The St. Louis Film Critics have nominated HE’s own Tom Hardy for their Best Actor prize. They’re talking about his performance in Locke but they really mean Locke and The Drop. They also nominated Jessica Chastain‘s A Most Violent Year performance for Best Supporting Actress. The Academy has to ease up on the myopia and the knee-jerk kowtowing to awards campaigning and just give it up and do the right thing. They need to invite Hardy into the herd and respectfully eliminate the slowest-running wildebeest among the top Best Actor contenders — Foxcatcher‘s Steve Carell. There are lions running alongside looking to tackle as we speak.
According to some Topp-style trading cards provided to Entertainment Weekly by J.J. Abrams and Co., the Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens characters are as follows: Oscar Isaac as Poe Dameron, John Boyega as Finn (British black guy with an Irish name…cool), Adam Driver as Kylo Ren (the black-cloaked bad guy in the snow-covered forest with the light saber), Daisy Ridley as Rey, and the little bowling-ball droid is called BB8. Excluding Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo, of course, along with various other holdovers (Hamill, Fisher) and freshies.
Let’s imagine that all of the women who have publicly claimed they were drugged and violated by Bill Cosby (over 25 so far) were to sign a letter asking the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to remove Cosby’s Hollywood Walk of Fame star for obvious reasons. The normal bureaucratic response would be to say “no, that’s inappropriate.” But if you think about it for 10 or 12 seconds, on what basis could the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce possibly argue against this? “Yes, he might be a serial rapist but he was Dr. Cliff Huxtable all those years and the fans can’t let go of that so let’s just leave well enough alone”? Note: Beverly Johnson’s Vanity Fair confession makes her the 26th.
On 11.29 I mentioned an Anthony Lane riff in the New Yorker about the absence of an Alan Turing poison-apple suicide scene in The Imitation Game. Turing had a fascination with Walt Disney‘s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and particularly the poisoned apple given to Snow White by the wicked witch. He committed suicide on 6.7.54 by biting into an apple filled with cyanide. Lane asked “how could a movie director, of all people, not make something of that?” Well, Game screenwriter Graham Moore made something of it in a draft written in 2011. I was sent a copy yesterday. A scene which the police discover Turing’s body with a poisoned apple by his side appears on page 124 and 125. The producers have said the scene didn’t work but it seems fine on the page. Here it is:
Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal and producer Scott Rudin have apologized for having written “racially insensitive” cracks last year about President Obama in a now-public e-mail exchange, thanks to the Asian hackers. With Pascal about to attend a Jeffrey Katzenberg-hosted breakfast for the visiting President, she and Rudin bantered about what African-American movies Obama might have seen…ouch. An embarrassment, of course, but Pascal or Rudin are no more racist than you or me or Mike Binder or Glenn Kenny. I know Rudin slightly and have spoken once or twice to Pascal. They’re good Type-A people. Willful and tough but no fools, and careful as their positions require, which is to say “very.”
Here’s my theory about why they wrote what they wrote. On their own terms neither Pascal nor Rudin would come within 1000 feet of making a casually dismissive racist remark. But together and especially online they form a third “industry” personality — a combined persona that is more competitive, more cynical, a little less precise…more bluster and bravado than they would normally exude. While conversing the gentler angels of their nature take a backseat.
We’ve all experienced this syndrome socially. We say things in the company of friends and colleagues that we don’t really mean or believe, but we say them anyway because we want to banter and bond and keep the ball in the air, and sometimes we get sloppy and say something coarse, and for no reason that makes any real sense. We say something stupid or trite and then ask ourselves, “Did I just say that?”
A couple of weeks ago Al Pacino told me that Johnny Depp does the best Tony Montana he’s ever heard. Depp’s garden-variety Pacino isn’t bad either. Is he saying “a skeleton goes into a bar, orders a beer and a mop” or is he saying that “Skeletor” — Frank Langella‘s character in Masters of the Universe — does that? Depp heard the joke repeatedly and didn’t get it either.
With this morning’s Golden Globe nominations, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association seemed to acknowledge that Birdman is the landmark film I’ve been calling it all along, and that it might — I say “might” — take its seven GG nominations and four SAG noms and a similar tally of Oscar noms and do a King Shit quarterback run to a Best Picture win. Don’t kid yourself — the film with the most all-around nominations often wins. Famous last words, right?
All I know is that before this morning’s Golden Globe announcements, I was presuming that Birdman‘s critical esteem wouldn’t be quite enough. I thought it would gather more Oscar noms than Boyhood but that Boyhood would probably win the big prize because it (a) has more heart and (b) took 12 years to shoot. That might still happen, of course, but who knows? Right now Birdman feels like a comer.
Why am I banging out my Golden Globe nom reactions at 7:50 am instead of two hours earlier? Because I only do 5 am wake-ups for plane departures, earthquakes, the Oscar nominations and responsibility attacks. When I have a lot to get to and I know it’s super-important my body clock always wakes me before dawn. Today I slept. It’s only the Golden Globes.
Fox Searchlight’s Birdman, IFC Films’ Boyhood and the Weinstein Co.’s The Imitation Game are the GG hotties with seven, five and five nominations each.
A filmmaker friend said a couple of weeks ago that while Birdman‘s brilliance is undeniable, it doesn’t deliver the emotional thing that industry softies value above all. Yesterday he told me he’s sensing that The Imitation Game, which is softie-friendly, might be the one. (Are you listening, Steve Pond? The Imitation Game might be “the one.”) He’s never said anything about Boyhood, which may or may not be an indicator.