OSCAR TALK: Ep. 21 — The home stretch, Santa Barbara tributes, debating the few debatable categories

Posted by · 11:46 am · February 12th, 2010

Oscar TalkWelcome to Oscar Talk, a weekly kudocast between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood.

I’m in Santa Barbara this week while Anne is back in Los Angeles. Here’s what’s on the docket:

The Santa Barbara fest is in full swing, including tributes for James Cameron and Sandra Bullock, among others. We discuss.

The Sandra Bullock thing leads to yet another Bullock vs. Streep debate. Anne is convinced the older members of the Academy will go for Streep and that the media has assumed the Oscar is Bullock’s at their own peril.

Anne was in Santa Barbara last week and discusses the writers panel she moderated.

Meanwhile, she was also back in LA for the USC Scripter awards, so she offers her perspective on the evening’s festivities.

Finally, we go back and forth on a few of the debatable categories, including Best Original Screenplay, which could see Quentin Tarantino win his second Oscar. Or will it?

Have a listen below. Forgive me in advance for audio issues on my end. I’m in a hotel room without my handy external. As always, you can subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.


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→ 33 Comments Tags: , , , | Filed in: Oscar Talk

33 responses so far

  • 1 2-12-2010 at 12:59 pm

    Loyal said...

    that was one labored podcast!

  • 2 2-12-2010 at 1:16 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    We’re tired.

  • 3 2-12-2010 at 1:49 pm

    Loyal said...

    We’re all tired, LOL.

    I can’t believe there are still three weeks until the season ends.

  • 4 2-12-2010 at 1:52 pm

    Corinth said...


    Just out of curiosity, which of Streep’s nominated performances do you think were undeserving?

    (Ironweed, Postcards from the Edge, Music of the Heart, etc.)

  • 5 2-12-2010 at 2:01 pm

    chris said...

    Sandra Bullock is extremely likable, but in no way should she win an Oscar for “The Blind Side”.

  • 6 2-12-2010 at 2:19 pm

    Al said...

    I dont think its Tarantino’s likability that should translate to a best screen play win. I think its Tarantino’s screenplay that should translate to the win.

  • 7 2-12-2010 at 2:20 pm

    Rex Okpodu said...

    Can we stop knocking Cameron already?
    He is not the worse person in Hollywood and all the vitriol directed at him is just so nasty….
    And please, The Hurt Locker is not a masterpiece!

  • 8 2-12-2010 at 2:32 pm

    med said...

    I applaud Anne for actually saying she thinks Streep will win. I agree and can’t wait to see the egg on the face of all the media and pundits…

  • 9 2-12-2010 at 2:35 pm

    rosengje said...

    I don’t think Bullock losing would be that surprising. I think the two main arguments for her being the front-runner are winning the SAG and the support for the film as evidenced by the Best Picture nomination. I do think we have to keep in mind, however, that Meryl Streep just won the SAG award for Best Actress last year for Doubt. So is her loss there really that significant? As Anne brings up, I do think that Sandra Bullock has been the overwhelming focus of the media, and I think it could lead people to overstate her chances.

    It is definitely hard to argue with the Best Pic nomination. In my version of the Oscars, Carey Mulligan would win due to vote-splitting for the other two.

  • 10 2-12-2010 at 2:43 pm

    Lars said...

    Hmm… The player on this site only plays the first 6 minutes – Does anyone else experience the same thing?

  • 11 2-12-2010 at 3:47 pm

    Ali E. said...

    I agree with Anne that Meryl Streep will win. Bullock may have buzz, but the performance is simply not that good.

  • 12 2-12-2010 at 3:59 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Hmm. Seems to be fine for me, Lars. What browser are you using?

  • 13 2-12-2010 at 5:52 pm

    Sean said...

    I agree with Anne and #11. Bullock is good(more of an accomplishment in the stretch department) but I truly cannot see anyone in their mind thinking Bullock is the best out of all those other terrific nominees. Streep would be my preference, but I would be happy with Mirren, Mulligan, or Sidibe winning.

    On another note, Avatar is polarizing. Go watch the Reel Geezers latest….one hated Avatar one loved it.

  • 14 2-12-2010 at 6:19 pm

    Edward said...

    Was reese witherspoon (over Felicity Huffman)give even a performance in Walk the line??? — and yet she won. Bullock gives a more solid performance and audiences showed up in droves. The academy has a history of rewarding the younger actresses vs older actresses. Sandra Bullock deserves the win and I really am irritated with all who seem to be on this rampage against her just because she is a popular comedic actress — you are all just like the academy — you give no respect to comedy, nor think it is award worthy.

  • 15 2-12-2010 at 6:20 pm

    tom said...

    Meryl Streep is really a supporting performance in Julie and Julia — why is she in the lead? If she was in the supporting category would you all feel the same way and think she is better than monique? Just curious, I love Meryl streep

  • 16 2-12-2010 at 8:17 pm

    han said...

    sandra: julie christie 2008
    meryl: marion cotillard 2008

  • 17 2-12-2010 at 8:50 pm

    SJG said...

    If Anthony Hopkins in 1991 counted as an Actor in a Leading Role for “Silence of the Lambs”, I think Meryl Streep certainly counts as a lead as well.

    And she’d better damn well win is all I have to say.

  • 18 2-13-2010 at 8:05 am

    JJ said...

    I think Meryl will win, and deservedly so.

    And I think she’ll win in the Sean Penn manner from last year. Buzz was with Rourke, but Penn got it. I sense the same with Bullock-Streep.

  • 19 2-13-2010 at 8:53 am

    Craig said...

    Up is the weakest of the nominated original screenplays…

  • 20 2-13-2010 at 9:07 am

    Adam Smith said...

    @Craig: That would be saying something if Avatar was nominated, but it’s not. All of the screenplays are unbelievably strong. Hell, I’d bump The Hurt Locker before I’d bump Up. Sue me, but the screenplay is not the big thing in THL.

  • 21 2-13-2010 at 9:40 am

    Craig said...

    Well if Avatar had been nominated, I would have had to kill someone. It’s true that the screenplay is probably the weakest part of THL, but to say Up deserves to win over incredible work from Tarantino and from the Coens is ridiculous.

  • 22 2-13-2010 at 10:15 am

    red_wine said...

    It took me the longest time to guess the music. I knew I had heard it somewhere but couldn’t quite pin-point where. I finally figured its from Basterds.

    I agree with Anne in that I would also vote for Up in Original Screenplay if I were an Academy member. Its not got a shot in hell though to win. I think The Hurt Locker will win it. And Anne’s claim that Meryl might still squeeze out a win seems to be valid. Though I disagree with both of you because I think she was undeserving.

  • 23 2-13-2010 at 11:47 am

    Erik 815 said...

    I recently said this on the awardsdaily boards, but I’ll recap it here: I think Sandra Bullock’s perceived frontrunner status will hurt her. People don’t like being told who to vote for, so if the media and the blogospehere are all creating a buzz that it’s gonna be Bullock-Bridges-Waltz-Mo’Nique, then voters might want to deviate somewhere, and the most vulnerable spot is Bullock.

    What differentiates her from the other three is also the fact that she has a real competitor, which the others don’t really have (though I personally think a Harrelson upset is a distant possibility). Being a frontrunner without real competition is a good place to be, being a frontrunner with a solid competitor makes one weak. It’s like the Hillary Clinton campaign assuming being the frontrunner status would make her unbeatable. People don’t want to be told up front who is gonna win, so you might as well vote for that person. That only works when theres no real alternative.

    Also, the logic that the Blind Side’s best picture nod cements it is misguided. It is wideley seen as being in the bottom of the 10, which means that Avatar and THL probably got 1,000+ votes each, and the Blind Side might have gotten 300-400 or thereabouts (out of 5,777). That gives it a nice headstart, but Julie and Julia also had minor best pic buzz, and could have been just a few votes behind to fall just outside the top 10.

    Again, the best pic nom hurts the film to a degree, because the film itself isn’t nearly as highly praised as the performance, and has a solid fanbase outside the LA-NY crowd, but that crowd is where most academy members reside and work. There was enough academy support to get it a few hundred votes, but that’s a fairly isolated fanbase for the film itself. What happens now is that the word “undeserved” is getting bandied about in regard to the film, and that in turn rubs off badly on Bullock. Its praise paves the way for its own backlash.

    What’s happening now is that there’s a narrative arising where the buzz is that will win, asking whether Bullock really deserves a win, and lamenting that Streep will lose again on her record 16th nomination. A lot of voters will drift towards Streep rather than Bullock on their ballot when push comes to shove.

  • 24 2-13-2010 at 12:16 pm

    karlaT said...

    I completely agree that Meryl will end up winning the Oscar, and I will be more than happy with that.

  • 25 2-13-2010 at 2:09 pm

    JJ said...

    Again, I just see it as the same thing as Rourke/Penn happening with Bullock/Streep.

    Rourke was the 1st time nominee with HUGE buzz going in. But the Academy went with Penn.

  • 26 2-13-2010 at 6:09 pm

    arjay said...

    This episode hasn’t updated in i-tunes. I don’t wanna download it here, then have it turn up a 2nd time in i-tunes.

  • 27 2-13-2010 at 6:26 pm

    Erik 815 said...

    Bullock is also downloaying her chances by constantly making self-deprecating jokes about herself such as “I do believe some liposuction is in order, a very strict diet regime, and I will acquire a very light English accent. I was going to say that I should start wearing glasses, but I already wear glasses, so I am already sort of there”

    Wait, let me translate that from Hollywoodese into English: “People, get ready for a balls-to-the-wall hee-larious and spontaneous oscar acceptance speech.”

    Um… Oh, right…

  • 28 2-13-2010 at 10:16 pm

    Adam said...

    i don’t see the comparison with Rourke and Penn — both were really neck and neck. I think it is the same thing with Murphy/Arkin — I think it comes down to Academy material and I just don’t think the Academy liked Murphy and Rourke is not exactly well liked either. I’m happy that Penn won over Rourke but I thought the performance of last year was Leonardo Dicaprio in Revolutionary Road.

  • 29 2-13-2010 at 10:28 pm

    tom said...

    Tom, your theory is absolute hogwash, the best picture nomination does show sign that people love the movie as well, and no matter how you say how close julie and julia is — is fruitless because it didn’t make it and we will never know and it is rare for a performance to win if it is the only nomination for the film. I enjoyed both performances but feel that Streep should be in the supporting category and it seems like you are all pulling for Streep because you don’t want bullock to win. Have you seen Jeff Bridges’s performance — he’s not that great and there is more competition there with the more deserving Jeremy Renner and George clooney — who really should upset. I love jeff but not in this dull movie. If people love the hurt locker this much and it will win best picture, they gotta give credit to Jeremy Renner.

  • 30 2-14-2010 at 6:35 am

    han said...

    it is rare for a performance to win if it is the only nomination for the film.

    Charlize Theron (Monster: Only nomination)
    Halle Berry (Monster’s Ball: Only nomination)
    Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona: Only nomination)
    Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland: Only nomination)
    Angelina Jolie (Girl, Interrupted: Only nomination)


  • 31 2-14-2010 at 7:47 am

    John said...

    han, you are right, except for Halle Berry — monsters ball was nominated for best screenplay. I could have sworn that monster was nominated for best makeup but i guess i was wrong. Sorry, thought that was the theory that denzel didn’t win for hurricane — in addition to the controversy.

  • 32 2-14-2010 at 12:22 pm

    Erik 815 said...

    tom , just to clarufy, I think there is clearly more support for the Blind Side than there is for Julie and Julia, but both were well received and while TBS had an unprecedented b.o. success, J&J was also a big hit in its own right.

    I was merely pointing out that it is being treated like a foregone conclusion, with TBS’s best pic nod being treated as the clincher for Bullock, like it got 1,000 votes for best pic and J&J got none. If you consider that the top 10 split the votes evenly, each film gets 10%. If some films get more, others get less, and considereing TBS was considered a longshot, is likely got less. Take out of the equation the fact that some #1 votes went to films that weren’t even in the top-10, and TBS got considerably less than 10% of less than 5,777 votes for best pic. This is, of course, based on a presumption that it was not one of the top votegetters (If Avatar, THL, and IB took 1,000 votes each on average, that only leaves 1,777 for the other 7, averaging about 250, not even accounting for votes for non-top 10 films).

    That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have an edge, of course. In a close race for best actress where 2 actresses would split 3-4,000 out of 5,777 votes, having an edge of a few hundred voters who loved your film to death can make a huge difference. I was just setting up the argument that it’s based on an assumption that it has a decisive head start, when the numbers and pre- and post nomination analyses provide context for a much more slim headstart. Either scenario, of course, relies on part speculation.

    That makes it a race where Bullock has a slight headstart, which is perceived as a major lead, thus being a potential disadvantage. I’m just saying that if you put it all together, the Bullock-will-win could be a blessing in disguise.

    Bridges, on the other hand, has the combination of great reviews, career achievement, charm, wider-than-expected appeal of the film (3 nods), and sentiment in his favor. Based on performance, I’d probably favor Renner too, and didn’t even want Freeman nominated (Copley would have been a so much better choice), but that’s not how the game works, unfortunately.

  • 33 2-14-2010 at 4:03 pm

    howard said...

    I am just sick to death of all tbhe negativity surrounding bullock. Jeff bridges is the front runner but one is making a fuss that renner should take it. Let the chips fall where they may. I love streep but she does have two. If clooney had not won maybe he’d be the front runner.