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David Poland

By David Poland

Jon Landau On The Politics Of Awards Season

This is the full 20 minutes. We also talk about the future of 3D and TV.

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2 Responses to “Jon Landau On The Politics Of Awards Season”

  1. guselephant says:

    Any idea why DP30 videos don’t work in Safari? I always have to open firefox to view them…

  2. anghus says:

    my plea re: best picture.
    what good comes of Avatar winning Best Picture?
    It has money, mainstream success, and technilogical innovation. but it does nothing for cinema as an art.
    what does rewarding it (or Cameron) accomplish? Does it do anything to help inspire the medium?
    hurt locker is a small film that has accomplished so much. a war movie for this generation. the revelation of the kind of director Bigelow is. The discovery of Jeremy Renner, the validation of Mackie. Hurt Locker proved so much.
    Avatar showed what a talented guy with limitless funds can accomplish.
    hurt locker showed what a talented gal can do with a little bit of money and a whole lot of talent.
    avatar’s success is it’s own reward. thinking that it deserves and award for being ‘best’ is kind of insulting and short sighted.
    to me, the point of award season is not just honoring the best, but believing that those awarded were so because it was the right choice.
    Think back to 92 when Pacino won Best Actor for Scent of a Woman. Was there anyone who really believed that Pacino deserved the award for that performance, or for the great body of work he had delivered over the years.
    Can anyone make the argument that Avatar is the Best Picture? Were the performances so powerful? Was the story that original? Are people going to vote for Avatar because it was this technological marvel and the closest thing we’ve had to a cultural pheomenon in years?
    Bigelow v. Cameron for Director
    Bigelow. Because she directed a movie with real characters, real situations, and made an Iraq war movie that didn’t take sides or make statements, but transport viewers into the intensity of the modern day battlefield.
    Cameron. Because he is so hands on. Even on projects of this magnitude. Marvel at what he can accomplish with limitless resources. The only guy whose imagination matches the money required to put it on screen. But he still directs actors like Lucas. He might be a lot more talky, but he’s still just little more than “Faster, More Intense!”
    hurt locker is far more deserving of best picture.
    and this is from a guy who would put Inglorious Basterds, An Education, and District 9 as better pictures.
    still, if it comes down to hurt locker v. avatar, i don’t understand how anyone could vote avatar with any degree of seriousness.
    i’d be interested to hear someone’s case for avatar without using ‘technical innovation’ or ‘financial success’ as reasons.

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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.”
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“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