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Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Weinstein’

“The Artist” Takes the Producers Guild

January 22, 2012 Leave a comment

Well, folks, I’m sorry to say that this Oscar race just keeps getting more and more boring by the minute. After taking a lion’s share of the critics awards (including the televised Critics Choice) and three Golden Globes, “The Artist” has began its domination of this industry’s guilds, as well. While one wants to discredit the circulating logic that this year’s frontrunner has had the big award sealed up since Cannes, it becomes more and more difficult to deny it, everyday.

Much like “The Hurt Locker” did, two years prior, “The Artist” defied a certain common logic by taking this prize, being the lowest money-earner of the group. The most profitable of said nominees would be “The Help,” which grossed around $160 million dollars, domestically. Second is “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” which is steadily creeping up on the $100 million mark. yet, following a similar (though not as rushed) release schedule as last year’s Best Picture winner, “The King’s Speech,” which at this point in its theatrical run had already earned around $46 million, “The Artist” has scored a measly $9.2. Much of this can be due to relatively low word of mouth, a lack of stars, a foreign origin, it’s black and white print and…oh yeah…IT’S SILENT. Not exactly a recipe for monetary success.

However, while Harvey Weinstein isn’t always the best at making money, there’s one thing he is the boss at. That skill can be referred to as quietly rigging the Oscars. Granted that he never performs any illegal activities to do so (at least none that have been proven), the man always finds the right buttons to press to make everything go his way. One would like to believe that if a movie is smart, entertaining and an extremely well-maid endeavor, it would have a fighting chance for Oscar gold. Yet, in reality, we all know that this race was over before it began.

This was widely considered the last stand for many films, trying to peck out a piece of the precursor pie. A win here for “The Descendants,” “The Help” or “Hugo” would show that this is more than just a one-horse race. However, it looks as though they will all have to find comfort and satisfaction in a nomination. That’s pretty much all one can ask for in a race against “The Punisher” (Weinstein’s new nickname, endowed by Michelle Williams). True, “The Help” is still the frontrunner for the SAG Ensemble Award and we can all hope that Martin Scorsese takes the DGA if for no other reason than to shake things up, but soon might be time to accept the inevitable. This Oscar season…sadly…is over.

Here’s the full list of film winners from the Producers Guild Awards, announced late last night:

Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures: “The Artist”

Producer of the Year Award in Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures : “The Adventures of Tintin”

Producer of the Year Award in Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures: “Beats, Rhymes & Life: The Travels Of A Tribe Called Quest”

The DGA and the SAG: Now It’s Time to Vent…

February 1, 2011 1 comment

Well folks, Tom Hooper has just won the DGA and the cast he directed took home Best Ensemble at the SAG. Coupled with the PGA win last week, “The King’s Speech” has now emerged as not only the frontrunner, but pretty much the inevitable winner of the Best Picture award at the Oscars. As this film has picked up speed in the last few weeks, I’ve tried to keep an open mind. I’ve tried to tell myself that this kind of healthy competition will make for a better Oscars and would make “The Social Network”‘s eventual victory all the more sweet. However, now that the race has shifted from a neck and neck dogfight to a potential sweep for “The King’s Speech,” it has become impossible to suppress my rage.

This situation is, more or less, a travesty for American cinema. For the last half of the previous decade, the AMPAS showed that they had the potential to change with the times. By awarding films like “The Departed,” “No Country for Old Men,” and “The Hurt Locker,” the Academy has proven that they have the ability to not only award phenomenal films, but ones that represent a shift in the balance of power. These are films that show a new Hollywood, emerging from the ashes, making art for a new generation and ultimately changing movies for the better. With “The Social Network,” the AMPAS were given an opportunity to crystalize this new reputation by awarding not only the best movie of the year, but one that is an absolute game-changer in the world of filmmaking. Instead, they are willing to flush it all down the drain.

“The King’s Speech” is not a bad film. It is simply a good film. It has good acting, good writing, good direction, good production quality and good music. In case you haven’t noticed, “good” is the key word, here. I don’t think there is a single aspect of this film that achieves a level of “greatness.” It is an iconic example of middle-of-the-road filmmaking, directed straight at a block of people yearning for that warm and fuzzy feeling in their stomachs. It’s “triumph of the human spirit” pornography. More than anything else, however, it is straight-up Oscar fodder, and they are eating it up, hook, line and sinker. They’re all too willing to vote their souls away for a chance to award this heart-warming work of mediocrity.

“The Social Network” is the best film of the year. Even if people’s opinions cannot agree with or grasp this concept, the title still pretty much remains the same. Never in history has a film garnered so much recognition and awards. Never has the population of this nation’s film critics solidified so strong and unanimous an opinion about a single film. However, it’s more than just a critical tally or mantlepiece full of statues. This is a film that resonates so strongly with this societal climate, much in the same way did “Network” in 1976, “Bonnie and Clyde” in 1967, and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” in 1939. When looking down the road, it is a film that will be remembered, not only for it’s cultural impact, but for the flawless nature of its filmmaking prowess. And since I am one such person who can actually make this statement from a position of age and experience (I started college only a year after “The Facebook” was created, back when it was just a college thing), this is, in fact, the movie that defines my generation.

The Academy Award is called that for one reason: it is awarded upon the voted decision of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. It’s their award and they can technically do whatever they want with it. However, I really have to ask just what the hell is wrong with these people? Are they really that much an organization of pure saps? Are they really that cynical that they would deliberately snub the frontrunner for an inferior underdog just because their sick of the unanimous praise? Have they really not gotten tired of having Harvey Weinstein’s lips wrapped around their you-know-whats?Can they really not look beyond four weeks from now and consider what history will judge as the more educated and lasting decision? Most importantly, has the Academy really gone back to its old ways? God, let us hope not.

So is the race over? The answer is no. Even when things get to their bleakest point of flat-out certainty, the race is never over until the last envelope is opened. However, it’s really not looking good for David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin’s masterpiece. With the combined weight of the SAG, PGA, and DGA, anyone who has spent any time in the industry of awards prognostication would be a fool to not call it for “The King’s Speech.” After all, the actors and producers, put together, make up nearly half of the Academy’s voting block. Hope is not lost, completely, but I would now peg “The Social Network”‘s chances at around twenty to twenty-five percent.

At points like these, one can only find comfort by constantly reminding themselves of the most important lesson the awards season has ever taught us: as many fantastic films have won the Oscar for Best Picture, there are exponentially more amazing films that have lost it. “The Social Network” may soon join the ranks of films like “Fargo” and “Saving Private Ryan,” “Pulp Fiction” and “Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull” and “Apocalypse Now,” “Taxi Driver” and “All the President’s Men,” “Chinatown,” and “Jaws,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf?” and “The Graduate,” “Vertigo” and “Rear Window,” “Double Indemnity,” and, yes, “Citizen Kane.” Coupled with the movies I mentioned previously in this article, this is not exactly bad company to be kept with. However, if you listen very closely, you can clearly hear Orson Welles rolling over in his grave, that after seventy years of history, lessons have yet to be learned.

The Producers Guild or “At least we’ve got a race, now.”

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, there you have it folks. The Producers Guild of America chosen “The King’s Speech” and “The Social Network” loses its first major Best Picture award this year. This is a major coup in the race for this year’s Oscars, easily the biggest (if not the only one that’s occurred this season). So I guess the question on everyone’s mind is, how upset am I?

Not really. I mean, let’s face it. Even I think that an Oscar race with absolutely no suspense whatsoever really is kind of boring. As exciting as it is to see your favorite film drive a clear path to big night, winning every award in sight, the Academy Awards are a bit more exciting when you’re biting your nails when the envelope is opened. I wish the award could have gone to a little bit more worthy of a film, like “Toy Story 3,” “The Fighter” or “Inception,” but c’est la vie. The only thing that I do have to worry about is that my biggest fears of only the critics, and not the industry itself, embracing the film.

Well, a bit of history. While the PGA has managed to line-up with Oscar the last three years, before that it wasn’t always such a lock. “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “The Aviator” and “Moulin Rouge” all won the award without going on to win the Oscar. Also, the last three films to win the award also swept at least two of the other three major guilds, which “The King’s Speech” will certainly not be able to do.

It’s interesting that after all the critics awards, after all of the propaganda and the pundits, it comes right back down to what do many said it would be back in October: “The Social Network” vs. “The King’s Speech.” It’s the generation-defining landmark film vs. the Oscar-pedigree heartstring puller. It’s Rudin vs. Weinstein. Even though “The Fighter” is definitely poised to take down the Screen Actors Guild ensemble, it doesn’t have the same type of steam that either of the two frontrunners have. I’m even using the same picture that I concocted almost 4 months ago when I posted this blog’s very first Oscar predictions of the year. Bottom line is that even though “The Social Network” is still the favorite, it’s not over yet.

In closing, on a completely different note, GO BEARS!!! Gave it a hell of a run. Especially you, Forte. And I would be delighted to see Caleb Hanie at the helm next season.

Weinstein Wins Battle with MPAA

December 8, 2010 Leave a comment

As previously reported, the Derek Cianfrance’s independent feature “Blue Valentine” starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams was issued an NC-17 rating by the MPAA about a month ago. Many believed that the rating was completely unwarranted, given what has been released in other films that have been given R Ratings, instead. One of those protestors was the film’s producer, Hollywood heavyweight, Harvey Weinstein. He immediately assembled a team of lawyers to appeal the rating before the film screened for wider audiences.

This just in from Nikki Finke’s Deadline.com. “Blue Valentine” has prevailed in that legal battle. Mike Fleming reports:

The MPAA has overturned the NC-17 rating on the Derek Cianfrance-directed Blue Valentine. The film will be given an R rating after Harvey Weinstein personally argued his position in today’s hearing. That clears up all kinds of potential problems that awaited the film had it been released with that rating or unrated. The rating was given for a sex scene between a married couple played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as their relationship disintegrates. I’m told the appeal board’s decision was unanimous.

This is absolutely great news for the film, not only with audiences, but with the Academy. It’s not very often that an NC-17 film makes it into the Oscar race without an appealed lower rating. Normally, films have to edit themselves down to receive an OK from the ratings board. “Blue Valentine”‘s battle has been won outright, without cutting a scene. Bravo, Harvey. I’m almost beginning to forgive you for whoring “The Reader” into the Best Picture nominations over “The Dark Knight.”