February 22, 2013

How an Oscar voter thinks

Here's an amusing Hollywood Reporter interview with an anonymous movie director as he fills out his Oscar ballot. From his Best Actress musings:
I also don’t vote for anyone whose name I can’t pronounce. Quvez---? Quzen---? Quyzenay? Her parents really put her in a hole by giving her that name -- Alphabet Wallis.

And from his Best Picture deliberations:
Django Unchained will go into my fifth slot -- it’s a fun movie, but it’s basically just Quentin Tarantino masturbating for almost three hours. 

Guesses at who he is from the comments include William Friedkin (The Exorcist), John Landis (Animal House), and Brett Ratner (Rush Hour II) -- guys who are over the hill but have made some decent movies in the past and are still in the game enough to have an office and an assistant. In his love of Zero Dark Thirty, he sounds like the kind of grumpy Jewish guy who would never ever vote Republican, but is basically a rightwinger on the inside.

Lots of critics and film nerds are upset at the director for not properly agonizing over each momentous choice, but directors get paid to make decisions quickly and confidently.

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

In his love of Zero Dark Thirty, he sounds like the kind of grumpy Jewish guy who would never ever vote Republican, but is basically a conservative on the inside.

Yes he's probably against "Islamo-fascism" or whatever, but he's also probably socially liberal, uncomfortable with Christianity/Christian culture, majoritarianism, etc. That hardly qualifies as "conservative on the inside".

Anonymous said...

I'll bet he hates white conservatives more than he hates Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Read the article ANON he also hates on Django and Amour. I'm not sure why Mr. Sailer decided to extropolate his politics from only Zero Dark Thirty, but it's more than just a dislike of Islam that gives him the views of a right winger.

Anonymous said...

"Read the article ANON he also hates on Django and Amour."

He didn't hate DJANGO. He said he found it fun but said Tarantino was showboating too much as writer/director. So, what bothered him was not the anti-white violence but the self-promotion of Tarantino.

And he didn't really hate Amour either. He found it depressing. He hated previous Haneke films for being misanthropic, but what bummed him out about Amour was it was about aging and death, not happy topics.

TGGP said...

I heard about this guy from Slate, where he was getting lots of flack. Frequently misrepresenting his attitude, although acknowledging some of his comments were intended humorously.

I haven't seen Zero Dark 30, it is that right-wing? I'd heard it's rather low budget, not always pleasing to watch (the beginning with torture, in particular), and even the ending isn't that triumphant. Maybe that's just what I hear from lefty apologetics for the film in the face of Greenwald-esque criticism.

The only Best Picture nominee I've seen is "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (on the flight back from India). I thought it was good, but it's understandable if people are unwilling to consider what a child so young did to be "acting".

Anonymous said...

http://www.amazon.com/Billy-Wilder-Speaks-Jean-Arthur/dp/B000HKDEL0

Kevin Michael Grace said...

William Friedkin is certainly not "over the hill." His 19th feature, Killer Joe, was released just last year. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 77%. Billy remains as irascible as ever, as this hilarious interview from the A.V. Club demonstrates.

Steve Sailer said...

Haven't seen "Killer Joe," but the preview looked good.

Darwin's Sh*tlist said...

I would guess that the anonymous director is someone a good bit older than Ratner.

Referring to Wes Anderson as "this guy" and dismissing him with a casual "I don't like his movies" doesn't sound like someone talking about a peer. Given the critical hosannas Anderson's received in his career - a lot more than Ratner's enjoyed - he'd probably feel the need to elaborate a bit more.

That comment was made by someone who is quite comfortable with his place in the industry and with his work in relation to Anderson's.

Matthew said...

"‘Suddenly’ from Les Miserables is a very boring song and an absolutely blatant attempt to win a best song Oscar"

Well duh. But that's only because all of the original "Les Mis" music, which is absolutely brilliant, doesn't even qualify. Still hope it goes to Skyfall, though.

"there are many songs that Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe should have killed, and, in fact, they killed them literally.”

Yep. What the hell were they thinking casting Crowe and Jackman? Crowe's acting in "Les Mis" was brilliant, but his singing was appalling. Shockingly, so was Jackman's.

"John Williams has enough f---ing Oscars, and I really feel that the score was a weak part of Lincoln and just self-plagiarism for Williams."

What do 81-year-old composers do, if not repeat what they've been doing for decades?


Thomas O. Meehan said...

Once you come to accept that film is a minor art form the Oscars is just another fashion show.

Maxwell Power said...

I hadn't heard about Killer Joe until the calculated hubbub over its NC-17 rating. After seeing it on video I was frankly more interested in how that all went over in the stage version.

I'd bet it's not Steve's type of flick but would of course appreciate whatever left-field take he can devise on, say, the psychological ramifications of moving the Oklahoma/Texas border.

ask & ye shall receive said...

So apparently Korean director of stylized violence Park Chan-wook has a new movie coming out that's a guns-blazing, uh wait, no it seems to be a darkly genteel "Southern Gothic" piece. (BTW never heard a clear explanation of what exactly that genre is)

The guy's definitely ahead of the cruve, if Hollywood is serious now on toning down firearms-fantasy mayhem in its output.

Anonymous said...

"William Friedkin is certainly not "over the hill."

------

But RULES OF ENGAGEMENT was utterly vile. It done piss me off for an entire week.

Anonymous said...

"he sounds like the kind of grumpy Jewish guy who would never ever vote Republican, but is basically a conservative on the inside."

I've worked with these guys for years, and that's spot on.

They are closet conservatives, but it comes down to (a) not liking the Religious Right and (b) their wives would not tolerate any open support for the GOP.

staffanspersonalityblog said...

The only prize is the Chronos awards - the test of time. Looking back at films that got Oscars lots are forgotten today, and good films that didn't get awards are remembered. Alfred Hitchcock didn't win a single Oscar. That says it all.

Mr. Anon said...

"John Williams has enough f---ing Oscars, and I really feel that the score was a weak part of Lincoln and just self-plagiarism for Williams."

That's what Williams has been doing for the last thirty years. Other than his score for "JFK", I haven't heard much original from him since the 70s. Of course, that stuff was great.

"Once you come to accept that film is a minor art form the Oscars is just another fashion show."

Even if you consider film to be a great artform, the Oscars are still just a fashion show. No other group of people on Earth pat themselves on the back as hard and as long and with such masturbatory gusto as does the film business (I refuse to use the term "film industry" - Steel is an industry. Furniture is an industry. Movies, like gambling, prostitution, and finance, are a business).

Aging Hag said...

Random thoughts:

Maybe they actually vote Republican but don't say so? The ultimate closeted voter....

Emanuelle Riva will win. This is the 85th Academy Awards and she's 85. It makes for good copy. Also the movie she is in is called Amour and in the 60s she starred in Hiroshima Mon Amour. More nice copy.

Billy Friedkin is still in the business? In the pre-AIDs early 70s he made a scandalous movie called Cruising which told the truth about gay promiscuity. This was before homos took over America and he got away with it without having to apologize. But he was criticized and it probably stung. Maybe it turned him conservative.

KLP said...

i'm loling at the "Amour" comments

Anonymous said...

Look at the current front page of takimag.com.

The real blonde bombshell in her prime vs. some imitator from the seventies in her dotage.

Says it all.

Ray Sawhill said...

FWIW, I loved "Killer Joe" on stage and as a movie. Smokin' stuff.

Anonymous said...

"FWIW, I loved "Killer Joe" on stage and as a movie. Smokin' stuff."

I got mixed feelings about KILLER JOE. Friedkin is a director I want to like because of FRENCH CONNECTION, EXORCIST, and especially TO LIVE/DIE IN LA--though RULES pissed me off big time.

KILLER JOE has lots of good acting, but I wonder if it had to be so sleazy. And the whole set-up is a bit too contrived.

But what I found fascinating about the movie its 'philosophy' of civilization coming full circle.

First, there was a world ruled by barbarians. Might was right.
But then, there was social order and eventually the moralization of that social order.
And then intellectuals came up with ideals and society was shaped according to those ideals.
And democracy called for freedom for mankind.
So mankind became free....

But what did mankind do with democracy and freedom? They reverted back to savagery, and that is the vision of KILLER JOE. Rotten dad, rotten mom, rotten step mom, rotten kids, rotten everything. Forget about ideals and morality because the white trash social order has become so debased. It's a community of welfare cheaters, strippers, drug dealers, gamblers, thugs, killers, corrupt cops, and etc. Kids and dad decide to kill the mom, but the mom is a rotten bitch herself.

Then enters Joe. He's no better than others. He may actually be worse. But he has a certain way about him, something like manners, ritualism, self-control, order, and ability. In a world where barbarism rules, Joe's attributes may be something to restore some semblance of order. He terrifies people but he's dealing with people who can only be scared into 'good behavior'. They are too brutish and/or dumb for moral persuasion.

Among animals and barbarians, that may be the only thing one can hope for. Though everyone in the movie is violent, Joe has the power of control over himself, something others lack. As such, he can use force to control others.

If there's eventually to be something better, there first has to be order: ANY kind of order, and that is something Joe provides.
If democracy collapses as freedom is misused and barbarizes us, then we will have to rely on the Joes. Not because they are good. Joe is a terrible guy. But because they, at the very least, have a sense of control and superior will. Thus, Joe becomes like the yojimbo character.

In the near-final scene, he bullies and scares everyone into 'behaving' and sitting down to a quiet meal. It aint moral and nice, but it's something.
The scene is ugly, but Joe makes them behave--until a new crisis erupts.

I think the black community is beyond fixing through moral persuasion and enlightened policies. The reality is too debased and ugly. The people can only be forced and scared back into order. And it may be increasingly true among white trash as well, in UK and US.

Lucius said...

My takeaway is that this director rationalized hard for "Lincoln", even though he clearly knows it's a deficient film (he complains of an overwrought ending, other bad scenes, Sally Fields, hates Tommy Lee Jones, doesn't like the photography, etc.). This bespeaks a strong Stanley Kramer pious-liberal streak.

I doubt Friedkin would be pious enough to root for Spielberg to win another Oscar. If for no other reason, because in the early 70s he almost owned Hollywood himself.

Flagstone said...


The real blonde bombshell in her prime vs. some imitator from the seventies in her dotage.


Would that be an iMMitatrix?

Anonymous said...

They are closet conservatives, but it comes down to (a) not liking the Religious Right


They believe their own idiotic propaganda about "the Religious Right". Critical thinking - genuine critical thinking - is a skill Jews have never mastered.

Anonymous said...

The voter used the not-so-American verb "fillet" in one of his answers. I don't think I've ever heard an American use this form of the verb (we both write and pronounce it as the Frogs would, "filet").

I assume the author of the article, Scott Feinberg, is an American.