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Podcast: Spread the Wealth, End the War

I couldn't let the postmortem on Oscar's 84th close without inviting my ol' podcast pals Katey, Nick and Joe to join me for one last conversation of the season. We ended up talking for over an hour. See we all share this "can't stop talking Oscar!" addiction and none of us will ever go to rehab. So you get the podcast in two parts. Part two late tonight.

Here's part one where we start goofy with Octavia Spencer's ubiquity and end all serious like (well, mostly) with Viola and Meryl. Join the conversation in the comments.

Topics include but are not limited to...

  • Octavia Spencer, Angelina Jolie
  • "Cut To Camera 3. No, Camera 4. Wait, Back to 2!"
  • Spreading the Wealth. What Did They Actually Love?
  • Billy Crystal's 9th Go-Round
  • Emma Stone vs. Anne Hathaway with a side of Jonah Hill
  • Red Carpet Reveals and Lead Actor Presentations
  • CLIPS! Commercial Breaks
  • Meryl & Viola and the Narrative vs. Performance Problem

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the bottom of the post.

Post Oscar Part One

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Reader Comments (54)

Yay! So excited for one last podcast. And the sound levels are good! Always nice to have a post-Oscar podcast from people who, you know, enjoy The Oscars on occasion!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

What a lovely surprise (I don't know how I didn't predict it would happen) !!

I admit that I, too, haven't seen the Iron Lady and don't even care that much. I don't. get. me!
It probably has to do with the fact that it's been talked so much and also the fact that I'm afraid I will agree with those who didn't like it that much. And, um, maybe I don't care to see the film that surrounds the performance.

And I agree with Joey. In terms of benefitting from publicity and awardage (is that the right word?), I think the Oscar moment didn't matter for Viola. She has gained a lot throughout this season. Her place in the industry is surely better than before and the Oscar would change little to nothing.

But, really, pre-Oscar awards aside, wasn't it unlikely that both Octavia and Viola would win? I think it would be difficult even if it was close to happening.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames T

The Oscar does mean something to Viola Davis. She spoke of the burden of having to ask permission to dream. In the beginning believing if she were a craftsman no one could outright ignore her. Hollywood has unwritten rules which deny actors because they're not cookie cutter attractive, not young, not white, not thin. How many Best Actress winners are atypical? Nathan your research about ageism in the Best Actress category, combined with the recent story concerning the typical Academy voter is a white male over the age of 60, some of them haven't been active members of the film business in decades while still exercising their privilege not to vote for her.

I feel Streep's win was bought and paid for by Harvey Weinstein. Fans of Streep speculated for the longest what she'd have to do performance wise and film wise to be recognized again with a 3rd statuette. Now that The Devil himself is back in popularity with gridlock of white male tradition within the Academy, the loud drummer campaign to honor Streep as a now-or-never proposition won out over actual progress. I felt that Streep would've gotten a better audience response if her victory wasn't at the cost of Viola Davis taking the prize when all the stars aligned for such a victory, hit film, more general public visibility.

My main hope is that Viola's loss becomes a catalysis for the Academy to retire a huge chunk of the senior membership from having voting rights. At this point it isn't about more people of color or even women but the generational divide between the liberal youth and the outnumbered and outdated conservative voting block of the present.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I've discovered through my own perusal of Octavia's IMDb that she worked with Sandra Bullock twice. THAT'S HOW SHE WON. Everybody loves Sandra and she loves Octavia!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Hall

@Danny Hall...That's part of it, certainly. Not to knock Octavia, who I thought was fine and I have no real qualms about her win. But I think Spencer benefited from lack of an alternative in that category. Surely Chastain will be there again, so no rush. Berenice Bejo was a lead giving a likeable performance, so one would think that she could have given Octavia a run for her money, but no such luck. Melissa McCarthy...I don't think that was going to happen and I really wonder where this consensus that she was in second place came from. And Janet McTeer was fine in a movie that nobody really liked. In another year, Spencer may have had a harder go, but she benefited from them not wanting to send The Help home empty-handed, and Viola Davis (clearly) wasn't a sure thing. It was essentially a category with four first-timers and a fifth nominee who I'm sure many Academy members would assume is a first-timer unless they hopped on Wikipedia.

The critics and bloggers are making excuses beacuse they have egg on their faces. Streep WON, the bloggers and critics LOST. They failed to see the forest through the trees. Epic fail!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I am not able to listen to the Podcast. Could you please repost the podcast in the format you have done in the past?

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Great podcast! Here is to the end of a long Oscar season. Thanks for the journey Nathaniel... Even if some of us pro- streepers became insufferable in trying to defend her.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie


why are you so blind to the fact that people were rooting for streep too but that it's just bittersweet? and a bit questionable? Viola indeed had more momentum going into it, but by hairs. Nobody assembled a meeting where everyone came but you and decided Viola was all the rage. It was a close race and your acting as if violas win was always such a distant possibility compared to meryl. It seems you're the only one that doesnt get the weight of the fact that meryl streep has been losing frequently for the past 30 years until finally her one true rival is a black woman in a massive blockbuster( a female driven, period piece that was seen has being carried on her shoulders cause without her, its nothing) and she beat her.

Last time Meryl faced Sandra bullock. What's the difference between Sandra's circumstances and Viola's? They both are pretty much the same age, in big blockbusters that wouldn't otherwise be as heavily noticed without them. Sandra was aways well-liked but Viola, I think anway, gained many fans and supporters from her speeches and appearances alone. Viola , also,has been previously nominated and wasn't completely unknown going into this. The only difference is that Sandra's performance is widely recognized as pretty good to meh and Viola has her fair share of "pretty good to meh " reviews but most people really do see her performance very worthy for the oscar. The same could be said for meryl, many thought she deserved it, but for many for her past performances people have said the same things. It's always divided cause her performances come with Oscar standards....Meryl "best actress evah!" Streep standards, I mean. So some will say overrated and whotnot but there will always be her legion of fans and others proclaiming she delivered yet again. Julie and Julia was also very successful and as was It's Complicated.... yet she lost. to a widely agreed less than performance.

so, yeah, it is just a bit of a shock when she was chosen when Viola had literally everything for her. The stars were probably litterally aligned for her, which is gods way of voting(even he was deruled!). If, say, Michelle williams had her type of luck, or even glenn, maybe even rooney, would meryl have just been seen as "well, august orange county izzz next year,soo...lets wait One more year, yet again!" It's true that viola gained everything she can for her career using this role, and the oscar wouldnt have changed much, but that's how you know she truly deserved it. When all that happens you generally get a oscar for it. but not Viola Davis. hmm.........

Both actresses deserved it, I'm so happy for them! It's just bittersweet is all.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

lol, i dont care its long!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

I guess my issue is would it still be bittersweet if Meryl lost or are we just use to her always losing at the Oscars so it would not have mattered?

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

@brandz . . . thanks for contributing something new. Remind me... were you rooting for Close?

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I hope this does not turn into another Meryl-Viola crossed love-hate fest as was the case in the previous stream, which Nathaniel had to shut down! For those of us who would like to talk about other things debated during the podcast, please be sensible in your comments! I don't mean any offense. :)

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I don't know if I am as optimistic about Viola's future parts as everyone in the podcast.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Oscar night is one of my favorite things. I wish the producers would allow me to enjoy every bit of it with no rush. I want clips and I want the honorary awards back!

I fear we'll be discussing this best actress race for years... It's the new Tomei. I don't hate that Meryl won for playing Thatcher, what I hate is the fact that the movie totally glorifies her as a politician. That's dangerous.

You're so right on the princess thing. I love these podcasts!

PS If people doesn't watch the movies, what's the point of all this?

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Love love love the podcast, and I think you guys have talked about the Davis/Streep thing in a more impressive way than anyone else has online. Ignore posters who want to ruin the moment and its deserved rehashing. Glad you guys are better than that.

Also, can I just throw in: Weinstein should know Davis has some major mojo behind her now. Time to send him in and get her that win. He's going to manipulate them regardless - let her be the next project.

Can't wait for Part 2. Screw the haters. Yay Meryl, yay Viola. Now I need to rewatch The Iron Lady, need to rewatch Meryl's speech (now I really want that three minute one!) and need to move on in life, haha.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

James -- i'm not sure what you mean? I posted it exactly as I always have: it's both on iTunes and available at the bottom of the post to listen without going to itunes.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNathaniel R

@ Peggy Sue:
I don't think the Meryl vs. Viola is the new Tomei. This situation is a different kind of embarassment.
I see the Meryl vs. Viola as the new Cate Blanchett vs. Gwyneth Paltrow - its almost 15 year since Paltrow won and people are still pissed and talking about how the hell this happened.
As usual and as we like it, we all can put the blame on Harvey Weinstein/.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVictor S

I'm biting my tongue...and will refrain from posting, at least for now.

13 women have have won at least two Best Lead Actress Oscars.
Only 7 men have won at least two Best Actor Oscars.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Wrong again brandz. Streep's the twelfth woman to win two Best Actress Oscars. Nine men have won two Best Actor Oscars.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Actually, Meryl was the 13th woman to win at least a 2nd Best Actress Oscar:

1. Katharine Hepburn
2. Meryl Streep
3. Bette Davis
4. Ingrid Bergman
5. Jane Fonda
6. Elizabeth Taylor
7. Olivia de Havilland
8. Glenda Jackson
9. Jodie Foster
10. Sally Field
11. Vivien Leigh
12. Luise Rainer
13. Hilary Swank

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Hepburn doesn't count since she has four all together.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

You count funny, 3rtful. And you don't know how to read.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

@3rtful - why on earth wouldn't Hepburn count? I mean, you have to win two before you can win four...

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

@Marcos: Thank you for that comment

@Bia: I'm not sure I'm as confident, either, but the podcast caught me in a Swirl of Optimism. If we'd recorded 24 hours earlier, I'd have been feeling gloomier. But, positive thoughts!

@eurocheese: Thanks so much for saying that. Really appreciate it.

@Peggy Sue: I'm so glad you like the podcasts. I'm elated every time you comment because it's always thoughtful and temperate. You and Janice and John T and Pretentious Know It All and Marsha Mason and so many other peace-keepers and discussion-advancers have been worth your weight in Oscar gold this season.

@RJ: We're not sure why the sound levels were so good this time, but we happily went with it!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Hepburn isn't a two-time Best Actress winner. The moment you get three in said category you're out the the double Best Actress club.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Nick, it seems like you respond more here than in your actual blog LOL. anyway, I couldn't agree with you more on expecting Meryl's speech this third time to be a little bit more....eventful? She got a standing ovation, some big shout-outs from the audience, and lots of cheering, but I was still expecting more. Adrien Brody got more love when he won!!! I just thought that people would be cheering for her this third time the way the world will cheer when they discover the cure for cancer. Something was missing, like you said.

On a side note, when are you going to update your Best Actress profile. You haven't even finished 2010, which I've been patiently waiting for. Anyway, I know you must be super busy but your insights are always great and I love reading them.

Great podcast, guys!

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Did Nick mention me in this podcast?? I'm in love! <3 <3 <3 lol

Great podcast! I love Meryl and Viola, but I still wish Viola would have won. That's all there is to it, I don't see the need to go getting all hostile again, brandz and 3rtfull. It's over now, lol.

No one even said anything bad...damn, some people just can't handle even the littlest hint at criticism when it comes to their fav! Grow a thicker skin.

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Can I just say how much I love that the Angelina Jolie thing went "viral"? When it first happened I thought she was so annoying, but it's already feels iconic. Credit where credit is due: the woman knows how to play the star. In a time where the celebrity world feels overwhelmed by obnoxious reality stars* and spoiled "socialites," Jolie reminds us How It's Done.

* I exclude from that group the cast of Jersey Shore. I realize this is my own personal failing, but, for whatever reason, I find myself liking them more and more... outrageous flaws and all. Sometimes, I am a mystery even to myself.

@3rtful --- It sounds like you're being contrary just for the sake of being contrary, simply because brandz made the original point (setting aside the fact that you misread his post). I get that he hasn't been the most gracious poster on this site, but I don't know that you've been much better lately. And stirring up disagreement over something so silly isn't helping, particularly when--even allowing for the distortion of the original point--your criticism doesn't make any sense.

@Nick --- I'm going to pivot off of BVR's sentiment just to say I hope you start posting again soon. I'm sure you're busy with that whole "having a job" thing, but I've loved following the Best Actress Birthdays/Best of 2011 entries, and look forward to the rest of those projects as they develop.

Also, interesting discussion about Meryl's win. I'm not sure I can evaluate it objectively, since I wanted Viola to win so badly. I'll emphasize here that I'm really happy for Streep, but my enthusiasm was on a five-minute delay (I skipped through the five stages of grief at a clip of one per minute, and then I was ready to join the Meryl party). Maybe the Davis voters in the room had a similar experience?

March 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

I've give my two cents in the Meryl/Viola debate and be done with it. I was rooting hard for Davis to win Sunday night, mainly b/c I knew that her chances at this level were limited. That's why it feels like such a waste that she lost. She gave the best performance in the roster to me, and it appears for someone to come into this race with her kind of momentum--the past wins for her performance, the big box office hit, the best picture nomination, the oh-so-close prior win, and yes, being a minority, all seemed to count toward her favor for the win. And in reality, there have been many winners who have won with so much less going for them than Davis. So when Streep wins for the awfully bad film that she was in that was heavily hyped but in many ways didn't deliver, I'm left with a very sour taste in my mouth. And who wants to think that way about the Meryl Streep. Harvey Weinstein is truly the Oscar Whisperer for making Meryl the new overdue girl with the late-season momentum (and no matter how many losses she's suffered, you are never overdue for an Oscar when you have two already). You look at Davis and you just "know" how this system will play out for her. Ask Angela Bassett about that follow-up nomination. Or Halle Berry. Or Cicely Tyson. Or Mo'Nique (who to my knowledge hasn't been offered a single role since "Precious"--like seriously, Hollywood?). I'd love to be proven wrong and see Davis in contention as early as next year, but we all know the obstacles in her way in an industry that doesn't know what to do with her. Meryl can sneeze and be nominated again (and don't think for a second that the Academy is done with her--they nominated her four times in the 80s after "Sophie's Choice"--there are afterglow nods to be had now, just watch). That's not the case with Viola, and it's doing no one any favors tiptoeing around harsh reality. I wanted to over the moon about Streep's third win, and at least with her abundant amount of class, humor, and humility this season, it makes her win somewhat tolerable, but it'll never quite sit well with me, especially in light of her competition and the controversies surrounding it. The only positive in all of this is that Davis' profile is indeed raised whether she won or not. That's something to take comfort in. I just hope cinema doesn't lose her completely to Broadway and television, b/c I think that's where she's heading in the next 3-5 years.

That being said, love the podcast as usual. Get up part 2 soon, guys!

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterYan

I just stumbled on a stellar group of "backstage" photos of Meryl at this Oscar ceremony. In particular, there were two photos, when she engaged with Brad & Angelina, and with Rooney, that struck me. I thought of how this woman has seen so very many groups of women come through the ranks. First time nominees, first time winners turned losers, first and only of their careers -- she has been, in essence, a guiding light for the women with whom she's been co-nominated. It's not a mothering position, to be sure. Frankly, I think it will remain an unobserved, uncommented-upon role for which Meryl leaves an indelible mark on the Academy as a whole and particularly on the truly serious, sustaining, and sometimes flash-in-the-pan actresses of the last 35 years.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Found this for you!


March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

Victor S -- Maybe you're right. My favorites that year were Montenegro and Streep. Anyway, I meant the new Tomei as "the most discussed" not "the most embarrassing".

Nick Davis -- I'm overwhelmed. Thank you!

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Peggy Sue -- 1999 was a particularly difficult -and ultimately disappointing- year. In my opinion they got it all wrong.
My choices would have been:
Actor: Ian McKellen (if not him: Nolte)
Actress: Cate Blanchett (if not her: Montenegro)
Supporting Actor: Ed Harris (if not him: Coburn)
Supporting Actress: Lynn Redgrave (if not her: Dench)

Steve -- I fully agree with you. Meryl Streep is a guiding light for all those actresses who have shared the Oscar spotlight with her. I once prepared a list of all the actress who were nominated alongside her more than once. If I find it, I will post it. :)

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

I adore you Nick!

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

And Katie...I love that you loved "Take This Waltz". Don' let the haters change your mind.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Film Bitch Awards:
Hi Nat! I'm curious to know if you will award the rest of the additional acting prizes: actor and actress in a limited or cameo role, breakthrough and line delivery.
I know you have discontinued Body of Work, and rightly so...
I am looking forward to see those other categories!

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Ya...Streepis certainly is meek, Nat. Keep sniffing the glue

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay


who cares what u think???

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

Oh Jay. don't cloud the argument. I didn't say STREEP was meek... though perhaps i should have clarified. I said they generally prefer meek-bubbly-girlie appearing princesses and not SERIOUS ACTORS in best actress (serious people who are "difficult" or extremely vocal about their opinions or whatnot are more palatable to Oscar in the male categories because they expect different things of men and women. It is a heavily male demographic and i don't think anyone could argue with a straight face that they don't value different things in Actresses than they do in Actors.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I agree Monkey Balls was great but I agree with Nick that a complely untread role from outer space/or Montgomery Clift's play book, would position Pitt only a hair breath from an Oscar. He needs a Suddenly Last Summer or a Dog Day Afternoon. And showing his naked ass and a quick edit of his pubes, balls or schlong would give him the street cred of Jane Fonda, the idiot (Jon Voight), Malcom McDowell, Harvey Keitel, William Hurt, David Thewlis, Vincent Perez, Charlize Theron, and the creme, Ewan McGregor, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Viggo Mortensen. Pitt needs to snarl, offend and reject a man and a woman, leaving his preference shadowily known but vehementaly guarded. It's unlikely he could do a Michael Fassbender (and everyone knows that it was men voters who didn't vote for Fassbender because his parts were predigous), but a character who covets another males' parts while being hopelessly conflicted with with his asexuality and christain beliefs while counseling his sisters troubled teenage son who has been falsely accused of murder.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJay

who cares what u think???

You do.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I picked up on the audience's fatigue on "The Artist" too. Like, yeah, let's get this over with already. It was nothing like the buzzing energy everyone there felt about "Slumdog Millionaire" (and I don't care what you guys say there. That was an excellent film that earned its Best Picture win). I was rooting for that last-minute surge for "Hugo" so badly. Every gimmick that "The Artist" pulled was so artificial. "Hugo" did it all so much better. Even the whole nostalgia theme that this past year seemed to be about. But what's done is done. Nothing dominated, so it's fitting that both films shared the winningest films credit. I was ready for this season to be over too. All of the Streep/Davis bullshit was exhausting enough, but it's hard when none of your favorites make the mark that you want them to make at the Oscars. I've decided that I need a break from all things Oscars for a long time. Well, until next year. I'm an addict just like the rest of you. Very fun podcast. I'd forgotten how catty you guys can be, and that's so up my ally. Until next year, peeps! Take care. Nice coverage this season, Nathaniel.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIan

I thought Streep's speech was gracious (but I would). I really think she was stunned that she won (even she was brainwashed thinking she would not win). My guess is she felt her win was 'awkward' because she knew there was much love for Davis. I notice she did not have a prepared speech. She spoke honestly about the blogosphere, she acknowledged her loving husband and her make-up guy. She spoke eloquently off the top of her head. In the contentious race for Best Actress, I thought she pulled it off magnificently. Whatever...

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz


While you may think I have not been a gracious poster, never once did I insult anyone or call anyone names. I have been bombarded with names and insults since the run up to the Oscars, and since. All I was doing was expressing my opinion and defending Streep's performance (can you believe that someone actually had to defend Streep on this site?). I called out the critics and bloggers for their bandwagon mentality. It's all honest stuff, no names, no insults. Now Streep is a three-time Oscar winner.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I believe there's a specific reason why Meryl's speech did not acknowledge The Iron Lady, its cast or its director. She was aware of all the fuss over her 30-year streak of Oscar-less nominations, so she decided to make her speech all about her support system and the friendships and recognition she has found in her work. She was thanking the industry for all the love she has received during her wonderful professional life.

March 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Nat, the sound is not working for me at all.

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

Never mind - it's my speakers that are the problem. *damn*

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanice

the intro is a bit quieter than the rest so ifyou have weak speakers it gets louder after my 30 second intro.

March 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I like the recognition of Best Oscar Companion (re: Busy Phillips).

I think the Oscar Companion par excellence has to have been Sandra Oh, the year of "Sideways". She always seemed so happy to be there, so enthusiastic, so glad for Sideways success, and she looked terrific every time, so elegant. This is even more of a feat of true enthusiasm when you remember that she was actually in the movie, gave a great supporting performance, and yet was nominated for nothing (as I recall).

March 4, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteradri
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