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David Poland

By David Poland

20 Weeks To Oscar – 20 Weeks To Go


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39 Responses to “20 Weeks To Oscar – 20 Weeks To Go”

  1. bulldog68 says:

    That musical will sucker you in every time Dave. Be careful, remember, remember, the Dreamgirls of December.

  2. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I am the one who has to point out to David that that I Am Legend is based on a “major literary work”… that was filmed twice previously? And that, by the way, Forrest Gump and Jurassic Park were literary adaptations?

  3. Goulet says:

    NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM is also based on a book…

  4. The Pope says:

    Speaking of literary adaptations, wasn’t ET an adaptation of a later section of some old book?
    Anyway, I would agree with the point about AVATAR. The new trailer really ups the ante and obviously there are parallels drawn to contemporary issues.
    But if ever there were a film that cannot be judged from its trailer, it is this. The final layer will come when we sit into its 3rd dimension.

  5. Guy Lodge says:

    Great column. But I’m puzzled that you can have 13 titles “90% locked” for a nomination in your chart.

  6. Cadavra says:

    Joe, I think DP used the word “original” in the sense of “not a remake or a sequel.” After all, what IS original anymore? Everything’s based on something; the honest ones (like Tarantino) just admit it. And I’m sure even more AVATAR progenitors will arise in the weeks ahead.

  7. bulldog68 says:

    But Cadavra, I AM LEGEND was previously called THE OMEGA MAN with Charlton Heston so it should not qualify as an original as Joe quite rightly pointed out.
    Also, based upon DP’s parameters, if you include LEGEND, you could also include PASSION OF THE CHRIST. I don’t see how its literary origins defined its eventual box office gross, as DP pointed out quite a few times, it was a box office anomaly.
    But I will concede that we are splitting hairs with DP’s original point, re: ‘original’ movies going past that 1/2 billion dollar mark worldwide. Not sure I buy into DP’s assertion that it is already being touted as BP nominee, but he’s an industry man, however my belief is that Jim Cameron notwithstanding, the Oscars very rarely look favorably on sci fi, and Batman, with all the gravitas of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN and THE DEPARTED was overlooked because of the batsuit. It was not even nominated.
    Avatar has a chance with 10 BP nominees, and then it may be battling for that spot with District 9. No way these two flicks get nominated in the same year, and having not seen Avatar yet, I can offer no informed opinion, however District 9 was great, and Avatar would need more than the ‘wow’ effect to compete. It’s the story stupid. And Jim Cameron has been good at that too, so let the battle begin, AvP3, Avatar vs Prawn.

  8. Rukki Odds says:

    Mhmm, I can hardly wait to… 🙂

  9. Rukki Odds says:

    Mhmm, I can hardly wait to… 🙂

  10. yancyskancy says:

    And bulldog: THE OMEGA MAN was preceded by THE LAST MAN ON EARTH starring Vincent Price, the first adaptation of I AM LEGEND.

  11. Oddvark says:

    Was Titanic “a sequel, animated or based on a major literary work”? I think it made more than $500M. And it won a couple of awards.

  12. Joe Leydon says:

    Well, Oddvark, you could argue that Titanic was a remake. That’s a bit of a stretch, I think, but nitpickers might think otherwise. It’s like The Thin Red Line — there was a film version before Malick’s adaptation, so, strictly speaking…

  13. Telemachos says:

    If two movies are based on the same historical event, is the most recent one a remake of the other? I wouldn’t think so.

  14. David Poland says:

    Wow, Guy… that is a BAD production error… thanks… and fixing…

  15. Oddvark says:

    Both versions of The Thin Red Line were based on the same novel, so I have no problem calling Malick’s version a remake (even if it’s perhaps more accurate to call it a new adaptation).
    But I always thought Cameron’s Titanic was an original story (as far as the protaganists and their personal story lines) whose setting happened to be the ill-fated voyage of the Titanic. Was there another filmed version of those characters’ story? Or just other films set aboard the Titanic?

  16. Foamy Squirrel says:

    Also a typo in the Avatar comment in The List “could also CIME up Rings” (emphasis mine)

  17. There are people still calling Nine a remake of 8 1/2, which is baffling.

  18. scooterzz says:

    why so baffled?’s a musical adaptation of fellini’s ‘8 1/2’….so, ‘remake’ vs. ‘re-imagining’….still seems like ‘remake’….

  19. Joe Leydon says:

    Oddvark: Titanic (1943), Titantic (1953), A Night to Remember (1958), S.O.S. Titanic (1979) and Titanic (a 1996 TV-movie) all feature different fictional storylines loosely based on the same historical facts (and some real-life figures appear in most or all of them). So, yeah, I would think it’s safe to say Cameron’s Titanic is an original — even though it may be telling that it wasn’t nominated for either original or adapted screenplay. Maybe there was a split vote?

  20. Cadavra says:

    I would consider TITANIC a remake. Some characters may be different, but the event itself is what the movie is really about, not the romance and subplots. WEST SIDE STORY has different characters than ROMEO AND JULIET, but this doesn’t alter the fact that it’s a remake.

  21. jeffmcm says:

    I don’t know about that, I’d say that a ‘remake’ is when you basically make the same movie but with fresher technique. When you start to tell a different story with different characters, it’s not a remake anymore, even if it happens to be set in the same time and place.

  22. Eric says:

    Agreed with Jeff, he wrote what I wanted to as I read the other comments.
    And Joe: you’re the first person I’ve read that thought Titanic‘s missing screenplay nomination didn’t lead directly from it being the weak link in an otherwise top-notch production.
    But from a practical standpoint– Academy voters don’t get to choose which category to vote for a script, don’t they? I thought the Academy declares the category in which a script is eligible, especially if there’s any ambiguity. (…but correct me if I’m wrong.)

  23. Telemachos says:

    Some characters may be different, but the event itself is what the movie is really about, not the romance and subplots.

  24. Joe Leydon says:

    Er, Eric… I didn’t say that the script’s quality (or the lack thereof) wasn’t one of the reasons it wasn’t nominated. In fact, I’m not a terribly big fan of Titanic.

  25. martin says:

    Anyone ever get hungry and then start looking at pics of food online? I don’t have a lot to eat and also trying to diet, but sometimes I just google some tasty foods and it kind of makes me feel better.

  26. IOIOIOI says:

    Martin, you should check out Goodfellas. If I were ever hungry and graving some food, but not wanting to eat at the moment. I would watch Goodfellas.

  27. christian says:

    That’s funny you write that since whenever I put in GOODFELLAS, I have a giant spaghetti dinner right in front of me. Why does a bloody gangster movie make want to chow down on red sauce?

  28. Eric says:

    Sorry if I misread you there, Joe. I thought you were attributing it to the vote split.

  29. Joe Leydon says:

    Eric: Actually, I think the vote split did hurt its chances to a certain degree. You’re right, the script was a howler. But, really, the bandwagon was rolling full speed ahead for Titanic that year. And despite the deficiencies of the script, I think it might have been nominated anyway had it been clearer whether it was original or adapted. Specifically: I’d be willing to bet money that if Cameron had said the book was based in part on some non-fiction title…

  30. jeffmcm says:

    Some of the dialogue in Titanic is pretty bad, especially when it’s coming out of the mouths of Billy Zane or Bill Paxton, but in terms of story structure and rising tension I think it’s a successful script.

  31. leahnz says:

    yeah, the script for ‘titanic’ isn’t bad, it’s a well-structured story that effectively builds tension and suspense – no mean feat considering we know what exactly what is going down, quite literally – but many people find the dialogue clunky, fair enough (i personally find the dialog akin to that of an extremely long saturday matinee serial, which i suspect is what cam was going for, tho not altogether successfully). no offence to anyone, i just have a pet peeve of people referring to dialog as if that were the entirely of a what makes a screenplay

  32. Eric says:

    This got me thinking about the Titanic script yesterday and I came to the same conclusion that Jeff did– the underlying structure of the movie is really effective. It’s like Cameron is an excellent storyteller– he knows how set up all of the elements needed to pay off at the end– but his characters are sometimes nothing more than that.
    Like Leah says, dialog is only one element of screenwriting. Cameron is unlucky in that dialog, the easiest element for a casual viewer to “observe,” is where he is at his weakest.

  33. Telemachos says:

    At the same time, Cameron’s been pretty successful at writing cheesy, but very popular, one-liners…. which didn’t help him much with TITANIC (a movie which doesn’t really offer many opportunities for that), but might help him out with AVATAR.

  34. leahnz says:

    i don’t think cameron’s dialog is his weak link at all (except arguably titanic’s, his outside-the-square ‘period drama’), it’s hard-out populist hockum and damn proud of it; gung-ho, dramatic, at times touching, at times funny, at times annoying and funny (hudson my man), even iconic, and always unapologetically big jim. good on him

  35. leahnz says:

    i must say i find it rather troublesome that JBD hasn’t swooped in to smirk at me for drinkin’ the ‘kameron kool aid’ or some such thing and then trumpet his boy mostow as the next coming of christ, what is this blog coming to for goodness sake? no fun

  36. KristenStewartIsAwesome says:

    Someone get this woman in industrial-sized dild with JIMMY CAM’s photo on the tip.

  37. leahnz says:

    what a clever disguise! DP couldn’t possibly see thu that one

  38. christian says:

    Leah, this is YOUR fault.

  39. leahnz says:

    oh yeah, i forgot. silly moi

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