It’s Friday, voting on the Oscar nominations ends at five P.M. Pacific, and at 5:01 I’m pouring a bourbon and changing into sweats.
Hello from Los Angeles, where we’re celebrating the good judgment of the Directors Guild, biting our nails about James Franco, and making one last Hail Mary pass for Hostiles.
CRINGING OUR WAY THROUGH THE SEASON
The week that began with Natalie Portman pointedly introducing the “all-male” directing nominees at the Golden Globes wound down with a more inclusive batch of nominations from the Directors Guild of America on Thursday. Vanity Fair’s inaugural awards-issue cover subjects, Greta Gerwig(Lady Bird) and Jordan Peele(Get Out), made the list, along with Chris Nolan(Dunkirk), Guillermo del Toro(The Shape of Water), and Martin McDonagh(Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). Peele even doubled up, collecting a nod in the best-first-time-director category, suggesting his peers in the guild are bullish on his prospects, and all those hours spent making Key & Peele episodes before tackling his first feature paid off. As V.F.’s Yohana Destawrites, this guild is a terrifically reliable predictor of Oscar nominations. There still are a few omissions that could squeak in with the Academy’s directors branch, however, and knock one of these five out of the running, perhaps Steven Spielberg(The Post), Dee Rees(Mudbound), or Sean Baker(The Florida Project).
A far less predictive but infinitely weirder awards-season contest unfolded at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica Thursday night, as the Critics’ Choice Awards were handed out. The Shape of Water took the top prize, but at this show, it’s not so much about who wins, but about who attends and earns some points in the marathon charm offensive of the Oscar race. In this most unusual #MeToo awards season, it was also about who did not attend. James Franco won best actor in a comedy for his performance in The Disaster Artist, just hours after the Los Angeles Times launched a story in which five women accused Franco of inappropriate behavior (Franco’s attorney has disputed the women’s allegations). The actor, who had planned to attend the show, was absent from the ceremony, leaving clearly uncomfortable presenter Walton Goggins to accept the award on his behalf as the room tepidly applauded. Desta has a write-up here.
When I saw Scott Cooper’sHostiles in Telluride this year, the elegantly crafted Western stopped me like a bullet, and I expected to see it well represented in the Oscar race, particularly for Christian Bale’s subtle lead performance. But though the film has some passionate supporters in the Academy, including Jerry Bruckheimer, who hosted a screening at his home Thursday night, many Academy members I’ve talked to haven’t seen it. That might be because the movie is brutal in its early minutes—to the point that it could cause some to pop out their screener. What’s more, the film got picked up by distribution newcomer Byron Allen, who is still learning the witchcraft of awards season. Maybe the issue is that Bale hasn’t done much press for the film, busy as he is on another project (the previous Oscar winner just wrapped playing Dick Cheney for his Big Short director, Adam McKay). I interviewed Cooper this week, and he had another theory: one day on the set of his 2013 thriller, Out of the Furnace, Cooper had asked Sam Shepard about his relationship to the Academy. Shepard, who had won a Pulitzer, 10 Obies, and a PEN Award, never won an Oscar. “Sam said, ‘You know, I just don’t think they dig my shit,’” Cooper said. “And I get what he means. I kind of feel the same way.” I don’t know about that. The reality is, the movie got a late start in the awards space. As Cooper told me, “It’s a little bit like the Los Angeles Rams, where we’re down 26-13 on a slippery field in the fourth quarter, but we’re trying to mount a comeback.” Regular folks still have plenty of time to see Hostiles, which opens in wide release on January 19, and you can read my full interview with Cooper here.
In Paul Thomas Anderson’sPhantom Thread, clothes are a source of high drama. So it only makes sense that Focus Features and Vanity Fair held a fashion show at the Chateau Marmont Wednesday featuring some of costume designer Mark Bridges’s couture creations for the film. Lily James, the Haim sisters, John C. Reilly, Rodarte’s Kate and Laura Mulleavy,Last Jedi director Rian Johnson,Call Me by Your Name director Luca Guadagnino,Darkest Hour director Joe Wright, and Baby Driver director Edgar Wright showed up to celebrate the looks. V.F.’s Julie Miller delivers this dispatch and photo gallery from the party.
As Oscar season phase one winds down, V.F.’s Katey Rich and Richard Lawson make sense of Sunday’s drama-filled Golden Globes show, and of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts awards nominations in our podcastLittle Gold Men.
That’s the news for this week on the Hollywood and awards beat. Tell me what you’re seeing out there. Send tips, comments, valet-line gossip, big deals you overheard at the Polo Lounge, bad vibes you picked up on at Craft, and your completed Oscar nominations ballot to Rebecca_Keegan@condenast.com. Follow me on Twitter @thatrebecca.
Get Vanity Fair’s HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Rebecca KeeganRebecca Keegan is a Hollywood Correspondent for Vanity Fair.