‘Basterds’ gets dolled up for Oscar as Tarantino receives Santa Barbara’s Kirk Douglas Award

Posted by · 11:09 am · October 24th, 2009

(from left) Kirk Douglas and Quentin TarantinoThere was a moment last season where I gave up going against the grain on the notion that “The Dark Knight” would be nominated for Best Picture.  I was called a fool, I was told I wasn’t with the program, I was told certain milestones related to the film would not be overlooked, etc.  I just didn’t think it was going to happen.

But I relented.  I used the healthy precursor trail the film blazed as reason enough to join the (perhaps fanboy-driven) chorus and say sure, the film will be nominated.  Why not?  Still didn’t feel right.  And we all know how that turned out.

I’m getting a similar vibe from “Inglourious Basterds,” which is even being considered a sure-fire lock in some quarters.  An extra five nominees change the dynamic, of course, and most would argue that “The Dark Knight” would have made it in with 10 nominees.  But even with a wider target, I still don’t think Quentin Tarantino’s latest will make the cut.  And if I go down in flames sticking to that inclination, so be it.  But I don’t think I will.  Fool me once, as the saying goes.

But all of this doesn’t mean there isn’t an old-school concentrated effort on the part of The Weinstein Company to appeal to the Academy membership, and things really kicked off in earnest on that front Thursday night in Montecito.

I was unfortunately unable to make it up the coast for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival toasting of Tarantino with the Kirk Douglas Award (handed over by the living legend himself), but there are a few accounts out there worth reading.  Here is Jeff Wells, who came out from New York for the festivities.  And Pete Hammond (who recently penned a piece attempting to stall the anti-“Amelia” sentiment) wrote a thorough report from an awards hawking standpoint:

Reaction in the packed ballroom was wildly enthusiastic, and if the idea was to kick off an Oscar campaign it appeared to be mission accomplished.

Afterward, [producer Lawrence] Bender and recently departed Universal Co-Chairman David Linde (Universal handled the international release of “Basterds”) were talking about strategy in bringing awards attention to their box office smash, Tarantino’s most successful film ever. They noted that it’s main strength in that regard is that filmmakers really seem to love it, and that should bode well once awards season gets around to Oscar and guild voters, the ones who really count.

Hammond goes on to touch on the Weinstein campaign strategy.  And it’s worth noting that a December DVD release will come at an opportune time for the film’s awards hopes.  But I keep coming back to my gut, which has let me down some but has certainly pulled me through plenty.  And my gut says this is all a fantasy.  I expect plenty of below-the-line respect for the film.  But I anticipate Christoph Waltz will be its lone representation in the major categories.

Movieline’s Seth Abramovich (who calls the film a “decade’s-end masterpiece”), recently talked to Bender, by the way.  No questions concerning awards, mainly just production stuff.

Anyone want to make a case for or against “Inglourious Basterds” making it into the Best Picture field, have at it in the comments section.  I’d love to hear the logic, whatever the stance.

→ 18 Comments Tags: , , , , | Filed in: Daily

18 responses so far

  • 1 10-24-2009 at 11:20 am

    Loyal said...

    I loved Inglorious Basterds to death, QT is one the main reasons I went to film school in 1994. I worship the guy.

    That said, even with $120m in the kettle, there’s absolutely nothing lockity-lock-locked about its BP nomination. Uphill all the way. I kinda like it that way. Earn it.

    Oh and stop bringing up TDK, old wounds run deep. :(

  • 2 10-24-2009 at 11:44 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Indeed they do.

  • 3 10-24-2009 at 12:57 pm

    John said...

    I feel like it’s a hard one to miss-out, at this point.

    It’ s well liked.
    It’s memorable.
    It’s fun, amid usually misery-bound dramas.
    It’s got the ‘ole Holocaust angle for AMPAS.
    The reviews were good.
    The box office, very good.
    The dvd/screener package looks good.
    It’s Quentin’s comeback (for eother director and/or screenplay).
    You’ve got Pitt.
    You’ve got Waltz.
    You’ve got wonderful technicals, editing, cinem, art d, costumes, sound (by some veterans in the guilds).

    I just see it being remembered from all directions.

  • 4 10-24-2009 at 1:02 pm

    "Julianstark" said...

    It’s definitely not a lock, but I think that it, alongside Up, are the only wide-release films so far that stand a legitimate shot at getting in (Up being pretty much a lock)

    That being said, I would absolutely love for this to get in. Laurent and Pitt were my faves from the film, so I would love to see them get in. And Waltz was great, so I’m glad he has tons of buzz (and is practically a lock). Of course, I think that at this point it’s a bit sketchy to predict the entire top ten. Sure, about four to six films looks like they’re in, but after that you could have anything…

  • 5 10-24-2009 at 1:04 pm

    Loyal said...

    I just dont want to get my hopes up.

    If Inglourious Basterds shows up at AFI and NBR and loads of Top 10 lists, I might begin to see a nazi-coloured rainbow.

  • 6 10-24-2009 at 1:05 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    i made the comparison to kris between to the two movies, both have excellent production design, fantastic acting , strong writing and amazing performances. But Kris, this isnt a super hero movie and its quentins best film sense pulp fiction(according to most) i dont think lock can be used and i agree with loyal i like its up hill struggle but this movie will only gain momentum. The weinsteins have an actually good movie this year and are very tight with quentin and will do anything to get this baby in, even if they have to sacrafice the road, nine, or a single man. I personally think it may show very strongly in the major categories, sup actor and actress, original screen play, director, picture and many crafts, actors love quentins work and so do film makers

  • 7 10-24-2009 at 1:11 pm

    Cameron said...

    I’d say aside from Supporting Actor (a lock), Original Screenplay would be its best bet in any of the major categories. Costume Design seems as sure as Waltz, and Art Direction not too far behind. Editing will no doubt be recognized by the ACE but the Academy will most likely let it slip by along with Cinematography (which was gorgeous and should definitely be nominated). Either of the Sound categories are plausible as well, but my instinct tells me for that to happen it would probably need the Best Picture/Director nods along with it.

  • 8 10-24-2009 at 1:34 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    cameron so if it goes big it could go really big i think

    sup actor
    sup actress
    art direction
    film editing
    sound editing
    sound mixing

    that would make my day many times over

  • 9 10-24-2009 at 4:40 pm

    SHAAAARK said...

    But I don’t think you can compare this to TDK. It’s not a “Batman” film, it’s a Tarantino film, which does count for something, maybe not awards-wise, but credibility-wise. And, for all the hullabaloo about violence and shooting up Hitler, most of the movie is tense long scenes of dialogue in French, German, and English. It’s got a foot in both doors. Does it help that it’s essentially a celebration of the power of cinema? I think so. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the slate is all middle-of the road, well made films.

  • 10 10-24-2009 at 5:22 pm

    James D. said...

    If Bright Star, The Hurt Locker, and Inglourious Basterds all receive a Best Picture nomination, maybe the whole thing will be worthwhile.

  • 11 10-24-2009 at 6:37 pm

    Chase K. said...

    So people still like “Inglourious Basterds”, huh?

  • 12 10-24-2009 at 6:59 pm

    James D. said...

    Why wouldn’t they, Chase K?

  • 13 10-24-2009 at 9:13 pm

    Glenn said...

    I’d like the movie to be nominated, not just because I like it, but because it would a real twist for the Academy. Never would’ve expected it and shows they DO have a sense of humour in the face of nominating stuff like “Frost/Nixon” and “The Reader”.

  • 14 10-24-2009 at 9:48 pm

    Kevin said...

    I don’t really see Best Picture in the cards, but I think screenplay is a definite possibility, and Waltz is sure to get nominated, with a few techs here and there. I think the main questionable slot for BP hopefuls is Up, which everyone has been saying will get in, but seem to be forgetting that the academy rarely likes to be redundant with films that have their own category. The only time in recent memory I know of a film getting a BP nomination and a nomination in its own sub category was Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, nominated for BP and Best Foreign Language Film (winning the latter if I recall correctly). The point being is that Up is not the lock everyone seems to be assuming it is, and I have my doubts it will even show up in the BP lineup, even with ten slots. I don’t think Basterds is anywhere close to a lock for a nom outside of supporting actor, but Tarantino tends to be more well known/revered for his writing then for his directing or overall films, with Pulp Fiction really being the only time he was invited to the party. Time will tell. There are still a few BP hopefuls that have yet to be seen (The Lovely Bones, Nine, and Invictus), so lets not put the cart in front of the horse here.

  • 15 10-24-2009 at 10:02 pm

    Adrianna said...

    I saw Inglourious Basterds several weeks ago, but whenever someone is talking to me about movies, something they say reminds me of some part of IB. It’s so stuffed with movies and imagination. And although Tarantino can (apparently) be exasperating at times, I love the way he loves movies and the way he is so appreciative of other people’s work.

    Sometimes directors give the impression of being patronizing and dismissive of other people’s work. Not Tarantino – he seems to love a broad range of everything. And if he met Kirk Douglas, I’m sure he’s seen more Kirk Douglas movies than I ever knew Douglas made. So maybe voters might like to honor someone who is thrilled to be part of moviemaking and adores it all (and whose “art” movie made money and was popular all over the world).

  • 16 10-25-2009 at 8:24 am

    Danny said...

    I have mixed feelings about IB. The filmmaking was ingenious, but also self-indulgent. TDK elevated “Comic book filmmaking” with adult themes and repercussions. QT took WW2 and the Holocaust and made a film that in its storytelling and dramatic logic often felt like a Comic book to me, a smartly written and stylishly designed comic book certainly, but with plot developments and character motivations that were more about movie history and a (gifted) 12 year olds fantasy about ww2 than reality. That may have been QT’s point, but it left me feeling uneasy overall, and seriously sickened by the final reel’s “holocaust”. I may not be alone with such concerns, and they may hurt the films award chances with others.

  • 17 10-25-2009 at 8:36 am

    Danny said...

    That said, I absolutely loved the multilingual multinational aspect of the film. That may not help it with Awards, I don’t know, but when it comes to foreign language authenticity in an American movie, all the way down to various German dialectic inflections, IB will be hard to beat in movie history. For that it deserves a Writing nom, and Waltz for being brilliant, and in 4 languages no less.

  • 18 10-25-2009 at 8:42 am

    Danny said...

    OK, final thought: just want to clarify that I suspended disbelief for IB “alternative history” overall, but I had too many problems with how the stories themselves played out, with plot machinations that creaked (Shoshana being allowed to escape the farm, no Nazi guards outside the cinema doors to name two…).