A guy I spoke to this morning — someone who gets around, knows the industry, talks to people — disputes the whole Inglourious Basterds-is-surging meme. Here’s how he put it in a phone conversation this morning:
“The reason is that while people like Inglourious Basterds, I don’t think anyone is taking it seriously,” he contends. “Even people I know who are voting for it don’t take it very seriously. It’s one thing to say they ‘like’ a film and another to vote for it as Best Picture. It’s a jokey Nazi exploitation movie. It’s fluff. You don’t vote for something just because you ‘like’ it.
“Quentin this morning in Variety called it The Dirty Dozen redux…which is fine, but this is not the stuff that Oscar movies are made of.
“The other thing is that Harvey’s whole Jewish-revenge shpiel — taking a movie that’s kind of cartoonishly selling Nazis and then turn it around as something Jews should support because it’s a great hit-back-at-the-Nazis revenge movie may be a bit of a backfire among people who take it more seriously, or who’ve actually made holocaust movies.
“Steven Spielberg will not see it, I’m told, because he takes this stuff seriously. It’s no animosity towards Harvey or Quentin, mind, but it does rub people the wrong way. Some Jews like it but there’s a slice of the demographic that can’t get past that poster with the big swatzstika on it…and they just can’t get past Quentin Tarantino doing a japey reflection of the Holocaust movie. I’m talking about Paul Mazursky, Spielberg….that serious-filmmaker crowd.
“When Basterds came out last August nobody thought of it as a serous movie. It was just a popcorn money-maker. And nobody’s raising their fist against it now becaus no one’s taking it seriously. These journalists are just making columns.
“On top of which Harvey says this every year. Everything he ever does is going to win Best Picture. The Road, Nine, The Reader…Nine was going to crush it at the Golden Globes, and Quentin was going to win at the Golden Globes also. But they didn’t even win for Best Screenplay at the Globes. I just think it’s a much-ado about nothing.
“If Inglourious Basterds is so admired by actors, ask yourself this: The Hurt Locker got a Best Actor nomination with Jeremy Renner‘s performance, which is usually indicative of a front-and-center alliance with the film itself, and Inglorious Basterds got a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Christoph Waltz. Why didn’t they give Brad Pitt a Best Actor nomination? There’s a reason for that, I think, apart from the quality of his performance.
Hollywood is simply “overwhelmingly liberal and overwhelmingly likes The Hurt Locker,” he exclaimed. “Sean Penn, Robert Duvall, Charlize Theron, Warren beatty, Helen Mirren, Harrison Ford…Lou Gossett, Jr. They get what it’s about and are with it. Even Jon Voight likes it.”