MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

An Oscar Lock?

It seems that the smart folks at Fox Searchlight did qualify the short, Hotel Chevalier, for Oscar before releasing the film on iTunes.
And so the question… how could the film not be nominated? And how could it not win? There are often some terrific shorts out there, but Wes Anderson did the best work of his year in this short… and he is one of our most talented, even when at his most self-indulgent.

Be Sociable, Share!

25 Responses to “An Oscar Lock?”

  1. mutinyco says:

    Is that a typo? Best work of “his year,” or were you saying “this year?”

  2. The Carpetmuncher says:

    I was not a fan of the film, but I quite liked the short. And yes, it’s tough to believe a short with Natalie Portman naked in it isn’t going to get nominated, if for nothing else than because more people will have watched and liked it.
    In a way you’d hope Anderson doing this short/feature tie-in will get other filmmakers to try out short form – but it will seem sort of cheap if Anderson wins an Oscar that might have gone to a more up-and-coming filmmaker who could more use the love. Sort of like Tiger Woods winning the pitch-and-putt tourney. It’s almost not fair.
    Then again, I never pay attention to the short section at the Oscars anyway.
    But me and everyone else is sure going to this year.

  3. David Poland says:

    “His year.”

  4. I’m sure plenty of people who’ve never won Oscars would have won one if they directed a short that was good.

  5. Wes Anderson is so not one of our most talented.

  6. jeffmcm says:

    Sure he is. Top 500 at least.

  7. doug r says:

    So a movie with a Natalie Portman love story can win an Oscar, as long as she’s naked and you trim about 2 hours off?

  8. jesse says:

    You know, I’ll be happy for this nomination/win because I like everyone involved, but I’m surprised by the hoopla over Hotel Chevalier. I enjoyed it well enough and it’s interesting watching Anderson not really trying to be funny (since I think he’s one of the funniest filmmakers working), but to me it played more like a very extended, very beautiful deleted scene. More substantial than most deleted scenes, sure, and technically there’s not even a sort-of place for it in the finished film the way you can see where most deleted scenes would’ve gone… but about as substantial.
    I know it was shot well before Darjeeling, but that makes it seem even stranger to me; it doesn’t feel like a stand-alone piece in the slightest. At 13 minutes, it felt a little protracted — and I’m usually fine with movies where little to nothing happens.
    My opinion means nothing in terms of Oscars but I wonder if at least some voters wouldn’t feel the same way and if its win would be a little less assured, despite the star power.

  9. jesse says:

    Er, more substantial than most deleted scenes in terms of length… but not content… is what I meant to say above.

  10. bipedalist says:

    It’s an incredibly competitive category, believe it or not and star power alone does not necessarily guarantee you a win. the voters have to see all five to vote on them. But a nod seems certain. It depends on how good it is next to the others.

  11. Nicol D says:

    Wes Anderson’s talent or lack thereof rests on two things that each falls into one of the above camps.
    1. He genuinely has an aesthetic. He can compose a shot, understands music and all of his films could only be directed by him. He is not generic and has a painterly quality to his visuals that is vivid, vibrant and distinct.
    2. He films are vapid, shallow and utterly meaningless in any tangible way. I might even say they are elitist in their obsession with the mundane and trivial in a way that reflects on how shallow he must be. His is the voice of a privleged existence of form over substance.
    Take that as you will.

  12. Nicol D says:

    “…one of the above camps.”
    …one of the following camps.

  13. mysteryperfecta says:

    Nicol D-
    I can’t imagine that reading part 2 of your post is not hyperbole even in your own eyes. The only criticism that even merits consideration is your style-over-substance charge. Vapid? Your nod to his understanding of music and vibrant visuals contradict vapidness, and I consider some of his characters to be quite full of life. As for “utterly meaningless in any tangible way”, his films have easily decipherable character and story arcs. It seems that you’re exaggerating his dedication to visuals to a ridiculous degree. He’s not Michael Bay.

  14. movielocke says:

    I wasn’t that amazed by the short, but then I suppose I could see why some are, the film vaguely reminds me of “A Clean, Well-lighted Place” or “Hills like White Elephants” (Hemingway)

  15. Josh Massey says:

    I feel like John Heard in Big here, but I just don’t get it.

  16. djk813 says:

    It seems to me the big variable in the shorts categories is who is on the reviewing category that determines the nominations. They are members of the Short Films Branch. Are they going to look down on what they might see as a promotional gimmick for a (comparatively) big budget studio film versus filmmakers working in short film more “purely?” Are they going to go with the one short film that might have been seen by a (relatively) mass audience to try to get some more attention for the category? They’ve skewed heavily towards foreign films recently. I would say that the closest thing to a lock I can think of is The Tube With a Hat.

  17. The Carpetmuncher says:

    DJK, can you tell us more about the Short Films Branch? Never even knew that existed.
    I can say that it has always seemed the best short films are foreign, but I always figured it was because foreign directors get public funding and bigger budgets, and American directors making shorts typically have to finance them out of their own pockets.

  18. djk813 says:

    Have no idea who they are, but I checked the site for the rules and after establishing eligibility and entering, the first step to getting nominated is in Rule 19:
    “A Reviewing Committee, consisting of volunteer active and life members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, will view all films entered and mark all entries 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 or 5 with the guidelines of 10 (excellent), 8 (good), 6 (fair) or 5 (poor). Not more than ten films in each category receiving the highest average numerical scores above 7.5 shall be considered further. In the event that fewer than six films receive average numerical scores above 7.5, those with the next highest average numerical scores of 7.5 or less shall be included until six films are selected.”

  19. jeffmcm says:

    Nicol, I don’t think anyone took your earlier comment seriously because of that insane amount of sweeping hyperbole. Obviously I disagree as well because I think there’s plenty of content in them.

  20. Jeffrey Boam's Doctor says:

    DP can we please discuss Goslings exit from THE LOVELY BONES?
    A mystery about the hottest actor of the moment and the most powerful director – so of course the rumours are flying.

  21. David Poland says:

    Uh… not so much, JBD. Not interested in gossip.
    At some point, I will find out what really happened, from someone or another. It really may be just as simple as Peter not being used to the kind of obsessive actor that Gosling is. Think about who he’s worked with in the past.
    Or it really could be Gosling feeling he was going to fail.
    One thing is for sure, DreamWorks feels better with Wahlberg in their movie on box office power alone.
    But what happened… it’s really none of our business. And when I do find out, you can be sure, it won’t be posted on this blog.

  22. James Leer says:

    There you go, JBD. Dave Poland is NOT INTERESTED in you discussing this topic, despite the fact that he then goes on to discuss it himself, speculate about Gosling’s obsessive tendencies, talk about how DreamWorks must be psyched that Wahlberg is on board, theorize that Gosling might have thought himself incapable of the role, and tease that he will eventually find out what happened but make sure not to tell YOU.

  23. Nicol D says:

    “I don’t think anyone took your earlier comment seriously because of that insane amount of sweeping hyperbole.”
    No more hyperbolic than those who call Anderson a genius or one of our best filmmakers. I do not post here to have my views affirmed.
    Your comment is not a defense, Jeff.

  24. Noah says:

    Hyperbole indicates an INTENTIONAL exaggeration to make a point, which you were clearly doing by calling Wes Anderson’s films “utterly meaningless.” While I would argue that many people who call the man a genius are not exaggerating intentionally, they actually believe this to be so. Nicol, do you really beleive that Wes Anderson’s films are meaningless? You couldn’t find any shred of truth or poignancy in any of the five feature films he’s directed?

  25. jeffmcm says:

    My comment was not intended as a defense, Nicol, just as yours was not intended as an honest critique but rather as a mere venting of spleen.

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