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 it...so 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!