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« The Perks of Being Anna Karenina's Guardian | Main | Golden Horse Wins »

P.T. Anderson on "The Master" & An Errant Oscar Thought

An hour long conversation about his divisive movie. Sometimes you have to hear it from the filmmaker's mouth.

Somewhat off topic now...

Occasionally with the great filmmakers it feels unseemly to bring up the great compromise of Oscar. Anderson is probably too much of an artist to care too deeply about golden idols but I do wonder -- tis the season -- if The Master can hold on to any Academy plays or if the year is just getting too crowded with traditional but very satisfying entertainments (Lincoln, Les Miz, Argo) for any of the "difficult" s (The Master, Amour, Anna Karenina, maybe even Beasts of the Southern Wild) to squeeze into the major categories.

What say you?

P.S. In case you missed it, my thoughts on The Master

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Reader Comments (10)

I think the Oscar race is getting too full up with the prestige pictures you mention, so that something like The Master will get squeezed out. Even for PTA, I think the Master is too idiosyncratic for the Academy to really embrace. Even screenplay seems like a longshot.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKeith Gow

At the very least, Amour seems like the favorite to win Original Screenplay, right?

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJan

I think it's possibly still in. There's a month of critic's awards to boost its profile, Phoenix and Hoffman are both very probable (if not locked in) for nominations, Anderson is well regarded, and with last year as an indicator for how this "anywhere from 5-10 nominees" will play out...I think it's still safely in the mix. I mean, if Extremely Loud (and The Tree of Life - a similarly divisive auteur film) can manage 5% of the #1 votes...

I think the agreed upon top 5 at this moment are Argo, Les Miz, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Life of Pi. Beyond those, I can see The Master, Beasts, and (maybe) Amour having passionate enough admirers to earn a spot. Though Zero Dark Thirty, Django, and, to a lesser extent, The Hobbit are poised to steal some thunder/muscle their way in.

That leaves out Flight, The Impossible, and Moonrise Kingdom as the only other films I think have a shot at this point.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCinemateo

I was also going to say that the expanded field seems to benefit films with a small yet passionate base. But not every such film. Where the line is, I don't know? Still The Master lacks a real emotional AMPAS appeal like Tree of Life & Incredibly Loud had. Amour may be better suited for the 'small but dedicated' slot, should such a thing exist.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert A.

Streep's 3rd Oscar pimp Weinstein continues to sell water to the Academy's ocean and they welcome it. You act as though The Master won't make a dent in nomination count but that's where it will shock on Oscar morning. The craftsmanship of the affair, coupled with respect to how they did it and why, the overdue PTA, and of course out of all the Harvey pimped, I mean backed product this year, The Master is the only one of long term value. Short-term people are the only ones disappointed. But devotees of this work knows it'll play throughout the decade and the decades to follow and under further evaluation recognized as how easily deceived an audience when it demands proof of a film's worth while the film itself simply gives them the best of the medium—literary sensibility in film. The movie plays like a faithful adaptation of a phantom novel.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Did you even see The Master yet? hahaha

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbbats

Argo, Lincoln, Les Miz, and Silver Linngs are in, but there will be at least one more nominee and I don't think it'll be Life of Pi all by its lonesome. It seems like one "difficult" film is sure to get in. But which one? No idea.

I'm really hoping that NYFCC goes for Beasts of the Southern Wild to revive its chances.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

Cinemateo: That sounds exactly right to me. I hadn't put it together yet, but those seem like the if-there-were-just-5 movies, and 9 others that can possibly get in with enough votes.

November 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

1. Lincoln
2. Argo
3. Les Miserables
4. Life of Pi
5. Zero Dark Thirty
6. The Master
7. Beasts of the Southern Wild
8. Silver Linings Playbook (awards-wise, this movie is made of WTF to me––I'd like to rank it even lower)
9. Moonrise Kingdom
10. The Impossible
11. Django Unchained (if I were a QT believer, this would be higher, but sight unseen...)
12. Amour
13, The Sessions
14. Anna Karenina
15. Flight

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Regarding some of the posts thus far...

–As I recall, we didn't really expect as many as 9 nominees last year, but we got that many and I think it's likelier than not that we get that many again. If this 5-to-10 rule remains in effect, I suspect the days of only five nominees are largely over. And as long as there are enough worthy movies, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume a minimum of 7 or 8 from here on out.

–As long as Silver Linings Playbook is considered a lock, the Weinsteins don't need to "sell water to the Academy's ocean" by pushing hard for The Master. It's not unprecedented for Bob & Harvey to have two horses in the race, but with one surefire nominee, they won't have to bully the Academy into submission the way they did for In the Bedroom and Chocolat.

So will The Master hold on? I'm thinking it's really on the bubble at this point, and that might be a charitable assessment.
• Looking at Nat's Best Picture Prediction page, it does not look like the top five in "Tier 1" will be going away (Argo, Les Miz, SLP, Life of Pi, Lincoln—although that wouldn't be my order at this point).
• I think Nat's seriously underestimating The Hobbit, so add that to the list.
Beasts of the Southern Wild also looks fairly solid—and that might be the movie that attracts the "difficult arthouse film" voters more than The Master will.
• That's seven films already, and we still don't know about Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, or Promised Land—or whether the domestic response to Amour will be strong enough to boost it into a nomination. (Foreign-language BP nominees tend to be crowd-pleasers, not intense, up-close-and-personal emotional dramas. Just saying.) The Master's buzz feels like it's gone, so it would be hard for it to compete against any of these newly buzzy films.
Moonrise Kingdom or, God help us, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel can't be written off. In fact, I have a really bad feeling that Best Exotic is more likely to get a BP nomination than anyone's acknowledging at the moment.

Lastly, Joaquin Phoenix's shot at a Best Actor nomination seems increasingly weak as Denzel, DDL and Jackman lock up their slots, Hawkes (The Sessions) holds his (if a little more tenuously now), and the likes of Hopkins, Trintignant, and maybe even Matt Damon threaten to take that fifth slot. And without Phoenix as a solid Best Actor contender, The Master increasingly drifts out of Academy voters' minds (save for Hoffman's Supporting nomination and very possibly a cinematography nomination in large part for the decision to film in 70mm).

Unless there's a major film critics prize in its future, I just don't see how The Master otherwise survives.

November 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

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