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David Poland

By David Poland

20 Weeks To Oscar – 17 Weeks To Go

The Drip, Drip, Drip
The main variation in the 2009/10 Oscar season that keeps getting discussed is the change to 10 nominees.
And it’s not insignificant.
But as the Chinese curse goes, “May you live in interesting times.”
As the Academy made this change, the economy of the film business started to bottom out. (Sadly, I don’t think we’ve quite reached bottom yet, though many businesses have started 12-step.)
The Dependents went from being seven strong (as MGM is still officially a major, according to its membership in MPAA) to three divisions really in business (as opposed to being a placeholder for loose end projects and Home Entertainment libraries).
The True Indies continue to be in the game, though there is a real question of what Lionsgate and The Weinstein Company will look like when next year’s season rolls around and Summit hasn’t yet shown itself to be more than the sum of its vampires. Overture, Magnolia, Freestyle, Roadside Attractions, IFC, Apparition, and Oscilliscope (in order of 2009 domestic box office grosses) all continue to show interest in the season and an inability to get a hold of the voting imaginations of the Academy … at least in the top categories.
Media noise – amplified by a combination of ad budgets being slashed thus making publicity more important again, a wave of new online businesses trying to sell themselves and their ads, and old media flailing about, trying to get attention, also in fear of their own demise – is more relentless and less thoughtful than ever.

The rest…
And the charts…

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9 Responses to “20 Weeks To Oscar – 17 Weeks To Go”

  1. yancyskancy says:

    Is the Oscar buzz for the various ladies of NINE based on anything other than the assumption that their roles must be pretty strong to have attracted such major names? I presume Cotillard touted for Best Actress because her role is the largest?

  2. yancyskancy says:

    Re the above, I’ve seen only the Fellini original, and all the female roles there struck me as supporting. I haven’t seen the musical, or, of course, Marshall’s film.

  3. Hallick says:

    Even in the realm of abject speculation, having “Sherlock Holmes” on the chaser list for the Best Picture race is baffling to me. I generally enjoy Guy Ritchie’s stuff, but even his best movies are equal parts cool and inept. Every other minute of “Snatch” is out to drag itself down. Sometimes even the same minute is tearing into itself like a drunken, self-mutilating prodigy.

  4. Eric says:

    Sometimes the Academy like the December blockbuster crowd-pleasers.
    (That’s all the explanation I’ve got, because judging by the trailer the movie looks awful.)

  5. Yancy, Pene’s buzz is based on that fact that’s Penelope Cruz playing a sexy woman in a role that has won Tonys. Cotillard is lead because she indeed has a larger role (most songs out of all the women I believe) and I guess they figured “why not?”
    I find it strange how anyone can out an animated film at #1. Are you saying it would be a certainty nominated if there were only five slots? Hardly.
    Christopher Plummer is going Supporting, btw. Or do you think it’s going to be a Whale Rider type of situation there?

  6. The InSneider says:

    David, I thought this was a great piece. Well done, sir.

  7. Rob says:

    Based on the changes in Nine’s rankings this week, it seems that David has seen it, wasn’t particularly thrilled with it or Day-Lewis, but still thinks Cotillard and Cruz are well-positioned in their respective categories.
    And yeah, the Sherlock Holmes thing is a head-scratcher. I take it as an item of faith that Guy Ritchie will retire from filmmaking without ever having directed a Best Picture nominee.

  8. Hunter Tremayne says:

    I don’t think the Sherlock Holmes thing is a head-scratcher at all. The script, like the one for Inglourious Basterds, was widely available online, and it’s a terrific period adventure that is remarakably faithful to Conan Doyle. The trailer is misleading. Guy Ritchie may have screwed up the script, but Warners are said to be over the moon with the picture, so perhaps he hasn’t. Fingers crossed.

  9. Hopscotch says:

    With David’s description of Nine as “B-Italian” I’d say he wasn’t impressed, and that is pretty clever DP.

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