In a Piers Morgan interview airing tonight, Morgan Freeman flat-out declares that the Tea Party’s anti-Obama fervor is driven by racism. “Their stated policy, publicly stated, is to do whatever it takes to see to it that Obama only serves one term,” Freeman says. “What’s…what does that, what underlines that? ‘Screw the country. We’re going to whatever we do to get this black man, we can, we’re going to do whatever we can to get this black man outta here.'”
The Best Picture preferences of the Gold Derby team (to which I belong) have been posted, and boy, are some these predictions weird! The percentages were tabulated by including predictions of various “experts” (i.e., columnists like myself) along with editor odds and preferences. Don’t ask me to explain the calculus but at least there are some rankings to start with.
The leading default choice for Best Picture is Steven Spielberg‘s War Horse because of (a) the kneejerk Spielberg kowtow factor (i..e, obeisance before power), and (b) because journalists believe that the film will make people cry. George Clooney‘s The Ides of March is second-ranked, and that’s not going to happen — it’s a very solid adult-angle political drama but it’s not Best Picture material. Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants is third, and that will definitely happen, for sure. Then comes Stephen Daldry‘s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close…maybe. And then Michel Hazanavicius‘ The Artist…probably.
Clint Eastwood‘s J. Edgar is ranked sixth based on…what? Because no one seems to think that the trailer offers a lot of encouragement. JJ Abrams‘ Super 8 is next…really? It’s a summer genre film with good performances. David Fincher‘s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is ranked eighth, and then Bennett Miller‘s Moneyball is ninth with The Help coming in tenth.
My personal predictions (in this order): Moneyball, The Descendants, War Horse (who knows?), The Help, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (ditto), Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (ditto) and possibly Midnight in Paris.
Here’s the mp3 of my 9.21 Sony headquarters chat with Moneyball director Bennett Miller. It’s odd but as we were speaking a voice was telling me that Bennett was going too slow and taking too long to articulate this or that response, but listening to it today he sounds fine. He explains it all quite clearly.
Bennett Miller at Sony headquarters at 550 Madison — Wednesday, 9.21, 4:40 pm.
It starts out a little raggedy (audio of my taking his picture, etc.) but I like it that way.
Excerpt #1: “Nobody wants to see a baseball movie, I thought to myself. Outside of this country [the genre is] challenging and even inside….historically they don’t [perform] as well as people might imagine. So I didn’t want to do ‘a baseball movie’, but baseball is an interesting medium by which to tell another story. It’s about Billy [Beane] coming to believe that there was a life that he was supposed to be living, that he wasn’t living. So like a Wizard of Oz or King Arthur story…it’s about somebody who’s displaced or dislocated with the life they have, and they’re a little bit lost, and they’re presented with some kind of impossible challenge, [the deal being] that if you do this thing, be it getting the witch’s broomstick or capturing the Holy Grail, your life will be restored.”
Excerpt #2: “I got a phone call from my agent, Bryan Lourd. I hadn’t really been a baseball fan since I was a kid, not that much, yes and no. And Bryan said, you wanna take a look at this thing? ‘Cause if you’re interested Brad would like to talk to you. So I read everything…the scripts, the book, thought about it…came up with an approach that I thought would be worth the labor of a few years. This is how I see it, I said to Brad. How do you see it?> And we were really compatible. I asked him questions. Why do you want to play this thing? I see it in such a way. If you don’t feel the seme way, no harm, no foul. If we’re all making the same movie, that’s fantastic. But if we’re not, no one’s going to be happy, ever.”
Excerpt #3: “I urge you…I urge you to speak to Mychael Danna, the composer. I think this was the hardest job of his life…one of the most difficult things to get right. He’s very proud of it and I’m in love with it…but it was hard to get to. It’s not literal. It’s not representative in the way that ‘cue’ music often is. The score attempts to conjure a kind of concsiousnes that allow us to observe the story instead of our telling it. The style of this movie is observaitonal. To conjure up a kind of conscousness…movies in which you feel you;re right inside the brain of the filmmaker. There are no fingerprints, but you feel as if you;ve got someone else’s brain in your head. It’s meant to release your own chemicals.”
Apart from being in league with Nazis in Brazil and scheming with his mother to poison Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains‘ Alexander Sebastian — the elegant villain in Alfred Hitchcock‘s Notorious — is a fragile, sympathetic figure. He’s a compulsive romantic who falls head over heels in love with Bergman, and then becomes intensely jealous and possessive. Love runs him and gives him grief.
Rains loves with all his heart and soul and is betrayed for it, having been played as a sucker. Hard-ass CIA agent Cary Grant is in love with Bergman also, but he never expresses any caring or tenderness for her during the whole film…until the final scene. Rains is far more emotional and open. Not as tall or good-looking as Grant, but probably a better lover. Or at least a more expressive one.
What movie villain in recent decades has been as short as Rains, or was so refined and well behaved, or begged the hero for his life (“please…please!) at the finale and was turned down?
“One of my favorite movies would clearly be Notorious,” Sigourney Weaver recently told a Movieline reporter. “[Particularly] the scene where Cary Grant visits Ingrid Bergman. Just seeing how ill she is. To me that was such a hard picture. Such a steely picture. And then there’s this amazing soft center in the picture which is that she’s almost dead and he clasps her in his arms and talks to her. It’s like the whole movie turns into a different organism.”
Those Republican debate audience members who last night booed Stephen Hill, the gay soldier in Iraq who asked a question of contender Rick Santorum, are bigoted scum. Santorum said “sexual activity has absolutely no place in the military.” Except Hill, who asked Santorum if he would “circumvent the progress that been made for gay and lesbian soldiers,” wasn’t talking about sex. He was talking about due respect and recognition for military members on his side of the fence.
The Frank PR team hosted a press luncheon at Tao yesterday to promote the Hamptons Film Festival (10.13 to 10.17). My visit last year was bountiful and blissful. I was treated like royalty. And there were a lot of good films, a lot of talent. And I was busted for driving without my tail lights and held at the police station until 3:30 am.
Hamptons Film Festival chairman Stuart Suna, senior programmer Holly Herrick, exec director Karen Arikian, programming director David Nugent during yesterday’s luncheon at Tao.
The films this year will include Michel Hazanavicius‘ The Artist, which will probably end up as a Best Picture nominee, and Drake Doremus‘s Like Crazy. I’m trying to figure out a way to attend as I have a return flight to LA on 10.8. If I return I’ll need to stay clear of the fuzz — that’s for sure.
The big Buddha statue inside Tao is a good 20 or 25 feet tall. I’d really like to take a date to this restaurant some day, but lunch without drinks will set me back $150 plus tip.
Hamptons Film Festival exec director Karen Arikian.
- All Hail Tom White, Taciturn Hero of “Killers of the Flower Moon”
Roughly two months ago a very early draft of Eric Roth‘s screenplay for Killers of the Flower Moon (dated 2.20.17,...More »