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David Poland

By David Poland

14 Weeks To Oscar

The column
And new charts
This column was available a day early via the MCN Newsletter.

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22 Responses to “14 Weeks To Oscar”

  1. doug r says:

    If Jim loses to Kathryn for Best Picture, I think he won’t mind that much…

  2. LYT says:

    Why do you think a Best Song nomination is unexpected for Avatar? Are there that many strong contenders? Something from The Princess and the Frog, something from Crazy Heart…what else? I know Linkin Park’s song for Transformers 2 ain’t gonna be one.

  3. EthanG says:

    Again I’ll ask…has “The Last Station” even been released??? And if so, why no box office figures for 8 days now?? Regardless of whether or not screeners have been sent, has a film with zero reported box office, and an absolutely aweful dump of a release ever been nominated?
    While I agree that even if “Nine” has blah reviews, it still has a shot to be nominated…42 is just too low. No film has ever been nominated below 54, and 42 is way too low.
    Which is also why “The Lovely Bones” needs to be taken off your chart. It’s garnered some horrendous buzz over the last week.
    Anywho with “Nine,” “Lovely Bones” and “Last Station” all possibly out, things could get very interesting indeed….(why isn’t Crazy heart on the list?)

  4. Rob says:

    I forget if I’ve asked this in a previous week – why is Colin Firth (and now Freeman) so low on the best actor list?

  5. a_loco says:

    While we’re on the subject, how come there’s no Oscar buzz for Nic Cage? It can’t be because of the trailer for Season of the Witch, can it?

  6. IOIOIOI says:

    A lock? If it has made a crapload by this time in a week, then I am down. You simply have to be higher than Randy Marsh on cat piss. If you believe Avatar has anything more than seven days to make it’s ultimate amount of cash. It’s Sherlock Holmes, homes. Get with it.

  7. Hallick says:


  8. Geoff says:

    An Eduation is a pretty good movie, but I would not call it a lock by any means.
    I also highly doubt that Avatar is a lock at this point – if it disappoints, next weekend, the knives will be out.
    That said, with ten nominations, I could see a “blockbuster” class group within the ten – it would likely include Up, Avatar, Inglorious Basterds (watch how Miramax drops their support for Nine for this one), and yes, The Blind Side – still surprised it is not your chart, David,
    I really hope you are right about The Hurt Locker – you’re out there in LA, is there really that much love for the film? I can see the “smaller” class including The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air, Precious, Invictus and A Serious Man (or A Single Man – no way both get in with the similar titles).
    I would certainly not rule out The Lovely Bones, An Education, or Nine at this point, but they would truly have to squeak in.

  9. Joe Leydon says:

    OK, I’ll ask the obvious question: Do you think the subject matter of An Education will work against its Oscar chances? That is, do you think many Academy voters will refuse to even watch the movie, never mind voting for it, because… well, you know…

  10. Cadavra says:

    I think the voters will figure once is enough for Cameron, at least for the time being. Right now I’m guessing UP IN THE AIR for Picture and Bigelow for Director.

  11. chris says:

    The age of consent in England is 16, Joe Leydon. What I wanna know is how come there’s no talk about nominating an actor who has lots of fans in Hollywood, who has been nominated before, who’s in a career resurgence, who has a personal-comeback angle and who is simply fantastic in “Sherlock Holmes?” Downey’s performance is definitely one of my top five male performances of the year (and, EthanG, when you see “Station,” I bet you’ll get the love for Mirren. Great performance, great part — she yells and cries and throws plates, for crying out loud.)

  12. LexG says:

    KENDRICK POWER. Wow, GREAT movie, great performance… I still gotta see Bridges, but damn if Clooney didn’t hit that out of the park like Kirk Gibson. I rescind my skepticism… Movie of the year.
    Freeman was solid, loved the movie, idolize Clint, but… at the risk of sounding blithe about it– Despite the beautiful messaage and impeccable craftsmanship and reverence for Nelson Mandela: Anyone else’s lasting impression of that movie going to forever be that NM was just kind of a doddering old good-time guy who liked to blow off important cabinet meetings and peace conferences to watch rugby on TV?

  13. LexG says:

    Oh, and two pie-in-the-sky Lex wishful thinking should-be noms that will NEVER happen:
    Danny McBride in UITA, and Sasha Grey in Girlfriend Experience.
    Pretty obvious why the latter would never happen, but PERFORMANCE WISE, leaving all baggage and politics behind, tell me Sasha wasn’t as good as just about any of the people in the ring for real.
    And McBride just KILLS his couple scenes in Up in the Air. Maybe just because it’s fresh in my mind, that second scene between him and Clooney is one of ’09s best — pitch perfect, funny, sad, spot on. Usually Supporting Actor is OVERFLOWING with viable options, but this year seems tamer than usual. Why not? He’s a big deal at the moment and a great contribution to UITA. Or J.K. Simmons, going the Beatrice Straight route with one IMPECCABLE scene.

  14. That best actor chart is so strange. Maguire and Sarsgaard are not getting nominated.

  15. Joe Leydon says:

    Yes, Chris, I know the age of consent in England is 16. But even so… Look, I’m not ragging on An Education (though I must admit I had some trouble buying that the girl’s parents were that clueless right from the get-go). But do you really think Oscar voters are going to be very eager RIGHT NOW to give a movie with this plot a Best Picture nomination?

  16. a_loco says:

    Ugh. I don’t understand the Up In the Air praise. It has a pretty awesome first half, but then it detours into two really contrived plot twists and a bunch of Dave Eggers-like conversations about life.
    I still liked it, it has a good sense of humour and some good performances, but best movie of the year? Nope.

  17. Geoff says:

    I also loved Up in the Air – it’s getting some gripes, right now, as a “safe” choice for Oscar and I just don’t see it. Just because a movie is very funny, entertaining, and moves at a clip does not make it “safe” – see The Departed, which will likely be one of my ten best of the decade.
    That said, Clooney is not the best part of the movie – it’s a good performance, but really not earth-shatteringly above anything else he has done in recent years – his work in Michael Clayton was better. But Kendrick and Farminga really make the movie – they both deserve supporting nods, but only one likely has a chance.
    LexG, you have a nice point about McBride, but it’s just not going to happen and I actually thought he was deserving for Pineapple Express, too, and was the only watchable thing about Land of the Lost – still can’t believe I paid to see that movie.
    I am very torn about this field – I liked Up in the Air, Precious, A Serious Man, and The Hurt Locker pretty equally – in my opinion, they are all flawed masterpieces deserving of acclaim.

  18. Rob says:

    I still think the Academy picked a bad year to expand to 10. Hurt Locker and A Serious Man are great movies, but for me, Up, Precious, and An Education are 3 star efforts at best, and Up in the Air a little worse than that.

  19. Hallick says:

    Joe, if they’d cast Mulligan’s part with somebody closer to the character’s age of 16, like 15-year-old Dakota Fanning for instance, that’d probably be the case. But as it is, they put a 23 year old up there (maybe 22 during shooting), and so I gather that you get more reactions like this one from Mick LaSalle on his blog:
    “First of all, she’s 23, looks at least 23, and plays a high school girl as if she were 23.”
    I imagine the ooginess of the situation is somewhat ameliorated by that.

  20. jeffmcm says:

    Maybe I don’t hang out with a lot of teenagers, but I thought she looked 16-18ish and was surprised to learn that she’s 23.

  21. leahnz says:

    (‘ameliorated’ is a brilliant word, hallick, kudos for the usage)

  22. chris says:

    Anyway, I’d prefer to have Oscar voters not nominate “Education” because it’s not all that great, rather than because they have a problem with the morality laws of its country of origin.

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