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David Poland

By David Poland

1 Week to Go

When the Academy shortened the awards season two years ago, they had the right idea.
Tthe simple idea that the season was going on way too long was dead on. And this year, with the Oscars pushed later by almost two weeks, the only real response has to be, “Can you make it much, much shorter next year?”
And the Rest…

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21 Responses to “1 Week to Go”

  1. Crow T Robot says:

    Enjoyed your column today, Pols… the shorter the better indeed.
    For what it’s worth here are my fantasy choices:
    – Movie: GN,GL
    – Director: Clooney
    – Actor: Phoenix
    – Actress: Witherspoon
    – Sup G: Weisz
    – Sup B: Hurt
    – Adapted: Munich
    – Original: Match Point
    (Weisz was so cute on Charlie Rose a few minutes ago… what is she doing with a goober like Aronofsky?)

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    You want to go back to 15 Weeks of Oscar? Well, here’s a radical proposal: Why don’t you not start writing about the Academy Awards until 15 weeks before the Oscarcast? Just a suggestion.

  3. waterbucket says:

    Oh my god, Dave finally says that Brokeback will win. Stop the press!
    You should have said that earlier, you jerk. Now I don’t love you no more.

  4. Bruce says:

    Aronofsky proves it. Directors get chicks. No matter how dorky they are.
    I’d like to see Weisz and Phoenix win. Paul Giammati too.

  5. EDouglas says:

    Another great article, David…and totally agree about shortening the time before announcing the awards. Maybe they just want to make sure that all the voters have a good chance to see the nominated movies/performances. So do we start the countdown to your first Oscar column for next year?
    52 Weeks to Oscar, anyone? 🙂

  6. bicycle bob says:

    its a year round business now. u cant take weeks off and slack. always gotta be on the ball.

  7. Bruce says:

    Seems like the new Friday the 13th has a director.
    It’s Jonathan Liebesman. He did “Darkness Falls”. Which was terrible. And he’s doing the prequel to TCM. They must like his work on that since it’s the same people behind this.

  8. Lota says:

    agree with all of your choices except match point Crow, although would have preferred AHOV nom-ed for many others. I think this AA may be a yawner, and no one I want will win.
    i will be sitting by a cabana bar tonight hoping I can say at least once ‘don’t you know who I am?!”
    (and hope they haven’t seen the Most Wanted photos down at the post office this week…heh heh heh)

  9. Josh Massey says:

    Was anybody else terribly underwhelmed by “Good Night, and Good Luck?” I finally saw it last weekend, and quite frankly fail to see what the hype was about. Sure, Strathairn deserves everything coming his way, but one performances does not a great movie make (see also: “Ray”).

  10. Josh says:

    “GNGL” just shows how weak the year was for great movies. It was just very simplistic. It could have been made for CBS. Also self congratulatory. The days when the press were Gods and above it all. The nostalgia was overwhelming. But it’s good that David Strathairn finally was rewarded for all the excellent work he’s done in the past.

  11. jasctt says:

    I thought GNGL was quite brilliant, mostly because i loved how brisk it felt. I thought the good thing Clooney did was take a very possibly heavy “talking heads” kinda flick and really tore away the fat. there doesn’t seem to be any waste at all, so what you are left with is a quick, well acted and written and directed film that when the 90 minutes are up, you’re kinda like ready for another flick. the day I saw it, i then went directly to see “Squid and the Whale” and was happy to find it was also a brisk film at barely 85 minutes, if that. I think a lot of bloated filmmakers could learn from guys like Clooney. Just tell the story. the style comes from the story, not from your bloated sensibilities.

  12. Cadavra says:

    There’s a difference between “simplistic” and “simple.” A great movie does not need to pile on extraneous subplots or run off on different tangents. The ability to focus on what’s important is a valuable one, and one reason GN&GL is the year’s best film, IMHO, is that it never averts its gaze from the story it is there to tell. Throw in extraordinary performances (not just by Strathairn), remarkable cinematography and production design, and an acute sense of the period (I was alive back then, and I remember it well), and you have a picture that is very, very close to perfection.

  13. Yodas Left Nut Sac says:

    George Clooney at least proved he can be a competent director. After he destroyed a great script by Charlie Kaufman I didn’t think it was possible.
    Got no favorites or much rootings interest this year. Seems like all the awards are taken already. The drama is zilch.

  14. Hopscotch says:

    I thought GN&GL was totally solid. But I relate to the notion that there isn’t anything (outside Strathairn) to root for. And the two sub-plots (the other anchor and the secretly wed couple) are just completely unnecessary to the movie’s story. To the movie’s MESSAGE, they work; but not the story.

  15. Crow T Robot says:

    Yeah the “fat free” aspect of GN&GL is a major plus. And despite being a serious film, it probably has the best sense of humor about itself of the five. The Liberace stuff is priceless.

  16. Charly Baltimore says:

    Strathairn’s nom better be worth it.
    He’s a prime candidate for lung cancer and emphysema now after that movie.
    Seriously, he must have smoked 10,000 stogies during the movie.

  17. Wayman_Wong says:

    Running times:
    ”Brokeback Mountain”: 134
    ”Capote”: 98
    ”Crash”: 113
    ”Good Night, and Good Luck”: 93
    ”Munich”: 164
    This must be some sort of recent Oscar record. Three of the 5 Oscar nominees for Best Picture are under 2 hours (and 2 of them are around 90 minutes!). Last year, only 1 Best Picture nominee was under 2 hours: ”Finding Neverland.” ”Million Dollar Baby” ran 132 minutes.

  18. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    One of the things that i loved about GN&GL, as others have mentioned, was it’s quick run time. So many directors these days overindulge when it is completely unnecessary to the story (Munich). Clooney just said what he wanted to say and left it at that. We don’t need to learn anything about Ed Murrow’s homelife to understand why he did what he did. etc. Plus, the movie was just fascinating in the topics is explored. Plus, it looked gorgeous. It was my #3 of the year after Brokeback and Mysterious Skin (following by Pride & Prejudice and Wallace & Gromit to make up the five).
    Bruce, considering you’re actually interested in the topic, it’ll be interesting to see if New Line get’s this done by Friday the 13th in October (on which day i celebrate a certain event called a birthday) because if so Leiberman will have two movies within a week of each other. Each horror remakes (well, TCM: The Beginning is a prequel to a remake) and both gunning for big crowds. He’d be the happiest man in town if they both succeed.

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Why on earth would Platinum Dunes and New Line release two big horror remakes a week apart? That’s nuts. They would drain money away from each other.
    Hey KCamel: did you think Munich was generally overindulgent or do you have a specific example?

  20. Chucky in Jersey says:

    Blame the Winter Olympics for the later Oscars this year. Had the schedule been the same as last year Oscar Night would have gone up against the (12-hour-old) closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.
    Then again, nobody thought “American Idol” would kick the Winter Olympics’ ass.

  21. KamikazeCamelV2.0 says:

    Jeff. Fact – i absolutely LOVED the first half of Munich. I thought it was working absolutely brilliantly playing off of ’70s thrillers and such and it looked fabo. But then the second half kicked it and Spielberg decided to make his characters depressed and then I realised that I didn’t care enough about these men to want to sit there for another hour and a half and watch them decide whether they think they’re guilty or not. It just went on way too long, and I don’t think Spielberg handled it at all well. Makes me wish that he had just made a straight out ’70s style politico thriller that didn’t revolve around such an event as the Munich Olympics. Because the topic needs an important film and filmic discussion but when it all came down to it, I didn’t like it. I was much more intrigued by his interpretation of a classic genre. Hmmm.
    Did that answer your question?

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon