In an 8.6 discussion with Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn, Edward Norton has two significant things to say about the New York/Hollywood award season, which will run this year from Telluride (9.4 to 9.7) until Oscar night on 2.28.16. The first thing I responded to sympathetically. The second thing I regarded as excessively austere and bizarre, to be polite about it.
The first thing Norton says is that it’s a huge drag to have to jaw with journalists and Academy members about your award-worthy film and/or performance for six months straight. This I understand and sympathize with, but on the other hand if it wasn’t for award season Hollywood wouldn’t have a financial incentive to make complex, adult-angled quality films at all. For all the hassle, award season is the only thing saving movie lovers from a nonstop barrage of superhero flicks, YA adaptations, dumb-ass hormone comedies and the usual half-intriging, half-oddball shit from the indie community. When Norton is on his deathbed one of the things he’ll look back upon with fondness is his performance in Birdman. Presumably he understands that without an award season nobody would have financed Birdman in the first place.
The second thing Norton says is that the ordeal of having your mind and soul picked to death by award-season crows can be solved by totally eliminating the season and turning it into something like the Nobel prize process — no campaigning, no ads, no guilds, one ceremony, one speech, over and out. In short, Norton wants to kill Hollywood Elsewhere’s award-season revenue stream. He wants Sasha Stone to become a masseuse or a novelist or a dog walker. He wants Pete Hammond to become a corporate real-estate agent or enroll in plumbing school. He wants David Poland to start a cab company or become a waiter. He wants Kris Tapley to become a chef. He wants Scott Feinberg to go back to Connecticut and start over. He wants Tom O’Neil to drive up to Yosemite and climb to the top of a cliff and jump off.