Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Fistful of Thoughts...about dumb decisions, casting awesomeness and meatheads talking shit!

I haven't done one of these in a long time, and it just felt like the right time to pull one of these out.  I had a few things I wanted to weigh in on, and I might as well roll them all up into one post and see what you guys think about what's been going on.  We have some pretty controversial stuff floating around Twitter this past week, two involving opinionated men saying things that ruffled some feathers, and then we have some casting news that sounds epic and an odd decision from AMPAS that sounds effing crazy.

Let's talk about it!

First, let's get the awesome out of the way.  Word is that Scarlett Johansson is continuing her hot streak of all things awesome by snagging the lead role in the live action version of Ghost in the Shell.  Now, I have not seen the animated film, released back in 1995, but part of me is dying to do so now.  Rupert Sanders, the director behind the very visual Snow White and the Huntsman, is set to direct, and I'm really intrigued by this pairing.  I just LOVE what is happening to her career right now.  This year was HUGE for her, a coupling that with last year as well as an upcoming role in Hail Caesar! as well as Jungle Book and this endeavor, it looks like we'll be seeing a lot more of Scarlett Johansson, and who doesn't like that!

So, word broke yesterday that Whiplash, the little film that could this Oscar season, is no longer competing in Original Screenplay, where it actually had a chance at a win, but has been relegated to Adapted Screenplay by AMPAS.  Um, WTF?  Now, Oscar's rules as far as what is consider Adapted and Original have been dumb for a very long time (I mean, sequels are Adapted because they are about existing characters, but biopics are Original despite being about existing people?), but this is just stupid.  According to Oscar rules, if a film is based on a Short Film, then it is Adapted, which makes sense, but Whiplash really doesn't fall into that category, despite the fact that a 'Short Film' was made about it.  In order to get financing, Chazelle shot a SCENE from his full length script to show possible financiers what it would look like.  A SCENE!  That scene was so well received it wound up competing and winning an award for Short Film.  Because of that, Whiplash is deemed an Adapted Screenplay.  Now, this is a big shakeup, and it comes at a really bad time.  Oscar voting is already underway, and up until this point it has always been considered Original.  So what does this mean for it's Oscar chances?  I'm kind of worried now that we're going to see it snubbed for it's screenplay, despite the raves.

Now, let's talk about God.  By God, I clearly mean Russell Crowe.  Anyone who is a reader here knows that I have a very, very soft spot for this man.  He has been nicknamed God and I consider him infallible despite his obvious failings.  I love him like a Katy Perry song, unconditionally, and will stand by my man no matter what dumb things fall out of his mouth, and dumb things do often fall from it.  That being said, I think his words in that Variety interview are being misinterpreted just so that we can have something to bitch about.  He's always spoken his mind, and there are times when it is best to phrase things delicately, but even in his bluntness, he isn't entirely incorrect.  When asked about agism in Hollywood, Crowe made the comment that actresses should act their age, stating that;
“If you are willing to live in your own skin, you can work as an actor. If you are trying to pretend that you’re still the young buck when you’re my age, it just doesn’t work.”
On the whole, he has a point.  Do I think he covers the entire issue with this broad statement?  No, I don't.  There is clear sexism in Hollywood, especially from an age perspective.  Even though Streep and Mirren and Thompson continue to get work, how many times are their characters or films really any good?  I mean, Streep will be nominated for anything, but how many times has that nominated been deserved, in recent years?  That being said, this past year was proof that there are a lot of really interesting roles out there for women, but it's a shame that older actresses can't get the right films financed for them.  While Crowe has a point, it is a shame that the roles avaliable for these actresses to 'act their age' are not as prominent, or they aren't as dominant (always relegated to the supporting role).  But, a lot of this falls on American film, to be honest.  Over the years, I've seen so many foreign actresses shine as they reach their golden years, thanks to plum roles in tremendous films like A Christmas Tale and Elena.  American may disregard our actresses, but overseas they revere theirs.  We should take a hint!

Well, now let's talk about another man putting his foot in his mouth, or putting his foot all over his keyboard.  Yes, I'm talking about Mark Schultz.  The real life inspiration for the Oscar hopeful Foxcatcher had a lot of vitriol spilling all over his keyboard last week, and we were all there to take in the meltdown as he went to Twitter to wish death upon the film's director, Bennett Miller.  Despite the fact that Schultz was a producer on the film and had nothing but kind words and praise for it for months, his praise turned to rage as reviews started to come in suggesting that the film suggests he had a sexual relationship with his brother's murderer.  While I have not seen the film, many have weighed in and said that the alleged scene he's referring to is VERY ambiguous and could suggest a number of things.  Liberties are always taken with biopics, so for Schultz to get this irate now, especially after he already spoke so highly of the film, is bizarre, but he also just released his autobiography and in all his tyrannical outbursts, he did stir interest in a book that I'm sure many would have skipped for the film had he not called our attention to maybe he knows what he's doing.

He still sounds like a psycho.

And we'll close this up by announcing BAFTA's nominees for The Rising Star Award!  Looks like the best lineup (and certainly the most recognizable) they've had in years!  Congrats to all, and may the best (and by best, I mean Gugu Mbatha-Raw) win!

Gugu Mbatha-Raw

Jack O'Connell

Margot Robbie

Miles Teller

Shailene Woodley


  1. This is quite interesting. What stupidity about makes no sense and you know there are people behind the scenes being paid to squash their win so another can rise. I love Russell Crowe and i love that he speaks his mind. When i look at the Stars of yesteryear, they looked more their age. Women always had a problem with the age thing and many did get facelifts etc... but they still looked like they were in their 40's. Cary Grant and many others started to get embarrassed by having a love interest that could be their granddaughter but it worked (mostly). Now it seems to be getting more and more ridiculous when women have fish lips and stretched faces like Katherine Helmond in Brazil. Men look just as ghastly. The magazines do so many changes that even little kids have been worked over. It's so sad. I mean Jane Fonda does look good for being in her 70's but come on! She has had life long issues with her looks and weight and it still shows. Bring on Jamie Lee Curtis! You are right-North America learn from Europe! Mark Schultz-homophobe and yup-no such thing as bad publicity. The youngins you show here....Jack O'Connell looks like he was just asked a history question he can't answer and Milles teller looks like a 12 yr old boy taking steroids. The most natural seems to be Shailene Woodley

    1. LOL at your takedown of the youngins nominated for BAFTA Rising Star.

      I think that Crowe had a point and missed the point at the very same time, but alas, at least he isn't shy about his opinion.

  2. That Whiplash thing is so weird. Wasn't the film already made by the time the short was made? I thought he cut part of his finished product out to get more finances for distribution or something?

    And Mark Schultz looks like a world class douche now.

    1. No, from what I heard the scene was shot in a way to get financing to actually make the movie, but either way, this rule is obviously stupid.

  3. More ScarJo is always a good thing. :)

    Voting ends tomorrow, so I wonder about Whiplash. If voters missed it in Original Screenplay when voting online, they might've overlooked it in Adapted Screenplay. And paper ballot votes for Original will be thrown out. I think it can still get in, but I wouldn't be surprised if it misses.

    Yeah, Crowe could phrase his words better, but I don't think he's entirely off base. I agree on American film. I wonder if it has to do with a fear of box office failure. Would a movie with someone like Sissy Spacek or Diane Keaton in the lead be a modest success at the box office, like something might for Judi Dench or Helen Mirren? I'm not so sure.

    What was up Schultz? I couldn't believe that was real.

    Gugu would be an awesome winner, but O'Connell would be a fine choice as well. Though, I'd be ok with any of them winning. It's a very strong lineup.

    1. Well, look at what Something's Gotta Give did for Keaton's career (you know, for a spell). I think that if more actresses did as Crowe suggests and demand roles for women of their age instead of reaching for roles out of their grasp then maybe Hollywood would get the hint and finance these films, because we would see them.

      I think O'Connell is winning this rather easily, considering that he started on British television, and those actors have a track record of winning, but I'd love for a Gugu upset (I just want her to get a surprise Actress BAFTA nom).

  4. I haven’t heard about Ghost in the Shell nor seen the anime version but I saw that her casting got flak because well, shouldn’t they cast a Japanese (or at least Southeast Asian) actress though? Well it wouldn’t be the first time this happens I guess.

    Yeah, the Adapted vs Original Screenplay thing is just silly, they should just have 10 spots for Best Screenplay category and leave it at that.

    Heh, Crowe’s been nicknamed god?? That’s just ludicrous. I read his comment about actresses should act their age and I knew that’d cause an uproar. Like you said, people ALWAYS read things out of context and he’s an easy target to get upset about as people think he’s a douche bag. I like him too and I like that he speaks his mind, but his comment does hit a nerve w/ me. I agree that SOME actresses still get good roles in their mature years, but there are far more that don’t and they’re often relegated to smaller or even bit parts in favor of younger ones in the leading roles. In any case, I so totally agree w/ your comment here: “…Streep will be nominated for anything, but how many times has that nominated been deserved, in recent years?” I’m so tired of that, and I sure hope she WON”T get a nom for Into The Woods, I mean, come on!!

    But YES, absolutely YES on Gugu Mbatha-Raw getting a BAFTA Rising Star Award! Very happy for her and she deserves to win this thing!

    1. Yeah, I can see why there would be griping about her casting, considering that it is an Anime and probably should have skewed Asian, but I think the story can be transported anywhere, so I'm sure they'll base it elsewhere or just make her an American agent.

      As far as Crowe's nickname, it's a tongue and cheek nickname I gave him here after years of adoring his work and finding myself continually excusing every obvious mistake he makes. I love him unconditionally :-P

      Let's hold hands and rejoice over a real gift from God, Gugu Mbatha-Raw!

  5. I'm not gonna comment on that Crowe thing because I have not read the whole interview - there's RF to write, no time - but I do hope he realizes there really aren't many opportunities for women as opposed to men in that business, no matter what age. I have so many performances in my actors line up and I'm barely able to fill the actresses ones. Actors just get juicier parts.

    As for Schultz...this is just repulsive, considering the tragedy happened in real life, using this to sell more books is so gross.

    1. I feel like he knows that and I do feel like his comments were taken out of context...but I can't comment on what exactly is going on inside his head.

      And, yeah, pretty much what you said about Schultz.