Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oscar Symposium Wrap: Adopt! Slap! Predict!

>Whew< ... that party was so much fun to host. Today I will be cleaning up after it. If you're just joining the Oscar Symposium conversation, you'll want to start from day one. But if you've been playing along, here's the wrap up.

In which Best Actress is discussed and Nathaniel discovers a bunch of Marion Cotillard supporters in his house (blasphemy, the Oscar must be Christie's!), the participants offer the Lovely Laura Linney free advice on how she might finally win that Oscar and we end with a party game -- make like Ruby Dee in American Gangster and Hal Holbrook from Into the Wild: choose a film, person, or filmthing to slap or adopt.

You know you want to play this game in the comments. Let's hear from everyone... even the lurkers. Who do you want to just hug and protect and who needs some sense knocked into them? (But first go and read the symposium)


Anonymous said...

"Slap or adopt?" Love it. One of the quintessential questions of our time.

Please please God of Oscar, can Hal and Ruby both win this year? It'd be sooo cute. And amazing. And would go some small way in forgiving the atrocity I feel will be committed in Best Actress.

Anonymous said...

i want to adopt for 1 year until she stops speaking diablo cody's oh so supercool dialogue and learns to act and talk like a real person "thundercats are go" the most unbelievable piece of dialogue in years,i want tio slap viggo mortensn and tell him cameras are rolling.

Catherine said...

Adopt: Wendy and John Savage. I rarely get to the end of the film wishing I could spend more time with the main characters, but as The Savage's came to a (perfect) close, I felt saddened I'd never again "hang out" with those siblings. Also, Tommy Lee Jones is about 40 years older than me in The Valley of Elah, so adoption would be a little weird, but he broke my heart.

Slap: Jason Bateman's character in Juno.

Anonymous said...

i want hal holbrook to adopt me

Sam said...

I wanted to slap Juno somewhere around the "fine furnishings" comment. Wise, witty, ironic, and oh so hip can really get on my nerves after a while?

I want to adopt Casey Affleck for obvious reasons.

Billy McLellan said...

really nathaniel, you think golden compass should win visual effects? over transformers? those awful cgi animals bring that movie down to whole new level. with this, narnia, and harry potter, i'm really struggling to see advancement in full cg characters.
and while transformers may not be much, it's visual fx are crisp and pretty breathtaking.


i think transformers effects are beautifully done. i just think they miss the point of "transforming"

that's my only qualm. it's more like liquid metal and the toys --well, the appeal is oh, this thing twists and turns and pivots and now it's this thing. which is way cooler than simple too-fast-to-see-it morphing.

at least to me. just a personal preference

Anonymous said...

Adopt: HG Plainview, a couple years before he gets his hearing blown out. With a "father" like Daniel, poor guy never had a chance.

Slap: Tang Wei's character in Lust, Caution, a couple minutes before she goes all googly-eyed over The Ring, reminding her that she's a revolutionary, not a dimestore heroine, damnit!

Robert said...

I think I'd want to adopt HW Planview. Nice kid... needs a slightly better parental influence.

and I'd go the opposite way on Christopher McCandless. He's tops on my list of people I want to slap.

Not since Holden Caulfield have I been so put off by an ego-driven young man that seems to appeal to everyone else.

Anonymous said...

The Marion Cotillard love in the panel rocked. Thx for that Nick. :>)

Adopt: Lars (the poor guy just needs a hug and a serious dose of therapy)

Slap: Briony's cousin (that biotch had plenty of atonin' to do herself, too)

Anonymous said...

Nat, I want to adopt Hal Hoolbrook.
I know Javier Bardem is the runaway leader, and he deserves all the accolades and all of that, but he has so many parents (eg, trophies) already.
Besides, somebody has to make up for the totally snubbed and wrongly misanderstood INTO THE WILD.
Yes, THAT PICTURE. In a way I see it like a bookend of THERE WILL BE BLOOD. The other side of the coin.
Where TWWB is all about the lack of love, the former is all about the rejecting of love.
Both work around greedy protagonists in pursuit of rather ambicious and questionable goals.
Both are higly inmature, but in different ways.
The difference being (besides the obvious: one diggin for money and power, the other discarding it at all costs)the vision they project of the heartland and his inhabitants.
Where TWBB is all harsh and merciless about human condition, ITW is warm and non-judgemental.
Look, I'm not an inhabitant of the USA; I'm not even a native english speaker, but both stories touched me deeply in their arguably universal visions. I can see why BOTH countries exist.
In a way, both pictures are extreme and indulge in their extremities; frankly, there was no such way to expose them.
What both Paul Thomas Anderson and Sean penn did (although with different skills- Anderson is a much more seasoned filmmaker and knows the technique inside out)is built they pictures around their protagonists.
Meaning matching their visions with the same excessive and erratic behaviour of their leading men.
An all-around empathy of sorts.
It takes lot of courage on both parts: UNDERSTANDING their characters and being totally PASSIONATE on the journey to their tragic ends.
Critics, unlike with TWBB, seemed not to care about the present allegory in Christopher McCandless journey. They took it rather literally. Maybe it's too transparent in intention and execution for their own taste. Or else, maybe they found solace in knowing Daniel Plainview is a fictional creature who works as and allegory and Christopher McCandless was not at all.
Now, THAT is a reason to really worry about:-


interesting idea that the offputting is easier to take with the fictional trappings.

but surely men like plainview do exist.

anon --actually several anon Cotillard lovers -- see?!?

Anonymous said...


To some of us, Christopher McCandless was not appealing. Neither was Daniel Plainview. So what was the point in following every move this depicable men does? If you answer this question, you will find and anwer to Christopher McCandless as well.
To show empathy is not the same thing as to be critical. Hey, doesn't he got what he deserved and much more? Or was I watching another movie?
But McCandless, unlike Plainview, is much more a sneaky and ambiguous a character to hate about right away. When Anderson is merciless with Plainview and his sorroundings (much like the character himself), Penn is warmer and ambiguous about McCandless and his (much like the person himself).
They perfectly FIT their opposite visions.
Either way, the outcome is just the same. As it should be.

Anonymous said...

Yes Nat, surely he exists.
But he's fictional nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

Nat--where is your tribute to Zsa Zsa Gabor on her 91st birthday? Surely her performance in Moulin Rouge (sans !) merits a footnote?

Plus, have you seen this?:

Anonymous said...

This has been a joyous/maddening/crazy/sexy/cool riot of a symposium to read, and my thanks to all of you who took part.


Anonymous said...

Oh, and P.S. I'm with the Cotillard lovers. I've stuck with her for months, and I refuse to drop her at the last minute. Not even for Laura Linney. No. You can't convince me. No. WILL NOT...



Kurtis O said...

I want to ADOPT Saoirse Ronan and protect her from a Dakota Fanning-esque career, and SLAP the bitch in Starbucks yesterday who I atually heard say, "what the blog?"


oh god. the juno generation cometh ;)

Anonymous said...

About the symposium

JUNO lost me a little when she abandoned the implications of her unexpected bound and possible relationship (?) with Mark Loring. Just when the quirkiness had calmed down and the movie had moved on in a surprisingly new path, the protagonist opted for the (unexpected too, I have to admit)comfort in fulfillingness a relationship with Paulie.
Maybe some people don't see it that way. Maybe Juno was wiser behind her years to know ALL about disillusions in the adult world and takes wisdom faster than the blink of an eye.
I just can't sold all that on this one.
I know Juno was wiser behind her years, but I expected she acted out like the sixteen years old she was after all.
I can't believe she opted for Paulie without having a convincing wake up call. Unless you think the breaking up of two people she BARELY knew is as convincing a wake up call as it gets.
Juno, very wisely, eluded the problem. But she couldn't eluded having sex without protection. Which, by the way, seemed an easier task.
Juno didn't know what kind of girl she was. But, suddenly, and without any further exploration on her actual motivations, a fight between her "ideal adoptive surrogates" hasten the resolution.
If I am to believe Juno was wiser than I thought she was, I CAN understand this.
What I DON'T understand, is why the movie precipitates into the comfortable resolution without taking a riskier path before. A risk the movie itself let us see with a glimpse in the first place.
Instead, it slammed the door in our faces.
Juno may not knew the kind of woman she was, but she surely was a fast learner.

Anonymous said...

thanks guys for three great days of movie dish. a special nod to kim morgan for all the chuckles. i'm now obsessing over potential '07 movie crossovers thanks to kim's too funny bug/black snake moan and juno/zodiac mash-ups. i'm sure sam jackson could have cured the "competition" inside daniel day-lewis as surely as he cured christina ricci of her "wicked ways" (although day-lewis may not be able to pull off the rebel flag cut-off). i want to see nancy drew teaming up with sheriff bell to capture anton chigurh. and jack nicholson and morgan freeman helping diving bell's mathieu amalric with his bucket list.

goatdog said...

After reading about the "Falling Slowly" controversy, it sounds like it's probably ineligible, in which case... I dunno. I guess I want to slap the Oscars.

Anonymous said...

Adopt the Savage sibs. Especially John who broke my heart. All that pain left over from childhood. Poor little boy. Also Hal that man!

Slap the ever loving snot out of Juno.

Glenn Dunks said...

Ever since I saw it, I've wanted to slap "girl" from Once. AAGH! She was sooo infuriating. I really did want to just slap her. I think I may have written that in my "review".

For adoption, I'd like to adopt James Gilgun from This is England and show him a few things or two about alternative cultures. Uh-huh.

Also, I'd adopt the three brothers from The Darjeeling Limited. If ever an incest fantasy felt totally okay it would be there!

...wait, that was going a bit too far, right?

The Jaded Armchair Reviewer said...

Are we still playing?

I'd like Ramona Linscott and Marietta Fortune to adopt Anton Chigurh. :)


all these adoptions totally are warming my heart. but it's interesting who people want to slap and who they don't.

Anonymous said...

I want to agree to give up my baby for adoption, then when it's born say "April Fools." Also, go Laura Linney for BA!

Anonymous said...

Firstly, go Sasha go! For namechecking Persepolis. It's an instant classic - for my money, the best animated film since Spirited Away - it was sorely robbed of an adpted screenplay citation, it's script is so literate. Also sound categories, dammit! I personally think comparing Ratatouille to Persepolis is like comparing a McDonalds hamburger to one from Gourmet Burger Kitchen (to take the food motif to an excruciatingly crass new level).

Also, I normally love Nick's writing - but I think he was reading WAY too much into Cotillard's performance. You were filling in for her - and the film.