‘Reader’ stirring the awards season dust

Posted by · 11:16 am · November 26th, 2008

Kate Winslet in The ReaderGold Derby’s Tom O’Neil attended an east coast screening of “The Reader” this week, which featured a Stephen Daldry Q&A session afterward.  He reports as follows:

“I tried to leave things ambiguous,” Daldry said. “I want to keep what she learned and what she didn’t from us. It’s not for us to know.”

During the first part of the film, it’s clear that Kate Winslet’s character, Hanna, is “morally illiterate,” Daldry added. (There were loud gasps throughout the audience when he uttered that phrase.) But later in the story, Daldry said, he and screenwriter David Hare cautiously applied “complicated calibration to try to find careful relations to when you are sympathetic to her and when you’re not.”

Two Oscar pundits who saw “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader” this week and who asked not to quoted by name (for reasons I don’t understand but will honor) believe that “The Reader” has a better shot at a best-picture nomination and even a lead actress bid for Winslet. A few others I admire disagree and pick “Revolutionary Road” for both categories. Personally, I haven’t sorted out my own thoughts yet, but the former opinions — and the response “The Reader” got Tuesday night in New York — tell me that Harvey Weinstein may be quite happy on Jan. 22 when noms are unveiled.

Contrast that with the fact that I’ve jerked the film from a number of categories this week and I think you’re looking at a mixed bag at the moment, at least on the prognostication front.  I only have my gut to go by for now.  We need more people to see this thing and speak up.  But I think this peek-a-boo game Daldry says he was playing with Winslet’s character’s feelings and that general “uncertainty” will make it a tough AMPAS sell.  My two cents, anyway.

→ 12 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Daily

12 responses so far

  • 1 11-26-2008 at 11:49 am

    Speaking English said...

    Maybe you’re just in the minority? I always thought this movie was going to be big at the Oscars, but after reading what you had to say I wasn’t so sure. But maybe it will…?

  • 2 11-26-2008 at 12:05 pm

    murtada said...

    i’m more excited to see kate in revolutionary road, this movie sounds a bit old fashioned and boring

  • 3 11-26-2008 at 12:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I could be, English. Been there before, no doubt. But I don’t know, that reaction is surprising. And I’ve talked to plenty of journos who shared my view, so I dunno. We’ll see.

  • 4 11-26-2008 at 1:06 pm

    Rob Scheer said...

    Calling it now: “The Reader” will be completely shut out in every category. Put money on it.

  • 5 11-26-2008 at 1:15 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yeah, I never saw this as being on the top line of contenders, but from everything I’m reading, I’m starting to feel a chill around it — I don’t really know why. A few reviews would certainly help.

  • 6 11-26-2008 at 1:17 pm

    Say What? said...

    The Reader nominated for best picture? You’d have to be smoking Kristen Stewart’s peace pipe to think that. The movie is a bell flop. Nothing about it works. The script’s structure is a mess. The performances, especially Winslet’s, are pretty embarrassing (can anybody maintain an accent?). Characters are played by actors who look nothing alike at different ages — except for Winslet who wears the worst age make-up in cinema history (I could do better by drawing lines on her face with a ballpoint pen). Even her recurring nickname for RF’s character, “Kid,” becomes hokey by the second utterance.

    Uh-uh. Ain’t gonna happen.

  • 7 11-26-2008 at 2:25 pm

    Jim said...

    Say What, uhm, are you a Winslet hater, a hater in general, or are you just having a bad day? I haven’t seen the film but it can’t be THAT bad!! And Winslet’s performance the most embarrassing among pretty embarrassing performances by the others? Isn’t that a bit much? I am having trouble believing that’s the way thing are. Tapley has a different opinion and I think his view is more reliable than yours.

  • 8 11-26-2008 at 3:15 pm

    Rob said...

    I’ve read several people’s opinions who I respect that have said she gives an exceptional performance. And she’s never had an issue with accents in recent years.

  • 9 11-26-2008 at 4:00 pm

    Say What? said...

    I stand by what I said.