Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Oscar, Bloody Oscar!

So I decided to bring back my old column title, "Oscar, Bloody Oscar!" What do you think? :) Today's column will be a little sloppy, as I'll just call it as it comes to my head, I don't feel like editing it tonight. So here we go:

Anyway, following the campaign trail, I've compiled a little list of upcoming TV appearances by a number of the nominees, lots of Mystic River press, check it out:

Jay Leno:
2/6: Naomi Watts for 21 Grams
2/10: Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River
2/12: Clint Eastwood for Mystic River
2/13: Diane Keaton for Something's Gotta Give

David Letterman:
Tonight, 2/3: Sean Astin for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2/12: Jude Law for Cold Mountain

Conan O'Brien:
2/9: Russell Crowe for Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Craig Kilborn:
2/10: Sir Ian McKellan for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

Ellen Degeneres:
2/5: Charlize Theron for Monster
2/9: Naomi Watts for 21 Grams
2/11: Keisha Castle-Hughes for Whale Rider
2/16: Sean Astin for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The View:
2/4: Marcia Gay Harden for Mystic River
2/6: Patricia Clarkson for Pieces of April

Seems the TV talk show campaigning is a lot lighter this year, not as many appearances going on as expected. Most of these people appearing don't need to be, the people that really need to get their face on TV are the following nominees...
Patricia Clarkson, who did on Monday, I forget on which show

Keisha Castle-Hughes, the Whale Rider sensation chick needs to start making the public fall for her, right now, she's a cute girl and would get a huge boost from an appearance or two

Ken Watanabe needs to get on and get his name out there more

Shoreh Aghdashloo could easily charm her way into some more votes with a TV appearance

As far as the trades are concerned, there are City of God ads sprinkled all over the place, including the internet, which is great to see. TONS of Lord of the Rings in Variety, plenty of Seabiscuit to chase it. A fair number of Mystic River and Last Samurai ads in Variety as well, and a few Master and Commander to top it all off (and what a lovely set of ads Fox has for M&C). The Hollywood Reporter is overflowing with Seabiscuit ads, of course.
The dominate 3 in terms of press ads are definitely Seabiscuit, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, and Mystic River, at least from what I've seen and have been told. Fox really needs to step it up and bump those box office numbers for Master and Commander.

Lost in Translation was released on DVD today and is the number one selling DVD on Amazon.com at the moment. If those numbers translate to retail sellers, good news for Lost in Translation.
Here's a bit from today's PageSix on Coppola:
"THAT some Academy members are voting for Sofia Coppola to win Best Director to disprove Barbra Streisand's constant complaint she was never nominated in that category because she is a woman. "We have nothing against women, we just don't like Streisand," said one voter"

The notion that voters are going to throw a vote to Miss Sofia to spite Streisand, if I may be the first to say so, is patently absurd. We're not just talking about general AMPAS members, by the way, only DIRECTORS can vote for Best Director, and virtually all of the directors branch of AMPAS are men. If Coppola were to win for political reasons, it's much more likely that it would be friends and admirers of daddy voting for the Coppola name. I'd bet my life on it that none of the 360-something voters could give two shits about Streisand...That said, I personally feel that if Sofia wins, it will be because of a love and respect of the work, I don't think politics are going to be a large issue in a decision to mark Coppola on the director ballot. A lot of people out there truly love her little movie, and Sofia transcends simple Coppola family labeling by doing what matters, producing good work.

The race is still wide open, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King is still most likely to take Picture and Director, I still wouldn't call either a lock though. But even more wide open are the actor races. Penn/Theron/Robbins/Zellweger seems to be every pundit's prediction right now, which very well could happen...but I say, expect surprises, because it's more likely that will not be the lineup, not saying that 3 couldn't still do it, just don't count on all 4 in your predictions.

Going back to Lord of the Rings, the momentum has gone at a great pace so far and it seems like New Line is settling into a comfortable, straight-forward campaign to the finish line. Peter Jackson and company are showing up at all sorts of parties and are charming the crowds, as they are all very charming, classy people. It's looking good, very good. New Line just has to make sure they stay fairly laissez-faire for the rest of the ride, they are in a position of finally being accepted to take the big prizes and need only to avoid overkill and a resulting backlash with the voters. Just run the ads at a cool pace and everything should point to gold.

WB is appropriately getting more aggressive with Mystic River and is capitalizing on the re-release and tv appearances. A lot of older voters will probably be voting for Mystic River for Picture, and it still poses a huge threat.

Seabiscuit and Universal are hard to place, the aggressive campaigning has worked and is continuing, will the horse continue to trump people's expectations and possibly snag a few statues, maybe even Picture? Still doesn't feel very likely for Picture, but AMPAS members REALLY went wild for it in screenings, as I've said before, so don't count out the biscuit (something I said back in August and September and was laughed at for predicting it for picture, to those who doubted me, eat it, I told you so).

Fox needs to keep pushing Master and Commander hard, it has a chance, but it needs some more attention and a box office boost in this re-release wouldn't hurt either.

Focus is handling Lost in Translation pretty well, appropriately running TV spots for the DVD release listing its nomination success. Lost in Translation is definitely a threat in that it is the most alternative choice for voters in the Picture category.

After a very sloppy rundown, I'll hold off on the specifics of other categories until tomorrow (and yes, I intend to run a column tomorrow, no week-long hiatus again). It all lies in AMPAS' hands...

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