Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil is reporting specific backstage poop on yesterday’s National Society of Film Critics voting that resulted in Ari Folman ‘s Waltz With Bashir taking the Best Picture prize. The voting also included a vote for Eva — WALL*E’s robot girlfriend — as Best Actress. (What member of this distinguished body cast this vote? Fess up!)
WALL*E led on the first ballot, O’Neil writes, but then lost to Bashir because of the huge drop-off of voters once the proxies were disqualified from voting on the second round.
Lots of other flip-flops happened between first and second ballots, he says. The Dark Knight‘s Heath Ledger led on the first Best Supporting Actor ballot but lost on the second to Happy Go Lucky‘s Eddie Marsan. Vicky Cristina Barcelona‘s Penelope Cruz led on the first ballot for Best Supporting Actress, but lost to Edge of Heaven‘s Hanna Schygulla who originally came in fourth place during the first round of voting.
In the first and final Best Actor ballot Milk‘s Sean Penn got 87 votes, The Wrestler‘s Mickey Rourke got 40 and Gran Torino‘s Clint Eastwood got 38.
Nicholas Ray‘s Bigger Than Life, a social critique of the bland and suffocating 1950s, is at the Film Forum until Thursday. It’s not on DVD in this country so I should probably set aside the time. “A superbly shot critique of the suffocating conformity, repression and materialism at the heart of middle-class life,” a DVD Beaver critic exclaims, “Bigger Than Life is the American Beauty of 50s cinema.
“Shooting in Cinemascope, Ray brilliantly uses bold colors, expressionistic shadows, and the precise framing of domestic architecture (particularly of the staircase in the family home), to convey both atmosphere and meaning. Ed’s transformation involves moments of darkly ironic humor, not least his speech at a parents’ evening, where he derides the children as “moral midgets”. ‘Childhood is a congenital disease,’ he declares, ‘the task of education is to cure it.’
“The drugs in the film serve as a catalyst for the emergence of Ed’s hitherto repressed frustrations and anxieties. Yet although Bigger Than Life can be read metaphorically as the playing out of murderous desires, it retains an emotional force because of the intensity by which James Mason conveys his character’s profound torment.”
“I heard someone on the radio once say that they were tired of the prejudice aimed at the overweight, Ricky Gervais has recently said/written. “They said something like ‘you’re not allowed to make fun of gay people, so why are you allowed to make fun of fat people? It’s the same thing.’
“But it’s not the same thing, is it? Gay people are born that way. They didn’t work at becoming gay. Fat people became fat because they would rather be that way than stop eating so much. They had to eat and eat to get fat. Then, when they were fat they had to keep up the eating to stay fat. For gayness to be the same as fatness, gay people would have to start off straight but then ween themselves onto cock. Soon they’re noshing all day getting gayer and gayer. They’ve had more than enough cock…they’re full…they’re just sucking for the sake of it. Now they’re overgay, and frowned upon by people who can have the occasional cock but not over-indulge.
“When a doctor tells me that that’s how you become gay, I’ll stop making jokes about fat people.”
I’ve had The Visitor’s Hiam Abbass in the Oscar Balloon’s Best Supporting Actress category for months, and now the New York Observer‘s Chris Rosen has gone on record in agreement. Finally…somebody! I’m also with Rosen about two of the best underrated performances of ’08 having been given by Che‘s Demian Bichir (the guy who played Fidel Castro) and Santiago Cabrera (the smiling bearded cadre who explained the ventriloquist/”vanilla piss” remark). But of course, each and every performance in the Che films is exactly right.
A filmmaker friend wrote last night that a certain production company “will have an extra bedroom available for the nights of 1.19 through 1.21 departing the 22nd for $200 per night. The condo is not in town so a car or cabs will be necessary to get around.”
I replied as follows, just to mess with him: “The hottest, most energetic Sundance days are always the first four or five — in this instance 1.15 to 1.19, Thursday to Monday. (I always arrive a day before — 1.14 in this instance — to get myself all situated and set up.) The buyers, the buzz and the pulse are a memory by Tuesday. Who’d want to arrive on the 19th? A person looking to avoid excitement?”
I didn’t mention that I kind of half-like it when all the heat dies down. It becomes more about the films at that point, although, truth be told, the films that show for the first time on Tuesday (i.e., 1.20) to the end of the festival have basically been given the bum’s rush by festival programmers, and they know it…everyone knows it. Your film not showing within the first five days at Sundance isn’t exactly a kiss of death, but the symbolism is unmistakable. Yes, yes…there have been and will be exceptions, and thank heaven for that.