An unpretentious, blunt-spoken director has shared his Oscar picks with Hollywood Reporter award-season columnist Scott Feinberg, and I think it’s interesting how much this guy sounds like me to a certain extent. He cuts right to the chase, doesn’t mince words and just lays his cards face-up. He knows more about the technical stuff than I do (“there were a lot of mismatching” cuts in Silver Linings Playbook, he says), and in some ways he reveals himself as not especially hip or sophisticated (“No is a very good film, but it’s shot in a very weird way“). But Feinberg’s piece is a pretty good capturing of how a lot of people in this town think.
I’m guessing that the guy is in his early to mid 50s because (a) he says he voted online “because I want to feel young again” and (b) he describes a nominated short called Curfew as “the least depressing of five films guaranteed to prevent you from getting laid,” he says, “as I personally learned.” So he’s a bit of a hound and therefore probably unmarried.
He thinks for himself, that’s for sure. “Robert De Niro was just Robert De Niro” in Silver Linings, he says. “Yes, he had one crying scene, but crying is not enough. ” Not enough? There’s tons more to DeNiro’s performance than just that one bedside scene with Bradley Cooper but this guy….I’m starting to think this guy isn’t all that sharp. “Alan Arkin in Argo? I’m shocked he’s even nominated. Tommy Lee Jones has been such a bitter guy — all that scowling at the Golden Globes? I’m telling you, people don’t like the guy.” Then why did Jones with the SAG Best Supporting Actor award?
His Best Actor vote is going to Joaquin Phoenix in The Master, which he feels is “a performance for the ages. So much went into that performance. He created a character as distinct as Daniel Plainview…from always hunching and putting his right hand on his hip to crying as he’s being audited.” Not to mention Phoenix constantly sipping from a flask to his serpent-like manner and the way he sometimes behaves like Dwight Frye‘s Fritz in James Whale‘s Frankenstein.
To win the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, he says, “you usually have to make a film that makes people feel absolutely great or makes people feel like they want to slit their wrists. Something that’s jovial or something that’s important.” Getting the equation? If something is thoughtful or important it’s a downer. Jesus, this guy sounds like he’s 14 or something.
On the subject of Best Actress this guy conveys the essence of Lisa Taback‘s worst nightmare. “Jennifer Lawrence I was on the fence about, but she lost me with that Saturday Night Live bit,” he says. “I thought it was mean-spirited and shows a lack of maturity on her part. So, for me, it’s between Jessica Chastain and Emmanuelle Riva. I didn’t like Amour, but I think Riva was extraordinary in it. Chastain was just fantastic in Zero Dark Thirty — she is the major star of tomorrow and probably has another 10 Oscar nominations in her future. Meanwhile, Riva may not even live through Oscar night, so…”