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Lynda Obst

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Pigging Out With Oscar

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New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst have been discussing the Oscar race since the nominations were announced. Today, their final thoughts.
To: Lynda Obst
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 1:38 PM
From: David Edelstein
Re: Last Year’s News Hi Lynda: The Oscars are such old news. Really, I went out for a hamburger last night and took a little walk (well, a half walk, half stumble) in the beautiful falling snow, and tens of thousands of bloggers filled the Internet with their musings. I wrote you last night that I had absolutely nothing to say and you didn’t think I had LITERALLY nothing to say, so I gather you were late for your post-Oscar party waiting for me and I’m so sorry.

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Let the Winners Speak!

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New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst have been discussing the Oscar race since the nominations were announced. Today, their final thoughts.
From: Lynda Obst
Sent: Monday, February 26, 2007 11:43 AM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: The Aftermath Dear David, So it was the Departed mini-sweep we suspected it might be, all centered on the inevitable crowning of Marty as Best Director. From Editing on, it became a drumbeat, didn't it? But before that, the most interesting trend that I hadn't expected at all was the love showered on Pan's Labyrinth — for a minute, I thought I was watching the Independent Spirit Awards. Art Direction, Makeup, Cinematography! Why not Director? All these choices determine the look of the movie, all are made by the director, all complete his vision. There were many tough choices this year, with this movie coming out late in the voting season, but it is curious in retrospect that Del Toro himself was not nominated by the director's branch of the Academy.

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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.

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And the Winners Are …

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: David Edelstein
Sent: Sunday, February 25, 2007 12:58 PM
To: Lynda Obst
Subject: Journey's End Dear Lynda: I thank you for that stirring account of life among the too beautiful and overpaid. I talk big in print (“Not up to snuff, Mr. Clooney”) but go agahhh-agahhh-agahhh when I see those kinds of stars in person. I am relieved to hear that mature women still find Peter O'Toole fuckable in the flesh, because you'd have to be a necrophile to want him as he's photographed in Venus.

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It's in the Bag for Scorsese

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: Lynda Obst
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 3:14 PM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: Re: The Parties Dear David, Can I tell you about the parties? And I’ll get to your questions along the way. By the time I arrived at Bryan Lourd’s affair, the New York contingent (Graydon Carter, Fran Lebowitz) was leaving, and the line was ten minutes just to drop off your car at the valet. I was worried we had actually come too late, but no. Somehow, the coziness of Bryan’s sprawling architectural home, combined with his now traditional detail of camellia wrist corsages given to the women on our entrance, made the crush of wall-to-wall movie stars less unmanageable than I feared.

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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.

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America Loves Competitions, Wacky Acceptance Speeches

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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: Lynda Obst
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 2:18 PM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: RE: Overcoming Obamamania Dear David: We spend all this time brooding over what’s the best performance, the best movie — because we love to. We pick the purest vodka, the finest wine, our favorite football team, the most marbled steak, the fattest tomato; we love to root, to choose and then to triumph or be deflated, to be right or to be angry. This is a way that we participate in the global Zeitgeist and map the undercurrents of the culture and how we individually track with it. Are we Crash or Brokeback people? But it doesn’t mean our obsession with the winner diminishes other performances. It’s true that it’s an honor to be nominated and the greatest ride of your life, yadda yadda. But without winners, there would be no wacky speeches, no cheering, no betting pools, no fun.

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When Are They Going to Award the Believable Behavers?

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As Oscar night approaches, New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst rekindle their discussion of the race. There'll be more later today and through the weekend.
From: David Edelstein
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 2:01 AM
To: Lynda Obst
Subject: RE: Overcoming Obamamania Dear Lynda: Actors in biopics clean up at awards time because: 1. What you said: the magnitude of real lives, etc. 2. Biopics are character-driven, which means less emphasis on plot, which means better showcases for actors, who can focus on their “arcs” and epiphanies instead of staring at blue screens and pretending to be awed. 3. They have to transform (usually), so their acting is easier to see and, therefore, to reward. You hear, “What an amazing actor!” more often than, “What a believable behaver!” — although behaving believably onscreen is often the greater feat (which is why Oscar-deprived Kate Winslet might be the best actress of her generation).

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Oscar Loves Real People (When They're Interpreted By Famous Actors)

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As Oscar night approaches, New York film critic David Edelstein and Hollywood producer Lynda Obst rekindle their discussion of the race. There'll be more tomorrow and through the weekend.
From: Lynda Obst
Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 4:07 PM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: Overcoming Obamamania Dear David: It’s a cold rainy day in Tinseltown, and the first Oscar party is struggling to drown out the Obamamania buzz. Tonight, once Entertainment Weekly and Tara and Peter Guber fête Fox Searchlight’s Last King of Scotland, Little Miss Sunshine, Notes on a Scandal, and Thank You for Smoking (will we be allowed?), we’ll get back to the crucial business of debating the winners of statuettes, not primaries.

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Wherein Obst Stands Up for Miranda

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From: Lynda Obst
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:55 PM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: RE: Powerful Female Executives David, Touché. If you get my drift. I suppose women who have broken glass ceilings in the same era as Miranda identified with her, sorry. I had many, many identification points with her character, the least memorable of which were terrorizing past assistants, though there are certainly a few of those who will sign on to the Website and cheerily dredge up incidents I have long since forgotten! But a hit the proportion of Prada does not owe to power-suite feminists alone. In fact, I seem to recall talking to dozens of older men who loved this movie, which surprised me at the time. No, I think the charms of Miranda cross the gender barrier. I agree that Emily Blunt was terrific, as clearly Meryl did in her cooler-than-cool acceptance speech at the Globes. Enough of this squabbling though — it is not a political movie, and these struggles are long over. Except for the numbers of power-suit Hollywood women fired this year. It is not, David, an easy road. Glamorous maybe, from the outside. But never easy.

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If We're Reading This Right, We Think Edelstein Just Called Obst Miranda Priestly

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From: David Edelstein
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:47 PM
To: Lynda Obst
Subject: Powerful Female Executives Dear Lynda, Too bad you rolled your eyes at another Greatest Generation movie, because Flags of Our Fathers was a bitter, bitter film in which America's defining image of heroism — well, it's side by side with Washington crossing the Delaware — was shown to be at least partly a lie. Too bad the structure was so clunky and that Eastwood didn't help the young actors shape their performances. There's this myth that Eastwood is a great actor's director, but what he's best at is leaving them alone, forcing them to sink or swim. (How Republican.) Some rise to the challenge, others — the ones in Flags — thrash valiantly. Re: Meryl. I forgot that women producers and studio execs would be the likeliest to appreciate both Streep's exquisite bitchery and her vulnerability.

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Obst (and Everybody Else) Loves Meryl Streep

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From: Lynda Obst
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 4:10 PM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: RE: Deaf Jam Dear David, With such a trenchant understanding of why Iwo worked, I'm surprised you didn't like it more, and particularly surprised you didn't see that that is exactly why I think Flags was a nonstarter. Seeing a movie based upon the experiences of heroic WWII GIs — a movie that necessarily calls to mind Saving Private Ryan and the attendant celebration at Normandy that brought together the French, President Bush, and Steven Spielberg — not only do I not know what else there is to say, I can't separate the clichés from the profundities. Also, the acting was much better in Iwo. What is there to say about Meryl that hasn't been said? Forget Raymond — everybody loves Meryl. The Devil Wears Prada rode on her performance.

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Eastwood Turns Antiwar, and Edelstein Sees a Seismic Shift

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From: David Edelstein
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 2:11 PM
To: Lynda Obst
Subject: Deaf Jam I wasn't surprised by the Letters From Iwo Jima nomination. The L.A. critics dug it. And with two major films this year, Eastwood had to be nominated for something. Odd that Flags of Our Fathers was such a nonstarter. In some ways, it's stronger than Iwo Jima, which suffers from a bland humanism that has little to do with the warrior codes (and collective insanity) of the Japanese military at the time. And yet its strongest scenes are wrenching — tragic with a touch of farce. When an old Republican like Clint Eastwood is bent on deconstructing the myths that drive nations to war, you know you're in for a seismic shift in the culture.

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Obst Weighs In, Fond of ‘Sunshine’ and Pushing for ‘Babel’

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From: Lynda Obst
Sent: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 12:48 PM
To: David Edelstein
Subject: RE: 'Girls' Gone Bye-Bye Dear David, Amazing, isn't it, when the Academy defies the odds and seems to be saying something controversial? But what is it they're saying, exactly? Remember, we voted before the Golden Globes (not that the Academy would have been influenced by those 92 voters, who are themselves influenced by the charms of the various movie stars swept in front of them all season). The Academy seems to be saying, Dreamgirls is not Chicago — and there are some movies we like more.

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