Below is a Movie City News headline on the new wifi deal at Sundance 2011 which, according to the Wall Street Journal‘s Michelle Kung, will offer three levels of service: (a) generic free wifi available for all (which, let’s face it, will probably be mildly shitty), (b) elite VIP wifi requiring a password, and (c) special Sundance staffer wifi with their own special login.
For Oscar Poker #15, Sasha and I welcomed columnist Scott Feinberg. It began with a general discussion of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the feral emotions that have been whipped into a lather by the rightwing media monster machine. And then we banked into a discussion of Social Network Oscar-pundit denial and an examination of this curious psychology and Feinberg’s contention that “there is no generic Oscar-type movie anymore.” Here’s a non-iTunes link.
This is my final edit of the best films of 2011, as well as the most significant and/or the ones certainly worth seeing and perhaps more so, minus all the empty comic-book CG crap that will do little or nothing but bring spiritual poison and/or foolish repetition and distraction to the world. Okay, I’ve listed two cheap-ass CG entries — Paul and Cowboys & Aliens — but that’s all. I’ve got three groupings here, alphabetical listings within each. This is the final post before putting up the new 2011 Oscar Balloon sometime Monday or Tuesday:
Major League (15):
1. The Descendants (d: Alexander Payne), cast: George Clooney, Judy Greer, Beau Bridges, Matthew Lillard, Shailene Woodley, Robert Forster, Michael Ontkean;
2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (d: Stephen Daldry, screenwriter: Eric Roth), cast: Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn;
3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (d: David Fincher), cast: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson, Steven Berkoff;
4. God of Carnage (d: Roman Polanski ), cast: Jodie Foster, John C. Reilly, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz ;
5. The Ides of March (d: George Clooney), cast: Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Max Minghella, Jeffrey Wright;
6. The Impossible (d: Juan Antonio Bayona), cast: Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Gitte Julsrud, Marta Etura, Tom Holland;
7. The Iron Lady (d: Phyllida Lloyd), cast: Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman;
8. J. Edgar (d: Clint Eastwood), cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Charlize Theron, Judi Dench, Damon Herriman;
9. Larry Crowne (d: Tom Hanks), cast: Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Bryan Cranston, Nia Vardalos, Pam Grier;
10. Moneyball (d: Bennett Miller), cast: Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Pratt, Tammy Blanchard;
11. Shame (d: Steve McQueen), cast: Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, James Badge Dale;
12. The Tree of Life (d: Terrence Malick). Cast: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Joanna Going, Fiona Shaw;
13. The War Horse (d: Steven Spielberg), cast: Jeremy Irvine, Tom Hiddleston, David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan;
14. We Bought A Zoo (d: Cameron Crowe, w: Crowe, Aline Brosh Mckenna), cast: Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson, Elle Fanning, Patrick Fugit, Thomas Haden Church, Angus Macfadyen;
15. Young Adult (d: Jason Reitman, w: Diablo Cody). Cast: Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Collette Wolfe, Patton Oswalt.
High Expectations, Wait & See (20):
1. Contagion (d: Steven Soderbergh). Cast: Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, Jennifer Ehle, John Hawkes;
2. A Dangerous Method (d: David Cronenberg) , cast: Viggo Mortensen, Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley, Vincent Cassel;
3. Drive (d: Nicolas Winding Refn), cast: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks;
4. Haywire (d: Steven Soderbergh, w: Lem Dobbs), cast: Gina Carano, Channing Tatum, Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Bill Paxton, Mathieu Kassovitz;
5. Hanna (d: Joe Wright), cast: Saoirse Ronan, Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, Olivia Williams, Tom Hollander;
6. Hugo Cabret (d: Martin Scorsese), cast: Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz, Jude Law, Richard Griffiths, Emily Mortimer, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christopher Lee, Ray Winstone, Michael Stuhlbarg;
7. Jane Eyre (d: Cary Fukunaga), cast: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Jamie Bell, Judi Dench, Sally Hawkins;
8. Live With It a.k.a. formerly I’m With Cancer (d: Jonathan Levine), cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Bryce Dallas Howard, Anjelica Huston;
9. Melancholia (d: Lars Von Trier), cast: Kirsten Dunst , Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Alexander Skarsgard, Stellan Skarsgard;
10. Mildred Pierce (d: Todd Haynes), cast: Kate Winslet, Evan Rachel Wood, Guy Pearce, Melissa Leo, Victor Slezak, Daniel London, Mare Winningham.
11. Nanjing Heroes (d: Zhang Yimou). Cast: Christian Bale;
12. On The Road (d: Walter Salles), cast: Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley, Amy Adams, Steve Buscemi, Kirsten Dunst, Viggo Mortensen, Terrence Howard, Alice Braga;
13. One Day (d: Lone Scherfig). cast: Anne Hathaway, Jim Sturgess, Patricia Clarkson, Jodie Whittaker, Georgia King;
14. Rampart (d: Oren Moverman). cast: Steve Buscemi, Robin Wright, Sigourney Weaver, Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Brie Larson;
15. The Skin That I Inhabit (d: Pedro Almodovar), cast: Antonio Banderas, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes;
16. Straw Dogs (d: Rod Lurie), cast: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth, Alexander Skarsgaard, James Woods, Dominic Purcell, Willa Holland;
17. This Must Be The Place (d: Paolo Sorrentino), cast: Sean Penn, Frances McDormand, Harry Dean Stanton, Shea Whigham, Judd Hirsch, Kerry Condon;
18. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (d: Thomas Alfredson), cast: Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Colin Firth, Mark Strong, Stephen Graham, Benedict Cumberbatch, Ciaran Hinds, Christian McKay;
19. The Whistleblower (d: Larysa Kondracki), cast: Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, Benedict Cumberbatch, Vanessa Redgrave, David Strathairn;
20. Wuthering Heights (d: Andrea Arnold). Cast: James Howson, Kaya Scodelario, Nichola Burley, Oliver Milburn, Steve Evets, Amy Wren.
Potential Quality and/or Elite Popcorn (25):
1. Albert Nobbs (d: Rodrigo Garcia), cast: Glenn Close, Aaron Johnson, Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, Brenda Fricker, Janet McTeer;
2. At-Swim-Two-Birds (d: Brendan Gleeson), cast: Cillian Murphy, Michael Fassbender, Colin Farrell , Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, Gabriel Byrne;
3. The Beaver (d: Jodie Foster), cast: Mel Gibson, Foster, Jennifer Lawrence, Anton Yelchin;
4. Blackthorne (d: Mateo Gil), cast: Sam Shepard, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Stephen Rea;
5. Butter (d: Jim Field Smith), cast: Olivia Wildem, Ashley Greene, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Garner, Alicia Silverstone;
6. Cowboys & Aliens (d: Jon Favreau). cast: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Olivia Wilde, Olivia Wilde, Sam Rockwell, Noah Ringer, Paul Dano;
7. Damsels in Distress (d: Whit Stillman), cast: Adam Brody, Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton, Megalyn Echikunwoke, Billy Magnussen, Caitlin Fitzgerald.
8. Crazy, Stupid, Love (d: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa), cast: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Marisa Tomei, Julianne Moore, Kevin Bacon;
9. Dream House (d: Jim Sheridan), cast: Daniel Craig;
10. Extraterrestre (d: Nacho Vigalondo), d: Michelle Jenner, Carlos Areces, Raul Cimas;
11. The Help (d: Tate Taylor), cast: Emma Stone, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mike Vogel, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Viola Davis;
12. Hobo With A Shotgun (d: Jason Eisener), cast: Rutger Hauer:
13. Midnight in Paris (d: Woody Allen), cast: Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Marion Cotillard, Owen Wilson, Alison Pill, Adrien Brody, Kathy Bates;
14. The Monk (d: Dominic Moll), cast: Vincent Cassel, Geraldine Chaplin, Sergi Lopez, Deborah Francois, Roxane Duran;
15. My Week With Marilyn (d: Simon Curtis), cast: Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Emma Watson, Judi Dench, Dougray Scott, Julia Ormond, Dominic Cooper, Derek Jacobi;
16. Now (d: Andrew Niccol), cast: Olivia Wilde, Cillian Murphy, Raymond Leon, Amanda Seyfried;
17. The Oranges (d: Julian Farino), cast: Leighton Meester, Alia Shawkat, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Adam Brody;
18. Paul (d: Gregory Mottola), cast: Simon Pegg, Jane Lynch, voice of Seth Rogen, Kristen Wiig, Sigourney Weaver. Jason Bateman, Blythe Danner, Bill Hader;
19. Red Riding Hood (d: Catherine Hardwicke), cast: Amanda Seyfried, Lukas Haas, Gary Oldman, Virginia Madsen, Michael Shanks, Julie Christie;
20. Source Code (d: Duncan Jones), cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright;
21. Super (d: James Gunn), cast: Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, Kevin Bacon, Gregg Henry;
22. Super 8 (d: J.J. Abrams), cast: Elle Fanning, Noah Emmerich, Amanda Michalka, Kyle Chandler, Ron Eldard, Zach Mill;
23. Take This Waltz (d: Sarah Polley), cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman;
24. Water for Elephants (d: Francis Lawrence), cast: Robert Pattinson, Reese Witherspoon, Christoph Waltz, Hal Holbrook;
25. We Need To Talk About Kevin (d: Lynne Ramsay), cast: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller, Siobhan Fallon.
The Australian‘s Michael Bodey reports that while Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky was thinking about the ballet world, he caught a production of Swan Lake and, of course, realized one performer danced both the black and white swans. ‘When I started to explore it, the ballet world actually does have a lot of gothic and horror elements, not just the world but the ballets themselves,’ Aronofsky says. ‘Look at all the great ballets, from Romeo and Juliet to Sleeping Beauty to Swan Lake. They’re [all] these big kind of tragic stories.”
)l. to r.) Black Swan costars Vincent Cassel, Natalie Portman, director Darren Aronofsky.
“The reality is that there is no ‘Oscar-type’ movie anymore. It is no longer good enough to make a movie that simply checks off the boxes of things that pull at the heartstrings of voters — period pieces, costume dramas, Holocaust movies, etc. The Academy has never been younger, hipper or more in-tune with critics than they have been over the past decade.
“Sure, some members are still living in the past and susceptible to pure and simple emotional manipulation — they’re the ones responsible for nominating something like The Blind Side (2009) every once in a blue moon — but, at the end of the day, today’s members respond to quality, above all else, no matter what packaging it comes in.” — Scott Feinberg in a 12.9 post titled “The World Has Moved On — Catch Up!” (Or as Uma Thurman‘s Pulp Fiction character would say, “Ketchup!”)
Michael Moore‘s last tweet (posted about an hour ago) addresses standard American gun-loving myopia — fine. But last night’s comment was the real drillbit. FBI guys and SWAT teams would be all over that Detroit Muslim’s home right now. Hell, yesterday afternoon.
For what it’s worth, I feel that Hallie Berry did a fairly good…okay, a very good job of portraying a woman with multiple personalities in Frankie and Alice, which I saw in late December. But the film doesn’t feel vital or urgent. It seems to have been made because Berry wanted to do it, and because they found the money. Decently directed by Geoffrey Sax, good enough as far as it goes, but a bit of a shrug.
Recently TheWrap‘s Oscar columnist Steve Pond wrote that he was very close to switching his Gurus of Gold Best Picture prediction in favor of The Social Network. The latest Gurus of Gold chart shows that Pond has switched to TSN. And it struck me that the recent turnarounds by Pond and Deadline‘s Pete Hammond were coming in like the juror turnarounds in Sidney Lumet‘s 12 Angry Men.
So this morning I wrote certain Gurus and Oscar pundits about this analogy, stating that
“we’re all characters in an Oscar pundit version of 12 Angry Men. The jury votes favoring the Latino kid who may have stabbed his father — an initially guilty-seeming figure — gradually tipped in his favor in the same way that votes for The Social Network, which didn’t seem like a very likely Oscar winner because of the lack of empathy and heart and all that, is gradually winning over initial disbelievers.”
Question is, who’s Henry Fonda, who’s Lee J. Cobb, who’s the Old Man, who’s Martin Balsam, who’s Ed Begley, who’s E.G. Marshall and so on? I’m not saying that an Oscar pundit fits each and every character, but let’s kick it around and see what works. (Those who don’t know the film all that well should consult the Wiki page, which breaks down all the characters and their traits and various portrayers.)
It seems fair to describe Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone and myself and Scott Feinberg as a kind of communalized, six-legged Henry Fonda figure. But I don’t want to exclude so how many Fondas do we have here? To qualify you had to be a hardcore Social Network advocate from the get-go — no ifs, ands or buts.
David Poland is Lee J. Cobb or Ed Begley — I haven’t decided which yet. He’s clearly the big mouth who’s convinced the kid is guilty and won’t budge.
Wasn’t Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil a King’s Speech guy in the early rounds? He’s a man of character and guts and insight, so without any allusions to being older or younger let’s make him the Old Man, a tough bird who sides with Fonda early on.
If you know 12 Angry Men, you know that E.G. Marshall is the second-to-last guy to vote not guilty so Pond doesn’t fill those shoes. But who is he? Pond was initially against TSN but has shown himself to be reasonable and open. How about if we make him Edward Binns? Or the Latino guy with the moustache?
I’ve got it worked out that Pete Hammond is Jack Klugman — “Mr. Foreman? I’m changing my vote.”
Who’s the wishy-washy ad exec who veers from guilty to not guilty and back again, played by Robert Webber?
Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson is very logical and exacting and purely evidence-minded in her thinking — I think she’s E.G. Marshall.
Which 12 Angry Men character fits Dave Karger? Who can Anthony Breznican be?
Who’s Jack Warden? The guilty-voting Warden is obsessed with going to a baseball game and In Contention‘s Kris Tapley is always talking about football on Twitter so does he fit? No, he doesn’t. Warden’s character isn’t very thoughtful about guilt or innocence and Tapley is obviously the opposite so who is he? Martin Balsam? The little wimpy guy with the high voice?
Update: E.G. Marshall…sorry, Anne Thompson is calling the 12 Angry Men analogy “patently absurd. We’re a bunch of Oscar pundits reading the signs of how 5000 Academy members are going to vote. Predicting the Oscar win at this stage is also ridiculous, as is seeing critics, or worse, Golden Globe votes, as presaging the Oscar win. We don’t even know the nominations yet, which will tell us a great deal!
“The critics’ votes create momentum, make a movie a must-see, create perceived ‘winners. I have never said that The Social Network can’t win. I see a horse race with The King’s Speech in the lead because talking to Academy voters on the ground, viewing them in action, I see many folks who love The King’s Speech, which is the perfect actor-friendly, well-mounted period academy movie. Is it possible that voters will anoint Colin Firth the big win for that film? Yes.
“We also don’t yet know the DGA. The Guilds are far more predictive and overlapping with the Academy. Critics weren’t behind nominations for Crash, Chocolat, The Green Mile and Ciderhouse Rules, or the wins for Crash, Braveheart, Dances with Wolves, Patton and Gladiator. Critics are content-driven [and] are not as visually sophisticated as the academy. They are writers. Has there ever been a more writer-friendly movie than The Social Network? It’s safe to say that Aaron Sorkin will win best adapted screenplay and David Fincher will win best director.
“But best picture is another matter.”
Wells to Thompson: “Always with a little humor, Anne. Nothing like a nice laugh to lighten the burdens of our day. You have to admit that Oscar handicapping isn’t all about ‘evidence’ — it’s also about gut allegiance, instinct, intuition. Just like the jury in 12 Angry Men being swayed in this and that way, and not entirely by pure logic. Fonda himself votes not guilty at first out of pure liberal empathy, for example. Oscar predicting, I submit, is a much more personal process than some of us would like to admit. That’s all I’m saying. That and the changing of votes — one, and then another, and then another — as we get closer and closer to the climax. And you have to admit that it’s flattering to be called the E.G. Marshall of Oscar pundits.”
Update: “On my way back from Palm Springs Film Festival,” says Hammond, “but I am fine with being Jack Klugman..although I think I am closer to his Odd Couple character than 12 Angry Men. Does that film have someone who just keeps going back and forth based on whims?? That would be me.” In other words, Hammond identifies with Robert Webber’s ad guy.
In the wake of yesterday’s Arizona tragedy and the talk about Sarah Palin‘s hastily-scrubbed Take Back The 20 website having inflamed the nut fringe, HE reader “le corbeau” made a fair point in linking to this 12.13.04 Democratic Leadership Council page with a map targeting red states that were deemed possibly winnable by Democratic candidates in future elections. Each state is marked with a target icon similar to the imagery on Palin’s map.
So yes, it’s the same idea but — key distinction! — the Democrats used archery target icons while Palin used rifle-sight icons. Bows and arrows are inherently less lethal and obviously an anachronistic alliteration. If and when an assassin tries to kill a politician with a bow and arrow, let me know and we’ll talk.
Jane Fonda tweeted yesterday about the shooting of Rep. Giffords. This led me to her site and this 32 year-old photo of herself and Harvey Milk, another elected official shot by a right-leaning delusional, but who sadly wasn’t as lucky as Giffords, who will most likely survive according to reports. And that whole episode just flooded back in. A Criterion Bluray/DVD of Rob Epstein‘s The Times of Harvey Milk, easily the saddest, most emotionally moving doc I’ve ever seen, is out on 3.22.