Monday, February 04, 2008

Oscar Symposium is a Go! There Will Be Chatter

Please welcome Sasha, Nick, Dennis, Kim, Boyd and Tim to the 3rd Annual Oscar Symposium hosted by Nathaniel (c'est moi) right here @ the Film Experience...


Three to four days of detailed Oscar talk. And we're a go...

DAY ONE
In which our correspondents discuss Daniel Day-Lewis's milkshake, George Clooney's "fixer", nomination morning rituals, The Wizard of Oz, "kabuki" acting, the odd case of sexual draaaaaiiinnnage from 2007 movies and so much more.

Got something to add to the conversation? That's what "post a comment" for. Join in.
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22 comments:

Dr. Stan Glick said...

Finally got to see "There Will Be Blood" yesterday and came away feeling that it's the most overhyped film of 2007. For me, as for others, the film left the rails in the last 30 minutes or so. For me it derailed at the scene where Daniel Day-Lewis's character and the man pretending to be his half-brother are in the brothel. At lest I assume it was a brothel.
And while I think DD-L's a fine actor, I have to wonder if all the Best Actor Oscar talk about him is based on the fact that he managed in at least one take to do his "milkshake" lines without cracking up! Also I wonder if the greatest expense on this film wasn't for scenery, cause DD-L certainly chewed it up a lot. And what's with the priest Eli doing an immitation of Gene Wilder in the bowling alley scene?
The first 2/3rds to 3/4ths of the film were a compelling drama and a believable depiction of what the oil drillng industry was like at that time. Too bad the remainder of the film was such a big let down.

Sid said...

Interesting discussion about the Day-Lewis performance. My personal pick of the year is Mortensen (and I thing Nat describes this perf appropriately as "tremendous"),

I must agree, though, that Day-Lewis' turn is also pure genius, if hammy -- but it's so much a part of TWBB that it's hard to imagine the film being the same without that performance.

Cal said...

Haha. I love Tim's comments about Gordon Pinsent. I actually think it's partly Polley's fault. His performance feels like total overkill in any case.

Why is everyone so harsh on Juno?! Somebody has to stick up for it :-(

NATHANIEL R said...

sid right? how to you remove it from the movie? how can it be anything else and yet... what is it?

stan glick the last scene is the sticking point, yes. i like paul dano and i'm inclined to blame the direction if he seems to easily not day-lewis match. PTA is genius but either he doesn't intend the faith character to be a match or forgets to make him formidable... i don't know. easily the most fascinating movie of the year but i go back and forth about whether or not it's the "best" --primarily due to the last 20 minutes

cal i know that Nick isn't down with the Juno bashing so maybe there'll be more balance on day two? we shall see.

roscoecashjr said...

Can't let the Best Actor conversation go by without throwing some love to Emile Hirsch, who made an enormous leap from his usual pretty/pouty/surly boys into the full color spectrum of Alexander Supertramp. Unlike, say, the way TWBB is a film that seems built to serve the power of a single burning-derrick of a performance, Into the Wild understands that the protagonist is supposed to interact with the other characters rather than simply set fires around them. I admire TWBB, and get a big smile on my face when I think of any number of Plainview's speeches (that voice! that stare!). But ITW felt less like a spectacle I watched and more like a journey I entered. (Yes, I use the potentially new agey word 'journey' advisedly...) Seeing as Hirsch isn't nominated, I'd vote for DDL, but the performance is like something out of theater, on a stage -- alive and remote at the same time.

mrripley said...

ddl is ott during the last segment but the milkshake scene sould be his oscar clip and dano was way overlooked for a supp nom for who hoffman bad bad bad as for mortensen i have said it once so i will say it again i did not see anything remotely oscar worthy about the performance at all i still believe he got the nod for fighting naked.can someone explain to me what i am not seeing in viggos perf.

can you be nominated in the acting category if you are dead i watvched the shooting aprty and wondered why no oscar love for mason and geilgud & realised mason died before it was released would he have been eligible anyway.

NATHANIEL R said...

you can be nominated posthumously yes. there's no rules against it. james dean did it as have a few others (names escape me)

mrripley said...

massimo troisi i think was the last.

nat,can you explain the viggo perf and nomination over riley,gosling,mcavoy,hoffman others.
preferred the other pic of you by the way,enjoyed the mich quiz,could not get the 2 directos she has worked with though.

c.p. iñor said...

absolutely agree with Kim on Ashley Judd's performance (for me the best of the year).

and I prefer Viggo's performance to Lewis'

nick plowman said...

Still haven't seen There Will Be Blood - it is released in March in South Africa. NOT FAIR.

I just know I will love it, and yet people have seen it, hate it, and under appreciate it, but the ones dying in desperation to see it, we have to wait.

*this is when I start banging my keyboard, and remember to call my therapist to push my appointment forward* Or I would if I went to a therapist.

Ric said...

Peter Finch won the Oscar for BEst Actor after he had died for "Network"

I know that DDL will win Best Actor ,and he was amazing most of the time ... however, just as in 'The Gangs of New York" he overacts to the point of caicature,,,,especially in Blood.

For Best Actor I loved Emile Hirsh but not being nominated, I have to go with Viggo ( who is definitely a dark horse )

chofer said...

I'm worried no one mentioned Emile Hirsh in the discussion.
He wiped away everything the was wrong about Tom Hanks in CASTAWAY (he was nom for that)for the physical transformation was all the more compelling since it were hinted gradually through the movie.
When we see him throughout the third act, we can see his consumming flesh -as well as his wide-eye horror looking face- telling all we need to know about his mistakes. The loss of pounds for actual dramatic effect.

amir_uk said...

Just started reading this and had to comment YES! I also feel like the new year starts on March 1. Oscars trump the Roman calendar any day. I thought it was just me here in the UK who had to suffer this silliness, seeing as we get so many of the "2007" releases in Jan/Feb 08. But I see it also extends to you guys. Good stuff.

Ok, back to the symposium - was excited enough already. Then I discover the added bonus: Tim Robey is also contributing this time... Fantastic...

charlie said...

I prefer Viggo's performance to DDL's, but prefer TWBB over EP. Of course DDL is the bare boards that hold up the house in TWBB, but the film's scope is massive enough, and the subtextual stories are sinewy and slippery enough to fill in the gaps that a "big" performance like this can leave.

qwiggles said...

"I felt like I was given two unknowable people for the price of one, and that everyone behaved exactly like Canadians in a short story are meant to."

?

Brooke Cloudbuster said...

It's very nice to see people discussing Tommy Lee Jones in In The Valley of Elah; because it's simply one of those film-elevating and one of those performances that keeps the film together, if barely.

GayAsXmas said...

Really interesting discussion. One thing has continued to bother me over the past couple of months however, and I guess it has become crystillised this weekend when I finally saw Juno (I am from London, it was on previews here).

There seems to be a sense that Juno isn't 'important' enough to warrant winning best picture, or even to be nominated. I also detected this around Atonement about 2 months ago and I am wondering if it is because there is something undenuably 'feminine' about the issues in both, a sense that they don't share the macho seriousness of Clayton, TWBB and Country.

I loved Juno. Perhaps because the hype hasn't been so enveloping over here, but I was utterly charmed and fully invested in the film by the end. It certainly had as many worthwhile things to say as Michael Clayton (a film I loved but is pretty conventional when you get right down to it). I certainly don't think Juno is anywhere near as obnoxious a choice as Crash.

I guess what I am saying, is Juno easy pickings because it is less self-conciously arty then the other picks? Juno is clearly superior to Little Miss Sunshine, and shouldn't have to be saddled with people's ire over that film's success. In addition, the Juno hatred seems to be in direct proportion to its commercial success. If it had made $30 million instead of $110, would it have had the same backlash?

amir_uk said...

Interesting that you pick up on the "Juno issue" Gayasxmas, because I wanted to mention it too given what's been said in the symposium and also that it's about to open here in the UK.

I actually think the hype around the film is even more deafening here, because it comes armed with 4 Oscar nominations in all the top categories. Everywhere you hear or read reviews of the film, they're so breathless, in a way that I can't imagine it having been when the film first opened in the US with no accolades to its name. The Guardian has been pimping this film on its arts blog in an even more aggressive way than they did with Atonement. I just hope some of the other broadsheets take a more sensible approach to the film in their reviews on Friday.

I am just really shocked that people are taking to this film so much - and willing to throw it such masterpiece/comedy milestone status. I think once the hype dies down, the film will reveal itself for what it really is, your average Friday-night-at-the-movies comedy. I mean even Nathaniel who gave Juno a respectable but not earth-shattering "B", ended up awarding Ellen Page and the script FB nominations come year's-end (and almost seemed apologetic about the nomination for the latter). I think groupthink has gone on OVERDRIVE with this one - especially amongst the UK reviews I've read/heard. It's like "you MUST love this film." "It's the cool yet arty yet fun/teen choice." But the thing is, it's not. It doesn't have a thing on Heathers, Clueless, Election, Ghost World - even Legally Blonde and Mean Girls had more interesting setups and deliveries (pardon the pun).

I'm just glad there are some dissenting voices in the symposium - I was beginning to think, am I the only one here?

P.S. Little Miss Sunshine was a better film. I wasn't a fan of that one either, but at least it had an interesting aesthetic (probably owing to Dayton & Faris' work in pop videos), all round great performances - and its script wasn't an obnoxious parody of itself.

amir_uk said...

Also on the subject of LMS versus Juno - I want to know why the Academy's Best Picture 'indie slot' went from being taken up by deserving gems like In the Bedroom, The Hours, Lost in Translation and Sideways in the first part of the decade, to your mediocrities like Little Miss Sunshine and Juno now? They were so going in the right direction for a while...

NATHANIEL R said...

i don't know. i find it hard to complain about any particular slot right now because doesn't it seem like they're actually listening to critical ideas more often now.

i can't imagine THERE WILL BE BLOOD and NO COUNTRY both nominated in earlier years. so --let them have their lightness where they need it ;)

i'm just generous because it's the first all good films lineup in ages... though yes, Juno is the least of them. I disagree about the many many references to Ghost World's superiority --particularly in regards to Thora Birch's performance over Ellen Page's.

Anonymous said...

I want Juno to win Best Pic just to watch oscar snobs - ooops, I mean bloggers - everywhere have a complete meltdown over it.

The fact that I genuinely enjoyed the film plays a part too, of course.

mrripley said...

juno is to pleased with its own hippness to ring true and that goes for the cast too bar garner.