“Riddle me this,” David Poland wrote this morning. “Is a 20 minute clip, some free hors d’oeuvres, a handshake and a smile from a singing diva, and a Japanese trailer really enough to lock up the Oscar season for people now?” The implication seems to be that it’s too early to make a call about Flags of Our Fathers and Dreamgirls looking like the hottest Best Picture choices. That or he thinks I’m full of gas for joining Tom O’Neill in saying so. Or something like that. I’m not quite sure.
Let’s just repeat the Flags basics without comment: (a) I’ve read the script of Flags of my Fathers and have a pretty good idea of how it unfolds. (b) Plus the Japanese trailer — the desaturated color, the texture of it, the versimilitude, the moody whatever — drove it in deeper. I also said in yesterday’s piece that (c) Flags might not stand up on its own (one never knows anything, it hasn’t been seen) but it’s safe to say that this latest Eastwood/Haggis collaboration will most likely have some measure of poetic refinement…a certain spareness and sureness of touch, etc.
And then you need to add three things to this: (d) the personal-anguish-of- soldiers factor, which will likely resonate in the hinterlands among the support-our-troops-in-Iraq contingent, (e) the big-scale tribute to the World War II generation is going to sink in big with boomer-aged Academy members, and (f) the Flags-plus-Letters from Iwo Jima factor is going to impress the hell out of Academy members for the same reason that actors who gain weight or put on fake noses or speak in exotic accents always tend to get Oscar-nominated — because the effort that went into it is so obvious, and because no director has ever done something like this before.
I said in the piece also that something else might pop through between now and December 31st (“something always does”) and so on.
And if Poland has yet to be convinced that Dreamgirls is probably the other leading Best Picture contender at this stage, then he really does need a doctor-supervised schedule of daily enemas.
Oh, I’m sorry…that’s getting personal. But of course, Poland started it by posting this cleverly done HE banner with Quentin Crisp in place of myself. Poland is making a point about personal proclivities ouside the bounds of journalistic endeavor. Are you noticing the sophistication levels here? This is really mature, stirring, erudite stuff. Welcome to the fucking sandbox.

Just to continue the foolery, here’s a Wells-vs.-Poland q & a thing on DVD Newsroom.