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Oscar Talk 22: Dueling Oscar Producers, Weinstein's Inglourious Basterds Push, Bullock Talks

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood February 19, 2010 at 10:04AM

Kris Tapley and I dig into the meat of the matter this week as the Oscar season goes into overdrive. Are voters trying to rig the top ten? What has a better shot of winning, The Hurt Locker, Avatar or Inglourious Basterds, which Harvey Weinstein has been relentlessly flogging? Are Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic (who aren't getting along) going to be able to put together a strong show with ten best picture nominees and no Oscar-nominated songs?
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Thompson on Hollywood

Kris Tapley and I dig into the meat of the matter this week as the Oscar season goes into overdrive. Are voters trying to rig the top ten? What has a better shot of winning, The Hurt Locker, Avatar or Inglourious Basterds, which Harvey Weinstein has been relentlessly flogging? Are Oscar producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic (who aren't getting along) going to be able to put together a strong show with ten best picture nominees and no Oscar-nominated songs?

Check out new L.A. indieWIRE staffer Sophia Savage's wrap-up of the best of the week's Oscar coverage on the jump along with my pool side flip cam chat with Sandra Bullock:

On Monday, Anne learned a lot at the Oscar Nominee Mixer and was able to sit down with Bullock (see video below) and Crazy Heart’s musical duo T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham.


Find more videos like this on AnneCam

On the talk-show circuit, Charlie Rose introduced his guest with: “if there is a good time to be James Cameron, it has to be now.” They discussed, among other things, Avatar’s tree-hugging and the plight of the ‘noble savage.’ The NYT shot a video asking 14 of this year's top actors--including Jeff Bridges, Zoe Saldana and Christoph Waltz-- “What is the best performance of the decade?” Clooney’s pick was Marion Cotillard in La Vie En Rose for her ability to portray an old Edith Piaf by trying to be youthful; Vera Farmiga chose Michael Fassbender in Hunger, whose face is “unlike anyone” in the way it conveys emotion.

USA Today featured a father-son talk on the Reitman family business and their differences as storytellers. Ivan says that Jason’s childhood "allowed him to be very probing and satirical and very genuine about the subject matter that he was attracted to," while his own was a constant search for a laugh. Both men acknowledged the influence they’ve had on each other’s work, from Jason’s boyhood through Up In The Air.

In Contention put the attention on the Best Foreign Language Film competition, arguing that while France’s A Prophet should win, Argentina’s The Secret in Their Eyes will likely take home the statue.

Steve Pond questioned the effectiveness of voting for only one film, while the LA Time’s Tom O’Neil warns of an ‘Inglorious’ Best Picture upset despite his brief stint on The Hurt Locker’s side. In two videos, the LA Time’s The Envelope featured a director’s roundtable discussion on the importance of the audition, while The Hollywood Reporter asked actresses, including Mo’Nique and Patricia Clarkson, if the business has changed for women ("no" was the popular answer, see video):

[Photo courtesy New York Magazine.]

This article is related to: Awards, Directors, Franchises, Headliners, Independents, Video, Oscars, Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Kathryn Bigelow, Avatar, Jeff Bridges, Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Weinsteins


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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.