OSCAR TALK: Ep. 40 — ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Black Swan’ hit AFI Fest, a riskless Hollywood and previewing the Governors Awards

Posted by · 11:21 am · November 12th, 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.

AFI Fest has concluded, the first Academy Award ceremony of the year hits this weekend and we find ourselves in the thick of things. Between Galas, premieres, parties and the usual, there’s plenty to chew on, so let’s see what’s on the docket today…

Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan” saw it’s Los Angeles premiere as part of AFI Fest’s closing night festivities last night. Anne and I were both there to take it in and observe the local crowd’s reaction.

Also bowing at AFI Fest as a “secret screening” was David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” which also screened to industry members on the Paramount lot this week. We discuss what we like about the film and its awards potential.

This leads into an impromptu discussion of the sad state of spinelessness seen throughout the studio system, reflected in great films like “The Way Back” not being picked up by a major studio and “Black Swan” almost not even being made.

Anne was at last weekend’s Britannia Awards. She offers her thoughts on the night.

Similarly, tomorrow night brings the Governors Awards, where Francis Ford Coppola, Eli Wallach, Jean-Luc Godard and Kevin Brownlow will be honored. Anne will be on hand and we preview the ceremony.

Finally, reader questions. We address topics including “The Way Back,” the Best Original Song category and James L. Brooks’s elusive “How Do You Know.”

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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21 responses so far

  • 1 11-12-2010 at 12:04 pm

    Drew said...

    I can hardly bare to listen to the current state of this business.

    I think everyone needs to check out a great documentary called Tales From The Script which features numerous interviews from writers. There is a great chapter that covers the beginning the McDonalds era of the movie industry.

    It’s definitley a sad state for major studios right now.

  • 2 11-12-2010 at 12:06 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Just saw that the other day, actually.

  • 3 11-12-2010 at 12:09 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Thanks for addressing my question about The Way Back, but I really think you should have told Anne that I thought her voice was the vocal equivalent of swimming through a sea of poppies. It would have made her weekend!

    Beyond that, I have one quick question. How exactly does the fact of you and Anne both enjoying The Fighter make it seem more likely that Black Swan will make the Top 10? There’s a transition somewhere in there that I didn’t quite follow. You two begin clarifying your beliefs that Swan will indeed make the list of 1- BP nominees, and then Anne begins to explain her reasons why…but it turns into talking about how people are finally seeing and liking The Fighter. If anything, wouldn’t its possibly inclusion in the 10 nominees make it LESS likely that Swan will clutch a spot as well?

    Anyway, good talk. Lookin’ forward to next week’s installment.

  • 4 11-12-2010 at 12:10 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    10 BP nominees, not 1- (typo)

  • 5 11-12-2010 at 12:34 pm

    Dooby said...

    Kris you said something about Mila Kunis being gud but were talked over by Anne – who out of the supporting roles would hav most chance of a nomination??

    I just think it would be cool if both the white and black swan got nominated…

  • 6 11-12-2010 at 12:38 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Keil: I kind of missed what she meant there, too, and didn’t follow up before we were off to talking about The Fighter. I think she was going to get into the point of films falling short, but I don’t know. Lots of things on the brain when we do these.

    I’ll be sure to mention the poppies next time, though.

    Dooby: Hershey, I think.

  • 7 11-12-2010 at 1:09 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Wiest and Hershey, back in action. Now if only Woody could write something truly great for them to star in together.

  • 8 11-12-2010 at 1:26 pm

    Drew said...

    Glad you got to see the doc Kris. What did you think of it?

  • 9 11-12-2010 at 2:07 pm

    James D. said...

    I think you have previously referred to films that need to be seen on the screen and not in something like a screener. I just don’t see the logic in that. Every movie benefits from being seen on a screen. Sure, some genres benefit more than others, but a good film can resonate no matter what the format.

  • 10 11-12-2010 at 2:11 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Sure, every film benefits, but it’s not that much of a stretch to say vast pieces like Lawrence of Arabia get more out of a big screen presentation than, say, a James Brooks movie, is it?

  • 11 11-12-2010 at 2:45 pm

    Maxim said...

    Actually (and I truly believe that) but Brooks is not a very good example at all.

    And that’s not even getting into the fact that his new film is shot but Janucz Kaminski,

  • 12 11-12-2010 at 3:00 pm

    H.W. said...

    If the studio intends Bale to win the Oscar for The Fighter, they could make it happen by clarifying a few things:

    1) Geoffrey Rush has an Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony already. He’s already been showered with acting prizes throughout his career. Very few people have ever won “the big three” film, TV, and stage awards and he’s one of them. Bale by contrast has always been overlooked despite a plethora of excellent performances.

    2) Bale is very chameleonic. You can be consistently good without having a huge range: Humphrey Bogart was like that, Marilyn Monroe was, Jack Nicholson is to some degree, most big name stars are. They create a memorable star persona and retain it in most of their movies. But Bale is much more like Streep in starting again from scratch with each new role. Unlike Streep, though, he hasn’t always gotten credit for it. If the Academy saw how versatile he is through choice clips from his filmography, he could win the Oscar right there. Look at his heartfelt, impassioned marriage proposal to Winona Ryder in Little Women, for example, and then look at his ice-cold misogyny in American Psycho. It almost doesn’t seem like the same actor.

    That on top of his Fighter performance could make him the frontrunner.

  • 13 11-12-2010 at 3:45 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Well said, H.W.

    I think the only thing(s) that holds Bale back are his off-screen persona, and the fact that while he’s a chameleon (and impressive at that), it’s rarely for a showy role. This one looks showy.

  • 14 11-12-2010 at 3:54 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Kaminski or no Kaminski, I’d love for someone to explain to me how the trailer for “How Do You Know” suggests a visual wow. I mean, the guy shot “Funny People” too, and it still looked like a high-class sitcom.

    Nothing wrong with that, and obviously a cinema screen wins every time, but come on.

  • 15 11-12-2010 at 4:42 pm

    Jake G. said...

    People are underestimating Hereafter and How Do You Know!

  • 16 11-12-2010 at 10:58 pm

    Maxim said...

    Guy, all I was saying was that off all the films to pick on as an example of irrelevance of theatrical experience, Brooks work is hardly the best. I happen to like the man’s work and happen to think that it looks rather great. And I also though Funny People looked damned good.

  • 17 11-13-2010 at 12:04 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Maxim: Come on. I’m trying to equivocate quality filmmaking. I’m not going to bring up, what, a fucking Wayans brothers film? Brooks is a brilliant filmmaker but the point is….sigh, fuck it.

  • 18 11-13-2010 at 5:32 am

    JJ1 said...

    Yeah, it certainly seems like – on this board – you MUST say something absolutely perfect or else all others will jump in immediately (without thinking first), not get the point, and declare you wrong.

    I’d like to think that most people comprehend your How Do You Know comment, Kris. At least, I hope.

  • 19 11-13-2010 at 5:01 pm

    daveylow said...

    I am a huge Christian Bale fan since Empire of the Sun and I was surprised he wasn’t nominated for Rescue Dawn. But even though Rush has been awarded in the past, he still is wonderful in The King’s Speech so I don’t think he should be penalized because he’s won before. I don’t know what to say about this. Sometimes there should be ties, like last year with Bridges and Firth.

  • 20 11-15-2010 at 11:33 am

    Keil Shults said...

    If you want ties, go watch Mad Men.

    Oh snap.

  • 21 11-17-2010 at 12:25 pm

    DylanS said...

    In the supporting actor race, I actually get the feeling that it’s gonna be Bale vs. Garfield. It’s not gonna because I think they’re the two best (which at the end of the day, they very well might be) but because the media will have a field-day with Batman vs. Spiderman