Hollywood Reporter get-around guy Scott Feinberg polled a fair number of Academy members about Joker, and got a fair number of mixed responses.
HE favorite: “I don’t know if it should be banned or it should be given every award.”
HE 2nd favorite (male member of the producer’s branch): “I saw this one at the Academy. I probably wouldn’t have seen it at a public theater. But wow, what a movie, huh? It’s hard to know where to start. Joaquin deserves an Oscar nomination — he blows the doors off the fucking place — and the cinematography was fantastic. Even so, I sure don’t want to see it again. I’m not an expert on mental health, but I’m sure there are a lot of people who will see the insane dancing after the killing as a sexy thing to do, and the worshipping of him at the end could also seem pretty cool to an insane person. As someone who was once held at gunpoint, I can’t get some of the images of gun violence out of my head. I’m very torn on this movie, but I’m glad I saw it.”
Variety‘s Jenelle Riley has reported that A24 will push Lighthouse lead Robert Pattinson for Best Actor and Willem Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor. Which strikes me as a slight “what?”
The size of their parts is fairly equal in terms of screen time and intensity, but if you ask me Dafoe’s performance is far more assertive and jabbing. He’s the feisty provocateur while Pattinson is mostly doing the simmering slow-boil thing with the death-ray glare. In short it’s mostly Dafoe’s show — between them he’s the one with the real shot. Plus he’s been nominated so often in this category without a win.
But A24 didn’t want to under-celebrate Pattinson’s work as so he’s up for a Best Actor nomination. Face it — “Rbatz” is looking at an uphill situation in the competitive company of Joker‘s Joaquin Phoenix, Marriage Story‘s Adam Driver, The Irishman‘s Robert De Niro, Pain and Glory‘s Antonio Banderas, Uncut Gems‘ Adam Sandler and The Two Popes‘ Jonathan Pryce.
I’ve been meaning to praise one of the strongest and most affecting aspects of Joker, which is Hildur Guonadóttir‘s musical score. It taps right into the primal, painful realm of Arthur Fleck, and never stops conveying that bad stuff is happening right now and that worse is on the way. A lot of bass, viola and cello. Guonadóttir says he wrote “much” of the score without having seen Todd Phillips‘ film. She also composed the excellent score for Stefano Sollima‘s Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
USC student wokesters want John Wayne cancelled in absentia, or at least as far as a USC School of Cinematic Arts Wayne exhibit is concerned.
Mainly, I gather, because eight months ago the long-dead Wayne was targeted by progressives — not incorrectly — as a sexist, hawkish rightwing racist. Wayne’s objectionable views were part of a 1971 Playboy interview that resurfaced last February. Why this is blowing up now instead of last winter is anyone’s guess.
Eric Plant, Reanna Cruz and their anti-John Wayne protest banner. (Photo snapped by Leanna Albanese.)
USC Annenberg Media correspondent Leanna Albanese reported the protest on 9.27. “When you have an exhibit up that celebrates the idea and the legacy of someone that is blatantly racist, a white supremacist and directly says that he is a white supremacist…it seems as though SCA does not care about [its] students,” Plant told her.
“[The exhibit] being in SCA just makes me feel uncomfortable as someone who is Native American,” Plant explained. “Take down the whole exhibit. There’s no other way that this can be remedied. This is something that I’m going to fight for the entire time that I’m here.”
Three days after the Albanese story (or on 9.30) USC’s Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Evan Hughes announced that the Wayne complaint would be discussed at a meeting on 10.2, or eight days ago. I wrote Hughes a couple of hours to ask if any course of action had been decided — crickets.
I didn’t get into Martin Scorsese‘s recent assessment of the superhero (mostly Marvel) genre because he was only saying what any semi-intelligent film lover thinks, aside from the fact that certain Marvel films are, by the standards of the genre, seriously impressive (the first Iron Man and Ant Man, the first two Captain America films, Avengers: Endgame, etc.). My reaction was, “Okay, yeah…and?”
Scorsese: “I don’t see [superhero films]. I tried, you know? But that’s not cinema. Honestly, the closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks. It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
Two days ago Samuel L. Jackson had this response: “That’s kind of like saying Bugs Bunny ain’t funny. Films are films. You know, everybody doesn’t like his stuff either. I mean, we happen to, but everybody doesn’t. There are a lot of Italian-Americans that don’t think he should be making films about them like that. Everybody’s got an opinion, so it’s okay. It’s not going to stop anyone from making movies.”
HE to Jackson: People like what they like and are obviously entitled to their opinions…of course. And I don’t “like” each and every Scorsese film, by the way. I’ve never been a fan of Kundun, and The Age of Innocence and Bringing Out The Dead never quite rang my bell. But any friend, associate or acquaintance of Jackson’s who says he/she doesn’t “like” Scorsese’s films in general is an idiot, no offense.
And that alleged Italian-American complaint…seriously? The American Italian Anti-Defamation League thing is a half-century old, and there’s hartdly an Italian-American living in the northeast corridor who hasn’t accepted the mob association aspect as part of the price of doing business. Vito Corleone‘s photo is hanging on the wall of God knows how many Italian restaurants, Nino Rota‘s Godfather theme is often heard on the sound system, and everyone loves Joe Pesci‘s “what, I’m a clown, I amuse you?” riff from Goodfellas.