Friday, January 21, 2022

Notes On The Season: Daniel Craig, Amy Pascal On Bond, Spidey And Oscar; Branagh And Campion Out At WGA

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A column chronicling conversations and occasions on the awards circuit.

This week, interviews with Amy Pascal, Daniel Craig and Cary Joji Fukunaga on discovering elusive Oscar love for the 2 buzziest blockbusters of the yr, plus why Oscar screenplay frontrunners aren’t eligible for the WGA Awards, and why March is changing into the equal of a pileup on the 405 — awards-wise that’s.



This week it has been a rush to the exit for any awards present beforehand scheduled in January and February. The solely ones staying put to date are the Annies and SAG Awards on the ultimate weekend of February. Otherwise, the shifting van is out for the Critics Choice Awards heading to the identical day as BAFTA on March 13, the PGA Awards leapfrogging from February 26 to March 19, the ACE Eddies going from February 26 to March 6, the AFI Awards Luncheon touchdown on March 12 from January 7, the SCL Awards rescheduled to March 8 and who is aware of what else because the Omicron stampede continues and organizers attempt to hit protected house.

These exhibits are actually crowding right into a month that already consists of the DGA Awards on March 12, plus the standard crunch of pre-Oscar below-the-line guild exhibits akin to Costume Designers (3/9), Art Directors (3/5), Visual Effects Society (3/8), MPSE (3/13), Artios (3/17), CAS (3/19) and ASC (3/20). There can also be the Oscar Nominees Luncheon set for March 7, and the Indie Spirits which really Film Independent determined months in the past to maneuver up three weeks from its typical day earlier than Oscars to March 6. You must marvel in the event that they picked the mistaken yr to go earlier.

Oh, and I not noted the WGA Awards which at all times go fairly late within the season and have been set on March 20 for a while. Of course, all of that is main as much as March 27 and the 94th Academy Awards. Isn’t that what all of that is about anyway?

Golden Globes 2021

Golden Globe/dcp

Oh properly, at the very least the Golden Globes received in beneath the wire final weekend, the one group decided to not let slightly contagious killer pandemic break their “party of the year.” It actually is a bizarre season, not simply due to Omicron, however as a result of a significant nationally broadcast awards-giving present saved it principally to themselves aside from loopy tweets saying winners and lots of patting themselves on the again for admittedly admirable philanthropy. Normally the trades could be filled with thank-you adverts following the Golden Globes, plus numerous promoting touting the winners in print, on-line and on TV. Not this time. Consultants have instructed me they’re leaving it alone, not touching it this yr.

As far as I can inform there hasn’t been a single point out in awards adverts of any form touting promoting of any Globes win. One main PR participant even instructed me a model new GG winner requested them if they need to publicly refuse the award. The awards marketing consultant suggested simply to say nothing. That appears to be what the business is doing as properly. That similar marketing consultant nevertheless believes the Globes will come again in all its former glory subsequent yr, and that even the famously boycotting group of 100-plus publicists would love that to occur. Not certain what intel this particular person has, however we’ll see. It looks as if it’s all as much as NBC on this one, and naturally all that cash concerned that comes with it.

Considering the final word outcomes and damaging press, each within the business and client retailers (Jimmy Kimmel skewered the Globes on his present Monday), going forward with their awards this yr although is unanimously acknowledged by these with whom I’ve spoken prior to now week as an pointless self-inflicted wound for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, however in all probability not a deadly one.


Rob Youngston/Focus Features/Courtesy Everett Collection

But again to the WGA. I received my poll and as typical the guild has KO’d the possibilities for a lot of severe Oscar contenders of their Original Screenplay and Adapted Screenplay classes. It occurs yearly, and this one isn’t any totally different as WGA is the one guild that doesn’t make any film not produced beneath the guild’s MBA eligible for his or her awards. Still often the guild matches the eventual Oscar winner in at the very least one class.

This yr they may be 0 for two. Looking at my poll and the alternatives I’ve been given, there are nonetheless a lot of wonderful movies, however the true eye-openers are the AWOL scripts not on the listing together with Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast in Original Screenplay and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog in Adapted Screenplay.  You might realistically predict that these two could be frontrunners for the Oscar of their respective classes.

Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Power of the Dog'


Others among the many lacking in Original are Asghar Farhadi’s A Hero, Pig, Mass, Pedro Almodóvar’s Parallel Mothers, Cannes Palme d’Or winner Titane, Jockey, Flee, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Hand of God, Annette and the fantastic German shortlisted International Film Oscar contender I’m Your Man. Among these additionally ineligible within the Adapted class along with Campion’s acclaimed script are Maggie Gyllenhaal’s The Lost Daughter; crucial favourite and Los Angeles, New York and National Society of Film Critics Best Picture winner Drive My Car; Passing; Cyrano; and oh lord, even the yr’s highest-grossing movie Spider Man: No Way Home which discovered final week it wasn’t eligible for BAFTA awards both.

Oh properly, at the very least now we have two months or so to meet up with a few of the movies that did make the minimize together with curios like Deadly Illusions, Senior Moment, Holler and a minimum of two totally different films known as Swan Song.

It jogs my memory of the 1956 Oscar race when there have been two films out that yr each known as High Society. One was a lavish MGM all-star musical with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Grace Kelly based mostly on the basic The Philadelphia Story. 

But the different was a black-and-white B-movie comedy starring the Bowery Boys, hardly Oscar fodder. Somehow voters received so confused they really inadvertently nominated the writers for the Bowery Boys film as an alternative of their apparent alternative, which wasn’t even eligible within the Best Motion Picture story class anyway because it was a musical adaptation. The Bowery writers ultimately withdrew their nomination, admitting it was clearly a case of mistaken identification, despite the fact that the Academy’s writers department had tried to avoid wasting face by saying voters did imply to appoint the Bowery Boys film.


Although Spider Man: No Way Home won’t be spinning his net round BAFTA, the WGA or Critics Choice (which voted its noms earlier than the movie was screening in December), and even SAG which at all times begins its voting course of early and didn’t even nominate Spidey for its stunts crew, there’s real hope it might probably survive its lack of any precursor awards motion and nonetheless discover its technique to a uncommon Best Picture nomination for a comic book e book film. It is a feat achieved solely by Black Panther, which had some main social and cultural significance to tout along with the film itself. Especially daunting is the truth that not one of the seven earlier Spidey films have even been whispered about by way of Oscar Best Picture recognition, however this one with huge crucial approval and naturally that giant field workplace validation across the globe, looks as if a probably totally different case, particularly if Academy voters really see it. It positively made my high 3 of the yr stunning the hell out of, properly, me.

It lastly started working within the  Academy’s digital screening room simply this morning, however nonetheless these famously snobbish Oscar voters ought to really enterprise out to a theatre to see it (Heavens to Murgatroyd! as Snagglepuss may say). The reactions with a crowd are what films are all about and actually enhances the expertise of this one like no different I’ve seen in ages. Not being made accessible in BAFTA’s digital platform was the hiccup in its eligibility there, however it’s clear piracy issues and retaining the theatrical run going robust are entrance of thoughts for Sony.

spider-man no way home


Producer and former Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal principally glossed over the difficulty of piracy fears once I spoke together with her in regards to the film’s Oscar viability. “I will let you get that from them [Sony]. I just know that the movie is still rock and rolling in the theater and there are more territories to open,” she stated whereas assuring me it will ultimately be in AMPAS digital platform and that really started at the moment as famous above. “It’s sometimes hard to get people who are in the Academy to the movie theater but that should not be the case. They should be the people who want to go to the movie theater the most.”

I steered this might have been a slam dunk if the Academy had not scrapped introduced plans for that broadly derided “Popular Movie” class awhile again. Pascal, beforehand on the AMPAS board, instructed me that concept simply didn’t appear proper within the first place. “Because in the olden days where you and I are from, you know people just made movies, and movies that were good were also popular. We should be beyond that snobbery now,” she stated, embracing all types of flicks within the Best Picture hunt. “People should vote for The Tragedy of Macbeth and they should vote for The Lost Daughter, and they should vote for Licorice Pizza, and they should vote for movies that are box office popular too. They’re all movies.”

Amy Pascal

Sony Pictures

After drastically declining Oscar rankings that may appear to be the explanation for the choice this yr to return to a strong 10 nominees for Best Picture slightly than wherever from 5 to 10. That preliminary thought in elevating the variety of nominees was instantly in response to the truth that The Dark Knight did not make the Best Picture minimize in 2009. We will see if we simply get extra of the identical old-same outdated, or if the Academy is prepared to be extra, let’s say, “inclusive” on the subject of one thing like Spider-Man. Pascal mentions the overwhelming win of Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King which gained 11 Oscars in 2003, and in addition even her personal Animated Feature winner, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which she additionally thinks ought to have been nominated for Best Picture (she instructed me she is happy for the sequel, which opens in October). She feels No Way Home shouldn’t be a mere sequel however slightly a “culmination” for the sequence 20 years within the making.

Oscar Statuette


“I mean I don’t want to sound like I am kind of campaigning for my own movie. That sounds a bit crass, but I think whether it’s this movie or whether it’s movies in the future. I think James Bond (No Time to Die) is a fantastic movie that is also an artistic achievement. It was a risky movie and in our own way ours was a risky movie too. We did something no one has ever done before. We made a love letter to all superhero movies, not just our franchise, but all of them, and connected them and said they matter. … I just think movies that are great are great and just because everybody goes to them doesn’t make them any less great,”  she stated. “What a wonderful thing when the whole world decides to go and do one thing at the same time. How many things in the world are like that anymore? How many things are that kind of shared experience? Why not honor that?… You know the Oscars are the Oscars and I’m not here to make any kind of judgment. I can only talk about this movie and to say that, it was a beautiful experience for all of us making it and we’re so overwhelmed and gratified by the audience response to it. And I just don’t think people should be snobbish.”


And whereas we’re with regards to films that have been wildly embraced by the general public, even within the midst of a pandemic, let’s speak about that Bond movie No Time to Die (the identical one Pascal simply raved about). It can also be vying for consideration as a Best Picture chance, with MGM unleashing a brand new TV For Your Consideration marketing campaign emphasizing what it did for the world by way of leisure in a time of want. Of course this one is a “culmination” as properly, the final of 5 Bond movies starring Daniel Craig, and the one which dared to take the final word danger and [spoiler alert]. It was one thing Craig tells me he envisioned when he signed on to do his first, Casino Royale, and one which the filmmakers and producers have been daring sufficient to really do for this, his ultimate flip as 007.

Of course, no Bond movie since they started with Sean Connery in Dr. No in 1962 has ever been an Oscar Best Picture nominee, and no Bond ever nominated for Best Actor. Can this be a primary, if once more the Academy can recover from itself and its previous practices? Craig modestly doesn’t touch upon that particularly, however does give his explanation why this movie ought to be acknowledged for its achievements in a latest Zoom name I had with him and director Cary Joji Fukunaga.

No Time To Die


“I feel like I’ve been around long enough now to know a good thing when I see it, at least to a certain extent, and what they have done on this film is just extraordinary, the culmination of sound design, and music, and special visual effects and actual physical effects that come into place, that don’t get done on movies very often,” he stated. “They just don’t, I mean, and don’t get done well on movies very often, not like this. Very rarely have I ever had the chance to sort of dissect the process the way I’ve been able to dissect the process a little bit with this, maybe this movie more than any other ones I’ve done. I’m just immensely proud of the work that’s gone in. That’s what gets me up in the morning, kind of going to work with these extraordinary people. And you know, I look at the movie, and whatever is to be said about it, I look at it and I go, it’s an extraordinary piece of work.”

'No Time to Die'


This week, No Time to Die landed on the BAFTA longlists with 12 mentions together with Best Film and Craig as Best Actor. And really when the Oscar shortlists have been lately launched in a number of crafts classes, it was No Time to Die that led each different film with mentions on 5 of these lists (Song, Score, Visual Effects, Makeup and Hair Styling, and Sound). An excellent omen, or does it cease there? Traditionally Bond movies have solely gotten love in a handful of wins for Song or Effects, and that’s about it. But, like Spider-Man the powers that be behind this movie — which actually does deserve credit score for bringing audiences again to theaters in an enormous approach when it was lastly launched in October — made it extra a end result, and in addition like Spidey one which will get extremely emotional and takes large dangers with a legendarily profitable franchise.

That is what received Fukunaga excited within the first place, he explains.

“It was getting that landing right, and having an ending that feels earned sometimes is elusive, and it’s even been elusive to me on previous projects. And I think, to me, trying to get an ending that surprised people, and made people feel emotions they weren’t expecting to feel in a Bond film, and to really, you know, sit with the work that Daniel has put in over the last 15 years, and feel what that means, and to live with this character,” he stated, summing up what made this Bond attention-grabbing to do for his first movie on this sort of scale.

So the pure query is what about some BAFTA and Oscar recognition for Craig?


“Daniel is one of the main reasons I’m a James Bond fan, and you know, I grew up watching the films, and loved the films, but Daniel coming in and playing this role is what made it a role I wanted to watch, made it a role that I wanted to go out to cinemas and watch, you know, in the cinemas, and bring me back in, and it’s the reason why I wanted to direct the film, too. So, in terms of a recognition of a body of work, it absolutely deserves recognition,” he stated. “You know, there are very few roles that exist, especially in this day and age, that require this much out of a person, require this much time, this much dedication, and that doesn’t really come around very often. And to be able to, as he said, leave it in a good place, which he’s done times a thousand, should definitely be recognized.”

And for Craig, the truth that the movie virtually singlehandedly, significantly by way of reticent older moviegoers, introduced folks again into theaters, is a sort of win in and of itself. “All movies definitely need to be seen in theaters. That’s number one, but listen, if we did, I’m so glad that, you know, shout-out to MGM, and everybody who held their nerve in keeping this where it is, because there was temptation dangled in its face to go day-and-date on a streaming service. And that would’ve been, not tragic, but it would’ve been very sad, and we did hold out, ” he stated.  “And people went, and they saw it, and they got it, and then they on the whole seemed to love it. So, for me, on a very personal level, I can’t be happier and more satisfied, and if we’ve in some way helped the theater, the movie theater industry keep going, hallelujah.”

Check out this unique clip beneath which exhibits the extent of emotion simply because the No Time to Die is about to finish.

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