Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Saint Clint of Hollywood

<-- I'm rebooting a graphic I used exactly two years ago because there's been virtually no break in the chain of Clint Eastwood puff pieces and puff nominations. Today the New York Times gives Clint a hand for his latest Gran Torino which opens this weekend. This is my favorite bit:
Much attention will be paid to Eastwood, who may finally stand a real chance of being recognized for his work as an actor, as well as director.
I really wish the Times had bolded the "finally"-- please highlight the absurdity editors! Yes, poor Clint --always left out of industry honors. So little attention has been paid! It's like people can barely remember his name when it comes time to fill out year-end ballots. As for his acting never being recognized: does no one realize that he regularly makes top 100 movie stars of all time lists. (I repeat: Top 100. All Time. That's quite an achievement) Does no one understand that two acting Oscar nominations and multiple trophies from Oscar and other groups (3 more honors this morning from the BFCA) for other achievements is more than most stars ever get? --more than several stars combined? Are so few people really unable to admit that equally talented directors and much more talented composers are never as lauded / rewarded for their efforts precisely because they lack his incredible fame and the cumulative public goodwill that comes from being an enduring icon of the screen?

Clint-Mania no longer makes me crazy for its overblown qualities. You probably don't believe that but tis true. I've accepted it. But, no, the craziness now comes from its sheer relentlessness, not its size. Clint's 2009/10 Oscar move -- I'm sorry movie -- will be a Nelson Mandela picture starring Morgan Freeman. Ka-Ching! The Gran Torino/Changeling double is not the last chance to honor him. Clint currently has 4 Oscars which means he's tied for 25th place for most Oscars ever. Most of the top 24 are behind the scenes people (composers, costume designers, art directors, producers) and a few other multi-hyphenates like Clint.

More power to Mr. Eastwood for working so hard well into his 70s (would that other lauded old-timers would pick up the pace a little *cough Warren Beatty cough*) but I sincerely wish he could be treated as his peers are: some attention paid when they make particularly good or resonant films, a pass when they don't. A hour after typing up this post I received this message from "txt critic" whom I've quoted here before. He's wordier than usual post Gran Torino screening
it's bad. clint eastwood's "crash"
a nomination would be ridiculous but he'll get one and a win would be insanity
he fucking GROWLS for half the movie. and i don't mean that as a euphemism
he literally growls like a dog when he doesnt like something.

themes are underlined, sentimentality is to insane levels
it's as if every character was like hilary swank's family in M$B, no level of subtlety or characters acting like actual human beings
Ouch! Clint must have told 'txt critic' to Get Off His Lawn.
[for LOTS more on this year's Oscar race... chase the Oscars (08) label below]


Jason Adams said...

All I could think of was John McCain when I first saw the trailer for Gran Torino. I think Clint might've missed the zeitgeist this year; it would've worked out better for him if the "Get off my lawn!" candidate had won, and this could've been the season of the grumpy old asshole.

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear even Oscar voters may struggle giving him another statue: the thought of a Clint acting win- especially amongst such gold (Penn, Rourke, DiCaprio, Langella) - was really starting to depress me.

The nom will be cringe worthy… but it sounds like the race is back to Rourke vs. Penn vs. Leo!!!!


ryan... not so fast. Just because someone is reportedly way over-the-top in a movie doesn't mean they can't win the Oscar. Scent of a Woman anyone?

Catherine said...

Hah, lol at "he literally growls like a dog when he doesnt like something." Is that film for real, honestly? Or is it supposed to be like, Snakes on a Plane?

Clint devotees are a little scary. I remember an English class I had the day after the 2007 Oscars and our teacher decided to spend the period discussing the telecast. At one point I made some crack about how baffled Clint looked while presenting Ennio Morricone with the Honorary Oscar and my English teacher flipped. She glared at me and hissed "Clint Eastwood...is...a...genius."

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

ryan... not so fast. Just because someone is reportedly way over-the-top in a movie doesn't mean they can't win the Oscar. Scent of a Woman anyone?

Yes, no one seemed to believe me at Gold Derby when I predicted Clint Eastwood winning Best Actor when I first heard about Gran Torino earlier this year. Now I'm starting to see his name mentioned more for a nomination, but no one except me still has him down for the win. I still think he's winning even if it is a tough year to even be in the top 5 and with Sean Penn likely being the favorite if it weren't for Eastwood. They love him too much, and with his announcement whether sincere or not that he was retiring from acting, he's so winning this year. Sorry, I hope you stock up on the antiacid before Oscar night.

adam k. said...

Boy would Nathaniel have fun this year if it turned out to be Slumdog, Boyle and Clint for wins. Add a Winslet category fraud win just cause it's the most annoying thing that could happen in the actress categories (which are, in fairness, looking pretty good).

I suppose Kate Beckinsale could still come out of nowhere and win everything.


adam k -- bite your tongue. What will surely help me a bit this year get through it all is knowing that my favorites have no chance whatsoever. It's almost easier in those sorts of years.

and even if MILK never gets close to winning that even won't bother me all that much since it's no individual masterpiece like Brokeback. It's just a very good movie about a subject that's great. You know?

It's always most devastating when some future classic film or performance that has a real shot at something loses to something decidedly inferior. that's when it hurts.

I'm sure if PENN hadn't already won we'd be safe from an EASTWOOD win but since he has...

Anonymous said...

What really annoys me about the Clint zeitgeist, in particular this year, is that he will likely take the place of Richard Jenkins in the Oscar lineup... and let's be honest, how many other chances is Richard Jenkins going to get to make the shortlist? I mean, roles like that only come along once in a blue moon - he's always reliable, but there's very likely not going to be that magic marriage of role and performance again for Jenkins.

Obviously I haven't seen Gran Torino, so I can't objectively say, but I find it VERRRRRRRY hard to believe that Clint will be better than Jenkins.

For what it's worth: what if Clint Eastwood has starred in The Visitor and Richard Jenkins had starred in Gran Torino?

adam k. said...


LA Critics Best Picture = WALL•E

One word: YES!!!

Boyle wins director. Penn wins actor. Hawkins wins actress. Cruz & Ledger win supporting.

A+ for the L.A. film critics this year.

adam k. said...

WALL•E might actually have a shot now. It made the BFCA list and won the LA critics award. It would also win the comedy globe, were it eligible. It's doing all it can possibly do.

Could it nab that 5th spot? You know, the one after Slumdog, Button, Milk and Dark Knight?

p.s. I love WALL•E.

adam k. said...
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Anonymous said...

Adam K - I'd love for that to be the BP lineup, but two huge summer blockbusters (TDK and WALL-E)? I'm not so sure...

...although I do believe that the little guy is closer to a BP nomination than I ever thought he'd get! :D

adam k. said...

I think that lineup is possible. L.A., while not a good bellwether for the best pic winner, is VERY helpful with getting a nomination. I believe it's up there with the NBR in terms of having it's best pic winner oscar-nominated each year. It's especially good as a launching pad for blockbusters that may have been passed over otherwise (Star Wars, E.T., etc.). Of course, they DID give Dark Knight their runner-up prize, so it's the one that might benefit here. But I can dream.

Other things in WALL•E's favor: it's the only comedy with a shot. Slumdog doesn't count... and there's usually a comedy. Plus, at the very least, it stands out from the december oscar-bait glut. Frost/Nixon, Rev Road, Doubt, etc. are all sorta bleeding together, and can also be honored in other categories to satisfy their fans.

I think many people consider WALL•E to be Pixar's finest hour (a tall order) and really wanna see it go all the way.

At least it has a better shot at screenplay now...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you though I really dont understand why do you have kate Winslet as nº 2 in your predictions for RR. You want her to have 7 nominations? more then Sarandon or Lange. At this point Winslet is out of the lead cat. Both Jolie and Blanchett should be ahead of her.

RahulB said...

Nothing made me happier than seeing Wall-E win best picture from LA. I really hope it starts steamrolling the competition because, seriously, when was the last time ANYONE took an animated film seriously? Aren't we all ready for a Beauty and the Beast take 2?

I'm loving the Rahman win for Slumdog (the music was the most riveting part of the film). I agree with Nathaniel on this - it's nice, but come on. Let's not make it into the second coming...maybe I'm biased, being Indian, having been born in Bombay and brought up here - but I think of India as more than just a staggering amount of poor people.

Anonymous said...

You're right. Clint IS God.

Love the Clint.

- cal roth

gabrieloak said...

Hmm...an actor way over the top...could that be Daniel Day Lewis last year???

Michael B. said...

Clint Eastwood has a possibility to be nominated for 7 Golden Globes on Thursday. (2 for Producing, 2 for Directing, 1 for Acting, 1 for Score and 1 for Original Song in Gran Torino.)

I say he gets 3 nominations-Acting, Score and Directing (Gran Torino)

RahulB said...
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Sally Belle said...

Well...I for one am still being made crazy by this Clintmania. ( BTW, Also the Angelina mania. Not this year...not with these women! ) Also...I was thinking John McCain as well! I blogged about this Clint thing back in October.

Mickey Rourke should own the Best Actor award, but, he is too politically incorrect for the Academy. So, it's probably really between Penn and Langella.
But, I think Rourke may win the SAG...and can you imagine the emotional wallup that'll pack?

And just to cheer you up...Beatty is SERIOUSLY prepping a film to shoot next year. If money holds and he doesn't go all A.D.D on us..it should happen.

Guy Lodge said...

Couldn't have said it better myself, Nat.

If Eastwood beats Penn or Rourke to the Oscar, I may boycott the ceremony for a year or two. Much as I like some of his work, I can't bear the thought of him being the first person to win for directing and acting -- he simply hasn't earned that status. When has he ever delivered the best performance of a given year?

And I'll take this fuss about it being his last film as an actor with a grain of salt, thank you very much -- didn't he imply the same thing about Million Dollar Baby?

Janice said...

My sweetie and I were at the theaters to see Australia when the trailer for Gran Torino played - and my sweetie (my mid-50's lesbian partner, mind you) said "I think I'd like to see that." I thought really? Dirty Harry: the Geritol Years, and you want to see that?

I'm not going to attempt Oscar predictions. But I can see that doing well at the box office (and yes, I thought of McCain as well) - remember, about 49% of the electorate voted for McCain, and on the ground level here I know a lot of conservative types who are still mad as hell that Obama won. they're not going away, folks. I think the trailer is pitched to that crowd perfectly.

And let's face it - if Brokeback was too gay for AMPAS, then Penn probably doesn't have a shot in hell. Nom, maybe, and maybe a supporting nod for Milk (most likely Brolin).

Roarke on the stage would be something to see however. That would rock.

Anonymous said...

I think people are being a little hasty about how bad they think Clint will be. I'm not a huge fan or anything but I saw Gran Torino and a nomination wouldn't be ridiculous. He's quite good in the movie although the movie overall is pretty obviously centered around getting him an acting oscar. I hope he doesn't get nominated but it wouldn't be an embarassment if he did.


anon well that's only one person's opinion quoted. I haven't seen the movie yet. I imagine we'll hear a chorus of voices this weekend. good, bad and other...

PIPER said...

Nice post Nat,

It is uncanny how Clint seems to sneak in under the radar year after year. Here everyone is awarding him for Gran Torino and it hasn't even been released. Based on the trailer, I have to say it look like BoyZ In Tha Hood meets Death Wish.

And speaking of way over the top Oscar wins, I give you Sean Penn in none other than Mystic River.