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Golden Globes: Sci-Fi Avatar Wins Director and Drama

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 18, 2010 at 4:16AM

Golden Globes winner James Cameron is pleased that the success of Avatar will broaden the scope of future 3-D. "One thing Avatar could do because of its success is give permission to other filmmakers to think of 3-D as something that isn't relegated to kids movies and animation," he said backstage. "It creates a broad category and permission for filmmakers to use these tools. We know that 3-D is going to be big in the future. It's a question of breaking out in breadth. It's rolling into the home."
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Thompson on Hollywood

Golden Globes winner James Cameron is pleased that the success of Avatar will broaden the scope of future 3-D. "One thing Avatar could do because of its success is give permission to other filmmakers to think of 3-D as something that isn't relegated to kids movies and animation," he said backstage. "It creates a broad category and permission for filmmakers to use these tools. We know that 3-D is going to be big in the future. It's a question of breaking out in breadth. It's rolling into the home."

Cameron also pointed out that Avatar was the first sci-fi film to win the best picture drama Golden Globe in its 59-year history. The other was E.T. He's fighting for "the acceptance of science fiction as a form of legitimate drama," he said. "It was a huge breakthrough when Sigourney got nominated in a sci-fi film for Aliens for best supporting actress," he added. A big cheer went up in the press room for her performance hosting Saturday Night Live.

Thompson on Hollywood

While trying to make the point that his actors were acting, and not just doing voices, thanks to performance capture, Cameron criticized Meryl Streep for not understanding the difference between what the actors in Avatar were doing and what she did on Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Cameron also addressed Avatar's political controversy, seeking to clear up the suggestion that Avatar is anti-military."The film is specifically anti-inappropriate-use-of-military-force," he said. "Sam is a former marine, everything about him celebrates the Marine Corps and their core value system. He is a hero. Look to the hero of the movie, not the nemesis, for what the value system of the filmmaker is...We have to open our eyes and look at these leaders who put men and women on the ground for the wrong reason."

When Titanic was taking off at the box office, Cameron told himself "to enjoy this ride, it's never going to happen again." With Avatar, he and producer Jon Landau thought they were pursuing "a shameless engine of commerce," he said. They weren't going to try and impress the critics. "Here we are again," he said. "What the hell did we do?"

Cameron has ideas for a second Avatar picture and wants to stay with the film's "great team, it's like a family. It's the closest cast I've ever worked with, the closest group of technical people and crew, we were locked in a grey room together for three years." He might, however, go with a more modest straight drama The Dive, "an excellent script that I might do between this and next one. We have to map out a strategy. It's too soon, we're in shock. We haven't been able to get off this ride, this roller coaster ain't stopping."

What Cameron may not want to think about is this: only one Golden Globe winner has won the best picture Oscar in the past five years.

[Golden Globes Photo: Paul Drinkwater, NBC]

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Franchises, Genres, Oscars, Golden Globes, James Cameron, Avatar, Sci-fi


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.