And The Winner Is… blogmeister Scott Feinberg has written a very thoroughly thought-out, fairly persuasive explanation why Little Miss Sunshine is going to win the Best Picture Oscar. I love this little film but I’d personally rather see Babel or The Departed take it. Both are more exciting to watch and think about later.
“This year, producers and actors went for Little Miss Sunshine, directors liked The Departed, and the Globes went with Babel. So the Bagger can confidently say, with all the authority of his one year of experience, that The Win in best picture is up for grabs.
“If Little Miss were to sneak past the best the studios and their specialty divisions had to offer, it would be yet another message that the longshot is sometimes the best shot. Everything that was wrong about this film turned out to be the right. Too many cooks came up with something audiences loved and at least some factions of the Academy find compelling.” — from David Carr‘s riff about Sunday night’s SAG Awards and what that ceremony (possibly) foretells.
“Can we stop this before you go ahead any further? We can’t have this kind of language in this film, to this degree.” — Warner Bros. honcho Alan Horn to Departed producer Graham King, having gotten a very clear idea from early dailies that no brakes were being applied whatsoever on the use of salty street patois (“ya muthah fucked me,” etc.). (Quote passed along by King during Sunday’s “Movers & Shakers” panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.)
“You are not entitled,” Bill Condon tells N.Y. Times reporter Laura Holson about winning an Oscar, “an honor he won in 1999 for writing Gods and Monsters and for which his Chicago script was nominated,” she writes. Winning the fabled gold statuette “is a gift,” he adds. “That sense that you deserve it is wacky.”
“We were never going to win [the Best Picture Oscar], even if we were nominated,” Condon says, laughing. “The money we would have spent on the campaign, the insane amount of money we saved…people spend like drunken sailors, you know.” In Patton, George C. Scott says to an audience of soldiers, “I’d never give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed.” I would. Condon’s attitude about the Dreamgirls shortfall is extremely classy and attractive. He’s one of the best people in this town; he’s coming from a very serene and confident place.
It may be too late and it may be a futile notion, but it’s time for all good people to rise up and band together in order to stop Eddie Murphy from winning the Best Supporting Actor Oscar. If anyone wants to launch a website to help amplify this feeling and (who knows?) maybe trigger a turnaround of opinion, I’ll contribute $100 bucks…seriously. He’s the one bad guy in the bunch who, I feel, really doesn’t deserve to win. Surely others feel this way?
I’ve seen that bored-indifferent, man-am-I-rich, leave-me-alone look on Murphy’s face too many times, and I’d be tickled if the Oscar camera could catch him scowling when Mark Wahlberg or Alan Arkin win instead. He may have the Oscar in the bag, but I keep hearing he’s not very well liked in the industry and that he’s regarded as a bit of an asshole. Plus he was too cool to show up for any one of those three swanky Dreamgirls press events that Terry Press threw last year. It’ll just take a little blogosphere surge to make it happen…maybe. Or maybe not.
I respect Murphy, and I certainly don’t hate him . I used to love him in the early to mid ’80s. I relished his spirited voice-acting in the two Shrek films, he was inspired in Bowfinger, and pretty funny in both Nutty Professor fims (especially the second one), but there’s that air of arrogance and impudence that rubs me the wrong way. Plus I can’t get over that run of truly awful big-studio films he made from the mid ’80s to the late ’90s.
Murphy needs to be leaned over a barrel for making Doctor Dolittle, Metro, Vampire in Brooklyn, Beverly Hills Cop III, The Distinguished Gentleman, Boomerang, Another 48 Hrs., Harlem Nights (hated it!), Coming to America (really hated it!), Beverly Hills Cop II (nowhere near as good as the original) and The Golden Child. 11 depressing films! I went through hell watching them.
I’m willing to let this go. If Murphy wins, whatever. He’s pretty good as James “Thunder” Early, especially during his on-stage performing scenes. But he really isn’t great or phenomenal in the part, and there isn’t much of a character arc. In the third act Jamie Foxx dismisses a song idea, then he does a line of something, and the next scene he’s dead…offscreen. Nor is there a whole lot of depth to the guy, and there’s very little connective tissue in his story. It’s an extended cameo, really.
Sorry, but I ‘m not getting whatever it is I’m supposed to get. The juiice isn’t seeping in; I’m not feeling the tingle. The spots aren’t that clever or witty or “cinematic.” They’re decent, servicable, not terrible, etc., but all they do is make you wonder how much Jones was paid.
At yesterday’s “Movers & Shakers” (i.e., producers) panel at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, L.A. Times columnist Patrick Goldstein asked Little Miss Sunshine producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa to comment about the Academy’s grossly unfair decision to exclude them from the official group of three who, if LMS wins the Best Picture Oscar, will be allowed to go up onstage and receive a statuette, despite theirBerger and Yerxa being the film’s “real” ground-floor producers.
Yerxa gave a soft-pedalled response, saying that the Producers Guild, which approved Yerxa and Berger as one of the LMS producers, and the Academy “are not fully conversant.” Berger was more emphatic: “We produced this movie. Whatever the Academy may say or determine, we produced this movie.”
I don’t mean to sound like a rabbit-hole cineaste who only processes life in terms of movies and images, but this N.Y. Times photo of Iraqi soldiers dealing with captured gunmen during a sandstorm is like something Vittorio Storaro would have crafted if he was working on a feature about the Iraq conflict. Those burnished orange-sandy hues look like they were rendered with a color filter. Quite beautiful.
Filmmakermagazine has put up a Sundance video podcast by the great Jamie Stuart, a guy who delivers so much more than just your typical smart-ass, here’s-what-happened diary-type deal that it’s not funny. Make no mistake — Jamie Stuart is the Stanley Kubrick/Alfonso Cuaron/Richard Lester/Sergei Eisenstein of impressionistic short-video film festival pieces.
The marketing geniuses at MPI Home Video don’t have it on their site (and why should they? too logical!) but DVD Newsletter‘s Doug Pratt tells me the Becket DVD will “street” on May 15th. It’s currently playing at Manhattan’s Film Forum; opening at L.A.’s Nuart on Friday.