I’ve had Pawel Pawlikowski‘s Cold War on my best-of-2018 list since catching it in Cannes four months ago. But I don’t have it on my Gold Derby list of likely Best Picture contenders because it’s a foreign-language feature.
Producer friend: “You’ve suddenly taken Cold War off your best pics list?”
HE: “It’s foreign language.”
Producer: “Isn’t Roma in Spanish?”
HE: “It’s different with Roma. Alfonso Cuaron is in with the cops, as Frank Sinatra would say…he’s family, community, one of the Three Amigos…he made a ground-breaking arthouse political action thriller, arguably the best Harry Potter movie ever and a super-successful, Oscar-nominated Sandra Bullock space movie….he’s X-factor, one of us, a man for all seasons.
“Pawel Pawlikowski is an Art God and easily in the same artistic league as Cuaron, but he isn’t ‘family’ — he’s a Olympian, world-class Polish filmmaker who hasn’t made bales and bales of money for the U.S. film industry, and hasn’t made a super-successful, FX-laden space flick that won him a Best Director Oscar. Cold War deserves to win the Best Foreign Language Oscar next February, no question, but Alfonso is another deal.”
Producer: “Pawel is, first of all, a British citizen. He has chosen to work in Polish as an artist, as Cuaron has chosen to work again in Spanish for authenticity. Pawel has already won one Oscar and been nominated for another. He is also a member of the Academy. He has not, however, spent as much time in Los Angeles as Cuaron schmoozing the press. What defines ‘family’“ here? Money? Box office? Sandra Bullock? Being charming at a party?”
HE: “I don’t want to argue but including Cold War on my Gold Derby Best Picture list would just muddy the waters and open up a Pandora’s Box. Pawlikowski is a hugely respected Europe-based filmmaker, an artist par excellence. Cuaron is another case altogether. He’s paid his U.S. film industry dues and then some, and Roma is his magnum opus.”