OSCAR TALK: Ep. 37 — The early year forgotten, Michael Douglas’s dueling Oscar campaigns, the animated feature race and more

Posted by · 8:55 am · October 22nd, 2010

Oscar TalkWelcome to Oscar Talk.

In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar’s stage and we’re here to address it all as it unfolds.

After a week with four on the mic, it’s back to just Anne and myself as we mull over something of a slow news week. But there’s always some grist for the mill here and there, catch-up screenings, parties, etc., so let’s see what’s on the docket today…

Quickly at the top, Anne is reminded of films that have kind of come and gone and rank a bit low on the totem pole, therefore will have trouble getting back into the conversation (which leads us to a reader question about same).

Speaking of which, Michael Douglas’s lead actor campaign for “Solitary Man” and supporting campaign for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” have each received their fair share of ink this week. But the opportunism is what sticks out more than anything. We discuss.

The animated feature race looks to boast just three nominations this year. Two seem sealed up, but what of the third. We talk the possibilities, as well as a recent “How to Train Your Dragon” DVD release party.

Speaking of animation (kind of), there is buzz afoot that Disney is launching a serious Best Picture campaign behind “Alice in Wonderland.” It made the dough so it deserves the effort, but we both think it’s a bit futile.

Having caught up with Doug Liman’s “Fair Game” earlier this week, I’m able to join Anne in conversation on the film’s awards prospects. For my money, Sean Penn is best in show, but the film doesn’t feel like a contender so much as a solid effort that deserves good business.

And we close with this week’s batch of reader questions, addressing topics ranging from lone director potential to the future of “the 10.”

Have a listen to the new podcast below (with Jónsi’s “Sticks & Stones” from “How to Train Your Dragon” leading the way). If the file cuts off for you at any time, remember you can click the download link to save it directly or play from the source. And as always, remember to subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.

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33 responses so far

  • 1 10-22-2010 at 9:17 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    “It made the dough so it deserves the effort”

    I get what you’re saying, but I’m not sure “deserves” is the right word to use here.

  • 2 10-22-2010 at 9:30 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Perhaps “I guess you could argue” should have come before “it deserves the effort,” which was the point, in any case.

  • 3 10-22-2010 at 9:37 am

    Ivan said...

    SEVEN SAMURAI
    The King´s Speech
    The Social Network
    Inception
    True Grit
    The Kids Are Alright
    Toy Story 3
    127 Hours

    GHOST DOG: THE WAY OF THE SAMURAI
    Winter´s Bone
    or Black Swan

    TWILIGHT SAMURAI
    Another Year,
    The Way Back
    or The Ghost Writer
    or even Shutter Island

    THE LAST SAMURAI
    The Town
    or The Fighter

  • 4 10-22-2010 at 9:51 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I like the headings, Ivan. Creative. Let’s save these predictions comments for the “Calling All Predictions” posts, though, so we’re not clogging up the discussion with arbitrary commentary.

  • 5 10-22-2010 at 9:58 am

    Pete said...

    I found Anne’s reasoning as to why Solitary Man should not and will be nominated is rather weak/biased.

    “He plays a character that I disliked so much… He was good in it”. “It’s opportunistic.”

    I think that just because timing is bad doesn’t necessarily mean it’s opportunistic to promote a good performance.

    Also, she seems to have forgotten “In The Valley of Elah.”

    Good talk otherwise.

  • 6 10-22-2010 at 9:59 am

    Justin said...

    Disney should throw all their Best Picture campaign might onto their film that first, will definitely be among the nominees, and second, actually has a chance of winning it.

  • 7 10-22-2010 at 10:09 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Pete: The point is you would not see this kind of a campaign behind the performance if not for the circumstances, so indeed, I think it’s fair to say “opportunistic.”

    What does “In the Valley of Elah” have to do with anything? As in a Best Actor possibility who comes out of nowhere?

  • 8 10-22-2010 at 10:29 am

    Loyal said...

    Great podcast this week (and no, not because my reader question was addressed).

    I do think that some voters look at things like how much time has elapsed between wins when they vote. I don’t believe it’s in cards for 127 Hours regardless but maybe that type of thinking could come into play for True Grit.

    It sucks that the number of animated films eligible this year is so low. It’s been a banner year for animation and two potential nominees shouldn’t be excluded from the race. But when have the Oscars been about what’s fair…

    I’m not sure what it would take for a director to be nominated for Best Director but for his film to miss out on Best Picture. I don’t think we’ll ever see that play out as long as there are 10 BP nominees.

    Good luck with the raw food cleanse Kris. I did it before hiking the Appalachian Trail last year and the Camino de Santiago this summer. No fun and it makes drinking alcohol an interesting challenge. Speaking of the Camino, any word on Estevez’s The Way. I haven’t heard anything since Toronto.

  • 9 10-22-2010 at 11:00 am

    Brad said...

    I completely recommend Legends of the Guardians to you guys. Went in with average expectations and the movie was really entertaining. Enjoyed it much more than Despicable Me (however, my friend disagrees with me) and it was just as beautiful as How to Train Your Dragon.

    Story was lacking in places; and this is definitely not a small child’s movie (quite scary in places); but altogether a great movie with great memorable voice roles from Helen Mirren and Geoffrey Rush.

  • 10 10-22-2010 at 11:23 am

    Ibad said...

    I think Peter Weir could be a potential lone director nominee this year, since I feel like The Way Back would be on the cusp of a Picture nominee but is on the edge, possibly on the outside looking in.

  • 11 10-22-2010 at 11:29 am

    Graysmith said...

    Haha, I was gonna say what Loyal said. :D

    Anyway, I agree with your thoughts on a lone director. It’d have to be someone like Leigh or Aronofsky this year, or a foreign language director in another year a la Almodovar. It’s kind of a shame this will become so rare from now on.

    Was I the only one who didn’t think How To Train Your Dragon was THAT good? It’s a solid, entertaining film (though Baruchel was horribly miscast, unusual to see in animated films), but in the end it’s just like every other Dreamworks Animation film, save for the annoying pop culture stuff. It’s still leagues behind what Pixar accomplishes even with their lesser films. I wouldn’t hold anything against it if it is nominated, but in a year of three nominees it feels like there are films more deserving.

    As for Alice in Wonderland, producer comments aside, isn’t it just par for the course that all big blockbuster films get some FYI push in the beginning? Even the most hopeless contenders usually get that full-page spread calling for nominations for Best Picture, Director and whatnot.. Even when no one’s really expecting it to get anywhere near any such nomination. It’s just for show, and aren’t these things often included in contracts even?

  • 12 10-22-2010 at 11:55 am

    Ziyad Abul Hawa said...

    Almodovar I think would be the example of a director of a movie that would not have been nominated at that year (Talk To Her)

  • 13 10-22-2010 at 12:12 pm

    Drew said...

    No mention of the new Fighter trailer? Gah! I so wanted to hear Anne’s thoughts on that.

    I think Olivia Williams would be worthy of a nomination for Ghost Writer. The art-direction, cinematography, and definetley the score would be considered in a parallel universe.

  • 14 10-22-2010 at 12:14 pm

    buffy said...

    Kris, Anne so you’re not in the whole Michael Douglas for supporting actor thing, well how about a Carey Mulligan campaign for best supporting actress in Wall Street 2? Can she have a good chance there?

  • 15 10-22-2010 at 1:26 pm

    dany said...

    I do not think you do a year of good performance as solitary man and opportunism. but each with their opinion.

  • 16 10-22-2010 at 3:24 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Great podcast. Thanks Kris & Anne.

    Though, I’m sometimes baffled by Anne’s opinions. When asked about ‘The Ghost Writer’ (which she admittedly likes a lot), she runs down it’s strengths: Polanski, McGregor, Brosnan, Script … yet doesn’t menti0n one of the stand-out components of the entre film, Olivia Williams — especially in a category that is deemed weak this year (not really ‘weak’, but lacking definites).

    A headscratch moment, for me.

  • 17 10-22-2010 at 5:49 pm

    Speaking English said...

    You say that directors aren’t nominated for their follow-up work because the films don’t hit the bar of expectation, but then what of “A Serious Man?” Two films after the Coens won.

  • 18 10-22-2010 at 5:52 pm

    Pete said...

    “Pete: The point is you would not see this kind of a campaign behind the performance if not for the circumstances, so indeed, I think it’s fair to say “opportunistic.””

    If you are reffering to Wall Street 2 then I’d agree. However, I think there’s reason and merit to promoting Douglas’ work in “Solitary Man” (which is what I was referring to). I think that as bad at as it to take advantage of certain circumstances it’s equally as bad to ignore good performances just because they are overshadowed by real life.

    And yes, I did bring up “Elah” as an example of an unexpected Best Actor nod to counter Thompson’s dismissal of small films scoring in Acting Categories.

  • 19 10-22-2010 at 6:15 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    English: Exactly. Two films later. Burn After Reading came in between.

    Not that it’s an exact science.

  • 20 10-22-2010 at 6:16 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    In the Valley of Elah was released on 9/14, so very much in the run-up to awards season and not an early year title.

  • 21 10-22-2010 at 7:28 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Actually, with the talk of Ghost Writer and lone director, that film actually strikes me as the sort that could score a lone director nom this year (very respected director and flashy direction but not a film that I expect to get much academy recognition). I do think we can still see some rare lone director noms, in particular the films that got best director as their sole nomination strike me as the type that may have missed out even if there were five extra slots.

  • 22 10-22-2010 at 7:42 pm

    A said...

    I’m just here to say that Jacki Weaver’s face is on almost every advertisement on this page, and it’s haunting my dreams, haha.

  • 23 10-22-2010 at 7:51 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Yeah, well, “Burn After Reading” was a wacky screwball comedy, not the kind of thing that gets nominated.

  • 24 10-22-2010 at 8:32 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Nevertheless…

  • 25 10-23-2010 at 4:31 am

    Graysmith said...

    I love Burn After Reading. I enjoyed it when it first ame out, but in my own opinion it has really classified itself as one of those Coen movies that just gets funnier and funnier. Kind of like with The Big Lebowski, even though Burn After Reading will never reach that kind of cult status.

    “I thought you might be worried about the security… of your shit.”

    The #@$!ing Short Version (NSFW):
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2AnwC9dL6Q

  • 26 10-23-2010 at 5:15 am

    Jane said...

    Guy, you’re a grouch. It’d be nice to hear you say something positive without sounding pushy or indignant.

    Olivia Williams in The Ghost Writer was brilliant. If there’s any recognition it’ll be for her performance.

  • 27 10-23-2010 at 10:39 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Not sure what you’re responding to specifically, Jane, but I’m plenty positive — look through my recent reviews and festival coverage. I’m not so very hard to please.

    Of course, if you’re referring to my “Alice in Wonderland” jab, you’ve got me there — nothing positive to say on that one.

  • 28 10-23-2010 at 12:56 pm

    Leone said...

    So surprised you guys didn’t talk about the new FIGHTER trailer which rocked! I was so looking forward to listening to Anne eat her words or at least soften a little after her weird-ass rant on it’s director last time. LOL.

  • 29 10-23-2010 at 7:58 pm

    Frank Lee said...

    That “The Year of Living Dangerously” doesn’t make it into Kris’s top four Peter Weir films says something about the difference between Kris’s generation and my own. Most people over forty, I believe, would rate that one at or near the top.

  • 30 10-24-2010 at 6:44 am

    daveylow said...

    I agree with Frank. My three favorite Weir films are Witness, The Year of Living Dangerously, and Fearless.

    Weir’s a director who sometimes blows me away and sometimes turns me off. I was not a fan of The Truman Show, Master and Commander or Picnic at Hanging Rock.

    Oddest Weir film: Green Card

    As for Solitary Man I enjoyed that film a lot but not just for Douglas. The whole cast is game. But in the end, the film doesn’t stand out as great or anything. But certainly worth watching. It’s a well-written film actually.

  • 31 10-24-2010 at 6:45 am

    daveylow said...

    Hated Burn After Reading. What a waste of time.

  • 32 10-24-2010 at 8:33 am

    Ella said...

    Another good podcast, Kris and Anne. Thanks for addressing the question on Douglas so forthrightly.

  • 33 10-25-2010 at 4:05 pm

    Estefan said...

    You guys need to do more research in regards to animated films. It’s not simply that the director of Despicable Me is French, but the entire film was actually animated in France.

    It also should be noted that the technical crew behind Tangled created a whole new computer program just for Rapunzel’s hair, so it’s not the same old animation being made. Plus, there’s the fact that Glen Keane is massively respected among animators. So, I feel 100% confident that Tangled will take that third slot.

    And it’s funny you mention Hayao Miyazaki in comparison to Sylvain Chomet without mentioning that Ponyo was (unfortunately) snubbed last year. Entirely possible for that to happen to The Illusionist. Hhhm…