In Anticipation of Gossip and Exhibitionism

As Oscar night approaches, New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst are discussing the race. Check back through the weekend for more.

From: David Edelstein

Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 1:09 PM

To: Lynda Obst

Subject: The Parties

Dear Lynda:

At this point, my aesthetic judgments are even less relevant than earlier in the week. Now, it’s all about the parties, the nasty gossip, the things that no one will say publicly but will be reflected on the ballots—and become a part of Academy history. So I’m going to make life — my life, anyway — easier by interviewing you.

1) Do people in the industry think of The Departed as a great movie or just a way to honor a virtuoso director? Has there ever been a Best Picture that ended with virtually the entire cast’s brains splattered all over the walls?

2) Do people loathe Eddie Murphy and like Alan Arkin enough to throw the vote? What about Jackie Earle Haley — possibly the only winner for Little Children?

3) Will wins for Happy Feet and An Inconvenient Truth confirm that global-warming movies have the potential to serve society and compete for our entertainment dollars?

4) What has been the big topic of speculation about the show? The idiotic Webcam in the wings? Ellen? (I’m a big fan, and my hopes are high.) Anyone expecting any jabs at BushCo — and not just from Al Gore? Who are the loose cannons?

5) Who’s the big get at the parties? Is Brad Pitt — a Babel executive producer — in town with his SO? What about Sasha Baron Cohen? Is there anyone you’ve seen who has made your jaw drop, even as a producer who’s used to seeing movie stars?

6) And something for us to ponder: The death of Anna Nicole and the public disintegration of Britney have got to make showbiz folks think even more deeply about the horrific downside of exhibitionism. My hope is that it will — paradoxically — encourage more insane acting out this year.

That’s enough to keep you until tomorrow, when we’ll make our final predictions!