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David Poland

By David Poland

24 Weeks To Oscar

The Oscar season has started, not with a bang, but with a whimper.
It’s not that there aren’t a lot of terrific movies out there. It’s just that there is nothing either screening at festivals now or in the near future that suggests that any movie is a lock for a Best Picture nomination.
You can make arguments on either side of almost every contending movie.

The Rest…
The Charts…

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12 Responses to “24 Weeks To Oscar”

  1. movielocke says:

    Knightly / Redgrave as the top two likely noms for Atonement? McAvoy and Ronan will have much stronger support than those two, and both are more likely than any of the four you list from Golden Age to secure a nomination (I’ve seen both films). I still think Keira will also get a nomination for leading, but McAvoy and then Ronan are the standout performances–and they’d stand out in any year. There’s an outside shot that Garai will also get in for supporting, but her performance is more internal with fewer wow moments.
    If I had to pick five right now I’d go for:
    1. No Country for Old Men
    2. Atonement
    3. American Gangster
    4. Sweeney Todd
    5. The Kite Runner
    I could see Burton and Forster getting snubbed by the directors branch in favor of Coppola and Paul Thomas Anderson, or perhaps even Todd Haynes

  2. Aladdin Sane says:

    I hear that Paul Thomas Anderson guy is pretty talented. Hopefully he delivers the goods.
    I still think this year is Cate’s year. The again, I thought 1998 was her year too. And we all know how that turned out in the spring of ’99. :-X

  3. PastePotPete says:

    I don’t really see anything coming out that even looks like traditional best picture bait aside from Elizabeth 2, which is weird. Weak year.
    Maybe this will be one of those odd years where something that’s actually the best movie will win?
    Anyway all I really know is that the only movies that sound good enough to win and that I actually want to see are E2, American Gangster, and There Will Be Blood.

  4. IOIOIOI says:

    What? This again? Wake me when IRON-MAN opens.

  5. Me says:

    I gotta say, I’m a little surprised by the negativity here. This looks to be a great year for film, after the last few shitty Oscar seasons. Atonement’s been getting great reviews, there’s the new Ang Lee that won Venice, the new Coen Brothers that is supposed to be nice and heavy, PTA is trying to make a film that is more than just him masturbating at the screen, Cate Blanchet as Elizabeth is back, John Cusack might have finally delivered the strong non-neurotic wiseass performance we’ve all been waiting for, there’s a new Aaron Sorkin/Tom Hanks comedy to hope is good, there’s a prestige gangster movie, an actually well-known musical and two westerns (both pretentious and non-pretentious flavored for your enjoyment), and maybe best of all, we don’t have to worry about the Academy feeling guilty and giving the award to a weak Scorsese picture at long last, as they got that out of the way last year.
    As a film-goer, I am psyched that there’s no front-runner, because maybe that way we can focus on all the film gods are giving us, rather than on the stupid media-created horserace.

  6. The Pope says:

    I saw Atonement this morning. And while I was impressed (sequences of muscular, bravura filmmaking) I sense that the audience felt quite short changed by the ending (Don’t fret: NO SPOILERS AHEAD).
    The first act is excellent but then, as the second act develops, the film struggles with the structural demands of the novel. I am not for one second comparing one with the other, but one of the reasons why the story works AS A NOVEL, is because literature arrived a state that allows are more fluid and malleable to such fracturing. Cinema, perhaps because of its comparative youth have yet to get there. By and large, audiences hope for strong connectivity and central through lines.
    The novel is more interested in the theme and most audiences still want to be carried along by plot.
    I can see Atonement getting about six nominations, and perhaps winning two (Dario Marianelli for Score and Christopher Hampton for Adapted Screenplay). However, I think the critics may have shot their bolts too early on this one. To compare it to The English Patient does not help. It is far darker than that film.

  7. bipedalist says:

    I agree; it’s looking like a very good year for movies in general and especially Oscar movies. But we are still in the hopeful phase. Poland always writes as if the Oscar season continually bores him. Anyway, once the Mean Five begin to emerge that’s usually when boredom sets it. But right now? Dreaming is free, baby.

  8. Crow T Robot says:

    Now now… lots of straight men care about the Oscars. And lots of straight men care about musicals.
    But a straight guy who really cares if MUSICALS win the OSCARS… well…
    (I keed! I keed!)

  9. djk813 says:

    Two quick comments – La Misma Luna is playing Toronto, and you can’t talk about the soft support for Crash at Toronto in this context. When Crash played Toronto it didn’t have a distributor. It was picked up and released the following year.

  10. Noel Murray says:

    Not having INTO THE WILD on this list is a major mistake. If this were a weaker year, I’d go ahead a call it a lock nominee, and maybe a front-runner. But there’s a lot of baseball left to play, so I’m not ready to go that far. Still, though … not even in the Top 20?

  11. Atonement is my tip at the moment. Pope, only six? I can see it getting Pic, Dir, Actress, Actor, Sp Actress (possibly even two) and Ad Screening alone, let alone techs like cinematography, art direction, costume and score. Especially if nothing else particularly Oscar-Epic comes around.

  12. elizlaw86 says:

    No INTO THE WILD? It’s early but I’d say it’s off to a pretty damn good start.

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