Fincher on the Oscars and Dragon Tattoo – “Too Much Anal Rape”

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A friend of mine once had a theory we called the “anal sex rule,” which indicated that films featuring anal sex do not win Oscars. It seemed a very good theory and one we’ve come back to again and again (so to speak). And now, Mr. Fincher seems to agree, as he told Entertainment Weekly in a candid chat — and he’s right, you can’t win. The internet is a Greek chorus that monitors and judges ALL behavior. “They” so badly wanted to cast Fincher as the asshole last year (not warm and fuzzy enough to be an Oscar winner, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth) and with Benjamin Button as the guy who “wanted an Oscar.”

“There’s too much anal rape in this movie” to get nominated, he says, half-jokingly. “I think we’re very safe.”

Fincher says he isn’t preparing for the Oscar process, but he points out that “we didn’t gear up for it last time, either” (2010′s Social Network scored eight nominations). And he’s not opposed to campaigning, especially if it helps out his collaborators. “When it came to Benjamin Button, I wanted it for Brad [Pitt] more than Brad wanted it for himself,” he says. He also wanted to support fellow Social Network nominees like screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and star Jesse Eisenberg. “I thought that kid f—ing brought it, and I was incredibly thankful to be able to be there and record that performance. It’s an exceptionally brave and tremendous performance. When a movie is celebrated in whatever way, I think it’s bad form not to engage in some way, because people shower you with goodwill. It seems only polite to acknowledge it and be thankful for it. And then there’s 90 percent of it that is, ‘If you’re going to do this Q&A, you have to do this Q&A. if you’re going to do this, you have to do that.’”

More….

“It’s an incredible drain — a cosmic drain,” Fincher continues. “Because you have to be on your best behavior. Every little weird facial tic that you may already have is now going to come under weird scrutiny on f—ing YouTube.” As an example, he tells a story about last year’s Directors Guild of America Awards ceremony. “It’s so funny: It may have been in the middle of [King's Speech director] Tom Hooper’s acceptance speech, somebody who shall remain nameless who was seated at the table with me got up and left. I stayed to the end and wished Tom the best, did the whole thing, got a drink, left late. Then one of these bloggers was like, ‘Fincher bolted right in the middle.’ I was like, ‘Wait a minute, I actually stayed and I got credit for bolting.’ You just can’t win.”

Last year’s debacle has faded into memory at this point — there is no arguing about which film is better — they are different movies that appeal to different people. Feeling and thinking are two very different things and most people go to the movies to be MOVED, not necessarily to think, especially tired and retired Academy members who have been there, done that. That is why I’m glad the Dragon Tattoo isn’t being considered an “awards movie” right now. The Oscar beast, I think, kills all beautiful things — but those dead things eventually sprout back up again and live better lives. We should never make the mistake of thinking that the Oscars reward the best. The best is a matter of opinion. They reward what most people can agree upon is the best, you know, like Presidents.

But last year taught me to remember that loving movies, looking forward to great works by filmmakers like Fincher, Bela Tarr, Oren Movermen, Rupert Wyatt, Lynne Ramsay, Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Bennett Miller, Michel Hazanivisus and yes, maybe even Steven Spielberg doesn’t mean they are any less so because they aren’t recognized by the 9,000 in the DGA or the 6,000 in the Academy. I look forward to the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo because David Fincher and co. never fail to rock my world. And for me, especially after last year, that is more than enough.

Let’s never forget that choosing great films that have lasting value, that birth whole generations of new filmmakers, are usually those that never won Oscars. The most influential directors of all time — with a few notable exceptions like Billy Wilder, John Ford, Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen and Steven Spielberg are directors who never won Oscars.  Let’s also never forget that when the Academy rewards great films it makes them look better, particularly in retrospect.  When films win Oscars it doesn’t necessarily make those films look better.

For David Fincher or Martin Scorsese or any other director trying to continually do different things artistically, they can’t think about appealing to large bodies of voters — to do so is make something conventional.  We keep wanting to change the Academy to suit better films, and yet — it always has to be that the filmmakers have to change to suit the Academy.  That’s why there were two Best Picture winners last year, to my mind.  The industry’s and the critics.  I’ll stubbornly hold to that notion because I realize the end goal for both was completely different.  Vive la difference.

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Dragon Tattoo Teaser vid

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80 Comments

  1. November 15, 2011

    “When films win Oscars it doesn’t necessarily make those films look better.”

    In some cases, winning an Oscar makes a film or performance look worse.

  2. November 15, 2011

    “When films win Oscars it doesn’t necessarily make those films look better.”

    In some cases, winning an Oscar makes a film or performance look worse.

  3. November 15, 2011

    Well how much anal rape IS in it? I was gonna take my old Ma.

  4. November 15, 2011

    Well how much anal rape IS in it? I was gonna take my old Ma.

  5. Mark
    November 15, 2011

    And yet Shame, which depicts consensual acts, remains the most sexually controversial film of the year?

  6. Mark
    November 15, 2011

    And yet Shame, which depicts consensual acts, remains the most sexually controversial film of the year?

  7. Mitchell
    November 15, 2011

    ^ Maybe because Dragon Tattoo hasn’t been released yet. Chill.

  8. Mitchell
    November 15, 2011

    ^ Maybe because Dragon Tattoo hasn’t been released yet. Chill.

  9. Mark
    November 15, 2011

    Call me when it gets an NC-17 rating. The original European films didn’t even get hit with it.

  10. Mark
    November 15, 2011

    Call me when it gets an NC-17 rating. The original European films didn’t even get hit with it.

  11. Mark
    November 15, 2011

    (Rape is really more an act of violence than a purely sexual crime, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the MPAA’s decision.) :/

  12. Mark
    November 15, 2011

    (Rape is really more an act of violence than a purely sexual crime, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the MPAA’s decision.) :/

  13. jhg
    November 15, 2011

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards. why deny it when dragon is blatantly set for december awards release. that is why people hate Fincher, he pretends he doesn’t care but he really does.

  14. jhg
    November 15, 2011

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards. why deny it when dragon is blatantly set for december awards release. that is why people hate Fincher, he pretends he doesn’t care but he really does.

  15. Sasha Stone
    November 15, 2011

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards.

    Bullshit.

  16. Sasha Stone
    November 15, 2011

    he can deny it but his recent work are very much made and positioned to win awards.

    Bullshit.

  17. November 15, 2011

    jhg,

    “made and positioned to win awards” — only a shallow moviegoer could think this way. What, in your mind, would constitute a movie that’s not “made and positioned” to win awards? Sloppyass movies released direct to video? Would you be happier if everyone made shitty movies and released them all in March?

  18. November 15, 2011

    jhg,

    “made and positioned to win awards” — only a shallow moviegoer could think this way. What, in your mind, would constitute a movie that’s not “made and positioned” to win awards? Sloppyass movies released direct to video? Would you be happier if everyone made shitty movies and released them all in March?

  19. November 15, 2011

    The Swedish film turned me off, but then again the acting in that film was wooden. I don’t anticipate the same problem in Fincher’s adaptation.

  20. November 15, 2011

    The Swedish film turned me off, but then again the acting in that film was wooden. I don’t anticipate the same problem in Fincher’s adaptation.

  21. Gerold
    November 15, 2011

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released. Thats up to the distributing company and the producers. And who hates Fincher? Just because you jhg obviously don’t like him doesn’t make a statement like “that is why people hate Fincher” true.

  22. Gerold
    November 15, 2011

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released. Thats up to the distributing company and the producers. And who hates Fincher? Just because you jhg obviously don’t like him doesn’t make a statement like “that is why people hate Fincher” true.

  23. Pierre de Plume
    November 15, 2011

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released.

    Took the words right outta my mouth, Gerold!

  24. Pierre de Plume
    November 15, 2011

    The director doesn’t usually get a say when the movie is released.

    Took the words right outta my mouth, Gerold!

  25. AD
    November 15, 2011

    Sasha I would add to your list of great movie makers David Cronenberg I just wished he was celebrated more because not only he is a incredible director, he is also a great human being!

  26. AD
    November 15, 2011

    Sasha I would add to your list of great movie makers David Cronenberg I just wished he was celebrated more because not only he is a incredible director, he is also a great human being!

  27. Tero Heikkinen
    November 15, 2011

    Is Silence of the Lambs the only winner where they even talk about sodomy? Brokeback Mountain came close to winning, but they should’ve used proper lube and not spit, and it has to be between two consenting adults. Then you may win. Fincher’s film will be all dry and RAPE.

    How many best picture winners have a rape scene of vaginal or of any kind? Platoon kinda had one suggested.

  28. Tero Heikkinen
    November 15, 2011

    Is Silence of the Lambs the only winner where they even talk about sodomy? Brokeback Mountain came close to winning, but they should’ve used proper lube and not spit, and it has to be between two consenting adults. Then you may win. Fincher’s film will be all dry and RAPE.

    How many best picture winners have a rape scene of vaginal or of any kind? Platoon kinda had one suggested.

  29. Roger Ebert
    November 15, 2011

    I like anal rape.

  30. Roger Ebert
    November 15, 2011

    I like anal rape.

  31. November 15, 2011

    Oh, I know someone who’s going to LOVE this film:

    http://blog.pubquizusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/analrapist1.jpg

  32. November 15, 2011

    Oh, I know someone who’s going to LOVE this film:

    http://blog.pubquizusa.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/analrapist1.jpg

  33. Sam
    November 15, 2011

    David Fincher has no control over how well the Academy will respond to his films. Both The Social Network and Benjamin Button were nominated. Even though I thought TSN was a lot better than Benjamin Button, the Academy made a royal error by not nominating his more superior work, Zodiac.

  34. Sam
    November 15, 2011

    David Fincher has no control over how well the Academy will respond to his films. Both The Social Network and Benjamin Button were nominated. Even though I thought TSN was a lot better than Benjamin Button, the Academy made a royal error by not nominating his more superior work, Zodiac.

  35. chris
    November 15, 2011

    I agree Sam. I think Zodiac is the finest film Fincher has made.

  36. chris
    November 15, 2011

    I agree Sam. I think Zodiac is the finest film Fincher has made.

  37. aku
    November 15, 2011

    Midnight Cowboy

  38. aku
    November 15, 2011

    Midnight Cowboy

  39. Insider
    November 15, 2011

    Midnight Cowboy is one of the best films in history. Also, one of the bravest and best Oscar winners.

  40. Insider
    November 15, 2011

    Midnight Cowboy is one of the best films in history. Also, one of the bravest and best Oscar winners.

  41. Ripley
    November 15, 2011

    Zodiac was his best so far, and that’s saying a lot. And yes he does care, otherwise release it in March where it will be forgotten by the following year. Everyone likes to be honored for their work and to me nominated is recognition, especially now with the 10 BP noms.

  42. Ripley
    November 15, 2011

    Zodiac was his best so far, and that’s saying a lot. And yes he does care, otherwise release it in March where it will be forgotten by the following year. Everyone likes to be honored for their work and to me nominated is recognition, especially now with the 10 BP noms.

  43. Knative
    November 15, 2011

    I like Seven the best. Gwenyth Paltrow gets beheaded in that one, and for that, I have much love for David Fincher. <3

  44. Knative
    November 15, 2011

    I like Seven the best. Gwenyth Paltrow gets beheaded in that one, and for that, I have much love for David Fincher. <3

  45. MJS
    November 15, 2011

    I think you may be underestimating the Academy here. I mean, recently they’ve nominated the likes of Black Swan, District 9, Precious, and Inglourious Basterds, and while none of those specifically have anal rape in them (although there was incest rape in Precious) they certainly don’t fit within the stereotype of “safe conservative award-bait.”

    What’s more this seems to forget that this material has already been embraced by the middle aged women market in book form, in fact I feel like those books are far more popular among the middlebrow audiences that mirror the academy than they were among the younger audiences that tend to champion Fincher’s other work.

    BTW, it probably isn’t the Academy’s fault that they didn’t nominate Zodiac. Blame the studio that released it in March and the public which decided not to see it.

  46. MJS
    November 15, 2011

    I think you may be underestimating the Academy here. I mean, recently they’ve nominated the likes of Black Swan, District 9, Precious, and Inglourious Basterds, and while none of those specifically have anal rape in them (although there was incest rape in Precious) they certainly don’t fit within the stereotype of “safe conservative award-bait.”

    What’s more this seems to forget that this material has already been embraced by the middle aged women market in book form, in fact I feel like those books are far more popular among the middlebrow audiences that mirror the academy than they were among the younger audiences that tend to champion Fincher’s other work.

    BTW, it probably isn’t the Academy’s fault that they didn’t nominate Zodiac. Blame the studio that released it in March and the public which decided not to see it.

  47. James W.
    November 15, 2011

    On the inappropriate “anal rape and Oscars” topic, we’re forgetting one additional film: Midnight Express.

  48. James W.
    November 15, 2011

    On the inappropriate “anal rape and Oscars” topic, we’re forgetting one additional film: Midnight Express.

  49. Tero Heikkinen
    November 16, 2011

    And that film did not win. Did they show any raping? No, off screen.

  50. Tero Heikkinen
    November 16, 2011

    And that film did not win. Did they show any raping? No, off screen.

  51. Beth Stevens
    November 16, 2011

    Lawrence of Arabia had anal rape – again, off screen.

  52. Beth Stevens
    November 16, 2011

    Lawrence of Arabia had anal rape – again, off screen.

  53. TonyBiigood
    November 16, 2011

    Mara said “Fincher is always right”, I hope he’s not this time :). I think the particular statue of the film will help him in the race. This is the only picture which is dark this year.

  54. TonyBiigood
    November 16, 2011

    Mara said “Fincher is always right”, I hope he’s not this time :). I think the particular statue of the film will help him in the race. This is the only picture which is dark this year.

  55. November 16, 2011

    Beth, I mentioned that in a Tweet to Sasha yesterday too, .

    @filmystic
    @AwardsDaily @darkavm offscreen count? “The Turks, as you probably know, did it to me by force” – letter from T.E. Lawrence to E.M. Forster
    10 hours ago

  56. November 16, 2011

    Beth, I mentioned that in a Tweet to Sasha yesterday too, .

    @filmystic
    @AwardsDaily @darkavm offscreen count? “The Turks, as you probably know, did it to me by force” – letter from T.E. Lawrence to E.M. Forster
    10 hours ago

  57. MJS
    November 16, 2011

    Deliverance was nominated in ’72…

  58. MJS
    November 16, 2011

    Deliverance was nominated in ’72…

  59. November 16, 2011

    ooh, good call, MJS.

  60. November 16, 2011

    ooh, good call, MJS.

  61. Jeremie
    November 16, 2011

    The King’s Speech? We all know what really cured that stammer…

  62. Jeremie
    November 16, 2011

    The King’s Speech? We all know what really cured that stammer…

  63. Beth Stevens
    November 16, 2011

    Shawshank Redemption was nominated, but didn’t win. I suppose what distinguishes Dragon Tattoo will be the graphic depiction on screen.

  64. Beth Stevens
    November 16, 2011

    Shawshank Redemption was nominated, but didn’t win. I suppose what distinguishes Dragon Tattoo will be the graphic depiction on screen.

  65. mjs
    November 16, 2011

    Another one I just remembered was pulp fiction

  66. mjs
    November 16, 2011

    Another one I just remembered was pulp fiction

  67. Tero Heikkinen
    November 17, 2011

    Good call, mjs. Can’t believe that this was mentioned so late. Ok, we see that MANY have been nominated, but none won.

    Of the ones that show at least a bit are only Pulp Fiction and Deliverance, right?

  68. Tero Heikkinen
    November 17, 2011

    Good call, mjs. Can’t believe that this was mentioned so late. Ok, we see that MANY have been nominated, but none won.

    Of the ones that show at least a bit are only Pulp Fiction and Deliverance, right?

  69. November 17, 2011

    aha! Jeremie!

    Fuck, fuck and bugger! Bugger, bugger, buggerty buggerty buggerty, fuck, fuck, arse!

    It all makes perfect sense now.

    Ebert may have found another incidence:

    The Twilight movies have devoted three episodes to Bella Swan’s clinging to her virginity … She holds out until after her wedding. Then she and Edward fly to Brazil and a luxurious honeymoon hideaway on the beach, where the morning after her wedding night she is black and blue with bruises, the frame of the bed is broken, all of the furniture is tossed around and the draperies are shredded. Good gravy! What happened?

    We have no idea. The movie doesn’t show us! Yes, the most eagerly awaited deflowering in recent movie history takes place entirely off-screen…

    um-hmm…

  70. November 17, 2011

    aha! Jeremie!

    Fuck, fuck and bugger! Bugger, bugger, buggerty buggerty buggerty, fuck, fuck, arse!

    It all makes perfect sense now.

    Ebert may have found another incidence:

    The Twilight movies have devoted three episodes to Bella Swan’s clinging to her virginity … She holds out until after her wedding. Then she and Edward fly to Brazil and a luxurious honeymoon hideaway on the beach, where the morning after her wedding night she is black and blue with bruises, the frame of the bed is broken, all of the furniture is tossed around and the draperies are shredded. Good gravy! What happened?

    We have no idea. The movie doesn’t show us! Yes, the most eagerly awaited deflowering in recent movie history takes place entirely off-screen…

    um-hmm…

  71. Tero Heikkinen
    November 17, 2011

    Haha, thank God I didn’t go to see that Twilight movie the other day. Even one of the “nobody-stars” was present at the screening. Some girl who plays a werewolf. Julia? Of course, fans screamed at her, too. We are lucky that it’s not an 8-part series.

  72. Tero Heikkinen
    November 17, 2011

    Haha, thank God I didn’t go to see that Twilight movie the other day. Even one of the “nobody-stars” was present at the screening. Some girl who plays a werewolf. Julia? Of course, fans screamed at her, too. We are lucky that it’s not an 8-part series.

  73. R.
    November 18, 2011

    I also hear from a reliable insider that atop of the anal rape the film’s final cut is quite long: 160+ minutes.

    what to make of that? a more encompassing film than than the Swedish version?

  74. R.
    November 18, 2011

    I also hear from a reliable insider that atop of the anal rape the film’s final cut is quite long: 160+ minutes.

    what to make of that? a more encompassing film than than the Swedish version?

  75. Tero Heikkinen
    November 18, 2011

    It was expeed to be long. The Swedish version (uncut) runs three hours and even the theater version is over 2,5hrs.

  76. Tero Heikkinen
    November 18, 2011

    It was expeed to be long. The Swedish version (uncut) runs three hours and even the theater version is over 2,5hrs.

  77. Tero Heikkinen
    November 18, 2011

    *expected

  78. Tero Heikkinen
    November 18, 2011

    *expected

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