I saw relatively few of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival award winners announced thus far: I missed Fruitvale (Grand Jury + Audience Award for Best Dramatic feature), saw Inequality For All (winner of Special Jury Prize, U.S. Documentary) and totally missed the following: Blood Brother (US Doc Audience Award), Metro Manila (Audience Award for Best World Narrative), The Square (World Doc Audience Award), This is Martin Bonner (Best of Next), A River Changes Course (World Doc Grand Jury Prize), Pussy Riot: A Pink Prayer (World Cinema, Special Jury Prize, Documentary)…to hell with this. I saw everything I thought I should have seen, and I missed out on a few and that’s that.
No way I’m not watching House of Cards, the David Fincher-produced, Kevin Spacey-starring Netflix series that begins on Friday, February 1st. Particularly the first two episodes, which Fincher directed. An initial run of 13 episodes followed by a second run…when? Cards is the first project made specifically for Netflix. $100 million smackers for 26 episodes. Here’s the original British series, which I watched so long ago I barely remember the particulars.
I announced this morning that I’ll jump off the Santa Barbara pier if Steven Spielberg‘s Lincoln wins the Daryl F. Zanuck award at the conclusion of tonight’s Producers Guild Awards. (The announcement should come around 10 pm Pacific, give or take.) A little while ago I was going to walk down to the end of the pier to see how much of a jump it is and whether the water is deep enough as I don’t make idle threats. But I’m not getting wet tonight. You know it, I know it.
I’ve just spoken to Deadline‘s Pete Hammond, who’s on his way down to the Beverly Hilton as we speak. None of the handlers are certain what’s going to happen or not happen, he says, but Lincoln is probably not going to take it because “it doesn’t have the passion vote.” I’ve been saying that all along. It’s hard to vote for a combination civics lesson, grandfather clock and sleeping pill.
Either Ben Affleck‘s Argo or David O. Russell‘s Silver Linings Playbook will take the prize….but probably Argo, which “puts producers in a good light,” remarks Hammond. “That’s as good a reason as any other” to predict an Argo win.
I personally believe that Bill Clinton‘s Lincoln plug at the Golden Globes was the thing that cooked Lincoln‘s goose as it made Spielberg, who asked Clinton to show up, look too desperate, too hungry.
I’m betting on Silver Linings Playbook winning the SAG ensemble award tomorrow night. The 19th Screen Actors Guild Awards will air on TBS and TNT at 5 p.m. Pacific.
SAG ensemble could go to Silver Linings or Les Miz…they could well get the ensemble thing…..
“As commentary on the social ideals of Disney World,” Randy Moore‘s Escape From Tomorrow “seems to clearly fall within a well-recognized category of fair use, and therefore probably will not be stopped by a court using copyright or trademark laws,” according to The New Yorker‘s Tim Wu.
“Escape from Tomorrow is, essentially, a commentary on a shared social phenomenon, namely the supposed bliss of an American family’s day at Disney World. In Moore’s version, the day is a frightening and surreal mess that destroys the family forever. The film isn’t so much a criticism of Disney World itself but of the unattainable family perfection promised by a day spent at the park.
“It’s important to understand that Disney does not have some kind of general intellectual-property right in Disney World itself. It is not a problem to film the Magic Saucer ride. The case would depend on the appearance of Disney’s trademarks or copyrighted works in the background of the film, like when Goofy wanders by or when we see the waving robots in ‘It’s a Small World.’ Filming these works without justification would be an infringement of the copyright law.
“The question is whether they are ‘fair use’ — or in other words, whether technical infringements are negated because they are justified by public policy. If there were a fire in Times Square, TV-news teams would be free to film there despite all of the copyrighted billboards in the background, given the public’s interest in the reporting and the First Amendment’s protection of the press.
“Under copyright law, commentary and parody are well-established fair-use categories, and this is where the film likely falls.”
A possible wrinkle, says Wu, is that Moore “may have committed trespass when [he] broke Disney World’s rules” by violating the terms of entry on their tickets. It should be a fairly easy matter to read these terms of entry and determine if what Moore did is/was actionable.
I went back to the Holiday Inn Express a little after 1 pm to get a laptop charger, and made the mistake of lying down. I woke up around 2:55 pm, and in so doing missed the Santa Barbara Film Festival writer’s panel, which began at 2 pm. My apologies to moderator Anne Thompson, Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter-producer Mark Boal, Looper screenwriter (and HE’s own) Rian Johnson, The Perks of Being A Wallflower‘s Stephen Chbosky, Moonrise Kingdom co-writer Roman Coppola (an admitted wearer of gold-toe socks), Flight‘s John Gatins and Life of Pi‘s David Magee.
Coppola’s publicist got in touch and asked if I’d like to chat with him. I would have, naturally, if I’d been at the Lobero theatre. We could have just shot the shit, kicked it around. But in terms of a phoner I paused. “What would we talk about?,” I asked her. “Moonrise Kingdom is a fine film but what is there to say at this point? I still haven’t seen and in fact haven’t been invited to see Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside The Mind of Charles Swan III, which opens six days from now.
“Would Coppola consent to debate the aesthetic merits or demerits of gold-toe socks? He’s said he’s a devout wearer and I’m not. We could have a little debate.”
Coppola’s publicist ignored my question.
Coppola and Wes Anderson‘s screenplay for Moonrise Kingdom has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay along with Michael Haneke‘s script for Amour, Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained, John Gatin‘s Flight and Mark Boal‘s Zero Dark Thirty.
This morning I attended the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s directors panel. Moderated as usual by Variety‘s Peter Bart, the participants included Les Miserables helmer Tom Hooper, Silver Linings Playbook‘s David O. Russell, Wreck-It Ralph‘s Rich Moore, Beast of the Southern Wild‘s Behn Zeitlin, Searching for Sugar Man‘s Malik Bendjelloul and Brave‘s Mark Andrews. Here’s a clip of Russell responding to a slightly needling question from Bart about bipolar behavior.
Ben Affleck, the Oscar season’s comeback kid with Argo‘s Golden Globe and BFCA wins following his Best Director Oscar nomination snub, took the stage last night at the Santa Barbara Film Festival to receive the Modern Master Award. All bets are off if Argo fails to win Best Picture tonight at the Producers Guild Awards, but right now Affleck is The Guy With The Momentum…a smart, smooth pro who knows how to play the game and who knows everyone and knows what’s good and what isn’t, and is basically on the Shining Path.
Argo director Ben Affleck as he accepted the Santa Barbara Film Festival’s Modern Master Award — Friday, 1.25, 10:25 pm.
Taste is a result of a thousand distastes, and Affleck has learned the difference after going through the furnace in the early to mid aughts. He knows in his soul that he’ll never go back to the mute, flared-nostril horror of Pearl Harbor and Gigli and Bennifer. He’s learned, he’s grown, he knows what matters. And that’s what people will be voting for, I think, as well as the fact that they all really like Argo. Hell, I like Argo. I just don’t think it has enough subtext to be considered “great.” But it’s a very good film.
If Argo or Silver Linings Playbook don’t win the top prize at the Producers Guild Awards tonight, and more to the point if Lincoln wins, I’m going to jump off the Santa Barbara pier.
Bearded and affable and dressed in a dark, well-cut suit, Affleck submitted to a two-hour chat with Leonard Maltin, who never even mentioned the Best Director nomination snub or Affleck’s thoroughly honorable rep as “the new Sydney Pollack.” Not did Maltin ask about Affleck’s political passions or his recent encounter with Bill Clinton at the Golden Globe awards.
Their discussion was nonetheless pure pleasure. The 40 year-old hyphenate went into his usual appealing personality tapdance routine. Affleck is loose and likable and always with the clever, self-effacing quips, fast footwork and whipsmart assessments. He’s been professionally humping it since he was 14, or just over 25 years. Affleck knows everyone and has a ton of great stories to tell, and he’s a gifted raconteur.
Matt Damon, Affleck’s childhood pal, a fellow Bostonian and creative partner on Good Will Hunting, showed up and at the end and handed Affleck the festival’s Modern Master trophy.
I went over to the small after-party, and Affleck came in soon after and started talking with Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson and In Contention‘s Kris Tapley and…I wanted to say hi and offer good wishes (50% of me wants Argo to win Best Picture because it’ll be a good thing for Affleck, whom I personally like and admire, and 50% of me wants Argo to win because this would mean the stopping of Lincoln). But then the travelling fatigue wrapped around my soul like a banshee and took me down.
I slipped out and walked back to the Holiday Inn Express on Haley Street. Honestly? This is a cooler, spiffier place than the Hotel Santa Barbara, where the festival has been hosting me for the last four or five years. The hi-def flatscreens are much better (i.e., made within the last three or four years) than the semi-rickety ones at the Hotel SB.
Question for Hollywood Reporter columnist Scott Feinberg, who took this video last night from his orchestra seat inside Santa Barbara’s Arlington Theatre: what about your camera’s zoom function, ace? Who am I to talk, right? I was sitting just a few seats away with my Canon 300 Elph and was too lazy to shoot anything myself.
Everything took longer than expected yesterday. My SLC-to-LAX Southwest flight left a half-hour late, and then we ignored the usual eastern landing approach and flew out over the Pacific three or four miles before banking hard right and finally landing from the west. (This almost never happens.) And then 25 or 30 people were waiting for a cab. And traffic was snarly. And then I realized I had the wrong set of keys and couldn’t get into my pad. At least no one Road Warrior-ed me on my way up to Santa Barbara.