Quote of the Day, 'Huh?' Edition
January 23, 2012

[Guest post by Isaac Chotiner] From Gavin Polone's anti-Oscars piece in New York magazine: Can you really say that Borat didn’t deserve a [Best Picture] nomination but Letters From Iwo Jima did? Er, yes. Yes you can. Which reminds me: the Academy Awards is in danger of reaching a unique place in our culture--a place currently inhabited by the festivities surrounding Christmas. Very briefly, the Oscar telecast is annoying and silly. So is Christmas music, and so is phony holiday cheer. But much more annoying are the people who complain incessantly about these things.

“You Used to Be in Pictures!”
April 23, 2010

Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America By Peter Biskind (Simon & Schuster, 627 pp., $30)   Warren Beatty has not done a lot for us lately. Town and Country, his last movie, was nine years ago. The absence is such that some of his old associates have concluded that he may be happy at last. But I doubt that such a hope lingered more than a few seconds: Beatty’s entire act has been the epitome of dissatisfaction.

Acting Out
March 08, 2010

Leave it to the Oscars to frustrate me even when they’re properly awarded. On Friday, I loudly declared my belief in inavataribility, arguing that, given the Academy's lifelong emphasis on movies' commercial success, there was no way it would give Best Picture to a $12.6 million-grossing indie (The Hurt Locker) over a well-reviewed juggernaut that made 50 times as much (Avatar). On Sunday, it gave Best Picture to a $12.6 million-grossing, etc., etc. How did this act of cinematic sanity come about?

Buy Me Love
March 05, 2010

As we approach this weekend’s Oscars, there are two predominant takes on the Best Picture category: Either it will be a close race between James Cameron’s 3-D (and nearly 3-hour) money-mill Avatar and Kathryn Bigelow’s Iraq indie The Hurt Locker, with the latter a slight favorite (as this gambling site submits); or Bigelow’s picture already has the award in the bag.

TNR Film Classics: The Case Against Hollywood (April 10, 1995)
April 10, 1995

I. I just got back from Hollywood, where I had breakfast with Ricardo Mestres at the Bel Air Hotel. Mestres shot from Harvard to the head of Disney’s Hollywood pictures, only to release a string of flops so unremittingly horrible that finally, after a deathwatch that seemed to go on for years, he lost his job. But there he was, with a spanking new title, dressed with casual confidence in khakis and a plaid shirt, working on his second breakfast of the day. The head of Warner Brothers’ film division sat across from us, the new chairman of Disney in the corner.