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Thursday
Aug142014

Oscar Rumblings, Song Cuttings, Record Breakings

don't cry Meryl, you've got plenty of songs to sing already!No sooner do we get the Oscar charts updated than everything changes. We are Sisyphus! 

I was thrilled to have a new Stephen Sondheim song to look forward to after all the build-up, but we shan't be hearing it. At least not within the context of Into the Woods since they've cut it from the movie. Sorry Meryl... but you've got other great songs to sing. That means less one Oscar nomination for the movie which could earn anywhere from 0 to, you know, 14. I should pretend to have a clue how this will be received but my own deep love of Sondheim musicals has really messed with my radar about this movie. I remain both totally elated that it will be onscreen and terrified at all the things that are sure to be wrong with it. What should we replace it with in "Best Original Song"? HELP

But while we're on the topic of Rob Marshall movies, remember Chicago (2002)? Chicago should be a perfect example to show film and stage people that film versions of stage shows do not hurt the box office so there's no reason to wait (*cough* Wicked). They help it enormously. Chicago the stage show was tapering off before the movie and moved to a smaller theater. It's been steady ever since and come November it  will surpass Cats as Broadway's longest running musical that isn't named Phantom of the Opera. It's been on the boards since 1996 and...

I lost the thread. OSCARS.

As you may have heard American Sniper, Clint Eastwood's latest - you know how he do with not one film a year but two - will open at Christmas so Oscar talks begins in 3...2... oh never mind it already began. Like clockwork. But do you think Clint still has that golden touch or do you doubt that he'll recover with this one. This film is an adaptation of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memoir "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History." That title sounds so boastful! But The Academy likes Eastwood when he's doing masculine genres... so, it's something to consider at least. 

And still more Oscar rumblings: Fury is moving up to October (smart move) and buzz is strong on Logan Lerman. You may recall I interviewed him for Perks of Being a Wallflower and they were very smart to pursue longshot awards attention for him there. Awards are so often about momentum and being perceived as worthy before a film even hints. Build a good reputation and make good films and you gather steam. And Awards Circuit talked to someone who saw a test screening of Unbroken so give that a look if you're eager for a random opinion. I never know how seriously to take test screenings since one person's "wonderful" is another person's "meh", you know?

Finally, we got the first still from P.T. Anderson's Inherent Vice, however tiny it is... via The Film Stage via EW in print

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Reader Comments (20)

I'm actually kind of glad the song was cut. Word was it came after (SPOILERS) the point where Rapunzel usually dies, but now that they're reshooting it (perhaps because of the outcry from fans?), hopefully it means they're sticking to the original work and that she does in fact die in the film version. Hence, there'd be no need for the song.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Why does it feel like nobody learned from last Oscar season and is still releasing everything on Christmas? Fury moving up to October feels like the right move given that the big winners 12 Years a Slave/Gravity also took that slot.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKacey

Well, of course I was looking forward to hear the new song. But if its cut is better for the original plot then.... it's good.
I hope it's somehow aviable on the OST.
They seem to take the movie much more serious than people thought.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

Kacey: Ranking my perceptions of Oscar chances of all December 25 releases

1. Big Eyes (Completely obvious. Everyone has this as being in the argument in some capacity.)
2. The Interview (Great cast and a topical subject. Why this isn't more buzzed up is kind of beyond me.)
3. Selma (Big political march movies aren't exactly Academy comfort food, but I'm getting a sense this is becoming one of THOSE times, like their 70s, where those kind of statements aren't as much of a turn-off, though the limited release and the "within our life-time" nature of this true story for a lot of the Academy could make it a hard sit.)
4. Unbroken (The Academy went to this kind of story well A LOT, but it never turns out well for them. Why would they go here again?)
5. American Sniper (Same as how I'm sceptical on Mike Leigh's Mr. Turner (in spite of the "Academy hooks", Leigh's and Eastwood's nomination count have consistently sunk with every picture, though at least Leigh can say HIS last movie's single nom was a major one (original screenplay), while Eastwood can only lay claim to VFX), I'm also sceptical of this, though to a stronger degree. The cast looks uniformly AWFUL aside from Bradley Cooper and, maybe, Max Charles and Eastwood isn't exactly the best director of actors to begin with.)
6. Into the Woods (Yeah, I don't buy this very compromised and "Into the Woods Jr." adaptation really fits the whole idea of modern Oscar nominated musical.)
7. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (Could it be anything else?)

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Hmmm @Volvagia, Interesting. I think I might rank Selma higher because it has the "12 Years a Slave team + Oprah producing + something that could end up being REALLY topical given what's going on in our country".

Big Eyes, I think, if it does nothing else should probably get in for Amy. I feel like Weinstein is just going to redo the campaign he did for Streep in The Iron Lady. "IT'S TIME!!!"

My biggest question is that with The Interview moving to Christmas, why won't Hot Tub Time Machine 2 budge? The first one didn't do that great and if anything's going to get eaten alive by attrition, it'd be that. If I were that studio, I'd move it to February, I think. There's not a lot of comedy in that time, and Identify Thief proved it can be profitable.

Anyway, my ranking of the December 25th Releases:

1. Selma
2. Big Eyes
3. Into the Woods (I Imagine it'll be a Les Mis style candidate, Oscar Wise)
4. Unbroken (I have a feeling this one could be a pretender based on the trailer, though the tech work looks spectacular)
5. American Sniper (Will Eastwood ever *hit* again?)
6. The Interview (Comedy is always in the ghetto. Even ones that North Korea may go to war over.)
7. Paddington (Box Office Mojo says it is a December 25th release. So sure!)
8. Hot Tub Time Machine 2 (WHY ISN'T IT MOVING?)

This was fun!

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKacey

Kacey: Fair, and we share some sentiments. However, modern and openly politically minded comedies did pop up a fair bit in the mid-60s-early 70s and popped up a couple times in the late 90s. (Dr. Strangelove, 4 Noms in 1964. The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, 4 Noms in 1966. Alice's Restaurant, Director Nom in 1969. The Ruling Class, 1 Nom in 1972. Wag the Dog, 2 Noms in 1997. Bulworth, 1 Nom in 1998.) So, it's not THAT out-there.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

INHERENT VICE STILL INHERENT VICE STILL AHHHHHHHHH

* hyperventilates *

*dies *

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I am sort of glad added song was cut for Into the Woods. It most likely means that something that should not have been cut has been added back in. Besides- maybe the new song could still play over the end credits and still qualify for Oscar nomination?

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

@Volvaggio If it really hits, than an Original Screenplay nod wouldn't be a far off gamble for sure.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKacey

Joaquin Phoenix in that still from Inherent Vice is, for some reason, one of the most terrifying things I've ever seen.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

BRADLEY COOPER'S THIGHS!

That is all.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJase

You should replace the Into the Woods song with "Land Ho!" It's a nice song featured in a lovely little film. It seems like this year's nominee from a tiny film that hardly anyone saw.

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

evan -- oh, tjhat was a cute song!

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

The other day I found a project that intrigued me: a drama called "The Humbling", starring Al Pacino and Greta Gerwig, directed by "Rain Man" director.
Maybe some chances in the Best Actor and Best Actress fields?

August 14, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEd

The prospect that they wrote a song (blatant oscar try (which failed for Les Miz)) and then pulled it both troubling and promising. I like the visuals I'm seeing but just don't care for the concept ideas. If you make Into the Woods "a film for the entire family" you are robbing it of its soul.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

It's kind of funny watching some of the Oscar bloggers act like a new Clint Eastwood movie is some automatic game changer, like it's 2004 or 2006 and Eastwood hasn't been on a major losing streak for the past five years. Then again, the films from Hereafter on have been genre experiments for Clint, American Sniper, at least on paper, is the Eastwoodiest thing he's done since Grand Torino, and the Academy does respond to him when he's working in that "sad men of violence" wheelhouse - assuming, of course, that's the tack they took here. Anyway, I hope it's good, and not just some 21st century Sergeant York for the Rush Limbaugh crowd, but after Eastwood's 2012 meltdown, I'm not sure I trust him with this material at all.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Roark - Woody Allen went through a dry spell also in the late 90s until he came back with Match Point and has been somewhat consistent of delivering movies that get Academy recognition (VCB, Midnight in Paris, Blue Jasmine). Maybe Eastwood can do the same. They haven't noticed him much since 2009, with Invictus, but it's not to say they won't come around if he puts out solid work again. Even J. Edgar, which I thought was pretty dire, got awards traction for DiCaprio and Armie Hammer, so his awards track record is still strong. I don't his appearance in the Republican convention is an issue since he's been long known to be of the few conservatives in Hollywood. And if it gets to the point that even Barbra Streisand (who along with Jane Fonda, is probably the most outspoken liberal in town) prefaces his Oscar win with "I am so glad to give this again to you, Clint", it's because his politics truly don't matter.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Henry, you might want to recheck the 2012 Best Original Song nominees...

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

For me, the actress and supporting actress categories aren't thin, they're thickly clotted with actresses I love watching. This is a great era for wonderful actresses (they need bigger and better parts, and more of them). There's only 2 or 3 that I cannot stand and never want to see again. But all the others, I can hardly wait to see.

The actors on the other hand, are mostly interesting when we get into the long shots. Some of those hyped actors are really ... creepy. I do want to see Unbroken and I think it will be good, but some of those actor dominant movies, no. I'd be happy if most of the Best Picture noms were for movies with a female lead. Those are the ones that seem most interesting.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteradri

Evan--They got a nomination. They did not win and were criticized for trying because the song interrupted the story (there was even a producer quoted in THR that it was a blatant try to get an award).

The music branch, if you remember, is rife with issues so getting a nomination is not a sign that you were really considered worthy by the greater majority of the academy or the music writers. I think that is changing a bit this year after last year's debacle.

However, almost every stage to screen musical tries it and occasionally they do win.

August 15, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

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