Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Top Five Absurd Oscar Campaign Stories

Do you enjoy the petty mudslinging of politics but wish that the stakes were less important? Welcome to the bizarre and pointless world of Oscar campaigning! In the months leading up to the awards show or awards shows, publicity departments for would-be nominees go all out in touring their cast around talk shows and buying as much ad space in film publications as possible. Dedicated campaigns have sometimes been known to sway Oscar voters to go for underdogs (the most famous example being the vociferous campaigning of the Weinstein brothers for "Shakespeare in Love" and its subsequent upset of "Saving Private Ryan"), although they more enough than not seem to not matter in the least. This time of year also happens to be when all sorts of dirt is revealed about the nominees, although I'm sure that's just a coincidence. In any case, here are five of the more bizarre stories to bounce around the Oscar blogosphere in recent months.

1) Quentin Tarantino Gave a Lady Breast Cancer
Awards blogger Sharon Waxman reported in January on the death of Cathryn James, who managed Quentin Tarantino in the early days of his career. The story of the relationship between Tarantino and James is a
sad but typical Hollywood tale of a successful upstart abandoning those who supported him in his rise to the top. What really got people’s heads spinning, though, was the following quote:
"Although many knew that Tarantino fired Jaymes abruptly on the brink of his greatest success with "Pulp Fiction" (a story I recount in “Rebels on the Backlot”), few knew that she contracted virulent breast cancer in the year or so after her brutal separation from the director.
She chose to have a radical mastectomy but slowly bowed out of the business. I know that Cathryn believed, and it didn’t take much to convince me, that what she considered a shocking betrayal by Tarantino contributed to her illness."
We should have known that this ear-slicing, head-scalping director also had magical cancer powers.

2) Renner sings!
You're a promising young thespian up for Best Actor thanks to your intense performance as a bomb-disposal expert - what do you do next? If you're Jeremy Renner from "The Hurt Locker", you apparently go on The View and sing a song. He may not have a terrific grasp
on pitch, but he's got range!

3) Every best picture nominee is racist
Well, OK, not "The Hurt Locker", "Up", or "Up in the Air". But "Inglourious Basterds" is "
holocaust denial" , "Avatar" and "District 9" are racist against indigenous people, "A Serious Man" and "An Education" are anti-semitic, and "Precious" and "The Blind Side" insult black people. To be fair, a number of these reactions pre-date Oscar season, but many of them are definitely getting play right now. I'll let you decide which of these have merit (I'd say 2 out of the 7).

4) Mo'Nique spits on Hollywood
If you think the idea that Oscar campaigns even exist is ridiculous, "Precious" star Mo'Nique is with you. In a NY Times interview, she explained why she has generally refused to campaign. “Anytime I’ve been given an award, it has been because of the performance; what else goes into it?” she said, appearing genuinely mystified. “Look, it makes me appreciative any time someone says they may want to honor your performance. I’m appreciative at any talk in reference to any award, but there’s not much I can do about it now.
The performance is done.”

Of course, attacking an entrenched, if stupid, tradition has enraged some, like Oscar blogger and general class act Jeffrey Wells. Wells has basically launched a crusade against her because he dislikes he performance and her attitude towards the Hollywood hierarchy, and has done things like refer to a proud black woman as a "genuine primitive." I'm sure he's a nice guy once you get to know him.

5) James Cameron and Kathryn Bigelow Make a Music Video
James Cameron directs and "Hurt Locker" director Bigelow stars as a sexy cowgirl (she appears around 4:00 if you're not as masochistic as I am). I'm not sure who comes off worse, but I know that no one comes off well.


Sam said...

This is BS Cathryn Jaymes, (not James) never blamed anyone for her cancer, not Tarantino, or anyone for that matter.

She died Jan 6th of this year, not able to defend herself, so I will.Stop this bullshit, do not create fictional stories to sell youself..... Stop it NOW

Raj R. said...

Blame Sharon Waxman, dude, not me. I find it as ridiculous as you do.

Sam said...

Dog bites man, does not sell papers, but man bites dog does .... i get it but, let's not create try to sell anything at the expense of a woman ( Cathryn Jaymes) who would never hurt anyone, a woman who when she loved you, loved you unconditionaly, and made you feel better about yourself, just knowing that she was in your corner.

Cathryn didn't talk trash about anyone, i knew her for almost 15 years and she NEVER had any unkind words to say about Tatantino, it was not her style she always found the good in everyone, that is not to say she was weak, she was an extremely strong, smart, and talented woman, who had more important things to do then create fictional stories.

She will be missed by many ( me included) As they say the pen is mightier than the sword, so let's be careful of what we read by people who have bitten more dogs then a gaggle of fleas ..... and thats a lot of fleas