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Oscar Watch: Directors Round Table

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 23, 2011 at 3:53AM

The LATimes' directors' roundtable dwells on what Oscar contenders (left to right in the LAT photo) Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Ben Affleck (The Town), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), and Ethan Coen (True Grit) learn from failure, basically:
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Thompson on Hollywood

The LATimes' directors' roundtable dwells on what Oscar contenders (left to right in the LAT photo) Lisa Cholodenko (The Kids Are All Right), Ben Affleck (The Town), Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), David Fincher (The Social Network), Tom Hooper (The King's Speech), and Ethan Coen (True Grit) learn from failure, basically:

You're all here because your films have been incredibly successful. But I wonder if you actually learn more in failure. Are the more telling learning experiences from something that doesn't work?

Ben Affleck: I feel like all filming for me, directing, is about failure. Every day I go home, "Oh, my God."

Ethan Coen: Yeah, that's terrible, isn't it?

Darren Aronofsky: It's the worst.


Coen: And you kick yourself all the way home — that stuff you could and should have done.

Aronofsky: I think it's a myth that you [get] exactly what you have in mind. You're in three dimensions with weather, atmosphere, technology that has limitations, time that has limitations. And you don't want to control an actor to that extent because it'll just suck the life out of 'em. It's a constant form of improv and you just sort of roll with it.

Tom Hooper: I think it's an extraordinary thing when you watch your first assembly [of the roughly edited movie], the film always has become something slightly different from what you thought…

Aronofsky: The worst day of my life, every time.

Affleck: Way worst.

This article is related to: Awards, Oscars


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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.