OSCAR TALK: Ep. 39 — ‘Megamind,’ ‘The Way Back,’ Oscar’s actress contenders and more

Posted by · 9:00 am · November 5th, 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.

As we move into November, AFI Fest is heating up, campaigns are in full swing (talent being pitched left and right) and pretty soon I’ll be eating turkey and watching “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.” Crazy. We had a slightly shorter window this week, but let’s see what’s on the docket today…

Opening wide this weekend is DreamWorks Animation’s “Megamind,” which drew two completely different reactions from Anne and myself. We discuss.

Anne caught up with Peter Weir’s “The Way Back” this week, and she counts it as “extraordinary filmmaking.” Finally we can have a back and forth on the film.

The Hollywood Reporter launched it’s new glossy weekly mag this week (all 150 pages of it). Gracing the cover were a handful of actresses in the Oscar race this season. That leads us to a brief discussion of the leading and supporting actress categories and which of those ladies will be in the hunt at the end of the day.

Anne screened “The King’s Speech” to her “Sneak Previews” class this week and got the best response she’s ever seen out of that program. We talk further on the film that has to be seen as the frontrunner at this stage.

And finally, reader questions. We only get to a few this week because Anne had to rush off, but we address the Academy voting process, steam-building vis a vis Robert Duvall in “Get Low” and the best of the leading actor field we’ve seen so far.

Have a listen to the new podcast below. If the file cuts off for you at any time, try the back-up download link at the bottom of this post. And as always, remember to subscribe to Oscar Talk via iTunes here.


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29 responses so far

  • 1 11-05-2010 at 9:45 am

    Drew said...

    So how was Christian Bale in The Fighter? According to your source.

  • 2 11-05-2010 at 9:50 am

    David Vega said...

    Megamind better than The incredibles, that’s something I never imagined I could hear

  • 3 11-05-2010 at 9:59 am

    JJ1 said...

    I love Anne. I respect her thought/opinions.

    But boy is she slow on the uptake sometimes with certain topic/conversations. How could she not get the Babel/Up in the Air/Fighter thing, OR that Adams & Leo would obviously not be up for dual Best Actress. Headscratch. But yeah, still love her. Good podcast. Love ’em all.

  • 4 11-05-2010 at 10:05 am

    w11 said...

    Thanks so much for choosing and answering my question Kris…and not bringing in the things I asked to leave out in your assessment (which Anne really didn’t). I appreciate it.

  • 5 11-05-2010 at 10:08 am

    w11 said...

    Oh, also I agree with your thoughts on Ryan Gosling’s performance. Just had to add that.

  • 6 11-05-2010 at 10:24 am

    JFK said...

    It’s exciting to hear someone finally consider Amy Adams for the Fighter. Anytime she is given a role (bad haircuts aside) she nails it and I don’t think it is wise to count her out.

    Also, glad to hear about your enthusiasm for Gosling. I was one of the first to see an early screener of this back in May and both his and Williams performances stood out. At the end of the day, I don’t think Williams will be acknowledged and NC-17 Rating aside, I think Gosling will get nominated, but not the win. I’m curious to see how you think he can land a win, Kris.

  • 7 11-05-2010 at 10:25 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I don’t think that he can.

  • 8 11-05-2010 at 10:40 am

    red_wine said...

    Blasphemy Kris! Bring out the pitchforks! I don’t even need to see Megamind to know Incredibles is the better movie. Incredibles is just plain fucking brilliant, one of Pixar’s triumphs and perhaps the most non-conformist film in their oeuvre.

    I think the work of a great director deserves proper consideration and Weir is one of our masters. Its great that you are bringing attention to this film which seems like a difficult sell. It seems primed to be lost in the awards season if not properly taken care of.

  • 9 11-05-2010 at 10:47 am

    Silencio said...

    I like that song you closed out with. What’s it called?

  • 10 11-05-2010 at 10:50 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’ve yet to hear The Incredibles defended as anything more than a romp. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, but really, “non-conformist” just doesn’t equate to “brilliant” in and of itself for me. I’ve long come to terms with being a minority opinion in that regard, though.

    Silencio: That’s King Creole (as Dolores Hart actually appeared in King Creole and Loving You opposite Elvis, throwing back to what Anne was saying).

  • 11 11-05-2010 at 11:01 am

    Graysmith said...

    Why on Earth would Dolores Hart be an Academy member to begin with? I mean, looking at her filmography there’s absolutely nothing that would warrant her entry into the Academy.. I mean, it’s great if she’s serious about it, that’s more than you can say about most, but like Kris said, it’s kind of bizarre that people like this would be allowed to remain Academy members.

    Anyway, calling Megamind better than The Incredibles sounds like heresy to me! Hopefully Kris can revisit it this spring when it comes out on Blu-ray, he needs to change his mind. ;)

    There’s a reason Pixar has held off on releasing The Incredibles and Finding Nemo on Blu-ray, they know they are the finest films they’ve made.

  • 12 11-05-2010 at 11:02 am

    JJ1 said...

    Chiming in on the booooo for Kris’ The Incredibles opinion. :)

    I thought ‘The Incredibles’ was fun, exciting, witty, and beautifully designed. I have no desire to see ‘Megamind’, but then, I also thought ‘Despicable Me’ stunk up the place.

  • 13 11-05-2010 at 11:07 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Can’t wait for the Incredibles Blu-ray release. Again, love the movie. I don’t think it’s the bee’s knees.

  • 14 11-05-2010 at 11:13 am

    Graysmith said...

    I’ve accepted that Kris’ taste in animated film varies from my own though.. Wasn’t Bolt your number one film that year? Whereas I would put that one in the “good movie, but not the bee’s knees” category myself.

    He’s almost like the Armond White of animated film.. kidding.

  • 15 11-05-2010 at 11:30 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    #2, actually.

  • 16 11-05-2010 at 11:39 am

    red_wine said...

    I think I should try to offer a more substantial defense of Incredibles for what it’s worth.

    First of all, Incredibles is the only Pixar which in which the screenplay is credited to a single individual and that person also directed the film. As such it bears an individual personality that can be sometimes difficult for Pixar films to achieve. They can seem a tad homogenized, following a so-called “Pixar formula” where the odd-man-out protagonists learn certain life lessons or values by the end.

    Incredibles on the other hand, being the work of a single artist, is brasher, more impudent & impertinent than Pixar’s usually classically styled narratives and films. Its like the work of a cocky young talent showing off what he can do. The dialogue (ranging from droll and acerbic to inspired) and action just zip along with unabashed energy all the while forwarding a rather controversial subtext of the arrogant entitlement of gifted people. The protagonists can likewise appear conceited and smug instead of the usual Pixar hallmark of humility and grace.

    Even as a stepping stone in Bird’s career, its an interesting film. He moved on to make Ratatouille, a European, and perhaps more sophisticated, eloquent and artistically inclined movie but also naive, with edges blunted and somewhat indulgent and consciously esoteric. The Incredibles was more blunt and in-your-face brilliant.

    Also as the existential exploration of superheros living in a sea of (comparative) mediocrity, the frustration of trying to fit-in, but also the glee and glory of being a super-hero is superbly explored with credibility, humanity and wit. Coupled with imaginative production design, action set pieces that will make Paul Greengrass blush, Giacchino’s brilliant Bondesque espionage score and a palette reminiscent of comic-book pastel colors, it might simply be the best super-hero film ever made. :D

    Superhero movies of late (in an apparent attempt to be taken seriously) have become more solemn and angst-ridden and lost almost all of their humor and spirit (The Dark Knight being the culmination of this movement). Incredibles handily beats all of these superhero films not only in humor and exuberance but also in pathos and profundity. I’m waiting for it in HD too.

  • 17 11-05-2010 at 11:52 am

    John Gilpatrick said...

    Thanks, Kris, for bringing up my question.

  • 18 11-05-2010 at 12:04 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    The Incredibles is Pixar’s worst film in my opinion, and their most Dreamworksian.

  • 19 11-05-2010 at 12:04 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “but also naive, with edges blunted and somewhat indulgent and consciously esoteric.”

    Lost me there.

    Much appreciated, though. I don’t disagree with much of what you say. It just doesn’t add up to the accomplishment for me that it seems to for you.

  • 20 11-05-2010 at 12:41 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Anne mentions that she liked ‘The Way Back’ a lot more than Sasha Stone. That said, Sasha has written what reads – to me – as a VERY positive reaction to it; but voices the same Academy concerns.

  • 21 11-05-2010 at 1:08 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sasha holds back on negative thoughts in print. She puts a film’s best foot forward. I imagine Anne was responding to what she heard from her at the screening.

  • 22 11-05-2010 at 1:13 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Speaking of animated film, and Anne mentioning that she loved the first Shrek.. If you rewatch that movie now, chock-full of pop culture references circa 2000/2001 that just makes it feel so dated (even though it’s not actually set in any realistic time period). That’s why Dreamworks will never produce a timeless classic, they just don’t know how to do it the way Pixar does it time and time again. Watch the first Toy Story again, 15 years old, and it’s still as brilliant as it ever was. The animated is dated, but the heart of it isn’t.

  • 23 11-05-2010 at 1:22 pm

    Silencio said...

    Kung Fu Panda will rock forever. Gotta give ’em that.

  • 24 11-05-2010 at 2:37 pm

    Danny King said...

    Thanks for addressing my question.

    By the way, I saw “Uncle Boonmee” at the Chicago International Film Festival, and didn’t find anything powerful about it. I agree with a lot of Guy’s write up that he did of the film. Whatever point the film is ultimately trying to communicate was completely lost on me. I’ll be interested to read your reaction.

  • 25 11-05-2010 at 2:41 pm

    JJ1 said...

    OK, Kris. That explains Anne’s comments a bit more. Thanks. :)

  • 26 11-05-2010 at 4:10 pm

    Brown said...

    Sasha said it was one of the best films of the year…so at the very least she liked it alot…i think.

  • 27 11-05-2010 at 4:26 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Bahahahaha I loved Anne’s shoutout to my tweet about the Austin Film Fest screening of 127 HOURS. Indeed we are made of tougher stuff lol. But I imagine if you have ambulances on standby at the theatre, you might prompt a psychological response.

  • 28 11-08-2010 at 8:11 pm

    Diane said...

    Your discussion about Jim Sturgess’ acting choices in The Way Back reminded me of his answers during our exclusive November 2009 interview with him concerning his role. These comments in particular stood out:

    “The tone in which he [Weir] wanted the acting was something quite new to me. He simply wanted us to just ‘be’…if that makes any sense. Not to give too much away. He was so against the film taking a melodramatic turn. There were so many moments where any other director would have turned on the emotional tap but Peter wanted to keep a lid on it at all cost. The emotion is there buried deep in all of the characters and it was about trying your best ‘not’ to show it. I thought that was really interesting.”

    You can read the entire interview here: http://jimsturgessonline.com/?page_id=2559