says:

    On other lists that count the majority of top ten lists The Aviator ranks far ahead of MDB in totally number of top ten lists and rankings at #1. Only on MCNs cherry picked top ten lists of films does MDB rank above The Aviator.So by ignoring lists that are favorable to The Aviator you can attain a better ranking of MDB. Yes Poland did say that the only film that could stop Phantom of the Opera from winning best picture was The Aviator…lol. Poland had seen The Aviator as he got himself invited to a guild screening of the film. He immediately posted a negative review of The Aviator and then was blind sided when Variety posted a rave Aviator review.
    The Aviator started pulling aways from MDB and Sideways with it’s 3 GG wins and 14 BAFTA noms which is what’s really behind DP deciding that the BAFTAs are “irrelavent”.The critics have done about as much as they can for MDB and Sideways as The Aviator will start moving further in front when it becomes the film with the most nominations at the Oscars next week. It will be very hard to claim that best picture is a three way race when Aviator is way out front with 12-14 Oscar nominations while Sideways and MDB end up with 6 or 7 nominations each and little tech support. The only hope for Sideways and MDB is to win major guilds which isn’t going to happen either. I don’t think The Aviator will have any problem winning the PGA and the DGA. Sideway’s only hope is to when SAG ensemble I don’t think MDB is even going to be competitive at the SAGs.

  48. Geek, Esq. says:

    Bottom line is that the Sideways and M$B didn’t get diddly from the BAFTA’s, while The Aviator got 14 noms.
    Positive buzz: Aviator
    Negative buzz, or at least a wasted opportunity to gain buzz: M$B and Sideways
    And, does an awards body that nominates VERA DRAKE and THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES really strike folks as one that
    a) tries to act as an Oscar precursor; or
    b) actually thinks for itself instead of listening to American critics?
    Here’s a simple hypothetical to demonstrate why I’m right and DP was wrong:
    Whose promoters, Aviator’s, Sideways’ or M$B’s, were the happiest with the results of the BAFTA nominations? Is it really plausible that all three were equally satisfied?
    Come on. Had Sideways gotten 8 nominations and The Aviator gotten snubbed, we’d be reading how the BAFTA’s “confirmed early doubts about The Aviator’s viability as a BP contender and cemented Sideways’ status as the film to beat.”

  49. Nick says:

    A couple of quick points in defense of what I said about Farenheit 9/11:
    Like him or not, Michael Moore shook up the world. His film shattered all sorts of boxoffice records for docs. It grossed over 200 million (domestic and overseas combined) and was THE must see movie of the summer.
    Even though he came up short of doing what he intended, (some would say he actually got more Republicans fired up than Democrats), he laid it all on the line and took on the most powerful man in the world…and almost won…
    He’s now a household name.
    In 20 years Farenheit, and Moore will still be talked about. What other film released in 2004 can you say the same about? Sideways? Please…
    Here’s what Poland said about The Aviator. It’s far from a rave:
    “On the other hand… the story is dramatically incomplete, in both meanings… much of the movie’s focus is on Hughes’ descent into madness, which we experience in much the same way over and over and over again… when Hughes overcomes obstacles, he is hard to root for because the movie really doesn’t explain how he overcomes them… cameos by Gwen Stefani and Willem Dafoe and an extended cameo by Kate Beckinsale are no less than painful (Dafoe’s because it is so brief and odd to see a great actor so disconnected from the rest of the film)… and in the end, the question of the night, as it has been with so many misses this year, is “what is the point?” “

  50. PeppersDad says:

    For the record, I did not submit the 7:02 posting. As long as David Poland allows people to submit fake postings under my name and e-mail address, I am going to have to post these corrections. Don’t blame me, blame them.

  51. jon s says:

    Pep: If I were you, I’d get a new e-mail address that you use on this board only and a new screen name just for here. Then I wouldn’t sweat it. The person who is doing this to you is obviously a 15 year old acne-ridden loser who loves the movies because they give him the only opportunity he’ll ever have to see a naked women who isn’t screaming “rape.” Don’t let him get to ya, bud.

  52. PeppersDad says:

    I did not post that message at 8:51. This is lawsuit time.

  53. David Poland says:

    I wrote a response to Geek and Lily, but it sounds defensive and not sounding defensive sounds offensive.
    There is no point is arguing the details of things that are not ultimately Oscar influencers. It makes it seem like there is something worth arguing about.
    Academy voters got M$B last week. BAFTA voters did not get it. This may become a real factor in the race. But the BAFTA noms and Globes wins will not.
    The veiled accusation about MCN’s Top Ten lists is, besides being insulting, slightly OCD. But it does speak to the depth people will go to try to prove their point… especially an unprovable point like this one.

  54. Lily says:

    From Variety’s article about the BAFTA nominations:
    Signaling the increased relevance of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts’ film awards in the kudos season calendar and increased Brit media interest, the nomination announcement was broadcast live for the first time.
    “Dear Frankie” actress Emily MortimerEmily Mortimer joined BAFTA chairman Duncan Kenworthy onstage at the org’s 195 Piccadilly headquarters to unveil the contenders in the nine categories.

  55. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, obviously there’s no way to dampen Oscar fever on this site. So let me suggest a kinda-sorta game. Every year, there is at least one “Holy Bleep!” nomination. That is, a nomination for an actor or actress who wasn’t widely viewed (or even viewed at all) as a contender. Now, mind you, I’m not talking about somebody who will actually win: I’m talking about a Darker-Than-Dark Horse who somehow bolts into the Final Five of some major category. Can you predict this year’s surprise?
    My guess/prediction/hope: Jeff Bridges (“Door in the Floor”)for Best Actor.
    And if I were going to name a possible upset nominee in the Best Picture category: “Friday Night Lights.”

  56. Geek, Esq. says:

    I agree the stuff about the top 10 lists is silly (one can debate the merits of various collections of such lists, but that’s really a dull conversation).
    DP is not a liar, which is what putting those lists together in such a manner would mean. Moreover, the logistics of doing so are truly daunting.
    And I think DP and I were missing each other’s points. I agree that the Brits are not reflective of Academy taste, and that there was no knockout blow, or even a knockdown, at the Globes. The Aviator does not have it locked up. If it loses both the PGA and the DGA, I’m changing my prediction.
    However, if one lumps the BFCA’s, Globes, BAFTA’s, and various guild nominations, it’s pretty clear that The Aviator has had a better two-weeks than M$B. Sure, the BAFTA’s don’t reflect AMPAS taste to an especially close degree, but these things do generate headlines. 14 nominations is pretty damn impressive, and getting shut out is not. That’s the way it plays in the media:
    If you’re M$B and Sideways, and you’re vying with The Aviator for frontrunner status, that’s not what you want the story of the BAFTA nominations to be. For the headlines alone, that was a clear win for Marty & Co.
    I think we can agree that the crucial week runs from January 22-29. PGA awards, Oscar noms, DGA awards. Either the race will take form on January 30, or it will be in complete chaos. I myself can’t imagine an entertaining, well-received Scorsese film with uber-production values losing either award, but I really don’t know anything.
    Re: my personal bias. I didn’t even see Sideways and The Aviator until last week. I’m just an opinionated asshole.

  57. Geek, Esq. says:

    Btw, I think the New York Post agrees with both of us:
    Title: ‘Aviator’ Gets Lift From Brits
    But, the story begins:
    ” THE Howard Hughes biopic “The Aviator” led with 14 nomi nations for the British Academy Awards yesterday.
    But the British Academy Film Awards, or BAFTAs, basically took themselves out of the Oscar predicting business by snubbing two of Hollywood’s contenders for Best Picture: the road comedy “Sideways” and Clint Eastwood’s boxing drama “Million Dollar Baby.”
    The total lack of nominations for “Million Dollar Baby” wasn’t a complete surprise: The film fared poorly in a short list of candidates for nominations released last week because its British distributor did not send out DVD copies to voters.
    More mystifying was the near-shutout by the critically acclaimed “Sideways,” which scored a single nomination for its adapted screenplay.”

  58. Fairlane says:

    Im pretty shure that neither the BAFTA or any of the other national film academies price shows er made to influence the Oscars. They just meight be a celebration of the movie industry in the respective countries. So david, maybe you should accept that something happens outside Hollywood and that it do have importance there ?

  59. ynd says:

    Not to get all diplomatic or anything, but I think this whole thing comes down to defining what you guys are talking about. Poland’s saying the BAFTAs are irrelevant as Oscar prognosticators. Not irrelevant as awards recognizing deserving work. That right there cools off my initial indignation about the (debatably) inflamatory MCN headline.
    As for a bias, of COURSE there’s a bias. I emailed months ago wondering why Poland was giving no love to BEFORE SUNSET but kept DOOR IN THE FLOOR in the running in several categories weeks after it dropped off the radar everywhere else. Now it’s SUNSET that just grabbed a WGA nod (thank goodness) and DITF I don’t think has popped its head up lately. (Though I do agree it could pull out a surprise nod on nom. morning.)
    On some level, the man has to know that this site is itself a potential influencer of Academy voters. So there’s gonna be a bias in his coverage. He wants to make sure DOOR IN THE FLOOR sticks in people’s minds — so he puts it on the lists, hoping for a little self-fulfilling prophecy action. Whether he’s conscious of it or not, I think that’s pretty understandable. And I don’t think there’s any way around it if you’re going to have a movie lover covering this sort of thing. Necessary evil. And personally David, I appreciate your work on the site.
    Side Note: If anyone can explain to me how M$B is not being dropped a few points in EVERYone’s estimation for the ridiculous, offensively cartoon-character portrayals of Maggie’s family, please fill me in. You think Mike Leigh condescends to the lower classes?! Whoa Daddy. “But Maggie, I’ll lose mah welfare!” Honestly. I’m baffled.

  60. JoeLeydon says:

    Sorry, Ynd: You’re mistaken. I’ve lived my entire life around people like the boxer’s kin in “Million Dollar Baby.” (In the Deep South, no less.) And for two years, I was, no joke, a welfare worker. These people seem like caricatures only to folks who haven’t spent time with their real-life counterparts.

  61. bicycle bob says:

    whats so hard to get? the baftas are irrelevant for the oscars since they bypassed the two front runners. if they did it because they didn’t see them or they were too small or whatever, its their loss

  62. jon s says:

    Actually, bb, the losers of the moment are M$B and SIDEWAYS. Can’t you see that? I’m glad that BAFATA decided to go its own way. Why should they lower themselves to the point of a warm-up show for the Oscars? Screw the primacy of all-mighty Oscar.

  63. Jason Pritchett says:

    Joe: I’m glad someone finally brought up the point that Swank’s family members in Million Dollar baby aren’t really just stereotypes. I was born in a town called Hog Mountain, Georgia (no joke), and my dad’s side of the family comes from Ellijay, Georgia–which was the inspiration for DELIVERANCE. There ARE plenty of people like those depicted in the film. They look, sound, and act like the characters in M$B.

  64. SRCputt says:

    I’ll take the question, Joe. I think this year’s surprise will be Zhang Yimou for director. I was predicting Catalina Sandino Moreno as a surprise in actress, until SAG went and revealed her as a contender.

  65. Clay says:

    I’ll second the Zhang Yimou nomination.
    And I agree, Swank’s family was over-the-top and a blemish on the film.

  66. Cal says:

    That SIDEWAYS is not even a true indie is what makes these types of awards irrelevant. SIDEWAYS is a FOX Searchlight studio film with a $16 million budget. Should not even qualify for the ISAs. That SIDEWAYS would have no competition at the ISA and that its critical success as an “indie” is why it’s gotten so much Oscar and awards buzz is just plain unfair to begin with.
    Please — somebody, Dave Poland? address the $16 million budget of SIDEWAYS and how it can sweep at teh ISAs

  67. Wayman Wong says:

    I don’t quite understand the bashing of BAFTA as if it’s their fault that ”Million Dollar Baby” and ”Sideways” aren’t bigger factors in the BAFTA nominations. BAFTA changed its rules some time ago. If ”MDB” and ”Sideways” wanted to be eligible, why didn’t they move up their England release dates? ”MDB” could’ve also sent out screeners to BAFTA voters, but chose not to do so. Other studios didn’t have those qualms, so they sent out screeners and reaped the benefit of that. Instead of blaming BAFTA, ”MDB” and ”Sideways” should be kicking themselves; they had the same opportunities.
    It’s been reported that Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank made the first round of BAFTA voting, so surely a certain number of BAFTA voters saw ”MDB.” Ditto, for ”Sideways,” which got a screenplay nomination. If they didn’t make the final round, isn’t it possible that a number of BAFTA voters just liked other movies more? I love seeing nominations spread about, and it’s refreshing to see movies, like ”Motorcycle Diaries” and ”House of Flying Daggers,” which have been largely overlooked elsewhere, get love from BAFTA. (Yay for Gael Bernal Garcia and Zhang Ziyi, for instance!)
    I, for one, don’t find the BAFTA nominations ”irrelevant” just because they didn’t go crazy for ”MDB” and ”Sideways” and went gaga for ”The Aviator.” Frankly, I’ve found all the critics’ awards kind of boring this year, because they came up with largely the same winners. (And do we REALLY need critics’ awards for EVERY metropolitan area in America? I wish we could go back to the day when there were N.Y. film critics and L.A. film critics awards – and that was that. Ultimately, I think awards say more about the people giving them – and their egos – than it really says about the movies themselves.)

  68. Lota says:

    geek & jon, maybe i am a poorly engineered mutant, afterall my name is Lota, but i fail to see how M$B and Sideways are losers or have lost ground in any way. Sideways has SAG and DGA noms, and M$B has SAG and DGA noms, which make it more relevant to AMPAS than anything BAFTA has to left to decide.
    Like 10 million other people do on a regular basis, I do read the IMDB, and when thousands of people say “M$B is the best thing Clint’s done since Unforgiven” that may mean something to undecided AMPAS voters. [I find it hard to believe Ol’ CLint has thousands of ‘plants’ on the IMDB. MAybe 20 tops, plus all his kids.] I’d bet many, if not most AMPAS members (or their publicists) read the IMDB all the time, and check out what is said about movies as they are considering them, how can they not do so? It’s the best movie tool around and it’s free.
    For those AMPAS members who voted for Mystic River last year will be so shocked how good and understated and BETTER M$B is, (and how natural Swank is), how can they not nominate it? Hilary and Morgan are the meat of the movie, aside from Clint’s whisper.
    As far as Swank’s movie family being ‘over the top’, there’s an old Yiddish saying my Gramma used to whisper in my ear at family get togethers “two things stink after three days: fish, and your relatives”. So they seemed pretty normal annoying relatives to me.
    In terms of discussion on nomination upsets–I can see it happening in the best male actor category with Jeff Bridges, Javier Bardem and maybe even Liam Neeson (longshot) getting a nomination for oscar.

  69. jim says:

    I guess it depends on your definition of “irrelevance” —
    “Irrelevance” to quality certainly means that Oscar has often been “irrelevant” — or do you mean “irrelevant” to parroting the exact nominations of the Academy? Who cares? Or is it “Irrelevance” in that if you don’t have the same films that other nominations have? again, so what? Are the Golden Globes “relevant” because the show has most/all of the suspects that the Oscars will have? Maybe to housewives… And as far as I understand, Million Dollar Baby is indeed ineligable for nomination in England, so that speaks more to a lack of research than irrelevance. Or is research no longer relevant in this internet-age? Probably…

  70. bicycle bob says:

    no movie would rather have a bafta award than an oscar. no studio wants that. no performer. the real loser is the bafta awards for shutting out the best films because they were smaller. makes the award irrelevant now.

  71. bicycle bob says:

    actually the globes are pretty irrelevant too. they just want their pictures taken with leo and the stars. phantom got 3 nominations for christsakes. says it all.

  72. Geek, Esq. says:

    You understand incorrectly. M$B WAS eligible, it just didn’t get on the ballot. If you do some basic google research, you’ll find that out.

  73. Jerri says:

    DP, you seem to say that every awards-giving organization that doesn’t shower MDB and Sideways with praise are “irrelevant”. How nice that you don’t disguise your biases either.

  74. bicycle bob says:

    what can’t u figure out? all dave is trying to say is with their blatant disregard for the two front runners, the bafta awards are irrelevant in regards to the oscars. i’m sure he hopes they put on a good show and everyone has a lot of fun but they’re not important.

  75. NathanielR says:

    After reading through all of these comments I’m getting why Dave said what he said but I think the reason so many object to all these arguments about what’s relevant and what’s not is that at some point the conversation really SHOULD shift to matters of aesthetic taste rather than predictive power.
    The thing that keeps sticking in my craw is that BFCA top ten placement for PHANTOM OF THE OPERA –at the time the BFCA announced, Phantom was not “dead” yet in the Oscar race and it’s really difficult to accept any reason for its placement other than that the BFCA members thought it might get Oscar nods. Certainly it hasn’t shown up on enough top ten lists to suggest that a lot of the members were voting for it on what they perceived as ‘merit’
    So there is definitely some discussion to be had in that we’d all be better off (in terms of seeing “quality” films nominated) if all the precursors awards (BAFTA, critics, Guilds, GLOBES, etc…) would stop trying to predict and really start focusing on what they perceive to be the best.
    That’s the only explanation I can find also for the disappearance of Jeff Bridges in the Best Actor race. It’s really hard to come up with another explanation when he got near universal praise, he’s considered one of the great american actors, and yet none of the precursors could be bothered with him (aside from the NBR giving him a “career” award) –perhaps assuming that in a competitive field an early release lead would not make it and they wanted to “predict” the Oscars…

  76. Wayman Wong says:

    BAFTA didn’t shut out any ”best films” because they were ”smaller.” Among its nominations are smaller films like ”Vera Drake” and ”Monster.” The issue at hand (for ”M$B” and ”Sideways”) is release dates and screeners. And if the Foreign Press association is ”irrelevant” for giving some nominations to ”Phantom of the Opera,” I suppose the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association is even more irrelevant. They named ”Phantom” one of the top 10 films of 2004, and they gave Emmy Rossum their Best Young Actress Award. It might also be added that they showered ”Sideways” with FIVE awards, or are those honors ”irrelevant”?
    On the other hand, the BAFTAs didn’t give a single nomination to the Brit-made ”Phantom.” Does this make the BAFTA choices more ”relevant”?
    I guess we like film award nominations when they agree with us, and hate ’em when they don’t.

  77. Katherine says:

    **I guess we like film award nominations when they agree with us, and hate ’em when they don’t.**
    Precisely my thinking WW.

  78. Geoff says:

    I think the real untold story, here, is why is Sideways getting all the awards that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind deserved? I cannot think of a more dazzling film from last year. You can bet that if the release dates were reversed that ‘Sunshine would be getting more plaudits. Sideways is good movie, but not exceptional, in my opinion.

  79. ynd says:

    Totally agree with Geoff about the unfortunate snubbing of ETERNAL SUNSHINE. My real problem with the awards season focusing almost entirely on M$B and SIDEWAYS (both solid character studies with fine performances) is that neither was a revelatory film for me. I understand how SIDEWAYS could be for someone, I guess — it just didn’t hit me personally. The M$B thing strikes me as totally odd — the constant obtrusive voiceover in place of action or dialogue, the melodramatic 1950s plot elements, the weirdly cheap production design (the only difference between L.A. and London is a shot of Big Ben?), etc. Works fine as a humble, low-key character piece, but beyond that… Again, that’s just my opinion.
    Personally, in a year when honest, astounding revelations about the human condition could be found in both simple (BEFORE SUNSET) and complex (ETERNAL SUNSHINE) films, in Hollywood movies (COLLATERAL) and indies (TARNATION)… I think it’s just a shame that the vast majority of award attention has been for only two films, no matter which two. Good for the BAFTAs.
    Oh, and as regards my earlier comment that Maggie’s family was ridiculously stereotyped and cartoony: a couple people weighed in with the idea that people “are just like that” in the south. I understand, there may be some like that. There may even be SOME who’d do something as absurdly inhuman as Maggie’s family’s trip to Disneyland. Maybe. But those people are extremes. Non-representative examples. Just because “it happened in real life” doesn’t mean it works in a film. In a film that is supposed to be a grittily realistic drama, bringing in the worst family in the world (literally — were there ANY shades of grey to them? They should’ve had matching shirts that read “Obstacle”.) just to build up more sympathy for our heroine is phony, unnecessary and offensive to real human beings who are never that black and white.

  80. Mark says:

    Eternal Sunshine should be in any top five. Maybe they made a huge mistake releasing it way too early last year. Zapped any buzz it had and did not make enough box office to be a contender.

  81. Janelle says:

    I was reading some comments concerning the BAFTA’s and their relevance and had to comment. I think they are TOTALLY relevant. I wish voters in the U.S. would stop jumping on bandwagons and shoveling awards to the same people all the time. It’s as if only SIX movies came out this year. I’m happy to see that ESOTSM is finally being recognized for what it is (A MASTERPIECE)! I’m also happy to see Vera Drake and Closer recognized as well. The only gripe I have is Meryl Streep. Sheesh! She’s a great actor but give me a break! I also wish they did not nominate Jamie Foxx (twice for crying out loud). Give a dog a bone (Jeff Bridges would have been a more deserving nominee). The support for House of Flying Daggers was cool too. Anyway, The Aviator was a very good film and let it have it’s moment (Sideways did already and is continuing to do so). I have to say that these awards are important, especially when they recognize talent outside of six or seven designated films.

  82. Stella's Boy says:

    Streep’s role in The Manchurian Candidate might have been fairly small, but she’s mesmerizing in every single minute of it. Her acting in the scene towards the beginning where she’s surrounded by all the political types is nothing short of riveting and spectacular. Just one of those scenes where you’re like, wow, after it is done. And I would love seeing Bridges nominated. He deserves it. That is one of the year’s best and most underrated movies.

  83. acci says:

    I’ve only gleaned two bits of lasting value from this thread.
    When Geek says: “… but I really don’t know anything.”
    When Geek says: “I’m just an opinionated asshole.”
    The rest is just braying. Fun, but braying.

  84. Joe Sullivan says:

    There’s another film that was overlooked that I’d like to point out: The Passion of the Christ.
    Not that I think it should make the cut, far from it. But this time next week, after the Academy’s nominations and The Passion’s lack of any nods, every single right-wing political a–hole will be screaming how biased Hollywood is towards religion. And, thankfully, we can say, “Hey the Brits feel the same way. So it’s just not us.”

  85. Geek, Esq. says:

    I think TPOTO will wind up with 1-2 technical noms. Makeup and possibly cinematography.

  86. Joe Sullivan says:

    I hope Passion gets one for Cinematography as well. Caleb Deschanel is one of the best DPs in world.
    And if it ends up getting a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination…hysterical.

  87. Mark says:

    Surprising that The Passion isn’t getting more heat and buzz.

  88. Joe S. says:

    Responding to Stella’s comment on Meryl Streep, yes, it was an impressive performance, and yes, the scene near the beginning was brilliant, but it stands in the shadows of Angela Lansbury’s performance of the same role in the original. Streep was a bitch in the remake. Lansbury was THE überbitch! Streep was commanding on the screen while she was there, but her dominance was lifted when she was offscreen. The iron grip of Lansbury’s character could be felt the whole movie. Comparisons are a little unfair, I admit, since the screenwriters took out the card game and the symbolsim that went with it, but Streep just doesn’t hit the same peak Lansbury did. It’s an damn good performance, but I wouldn’t nominate it.

  89. gombro says:

    It’s not surprising at all, to me, that THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST isn’t generating “more buzz”. Since when has the Academy been into anti-Semitic S/M movies? Am I wrong or didn’t they “snub” TRIUMPH OF THE WILL and SALÒ in their respective years?

  90. bicycle bob says:

    its anti semitic what the jews did top our savior? then so be it

  91. gombro says:

    What Mel Gibson did to the Jewish characters in the film is anti Semitic, not what the Jews did to Jesus. Even a number of Christian theologians have said as much. In fact most reputable historians of that period have said that THE P OF THE C is grossly inaccurate to the point of calumny. (The real Pontius Pilate was a monster and the film makes him look like a sympathetic character whose only flaw was that he was too evil to stand up to the nasty, hooked-nosed Jews who wanted to kill Jesus.) But to see all of that that would require so much more knowledge and analytical ability than you have, bobster, that I won’t even try to explain it to you further.

  92. Kambei says:

    Actually…the one thing the BAFTAs did do that I found interesting was give ESOTSM a spot in Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Editing…surely that could have some influence–it hasn’t really had much support from awards elsewhere…

  93. Nathaniel R says:

    Re: “the real untold story, here, is why is Sideways getting all the awards that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind deserved? I cannot think of a more dazzling film from last year.”
    I can’t think of a more dazzling movie from last year either. But I hate that Sideways is the film that’s to be blamed. Why aren’t we bitching about Million Dollar Baby which is a good movie but hardly anything revelatory, new, original, or even particularly brilliant in ANY of its aspects. If MDB was out of the picture, maybe Eternal Sunshine would have had a chance. Sideways isn’t really to blame for Sunshine’s failure to engage voters… it’s the overall desire to nominate all of these middling pictures (Ray, MDB, Neverland, etc…) that fills up the slots that could go to actual masterpieces.
    This year is so much like 1999. Tons of great movies and then the Oscars went with generic middlebrow stuff like Cider House Rules and The Green Mile. The same thing is happening this year. Seems to me that the better the year is the worse the Oscar selections are. When they have too much to choose from, they latch on to the traditional stuff.

  94. KamikazeCamel says:

    The reason The Passion isn’t factoring into the awards play is because, well, it’s an awful movie. I don’t know anybody who liked it (and a large % of my friends are church-going Christians). Most think it’s a disgusting offensive film with some good technical stuff going on (cinematography mostly).
    Anyway, onto the topic at hand:
    Has anyone thought of this…?
    Maybe, “Sideways” and “Million Dollar Baby” just didn’t translate that well over in the UK? MDB feels especially American to me.
    People really should stop saying that the BAFTAs snubbed these “low-key” films (er, how, in this season, are either of them REMOTELY “low-key”?) because as I just said, they’re not low-key at all, and 2, they’ve honoured low-key films in the past! Hell, they’ve honoured low-key films THIS YEAR! “Vera Drake” (a movie, i believe, was EXTREMELY well received in the US) and “The Motorcycle Diaries” and most importantly (because it’s brilliant) “Eternal Sunshine”.
    Maybe the British people nominating felt more emotionally connected to an old little British woman and two love-lorn opposites than an uglified (again) boxing girl and a couple of wine swilling buddies.
    And, to be honest, this year’s BAFTAs have instantly become the most interesting set of awards yet.
    And on the surprise nomination note: I predict it to be one (or multiple?) of the following
    -“Mean Girls” for Best Adapted Screenplay
    -Jeff Bridges for Best Leading Actor
    -Sandra Oh for Best Supporting Actress (alongside Virginia – they like their double acts in Supporting)
    Sandra would be particularly surprising. It’s strange that she’s been 100% ignored outside of ensemble nominations.

  95. gombro says:

    Natheanial’s right. Sadly, it seems like the Acadamy allows one slot and one slot only to go to an indie film or foreign language film every year. This year SIDEWAYS gets the slot and any other deserving indie is just left out to make room for four star-drivien middle-brow Oscar-bait entries. Sad.

  96. Geoff says:

    You make a good point about Sideways. It’s not really Alexander Payne’s fault nor was it his intention to keep ESOTM from getting the kudos it deserves. But we both know that the Oscars will only make room for one “comedy” and this year, Sideways is getting that honor. ETSOTSM would have easily won both of those Golden Globes for Film and Screenplay if Sideways was not in the “comedy” category and I really have no explanation for why Annette Bening beat Kate Winslet.

  97. Lota says:

    ESOTSM would be in my personal top 5 of american movies of the year, but is it possible that maybe ‘older voters’ just don’t like it or get it? I only offer that idea because most people I know over 40-45 ish seemed to think it was ‘weird’ (i.e. before its time maybe). I am glad it along with Motorcycle diaries is getting recognition, but maybe AMPAS/older voters just won’t think of ESOTSM as a ‘Best Picture’ and will only look at the Performances.
    reminds me a little of Hoop Dreams getting shunned.

  98. Geoff says:

    That makes a lot of sense. The Academy never “got” Adaptation or Being John Malkovich enough to give them major nominations, so why would this be any different? And we know they just know they have it in for Jim Carrey and it will take about 10 more years of serious performances before they’ll give him any recognition. Makes perfect sense. However, I still think that this film had a warmth and accessibility that Kaufman’s previous written films did not. In the end, it was obviously a mistake to release it in March.

  99. bicycle bob says:

    eternal is getting shafted because it doesn’t play to mass audiences. sideways does. million buck baby does. eternal is a great film. i don’t know how more people don’t get it and it should be right there with the top 3.

  100. Wayman Wong says:

    For the record, the Academy gave some major Oscar nominations to ”Adaptation” and ”Being John Malkovich.” They nominated ”Adaptation” for Best Actor (Nicolas Cage), Adapted Screenplay (the Kaufmans), Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep) and Supporting Actor (Chris Cooper, who won). And they nominated ”Being John Malkovich” for Best Director (Spike Jonze), Supporting Actress (Catherine Keener) and Original Screenplay (Charlie Kaufman).

  101. Geoff says:

    I stand corrected on the nominations for previous Kaufman/Jonze films. However, they were both still curiously omitted from the Best Picture races.

  102. Geek, Esq. says:

    ESOTSM was never going to get nominated. A kooky Charlie Kaufmann film released in March. Puh-leaze. I love the film, but it never stood a chance. Even if Sideways had never existed.
    And it wouldn’t have won the Globe comedy award either–not with Ray and The Incredibles there.

  103. gombro says:

    As has been said here many times before, the Oscar voters tend to be older (I think the average age is over 60) and aesthetically conservative. That’s why, despite Dave Poland’s claim that it’s the only game around, it is, finally completely irrelevant in terms of the big picture, especially the big aesthetic picture.
    Anyone think less of CITIZEN KANE or VERTIGO because they didn’t win best picture?
    Anyone think OUT OF AFRICA, GANDHI, IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, THE GREATEST STORY EVER TOLD are really great films that have stood the test of time?
    While it’s fun to make predictions about who will or will not win, DO NOT THINK IT EVER FINALLY MATTERS. Just as F. Murray Abraham.

  104. Geoff says:

    You make a very good point, Gombro. It really doesn’t matter. The last time the best film of the year actually won Best Picture, in my opinion, was 1993, when Schindler’s List won. And that was even debatable against In the Name of the Father.

  105. bicycle bob says:

    jeff, thats ur opinion. i think the academy does actually do a good job of picking the five best movies every yr. who eventually wins is a crapshoot.

  106. Lota says:

    The Oscars are the only game in town if you want to get your next project financed . Unless you “know” somebody in the Biblical sense. I wonder who Mel Gibson “knows”.
    “Hey Jesus, get off the Cross, Mel needs the wood!”
    Or if you made a shitload of money on the last picture, after back end payments, after P&A etc, then maybe Oscars don’t matter much.

  107. Stella's Boy says:

    Come on. Everyone knows the five best movies of the year are never the five Best Picture nominees. Every single year there is a Chocolat that does not deserve to be there.

  108. ynd says:

    Geoff — A really good point about how we should look at the Best Picture winner. I was talking with a friend how film festivals like Cannes work their awards. Basically a bunch of people in a room choosing the film that’s not necessarily anyone’s “favorite”, but rather the one film that EVERYONE can agree was “worthy”. When it all comes down, that’s how the Best Picture Oscar gets awarded. The most impressive films of the year tend to be polarizing by nature. That means they’re loved more passionately by some but also disliked more by others. So you end up with a safe, middle-ground, generally-liked flick taking the prize. Looking back, I think you have to go even further than SCHINDLER’S to find a non-middle-ground pic taking the top prize. Maybe UNFORGIVEN.

  109. Geoff says:

    I will say this about the Oscar nominations. Their final five usually has some correlation with my top five for the year. Last year, I would have easily put Return of the King, Lost In Translation, and Master and Commander in my top five. But the top pick is a crap shoot, for sure. I mean, in ’91, you could make strong cases for JFK, Silence of the Lambs OR Beauty and the Beast. And in ’94, you just KNEW that Pulp Fiction had its ardent supporters, but they were just no match for the mass popularity of Forrest Gump. And I have to give the academy credit, last year, for getting City of God some much needed attention, but I cannot understand how that “Best Foreign Film” snafu happened.

  110. Geek, Esq. says:

    Actually, the AMPAS balloting system works in such a way that there is no “consensus” b.s. involved in picking a winner. Films only get nominated if there is a significant number of people who vote for it as their #1 or #2 or #3 film of the year.

  111. Joe Leydon says:

    Gomby: Have you actually watched “In the Heat of the Night” recently? It holds up much, much better than many (if not most) Oscar winners. Indeed, I think you could argue that it looks a hell of a lot less dated stylistically today than “The Graduate,” one of the other major Best Picture nominess that year. More important, it was an extraordinarily gutsy movie to make in its time, and I think it’s an invalubale account of the mood/attitude/zeitgeist of its time. That’s really what I miss about movies of 30 or so years ago: They were of their time, and spoke to people about they way they lived then. How may movies do you see today that really, truly speak to us about the way we live now? Maybe the “25th Hour,” and…?

  112. Stella's Boy says:

    25th Hour is a fucking masterpiece. I don’t care what anyone says about Spike Lee, as a person or his movies. That movie is pure genius from beginning to end and easily one of the best movies of the past five years. I am still baffled by Poland’s extremely negative take on it. One of my all-time favorite movies and insanely, ridiculously underrated.

  113. Mark says:

    A masterpiece? How are we supposed to take you seriously with absurd statements like that? Is 25th Hour good? Its decent. But it has no story. No redeemable character. No plot. And when it goes in a direction of a plot it changes course and veers away. Typical Spike Lee movie and hes made a ton of plotless, storyless, messes. Give He Got Game to anyone else and they make it a masterpiece. Face it. Lee peaked with Do the Right Thing.

  114. Stella's Boy says:

    Mark, considering the shit you’ve spewed around here, I could care less if you take me seriously. Your opinion means less than nothing to me. I think you are useless. If you honestly believe that 25th Hour has no story, then you’re a clueless moron. And who says a movie has to have a “redeemable character?” That, my friend, is truly absurd.

  115. gombro says:

    You know, Joe, HEAT OF THE NIGHT is the one film I named that I haven’t seen in, like, 25 years. So, I’ll retract it from my list of mediocre Best Picture winners. You’re right, as an adult, maybe I’d like it now. Let me replace it with: CHARIOTS OF FIRE.

  116. gombro says:

    You know, Joe, HEAT OF THE NIGHT is the one film I named that I haven’t seen in, like, 25 years. So, I’ll retract it from my list of mediocre Best Picture winners. You’re right, as an adult, maybe I’d like it now. Let me replace it with: CHARIOTS OF FIRE.

  117. Joe Leydon says:

    Actually, “25th Hour” does have a redeemable protagonist. Trouble is, he’s doesn’t get redeemed. Which makes it all the more poignant when you hear that final line: “This life came so close to not happening.”

  118. Mark says:

    It is a film of all flash and no substance. A film of style and no story. Three main characters who achieve nothing. We’re following this drug dealer around on his last day and we care why? He’s what to anyone? His two best friends barely know him. His underage girlfriend can’t wait for him to leave. His mob boss think hes going to turn rat. Basically the whole move is a 3 hour affair about Monty being scared to get raped in prison. Thats it. Spike Lee is garbage. He’s made one good film. Amazing how he is still respected as a filmmaker.

  119. Mark says:

    What Dave is trying to say is the Academy Award is the only award worth remembering. It is the only award worth its salt. Tell me, who won the BAFTA last year? Who won the Golden Globe in 1980? But we all know the Oscar winners. We all know who got screwed over in the end. We all know what films stand the test of time and how they should have won Oscars.

  120. Wayman Wong says:

    All awards are ultimately trivia. I’m sure if you took a poll of the general public, most of them couldn’t name last year’s Oscar winner for Best Picture. Look, it really only matters to award junkies like us. If the Academy Award is ”the only award worth remembering,” why does this site – or any other Oscar site – bother to follow who won the National Board of Review, Golden Globes, BAFTA, etc.? Because we think it’ll somehow lend some insight into what MIGHT win at the Oscars.
    To me, ”The Aviator” received 14 BAFTA nominations, fair and square, and I imagine ANY film that got that kind of recognition would be thrilled. I don’t understand the reasoning in diminishing that accomplishment by saying ”the award means nothing” and suggesting that it could even be a source of ”embarrassment.” Well, if ”The Aviator” had been totally snubbed by BAFTA, I imagine some film writers would’ve been crowing about how it failed to get any nominations and how it’s lost its Oscar momentum.

  121. Geoff says:

    Whoah, how did this get into Spike Lee bashing? I thought 25th Hour was an excellent film. And like most of the best Spike Lee films, it really didn’t rely on a plot. What it did do was create interesting and compelling characters, like the best of his work. Personally, I think Spike Lee has done his share of masterpieces and messes. I would put Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, Clockers, 25th Hour, and Jungle Fever (almost) in the former and Girl 6, Bamboozled (indeed), He Got Game, and She Hate Me in the latter. Summer of Sam falls somewhere in the middle and a weird middle it is. But wow, talk about a filmmaker who has been shortchanged by the Academy. Malcolm X is as good a biopic as I’ve ever seen and he deserved some kudos for it. And I find it kind of ironic that in ’92, Denzel Washington, in just an incredible performance as Malcolm, lost to Al Pacino in one of his most overrated performances, only to get his Best Oscar nine years later for probably his most overrated performance in Training Day. You know, what it all comes down to, is while you can’t take this Oscar stuff to seriously, it’s incites fun discussion about film, just Ten Best Lists. That’s why we all pay attention.

  122. gombro says:

    Spike’s just one of those lightning rods for the right in this country. He drives the right wing crazy for being so in-your-face about his leftist stances. I personally think he’s all over the map in terms of the quality of his films, but I thought SUMMER OF SAM and especially BAMBOOZLED were great.

  123. ynd says:

    Wasn’t saying that AMPAS ballots like a fest jury does. Just that the way things work out, the more moderate, widely “liked” films have a better shot at getting nominated than the films that a smaller group of people are really passionate about. For example, in 2000 I’m willing to bet that ALMOST FAMOUS got a lot more #1 votes in the balloting than CHOCOLAT. However it was also left off a lot more ballots entirely than CHOCOLAT. There wasn’t a lot of middle ground for AF. CHOCOLAT gets the nom because of a ton of #3 votes. Does anybody consider CHOCOLAT their fave film of the year? Maybe not. But more people consider it one of their top three. This year, I guarantee ESOTSM will be #1 on a lot of ballots. It won’t get a Best Pic nod because those who don’t rank it #1 don’t rank it at all. FINDING NEVERLAND or HOTEL RWANDA, on the other hand, score a ton of #3 votes and sneak on in. That’s all I was trying to say. (Though I hope I’m wrong about ESOTSM. It’d be great to see it recognized.)

  124. KamikazeCamel says:

    Hopefully, Eternal Sunshine has emassed quite a following, and the Academy knows how its own voting system works (I hope) so those who love it put it as #1. I know I would be. It’s my third favourite of the year -after Dogville and Before Sunset- but those have NO chance. If I were in the Academy I’d definitely put Eternal as #1 and probably The Incredibles at #2.
    But, yeah, I’m sure there’s quite a few Academy members who actually really like a Dogville, or a Before Sunset, or a Vera Drake, but they percieve as throwing away a vote. Sorta like in the elections where it was stupid to vote for a third party when they were obviously not gonna get anything. It’s sad, though.
    Gombro, Terms of Endearment is one of my favourite movies, and it holds up wonderfully. Especially Shirley MacLaine’s fabulous performance. WHERE ARE MY DAUGHTER’S PILLS?!?!
    And, lastly, Spike Lee’s a great FILMMAKER. Sometimes his films aren’t the best, but he sure down know how to put on a show! I, personally, love Do The Right Thing and Summer of Sam with 25th Hour being pretty damn good too.
    EVERY movie has a plot. Even movies where nothing substantial happens have plots.

  125. ynd says:

    Yup, Before Sunset, Eternal Sunshine and Dogville are my top three as well — head and shoulders above the rest in a solid Top Ten. Of course, when the Village Voice poll says the same thing, those critics are labeled “effete” by MCN. (Even though Dogville and Eternal Sunshine both made Poland’s Top 20.) That headline ticked me off even more than the BAFTA/Marginalized headline. What’s up with the attitude from what I thought was supposed to be a reportage site?

  126. Geek, Esq. says:

    I guess that my take is that if someone who sees a lot of films puts a film in their top 3, they feel pretty damn strongly about it.
    That so many people put Chocolat in their top 3 is really depressing, though.

  127. NathanielR says:

    Well, obviously in an addition to just plain bad taste, things like Chocolat make the list because the Academy voters aren’t really seeing 100s of movies a year. This is why the precursors and the campaigns and screeners are so important. I firmly do not believe that the voters are watching movies all year long and considering what goes on their ballot. They’re watching movies they hear a lot about at the end of the year and then deciding what to vote for.
    So these precursors that are worried about being predictive are really doing the Academy and the public a disservice by not voting with their hearts. Because they narrow the field before the Academy even starts thinking about it. And by trying to predict they end up making the Academy even more middle-of-the-road. Essentially the Academy voters before receiving their ballots this year were hearing of about 12 movies only. And only 6 or 7 of those movies were they hearing about all the time. So naturally, Finding Neverland will do well because it only has about 6 competitors. Even though it sucks.
    And, well, I don’t know that many voters but I have talked to a few and of those few not all of them were aware of their “tiered” balloting. They just write down the five names they like best.

  128. Stella's Boy says:

    Not only do I know of no one who felt that Chocolat was one of the five best movies of that year, I know of no one who even liked it. Reactions ranged from “it was harmless and OK” to “it was painfully bad.”

  129. bicycle bob says:

    who would have thought someone could have made a boring movie about malcom x? honestly. even with a great performance by denzel. that was the flick that showed spike lee couldn’t tell a story. summer of sam might have been the worst film i’ve ever paid for

  130. bicycle bob says:

    u can count chocolat in the “miramax paid for this nomination and thanks” category

  131. Stella's Boy says:

    If Summer of Sam is the worst movie you’ve ever paid for, you’ve paid for about three movies in your life.

  132. jon s says:

    I just love it. It’s like Pavlov’s dog. You say “Spike Lee” or “Michael Moore” and the conservative canines out there start barking away. You can bet money on it.

  133. gombro says:

    Kamakaze: I really like TERMS OF ENDEARMENT too, and I think Shirley McLane deserved her Oscar. But for James L. Brooks to have won best director over Ingmar Bergman for FANNY AND ALEXANDER is an absolute joke. Also, that was the year of THE RIGHT STUFF, UNDER FIRE, and THE NIGHT OF THE SHOOTING STARS, all of which were better than TERMS. But as I’ve said, the middle-brow senior citizens rule the day come Oscar time.

  134. bicycle bob says:

    when did spike lee get lumped in with that kook mikey moore? just because hes made some terrible moves doesn’t make him a left wing nutjob like moore. i liked he got game but summer of same was the pits. a movie with no story, plot, or coherence. and to say differently is pointless.

  135. Mark says:

    I do not see any lefty views in Spike’s films. I just think they’re bad movies. He drops the ball everytime out. He’s a waste of promising talent. He’s had no movie that has made any money. It is amazing that any studio will continue to finance him. Look at the resume. If you try to tell me that Bamboozled, Girl 6, She Hate Me, Get on the Bus, Crooklyn, and Jungle Fever are good movies, then you got a screw loose or you will support a Spike movie even if he shot a turd for 2 hours. Face it. If he was white, asian, or latino he would be working in tv right now.

  136. Stella's Boy says:

    Oh I could say that anyone who doesn’t like Jungle Fever has a screw loose. Should people only be allowed to make movies if they make money? When is the last time a Woody Allen movie made money? Your logic is flimsy at best.

  137. Stella's Boy says:

    Or 25th Hour, Do the Right Thing and Malcolm X, among others.

  138. jon s says:

    Mark Says: “I don’t see any lefty views in Spike’s films” as a defense for why he thinks his hatred of Spike is not political. But it is a right wing trait to be completely racist–it was the Dems who pushed through the civil rights laws in the 60s and the Republicans who fought that. Also, calling Spike’s critically acclaimed films “turds” and suggesting he’s only gotten where he is because he’s black, is a real racist/right-wing thing to say. Thanks for showing your true stripes, Bubba.

  139. jon s says:

    By the way, just to explain myself further, it’s a well documented component of racist discourse to, for instance, demonize Asians as “effeminate,” “dishonest”, “inscrutable,” etc. while denigrating blacks as “stupid,” “dirty,” and somehow connected to “shit/feces.” It’s a classic example of ignorant knee-jerk racism to refer to something connected to a black person (like Spike Lee’s films) as “turds.” You should be ashamed of yourself, Mark. You’re a vicious racist and you’re too ignorant to even know it.

  140. Mark says:

    Sorry, it was the Dem’s who for years kept the civil rights of blacks down. Who do you think controlled the South until the 1980’s? All those Klan members were Democrats. Stick to movies where you at least have a clue.

  141. Stella's Boy says:

    Mark, you’re only embarrassing yourself here. Seriously. Apparently you know even less about history than you do about movies. Think before you post man. You’d be doing us all a favor. All Klan members were Democrats until the ’80s?! You can’t be serious? Wait, you probably are. Yikes. Where did you attend school? Mississippi?

  142. Mark says:

    If a studio is putting up the money for your picture, oviously they want a return on their investment. No studio is in the business of funding filmmakers because they like their movies, they make a statement, or they’re black. He has a responsibility to make money if he is going to deal with other peoples money. It is too bad his movies are not good enough to make any.

  143. Mark says:

    A little history lesson. The South was controlled by Democrats. Til when? Til the tide changed in the 1970’s when they felt abandoned by the party that took care of them. Where was the Klan located in the 1800’s and early 1900’s? The South right? Sorry if you want to blame Republicans for everything but maybe if you would open your eyes and learn something, you would be better off. Instead of embarrassing yourself over a movie blog.

  144. Angelus says:

    Spike Lee has never lived up to the promise we all thought he had after the fabulous Do The Right Thing. What a great picture. Many in the field do not make even one picture half as good as that. So to me, Mr Lee gets a pass. Just like Tarantino will get a pass for making Pulp Fiction. We have to respect greatness even if none follows.

  145. jon s says:

    A little history lesson, yourself Mark. LBJ (a Democrat) signed the civil rights law after he, and a bunch of Northern Dems. pushed it through. It’s true there were some racist Southern Dems before that and the south, as you know has been a big block, more or less, of Red States ever since. Today, and we are living in 2005, not the distant past (even though many conservatives clearly wish we could all live in the past) the Democratic party is the party of the little guy, the minority, and equal rights for all. The Republican party is for the rich, the bigoted, the homophobic, the profoundly igonrant, and the easily manipulated. And before you bring up Condi Rice, Clarance Thomas, and Alan Keyes consider what Spike Lee (rightly) calls sell-outs like that: “house Negroes.”

  146. Stella's Boy says:

    There are plenty of prestigious filmmakers working consistently despite the fact that their movies never make any money. Ever heard of Woody Allen? John Sayles? Michael Winterbottom? John Waters? Mike Leigh? I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the picture. The movies these guys make never make any $. Do they all have a responsibility to make money? Or is it different because they typically work outside of the studio system? Either way, someone is choosing to invest money in them.

  147. Gombro says:

    “Making Money” is a slippery term. By the time DVD, cable, broadcast, foreign, etc. is taken into account, many of these so-called “bombs” of the niche directors do make a modest profit. Beyond that, studios do like to have a bit of prestige associated with them to keep them from feeling too dirty about investing in Lindsey Lohman films and all (which is why Dreamworks, for instance, associated themselves with Woody Allen a few years ago. Of course, when Allen stopped even getting good reviews they pulled away.) No one forces an investor to put money into any film, and I think its funny that people who sneered at me for liking SPIDER-MAN 2 are suddenly acting like it’s all about the all-mighty dollar.

  148. Mark says:

    Who bashed you for liking Spiderman? I think I said twelve times it was one of my favorites. Your point is that it should win an Oscar. Which is absurd. Way to change your opinion.
    No studio will pour money into a loser/filmmaker who can’t turn a profit. I haven’t seen Woody or Spike even get a hint of prestige in the past ten years. There is no loyalty in this business.

  149. Gombro says:

    I never said S-M 2 should win BP. Now who’s rewriting old comments? I did say I liked it better than ETERNAL SUNSHINE, and I may have even said it MIGHT deserve a spot as one of the five nominees. Since I haven’t seen BAD EDUCATION, MILLION DOLLAR BABY, HOUSE OF FLYING DRAGONS, or MERCHANT OF VENICE yet I wouldn’t know. But it’s one of the five best I’ve seen so far, hence nomination worthy.
    If nobody will “pour money into a loser/filmmaker who can’t turn a profit”, how does Spike continue to get funded then? Either I’m right that A, his films end up turning a modest profit in the end, or B, I’m right to suggest that studios are willing to have some losses for prestige value. If you read the book FINAL CUT, (by former United Artists exec Steven Bach) you’d know that the execs at UA funded FRENCH LT’S WOMAN fully expecting it NOT to turn a profit. Maybe you ought to read a bit more about this industry about which you claim to know so much, huh, Marky. And BTW, I agree with Jon. Your comment referring to Spike Lee’s shooting “turds” was shockingly racist. What’s next from you, buddy, a comment about “greedy” Jews?

  150. gombro says:

    Getting back to the actual subject of this thread, whether or not BAFTA is relevant right now, I’m reminded of the furor that arose around the 1999 Cannes Film festival. (And David, are you ever going to update your awards scorecard to include the BAFTA nominations, or are you going to try to make them irrelevant by just ignoring them?)
    Anyway, in 99, the Cannes programmers outraged the Hollywood establishment by picking high quality art films for the festival and ignoring most of the middle-brow Miramax pabulum that often gets launched there. (They turned down MY LEFT FOOT and THE CRYING GAME that year among others.) Harvey Weinstein, VARIETY and THE NEW YORK TIMES thew a fit that, especially Harvey over the fact that he therefore wasn’t allowed to use the fest as a launching pad for his Oscar-bate movies. Essentially, he made a bunch of dire threats about what would happen if Cannes continued to ingore the will of the Weinsteins. In the NEW YORK TIMES he said: “There’s something wrong with Cannes, and it needs to be fixed. It’s losing its place in film history…. I’ve reached the frustration point, and I’m not scared to say so any more…. I’m tired of fighting for obvious choices.”
    At the end of the article he essentially threatened to start boycotting Cannes if they didn’t begin to behave and “play ball” with the Hollywood establishment. (i.e. show what fit his business plans and ultimate Oscar strategy, rather than what the festival actually wanted to show and honor.)
    Later, in another article, David Cronenberg, who was head of the Cannes jury in ‘99, shot back that US criticism of the lineup and the award-winners was “pure Hollywood propaganda.” He concluded by saying: “You have to understand that Cannes has become an insult to the Americans. They find this festival marvelous and they want to make it their own. And since they haven’t succeeded in taking it over, they’ve begun to hate it. They say that the festival has lost its reason for existing, that it’s ‘irrelevant.’ That’s a wonderful world for the film’s we’ve chosen. What does it mean? I believe that’s the way Harvey Weinstein, the boss of Miramax, put it. I’d love for him to explain to me what makes SHAKESPERE IN LOVE more relevant than ROSETTA?” (All this is covered in Jonathan Rosenbaum’s great book MOVIE WARS, pp. 115-125.)
    Good for Cronenberg, as far as I’m concerned. You can say the BAFTAs and Cannes lack relevance because they refuse to take their part in the Hollywood market strategy, but I’ll be the British and the French could care less about Hollywood complaining that they happen to be more concerned with art than with Hollywood’s marketing plans.

  151. Mark says:

    Lee’s films do not turn a profit. If they did, he would get better material than She Hate Me. That is why he is having trouble finding distributors and studio financing. And what independent wants to sink money into a sinking ship?

  152. Mark says:

    And if you really read Final Cut, you will know every single exec mentioned in it did not have a job with the studio by the end of the book. So much for funding movies that have no shot to turn a profit huh???? Get a clue. Execs do not stay execs if they are funding films like She Hate Me. Its the fact of the industry.

  153. gombro says:

    Another screwy lie, Mark. The reason those execs didn’t have a job at UA by the end of the book (this was the old Andy Albeck crowd) was because they went on and founded Orion, not because they were fired by UA. It’s the ones who took over UA afterwards who crashed the ship. Yes, Orion did fail many, many years later (after triumphs like HANNAH AND HER SISTERS, PLATOON, DANCES WITH WOLVES and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS), but for much more complecated reasons than I’m going to bother sharring with the likes of you.

  154. KamikazeCamel says:

    Gombro, I like Terms of Endearment more than the films you listed (out of those I’ve seen, I have not seen Fanny and Alexander, unfortunately). So that argument is going nowhere.
    “i liked he got game but summer of same was the pits. a movie with no story, plot, or coherence. and to say differently is pointless.”
    oy, here we go again. look, Bicycle bob, EVERY MOVIE HAS A STORY! And, by the way, saying a movie has “no story, plot” doesn’t mean anything considering story and plot at the same thing…! But, seriously, how can a movie have no story (or plot)? That’s rediculous. Some may not have much of one but there’s always one there. And, CLEARLY Summer of Sam had one. I’m not saying it because I like the movie, I’m saying it because it’s a fact. SOS is about the lives of a small latino populated community around the time of the Son of Sam killings. As the people come paranoid that the killer is nearby, or, scarier still, one of their old friends, they decide to hunt him down. In a sub story, we follow Sam as from when he goes on his killing spree till the moment he was apprehended due to, of all things, a parking ticket.
    I think that’s a plot, don’t you? And I just thought of that off the top of my head.
    “He’s had no movie that has made any money.”
    because THAT is what film-making is ALL about, right? …riiiight.

  155. bicycle bob says:

    thats a pretty bold statement saying every movie has a story. there are hundreds of movies with no story. ur problem is u can’t see that. i guess theres no accounting for taste out there.
    and its obvious u haven’t seen summer of sam. because its not about latinos!! its about italians in 1977 during the son of sam killing spree. ur trying to defend a movie u don’t even know about. how about u watch it first before u come on here trying to defend it? no accounting for stupidity either i guess

  156. jon s says:

    bob. until you learn to use your shift key and spell you y-o-u instead of “u” you have no business calling anyone else stupid. you come across like a caveman who is typing with one finger in the hunt-and peck method of the termanally idiotic
    1ce u learn 2 type u cum back and talk 2 us

  157. bicycle bob says:

    u leave me alone! dont u no i lost 7 of my fingers in a masturbation accident? now ur maykin fun of a handicapped person. its not rite

  158. bicycle bob says:

    at least i’d spell “making” right. jeez. imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. thank you. everyone wants to ride the bike

  159. bicycle bob says:

    jon s, U are pretty stupid. U can’t understand the leter U.

  160. Mark says:

    I respect the fact that you believe in “artistry” and “prestige” but please don’t be naive. No studio or filmmaker is making films for those reasons. No studio gren lights any movie for that reason. They give a go ahead to a film because they think it will turn a profit. They want it to be successful. And the guys that started Orion did a bang up job there. They were bankrupt within 8 years. Keep the good evidence coming.

  161. Stella's Boy says:

    Overall that may be true at the majors, Mark, but not everywhere. Do you think the guys who greenlight Mike Leigh movies do it because they expect to turn a profit? I seriously doubt it. Sometimes studios want to work with someone for the prestige and potential major awards value, or to build credibility or a relationship with a particular filmmaker. I’m not saying it’s common (and of course it’s mostly about the green), but it does happen. Saying it never happens just isn’t true.

  162. PeppersDad says:

    There’s an article by A.O. Scott in today’s N.Y. Times relevant to all of this, where Scott discusses the resurgence of the medium-size movie. He points to certain films that were made with the conscious knowledge that they would almost definitely lose money. And he also quotes prominent producers who say they only want to make the types of films that will divide audiences.
    To some, that kind of approach is naive. To others, that is art.
    The article can be found at

  163. ynd says:

    Not picking a fight — ’cause I agree with the point you’re making (I think) — but I’m confused by your post yesterday. Cannes turned down MY LEFT FOOT and THE CRYING GAME in 1999? Wasn’t that about 10 years late for MLF and 7 or so late for TCG?
    I also prefer ROSETTA to SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. For whatever that’s worth.
    What were we supposed to be talking about here again?

  164. gombro says:

    Wow. You’re right, ynd. Again I stand corrected. I put up that posting late last night when I was really tired. I must have read the wrong line out of Jon’s Rosenbaum’s book and didn’t even notice it. The point was that Weinstein was very upset in ’99 that Cannes didn’t show a bunch of their films that year. Because if it he, and his lackeys at VARIETY and the TIMES ran a bunch of articles accusing Cannes of being “irrelevant.” Of the films Cannes did show, the Cronenberg jury awarded small budget European films rather than the bigger budget Miramax-type fodder. (I’m pretty sure Kevin Smith’s DOGMA was one of the films Miramax was pushing that year, actually.)

  165. gombro says:

    And to remind you, before this board disintegrated into juvenile chaos, it was discussing whether or not the BAFTA awards were irrelevant because they chose not to nominate MILLION DOLLAR BABY and SIDE And to remind you, before this board disintegrated into juvenile chaos, it was discussing whether or not the BAFTA awards were irrelevant because they chose not to nominate MILLION DOLLAR BABY and SIDEWAYS for their Best Picture award this year.

  166. gombro says:


  167. Carter Breslan says:

    I remember reading that Universal green-lit “The Last Temptation of Christ” fully expecting it to lose money, knowing that in the end it was worth it for them to develop a relationship with Scorsese. (He paid them back later by directing “Casino” for them.) Also, Columbia financed “The Razor’s Edge” knowing it had little chance of breaking even, but wanting to keep Bill Murray loyal to them back in the “Stripes” “Ghostbusters” days. I’m sure I could think up many more examples of Hollywood playing the “loss leader” game.

  168. Chris B says:

    ” imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. thank you.”
    It’s called ridicule, bob, not imitation. The fact that ur 2 dumb 2 c that is just the icing on the cake.

  169. Carter Breslan says:

    Stanley Kubrick didn’t make a dime in profits for Warner Bros. after “A Clockwork Orange”, but they kept funding him anyway as their one “in-house genius”.

  170. Gombro says:

    SPC doesn’t seem to think the BAFTA nominations are irrelevant. In their newspaper ads for HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERSS today, they proudly proclaim: 9 BAFTA AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING in very big letters.

  171. Mark says:

    Hey Carter. Know your facts before you post. Universal didn’t green light Passion. It was funded by Mel Gibson. Independently. If you would do your homework or know what you’re talking about, you wouldn’t sound like such a jackass.

  172. Mark says:

    Stella, the people behind Mike Leigh fully expect to make a profit. They may love his artistic vision and his movies but if they’re putting money into his movies they want to make some on top of it. It’s just how the business is. No one would fund filmmakers if all they did was lose money. If studios wanted prestige and art they would give Leigh 100 million and not care. Or they would give every filmmaker final cut of every film. It is a business. It is probably worse for the small guys where they have to make money to even get another film.

  173. Gombro says:

    Who’s the jackass, Mark? Or should we say, who’s the idiot? Scroll up, Einstein and you’ll notice that Carter was talking about Martin Scorsese’s “The LAST TEMPTATION of Christ,” not Mel Gibson’s “The PASSION of the Christ.” They’re two different films, and he’s right. THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST was financed by Universal (and also, partially, by Cineplex Odeon corp as well.) If you can’t even distinguish between those two very different films from different decades, how can anything you say be taken seriously?

  174. Gombro says:

    While we’re at it, you said Orion went bankrupt in 8 years. It lasted 13 years. You’re off by almost 40%, and yet you want us to think you know about business finance??

  175. Mark says:

    They were done in 8. They held on in bankruptcy for another 4. Real good business plan they had. Producing movies that don’t turn a profit. Way to stay in business. I’m sure thats why they started a company. If I said the sky was blue, some of you would say its black. Thats fine. But its just making you look dumb.

  176. Stella's Boy says:

    Making who look dumb? Numerous people provide specific examples as to why some of your theories are flawed or just plain wrong, and that is your reply? The fact is, some studios work with certain filmmakers for a variety of reasons, and it isn’t always because turning a profit is their number one concern. Like myself and others have said, it’s for awards or to build a working relationship or to provide a favor to someone who’s done well for them in the past or to take a chance on someone hip or edgy. Why do some people only see everything in black and white?

  177. Mark says:

    I know you want to see the industry and the world thru rose colored glasses but thats not how it is. How wonderful would it be for Scorsese to get a 200 million budget every year or for Aronofsky to get 200 or for PT Anderson to get 200 and be allowed to have a 5 hour movie? Obviously it would be great but thats not reality.

  178. gombro says:

    When are you going to apologize for calling Carter a “jackass,” when you’re the one who showed the stupidity by thinking P A S S I O N spelt “LAST TEMPTATION,” huh, Mark? By the way, your still wrong about your Orion info. Lying won’t make it so.
    Another piece of evidence for you, not that you seem to care about facts and evidence and being anything other than an angry, enraged right-wing blow-hard: In the brand new ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, there’s an interview with Clint Eastwood. In it, he says that he told the Warners execs a couple years ago that he couldn’t, in good faith, tell them that they’d make money on MYSTIC RIVER, but that he could commit to making a film that they’d “be proud to have in their library.” On THAT basis, and their longtime relationship with him, they funded the production. If you don’t believe me, go out and buy a copy and see for yourself.
    While you’re at it, pick up some anti-anger medication at the drug store. Unfortunately, with Bush in the White House, the prescription will cost you $140 a bottle, but that’s just tough, huh?

  179. Stella's Boy says:

    Good point gombro. And there are plenty of examples in addition to the Eastwood one. But I’m sure Mark will continue to insist that he is right and we are wrong, despite ample evidence to the contrary. And no one is saying that Hollywood isn’t about the almighty dollar and turning a profit, just that there are many instances where it’s about more than that. Some just can’t seem to grasp that. They’d prefer to keep on arguing.

  180. gombro says:

    Exactly, Stella’s. You read interview after interview with execs who talk about how every year or so they fund something just to help them sleep better at night and remind them of why they’re proud to be in the movie business. Carter’s Kubrick example was perfect. Warners was very proud to be the Kubrick studio. It made those execs feel better about churning out Police Academy movies all through the 80s to be able to say “but we do take some of the profits and put them into real art and supporting real artists.” Obvously, some of us wish they’d do it more than the do, but they do, occasionally do it.

  181. Carter Breslen says:

    Thanks for defending me, Stella and Gombro. Didn’t this sub-category of this thread start when people started saying “Spike Lee is a big-time loser who been failing constantly since ‘Do the Right Thing’?” To that end, I can say last time I was on Martha’s Vineyard I got a look at Spike’s house. He must be doing something right, financially to have a house like that, and I certainly didn’t see any foreclosure signs on the gate.

  182. Mark Zieglerzo's Mom says:

    Please, please, please!!! Don’t talk about black people living in mansions when my son Mark’s around. Nothing make’s him more angry than the thought of black people living in nicer houses, having more money, and living better than we do. I’m serious. You don’t want to be the inadvertant cause of a hate crime, now do you?

  183. Garry says:

    Spikes movies have been shit lately. He’s a single dude without kids, probably doesnt need much money to keep his untalented ass living the good life.

  184. Armstrong Williams says:

    As a black conservative, I am disgusted by the charges of racism leveled at Republican Party loyalist Mark just because he has chosen to so accurately and knowledgeably vivisect the disreputable career of the liberal media darling, Spike Lee.
    (Mark: I have sent you an invoice for my three hours of work here. Your prompt payment would be greatly appreciated.)

  185. joe s says:

    Mark, I mean “Garry”, you have to be more than single without kids to live on Martha’s Vineyard in a mansion next to the Kennedys and the Spielbergs. Don’t you know anything about anything?

  186. Beelzebub says:

    Garry (Mark): Spike Lee has two kids according to IMDB. This just isn’t your day, shithead.

  187. Filipe says:

    — A studio year is measured by all the films they release not by a film on film basis. So if Sony has Spider Man 2, it can afford to have Closer (which they may hope to turn a profit, but were fully aware might ended up being a bomb). THeres lots of reason for a film to get greenlight by execs that know they might be bombs and they can afford them (not all of them related to prestige sometimes it’s a simple matter of director/producer have a good relationship with the exec) . Let’s say that studio X has a 2005 line up of 14 films that cost 600m, and they are expecting that between 11 of those to make 1bi on domestic marketing, they can afford 3 films on 30m or less budget that they are fully aware has very litte chance of not flop). If the big movies deliver, nobody will bother with the small flops). Nobody produces 100m films for prestige only, but they can produce 15-20m one.
    — Today with foreign, DVD and other revenues most films ended breaking even. So giving 8m to Spike Lee to make a film is not that bad even if it ends with only 5m domestic.
    — Cheap films can be very profitable and most films that are greenlight first for prestige reasons are done cheap. Mike Leigh’s always turn a profit on England alone. Since this starts with Spike Lee let’s use 25th Hour as example. It’s budget was 5m, the domestic gross was 13m and foreign 11m. I don’t know the PA costs, but I doubt Buena Vista executives believe it was a loser, they would prefer that it had become a true oscar hopeful and rossed 30m, but for a 5m film it’s gross was good enough. BTW, the only Lee films that are true losers are Girl 6, Get on the Bus and She Hate Me (Bambozled was done very cheap) . His movies doesn’t gross much, but he is always on budget (and usually small ones), so in the real important film when it comes to profit (the relationship between gross and budget) his movies are usually fine even if they don’t look good at first glance (on the other hand Tim Burton hasn’t had a film that is very profitable to its studio since Batman Returns and he keeps getting hired to make 70m+ films even couple of years).
    — Orion went bankrupt not thanks to produce prestige films that doesn’t turn a profit, but because after Silence of the Lambs they try to become a major and fail (it’s pretty much the same think that happened to Artisan).

  188. joe s says:

    Wowze! An intellegent posting! Thanks, Filipe. But that might be more than some of the people here can wrap their brains around. Spike is actaully MAKING money, while Tim Burton LOSES money? Is the sound I’m hearing Mark and bob’s brains exploding?

  189. Lorie says:

    To Jason Pritchett…..The idea for Deliverance came from Rabun Co., Clayton, Georgia you dumdum….a long damn way from Ellijay, GA. You should visit Ellijay…some of us have college degrees, some actually have multiple college degrees. Times have changed in Ellijay……we no longer sit around on the porch bare-footed poking each other with sticks….

  190. Lota says:

    The bigger question about Spike is why has he not been better rewarded by studios when most of his movies (as a writer or director) have lost very little money (generally <5% budget) or made money. As a producer he's made money on the projects he produced. The Original Kings of comedy made a fortune vis-a-vis the original investment. While many state they think he has an 'attitude' I think I'd have an attitiude too if after years of starting off many actors-of-color's careers, making money, making movies that are different, like them or not, I still had to work on rock-bottom budgets and pay actors Indie SAG rate.
    I can think of at least ten directors who keep losing money like 20 million+ per picture and it isn't their own money. they keep getting work on big boring epics and comic book movies that would be better done by a director of vision who's proven themselves on smaller pictures.
    Guess Hollywood is supposed to be a business but is run like a bad one.

  191. Garry says:

    um, i’m actually not Mark so you paranoid freaks will have to think up something else. And if Spike Lee’s movies are so fucking successful, how come every one has a smaller budget than the last. His most recent film disappeared after a week in theaters and got pretty mixed, if not bad reviews. I dont hate Spike, I just see it like it is. The guy blew his wad early on and hasnt recoved. He’s in the same situation woody allen is in right now – which is people questioning his validity anymore and certainly questioning his marketability.

  192. Gombro says:

    One can argue that Spike’s actually mastered the art of balancing art vs. finance. He made a fortune early on with DO THE RIGHT THING; now that he’s set financially, he makes challenging art films on low budgets, films that will stand the test of time. Admittedly he doesn’t always succeed. SHE HATE ME was an embarrassment. On the other hand, BAMBOOZLED is considered one of the most important films of the last 10 years, certainly in academic circles. A whole issue of CINEASTE was devoted to it, and it’s required viewing in almost all “race and film” classes, just like DO THE RIGHT THING.
    To say a director is a failure because he/she is obliged to work with low budgets in order to make the films they want to make is absurd. Ingmar Bergman had to make CRIES AND WHISPERS on a shoestring, even at the height of his career. Steven Soderbergh couldn’t have made SCHIZOPOLIS on the same budget he had for OCEAN’S TWELVE. What could be better for an artist than to be rich (like Lee), and still be able to push the envelope with challenging, albeit lower-budgeted films?
    I’m sure if Lee wanted to sell-out and make LETHAL WEAPON 5 or something, he could continue to rake in the cash, but he’s being true to himself.
    It IS kind of sad, admittedly that Woody Allen, on the other hand, has seemed so desperate to make some commercial hits of late (with things like ANYTHING ELSE?) when it seems to have backfired so totally. Apparently his next two films are more challenging and artistic and therefore potentially more worthy of his talents.
    By the way, “Garry”, if you quack like a Mark, I think it’s understandable that we think you are a Mark, just one who’s too humiliated to use his original screen name after so many laughable postings. Of course you’ll have to change it again, soon, considering the level of the “Garry” postings.

  193. Mark says:

    I guess a lot of people here want to be me.

  194. Garry says:

    Bamboozled bombed at the box office, got mixed to poor reviews, and has essentially disappeared from the public’s conciousness. When people look back on Spike Lee’s films it will be in the middle or bottom of the pack. When people look back on the best film’s of the decade, Bamboozled will be far off the list. Your argument’s for this guy’s movies are insane and completely without any basis in reality.

  195. joe s says:

    Who would you have rather been: Orson Welles (all those bombs, all those bad initial reviews) or Robert Wise (all those hits, all those awards, but who cares any more?)? Spike Lee will go down in film history as an artist, not a hack.

  196. Gombro says:

    GarrMark: Have you even HEARD of Ingmar Bergman or CINEASTE magazine? When dumb, closed-minded people can’t understand the arguments or references of an intelligent, educated person, their reflex is to call them “insane” or “incomprehensible.” I’ll bet the people on this board with 100+ IQs on this board understand me and don’t think I’m insane.

  197. joe s says:

    Give it up, Gombro. What’s the point of arguing with these nit-wits?

  198. Garry says:

    hey if I was Mark would I bring up the fact that Life Aquatic completely died at the box office, like I predicted a month ago? Some asshole here is gonna say “No, just give Anderson’s movie a couple more weeks, audiences will suddently give a shit about it!” Take a look at the movie wont get anything good from the Academy (other than art direction) and it died at the box office. You guys just need to face the facts that alot of your fave directors are a bunch of fuckin hacks. And to the asshole that compared Spike Lee to Ingmar Bergman – yes, you truly are insane.

  199. L.J says:

    I think the poster who compared Lee to Bergman only did so by noting that both have had to work largely with very low budgets and both are considered artists irregardless of opening weekend grosses and other bullshit like that. Lee of course is more like Pasolini and Godard than Bergman.
    You really need to get control of your anger, Garry. I can visualize the veins popping out of your forehead as you type, just by reading your posts. Do you really want to have a stroke and die before you can move out of your mother’s basement and lose your virginity?

  200. Beelzebub says:

    Garry just wants closeted Mark to jimmy it up his angry white ass. Nobody on THB ever said LIFE AQ would make money- NO-FUCKING-BODY. That carpet muncher is giving Mark way too much credit just for running with the pack. The 2 of u nasty bitches ought to hook up already so the rest of us can get some peace.

  201. Carter Breslen says:

    Okay, guys, let’s not sink down to the dittoheads’ level, huh?
    The point is, Godard had to work on tiny budgets, much smaller than say Roger Vadim’s, but who’s considered the better, more-important filmmaker now? Ingmar Bergman has never had the money that Tony Scott has had to make a film: He only had two big budget films in his entire career. Does that “prove” that Tony Scott is a better director? No way. Obviously, these right-wing, bullet-point oriented people can’t process more than simple little ideas like: “the more money you have the more successful you are” and “no one would ever make a film unless they thought it would make a profit.” Life isn’t that simple, folks, even if George W. Bush acts like it is. I could tell some stories about tax shelter investors who put money into films hoping they wouldn’t break even! “The Producers” isn’t as far from the truth as you might think.

  202. Ty Smith says:

    Garry, among a myriad of mistakes on this thread, alluded to Spike Lee and Wes Anderson as “hacks.” Here’s a little clarification for someone who doesn’t understand basic terminology. A “hack” is someone who works only for the money and has no artistic personality to speak of, someone hired because he brings his movies in under budget and on schedule and tends to get along with his actors and crew, even if all his movies are mediocre at best. Whether you like Spike Lee and Wes Anderson or not (and by the way, I don’t much like Anderson), they are NOT hacks. You may say they’re terrible artists, self-indulgent filmmakers, even failures at their chosen profession, but they’re not hacks. Hacks in Hollywood would include people like Arthur Hiller, Jay Roach, Richard Donner–people who just churn them out, get along with everyone on set, but make films with no sense of authorship or personal artistry. Go back to Film Studies 101, Garry, and learn your vocabulary words.

  203. bicycle bob says:

    how is spike lee not a hack? he makes unwatchable flicks. face the facts. he peaked with do the right thing. it was his high point. he’ll never get it back. hes had his chances. hes had studio backing. hes had great actors. hes gonna be on tv soon enough.
    now wes anderson is the furthest thing from a hack. the guys made 4 films here. lets give him another 6 before we make judgements on his career.

  204. L.J. says:

    Unbelievable. Immediately following a crystal-clear definition of “hack” (vs., say, “bad director,” which is something very different), dildobutt bob actually asks “how is Spike Lee not a hack?”
    I guess the bike’s reading comprehension is as bad as his typing skills.

  205. bicycle bob says:

    a hack is a bad director/generic/can’t tell a story/still gets jobs based on color and rep. thats spike lee. u can argue it all u want but it comes down to the fact that he makes shitty movies.

  206. jon s says:

    That’s not what a hack is, bob. Pull the dildo out. Maybe you’ll be able to think more clearly.

  207. Stella's Boy says:

    Spike Lee still gets work based on color? You have no idea what you are talking about. None. Zero. Not even a little. Lee is hit or miss, but he has made brilliant movies in the last decade, including the underrated Clockers and 25th Hour. He could not be less of a hack. Jon Turtletaub is a hack bob. If you can’t see the difference between the two, you are clueless.

  208. Mark says:

    If Spike Lee was white, do you think he would get work after She Hate Me? And yes, I’m still bitter I paid money to see Summer of Sam.

  209. L.J. says:

    Here are the dictionary definitions of “hack”:
    1. By, characteristic of, or designating routine or commercial writing: hack prose.
    2. Hackneyed; banal.
    Phrasal Verb:
    To produce (written material, films, for example), especially hastily or routinely: hacked out a weekly column
    A writer [or filmmaker] who works quickly and impersonally, solely for profit.
    Here’s what bob thinks it is:
    “a bad director/generic/can’t tell a story/still gets jobs based on color and rep.”
    The fact that bob can’t make the distinction between “hack” and “bad director” is proof that he’s an unmitigated idiot.

  210. Stella's Boy says:

    Mark, you are hysterical. Has a white director never gotten more work after a bad movie? I’m sure Martin Brest will get to direct again, if he chooses. Kevin Smith will get work after Jersey Girl, a financial disappointment and awful movie. I could go on and on here.

  211. L.J. says:

    Stella’s right. The white directors of Hudson Hawk, Heaven’s Gate, Leonard Part 6 ALL got work after their big bombs (each of which lost far more money than She Hate Me did.) You’re just too racist to see that people with CONNECTIONS of any race along with a track record of doing good work earlier, are allowed to stumble once in a while and given subsequent work. (I’m sure deep down you think that if it wasn’t for affirmative action, you’d be the head of Universal now, huh, Mark?)

  212. Mark says:

    That bitch Sherry Lansing got the job I would have gotten at Paramount just because she’s a woman. She and Spike can rot in hell.

  213. bicycle bob says:

    my agent done told me that my script for a romantic comedy called ‘cousins what love each other’ would have been greenlited, but the investers were all out of money after making ‘girl 6’

  214. Lota says:

    Gee…shore is getting like the IMDB around here. Can we talk about movies?
    I wonder how they’re going to get Brody ready for a 5:30 AM news conference tomorrow. From The Pianist to The Village. oy.
    Tonight is the last chance to ponder if the BAFTAs make a damn bit of difference to the Oscar nominations. Probably not.

  215. Mark says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong but no one called Michael Lehman (director of Hudson Hawk) a genuis and a great director. He is a hack. Hacks do find work. White or black or latino. A hack is a hack. Lee is becoming the definition of hack. Sorry to say it but one great movie doesn’t redeem 20 years of hack.

  216. jon s says:

    Mark Wrote: “If Spike Lee was white, do you think he would get work after She Hate Me?”
    Now, you didn’t say: “If Spike Lee was white, would people call him a genius?” You implied that he GETS WORK, your words, because of his race. So we compared that to Michael Lehman, Cimino, et al, who also get work again and again after losing money, more than Spike has, I’m sure. Now that we’ve shown you for the racist bigot that you are, you want to change the subject away from someone “getting work” because he’s black to someone getting called a genius who isn’t. That’s the classic strategy of someone who’s always too dumb to win an argument: change the subject.

  217. gombro says:

    Saying someone “gets called a genius who’s really a hack just because they’re black” is every bit as racist as saying he or she “gets work” because he or she is black.
    There is a legitimate issue buried under all this racism; it’s the old “once an auteur/always an auteur” myth that started back in the 50s with Andrew Sarris. In the 60s, long after Hitchcock had lost it, people were still saying he was a genius and that MARNIE, TORN CURTAIN, and TOPAZ were just misunderstood masterpieces. In the 70s it was the same thing with Fellini. In the Eighties it was Coppola. One could say that the same is true of Lee to some extent. The big difference is that there weren’t a bunch of rabid bigots bitterly posting messages on websites that “Coppola’s a hack who’s only getting a pass because he’s Italian-American!,” or “Fellini’s only getting good reviews because he’s Italian!!,” or “Hitchcock’s only getting funded because he’s a man!!!”
    In short, irregardless of whether or not Spike Lee is a good filmmaker or bad filmmaker, the fact that people seem to be so outraged that he’s still making films and getting good reviews proves that there’s a lot of racism on the old Hot Blog.

  218. bicycle bob says:

    when was the last good review spike lee got? 1989?

  219. gombro says:

    Richard Roper gave “thumbs up” to SHE HATE ME a few months ago. Is that recent enough for you?

  220. jon s says:

    Lee was nominated for an Oscar for “4 Little Girls” in 1998.

  221. Ty Smith says:

    Why are you guys giving facts to bicycle bob? You know he doesn’t respond to facts, evidence, or logic.

  222. bicycle bob says:

    richard roper gave it a thumbs up. we should all jump for joy now and go out and see it. it must be a classic. those are facts? she hate me. a 20% on rotten tomatoes.
    boo allen, denton record “i hate this movie”
    jeffrey anderson combustible celluloid, “what was spike lee thinking?”
    owne gleibman entertainment weekly “Manages to be at once racist, homophobic, utterly fake, and unbearably tedious.”
    thats just the highlights. negative reviews from 71 of 89 pro reviewers. but roper is suddenly ur god and knows it all about films? interesting

  223. gombro says:

    bob, you just asked when was the last time one of Lee’s films got “a” (meaning one) good review, and I told you. Don’t you even understand English?

  224. bicycle bob says:

    and i told u one good review out of 90 isn’t really that good. if i talked about the holocaust, gombro would probably argue that it never took place. now gombro, do tell us the good things about she hate me and why its a classic?

  225. Stella's Boy says:

    bob, your question was answered. What do you not understand about that? Should someone explain it to you like you’re a four year-old? No one said She Hate Me is a classic. Learn how to read.

  226. Mark says:

    These guys will go to their graves singing the praises of She Hate Me apparently. Spike Lee is a hack. What more is there to get on it?

  227. Sen. Joseph McCarthy says:

    I cannot lend my support to someone who would associate with or even claim to be a Jew. I don’t have anything against Jews per se but most Jews are on my list of those suspected to be in the Communist Party. Because there are a lot of Jews on this site and because this is a kind of meeting place, anyone posting here is meeting with Jews. Therefore, anyone posting here is presumed to be attending meetings with communists. Consequently, bicycle bob and Mark are presumed to be communists.

  228. Stella's Boy says:

    Mark, please point out to me where someone here personally praised She Hate Me. Please. I would like to see it. And what part of the definition of hack do you not understand? If you can’t see the difference between Spike Lee and someone like Jon Turtletaub or Howard Deutch or Steve Carr, or any other studio hack director, then you are blind, a moron or both. Simple as that.

  229. gombro says:

    Mark, bob, you’re both idiots.
    To tell you the truth, I never even saw SHE HATE ME. I might well think it sucks. But you asked me when was the last time ANY critic EVER gave one of Lee’s films a good review, and I told you: Sept. 2004, Richerd Roper/Chicago Sun Times.
    The fact that you are too stupid to understand what you yourself asked me and how my answer was honest and correct is astonishing. Did your mom drop you on your head as a child? Are you STILL a child?

  230. jon s says:

    It’s pretty funny how all these right-wing morons keep attacking the lefties by trying to paste true right-wing attributes onto them. Everyone old enough to drink from a cup knows that Holocaust deniers are right wingers, racists are by and large right wingers, homophobes are almost always right wingers. But here are these right-wing assholes trying to attack the left with those very labels. Freud was sure correct with his theory of projection….

  231. Mark Zieglerzo's Mom says:

    Mr. gombro, my boy Mark wouldn’t be caught dead seeing a movie like SHE HATE ME either. It’s got nothing but colored people. Worse, it was made by colored people. Mark won’t put money into the pockets of all those colored people because that would be taking money out of the pockets of good white Christian people. We didnt raise him that way, no sir! If I ever find out Mark is seeing movies made by colored people, his poppa and me we’re gonna cut his allowance!

  232. Mark says:

    Gomb’s bro, you’re defending a movie you never saw? Now who is the dumb one? See She Hate Me then get back to us here. Trust me. I’m sure its at Blockbuster since no one will ever rent it.

  233. jon s says:

    Mark, you really are as dumb as a bag of wet mice.

  234. bicycle bob says:

    so i’m an idiot because u never saw the movie? consider yourself lucky u didn’t have to sit thru she hate me. lucky.

  235. L.J. says:

    Looking back at this thread, I can see nowhere where someone suggests you’re an idiot, bob, because Gombro didn’t see “She Hate Me.” It’s most likely due to the fact that your mother drank while she was pregnant, or the fact that your parents are first cousins. Maybe you stuck a pen up your nose as a child. Something like that.

  236. PeppersDad says:

    I think we should all lay off cousins procreating. That is a natural thing and it has happend all the time. Respect the cultures that you don’t know. Thank you.

  237. PeppersDad says:

    I just received an e-mail alerting me to the 12:40 posting above. I did not submit it.
    Despite the fact that I have not posted anything here for days, I continue to be harassed by bicycle bob and Mark every single day here and/or by e-mail. These guys do not let up even after you’ve disengaged from this blog, so I advise everyone here to be careful in your dealings with them, at least until Dave Poland institutes the registration process he promised. I hope for everyone’s sake that Dave holds to that promise because right now this site has been utterly devastated and usurped by these unstoppable termites.

  238. Mark says:

    Just because you don’t agree with me and you’re always wrong, doesn’t mean harrassment, Peppa. Do you cry like this to PeppersGrandma too?

  239. PeppersDad says:

    Yes, I called you an utter termite and I feel no sympathy for the devil. You are a spawn of the devil and even my racist self cannot be helped but feel revulsion.

  240. PeppersDad says:

    I did not submit the 6:27 AM posting.
    Mark and bicycle bob – You guys have completely decimated this blog, and it’s looking more and more like Dave Poland has abandoned it thanks to you. Really, guys, isn’t it time you moved on?

  241. PeppersDad says:

    I would like to offer my services and to prosecute anyone who posts anything that I do not like. As an American this is my constitutional right to free assembly and free speech. I vow to you on PeppersMom I will do the honorable thing.

  242. PeppersDad says:

    I did not submit the 11:56 AM posting.
    I have made it endlessly clear that I am not taking any legal action against anyone here and have no wish to do so. But it’s amazing and truly appalling how these people think that they have a constitutional right to harass me and my family.
    Guys, do you deny that you have been sending me e-mails almost every single day? Do you deny that you have repeatedly adopted my pseudonymous identity and e-mail address here in order to defame me? For what purpose? What are you getting out of this? Why are you stalking me and my family in this way?
    I have not engaged in any debates/arguments with contributors on this blog in a very long time. I have asked you politely to stop, and I have even advised others to leave you alone. WHAT THE FUCK IS IT GOING TO TAKE TO GET YOU GUYS TO QUIT?????

  243. jon s says:

    It really is like “Lord of the Flies” around here these days, isn’t it? God himself, I mean David Poland, has deserted us………

  244. Keith says:

    PeppersDad, as experienced attorneys we both recognize that these men (if I may skeptically call them that) don’t really comprehend the constitution or any other principles of law. Without getting into a large-scale analysis of the many clear violations of law in which these men have engaged, most fundamental is the fact that they simply will not leave you alone. When individuals continue to harass in an unprovoked way and refuse to stop, the law may step in to protect the victim’s right to quiet enjoyment of his or her life. For these individuals to suggest otherwise, to actually contend that they have a right under the U.S. constitution to harass anyone, is a deranged notion of the liberties we all enjoy.

  245. Mark says:

    Peppa, give it a rest already. Contribute something other than the fact that you’re going to sue everyone and you hate me. You’re getting boring and thats saying something.

  246. PeppersMom says:

    Stop defaming my husband. He defames himself enough when he tries to cuddle at night. Thank you for your support at this time.

  247. PeppersDad says:

    Mark –
    Same old Mark/bicycle bob bullshit – were you two trained by Pavlov? Do you suffer from A.D.D.? Otherwise, I cannot imagine why anyone in their right mind would insist on proving to everyone that they cannot read. As I’ve stated countless times before, I said in no uncertain terms in my last posting, “I am not taking any legal action against anyone here and have no wish to do so.” Yet you keep beating the same ridiculous drum. Is it really more important to you to have childish, bullying, malicious fun than to have any shred of credibility?
    And why don’t you and bicycle bob EVER answer the specific questions everyone poses to you here? You have not addressed a single one of mine. All you do is respond with personal insults and harassing e-mails. Rot in hell.

  248. pavlov's dogs says:

    even though they have a 100% record of mindless conditioned responses, comparing mark and bicycle bob to us was a low blow to dogs everywhere. the only thing we think have in common with them is the amount of attention we devote to licking our balls.

  249. Joe Leydon says:

    Fear not. David Poland has not deserted you. At least. not permanently. I’ve seen him trudging through the snow here at Sundance, working overtime…. Wait, excuse me for a minute while I laugh at the very idea that watching movies is work… OK, I’m back… Anyway, David should be returning soon to oversee the blog. And let me tell you something: Judging from what he told me in a fleeting conversation, there’s gonna be some changes made when he gets back.

  250. jon s says:

    Well, we will just have to wait for Dave’s triumphant return. I just started posting here a few weeks ago, and I know that this could be a great blog. I’m just hoping there’s some sort of idiot filter DP can install.

  251. bicycle bob says:

    wouldn’t the idiot button take u out of the discussion johnny boy?
    pep, shoot with a specific question if u got one. i answer it all as long its not asinine like your racists responses.

  252. L.J. says:

    The first thing the “idiot filter” would do is block people who don’t know that the first letter of the first word of a sentence is capitalized. It would confirm the block by barring any postings from people who spell “you” “u.”
    Stick a fork in yourself, sonny, ’cause you’re almost DONE!

  253. bicycle bob says:

    i’m sorry. i forgot this was a spelling and grammar blog. if U don’t know U then why bother showing how dumb U are?

  254. PeppersUncle says:

    Can we please get back to the basics of discussin the intricacies of the work of certain directors and how some actors are squandering their vast arrays of talent. I ask as a human being and a lover of all.

  255. jon s says:

    I think David should give a reading comprehension quiz, and only people who pass should be given a password to come on this blog. The most annoying thing about this blog is that you can make a comment or ask a question, and then some moron will come along and write a response showing they had no understanding at all about what you’ve just said.
    How about it, Dave? If people can’t read and understand the postings, why should they be able to comment on them? Let the dumb-dumbs use their freedom of speach the way they used to, by writing messages on the toilet stalls of the local Wal-Mart.

  256. Mark says:

    If it were about spelling, comprehension and basic intelligence, jon s would be in a tough fight to be on board.

  257. PeppersDad says:

    I put it to you Jon S. Let you be the one who gives the final word on reading and grammar. If you are our english parmour. Please lead these underlings into the 21st century.

  258. pavlov's dogs says:

    I did not submit the 10:11 PM posting.

  259. Mark Zieglerzo's Mom says:

    I did not submit the 12:08 AM posting.

  260. Sen. Joseph McCarthy says:

    I did not submit the 12:19 AM posting, you commie scum.

  261. Armstrong Williams says:

    Mark has not paid me yet for the 12:23 AM posting.

  262. Ann Coulter says:

    I did not submit the 12:29 AM posting. Mark, how many times do I have to say it: I WILL NOT FUCK YOU!

  263. PeppersDad says:

    The language here has become crass. Whoever is posting the curse words and the foul language has some real issues and most be taken care of. We have kids here who enjoy this blog and this atmosphere. It is not the example we want set. We do not need defamers.

  264. Mark says:

    They don’t get wittier than a Left winger. That much is true.

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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