You know it’s a crazy year when even the pundits can’t agree on which movie is going to win Best Picture. Usually by now we have a consensus. If there is any disagreement, usually it’s over one or two films, not three. My best argument for and against each of the three frontrunners winning.
As surprising as it all seems, if any of these three wins Best Picture, it won’t be that surprising. The Revenant? Not a surprise; it won the DGA. Spotlight? Not a surprise; it won the SAG Ensemble award. The Big Short? Not a surprise, it won the PGA. No one is really helping us out here — any kind of traditional stat hunt supports a win for The Big Short. Yet it seems to go against the grain of common sense and the winds of the moment. Here is a quick for and against:
Deniz Gamze Erguven is one of only two female directors nominated for an Academy Award this year, the other is Liz Garbus for Whatever Happened, Miss Simone? Erguven’s film, Mustang, has received a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. Mustang almost didn’t happen after producers dropped out right before filming. However, Charles Gillibert stepped in and the coming of age film was made. I had a brief chat with Erguven about her Mustang journey and what it’s like to be a filmmaker in France.
Awards Daily: Congratulations on being nominated for Mustang, but the film almost didn’t happen — and now here you are.
Deniz Gamze Erguven: We went from a low to a high.
AD: On that high, how is the experience for you.
DGE: It’s a responsibility. The Foreign Language Oscar goes to a country, and you’ve been chosen by France where I feel like the adopted child. It means a lot to me. I want to be worthy of the trust we’ve been given. So there’s this emotional responsibility. When the nominations came out for me, the pressure was huge. I was relieved.
AD: How did Mustang happen?
DGE: It’s my second film project. I had worked long years on another film, and at the point when I started off I was hungry of everything, about working with actors and picking a film. I tried getting into production with a sense of urgency. Also the subject matter of the film was urgent. It was urgent in every possible way. It took longer than planned. I was hoping to shoot during the Summer of 2013. I had written it in Summer 2012, but the financing took longer than expected. We were ready to shoot by 2014. At that point the producer had completely dropped the film. We later found out it was under-financed and left for dead. We had three days to find another producer. I actually didn’t tell the girls about it.
I had also discovered I was pregnant the week before so it all felt dramatic at that point. Since then, it’s been one straight line. Aside from being postponed for four weeks, then it was a race. I wanted to finish before the baby came. I remember we didn’t even stop for Christmas. We were with the editor, alone in the office with piles of garbage. I was getting bigger and bigger. The baby was born, and we hadn’t finished, so I had my little koala sticking on me, and we went on in post production right until Cannes.
Mustang started running really fast once it was at Cannes. The French distributor released it early on, and we were doing a lot of press.
I was making jokes at the beginning of Cannes that we would show the film on Tuesday, do press on Wednesday, and be has-beens on Thursday. That Thursday never came, and we were doing endless press and it became bigger and we went from doing student magazines, the film was released and we did festivals, the film won lots of awards. Then it was released here and in Europe which meant more travel and more press right up to today, and here we are.
Adapted by Emma Donoghue from her own novel, Room, Lenny Abrahamson’s claustrophobic but ultimately life-embracing film tells the story of a young woman held captive in a small shed for years and her son who was born there. For the first 5 years of his life, his entire world is defined by the boundaries of Room. Brie Larson’s strong performance has won her great reviews and Best Actress accolades at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, she is tipped to win Best Actress at the Oscars.
Room has been nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress. Re-visit our interviews with Brie Larson and Lenny Abrahamson, as well as Sasha’s piece on why we should start taking Room seriously as a potential Best Picture winner.
Inspired by one of the most romantic films of the year, send some love to your Valentine this year with this brand new card from The Weinstein Company’s film, Carol.
Save the image below and share on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using the hashtag #SendToYourCarol.
The ACLU of Southern California, SNAP, SIA, Bishop Accountability and the Los Angeles LGBT Center hosted a special screening of Spotlight last night. Oscar nominated screenwriter Josh Singer moderated the Q&A panel that featured Phil Saviano, representative of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests; Peter Eliasberg, ACLU of Southern California; Nick Gaglia, Survivors of Institutional Abuse; and Ben Bradlee Jr., former Boston Globe editor and Spotlight member.
Check out these photos, exclusive to Awards Daily from the screening: