Awards Archive for January, 2008

Holbrook Before & After

Hal had booked this gig for his 2008 tour as Twain before he realized that he might be nominated. In fact, we talked about it when I went to Houston to “Lunch” with him in November.holtwain2.jpg
And now, he is a sell out machine for regional theaters.


Durnnnn SAG IT!

DId you laugh? Did you cry? Did it matter?
I have to say, even though SAG winners mean little to Academy Voters, the consistency with which Day-Lewis, Christie, Bardem, and No Country For Old Men are winning suggests that they will go on to win on Oscar night. You can’t fight city hall.
SAG is usually 3 of 4 for actors and the “ensemble” award is really a toss-up… this year more than ever, with only one Best Picture nominee nominated for the award by the group. (That’s a first in the history of this award, though missing a number of BP noms is not.)
I listened to the reports on KNX radio as I drove into LA from Sundance. Surreal. They covered it endlessly as “perhaps the only show this year when actors will get to dress up and party.” Uh-huh. And the shredding of Anna Paquin (Pa-queen) Viggo Mortensen’s names (Vee-jo) would have been funny… but they weren’t.
I will be watching the show later, keeping an eye out for DDL’s tribute to Heath Ledger. I’m sure it will be perfectly pleasant and aside from Ruby Dee winning, nothing close to a surprise.


Coens Win DGA

Good for them.


Oscar Morning Coming Down

We’re 7 minutes from nominations…
========================== is streaming the nominations… and they seem to be committed to having an announcing team even younger, less knowledgeable, and more vacuous than the E! team. Impressive…
So… Jason Reitman for directing Juno, Tommy Lee Jones for In The Valley of Elah, the horrible choice of a great actress in Cate for Elizabeth 2: The Mess, and Sarah Polley for writing Away From Here seem to be the surprises.
Just wrote a quick 20 Weeks that will land on MCN’s front page in a while. Running to a morning screening. Please fight amongst yourselves… nicely.


The Weirdest Noms Yet

The handling of docs and foreign language films continue to be an embarrassment to The Academy. With due respect to the excellent films on the foreign language short-list, released today, you have to wonder how these things come to pass.
Not on the list is the most acclaimed and qualified foreign language film of the year, 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days and the second most acclaimed qualified foreign language film of the year, Persepolis. I count myself as a fan of a number of these films, but really… puh-leeeeze!
The oddball process continues with 30 Academy members sitting down to watch all 9 of the short-listers next weekend… to eliminate 4.
The four of nine who have taken home Oscars before are: Denys Arcand, Nikita Mikhalkov, Giuseppe Tornatore, and Andrzej Wajda. Sergei Bodrov has been twice nominated, once for a film as writer/director and once as co-writer. None of the other four – Joseph Cedar, Srdan Golubovic, Cao Hamburger, Stefan Ruzowitzky – have gotten nominated in the past, though some have been nominated by their countries.
The great irony of all of this is that the two films left behind were “arty intense” (4 Months) and animated (Persepolis), which is pretty much what The Academy doesn’t go for in their main nominations either. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised in the least.
(Corrected for awards error – Tues, 2:03p)


PGA Awards

Same as it ever (“ever” being the last few weeks) was…
“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (Miramax)
“Juno” (Fox Searchlight)
“Michael Clayton” (Warner Bros.)
“No Country for Old Men” (Miramax/Paramount Vantage)
“There Will Be Blood” (Paramount Vantage/Miramax)
PGA is a pretty damned good 4 of 5 marker… like DGA… and unlike DGA, a pretty horrible 5 for 5 marker. Not once in the last decade, even when expanding to six nominees, have they hit all five Oscar nominees.
Of course, everyone will assume that Diving Bell is the one that should be nervous. But someone should. We’ll see who drinks whose milkshake in just 8 days.


LAFCA Photos

DDL and the couldn’t-be-nicer Daniel Lupi
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud
Team Savage: Kirk Honeycutt, Tamara Jenkins, Jim Taylor, Alexander Payne, editor Brian Kates
(photos: Ray Greene/Courtesy of LAFCA)

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LAFCA Quote of the Night

Paul Thomas Anderson didn’t win for screenwriting last night – Tamara Jenkins’ script for The Savages did – but he got off the line of the night, “If another fucking film critic criticizes one of my movies for being too long, I’m going to remind them of this ceremony.”
Still, a good time, if a lot of a good time, was had by all, including the significantly slimmed down Scott Rudin, the contingent from Romania, chiefs from Vantage, Miramax, Searchlight, Sony Classics, and Strand, and a host of others.


Why Films Don't Get Nominated

Analogies of this year’s higher profile films that seem set to miss Oscar BP noms to Dreamgirls are pretty off the mark and lazy, really. The media creates these waves and then attacks the movies for them, as though Atonement or Sweeney Todd or Dreamgirls actually did something terribly different in hyping than anyone else.
Dreamgirls (old song) did exactly three events that no one else did last year. None of these films did the blanket buying of ads that Universal traditionally does. None of these films showed their ass as generously as Searchlight has for its push films… which we all choose to perceive as underdogs. None of these films came and went in September and October, as so many do.
The fact remains that getting the “last film in” into the race has been the rarest trick of all in the years since the season was shortened by The Academy. This year, the late entries were Charlie Wilson’s War and Sweeney, with a delayed launch of Atonement after releasing it at the September fests. I wrote about it back in November, but whether fair or right, these films were fighting uphill because The First Season is really between Dec 2 and Dec 15… when every group but The Academy commits itself, whether by awards or by nominations.
If you are Steven Spielberg, Marty Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, the strategy works. If not, you are likely shit out of luck (with some very specific exceptions).
Because voters pay attention to these films regardless of any external forces. Critics groups and guilds didn


ACE Nods

Nominees in all categories, as announced by the ACE Board of Directors, are as follows:
The Bourne Ultimatum


WGA Nods In Order, Screened, Resurected & Honest

Four things…
First, WGA website gods seem to have developed a bad habit. This is the second year that the Guild has listed nominees in order of vote total. Last year, they fixed it when it was pointed out… and here we are again.
I have adjusted the names in the previous WGA nod entry to match the WGA website… votes came in that order. Congrats to the likely winners.
Next, what did non-WGA-nominees Atonement, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Charlie Wilson’s War and Sweeney Todd have in common? No screeners for WGA members. (Sweeney did show up, but only one day before voting closed for many voters… same for many members of BFCA.)
Almost more shocking, statistically, is that there were only fourteen non-doc features sent to WGA members… and nine of the ten nominees came from that group.
The only film nominated by WGA that didn’t send a screener was Michael Clayton.
And the five screeners that didn’t draw nominations? Away From Her, Dan in Real Life, The Kite Runner, and Margot at the Wedding and 3:10 to Yuma. (In other words, Vantage sent everything, Lionsgate got nothing, and Disney’s comedy wasn’t up to Knocked Up standards – or in my mind, the Superbad screener that Sony didn’t send either.)
Third, has anyone outside of the WGA seen the top doc vote-getter, The Camden 28? The film was release by First Look in July on 1 screen and earned under $10,000. How in God’s name did this movie end up being the biggest vote getter at the Guild?
Here is the synopsis at imdb: The Camden 28 explores how and why 28 individuals intentionally placed themselves at risk of arrest and imprisonment while protesting the war in Vietnam. Featuring a treasure of archival materials and current interviews with former FBI agents involved in the case and scholars such as Howard Zinn, The Camden 28 is a story about a potent form of dissent that has special relevance to our current political climate.
And a special relevance to a guild in the midst of a strike, it seems to me.
Finally, it is nice to see Elizabeth Bentley getting her due in the nom for Nanking. As I reported almost a year ago, there was an effort to squeeze Bentley out of her credit for the film by the writer/director/producer and in most press materials, she has been a phantom. She gets her recognition here. (I only wish the movie really deserved a nod at all.)


WGA Nods

The two “surprises” were Apatow for Knocked Up and Vanderbilt for Zodiac.
“Left out” were Christopher Hampton, Aaron Sorkin, and Kelly Masterson. Plus, you might have expected a Paul Haggis strike vote on top of fans of his film. Nope.
But really, nothing to write home about and way too late to effect Oscar nods. Last year WGA missed on four of ten. The year before, three of ten. This doesn’t make a WGA nomination any less valued… just not much of a predictor.
Diablo Cody – Juno
Tony Gilroy – Michael Clayton
Tamara Jenkins – The Savages
Judd Apatow – Knocked Up
Nancy Oliver – Lars and the Real Girl
The Coens – No Country For Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson – There Will Be Blood
Ronald Harwood – The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Sean Penn – Into The Wild
James Vanderbilt – Zodiac
Anthony Giacchino – The Camden 28
Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman and Elisabeth Bentley – Nanking
Charles Ferguson – No End in Sight
Richard Berge – The Rape of Europa
Michael Moore – Sicko
Alex Gibney – Taxi To The Darkside
The WGA gives out their awards on February 9. Expect pickets by the AMPTP and the support of FoxNews asking talent not to attend.


Couldn't Be Happier, Really

The DGA noms cae in today and, for a change, I find myself emotionally moved by the nominations.
As always, it is likely that DGA will miss Oscar by 1 nominee. And this year, with so many tremendous directing efforts to consider, there is still a chance that there will be 2 to shift.
However, I am pretty damned happy with the five, with a tip of the hat to the boundaries of the awards season realities.
I have issues with Paul Thomas Anderson as a writer on There Will Be Blood, but there is no doubt that his work with Elswit behind that camera is spectacular. The Coens were the one gimme. Tony Gilroy had some chance of missing as a first-timer and a strong personality, but his work in – also with Elswit – is strong and assured in ways that are often underappreciated. Sean Penn’s loose camera style often makes people think what he did – with DP Eric Gautie, who is probably best known before here for the simialrly “loose” but amazing The Motorcycle Diaries and Kings & Queen – was easy. It isn’t. And Julian Schnabel, in visual partnership with Janusz Kaminski, did truly masterful work… even if it isn’t for everyone.
Missing from this group are the two shakiest BP assumptions, Atonement and Sweeney Todd. It’s not shocking that Joe Wright hasn’t been nominated for either of his two Oscar-chasing films. He is not a local and the films are not breathtakingly visual. Burton, on the other hand, always delivers an eyeful and he is a veteran, though also never DGA or Academy nominated.
The other two that were in heated contention were veterans Sidney Lumet and Ridley Scott.
Two years ago was the rare year when DGA matached both Academy Directors’ nods and Best Picture exactly. But last year and three years ago, the DGA nods matched Best Picture in 14 of 15 cases. And no one should be too shocked if that happens again this year.
Last year, the Little Miss Sunshine directors, nom’ed by DGA, were out at The Academy, though the picture was in… and the nomination was filled by a non-BP director (Paul Greengrass).
Three years ago, Finding Neverland director Mark Forster was pushed out at the Academy – though the film made it – by another non-BP director, MIke Leigh.
I would love to see Sidney Lumet in… but I can’t say I want to see any of the DGA nominees out.
The most vulnerable are probably Gilroy, Penn and Schnabel, none of who have been nom’ed before. And as I keep saying, it is a year of so many solid films that anything could happen.
(Last 3 years of DGA noms after the jump)

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Aside From That, How Were The Critics' Choice Awards, Mrs Lincoln?

It was an odd evening at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Monday night, as the talk going in and after amongst the Publicity Class was the cancellation of the parties at The Golden Globes, the one element of the evening that had been set to continue regardless of the strike. Not only were parties cancelled, but deals with The Beverly Hilton to refund part of the deposits had already been done and reservations for next years parties were already set.
In the meantime, The CCAs had the oddest turnout of talent ever, as some of the biggest stars in Hollywood turned up for the show… and many of the talent you would expect to show up no matter what stayed home. Yes, Brad and Angie, George Clooney and Don Cheadle, Daniel Day Lewis, Sean Penn, Eddie Vedder, Brad Bird, and presumed Oscar nominees, Javier Bardem, Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page and others turned up.
But not there were CCA award winners Julie Christie, Diablo Cody, Amy Ryan, John Travolta (in ensemble), The Coens, Jonny Greenwood, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Michael Moore, Ahmad Khan Mahmoodzada, anyone more famous than producer level for Enchanted or anyone, really, for Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee (graciously accepted by JK Simmons who joked about being #19 on the call sheet).
By my count, there were 13 of 47 nominees in individual categories turned up for the evening and the phrase, “I accept this for….” was pretty much used in 10 of 18 awards acceptances. Yet the evening was counted as a major success by Team BFCA, as the show moved along, big names were there, and no one really expected to see The Coens or Julie Christie anyway (the two big, big names to win).
But the main conversation in the aisles was about The Globes, which had lost the parties just as the cocktail hour for The CCAs had commenced, so a high percentage of the journalists in the room had no idea that the parties had gone down or just what the details of the NBC deal were.
And a little surprisingly, most of the people I spoke to who were directly involved with The Globes situation were not angry at all


I Spoke Too Soon?

Now I am hearing from one wag that WGA is still asking actors not to attend the Globes parties… and that some studios are considering, really for the first time, cancelling the actual parties.
As you have read – if you are bothering to read this – the parties seemed to be the one thing that would go on. But if talent isn’t willing to show, who knows?
On the other hand, I am now leaving for the Critics’ Choice Awards, where all talent is expected to show, in spite of earlier efforts by WGA and SAG to keep them away.
More drama. It will be interesting. There may be blood.


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