OSCAR TALK: Ep. 61 — Wrapping up Toronto, ‘Moneyball’ and Brad Pitt’s Oscar positioning, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous,’ ‘Rampart’ and turning out the lights

Posted by · 8:53 am · September 16th, 2011

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.

It’s a bittersweet time. Barring any set-backs, this is the last time you’ll see an episode of Oscar Talk…in this space. As revealed earlier this week, In Contention is moving over to HitFix, aiming for as early as Monday of next week. So this 61st installment of the podcast is all she wrote for these white walls, but the fun will continue at the new destination a week from today. But, for now, with Anne on her last day of Toronto coverage, there is plenty to cover. So let’s see what’s on the docket today…

With Toronto winding down, it’s worth taking note of early festival films looking for an added bump, like “The Artist” and “The Descendants.” Anne gives her take on how those films played up north.

There were a few considerable bows at the festival, like Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball” (thumbs up from both of us), Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” (ditto) and Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” (ditto). Those are the ones we’ve both seen, so we discuss them at length.

But is “Moneyball” an Academy movie? We both love it for various reasons, but we both seem to have the instinct that it’s not going to strike Oscar gold.

Anne has also seen a few more films at the fest, like the Christopher Plummer-starrer “Barrymore” and Terrence Davies’s “The Deep Blue Sea.” Are their Oscar prospects merely part of the out-of-Toronto media frenzy that won’t amount to much? She offers her thoughts.

We also get around to talking about “Take Shelter,” which is also playing Toronto and features, to my mind, the best performance of the year so far from Michael Shannon.

Finally, reader questions. I tried to speed through more than usual, addressing queries regarding “Warrior”’s Oscar hopes after coming up short at the box office, the New York Film Festival’s acquisition road this year and potential unexpected contenders lurking on the periphery.

Have a listen to the new podcast below. If you make it to “Drive” this weekend, you’ll appreciate the lead-in music. 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.

Thank you for being such a devoted audience for Oscar Talk here at InContention.com. But close one door and open another, so we hope you’ll join us at HitFix next week.


Subscribe to Oscar Talk

Back-up download: Oscar Talk Episode 61

→ 43 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Oscar Talk

43 responses so far

  • 1 9-16-2011 at 10:09 am

    Will said...

    The Reader actually had a rotten 5osomething rating during the season, then after the Oscars it went uphill with 60something.

  • 2 9-16-2011 at 11:24 am

    Ben said...

    Did I hear Anne right? A film’s lead (even putting Oscar prospects/strategy aside) is automatically designated to who the biggest star is? Going back to True Grit, there’s valid arguments for either side but “she’s only been in 1 movie” isn’t one of them.

  • 3 9-16-2011 at 11:28 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    That’s her philosophy. Same argument last year about True Grit.

  • 4 9-16-2011 at 11:35 am

    BJT said...

    I hate to ask such a banal technophobe question here, however…

    Will i-tunes subscribers need to re-subscribe following the move to HitFix (congratulations on that by the way even if I feel slightly miffed by HitFix 18-34 target demographic).

    Love the podcast, by the way, thoroghly enjoy hearing you and Anne banter off each other, especially when talking about the actual content and impact of the films.

  • 5 9-16-2011 at 11:56 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    I’m not sure on the iTunes thing yet. I’ll have to get back to you.

  • 6 9-16-2011 at 12:34 pm

    Andrej said...

    For the second time now, I don’t get Anne’s thinking process. Maybe it’s because bigger stars should get the more ¿prestigious? nods. Any Oscar’s a good Oscar, and as far as I can tell, no one’s saying “Supporting Role Oscar Winner Morgan Freeman” at trailers or posters.

    Hell, even Pitt’s wife got it from a supporting role as well, and she’s a star just as big as he is now. So why she’s still making the case for these Best NonFamous Actor and Best Famous Actor awards? These aren’t the MTV Movie Awards…

    Oh well. Fun podcast. ☺

  • 7 9-16-2011 at 1:24 pm

    Will said...

    Reminded me of a story when Columbia Pictures wanted to promote Rosalind Russell for an Academy Award nomination for Picnic, but Ms. Russell refused to be placed in the best supporting category. Had she agreed, might have been an Academy Award winner instead of 4-time Academy Award nominee.

  • 8 9-16-2011 at 2:05 pm

    Dooby said...

    Totally agree with you Kris – campaigning Pitt in supporting is exactly where they should, I think that’s the only place he’ll stand a chance (as well as the fact he is a supporting character for all the reasons you have said)

  • 9 9-16-2011 at 2:36 pm

    Bia said...

    In regards to Tree of Life, I was most affected by the middle child–the Brad Pitt look-a-like. He really broke my heart.

    I agree that Pitt was supporting the lead boy, Hunter. It was that boy’s journey we were on and we were seeing through his eyes–his imagination. But Pitt seems to really be working it, he wants to win for something this year. He’s definitely having a moment.

  • 10 9-16-2011 at 3:18 pm

    Matt King said...

    I agree with Kris about Pitt in The Tree of Life. Hands down, Pitt is the Supporting role in that. It’s not “Best Supporting Actor,” It’s Best Actor in a Supporting Role.

    The reverse is said for Steinfeld last year. Just because she’s young and inexperienced doesn’t mean she isn’t the lead role in that film.

  • 11 9-16-2011 at 3:26 pm

    Matt King said...

    Oh, and you heard right: “Shotgun Stories” is amazing. Can’t wait to see “Take Shelter.”

  • 12 9-16-2011 at 4:00 pm

    JJ1 said...

    By Anne’s theory, Kate Winslet would/should be campaigned LEAD in ‘Contagion’. Right?

    Good podcast. Though I always get the feeling 2/3’s of the way through these podcasts … that Anne’s “over” it.

    And by the time Kris gets to reader questions (“got time for a few reader questions?”), she’s always gives a ‘ugh, yessss’ — “Yeah. Sure” response.

    I love a lot of her spin on things/input. But she kinda drives me wild, too. But hey, that’s Oscar Talk. :)

    I’m kinda sad you guys agreed on so much this week. I enjoy the “I disagree …” banter, lol.

  • 13 9-16-2011 at 6:30 pm

    TheyCallMeMrTits said...

    Can’t argue against “Hard Day’s Night” making a bigger impact. Other Beatles films were more post-impact, I suppose.

    That said, seeing the Beatles attend a striptease in “Magical Mistery Tour” as a kid was somewhat unexpected. Not much was shown of course, but that’s not the point.

  • 14 9-16-2011 at 6:35 pm

    TheyCallMeMrTits said...

    “Did I hear Anne right? A film’s lead (even putting Oscar prospects/strategy aside) is automatically designated to who the biggest star is? Going back to True Grit, there’s valid arguments for either side but “she’s only been in 1 movie” isn’t one of them.”

    This kind of logic makes me a little angry. When you think about it, what Anne is saying is really nothing different from blatant discrimination. On the shakiest of grounds.

    By that logic, Matt Damon should be the lead in Eurotrip, just because he is the most visible actor there. I don’t think even she will argue that it isn’t the case.

  • 15 9-16-2011 at 7:26 pm

    THE Diego Ortiz said...

    Is that version of “A Hard Day’s Night” from Anthology?

  • 16 9-16-2011 at 7:32 pm

    will said...

    Glad we’ll keep getting the podcast.

    In terms of late entries to the awards race, I’m still super interested to see what’s going to happen with Young Adult. The Academy hasn’t been shy about loving Reitman’s stuff, and the new approach being taken to position this one for consideration could pay off.

  • 17 9-16-2011 at 7:38 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Not only do I think Charlize Theron is the most stunning actress to hit Hollywood since Elizabeth Taylor, but I also think she has great acting chops & versatility.

    Hopefully ‘Young Adult’ can get her back into the Oscar conversation for the first time in 6 years.

  • 18 9-16-2011 at 7:50 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    No mention of ‘My Week with Marilyn’ premiering at the NYFF? That’s kind of a big deal..?

  • 19 9-16-2011 at 7:56 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Ooh, good call, Dana. Wonder why they didn’t do it opening night, though, given that Carnage was used goods at Venice.

  • 20 9-16-2011 at 7:57 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Anne’s mentality is a very Old Hollywood one, where someone like David Niven was placed in Lead Actor for a clearly supporting role in “Separate Tables.” Those times are over, thankfully, and we actually recognize the position of the character in the story as opposed to the star who’s playing the role. Well, usually.

  • 21 9-16-2011 at 8:20 pm

    kel said...

    How dare you diss Christopher Plummer and Barrymore. Hahahaha

    Don’t you remember that James Whitmore earned a nomination for his stagy, 1-man show “Give ’em Hell, Harry!”

  • 22 9-16-2011 at 8:21 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Got anymore?



  • 23 9-16-2011 at 9:27 pm

    Andrej said...

    While it’s a tough sell just because the whole movie’s on his shoulders, I wonder if out of exposure he’ll manage to pull it off with a proper campaign and reception. Plummer’s also in Beginners and ‘Dragon Tattoo’, so they’ll have plenty options to which pick a nod for him (especially in a year where so far it all seems to be about the ‘due’ rather than the new kids, with Close Oldman Streep Davis Swinton Pitt DiCaprio, etc), but Barrymore obviously looks like the one which exposes the actor in a greater lenght, and if it worked for James Franco last year, I wouldn’t think a nod it’s entirely unlikely.

    My only concern is that if The Artist could overlap with it – two movies about seemilingly decaying actors, though it all depends if the actor’s plight in Barrymore resonates true to the Academy at large.

  • 24 9-16-2011 at 9:36 pm

    Matthew Starr said...

    So according to Anne’s philosophy guys like Pitt, Clooney and DiCaprio are automatically leads no matter what film they are in. So when Leo plays the villain in Django Unchained next year he is the lead even though Jamie Foxx is friggin DJANGO.

    Anyways, I don’t think there are “leads” in Terrence Malick films. At least not since Badlands. Who was the lead in TTRL? Caviezel, Penn, or someone else? Was it Farrell or Bale in New World?

    Trying to figure out who is a lead and who is supporting in a Malick film is a futile exercise.

  • 25 9-16-2011 at 10:53 pm

    Dana Jones said...

    Pitt is certainly not the lead in TTOL. Anne is way too team-Pitt to see it. Searchlight is making the right move by campaigning Pitt in the supporting category and letting the good reviews/word of mouth about McCracken’s performance bolster his career.

  • 26 9-17-2011 at 4:14 am

    dalurae jin said...

    Loved Take Shelter too. It’d be exhilarating to see Shannon get an Oscar nod. And I agree with Kris that Pitt’s character should be considered a supporting role.

  • 27 9-17-2011 at 6:09 am

    JJ1 said...

    Many people say things like “Pitt being so good in a movie like Moneyball certainly helps his cause for The Tree of Life”. Or “PLummer’s visibility/power in Barrymore plus his visibility in Dragon Tattoo will certainly help his cause for a Supporting nom/win in Beginners”.


    How does all of that help? If there’s a campaign (however big or small) for Pitt to go Lead in Moneyball, and there’s a campaign (however big or small) for Pitt to go Lead or Supporting in The Tree of Life ……. wouldn’t that damage the potential for that actor to be nommed anywhere?

    Why would one voter vote for both (or multiple) campaigns? Or why would one voter instinctively vote for one or the other when 2 or more campaigns are in front of them? Doesn’t that line of thinking negate full support for that actor to get in for either performance or either category?

    Ditto, Plummer. If he’s as good in Barrymore as many have said, won’t he get lots of votes in lead for Barrymore and less in Beginners for Supporting? Or vice-versa?

    And then neither performance gets acknowledged? I know there are double nominees in 2 categories at rare times. And I know that IT IS SAID that having multiple performances in a year ‘can’ help you get nommed/win in another category for another performance. But I honestly don’t understand the logic. Can anyone help?

  • 28 9-17-2011 at 6:12 am

    JJ1 said...

    I guess the ultimate question is: wouldn’t a cumulative effect of several Oscary performances in one year work AGAINST the actor, rather than help? It seems that a lot of people feel that the reverse happens. Thanks! :)

  • 29 9-17-2011 at 6:15 am

    JJ1 said...

    The only way I could see it helping is if one AMPAS voter says to another, “Hey, Plummer was great in Barrymore, wasn’t he? Good as he is there, have you seen him in ‘Beginners’? You should see him in that!”

  • 30 9-17-2011 at 8:30 am

    Arty said...

    TTOL is a film about a father-son relationship: by definition, Pitt and McCracken are co-leads. Anne’s view is really no narrower than Kris’s because both subscribe to the neatness of Academy logic, where one performance is singled out and campaigned as the lead despite the film’s obvious resistance to such simple categorisation.

  • 31 9-17-2011 at 10:28 am

    TheyCallMeMrTits said...

    Since its a movie I really like I want to point out that Crash is at 75% (Certified Fresh) on RT.

  • 32 9-17-2011 at 10:36 am

    JJ1 said...

    ^ Yeah, pretty sure the 50s and 60s referenced in the podcast are Metacritic scores. Yes, the dreaded “Metacritic” that isn’t supposed to be mentioned, here. haha

  • 33 9-17-2011 at 11:01 am

    TheyCallMeMrTits said...

    And JJ1, there is no easy answer to your question. Vote splitting is real danger in some cases and should be carefully considered. On the other hand, Plummer went without a single Oscar nomination for almost his entire career. So in a case like his, increased visibility creates a good trade off (especially considering that his other performance is in a different category).

  • 34 9-17-2011 at 11:37 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    “TTOL is a film about a father-son relationship: by definition, Pitt and McCracken are co-leads.”

    I disagree on both counts.

    And no, my view doesn’t subscribe to Academy logic (WTF?), it subscribes to the logic of narrative.

  • 35 9-17-2011 at 11:37 am

    JJ1 said...

    fair enough, thanks Tits. ;)

  • 36 9-17-2011 at 12:54 pm

    JFK said...

    Kris, what is that song you used as a lead-in?

  • 37 9-17-2011 at 1:41 pm

    Fitz said...

    I don’t agree with that strategy (Moneyball aids Tree of Life). If that were the case wouldn’t Hugh Jackman came out with some sort of nod in 2006 for ‘The Fountain’ or ‘The Prestige’?

  • 38 9-17-2011 at 2:38 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    No because neither of those films was likely to get him a nod in the first place. Both TTOL and Moneyball are possibilities for Pitt.

  • 39 9-17-2011 at 2:55 pm

    Andrej said...

    JFK, it’s “A Real Hero” by College.

  • 40 9-17-2011 at 5:09 pm

    Arty said...

    Fair play, Kris, and I certainly see the point you are making. I guess in my experience of the film, fatherhood felt like the most pertinent theme, and the father’s development just as significant an arc as the son’s.

  • 41 9-18-2011 at 6:35 am

    JFK said...

    Thanks Andrej!

  • 42 9-19-2011 at 1:24 pm

    Marc R. said...

    I gotta say, I hate the way he uses that song in the movie. And even worse, he uses it twice.

  • 43 10-01-2011 at 12:21 pm

    Rex Okpodu said...

    Am sure you mis-spoke Annie but George Clooney won the best supporting actor oscar for Syriana in 2005, not for Good Night and Good Luck. He was of course, nominated for directing and co-writing the latter in the same year.