January 23, 2008

January 23, 2008

More on the Oscar Nominations
While I loved Juno, I am particularly shocked that Jason Reitman got a best director nomination. I can't help but think that the directing jobs done by Tamra Jenkins on The Savages and Sarah Polley on Away from Her and even Julie Taymor on Across the Universe were more worthy. But the Academy always finds a darling and this year the love for Juno is strong. I just hope that the love doesn't ride Ellen Page to a win over Julie Christie. That would be tragic.

Nancy Oliver, nominated for best screenplay for Lars and Real Girl gave this statement yesterday to Women & Hollywood in response to my question asking whether 3 women in the original screenplay category and one in the adapted screenplay category would make a difference for women writers in Hollywood who make up only 10% of the writers of the top 250 films:

Yes, I do believe it will make a difference -- also to have Sarah Polley nominated for adapted screenplay for a movie she directed. It's unprecedented and I'm as excited about the number of women in the mix as the nomination itself -- maybe even more. What the nominations do is publicize women's presence in the industry, as players, as artists, as professionals and we need all the publicity we can get.
My advice to an up-and-coming writer: develop persistence, patience, diplomacy and mental toughness. Although this is clearly a male-dominated environment, an adversarial attitude serves no one. Put your power in the script, take good advice wherever you find it, collaborate with intelligence and tact. In my limited experience, if the script is good and gets to the right person at the right time (so much of this is luck), gender's irrelevant.
Nancy Oliver- Oscar nominee, Lars and the Real Girl

Other interesting quotes:
“I’m always one to completely deny that anything good is going to happen. While I was trying to play it cool, when I heard (director) Jason (Reitman)’s name I screamed. We’ve been playing the texting game all morning. You never expect this. It’s unbelievable. One of the reasons I adored this film was that when reading the screenplay I could tell how refreshing it was. It’s about a teenager you haven’t seen before. ‘Hard Candy’ helped me immensely. I’m grateful for that film.”
- Ellen Page, actress, “Juno”
“What’s most gratifying to me is Sarah Polley getting a nomination for screenplay adaptation. I was afraid she wouldn’t be recognized. I wondered if they were going to get this great piece of work. I’m very glad I did it because it’s a terribly important issue. We’ve got to face the fact that we’re living longer. This is the comeuppance of wishing for immortality. Back in the day we weren’t so obsessed about them (Oscars) in England. I didn’t know about the Academy Awards. I didn’t know what it was. I got the smell of the thing that it was terribly important but I wasn’t interested in it, but I figured maybe I could get something out of this. I told them I would go if my boyfriend and I could get a holiday in the desert. It almost feels the same today.”
- Julie Christie, actress, “Away From Her”
“Our film is the story of a dying police officer who wants to give her pension to her partner. She died and never got to see the film. I spoke to her surviving partner today, and she was very emotional. Her case changed the law in parts of New Jersey and the elected official who was against it is now running for Congress, so it’s still very much in the press. Our hope is we can make a difference in the elections. We have to tell this story. Hopefully the Oscar nomination will bring more awareness to couples around the country.”
- Cynthia Wade, “Freeheld,” documentary short subject
“It’s been incredible. I would describe this day as effervescent. I fell out of my bed screaming when Jason got nominated. With all our nominations, this would be a 4-by-4 if we were at In-N-Out Burger. Seeing us take our place alongside films like ‘No Country for Old Men’ and ‘There Will Be Blood’ is pretty good company. I’m thrilled to have this happen so early in my career and excited to do more.”
-Diablo Cody, original screenplay, “Juno”
“I woke up this morning and had time to eat all my nails. I always wanted to make this for everyone. You have to make it personal. I didn’t want it to become an ethnic story. I wanted to show the humanity. No matter where you come from, it has to be an individual story. Making it in live action would be a big mistake. It would lose something.”
- Marjane Satrapi, “Persepolis”
“I don’t know what my husband (Oscar-winning scribe Jim Taylor) and I are going to do but he opened a bottle of champagne as I was on my way to my therapist's office. I've had a very discombobulated morning so it was nice not to complain and get to talk about happy stuff, like my oven finally being fixed this morning." Jenkins also talked about being one of four female scribes to be nominated in the writing categories. "It's pretty great. It seems kind of crazy and historic. Someone else had told me it'd never happened before, so it's very cool to be in the company of such smart women. It was also amazing to see Laura (Linney) recognized because she really wasn't expecting it. I was surprised people weren’t recognizing her earlier."
-Tamara Jenkins, original screenplay, "The Savages"
“I was on the phone with my business partner and began jumping around with my son and husband after we heard. As indie producers, we’re so naturally pessimistic, so we were completely stunned. The film is unexpected and doesn’t fit any genre. I also think (director) Jason (Reitman)’s nomination is the big shock.”
- Lianne Halfon, producer, “Juno”
“I’m kind of shell-shocked. We’ve been very calm and zen about it but we were hopeful. Our film is about a beauty pagaent in a women’s prison in Colombia. We follow these four women and what’s tragic about the project is the woman who wins the pageant is killed on the streets of Bogota.”
- Amanda Micheli, documentary short subject, “La Corona (The Crown)”
"I'm in total disbelief. I'm thrilled but kind of in shock too. It's been such a strange year and I'm bowled over by the life of the film. It's more than I could have ever hoped. This now adds a very surreal element to it."
- Sarah Polley, adapted screenplay, "Away From Her"

(Quotes from Variety)

Secret of a Soccer Mom written by Kathleen Clark and directed by Judith Ivey starts performances off-Broadway next month. (Variety)

Check out this funny Sundance blog from Therese Shechter, director of I Was a Teenage Feminist
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