There’s a delicious moment near the finale of Zero Dark Thirty. A moment of profound giddy finality. It happens toward the end of the assault upon the Osama bin Laden residence/fortress in Abbottabad, when two U.S. Seals are crouched and aiming weapons just outside the doorway to Bin Laden’s third-floor room. And one of them says in a raspy half-whisper, “Osama?” Pause and again: “Osama?” He might as well be saying, “Your destiny…we’re here!…come to us!”
I’ve never flown with an all-gay crew of flight attendants but whatever. Gay guys are always a tad more responsive, just a tad more alert and obliging. Gays guys in the skies. Dancing, singing…all gay, all the time. Hopefully this new Pedro Almodovar film will debut in Cannes next May. All Pedro films are perfect, even the lesser ones.
There is no bloody horror, no body count, no level of carnage that will stop the National Rifle Association from preventing any restrictions on the availability or purchasing of firearms in the US of A. Any determined nutter in the world can weapon up and barge into a school and shoot as many kids as he/she wants. This is America. This is the culture and the country that we’ve made for ourselves. Congratulations once again to the gun lobby, assholes, crusty rural Republican militants, cowards, gun fiends.
Presumed NRA response: This more than ever makes an argument for the free and unrestricted availability of firearms to one and all, because if the right Dirty Harry had been in the Newton school and was packing, he/she could have taken out the shooter and saved lives.
I know Newtown, Connecticut, fairly well. Winding woodsy blacktop roads, expensive homes, hills and dips, ponds, open fields, deer. I drive through Newtown every time I make my way from Wilton or Westport to my mom’s assisted living facility in Southbury.
27 dead, 20 of them kids, possibly all from the same kindergarten class. 6 adults dead plus the shooter.
But The New York Post — and other media outlets citing police sources are now reporting that the shooter is not 24-year-old Ryan Lanza but his brother, 20-year-old Adam Lanza, who killed his mother, a kindergarten teacher at Sandy Hook and possibly another person at a Connecticut home close to the school, who reports say is another relative. Ryan Lanza is alive and has been questioned by police,
The deceased shooter was 20 year-old Adam Lanza. (His bother, 24 year-old Ryan Lanza, was incorrectly identified as the shooter earlier today.) The mother of the Lanza brothers, also dead, was a teacher at Sandy Hooks school. The shooter was reportedly dressed in black commando garb like the wackjob who wasted moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado. One Glock, one Sig Sauer.
At the end of his review of Ken and Sarah Burns’ The Central Park Five, New Yorker critic David Denby writes that news of the innocence of the five defendants in the 1989 Central Park rape case “got nowhere near the attention that the professions of their guilt did. Few people seemed to want to know. The five men initiated a civil lawsuit against the city that has dragged on for nearly a decade. This movie should hasten some sort of final reckoning.”
That’s a chickenshit way of putting it. There’s absolutely no logical way to dispute that the defendants, now in their late 30s, are entitled to be compensated for being railroaded into jail and having their youth destroyed by a racist and callous justice system. And yet Denby and his editors decided to beat around the bush with a namby-pamby generality.
Here’s how I put it on 10.30: “New York City needs to do more than simply admit error in case of the wrongly-convicted, wrongly-imprisoned Central Park Five — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Raymond Santana, Kharey Wise and Yusef Salaam. Nine years ago the five filed a federal lawsuit against the city, seeking $50 million each in damages or $250 million total. If anyone deserves to be financially compensated for a perversion of justice, it’s these guys. Let’s hope that the five full financial compensation.”
In this Gold Derby podcast, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone half-predicts that Quentin Tarantino is going to take David O’Russell‘s Best Director Oscar nomination slot. How could this possibly happen given the dead cold fact that Django Unchained is a grotesquely overpraised spaghetti western jape? I’m not going to throw up now. I’m going to wait. The other forehead-smacker comes when Tom O’Neil states that Django is more or less the same kettle of violent, blood-spattered fish as No Country For Old Men.
Deadline‘s Pete Hammond is interviewed by colleague David Bloom about the Golden Globe nominations and everything else that has happened over the last couple of weeks. Hammond is a sharp reporter, but how can he not mention how it feels to have your soul pour onto the floor like sand? Hammond, a down -to-it, all-business type of guy, doesn’t even allude to repulsion, sadness, depression, grief…none of it. And yet these feelings are threaded into the race as much as anything else.
This Is 40 costar, comic legend and slight rapscallion Albert Brooks spoke with me at last night’s premiere after-party. I suggested a phoner and Brooks promised to call today at 2 pm. He called at 1:58 pm. I asked him to ring back on my digital land line, and while things were a little halting or lunging and unsteady at first, we would up doing a nice healthy 55-minute chat about death. I don’t know why I just said that when we dovetailed into death issues three or four times at most.
Topics included a possible Curb Your Enthusiasm-type cable show, Brooks’ too-short This is 40 scene with John Lithgow (which reminds me of his party-inquisition scene with William Hurt in Broadcast News), the fact that Brooks identifies more with his menacing Drive guy than his father-of-Paul Rudd character in Judd Apatow‘s film, the mentality of movie-award giving, Lost in America, John Lennon‘s “lost weekend” period, writing issues, the dying of pets, old-age issues, Big Ideas vs. movies about nothing and so on.
I had been thrashing around all morning trying to think of some Brooks questions that would lead to intrigue and excitement while simultaneously talking about life, love and money with a lady friend, sussing out the Golden Globe nominations and writing that agonized, down-on-my-knees Lincoln plea to anyone and everyone. I managed to type out about five or six Brooks questions before he called but once we got going it was easy.
Again, the mp3
The apparent strength of Lincoln as the likeliest lazy-default Best Picture winner (based on the apparent weakening of Les Miz plus the 4 SAG nominations and 7 Golden Globe nominations) is, of course, hugely depressing for me personally. It feels awful. I can feel my spirit pouring out onto the floor like sand. But how is the likelihood of Lincoln not a shrug for the vast majority out there? I’m asking this.
Forget respectful, admiring and approving. I approve of Steven Spielberg‘s film as far as it goes but who out there is genuinely feeling the flutter and the levitation from this somber, dutiful, milky-white-lighted legislative procedural slog? Because if a movie isn’t lifting you off the ground or lighting you up or turning you around in some emphatic, lapel-grabbing way, what are you doing? Why the hell would you want to put it at the top of the 2012 Best Picture list? Who are you? What are you eating?
I’m speaking honestly here. I’m not just doing my usual Spielberg-default critique. I really do know a few things…a lot more than a few about what constitutes a truly exceptional, stand-tall movie, and I’m really, really speaking from a place of truth and concern.
Just separate Daniel Day Lewis‘s performance from the film itself. That’s all I’m asking…okay, begging that people try and do for five minutes. Separate that performance from the film and try and extricate yourself from the effect of having ingested the lore of Abraham Lincoln from the time you were seven or eight years old. If you do these two things, Lincoln will still be on your list (because it’s somewhere between pretty good and quite good) but it won’t be on the top of it — trust me.
You might want to also recall how Lincoln begins with a flagrantly phony scene, probably the phoniest in any of the top-ranked 2012 films. I’m speaking of that crassly calculated, totally bullshit opener in which President Lincoln shares some quiet words with four Union soldiers (two white, two black) under the cloak of night, and how this leads to one of the black guys, played by David Oyelowo, to polite tell his Commander-in-Chief that he’s irked and disappointed that men of color aren’t allowed to become officers. And then he recites a portion of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and he walks away from Lincoln as he continues to recite, withdrawing like a member of a chorus in an early 1950s stage production of Brigadoon. For this scene alone Lincoln deserves to lose. I mean that.
The ground-lifters are Zero Dark Thirty, Silver Linings Playbook, Holy Motors, Anna Karenina and the last 40 minutes of Les Miserables. No lie, no spin, no hot air…fact.
I don’t know why I woke up late. The Asian jetlag thing had been losing strength. But I did for some reason, and I woke up at 10 am to the Golden Globe nominations and also to Nikki Finke’s annual (and entirely valid) HFPA diss rant. Do I take 45 minutes to re-code everything to HE format or just go to Sasha Stone’s Awards Daily and copy and paste?
The latter. I’ve got a lot going on today. Albert Brooks said he’d call at 2 pm and I need to write up some questions. Plus everything else.
My first GG response was “why did they blow off This Is 40‘s Leslie Mann for Best Actress, Comedy or Musical”? She’s really quite good — call her exceptional — in Judd Apatow‘s film. And I was settling into her polish and timing and restraint and emotional undercurrent during last night’s re-viewing at teh Chinese. I didn’t expect to feel this surge, but I did. And I know that what Mann does is far more effective in a comedic vein than what (no offense) Emily Blunt achieves in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen or Meryl Streep in Hope Springs. It’s unkind, unfair, unjust.
Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil has pointed out that no GG Best Director nomination for Tom Hooper “probably spells trouble for Les Miserables…in the past 30 years only 2 films won Best Picture without their helmers have been nominated by the HFPA: Crash and Driving Miss Daisy.”
1. BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
a. ARGO Warner Bros. Pictures, GK Films, Smokehouse Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures
b. DJANGO UNCHAINED The Weinstein Company, Columbia Pictures; The Weinstein Company/Sony Pictures Releasing
c. LIFE OF PI Fox 2000 Pictures; Twentieth Century Fox
d. LINCOLN DreamWorks Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox; Touchstone Pictures
e. ZERO DARK THIRTY Columbia Pictures and Annapurna Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing
2. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
a. JESSICA CHASTAIN ZERO DARK THIRTY
b. MARION COTILLARD RUST AND BONE
c. HELEN MIRREN HITCHCOCK
d. NAOMI WATTS THE IMPOSSIBLE
e. RACHEL WEISZ THE DEEP BLUE SEA
3. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
a. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS LINCOLN
b. RICHARD GERE ARBITRAGE
c. JOHN HAWKES THE SESSIONS
d. JOAQUIN PHOENIX THE MASTER
e. DENZEL WASHINGTON FLIGHT
4. BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
a. THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL – Blueprint Pictures/Participant Media; Fox Searchlight Pictures
b. LES MISERABLES – Universal Pictures, A Working Title Films/Cameron Mackintosh Productions; Universal Pictures
c. MOONRISE KINGDOM – Indian Paintbrush; Focus Features
d. SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN – CBS Films; CBS Films
e. SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK – The Weinstein Company; The Weinstein Company
5. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
a. EMILY BLUNT SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
b. JUDI DENCH THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
c. JENNIFER LAWRENCE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
d. MAGGIE SMITH QUARTET
e. MERYL STREEP HOPE SPRINGS
6. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
a. JACK BLACK BERNIE
b. BRADLEY COOPER SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
c. HUGH JACKMAN LES MISERABLES
d. EWAN MCGREGOR SALMON FISHING IN THE YEMEN
e. BILL MURRAY HYDE PARK ON HUDSON
7. BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
a. BRAVE Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures
b. FRANKENWEENIE Walt Disney Pictures; Walt Disney Pictures
c. HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Animation; Sony Pictures Releasing
d. RISE OF THE GUARDIANS DreamWorks Animation LLC; Paramount Pictures
e. WRECK-IT RALPH Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Animation Studios; Walt Disney Pictures
8. BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
a. AMOUR (AUSTRIA) Les Films Du Losange, X Filme Creative Pool, Wega Film; Sony Pictures Classics
b. A ROYAL AFFAIR (DENMARK) (En kongelig affære) Zentropa Entertainment; Magnolia Pictures
c. THE INTOUCHABLES (FRANCE) (Les Intouchables) The Weinsten Company, Quad Productions, Gaumont, TF1 Films Production, Ten Films, Chaocorp; The Weinstein Company
d. KON-TIKI (NORWAY/UK/DENMARK) Nordisk Film Production, Recorded Picture Company
e. RUST AND BONE (FRANCE) (De rouille et d’os)
9. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
a. AMY ADAMS THE MASTER
b. SALLY FIELD LINCOLN
c. ANNE HATHAWAY LES MISERABLES
d. HELEN HUNT THE SESSIONS
e. NICOLE KIDMAN THE PAPERBOY
10. BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
a. ALAN ARKIN ARGO
b. LEONARDO DICAPRIO DJANGO UNCHAINED
c. PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN THE MASTER
d. TOMMY LEE JONES LINCOLN
e. CHRISTOPH WALTZ DJANGO UNCHAINED
11. BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
a. BEN AFFLECK ARGO
b. KATHRYN BIGELOW ZERO DARK THIRTY
c. ANG LEE LIFE OF PI
d. STEVEN SPIELBERG LINCOLN
e. QUENTIN TARANTINO DJANGO UNCHAINED
12. BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
a. MARK BOAL ZERO DARK THIRTY
b. TONY KUSHNER LINCOLN
c. DAVID O. RUSSELL SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
d. QUENTIN TARANTINO DJANGO UNCHAINED
e. CHRIS TERRIO ARGO
13. BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
a. MYCHAEL DANNA LIFE OF PI
b. ALEXANDRE DESPLAT ARGO
c. DARIO MARIANELLI ANNA KARENINA
d. TOM TYKWER, CLOUD ATLAS JOHNNY KLIMEK, REINHOLD HEIL
e. JOHN WILLIAMS LINCOLN
Somehow the issues and speedbumps that I felt or sensed when I first saw Judd Apatow‘s This Is 40 in late October dissipated when I saw it again on Wednesday night. So this is one of those “it’s pretty good but it works a lot better if you see it twice” movies. Costar Albert Brooks came over and said “hi” at the after-party. I also spoke to costar Chris O’Dowd, who is absolutely legendary in The Sapphires, which the Weinstein Co. is bringing out in March.
(l.) This Is 40 director-writer Judd Apatow, Universal Studios president Ron Meyer at the Roosevelt Hotel after-party — Wednesday, 12.12, 10:20 pm.
(l. to r.) This Is 40 costars Paul Rudd, Albert Brooks, Robert Smigel.