I…uhm…half-apologize for saying earlier today that David Poland is a member of the Dreamgirls “team.” Poland answers to no one but his own voice, apparently, and he has no particular ties to Dream- girls that results in his being a “member of the team.” (I’m vomiting on my rug as I say this.)
Poland obviously supports the idea of Dreamgirls winning the Best Picture Oscar, of course, but he’s not in the pocket of or unduly allied with anyone on the DreamWorks/Dreamgirls posse. I thought that was thud-obvious, but a certain party wants this pointed out anyway.
This said, let me make something very clear. I am a member of the United 93 team in the sense that I admire that film like few others, and I have no concerns about admitting this at all. I believe in people’s willingness and ability to understand this statement in the right way. I’m also a member of the Children of Men team, the Lives of Others team, the Departed team, the Little Miss Sunshine team, the Babel team, the Pan’s Labyrinth team and so on. And proud of it. I believe in solidarity, in teams, in standing together with the right films and the right people for the right reasons.
Bobby director-writer Emilio Estevez at a Bobby party thrown at Drago in Santa Monica three or four days ago. The party was hosted by Martin and Janet Sheen. This “Page Six” item says brother Charlie Sheen will introduce a Bobby clip at the Golden Globes on Monday night.
“Today is the first truly bad day for Dreamgirls in terms of the movie’s box office and the awards race,” a certain party admitted earlier today. “To expand by 1000 or so screens and still be off from last Friday is not a great thing…one could argue that it dropped a lot less than the other holdovers. Still, it can not be said that this is a banner day for the film.
“As I have written for a while now, the box-office life of Dreamgirls is a big part of what will or will not make it win Best Picture. (And yes, I have always believed in the ‘win.’) And if the film does not continue to perform at a very high level, then it does become a multi-horse race and the dynamic changes…which is not to say that it won’t win in that dynamic. But quite a different kettle of fish.
“On the other hand, if the film picks up this weekend and gets stronger in the next expansion, it should still win easily.”
It has been a multi-horse race for several weeks now, but this is not a time to argue. This is a time to retire to a bar in Santa Monica for an hour or two, and then take a walk on the beach. There’s a party for United 93 tonight at a nice restauant on Melrose in West Hollywood, and there’s another bash being thrown for the radiant Penelope Cruz in the Westwood area, and all I really, really want to do is ride around town on a bike.
Finally!…a YouTube clip of Peter O’Toole‘s visit to “Late Night with David Letterman” earlier this week, plus his somewhat less musical visit to “The Daily Show” and his chat with Jon Stewart. Best Stewart moments are (a) O’Toole’s pronounciation of the name “Katherine Houghton Hepburn” and (b) the notion of a 5 pm glass of white wine and a cigarette.
Columbia Pictures and Michael Mann are in a race against Warner Bros. and Johnny Depp to make a film about Alexander “Sasha” Litvinenko, the ex-KGB agent who was fatally poisoned by high-ups in the Russian government.
Michael Fleming‘s 1.12.07 Variety story says that Mann’s pic will be “an espionage thriller, exploring the collision between deep-rooted Russian power structure enforced by the KGB and its successor, the FSB, and the new wave of wild west capitalism that came on the heels of glasnost. And the way in which Litvinenko got caught between those two colossal forces.”
Litvinenko “was poisoned on the direct orders of the Kremlin because of his biting mockery of President Vladimir Putin,” according to an 11.20.06 London Times piece by Michael Binyon. “Oleg Gordievsky, the most senior KGB agent to defect to Britain, said that the attempt to kill Mr Litvinenko had been state-sponsored. From his deathbed, Litvinenko blamed Putin and his regime for the poisoning, ruled to be from polonium-210.
Fleming’s story says that “based on a proposal and a sample chapter, Columbia paid $500,000 against $1.5 million early Friday for the screen rights to ‘Death of a Dissident,’ a book that is being co-written by Alex Goldfarb and the subject’s widow, Marina Litvinenko. The book will be published in late May by the Simon & Schuster subsidiary Free Press.
“Red Wagon partners Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher, who brought the project to the studio, will produce. Mann is in negotiations to direct. If that happens, his Forward Pass will produce as well.
“Among the bidders for ‘”Death of a Dissident’ was WB, Depp and Graham King‘s Initial Entertainment, which had already made an option deal to base a Litvinenko film on with ‘Sasha’s Story: The Life and Death of a Russian Spy’ . That book is being written by New York Times London bureau chief Alan Cowell.
“According to sources, WB offered to match Col’s winning bid, but came away empty-handed. Col topper Amy Pascal, Mann and Wick and Fisher were particularly aggressive and won the auction, which was conducted by CAA and London-based publishing agent Ed Victor.
This will be an espionage thriller, exploring the collision between deep rooted Russian power structure enforced by the KGB and its successor, the FSB, and the new wave of wild west capitalism that came on the heels of Glasnost. And the way in which Litvinenko got caught between those two colossal forces. From his deathbed, Litvinenko blamed Russian president Vladimir Putin and his regime for the poisoning, ruled to be from polonium-210.
The stupid Broadcast Film Critics site doesn’t even have last night’s winners posted, much less photos. (They’ve still got last year’s winners posted…shmucks.) Plus last night’s show won’t even be aired on E! until 1.20.07, which is derelict by the immediate cyber standards of early 2007.
I had a chance to grab a dinner last night in Venice with Fox news guy Bill McCuddy, and it was a full-out pleasure to kick back and ignore the BFCA Critics Choice Awards shebaggle going on at the Santa Monica Civic, about a mile north of Hal’s. Is the BFCA breathing the same pollen as the Hollywood Foreign Press? Or the Oscars, even? (Consider this Oscarwatch.com comparison.) Do they even have the same kind of lungs?
If either is the case, or simply if the wind continues to blow in the direction it now seems to be blowing, then The Departed, Babel, Borat and, most importantly, Little Miss Sunshine may end up with most of the Golden Globes glory on Monday night.
It wasn’t a matter of how many Critics Choice Awards Dreamgirls, Little Miss Sunshine and The Departed won last night — it was what kind of wins.
Dreamgirls and Little Miss Sunshine took four trophies each, but Sunshine‘s were more substantial (or they seemed so to me) — Best Original Screenplay and an acting ensemble award (important) along with two minor performance awards (for Paul Dano and Abigail Breslin). Dreamgirls took two significant acting awards — Jennifer Hudson and Eddie Murphy for Best Supporting Actress and Actor — plus best song and soundtrack wins. Due respect, but these last two don’t matter a whole lot. The soundtrack award is especially what-the-fuckish.
The Departed, by contrast, ended up with the two biggest and meatiest awards — Best Picture and Best Director (Martin Scorsese).
I’m not saying that the BFCA wins are HFPA or Oscar bellwethers, but if they are…
This is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, so I may as well just say it: if Sunshine or Borat take the Best Comedy-Musical Golden Globe Award, people are going to be saying that Dreamgirls is really on the ropes. Obviously the Academy and the HFPA are separate equations — they have their own filters and standards, and choose what they damn well prefer. And to hear it from some who’ve been around a few years (a certain New York-based columnist, for one), a portion of the HFPA membership is thought to harbor certain attitudes regarding African-American culture, so a Dreamgirls turndown, if it happens, will be, at the very least, tainted by this suspicion.
I’m not supposed to say this, and I don’t want to say this because Dreamgirls has a lot of enjoyment and punch and pizazz. I have no major beef with it except for my view that it doesn’t really flow and seep in, but it’ll be Huge News if the Golden Globes go for LMS or Borat in the comedy-drama category. It’ll be Holy Shit time …the big brassy presumptive front-runner tackled and brought down behind its own line of scrimmage. David Poland has been a good hard-charging linebacker, but…
Then again, a prominent Oscar strategist who’s not on the Dreamgirls team thinks it’ll win on Monday night. And maybe it will. If this happens, fine. It’s best not to say anything more, but it’s going to be a helluva dramatic moment either way.
My own prediction is that the Best Picture Oscar is going to be won by either The Departed or Little Miss Sunshine or Babel. I think Dreamgirls, for all the spunk and flash, is almost certainly out of the running because it doesn’t have that emotional schwing. Nobody in it falls in or out of love in a way that makes you hurt for them, nobody tragically or bravely dies, it doesn’t make you cry. It doesn’t even titillate with sex. And if I turn out to be wrong, cool…whatever.
Here’s a rundown of all the BFCA winners. MCN’s Laura Rooney did the posting last night…good fast work
Did anyone see Stomp the Yard (Screen Gems) yesterday? It’s the #1 film of this 4-day weekend (i.e., Martin Luther King Day on Monday) with a projected $25,727,000. Night at the Museum will be #2 with $20,120,000 projected by Monday night. The steady-earning Pursuiit of Happyness — no Oscar love, Will Smith‘s Best Actor hopes never got of the ground — is #3 with $11,249,000.
The “hmmm” statistic concerns the 4th-ranked Dreamgirls. Dreamamount more than doubled their screens this weekend — they were at 800-something last weekend, and are now at 1907 screens — and got very little gain from it. In fact, last night they were down 15% from last Friday. The projected 4-day tally for Beyonce, Jennifer, Eddie & Jamie is $9,235,000. Maybe they’ll get a bump off Monday’s Golden Globes awards.
Freedom Writers will end up with $8,897,000 for a #5 slot. Sixth-place Alpha Dog will tally $7,867,000. Children of Men‘s 4-day figure will be about $7,468,00 — .they added 295 dates from last weekend, and are still off 32%. Primeval, $6,785,000. Arthur and The Invisibles, $5,540,000.
The Good Shepherd, $4,464,000. Charlotte’s Web, $4,310,000.
God Grew Tired of Us, playing in 2 theatres, will end up with $35,000.