A respectful anti-Spotlight narrative is already beginning to take hold among older, conservative-minded Academy members. It’s a very good film, they say, but not really the Academy’s cup of tea. A very traditional movie in a building-blocks sense — it’s certainly not audaciously designed, they say — and therefore more of a B-plus than an A. Just because journalists flipped for it in Telluride and Toronto doesn’t mean it’s one of “our” favorites so don’t try and push us around. We like what we like.
And you know what they do like? The Martian, of course (there’s no stopping that one), and Bridge of Spies, believe it or not.
When an Academy friend told me last night that Bridge has played very well with Academy types, I went “ohhh, God!” He said, “Will you calm down, please? You have your opinion but other people are entitled to theirs, and I’m telling you that it’s a very well-liked film and if I had to predict I’d say it’s going to become a Best Picture nominee.” It’s an okay film, I said — not bad, acceptable, reasonably well done. But a Best Picture nominee? What, are they looking to kiss Spielberg’s ass for the 37th or 38th time because he’s worth over $3 billion? Obeisance before power.
Here’s what I said about Bridge of Spies on 10.4: “Steven Spielberg‘s Bridge Of Spies (Dreamworks, 10.16) is a sombre, dialogue-driven, fact-based spy tale. Half of it is actually pretty good and the other half is…well, in and out but basically tolerable. It’s not a ‘great’ film but a smart and mostly satisfying one, especially if you’re getting older and fatter and have a few faded memories of the days when Russian commmies were the big baddies. It’s aimed at the over-40 crowd as younger auds will most likely steer clear.
“The only obvious stand-out, Oscar-worthy attribute is Mark Rylance‘s droll supporting performance as real-life Russian spy Rudolf Abel, but it’s a keeper. Rylance owns this movie the way Jane Fonda owns Youth; he may very well snag a BSA nomination.”