Anne Thompson Reads the Tea Leaves at the Luncheon

I’ve heard twice now, from two separate reporters observing Ben Affleck “on the campaign trail” that  he “really wants to win this.” If Affleck ever decides to run for office, homey could be president.  He’s got it all.   Argo is doing hard core campaigning opposite David O. Russell, another one who clearly wants to win this.  Victory might then be a double edged sword. On the one hand, you can’t get it unless you campaign for it. On the other hand, how will you ever know if you really deserved it or not?

Remember John Horn’s story about the two different campaign styles where it was revealed Affleck badgered (nicely) one awards blogger about not switching over to Argo? We all knew he was talking about Anne Thompson and she confirms it:

“Argo” producer George Clooney has given Ben Affleck some campaigning tips. The tall multi-hyphenate keeps himself humble and self-deprecating in his many acceptance speeches as well as making charming and accessible conversation on his rounds. This is one of the advantages of being an actor in a tough race. People adore Affleck. And he’s open about wanting to win this one. I told him that after his PGA, SAG and DGA wins, I’ve gone over to the “Argo” side for best picture. “You’re not going to change your mind and throw us out?” he challenged me.

Meanwhile, Thompson also reports that Ang Lee got the “most applause” at the gathering for Life of Pi, which clearly is well loved by the Academy.  So many great films are dividing the votes all over the place.

 

32 Comments on this Post

  1. filmboymichael

    I would leave this season very satisfied should Life of Pi come out on top, and I’m not talking walking away the big winner only having the most tech awards – which it deserves every single one!

  2. Terometer

    Someone is developing an interest on everything that Ben Affleck did. Watch out, mr. Affleck. The takedown master is going to get you.

  3. ugh. reading that kind of stuff about him makes me want to see him lose. i didn’t think that way about him before.

  4. montfort

    If Affleck had directed Lincoln (with no frame of film unchanged) everyone would be swooning over the film, the director and there would be no question about the outcome. Spielberg is the victim of his own success. At this point, it is hard to know what could gain Mr. Spielberg the good will of everyone who hasn’t done as well as him over his lengthy and outstandingly successful career. I like Affleck (who doesn’t?), but if Spielberg had directed Argo, no one would be giving it a second thought at the Oscars. Argo would be thought of as what it is, an incredibly well-made popcorn movie with fun performances by old hands, another version of Catch Me if You Can. It’s hard to feel sorry for Mr. Spielberg: talent and good fortune and great films along with massive box office success. Not bad. Except when the Academy comes to call, and their envy and spite get the better of them.

  5. daveinprogress

    Ewww, the ooze factor emanting from Clooney and Affleck. Yuk. They all do it, it’s part and parcel of the whole game, but it is getting dirtier and grimier every year. An executive producer of mine once said ‘We’re in the business of creating monsters’ and i understood what he meant immediately. From the way we treated our actors, to the other creative and technical wizards, showbiz is all about feeding the machine. 24/7 news and multi platform media just accentuates it – madly!

  6. Benjamin

    Argo! yes Argo ganará aunque te pese Stone. Lincoln es una mala pélícula, una americanada sin gracia.

  7. rufussondheim

    Argo ist wunderbar! Lincoln puede cojier mi ano sucio!

  8. The Dude

    Where’s Harvey when you need him to make up some bullshit story about Affleck and cost him votes?

  9. Why does he want it so badly? Validation? He already has an Oscar, vast popularity, and consistent critical acclaim as a director. Mad he didn’t get a directing nomination? A Best Picture win will be redeeming, but it’s not going to change the snub. Wants to run for office one of these days? What good is an Oscar? And George, how badly does George want or need another Oscar for producing Argo?

    It just amazes me how much people who have everything (including Oscars) want it so badly for such an inconsequential film.

  10. daveinprogress

    Clooney lost last year in lead actor; and was overlooked for Director altogether, and lost screenplay adapted to the writer/director of the movie he acted in; two years before he lost lead actor; and two year before that he also lost in the same category. Clooney may be a good actor, but he forgets at award ceremonies that cameras and cutaways catch his real reactions when he loses.

    He needs the validation; so does Affleck; so does Spielberg, Lee – they all gotta have it!

  11. Daveyloow

    I dunno. Ang Lee seems pretty Zen about this who process. I think he’s thrilled after two movies nobody saw that he made a film that is an international success. But I hope his next film comes out sooner.

  12. Daveylow

    I’m sleepy from the quiet snowstorm outside. The previous comment was supposed to say: “Ang Lee seems pretty Zen about this whole process.”

  13. Question Mark

    Let’s not pretend that Oscar campaigning is some new phenomenon. It has been around since virtually day one of the Academy Awards and it will never cease. Remember, everyone turns their nose up at campaigning when it’s for a movie they don’t to win — when it’s your favourite, you’re all for “getting the word out about this great film!” Why are we all acting like it’s so odd or somehow wrong of Affleck or Clooney that they want to win (another) Oscar? Of course they do, who wouldn’t?

    This Best Director category is truly one of the most fascinating Oscar races in ages. Russell, Spielberg, Lee and Haneke all have very legitimate chances to win; Zeitlin is the only one whose victory would be a shocker to me but his film obviously has enough supporters that it (and he) got nominated, so who knows.

  14. rufussondheim

    Campaigning to promote your own film should not be looked down upon.

    But if you badmouth, lie or smear another film or nominee, then that’s pretty classless.

  15. Pierre de Plume

    I haven’t seen anything about Spielberg campaigning for quite awhile. Same for DDL. I know that Sally Field has been making the rounds. And Chris Matthew (“Hardball”/MSNBC) has been gushing about SLP for weeks and interviewing David O. Russell on Friday’s show.

    Oscar campaigning is part and parcel of the business for most nominees, but God forbid someone step over the line into bad taste. Thing is, it’s often to tell where that line is.

  16. I’d love to find out who was behind the Zero Dark Thirty take down. That was pretty classless…also Sony should’ve stepped up their game. Mark Boal’s recent interviews (see DP/30 and a hilarious interview for KCET SoCal) indicate the guy has just be itching to defend the film, have his voice heard. I have my theories it wasn’t just Harvey Weinstein and his Seal Team 6 National Geographic movie. Many of the people behind the frontrunner films have connections to politicians: Weinstein, Affleck, and Spielberg. What a shame though that Academy members didn’t have the integrity to look past the controversy and reward the film for its craft and execution, particularly the person behind the helm (but also many other categories like cinematography, sound mixing, and score which were top-notch work).

    Yes, Best Director is going to be very very close. It’s not a Spielberg runaway victory as Gold Derby would have you believe. No way–and there’s an example where heavy-handed campaigning (there are many many examples) surely cost Lincoln some votes and momentum. The race is all about perception, and I don’t think Lincoln was positioned correctly to win, the fault of both Disney/Dreamworks and Spielberg. Anne and Kris make convincing cases for Ang Lee winning, but I still have a sneaking suspicion that all the press David O. Russell is doing, getting his personal story out there, only boosts his chances to win. As everyone knows, Fox’s campaign is a little too restrained. Silver Lining’s a well-directed film, and Russell has consistently gotten great and recognized performances from his actors….don’t get me wrong, he wouldn’t be my vote, but in this year, screw the stats and history, I don’t think not being DGA-nominated counts Russell out, especially when only 2 directors lined up. I’m still thinking he could be the shocker.

  17. daveinprogress

    Sorry KT i have to re-use your last line – “I’m still thinking he could be the shocker.”

    Indeed, for me it would be a shocker of the worst kind.

    I thought Silver Linings was not a well directed or written movie. In spite of myself i kind of enjoyed some of the performances, but found the whole experience quite soulless and phony. Lots of posturing and gesticulating; lots of moist eyes and bleating. Jacki Weaver’s accent was all over the place – literally.

    From a director’s point of view, i thought Zetlin’s, Affleck’s, Hooper’s Bigelow’s, Lee’s work were all superior; still to see Lincoln & Amour.

    Jennifer lawrence did all the ‘right’ oscar work on screen to guarantee a win.
    But i hope not. Jessica Chastain’s performance had much more going on – just a lot quieter and nuanced.

  18. On the topic of campaigning hyperbole and such, I’m just watching and interview with Julie Taymor on Charlie Rose. Knowing that Taymor has an affection for musicals, he asked her what she thought of Les Mis, which Rose loved.

    She said she thought it was fine, or words to that effect, and Rose mentioned the “innovation” of singing live. Taymor then said that Across the Universe was 90% live singing and that she was approached by a director to discuss the experience as he planning to do the same thing in his next film – it was Tom Hooper.

    Although Taymor never intimated it or came across as belittling of the hype (she’s too classy for that), the revolutionary approach laid claim to by the Les Mis folk was essentially false. It was not the first time this had been attempted.

    The episode will probably be up on Chalrie Rose’s site tomorrow.

    Just thought it was an interesting tidbit and another example of manipulation to get that little gold statue.

  19. At this stage of the Oscar race, no point arguing of who’s deserving based on quality.

    It’s how effective your campaign–the relevance of your narrative sellability, versus exposing the vulnerability of your opponents.

    Like politics.
    As spectators, we gaze upon the battles of the bloody PR machine. That’s real Oscar watching.

  20. daveinprogress

    Not for me, i will always focus on the quality of the work – the spin and the machinery are always going to exist; but the love of the medium is always going to prevail for me. I can focus on the art of movies not the politics; likewise the ‘theatre’ of actual politics or the ‘policies’ of politics can be observed and not participated in.

    Re Oscars, if my favourites don’t get a mention or win, it doesn’t change my respect and admiration for those favourites. I can just observe the hoopla.

  21. “But if you badmouth, lie or smear another film or nominee, then that’s pretty classless.”

    You mean like on a blog or something?

  22. KT

    I don’t know who was behind the ZD30-takedown, what I DO know that not long after it happened, there was a THR article about Bigelow – rather uncharacteristically – giving the coldest shoulder to Harvey Weinstein at an event. So that’s a clue, I guess. Apparently he tried to produce Zero Dark Thirty, but Bigelow and Boal opted for Megan Ellison’s more hands-off Annapurna Pictures, and then – shocker – he tried to steal Bigelow’s thunder by airing Seal Team Six on National Geographic Channel ahead of ZDT’s release…and then of course the takedown happened which resulted Bigelow’s Oscar snub and Weinstein’s underestimated BD contender making the cut…coincidence ?

  23. Ugh..I’ve always been turned off by the Clooney/Damon/Affleck/Pitt yacht-club of schmooze and entitlement. I’m sure they’re nice guys individually but collectively…they just come across as smarmy, entitled and exclusive. Earlier this year, I was dreading a possible Killing Them Softly/Promised Land/Argo – and whatever Clooney had his fingers in – awards season. Thank God that didn’t happen.
    BenFan,
    Why don’t you start your own blog …or not read this one if it offends you so much. Don’t worry, something tells me Ben and Clooney will be ok.

  24. therealmike

    Having seen “The Master” now, I´m really done with this Oscar race. Paul Thomas Anderson is the one who got snubbed. Twice. For Directing and Writing. It´s truely deeply a shame that the writer of “Hardball” and “Real Steel” is nominated instead of P.T. Anderson. I also have seen “Argo” finally. I agree it´s a well done movie, but it´s far away from a classic. It´s a movie that gets boring after the second viewing because it relys on the tension.I´m so very glad that Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin were nominated. I really hope that Emmanuelle Riva and Michael Haneke will be Oscar winners this year. They did the best jobs in their category.

  25. i agree with you, yvette. it’s really unappealing. these guys have everything in the world and they want to go around begging for a trophy? is it really going to make their lives that much better? and you know, ben affleck already HAS an oscar. why can’t everyone just be like monique?

  26. To quote my favourite band Radiohead: Ambition makes you look pretty ugly…

  27. The J Viewer

    Thanks for the links, Sasha.

    (Horn, Sperling and Whipp) “At Affleck’s Friday night post-awards reception, the 40-year-old actor made the rounds of the Arlington Tavern, urging awards bloggers to keep “Argo” at the top of their lists while good-naturedly upbraiding those who noted that Oscar history isn’t on his movie’s side.”

    ‘”I’ve done movies where I run out of things to say in the first 15 seconds of an interview,” Affleck said. “Having question-and-answers about this movie is kind of fun for me. To me, it’s about getting people to see the movie. I don’t have any self-conscious awards ideas.”’

    My comment: They need to work harder to sell it to me; I won’t buy it. In general and outside of the quoted paragraphs, Affleck, NATURALLY, certainly just like other key players while wanting his film to win, HOWEVER, is far from sounding or looking as if he desperately needed to rule to the point of being inappropriate, whichever it means, at all — in my opinion.

    (Still seeing Lincoln on the top spot in BP Oscar for my prediction, but this I-want-it-so-baaaaaaaad miscomprehension is just – pardon my elegant French – la histoire de merde [bvllsh*t] to me.) : )

  28. ChrisFlick

    I still think it comes down to Lincoln. I walked into it as sceptical as I often am about Spielberg’s prestige movies (still smartinng frmo War Horse last year) and yet still all these months since it is the one movie that is hard to shake. And I think it will still be a movie people are watching years from now. So if that matters…and I tell myself most Academy members pause over their ballots before going with the flow…but that may be naive.

  29. And nowhere in her whole article did she once mention Hugh Jackman despite several reports that he got the biggest hand of the day except for Quvenzhane Wallis. Not exactly a minor oversight in an article that literally names everyone else in the major categories.

  30. @Benjamin

    “Argo! yes Argo ganará aunque te pese Stone. Lincoln es una mala pélícula, una americanada sin gracia”

    No olvides que el Oscar es un premio estadounidense y mayormente premiará películas estadounidenses y si son patrioteras mejor aún. Yo preferiría ver a Life of Pi ganar, pero eso jamás ocurrirá, así que voy con Argo (sólo por ver a Ben Affleck con el trofeo y ver el ataque epiléptico que le dará a la mayoría en este blog).

  31. @Zach
    Why does he want it so badly? Validation? He already has an Oscar

    And what’s wrong with having more than one? Spielberg has two, so does Sally Field… Daniel Day-Lewis, 2. Streep has three and list goes on and on

  32. Linc4Jess

    Hearing bloggers tell us that some pundit is reporting some director or film got the most applause or the standing ovation at an OSCAR party is like when these same people were telling us “Les Miserables” was going to win it all because at an Academy screening it got a standing ovation and enthusiastic cheering. Where is “Les Miserables” today. No one is even talking about it anymore. Or you can hear bloggers state that the buzzfrom some respected OSCAR members and what they are telling us is a particular film is going to win this year and then when the results are in we find these people weren’t even close to the outcome. But, I suppose it makes for useless and non meaningful banter if for only to pass the time away.

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