|ROBERT DE NIRODONALD TRUMPDE NIROTRUMP|
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar conversations around town bring differing opinions about what might win in an exceptional year for auteur cinema. It was surprising how many people add: boy would it be nice to see Martin Scorsese get an Oscar for his final mob epic, The Irishman. Sure he won for The Departed, but he got robbed on Taxi Driver, Goodfellas, Raging Bull and Casino, those epics with Robert De Niro.
Scorsese shared with Deadline moments from those film collaborations with De Niro. Most know the hardship this film went through after De Niro and Scorsese decided to scrap a Paramount greenlit adaptation of the Don Winslow novel The Winter of Frankie Machine to instead make the film about union leader/hitman Frank Sheeran's deathbed regret over crimes that included the murder of his best friend, Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa. The Irishman allowed Scorsese and De Niro to focus on the regret and guilt that few mobsters in his earlier films conveyed.
Because it spanned decades, no studio would step up for the de-aging technology that pushed its budget to $160 million, until Netflix embraced it. What is surprising here is how much of a struggle they encountered on every movie Scorsese and De Niro made together.
DEADLINE: A documentary on fellow New York director Sidney Lumet traced how his filmmaking path was forged by watching soldiers pull a young girl on to a train to sexually abuse her, and when it was clear he might not survive an attempt to stop it, he did nothing. The guilt pressed Lumet to make movies about men who summon the courage to stand up for what is right no matter the cost, like in 12 Angry Men. I watched your films, from Silence to Mean Streets and wondered; what events in your own life informed the depictions of guilt, faith, and cowardice of the imperfect male characters in these films? Like the interpreter in Silence who asks for confession to forgive his latest betrayal, knowing full well he's going to do it again the next time he needs to save his own skin. All this began with the relationship between Harvey Keitel and De Niro's characters in Mean Streets.
MARTIN SCORSESE: But that character in Silence, he's really going to try not to [repeat the sin.] That's a difference. He says, I will pray to be stronger. I promise I'll be stronger. It's his condition. It's the human condition and that's such a complicated question. There are so many things I saw growing up...grown men in a male dominated world. There were good, hardworking, decent guys but there were many people around who had money in the street, as they say, and who were involved in real street corner underworld activity. Just thugs, but a lot of those thugs I basically knew as people first. I was eight years old.
Some were nice, some weren't. The ones who weren't, you...
Even four years into his term, Donald Trump can’t stop obsessing over Hollywood, this time setting his sights on Oscar winner Parasite. At a Colorado rally this week, the president mocked the South Korean movie’s Best Picture win at this year’s Academy Awards, grousing over the lack of love for Gone With the Wind, a four-hour epic that Trump, who has a famously short attention span, has definitely seen. But Parasite‘s U.S. distributor Neon was quick to hit back at Trump, mocking another thing that Trump is famous for: his inability to read.
At a Colorado rally on Thursday, President Trump criticized Parasite‘s historic Best Picture win at the Academy Awards this year, according to Variety.
“How bad were the Academy Awards this year?” he asked, to jeers from the crowd. “Did you see it? The winner is… a movie from South Korea! What the hell was that all about? We got enough problems with South Korea with trade. On top of that, they give them best movie of the year? Was it good? I don’t know. Let’s get ‘Gone With the Wind.’ Can we get ‘Gone With the Wind’ back, please?”
Gone With the Wind won the Oscar for Best Picture 80 years ago, long before Trump — who likely looked at the Wikipedia list of highest-grossing American Oscar winners to come up with that zinger — was born. I also highly doubt that Trump has the attention span to sit through the 4-hour David O. Selznick epic, but anything I say to poke holes at the president’s speech can’t compare to Neon’s Twitter burn of Trump.
“Understandable, he can’t read,” the Twitter account for the U.S. distributor of Parasite posted. It’s a perfect cherry on top to the ongoing discourse online over whether Americans should be forced to read subtitles to enjoy Bong Joon-ho’s darkly satirical masterpiece. Spoilers: they should.
Understandable, he can't read.#Parasite #BestPicture #Bong2020 https://t.co/lNqGJkUrDP
— NEON @neonrated February 21, 2020
Trump later continued in his tirade against Parasite, “I thought it was best foreign film, right? Best foreign movie. Did this ever happen before?”
He was right that this never happened before — Parasite‘s Best Picture win marks the first time a foreign-language film has won the Oscar’s highest honor. But Trump’s whole speech is sadly in line with the president’s ongoing xenophobic messaging and anti-Asian sentiment. Trump has been criticized before for mocking the accents of South Korean leaders and his whole agenda has been based on anti-immigrant bias and xenophobia.
But nice burn, Neon. We have nothing but respect....
Martin Scorsese’s frequent cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto said last December the tone of their next collaboration together, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” was still being worked out. Now comes word from Scorsese himself that the tone has been set and the project, based on David Grann's historical novel of the same name, will be the director’s first Western. “Killers of the Flower Moon” is Scorsese’s follow-up to “The Irishman,” which nabbed 10 Academy Award nominations this year. The project is set to star longtime Scorsese muses Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.
“We think it's a Western,” Scorsese tells Premiere of the film. “It happened in 1921-1922 in Oklahoma. There are certainly cowboys, but they have cars and also horses. The film is mainly about the Osage, an Indian tribe that was given horrible territory, which they loved because they said to themselves that Whites would never be interested in it. Then we discovered oil there and, for about ten years, the Osage became the richest people in the world, per capita. Then, as with the Yukon and the Colorado mining regions, the vultures disembark, the White man, the European arrives, and all was lost. There, the underworld had such control over everything that you were more likely to go to jail for killing a dog than for killing an Indian.”
Scorsese continues, “It's so interesting to think about the mentality that leads us to this. The history of civilization goes back to Mesopotamia. The Hittites are invaded by another people, they disappear, and later it is said that they have been assimilated or, rather, absorbed. It is fascinating to see this mentality which is reproduced in other cultures, through two world wars. And which is therefore timeless, I think. This is the film that we are going to try to make.”
David Grann's book centers around the Osage Nation murders, in which members of the Native American tribe were killed after discovering oil on their reservation. The murders attracted the attention of the newly-created FBI. Paramount Pictures boarded the project last June, bringing Scorsese back to a major Hollywood studio following his work on “The Irishman” with Netflix. Production on “Killers of the Flower Moon” is expected to begin this spring, making a 2021 release date most likely.
John Oliver made his return to HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” on March 29 after a brief hiatus due to the coronavirus, and the late night host wasted no time ripping Donald Trump for his “failed” and “irresponsible” response to the global pandemic. As Oliver said, “Again and again, Trump has failed to give this crisis the seriousness it deserves…It didn't need to be this hard. That is why it is so profoundly disheartening that we are being led through this crisis by a man who may be less equipped to deal with this historical moment than anyone in recorded history.”
“It's critically important for America to be getting a clear, consistent message about the severity of the threat we're currently facing,” Oliver added. “That is the only way we will be able to manage this virus, contain casualties, and get back to something resembling normalcy.”
Oliver expressed criticism over Trump’s delay in responding to the coronavirus threat, noting that Trump could have helped solve the nationwide shortage in hospital masks and ventilators by enacting the Defense Production Act as early as late January or February. Had Trump made the move, he would have pushed companies like General Motors to produce supplies sooner. Oliver argued Trump waited too long, only to tell the country that his administration is ahead of the outbreak.
“It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate just how irresponsible that attitude is,” Oliver said. “Because we wasted so much time that we could have spent preparing, the virus is now widespread. And thanks to how we have massively botched the rollout of testing the virus, we still don’t know how exactly how bad things are.”
Oliver added, “For once, something has come along that is more toxic and more threatening that this president.” The television host concluded by saying he is “rooting for [Trump] to do this better,” pointing to how Ohio governor Mike DeWine and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have responded.
The March 29 episode of “Last Week Tonight” was Oliver’s first since signing off for a hiatus on March 16. During that episode, Oliver blasted Trump’s coronavirus response as “catastrophic” and urged Americans to listen to the Center of Disease Control over the President when it comes to facts about the pandemic. Oliver said the White House’s response was a “complete mess” because of all the lies Trump has told the American people.
New episodes of “Last Week Tonight” air Sunday nights at 11 p.m. ET on HBO.