In Contention


1/11 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Sony’s campaign price tag, Cotillard preggers, Cameron on Hollywood’s “story crisis”

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 8:09 am · January 11th, 2011

$55 million…for an Oscar? [New York Post]

Move over Natalie Portman.  Marion Cotillard is carrying, too. [Us Weekly]

Are Golden Globes speeches always better than the Oscars? [Movieline]

Michelle Williams talks “Blue Valentine” across the pond. [Daily Telegraph]

Pete Hammond checks in on the race for Best Foreign Language Film. [Deadline]

James Cameron rightly criticizes Hollywood’s “story crisis.” [Spiegel]

Devin Faraci adds his two cents to the notion. [Badass Digest]

10 Semifinalists Named In Academy/mtvU “Oscars Correspondent Contest.” [Oscars.org]

[Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures]




Related Posts

→ 35 Comments Tags: , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

35 responses so far

  • 1 1-11-2011 at 8:25 am

    JJ1 said...

    Happy for the Cotillard.

    I thought she was Supp. Actress nom-worthy in ‘Nine’ last year, and now ‘Inception’. Sad that it looks like it won’t occur, this year, either.

    And on a side note, saw ‘Country Strong’ yesterday. One of the worst films of 2010. Holy crap.

  • 2 1-11-2011 at 9:03 am

    James D. said...

    Tapley, your James Cameron link is in German.

  • 3 1-11-2011 at 9:36 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I wish there was video of that Armond White business at NYFCC last night.

  • 4 1-11-2011 at 9:46 am

    red_wine said...

    LOL LOL LOL
    Cameron of all people complaining about “story crisis”
    LOL indeed.

  • 5 1-11-2011 at 10:25 am

    Daniel said...

    I thought this was worth a look (sorry if it’s already been posted)

    http://samsmyth.blogspot.com/2011/01/top-10-of-2010-1.html

  • 6 1-11-2011 at 10:50 am

    Maxim said...

    That NYP article (and Kris’s headline) is confusing. First they start off by saying that Sony spent an estimated $55 million on its Oscar front-runner, “The Social Network”, only to later clarify at the bottom of the article that
    By some estimates, Sony will spend $5 million on the film’s Oscar campaign.

    Yeah, way to include the film’s budget there, guys!

  • 7 1-11-2011 at 10:52 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    James: Indeed. It’s the original source. I didn’t check it, but Reelz translated some stuff:

    http://www.reelzchannel.com/movie-news/8803/james-cameron-blasts-peter-bergs-battleship-adaptation?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

    red_wine: Kind of a silly comment. “The Terminator” was anything but conventional. Ditto “The Abyss.” How soon people forget, based on merely two movies (which are the biggest money-makers of all time and are as much largely because of accessible narratives). The notion that “Avatar” had a simplistic story is so, so grating and fully misses the point of what that film was all about. But it won’t end.

  • 8 1-11-2011 at 10:54 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Maxim: The word “campaign” is a catch-all, meant to describe the amount of money spent advertising the film, so my headline is accurate. $55 mil, all in. But let’s face facts, it’s all in service of the Oscar season. And the $5 mil for actual season costs is considered by a great many to be extremely low and off the mark. Nevertheless, it’s still, as the article notes, more than any other campaign. As I said in Monday’s column, when you have the money to throw around, the sky’s the limit.

  • 9 1-11-2011 at 11:06 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    Big budget films with interesting stories are all but dead. Take away Nolan, Cameron, Jackson and Favreau and there isn’t much left.

  • 10 1-11-2011 at 11:08 am

    James D. said...

    Reading that piece now, I don’t agree with Cameron at all. I think the biggest story crisis of all is coming from James Cameron, not Battleship. Battleship will make money, but critics and highbrow audiences will laugh it at it and it will be forgotten quickly. Cameron’s films, however, are more of a cancer to quality film, as they find their way into the next stage of recognition. Kris, you say red_wine misses the point of Avatar, and maybe you are right, but it is a story deficiency if there ever was one.

    And how is it a man that pioneers a technology as expensive as 3-D can complain about storytelling? Larger budgets usually mean less creative freedom, so what is he talking about? Maybe if he wants to see films with good stories, he should take off his 3-D glasses and go watch Alamar, Dogtooth, Carlos, I Am Love, or any other arthouse film that does not need a rehashed gimmick to make it effective.

  • 11 1-11-2011 at 11:11 am

    red_wine said...

    Cameron does not equal respectability. His script for Avatar was fit for a Michael Bay film. Come to think of it, even the film itself is almost a Michael Bay film.

    @Matthew Starr
    I would disregard all those names and just mention Pixar.

  • 12 1-11-2011 at 11:12 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    So Kris are we saying here that the best picture oscar is bought and paid for? How come a Pixar film has not won yet? I know Disney/BV can go dollar for dollar with anyone.

    How come with the box office success of Jackass, Paranormal Activity, Iron Man 2, True Grit etc.. Paramount can buy the best picture for Fighter or True Grit?

    Why isn’t the sky the limit for those studios? How is a studio that has not won an Oscar in decades outspending Paramount and Disney? Interested in how this works.

  • 13 1-11-2011 at 11:13 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    You’ve got to be kidding me, James. If you want films like Battleship for the rest of eternity (see recently posted Jim Sturgess interview), keep going along that highly misguided line of logic.

    And it’s cheap and misinformed to take a shot at him like you do in your last sentence. I’m quite certain Cameron highly respects such films. He’s a student of cinema. 3D wasn’t a gimmick in Avatar, even if it was in every film that attempted to get rich off of it. You’re flat out wrong if you think otherwise.

  • 14 1-11-2011 at 11:14 am

    Maxim said...

    Kris: I sit corrected. I misunderstood. I though the $55 milllion included the budget (hence the last line in my previous comment).

    I still think that “55 million… for an Oscar” bit was a bit unwarranted though as Rudin and co first had to sell the movie to the audiences before they sold it to AMPAS. I won’t argue with anything else you said except for the fact that “Titanic” and “Avatar” are THE biggest moneymakers of all time. Historically speaking, they have peers.

  • 15 1-11-2011 at 11:14 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    It’s all about what you’re willing to spend, Matt. Lots of egos involved, usually.

  • 16 1-11-2011 at 11:18 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    It just seems strange to me that Sony Columbia is willing to spend more than Disney. Someone needs to write a insider piece on the business of Oscar campaigning.

  • 17 1-11-2011 at 11:20 am

    Maxim said...

    Red, I am really sorry if you honestly think Avatar was anything like a Michael Bay film. For you to deny it on every level speaks of your pure bias against Cameron. Whatever criticisms I may will not be able to look past how much he accomplished at every stage of filmmaking.

  • 18 1-11-2011 at 11:21 am

    red_wine said...

    It has to do with plausibility also.
    Spend 100 million dollars on a Alice In Wonderland campaign and it still won’t win (will not even get nominated).

    Disney knows it does not have a chance in hell with an animated Pixar film, then why waste the money.

  • 19 1-11-2011 at 11:23 am

    Maxim said...

    Matthew, it’s kind of funny to read those comments after all of the Publicity Rich Ross has attracted with his “Toy Story 3″ campaign. You really can’t fault them for not trying. Unfortunately they are dealing with an overhyperd entry in an animated franchise. They are not on the level playing field with that one.

  • 20 1-11-2011 at 11:25 am

    Maxim said...

    “Spend 100 million dollars on a Alice In Wonderland campaign and it still won’t win (will not even get nominated).”

    I don’t know. I think there’s a challenge somewhere in what you said. Is its possible to get a nomination with that kind of money in the field of ten? With smart people doing the campaign? I wouldn’t be shocked.

    Just saying.

  • 21 1-11-2011 at 11:28 am

    red_wine said...

    @Maxim
    I have no bias against Cameron. I absolutely love Terminator II perhaps my favorite action film ever. I also think the sinking of Titanic is pretty ace.

    But Avatar was so preposterously broad, it was a perfect storm of cliches and pure cheese, it simply failed on the basic level of telling a story through its characters. I really find it to be a completely disposable entry into the blockbuster hall of fame.

  • 22 1-11-2011 at 11:28 am

    Matthew Starr said...

    I remember reading Pete Hammond’s article about Rich Ross saying “we’re going for best picture” or something but I have not heard much since. It would be interesting to see a chart of sorts showing how much is being spent on each film’s campaign in this race.

  • 23 1-11-2011 at 11:33 am

    Maxim said...

    I think the point I was getting it as that money is important in the sense that a whole lot of them can make a small difference when a small difference is required. And usually, this kind of difference is required when it’s a very close race and any distinction (be it extra amount of attention publicity brings or due factor wor whatever) can be valueble. Oftentimes though, it’s not enough just by itself.

    And red_wine, I just disagree with that.

  • 24 1-11-2011 at 11:36 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “it simply failed on the basic level of telling a story through its characters”

    That’s actually patently false. If anything, it does this precisely, but ON that very basic level, one that leaves some viewers finding it “disposable.” That’s fine, but don’t twist it into something it’s not.

  • 25 1-11-2011 at 12:00 pm

    Al said...

    Avatar would have been original, if it wasn’t done before. Yes, that complaint is getting cliche, but thats just because its such a glaring issue with the film. I was pretty psyched for the film and was hoping that I was wrong by thinking I knew the whole film from the trailer. But, unfortunately, I did. And many people did.

    I could care less if some people felt something from the film, the fact is, I didn’t, and I can’t help but think, had this movie not have been made 20 times before in the past, I would have enjoyed it.

    There was nothing remotely memorable about Cameron’s “masterpiece” except for its overt conservative message.

    In short, he’s one to talk.

  • 26 1-11-2011 at 12:06 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Conservative message?

    Plenty of movies have been made 20 times before in the past. But none did it like “Avatar.”

  • 27 1-11-2011 at 12:10 pm

    Maxim said...

    I think he meant “Conservationist”. Otherwise I’m all ears.

  • 28 1-11-2011 at 12:20 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Yeah, that makes more sense, but what the hell is wrong with a conservationist message? Sounds good to me.

  • 29 1-11-2011 at 1:14 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    Cameron’s films hold up: both in visuals and narrative. See how long some of these current “smart” big movies hold in a few years?

  • 30 1-11-2011 at 2:35 pm

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    Damn! Cotillard can’t fit in the Catwoman suit now.

  • 31 1-11-2011 at 4:29 pm

    Al said...

    Nothings wrong with it, it was just too obvious. And yes, nothings been done in the way of Avatar, but I’m not talking about execution, I’m talking about story. Just like Cameron.

  • 32 1-11-2011 at 7:54 pm

    PaulH said...

    Forget Cotillard as Catwoman; Kristen Bell as Harley Quinn.

    And stop chuggin’ the haterade on Cameron, for f’s sake. The reason why I believe Avatar succeeded as wildly as it did while almost every other movie makes 60-70% of its total boxoffice in its first 2 weekends, then peters out, is because of 4 things.

    1. The 3D visuals
    2. The directing
    3. The acting
    4. THE WRITING

    All four combined to make a perfect storm of people who kept coming back for more. IF you have the google chrome browser, one click can translate it from German to English.

  • 33 1-11-2011 at 8:04 pm

    PaulH said...

    Maxim, there were thousands of people like red-line who were so pissed off at Cameron’s success that the Academy, the same folks who snubbed the greatest American film ever, Citizen Kane, decided to award its BP to the least-viewed movie ever to win it. And BD to a woman as a makeup call for 2003, when Sofia Coppola, in any other year, would’ve won director for Lost in Translation. But ’03 was the year of Return of the King…

  • 34 1-12-2011 at 4:50 am

    JJ1 said...

    I’m not huge on James Cameron, The Man. But I loved AVATAR as sweeping populist entertainment.

    I saw it twice in the theaters. I enjoyed it twice ( more the second time). The visuals blow me away.

    That said, anyone who says the “original” screenplay is anything remotely exemplary is kidding themselves. It’s a broad, cliched, overdone story.

    But that doesn’t bother me. I still love AVATAR because it’s the kind of movie that made me fall in love with movies.

  • 35 1-12-2011 at 6:20 am

    Maxim said...

    PaulH, you lost me when you started talking about Citizen Kane and same folks. Care to start again?