Wistfully Wishing for Politics, Comedies, Chick Flicks, and Al Gore

Oscar night is almost here! New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst continue their discussion of the race. Check back after the ceremony for more.

From: Lynda Obst

Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 3:33 PM

To: David Edelstein

Subject: RE: Journey's End

Dear David,

Maybe Al Gore will be that guy to bring politics to the Oscars tonight. This morning, the gang on This Week With George was still wistfully thinking he would declare for president when he grabs his statue tonight. If that happened, it would be news beyond a spectacular upset like Meryl beating Helen. I can report that Al was not, however, glad-handing or politicking Friday night at Mr. Lourd's. Sorry, Cokie. At least the former vice-president will clearly remind us of what would have happened if the recount went right.

If it's politics you want, root for Babel. My mother sure is: She's seen it three times. She's more than made up for those who won't see it at all. Mexiwood, as the L.A. Times cleverly called it this morning, is an inspirational and now studio-empowered source of filmmaking that broke into multiple genres this year — fantasy with Pan's Labyrinth, sci-fi with Children of Men, and what I will call the politico-triptych-narrative with Babel. If Iñárritu wins, you can count on him to give a very powerful speech. But alas, no one is expecting that particular upset this year.


My predictions:

Picture: The Departed. Potential upsets: Little Miss Sunshine, The Queen. Really hedging my bets here, as I have no idea.
Actor: Forest Whitaker.
Actress: Helen Mirren (props to Kate Winslet and Meryl Streep).
Supporting Actress: Jennifer Hudson (props to Adriana Barraza).
Director: Marty. There will be hoopla, surprise presenters, cheers, and tears. You will be moved.
Cinematography: Children of Men. The Academy loves this movie. It may get editing too.
Editing: This is the hardest award. United 93 was all editing. You are right; Thelma is Marty's lifelong collaborator, so that may lock this. I go with 93. It may be the way to single out this excellent picture.
Foreign Language Film: To be contrary, I am going with the moving Water. Though the crafty and scary Lives of Others is a hit in the community, Water is very "Academy," and wonderful, too. Either could win.
Doc is a lock: An Inconvenient Truth. Props this time to Jesus Camp.
Live Short: Didn't get to see them. You're in charge here, but I go with the Jews, as always, ergo: West Bank Story.
Animated Short: Ditto.
Score: The Queen.
Costumes (my fave chick category): Prada will probably win, but I loved Marie Antoinette.
Sound and Makeup: All these awards should go to Apocalypto but may not. It will be interesting to see the Academy's temperature on Mel.
President: Barack Obama. But you and I have been on this bandwagon for a while, haven't we?

I look forward to Tom Cruise giving Sherry Lansing her Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. This will be very dull for you but is an inside joke in Hollywood. (Long story, but kind of a Paramount family reunion.) Also, Sherry is really a humanitarian, so that part isn't a joke. But I, too, hope these awards don't go on too long, and that Tom Cruise changes the Romulan haircut he sported Friday night. I hope that someone defies the cues to stop talking and gets so many cheers that everyone else does too, and they have to cut the numbers short instead of the speeches. I hope someone rambles on about his or her grandmother or spirit but not Jesus. I hope my beloved Little Miss Sunshine does better than expected, raining respect on comedies for years to come … and then paves the way in the not-too-distant future for Oscars for chick flicks.

Till we are both a few sheets to the wind …

xo
Lynda