OSCAR TALK: Ep. 41 — Governors Awards, animated and doc feature shortlists, circuit festivities and remembering Ronni Chasen

Posted by · 11:20 am · November 19th, 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.

There have been toasts in honor of talent and in the way of remembrance during this busy, and heartbreaking, week on the Oscar circuit. So as always, there’s plenty to cover. Let’s dive in and see what’s on the docket today…

Anne was at last weekend’s Governors Awards ceremony honoring Francis Ford Coppola, Eli Wallach, Jean-Luc Godard and Kevin Brownlow. She gives her report on the evening.

In the way of Oscar news, this week brought the shortlists for the animated feature and documentary feature categories. We mull over the contenders left standing.

Along the circuit this week, Focus Features has brought the cast and crew from “The Kids Are All Right” back around. Anne was at a luncheon on their behalf, while I give the lowdown on a Summit Entertainment (early) holiday gathering.

The industry was met with crushing news early in the week as one of our own, and a friend to many, Ronni Chasen was brutally murdered in Beverly Hills. Anne and I remember her, her undying charm and wit, and her dogged professional resilience.

Finally, reader questions. We only get to a handful as the podcast ran a bit long this week but we address queries concerning the decade’s defining films from a “state of society” standpoint and Christopher Nolan’s position in the year’s Best Director race.

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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40 responses so far

  • 1 11-19-2010 at 11:36 am

    Estefan said...

    I still think you’re under-estimating Tangled. So far, it’s got a 100% rating at Rotten Tomatoes with an 8.5 average rating on 7 reviews. Much higher than The Illusionist’s 90& rating and 7.6 average. And I’ve read nothing but positive things for Tangled, including some serious raves. I stand by Tangled getting the third slot and I will stand by that until nomination morning.

  • 2 11-19-2010 at 11:52 am

    William Goss said...

    Wouldn’t Bryce have been at the Summit party because she was in the latest Twilight flick?

  • 3 11-19-2010 at 11:57 am

    kel said...

    @Estefan…the Academy always likes to throw in a film that no one in the mainstream (that doesn’t chart/follow the Oscar race) has heard about


  • 4 11-19-2010 at 11:58 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Goss: Duh. Thanks.

  • 5 11-19-2010 at 12:13 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    @Estefan: Are you referring to Tapley or Thompson, because Tapley clearly said he thought Tangled or The Illusionist would be given the third slot.

  • 6 11-19-2010 at 12:17 pm

    Estefan said...

    Both, actually. After all, The Illusionist is the one listed on the side. And in the comments section of the animated contenders article, most people seem to be on The Illusionist and virtually ignoring the extremely strong chances Tangled has.

  • 7 11-19-2010 at 12:26 pm

    Maxim said...

    I think that, in Tapley’s case, it is not that he doesn’t think that “Tangled” doesn’t have a chance of getting in at all, it’s just that he gives “The Illusionist” the benefit of the doubt. When both films happen to be acclaimed, the one that is more unique and respectable looking is the one that might get in.

    So it’s not that he’s ignoring “Tangled”, it’s more like you’re ignoring “The Illusionist”.

  • 8 11-19-2010 at 12:45 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    As for the decade-defining films question…

    Here are some movies that many would argue deserve a seat at that particular table, or at least a little consideration:

    The 25th Hour, United 93, 28 Days Later, I Heart Huckabees, Tarnation, Children of Men, Wendy and Lucy, Grizzly Man, Borat, Avatar, and Fahrenheit 9/11

    And because I’m in a weird mood I may even throw out In the Bedroom

  • 9 11-19-2010 at 12:48 pm

    Estefan said...

    Oh, no. I’m actually really looking forward to The Illusionist, especially as somebody who greatly enjoyed The Triplets of Belleville.

    However, I just don’t see Sylvain Chomet beating the likes of a Disney fairy tale animated musical with songs by Alan Menken, which actually brought a lot of technological breakthroughs to the table, most notably Rapunzel’s hair which is unlike done in computer animation before, to the point where they had to create a whole new computer programme to do it.

    Not to mention the names of John Lasseter and Glen Keane speak volumes among the animation community and with Toy Story 3 already be a sure-fire shot at winning best animated feature, Disney will focus their efforts on getting Tangled in their third slot. And Disney has more money to pay for campaigns than Sony Classics does. They already made the decision to only submit one song from Tangled to up its awards chances, so they’re definitely looking to get it some Oscar love.

  • 10 11-19-2010 at 1:01 pm

    Maxim said...

    These are all very valid points, Estefan. The only counter I can offer and only to provide some balance, is that, maybe, in the year of three, a counter-programming selection, if you will, like “The Illusionist” is something the animators might want to recognize.

    That said, I do agree that it’s looking like “Tangled” might end up being a stronger contender and is the one that will end up getting that third slot.

  • 11 11-19-2010 at 1:18 pm

    Cameron said...

    Off topic, but nonetheless noteworthy-
    Daniel Day-Lewis set for Spielberg’s Lincoln film.


  • 12 11-19-2010 at 1:20 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Thanks for answering my question. I definitely see where you’re coming from, and yes, Inception has more detractors than The Dark Knight did. I will say that I agree with Anne though. Inception is the only big populist movie they have this year and I think it’s still very wel liked and respected, even if a minority on the internet would have you think otherwise. I think when looking through internet blogs, comments, and twitter, we come to live in a buzz bubble of sort. A LOT of people like and love Inception. But like Avatar last year, there’s a very loudly vocal minority who will be kicking and screaming as long as the film is in the conversation because for whatever reason, they either didn’t think the film was as good as others did or absolutely loathed it. And if there’s one thing that is constant on the internet, it’s hyperbole. People who didn’t like Inception are going to rant on and on about how much they hated every last inch of the film because there’s two more people raving about how much they love it. People exaggerate loudly to have their opinions heard on the web, even if their dislike of the film is really not that extreme.

    In any case, I never meant to imply that I think you don’t like Nolan. I know you do, and I understand why you remain skeptical, even if I don’t share that skepticism. But ultimately, I think it’s going to do very well, and get a Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay nomination, as well as many tech nominations. If anything, I could see screenplay missing out, but not director, as most tend to agree that it’s a huge directorial achievement. But again, I think when one looks outside the internet buzz bubble, one sees a brighter outlook away from internet hyperbole. Thanks for answering my question on the matter! :)

  • 13 11-19-2010 at 1:21 pm

    James said...

    Love that Time score. Hell love the entire score. I just hope the Academy can drop the politics and bias and recognize Inception. Is it politically relevant and speaking to anything now for the younger members of the Academy? No. Is it perhaps a tad demanding for the older members? Yes. But in a summer of dismal commerical releases where quite a few did poorly, this is a chance to recognize a creative blockbuster film that works on all fronts(directing, writing, and acting, not much of an actor’s film though). No compromises were made. We get to see a filmmaker with complete freedom, and its a product from Hollywood which is the Academy. Hollywood should look at this like when Spielberg and Lucas took hold in the 70s and 80s, with Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third King, Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., etc. Here we have a film that isn’t a sequel with talented people within each department, and took a risk.

    Is I don’t know The Social Network any more humble than Inception? Perhaps, but its not this small independent release either. No reason the Academy should wave their finger at audiences for enjoying an expensive large film cause I gotta tell ya that attitude itself ain’t humble.

  • 14 11-19-2010 at 1:25 pm

    Maxim said...

    Not to hijack or derail this talkback or anything but “Oscar Talk” is an appropriate place to bring up that Spielberg’s “Lincoln” will start shooting a year from now with… Daniel Day Lewis!

    I actually had a feeling this might happen when they announced that “Robopocalypse” will start lensing in 2012. Here’s hoping both are released on the same week :) .

    So yeah, Oscars and stuff.

    I’d post a link here but it’s would be caught by the site’s anti-spam system.

  • 15 11-19-2010 at 1:47 pm

    Michael W. said...

    I was just about to say the same thing as Maxim. Off topic, but still very appropriate.

    Here is the press release from DreamWorks:

    www. dreamworksstudios. com/news/academy-award-winner-daniel-day-lewis-to-star-as-lincoln-for-dreamworks-studios

    Will Daniel Day-Lewis be the first to win best actor three times!? I for one am thrilled about this.

  • 16 11-19-2010 at 1:55 pm

    Maxim said...

    My favorite paragraph from Variety’s report is this is this one:

    “The announcement about “Lincoln” won’t change the start of “Robopocalypse,” which explores the fate of the human race following a robot uprising.

    “It won’t impact Robopocalypse,” studio spokeswoman Kristin Stark said. “He’ll shoot them back to back, which he has done with other films before.” “

  • 17 11-19-2010 at 2:04 pm

    Maxim said...

    And, to return to Nolan. I think that in light of “District 9” scoring a nomination, “Inception” will definitely make it. I also think he is virtually guaranteed a DGA nom. Oscar now is also possible, but I think he has a bigger chance of getting a screenwriting nom.

  • 18 11-19-2010 at 2:16 pm

    Kevin K. said...

    Maxim: Definitely. Last year shattered the sci-fi bias. It would have been even better had Star Trek gotten in (it definitely deserved to). I think Inception is going to do very well, it’s in the Avatar spot this year IMO.

  • 19 11-19-2010 at 2:26 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m not saying the film isn’t likely a nominee for Best Picture. It’s a discussion of Best Director.

  • 20 11-19-2010 at 3:00 pm

    ann said...

    It’s really hard not picturing nolan in the director race. The guy is overdue for a director nomination, should have been nominated for one of the biggest movies event in years and his masterpiece. For the past few years hollywood has been complaining of the lack of original ideas and how the audience are not being challenge at the cinema lately. Nolan basically pulled that off. A summer blockbuster that was discussed for months, you have to give credit to nolan for that. How can someone like that be ignored for what he accomplished this year, and for his career. However i can see where kris is coming from, and I think if the academy does ignore him it only send a wrong message and in the end it does hurt them.

    Inception screenplay, i can see it going either way, but it dependence on if the critic are willing to back the screenplay (which i doubt).

  • 21 11-19-2010 at 4:23 pm

    The Great Dane said...


    You are wrong. Triplets of Belleville was a frontrunner alongside Nemo, and Secret of Kells was an exception. The field was 5 open slots, so chances were that something like that could happen.

    They are WAY more mainstream than people think. Ponyo didn’t make it in last year even with 5 open slots!

    And Shark Tale made it in over Polar Express – and Surf’s Up made it in over films like The Simpsons Move.

    So they are in no way highbrow in their choices. That’s way I’m a little scared on the behalf of Dragon. There is a teeny tiny chance (based on the history in this category) that it could be snubbed.

    And again: Based on the history of this category, I’d say that Tangled has a better shot than Illusionist.

    God, I still can’t believe that Shark Tale got in…! Such a blah movie compared to others that year. And Ponyo missing out?

    You can never trust this category. There is a shocker nomination and snub almost every year, more shocking than the snubs/nomination in the actual Best Picture category.

  • 22 11-19-2010 at 4:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Shark Tale over Polar Express is a moot point. The branch has always had an aversion to performance capture.

    Anyway, the point isn’t high brow vs. low brow. It’s the respect held for the animation and animators (and due respect to Miyazaki, a legend well-respected, Ponyo was seen as one of his lesser efforts to say the least). I think you underestimate the respect held for Chomet at your own peril.

    That said, obviously, I’m not underestimating Tangled. As I’ve said repeatedly, I think it’s between that and The Illusionist for the last spot. I really don’t think Despicable Me will cut it, but that seems to be the minority opinion as of late.

  • 23 11-19-2010 at 4:50 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Dragon will be nominated, end of story.

  • 24 11-19-2010 at 5:35 pm

    Maxim said...

    “Anyway, the point isn’t high brow vs. low brow. It’s the respect held for the animation and animators (and due respect to Miyazaki, a legend well-respected, Ponyo was seen as one of his lesser efforts to say the least). ”

    I think you might be stretching here. For one thing, “Ponyo” was probably more liked than “Howl’s Moving Castle”. Or at the very least, not that far off in terms of overall reception. It had bigger box office too.

    That said, and this might be what you were getting at, few really felt like Miyazaki was breaking a lot of new ground with Ponyo (even if he did, and I sort of dislike some people tried to reduce it into a simplistic kid’s when it really was more than that).

    And after two consecutive nods Miyazaki was no longer overdue. Still, even with that I believe that it could have gotten in a less comeptetive year.

    And, in regards to Polar Express, I remember reading on this very site that Zemeckis was relunctant to submit his movies for animated race. Does anyone know if he actually filed the paperwork for Polax Express? In other words, was that a really a pure snub?

  • 25 11-19-2010 at 6:10 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Maxim: I’m not stretching anything. I talk to animators and the sense I get is Ponyo was a snooze and didn’t push much from a craft perspective. Box office and critical perspective don’t matter in the slightest.

    I’m unsure, re: Polar Express.

  • 26 11-19-2010 at 7:18 pm

    Marc R. said...

    Thanks for answering my question Kris. You and Anne listed very good and thematically rich films i think. Having really grown up primarily in the 00’s, i have fervently looked at certain films that really seemed to hit at just the right time and i think the answer of most defining films will be one that will evolve over the nest several years. Others i might add include:

    Children of Men

    Up in the Air



    Rachel Getting Married

    Bowling for Columbine

  • 27 11-19-2010 at 7:19 pm

    Speaking English said...

    I actually did a paper for school about how films of the 00’s reflected the social/political environment of the time, and some of the major movies I brought up were:

    “No Country for Old Men”
    “Babel” (along with other fractured narrative films)
    “Spider-Man” (along with other superhero films)
    “Milk” (along with other political issue films)

    And of course “An Inconvenient Truth,” along with other docs.

  • 28 11-19-2010 at 9:12 pm

    Maxim said...

    Kris, it’s not that I don’t believe you, it’s just pretty hard to understand how Ponyo can be described in such harsh terms. I suppose one could be unimpressed by the story but the it is an absolutly gorgeous piece of animation and the watercolor look was actually quite different from everything else Ghibli has done. I also think that it was very confidently directed.

    But then again, I wasn’t that imprseed by Coraline (which I admitedly didn’t see in theaters) but that was mainly because I couldn’t understand what the point of the whole thing was.

  • 29 11-19-2010 at 9:59 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “One of his lesser efforts” is hardly “such harsh terms,” is it? And after all, you say yourself he wasn’t breaking new ground. Maybe it just felt old hat, I don’t know, but many were simply unimpressed.

  • 30 11-19-2010 at 10:32 pm

    Maxim said...

    Actually I was reacting more to the “Ponyo was a snooze” portion of your comment, which, you’ve got to admit, is rather harsh.

    By the way, I sort of got the feeling from you Kris that you actually haven’t seen the film for yourself. Is that so (and if it is give it a chance, I think you’ll be very pleasantly surpised)? Otherwise, I’m sorry that I got it wrong.

    And speaking of Miyazaki films to watch, one of my absolute favorite Miyazaki films is actually his very first full length work called “Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro”. It was made before Ghibli was established, and, as the result, it’s not that well known in the US. Nevertheless, it’s readily available on DVD and is very, very worth seeking out. It is one of the greatest action/adventure movies ever made (think Indiana Jones except where the main character is a thief) and is an absolute joy to watch. Great set pieces, chases, shootouts, duels and internation intrigue. Very different from everything else Miyazaki has done and is very unique take on one of the most famous of anime characters.

  • 31 11-19-2010 at 10:43 pm

    Kyle said...

    I just wanted to give a quick thank you to Kris and Anne. I live in a small city in Ontario and there are very few outlets to discuss film, let alone the awards season. As someone who has devoted much of their life to studying and writing about film, it’s fantastic to have this site, and specifically this podcast, as a means of feeling more involved in a dialogue about movies, what they mean, and their awards potential. You and Anne do a fantastic job and I hope to be listening to the podcast for awards seasons to come. Thanks again!

  • 32 11-20-2010 at 12:23 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Maxim: I’ve seen Ponyo. I don’t really see why you’d think I haven’t. It’s certainly been written about here and there’s nothing in my comment (other than withholding my opinion of the film, which is beside the point) that ought to lead to that conclusion. I happen side with those who were unimpressed. And no, I don’t really think “snooze” is so harsh.

    Kyle: Thanks a million.

  • 33 11-20-2010 at 2:36 am

    Vn said...

    I’m starting to thinl ‘Tangled’ is the third spot. Glen Keane, Disney, Alan Menken, John Lasseter, good reviews, great CGI, what a powerful combo to overlook.

  • 34 11-20-2010 at 7:39 am

    Scott M said...

    This episode isn’t up on iTunes yet, just figured I’d mention that here.

  • 35 11-20-2010 at 10:48 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Thanks Scott. It should be there now.

  • 36 11-20-2010 at 11:04 am

    James D. said...

    Has there ever been a worse Best Picture winner than American Beauty?

    For a decade-defining film, I thought The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford fits. It displays our need to worship celebrity and our subsequent desire to tear people down.

  • 37 11-20-2010 at 1:29 pm

    Drew said...

    James D-speaking of our dying affection for celbrity figures, I would have to say that Chicago, one best picture winners of the last decade, fits into that mold of infamy perfectly. Say what you will about the film, but I think it’s themes of infamy are pretty timeless and especially fitting in todays culture with countless numbers of infamous reality show stars.

  • 38 11-20-2010 at 3:14 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Has there ever been a worse Best Picture winner than American Beauty?***

    Huh, really? “The Hurt Locker,” “Ben-Hur,” “Braveheart,” “The Greatest Show on Earth,” and a lot of those early ones would qualify.

  • 39 11-22-2010 at 8:32 am

    Maxim said...

    “Shark Tale over Polar Express is a moot point. The branch has always had an aversion to performance capture.”

    Which makes its embrace of “Moster House” all the more unusual. What’s even stranger is that this movie did significantly better at the Annies than any Zemeckis made film to date, which leads me to believe that there might be something to this whole Zemeckis doesn’t want to compete in this category thing.

    He was, of course, a co-producer on “Monster House” too but probably didn’t have the final say on the matter.

  • 40 11-25-2010 at 4:20 pm

    DylanS said...

    Why do so many people hate on “American Beauty”, i think that’s a terrific piece of filmmaking with incredible performances at the center from Kevin Spacey and Annette Bening. It baffles me.