As The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a very tedious film to sit through, I find it appalling — almost mystifying — that fans the world over are paying to see it in record numbers. $222,703,000 stateside, $464 million overseas and a general worldwide haul of $686 million. There really is something wrong with spending that much on a film this tiresome and overlong. Taste (even geek taste) has little to do with it. They saw the Rings trilogy so they have to see the new one. Obsessive, sad, depressing. I’m averting my eyes from here on.
New Year’s Eve (i.e., Monday night) is always lame and New Year’s Day is the emptiest day of the year…flatline. The ballot deadline for the Writers Guild awards is at 10 pm on Wednesday, January 2nd with the nominations out the next morning. The Oscar ballot deadline is late on Thursday, January 3rd. And then the National Society of Film Critics will announce their awards on Saturday, 1.5.
And then come the all-important DGA nominations on Tuesday morning, January 8th. The BAFTA nominations will be known on Wednesday morning, January 9th. Oscar nominations happen the next morning — Thursday, January 10th — at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am. That night the 18th Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will broadcast. And then the Golden Globe awards happen on Sunday night, their importance somewhat diminished by the Oscar noms.
So it’ll be a noteworthy six days from 1.8 through 1.13. The most nominations will most likely be collected by Lincoln and Les Miserables, but they have their detractors. I want to see the nominations spread around, please. And there’ll be serious blowback if the DGA doesn’t at least nominate Silver Linings Playbook‘s David O. Russell for Best Director. Just saying.
And then I leave for Park City and the 2013 Sundance Film Festival on Tuesday, 1.15. I like to get up there and settle in and enjoy a full day of peace and quiet (i.e., Wednesday, 1.16) before it all starts on Thursday, 1.17.
When’s the all-media for Gangster Squad (Warner Bros., 1.11)?
Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, my longtime Oscar Poker partner until we split up two or three months ago, accepted my invitation to do another one for old time’s sake. We covered everything, except I thought Sasha was recording and she thought I was recording. We talked for a good 90 minutes or so, and it was all for naught. Then I started recording and we did about 49 minutes’ worth. Happy New Year.
A tweet this morning from The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg asked if Andres Muschietti‘s Mama (Universal, 1.18) might have a Norbit-like affect upon the chances of Best Actress contender Jessica Chastain, who plays Mama’s female lead. Reactions were swift and dismissive. Mama, produced by Guillermo del Toro, is being described as somewhere between good and not half bad.
The following story about Steven Spielberg‘s initial connection with Lincoln star Daniel Day Lewis was apparently included an 11.30 Oprah Now interview. I may have heard it and brushed it aside, but I don’t think so.
“For a time I was going do [Lincoln] with Liam Neeson,” Spielberg explained. “But then, you know, we just decided to move in two different directions. I was sitting around at home one day realizing I’m never going to make Lincoln. It’s just never going to happen.
“And Leo DiCaprio came over for dinner that night. It was just my wife and Leo and myself. We were sitting around and Leo said, ‘What’s happening with Lincoln? You’ve been, what, five years on this thing?’ And I said, ‘Longer.’ I told Leo the whole story, and I told him I had tried to approach Daniel on another screenplay and I wasn’t able to re-approach Daniel.
“And the next day, my assistant said ‘Leo’s on the phone.’ He said, ‘You got a pencil? Write this down. This is Daniel Day-Lewis’s cell phone. He’s expecting your call.’ Leo had gone to bat for me and had called Daniel on the telephone and got Daniel and I together. Everything at that point started really moving quickly.”
Whoa, wait: Spielberg “wasn’t able to re-approach” Daniel Day Lewis because he “tried to approach Daniel on another screenplay”? In response to which DDL was (let’s imagine) so turned off by the initial project that he decided to refuse Spielberg’s subsequent calls? And the all-powerful Spielberg wanted to offer the Lincoln role to DDL but was unable to get his cell phone number? DDL thought he might fail in trying to portray Abraham Lincoln, etc. I’ve read that. But I don’t believe DDL would tell his assistant, “If Spielberg calls, I’m not in.” Bullshit.
Update: “The Spielberg/Day-Lewis story has been everywhere,” a friend days. “They both it in detail at a q & a at the Bruin, and Day-Lewis completely concurred. In fact, they really told much more about it including how when DDL finally accepted the Lincoln role Spielberg couldn’t even speak, so he put the phone down for a few until he could compose himself.” Wells response: I still don’t believe DDL wouldn’t take Spielberg’s calls and/or that Spielberg couldn’t get his cell phone #.
Mom isn’t just weeping after seeing Les Miserables; she’s fairly devastated and having trouble explaining why. Everyone else in the car either has a case of the giggles or is going “okay, I respect your reaction but not so much on my end.” (Tip of the hat to Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone.)
After 18 bad years behind bars, exonerated West Memphis Three defendant Damien Echols was freed on 8.19.11 through an Alford plea. And then Amy Berg‘s excellent, unavoidably compelling West of Memphis was released, and Echols has been on the promotion circuit (for his book Life After Death as well as the film) ever since.
Echols on Devil’s Knot, the upcoming Atom Egoyan film that was inspired by and mostly based on the West Memphis Three case: “We’re completely against it…I’ve read previous drafts…it’s not even remotely accurate…[it’s been called] a ficitional account based on the mythology of the West Memphis Three…they’ve taken a fringe character who had little or nothing to do with me getting out, and made like the big star and hero and everything…no, we don’t have anything to do with it and want to stay as far away from it as possible.”
If there’s a God West of Memphis will at the very least be nominated for Best Feature Documentary Oscar. A win would obviously be better.
I ran into Echols at two Sundance 2012 events — a West of Memphis after-party and a morning press conference — and again at the 2012 Santa Barbara Film Festival. The possibly guilty party Echols is speaking about in the early part of the DP30 interview is Terry Hobbs.