|92ND ANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDSANNUAL ACADEMY AWARDSACADEMY AWARDSNOMINEES|
Kirk Douglas represented the embodiment of Hollywood stardom, but he likely would not have been a fan of Sunday’s Oscar show. Indeed, he might have ended up standing offstage with Quentin Tarantino, both wondering why the ceremonies seem oddly distanced from both Hollywood and its stars.
Tarantino made a downright affectionate movie about Hollywood, but had to watch a Korean filmmaker seize the Best Picture statuette. Quentin and Kirk know that the Oscar show had originally been invented by Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Charlie Chaplin to prove that the talent — i.e., stars — still ran the show, not the corporations.
Ninety years later, star vehicles don't win Oscars. Further, post-Oscar analysts focus less on the winning feature and its star than on whether Netflix's lavish $100 million awards campaign paid off in sufficient trophies the streamer won 24 nominations but only two Oscars.
Douglas coveted the awards derby. He was nominated three times as Best Actor in his first decade as a star and usually starred in three movies a year. “I was always attracted to characters who are part scoundrel,” was his famous explanation.
To Douglas, stardom meant not only working a lot but also putting his prestige behind important movies — hence Lonely are the Brave, Lust for Life and Spartacus. Rallying behind the then-unknown Stanley Kubrick was vital to bringing Paths of Glory to the screen. His unrelenting support of Dalton Trumbo was the key to liberating blacklisted screenwriters.
In the early 1960s when the strapped studios eliminated their overall deals with stars, Douglas was the most aggressive in creating independent companies to develop projects. Others like William Holden, Humphrey Bogart and Spencer Tracy seemed paralyzed by the realization that no one was around any more to feed them material or match them with appropriate directors.
When I once slipped a book to John Wayne some years ago — it was True Grit — he seemed surprised that someone would actually feed him a new project I was a studio executive at the time. Had I donated it to Douglas, he would have optioned the novel by dinner time and hired a screenwriter. Instead, Wayne asked his friend, Hal Wallis, to help him figure out how to take it from there.Pitt John Salangsang/BEI/Shutterstock
Kirk Douglas skillfully put together a development slate, and even raised financing funding. Oscar winners like Crash or Birdman, however, would not have been in his purview, nor would he have reacted exuberantly to the Big Win for Parasite. He liked “big” pictures and “big” stars that had international audiences. On the Oscar show, he also would have liked to see more clips of big scenes, and heard...
Ladj Ly's Cannes Film Festival Jury Prize laureate Les Misérables was the big winner at Friday night's 45th annual César Awards, France's equivalent to the Oscars, including taking the top honor of Best Film. The night unfolded, however, under tumultuous conditions owing to controversy surrounding Roman Polanski, whose An Officer and a Spy was the leading nominee going in with 12 mentions.
The filmmaker was not in attendance, but his film won three prizes including Best Director — an occurrence that caused walkouts from the Salle Pleyel, which earlier in the evening had been the site of protests by feminist organizations.
Polanski on Thursday said he would not attend the local industry's biggest night. “Activists are threatening me with a public lynching. Some have called for demonstrations, others are planning to make it a platform,” he said. “This promises to look more like a symposium than a celebration of cinema designed to reward its greatest talents,” the Oscar winner told AFP.
Earlier today, Officer and a Spy producer Alain Goldman told AFP he and the film's team had decided not to attend amid “an escalation of inappropriate and violent language and behavior.” Star Jean Dujardin on Instagram posted a photo from the film whose French title is J'Accuse, a term adopted by protesters against Polanski and wrote, “I'd just like to remind that J'Accuse is the title of a very famous article by Emile Zola, I hope that doesn't bother anyone? Have a good night!”
The Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma is itself in upheaval with the board of its management, the Association for the Promotion of Cinema, having recently announced its intention to resign en masse. That follows upset within the voting membership which has complained of an “elitist and closed” system in which they have “no voice.” A revamp of the Académie is due to begin soon with Amour producer Margaret Menegoz recently named its interim president.
The rest of the evenings nominees included such titles as Ly's Oscar-nominated Les Misérables, Nicolas Bedos' La Belle Epoque and Céline Sciamma's Portrait of a Lady on Fire. The latter included a Best Actress mention for Adèle Haenel, who has made headlines for accusing French director Christophe Ruggia of sexually harassing her from the age of 12, and has been outspoken with regard to the nominations for Polanski.
Here is tonight's full list of winners:
BEST FILMLes Misérables, dir: Ladj Ly
BEST DIRECTORRoman Polanski — An Officer And A Spy
BEST ACTRESSAnais Demoustier — Alice Et Le Maire
BEST ACTORRoschdy Zem — Roubaix, Une Lumière
BEST SUPPORTING ACTORSwann Arlaud — Grace A Dieu