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David Poland

By David Poland

15 Weeks to Oscar

It is that ambivalence that has made a near-lock out of Slumdog Millionaire, which would be seen as a strong underdog in other seasons, but as one of the few films that truly wears its heart (and movie love) on its sleeve, it has stepped into a front-running role. Anticipation for Benjamin Button and even a fear of Australia are similarly based on the idea that they will pull the trigger in a big way. (The love and fear of Luhrmann remain unavoidably within millimeters of each other.)
Which brings me to Revolutionary Road, one of those

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30 Responses to “15 Weeks to Oscar”

  1. IOIOIOI says:

    The front-run? Ha. Three worlds: The Dark Knight. It’s the people’s front-runner. The Academy better sort itself out for it’s sake.

  2. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, it can sweep the Peoples’ Choice Awards, the Academy is a different bag altogether with different criteria and priorities.

  3. LYT says:

    I’m surprised by how well Slumdog Millionaire seems to be doing in terms of awards buzz. It’s a fine feel-good flick, but doesn’t strike me as award-worthy in the least.
    If the Academy voters haven’t seen many Indian movies about India, though, it has a good chance.

  4. jeffmcm says:

    I think you hit it, Luke – if it was just an American feel-good movie (or British, whatever) it would have no shot, but the exotic/Third World qualities give it that extra layer of prestige.

  5. Aris P says:

    Wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the voting members make some quasi-political choice and go with Milk.

  6. Eric says:

    Two thoughts on screenplay:
    1. Is Dark Knight really adapted? From what? They compiled a lot of elements from lots of sources, but not one thing in particular.
    2. W. for a writing award has to be a joke, right?

  7. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: nah, really? If you really feel that way about the best movie of the year. You sir are in the minority. Remember: you are on the outside looking in.
    If the Academy wants to ignore a movie that took an entire genre to an entirely different level. Well, really, that’s douchebaggery on a grand scale. It’s also douchebaggery that will guarantee that even less people watch the Oscars this year.
    It’s about putting on a show. Nominating The Dark Knight in multiple categories helps the SHOW. A show that will become even more irrelevant if they decide to go with a movie like Slumdog Millionaire. It could be the greatest movie ever, but it’s not a draw.

  8. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, I don’t think it is the best movie of the year, and I don’t think I’m in the ‘minority’. ‘Most popular’ doesn’t mean ‘best’.

  9. jeffmcm says:

    Just to clarify, I think the movie could certainly get a Best Picture nomination, but I think it’s unlikely to win. There’s such a thing as a movie being ‘too successful’ for the Academy to want to reward with an Oscar, especially in a political year. Right now, without having seen it, my money’s on Milk.

  10. leahnz says:

    why is ‘australia’ still lingering in the top 5 of your list, dp, when word from far and wide is it’s an overblown messaroo?

  11. austin111 says:

    I think you’re dead wrong on a fair number of categories. Australia — no way my man, though it’s entertaining enough. And just because you don’t like Revolutionary Road doesn’t mean it won’t score nods either. You’ve been wrong before and you’ll be wrong this time too. So be it.

  12. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff; ROTK was too successful, but they gave it an award. Sure it could be a Broadbent situation, but it did receive Best Picture. Heck. Do I even have to mention Titanic?
    I simply do not get the resistance to TDK’s Oscar chances. It’s a soft year, there doesnt seem to be much competition, and the competition out there has a great chance of not catching on with the general public. So it’s all adding up to the year where the Dark Knight has a good chance to win. Unless the Academy wants to be a dick about it, then they can enjoy another year of crap ratings.
    Again Jeff… it’s about the show. It’s about the draw. TDK will draw people.

  13. Hallick says:

    “Again Jeff… it’s about the show. It’s about the draw. TDK will draw people.”
    Well then, by all means, just as long as we rename the category “Best Picture That Will Get The Most TV Ratings”. By which logic, High School Musical 3 and Twilight had better be seeded in the final five nominees.

  14. scooterzz says:

    fwiw — the fyc screener of ‘slumdog’ arrived today making it the first of the ‘real’ contenders to hit…this could work to it’s disadvantage as it might be forgotten by the time screeners of ‘rev road’ and ‘milk’ hit….
    leah — ‘overblown messaroo’ sums it up nicely…

  15. Hallick says:

    That being said, as much as I love The Dark Knight, and believe it should be one of the five Best Picture nominees (and more than just an honorary fifth nominee thing). But I just can’t see an Academy that takes itself so seriously wrapping its head around giving its biggest prize to a “Batman movie”.

  16. IOIOIOI says:

    Hallick: stop being snippy. Again; it’s not the popularity. It’s that most people do not see 50 to 250 movies a year, and the one movie they did see happened to be the best movie to come out all freakin year. It has nothing to do with the popularity. It has to do with it still being the BEST.
    Again: they can take themselves seriously all day, but the Oscars are becoming irrevelant. This does not mean that the movies they are rewarding are crap. It just means they are rewarding small movies that people do not see until months after the Oscars. How does that sell Hollywood’s biggest event of the year? Seriously; nominating TDK would get ratings. Especially in a year where it could be SEEN as a CONTENDER in a PICK’EM field.
    One last thing though: the Wrestler trailer alone makes me wish we lived in a world where a movie about a beat up wrestler could win Best Picture.

  17. yancyskancy says:

    You’re not going to get Academy voters to mark their ballots based on what will get ratings for the ceremony. That said, I do think TDK’s chances for a nomination have picked up recently due to the lackluster response to some of the predicted contenders. If it actually wins though, I’ll eat my shorts (I’ll keep some edible shorts on hand, just in case).
    The Wrestler’s chances may have picked up, too. The actors branch is the Academy’s largest, yes? That sometimes helps smaller, character-driven stuff make the cut.

  18. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, while I agree with you that the Oscars are increasingly irrelevant, the Oscar voters quite simply do not care about rewarding what they consider to be a movie in a lesser genre – regardless of what you or I or Harry Knowles thinks. Return of the King won Best Picture because it was the third in the series, and attention had to be paid, and because Jackson managed to transcend his genre. Titanic won because it became a once-in-a-generation phenomenon that hit a real emotional nerve in people.
    The Dark Knight can and should get a nomination. But I actually do not believe that a nomination will draw significantly more viewers to the show, and I will wager any amount of money that it has no serious chance to win.

  19. movieman says:

    I think “Australia”‘s Oscar chances are dead in the water–even more so after it lays an egg at the box office which is pretty much preordained.
    For my money, “Twilight” is not only a better love story, but a better film. Loved the scenic mileage Hardwicke got out of her lush Pacific Northwest locations, and how she upends so many of the teen-pic cliches.
    Bella doesn’t hate her parents; she’s not ganged up on by her new school’s “Mean Girls;” the teachers aren’t clueless dolts; she finds a group of smart, interesting new friends; she’s not a size three (dig that plate of yummy-looking mushroom ravioli!); etc.
    Hardwicke also lucked out with the casting of Stewart who’s nothing short of terrific.
    And all of this is coming from someone who hasn’t read any of the “Twilight” books.
    Sign me up for the (three) sequels!
    P.S. to Scooter- Not counting the fizzled “screener ban” of 2003, can you remember an awards season where the screeners were so tardy in showing up? The BFCA first ballot deadline is two weeks ago, and I’ve received virtually nothing of consequence so far.

  20. scooterzz says:

    movie — because of the bfca’s absurd voting / award sched this year, no way will you get everything before deadline… and the rush usually starts just prior to thanksgiving… just be patient (it seemed your head was going to explode last year when you thought you might not get ‘there will be blood’)…..
    we’ve gotten over twenty titles already and that seems about right for mid-november…..
    i am noticing more invites to recptions than last year…might have something to do with the early voting stuff…..

  21. movieman says:

    You’ve gotten over 20 titles, Scooter? I think I’ve only amassed half that so far, and mostly low-level-priority stuff like “Flow,” “Faded Memories” and “Who Does She Think She Is?”
    I haven’t received a lot of the stuff other members apparently got already. No “Visitor,” no “Tell No One,” no Magnolia box set, no “Wendy and Lucy,” no “Slumdog,” no “Kung Fu Panda” (and autographed book)…I’m beginning to think that I’m living in an alternate universe (or at least Canada, which is kind of an alternate universe, lol).
    Hope you’re right about an incipient deluge. The reception invites are pretty meaningless to me since they’re all on the west (or east) coasts, and I’m in frigging Ohio, lol.
    Another worrisome factor for me is the NE Ohio weather. There’s only so many screenings I can make in blizzard-like condiitons; and I’ve got an hour-and-a-half drive each way.

  22. movieman says:

    that’s “blizard-like conditions”…..and the shitty weather here is why I had to skip a “Twilight” promo Tuesday nite, and didn’t see it until yesterday afternoon.

  23. scooterzz says:

    movie — yeah, all that stuff is in…the magnolia product isn’t really a box set…just a stack of sleeves (and that’s just fine)…..

  24. scooterzz says:

    oh, and re: you missing your ‘twilight’ promo…
    that’s funny because i almost passed on last week’s ‘doubt’ screening because of the shitty weather here…it was 95 and my car ac was barely working…

  25. IOIOIOI says:

    Jeff: TDK TRANSCENDS IT’S GENRE! How can you state ROTK does, and TDK does not? It’s simply not the case. So seriously, if your reasoning for ROTK is transcendence and the third in the series. Well this is the sixth Batman movie, it’s the best, and it completely transcended it’s genre. There is simply no reason what so ever for it to not be nominated. If the Academy voters have your absolutely stubborn and nonsensical views of this film, then they are simply dooming their award show and their award.
    You can also bet me any amount of money that it will not win, but it should win. It will be the film everyone or most everyone EXPECTS to win. So it’s foolish to ignore it.
    Although, again, I would be much happier if The Wrestler won. Why? It’s wrestling and any movie giving some love to the business. Gets dap from me.

  26. LexG says:

    Save yourself the embarassment and take yourself out of consideration RIGHT NOW
    Because KRISTEN STEWART is coming to own your old ass.

  27. chris says:

    Last person in the world who should be advising anyone about avoiding embarrassment?
    (While embarrassingly misspelling “embarrassment,” to boot.)

  28. jeffmcm says:

    IOI, it’s not the sixth Batman movie, but the second “Begins” movie, or the 8th if you don’t count serials. And if you had actually read what I wrote, you’d see that I do believe that TDK can and should get a nomination. It won’t win, though, because it simply is not an Oscar movie, and because I don’t believe that it really rises out of the summer-action-comic-book genre; and because the Oscars aren’t that kind of popularity contest.

  29. IOIOIOI says:

    Chris: I could throw you. Run off now. I do believe that would be embarrassing for you and yours. Think Charles Barkley vs the little fella from the late 90s.
    Jeff: I did read what you wrote, but I disagree. So do millions of people worldwide. Again, it has nothing to do with popularity, but the best comic book movie ever. A movie that countless people and critics believes TRANSCENDS IT’S GENRE. It is also still the best movie most people have seen this year (The people have nothing to do with POPULARITY but QUANTIFYING… learn sociology sir) except for you lot. Who have seemingly been against TDK from the go get.
    If you do not see it as an Oscar movie. Your POV sums up the problem. You have criteria. Criteria one genre apparently cannot transcend. WHEN THIS FILM DOES IT! This is your problem.
    If the Academy has the same problem. Well, guess what? Do you remember how they used to give out Oscars back in the day? Remember how they gave out the globes last year? That could happen to the Oscars, if they do not get the fuck out of their own way, and start throwing the people a bone.
    If you do not get that it’s not a popularity contest. It’s a contest between lesser films and a great film. Well, again, that’s you. It’s not my fault you are on the outside looking in just do not expect the nation to shut up. If TDK fails to win. Especially when ROTK and fucking TITANIC won with very similar circumstances. Hell; those two bloated fucking films are reason enough to believe TDK can win. If they can do it. Bats can do it.
    Elves, Cameron’s version of the sinking of the Titanic, and the Joker are all fictitious. Please explain to me how The Joker is the odd man out in this equation?

  30. jeffmcm says:

    By all means, IOI, please educate me about the wonders of this thing you call ‘Sociology’. Also, perhaps you can show me how to make the flame-which-does-not-burn?
    TDK can and should get a nomination. It will not win and you can take that to the bank – the money bank.
    Who is ‘Elves’?

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