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David Poland

By David Poland

35 Weeks To Oscar (Oy!)

You’ll notice no one is pressing their Oscar luck as of the end of June … not even DreamWorks Oscar powerhouse Terry Press. It’s no country for bold talk at 42 West, where Miramax and others get consultation. Charlie Wilson may be going to war, but Tony Angellotti is keeping it in dry dock while QE2 & Ridley’s Boys go at it. Karen Fried has 3 or 4 films to Focus on, but she’ll let Ang Lee translate himself before she starts doing it for us. And Paramount Vantage isn’t babbling in at all, even with four high profile films aiming at the gold ring.
Last year was the year of early hype Front Runner doing everything it was expected to do… except get nominated. So this year’s trend will be Silence Is Golden… until that fails some film that seemed inevitable, so next year there will be some other trend.
Make no mistake, Oscar’s elves are already well into their cobbling plans. Those named above will be cranky about being named and those not named will be quietly cranky about not being named, as the game is already afoot.

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49 Responses to “35 Weeks To Oscar (Oy!)”

  1. Rob says:

    There’s no way Synecdoche, New York will be out by the end of the year, is there? Have they even started shooting?

  2. ployp says:

    I’m all for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The first was robbed of its Oscar.

  3. James Leer says:

    They’ve started shooting “Synecdoche,” but Kaufman takes a long time in the editing room (at least, he did when producing his works with Spike Jonze).
    From that list, I would nix “Evening,” “Rescue Dawn,” and “Resurrecting the Champ,” like, immediately. They ain’t gonna get nominated for squat. Add Paul Dano for “There Will Be Blood” and at least Jennifer Jason Leigh for “Margot at the Wedding.”

  4. Hopscotch says:

    Yeah…this time last year we had notions, thoughts, some early predictions.
    Today…I ain’t got shit. Can’t wait to see Charlie Wilson’s War. Put that at the top of my list. Let’s hope Hanks recovers from the “Da Vinci” coma.

  5. William Goss says:

    Holding out hope for Bale and perhaps Zahn, but I severely doubt (and hope) that Evening has a shot at anything.

  6. Ian Sinclair says:

    David, good marks for picking up BEOWULF as a possible BP player.
    You forgot about SLEUTH – Sony Pictures Classics, October 12, Michael Caine, Jude Law, Kenneth Branagh director, Harold Pinter, new adapted screenplay. That’s a lot of class to ignore.

  7. James Leer says:

    Zahn is too low-key amidst Bale and Davies to get noticed. Bale could, but come on – this is MGM. Not gonna get nominated, and it’s too early besides.
    I’m surprised that “Son of Rambow” isn’t on the list – it could surprise like “Little Miss Sunshine,” another Sundance feel-good movie. Then again, I’ve heard rumblings lately that the film may not come out til next year (no!).

  8. Hopscotch says:

    And, also kind of a long shot, but I hear “The Kingdom” directed by Peter Berg, is better than expected.

  9. LYT says:

    I think Beowulf as a best picture player would require a level of hipness that the Academy does not have. All evidence suggests that they still see cartoons as strictly a family-friendly medium.

  10. Unison says:

    Maybe you know something I don’t, but shouldn’t Gavin Hood’s Rendition (starring Witherspoon, Streep, Gyllenhaal, Arkin), be on that list?

  11. Jeff says:

    I saw The Kingdom the other day. It’s a very entertaining and well done film, however, I don’t really see any awards consideration for it. I think the movie it reminded me the most of was “The Siege”, although it was a much, much, better film.
    Rendition should definately be included, the script was really good.

  12. movielocke says:

    I can’t see Golden Age making the top five, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Blanchett doesn’t earn a nom, it’s a competitive actress field this year.
    the long trailer/commercial for Hairspray on last night’s AFI seemed to be really good marketing, could it turn out to be the LIttle Miss Sunshine that could rather than Savages or Rambow?
    Atonement is all about James McAvoy, I think he’ll be a very strong contender for the nomination, possibly the strongest of any possibilities for the movie.
    And right now there’s one classic Academy nomination that is just waiting to get the right push from Searchlight, Andy Griffith for Waitress. He’s got two terrific speeches, gives a great performance and has much more impact on the story than Alan Alda’s performance did in LMS, and he never got nominated for A Face in the Crowd.

  13. Jeremy Smith says:

    I’ll third RENDITION. And I’ll add that it tested very strongly about a week or so ago.
    Please come out this year, MARGARET. And please don’t break my heart.

  14. Jeremy Smith says:

    And good call on Andy Griffith, movielocke. Failing a Searchlight push, they should give Griffith an honorary Oscar based on A FACE IN THE CROWD alone.

  15. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Andy Griffith is fabulous in WAITRESS, I can’t say enough about that film and everyone involved in making it. Wonderful film.
    The book to Charlie Wilson’s War is fascinating, and with the talent involved the film should be great, can’t wait for that one.
    I can’t see any awards for Rescue Dawn, as interesting as it is, just can’t see it connecting with audiences. Jeremy Davies gives his most eccentric performance (which is saying a lot) & is just amazing and would be deserving so we’ll see.
    Can’t wait for Elizabeth sequel! Fun times!

  16. Dr Wally says:

    Isn’t it true that Sam Mendes’ Revolutionary Road (with DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunited) is going pedal to the metal to make it out this year? Think i heard that somewhere. Remember that Munich and Million Dollar Baby made it into consideration in time after Summer principal photography.

  17. Hopscotch says:

    It’s Christmas next year for RR, 99% sure on that one.
    I hadn’t thought of Andy Griffith for “Waitress”….but that’s totally brilliantly possible.
    And there’s The Bucket List with Nicholson directed by Rob Reiner. So that’s a wild card I guess, Reiner hasn’t made a good movie in a LONG time.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    This looks like a good time to say that, as much as I like Andy Griffith, I’d say he has no chance at an Oscar beyond some sentimental rumblings. The role is utterly cliched, the performance is sweet but nothing beyond what he did in any given episode of Matlock, and the movie is sub-mediocre (although I can see why people would like it).
    But he definitely has more to do with Waitress than Alan Alda did with Little Miss Sunshine, kind of easy when you think about it.

  19. William Goss says:

    Don’t you mean Alan Arkin, or did you see Little M*A*S*H Sunshine? 😉

  20. doug r says:


  21. adorian says:

    Is “Becoming Jane” still on the slate for 2007? I can see it getting an acting nomination or two.

  22. James Leer says:

    I can’t.

  23. Guys-
    I literally JUST walked in the door from “Once” and I have to beg that all of us with power on the internet go see this movie and try to get it nominated for Best Song. If Best Musical were still a category, I’d say go for that…but fortunately it’s not.
    However….”Once” just blew my fucking mind. It may very well be the best movie of the year. Go see it…now. Like, right now. I mean it. Go. Now.

  24. Blackcloud says:

    “I’m all for Elizabeth: The Golden Age. The first was robbed of its Oscar.”
    If you consider stealing from a thief robbery, then yes, it was robbed.

  25. Hallick says:

    “And right now there’s one classic Academy nomination that is just waiting to get the right push from Searchlight, Andy Griffith for Waitress. He’s got two terrific speeches, gives a great performance and has much more impact on the story than Alan Alda’s performance did in LMS”
    But Alda had that great “I still got Korean bullets in my ass!” scene. And who didn’t love it when the highway patrolman opened up the back of the volkswagon and all those martini glasses fell out of the fanny pack?

  26. Hallick says:

    “I literally JUST walked in the door from ‘Once’ and I have to beg that all of us with power on the internet go see this movie and try to get it nominated for Best Song. If Best Musical were still a category, I’d say go for that…but fortunately it’s not.”
    I thought “Once” had a best song nomination wrapped up, so long as something like “Hairspray” doesn’t hog the category a la “Dreamgirls”. You’re not saying the Globes discontinued their Musical category are you? I figured that nom was in the bag too, possibly building a wave of support that would carry the movie onto the Best Picture list at the Oscars. I’m not feeling love for any other movie this year like I’m feeling for “Once”.

  27. James Leer says:

    I love “Once” but I think almost all of that material was pre-written for the album “The Swell Season,” wasn’t it? I don’t know what might fall under Academy jurisdiction since they’re so strict about songs being written only for the film.

  28. montrealkid says:

    Hey Dave, where’s Zodiac? It may not have done decent box office but critics more or less loved it. I really hope Paramount gives it another push around Awards Season. Robert Downey Jr. definitely deserves a nod and it could even be a serious contender for Best Adapted Screenplay. It has longshot potential with Set Design and Costume type nominations (though those slots usually get cluttered with period-piece type films).
    And I think Away From Her is definitely a shoo-in as Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film and I really hope Julie Christie gets a nod for Best Actress. She’s remarkable in this.

  29. Kambei says:

    I believe “Swell Season” was written & recorded for the film, but released before the film was (although I believe the film had some non-USA screenings in 2006). Either way, an excellent album, although I kind of like The Frames’ version of Falling Slowly better, although it is a bit too Coldplay.

  30. Rob says:

    I maintain that a serious Supporting Actress campaign for Leslie Mann in Knocked Up would be money well spent by Universal, even though they run the risk of looking like they’re doing it just to appease her cash cow husband.

  31. palmtree says:

    It was Alan ARKIN, folks!

  32. James Leer says:

    I agree on Leslie Mann…then again, I thought Emily Blunt was a shoo-in last year.

  33. bipedalist says:

    Keep dreaming people.

  34. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Can we get a Celebrity Death Match up with Alan Alda vs Alan Arkin? With David Keith vs Keith David on the undercard? Winner takes on the winner of Nick Nolte vs Gary Busey?
    America deserves this.
    I LOVED Leslie Mann in Knocked Up, she was fabulous, but I just don’t see that as being an Academy level performance…but I guess I didn’t think Arkin’s was either really, I’d say “since when do they give you an Oscar for having a potty mouth,” but I guess Kim Bassinger set the precedent for that.
    On Arkin, I was more partial to the “kid, fuck a LOT of women” speech than the Korean bullet stuff, which was pretty cliche, if not hilarious.
    Away From Her was a beautiful film and deserves any accolades it gets.
    That’s some high praise for Once. Got to check that out! Is it in the vein of The Committments?

  35. Carpet- “Once” is in the vein of nothing I’ve ever seen before. I dare say it’s perfect…although my stupid American ears couldn’t decipher all the dialogue and I can’t figure out why it’s rated “R.” When the Europeans say “fuck” it doesn’t really mean the same as when we say it.
    “Zodiac”-Wow…I loved this one yet have almost totally forgotten it. That’s not good. But it WAS a period piece and has some damn fine set design…some of the best around. I actually felt like I was 6 years old again and in the kitchen at our house a few times.
    I also think if Arkin can sniff Oscar gold for LMSS, Leslie Mann should get the same for her awesome (and damn sexy) performance in “Knocked Up.”

  36. lazarus says:

    montrealkid, Canada can’t submit Away From Her because the category is Foreign LANGUAGE film. A French-Canadian film could get in there, but not Polley’s effort.
    That’s not to say that Christie couldn’t get in anyway in a weak actress lineup. She was able to score a nom for Afterglow, which wasn’t exactly big box office.
    I think Leslie Mann is a longshot, but if Knocked Up winds up getting screenplay shout-outs, you never know. If, let’s say the L.A. Film Critics give her a supporting award, she’d have to be taken seriously. One thing to remember is that smaller roles from well-received comedies may have an easier time than smaller roles in indie films. Sorvino in Mighty Aprodite, Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost, Diane Wiest in either Woody film, Tomei in My Cousin Vinny, Mercedes Reuhl in The Fisher King. The question is whether Mann was memorable enough to people who love the film. Does she have one big scene? The one with her and the bouncer was great.

  37. In other news…Film Threat won’t be covering the LAFF this year. After year upon year of having nothing but problems with them and their press department, our editor has had enough:
    It takes ALOT to get him pissed so in a way, I’m glad he burst finally. However I feel bad for all the smaller indie movies we’ll be missing all because the LAFF press department likes to play God.

  38. James Leer says:

    She has not only that bouncer scene but a big crying breakdown with Paul Rudd.
    Lazarus, I think she has a shot exactly because of the performances you mentioned. I mean, if Marisa Tomei can WIN an Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny,” why is the idea of Leslie Mann getting nommed for a more widely-seen role in a comedy so out there? I mean, who else is there right now? They ought to get a head of steam on her before any possible contenders show up (though I’m sensing that it’s a weak year for both actress categories).

  39. William Goss says:

    I don’t kid myself that it’ll win over many, but can I throw Haneke’s remake of his own Funny Games into the ring?
    (Oh, and amen to Mann.)

  40. lazarus says:

    Leer, I don’t know what the adjusted box office would be for Vinny, but it grossed over $50, and was one of the bigger comedies that year. Knocked Up may wind up being more widely seen, but not by an overwhelming amount.
    Secondly, the difference is that Tomei, for better or worse, MADE that film. You take her out of it, and you don’t have much left. You could say the same thing about Sorvino and Mighty Aphrodite. Whoopi Goldberg ruined for me what I thought was a decent film, but I know many disagree. You could make a big argument for Weist being the heart of both of the films she won for (sharing that honor with Caine for Hannah), and Ruehl was a fluke anyway.
    The difference here is that as great as Mann’s contribution was to Knocked Up, the film is about Rogen & Heigl’s characters. The subplot enriched the film no doubt, but she’s not what everyone is going to walk away remembering above everything else, even if she had some choice lines and scenes.
    What you CAN look for is a Golden Globe comedy nom for Seth Rogen, which is more likely. But I will be cheering as loud as anyone Mann does somehow get big notices at the end of this eyar.

  41. The Carpetmuncher says:

    Agree that Leslie Mann is not a central part of KNOCKED UP, but I would think she had as much screen time as Alan Alda…er…Arkin did in LMS.
    Either way, she was great…

  42. And I think Away From Her is definitely a shoo-in as Canada’s entry for Best Foreign Film and I really hope Julie Christie gets a nod for Best Actress. She’s remarkable in this.”
    Movies have to be in a language other than english to be eligable. But, yes, Christie is right in there with a shot for Best Actress, although I really suspect Cate Blanchett is the one to beat there. There’s a lot of categories where people go “so and so shouldn’t have won” but rarely are people unified on who should have won. Pretty much everybody and their dog/cat/rabbit/magical dancing turtle thinks Cate Blanchett shoulda won the Best Actress oscar for Elizabeth. And if the trailer is anything to go on, she’s in full on A-C-T-I-N-G mode. Goodo.
    I’d still love for my pets Jindabyne and Ten Canoes to make last-ditch efforts on DVD or something. Is Laura Linney for Best Actress and Rolf de Heer for Best Director too much to ask for these amazing movies?

  43. EDouglas says:

    Um, Kamikaze? I’m not sure about this but I think that the entry for Foreign Language Film actually has to be in another language other than English. Granted, a lot of them talk in Canadian accents in “Away from Her” but it’s still meant to be English making it ineligible.

  44. EDouglas says:

    I’m not sure if you saw Lurie’s Resurrecting the Champ, David, but if you did, I think most people would agree that Hartnett is a more likely candidate than Jackson, though I’m guessing Best Actor will be a very tough not to crack with so many previous nominees turning up again.

  45. Cadavra says:

    I believe it also has to be a foreign film as well as in a foreign language, thus American films in another language, such as APOCALYPTO or LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA, would not be eligible.

  46. James Leer says:

    “I’m not sure if you saw Lurie’s Resurrecting the Champ, David, but if you did, I think most people would agree that Hartnett is a more likely candidate than Jackson…”
    Now I’m not sure if YOU saw Lurie’s Resurrecting the Champ, EDouglas! I mean, I don’t think this movie has a chance in hell of getting nominated for anything, but at least Samuel L. Jackson plays a strung-out homeless man with a funny voice. Josh Hartnett plays Josh Hartnett.

  47. Um EDoug, I know. That’s what I was saying. I was addressing somebody else who had suggested it. Didn’t you even read what I wrote? “Movies have to be in a language other than english to be eligable.” So I don’t really know why you’re addressing your issue with me.

  48. jeffmcm says:

    Edouglas was confused because you didn’t include an opening quotation mark, just one at the end.

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