Bob Berney and Gray Frederickson Talk Oscars
Big winners, big losers and even bigger uncertainty greeted Tuesday’s announcement of the 80th Annual Academy Awards nominations in Los Angeles. “No Country For Old Men,” “Juno,” “Michael Clayton” and “There Will Be Blood” dominated the major award categories, while few critical favorites — Josh Brolin in “No Country” and Angelina Jolie in “A Mighty Heart” – came up empty for their performances.
But the real question surrounds the fate of the awards themselves: will the Oscars even happen on Feb. 24, and if so, will it all boil down to a bare-bones press conference such as the recent scaled-down Golden Globes broadcast? The three-month-old Writers Guild of America strike could derail the traditionally glamorous, star-filled ceremony — the Screen Actors Guild has pledged solidarity with the WGA, with its members agreeing to honor any picket lines in front of the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles.
Despite the ticking clock on the Oscar situation, Bob Berney, the Oklahoma City native who is now president of Picturehouse, said he is optimistic that a deal will be in place before the red carpet is rolled out. Berney’s company distributes “La Vie En Rose,” whose star, Marion Cotillard, is nominated in the best actress category. He said that last week’s successful agreement between the Directors Guild of America and major film and television production companies bodes well for a writers’ strike resolution.
“When I was out there for the Golden Globes, it was pretty bleak generally in town,” Berney said from the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. “But since the DGA made their deal, there’s been a lot of optimism. The academy is putting on a pretty good brave face that it’s all going to happen. And I kind of feel it will. I feel better about it now.”
Gray Frederickson, the Oklahoma City-based Oscar-winning producer of “The Godfather” and “Apocalypse Now,” said he believes the writers are using the possibility of a scuttled Oscar ceremony as a bargaining chip in the negotiations.
“They are using that, I think, for leverage to get this strike settled,” Frederickson said. “The actors have already agreed to honor the picket line and not go to the Oscars if they’re still striking, so that gives them some leverage. But the producers have a little leverage in that they’ve made this agreement with the Directors Guild.”
Frederickson said that if a tentative agreement is not reached, the show still could go on with clips from films substituting for acceptance speeches. While he remains optimistic and reports of a new wave of hope throughout industry players at Sundance, Berney said that it could be an 11th hour agreement.
“It may be kind of be down to the wire, but it feels better now, just in talking to people today and the last couple of days,” Berney said.
Complete list of 80th annual Academy Award nominations announced Tuesday:
1. Best Picture: “Atonement,” “Juno,” “Michael Clayton,” “No Country for Old Men,” “There Will Be Blood.”
2. Actor: George Clooney, “Michael Clayton”; Daniel Day-Lewis, “There Will Be Blood”; Johnny Depp, “Sweeney Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street”; Tommy Lee Jones, “In the Valley of Elah”; Viggo Mortensen, “Eastern Promises.”
3. Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”; Julie Christie, “Away From Her”; Marion Cotillard, “La Vie en Rose”; Laura Linney, “The Savages”; Ellen Page, “Juno.”
4. Supporting Actor: Casey Affleck, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”; Javier Bardem, “No Country for Old Men”; Hal Holbrook, “Into the Wild”; Philip Seymour Hoffman, “Charlie Wilson’s War”; Tom Wilkinson, “Michael Clayton.”
5. Supporting Actress: Cate Blanchett, “I’m Not There”; Ruby Dee, “American Gangster”; Saoirse Ronan, “Atonement”; Amy Ryan, “Gone Baby Gone”; Tilda Swinton, “Michael Clayton.”
6. Director: Julian Schnabel, “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”; Jason Reitman, “Juno”; Tony Gilroy, “Michael Clayton”; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, “No Country for Old Men”; Paul Thomas Anderson, “There Will Be Blood.”
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