'The Fighter' and Hollywood's Fight Club
Peaceable Oscar blogger Pete Hammond got his Irish up confronting the security scrum at Tuesday's The Fighter screening: "In the spirit of the movie, I fought my way past security guys into the theater where I grabbed what seemed like the last remaining seat." Like critic John Anderson's not-very-violent fisticuffs with producer's rep Jeff "The Dude" Dowd at Sundance in 2009, the mild scrap was a good thing for buzz for the movie in question.
Ire seems to be in the air lately. On Wednesday, Oksana Grigorieva asked a judge to put Mel Gibson in therapy for "anger issues." Disney announced possible "other plans" for Alex Welch-punching rehab dweller Demi Lovato's show, and Caribbean pirate movie star turned author Keith Richards helped buzz his bestselling memoir Life by reportedly punching a journalist in the head during an interview, allegedly snapping, "You're lucky to get out of here alive." Hey, Keith's lucky he got out of the '70s alive.
Hollywood is often a real-life fight club, from Jimmy Stewart's 1947 fistfight with Henry Fonda over politics to the alleged near-fistfight Quentin Tarantino claims he almost had with Harvey Weinstein at a Jackie Brown screening. Even featherweights find themselves in the ring: director Alan Rudolph once strangled me (angrily but very gently) in an interview, and John Cusack flying-tackled me in a real snowstorm on a movie set (all in fun, though it hurt).
But the Oscar season's No. 1 bout is between longtime heavyweight world champions Scott Rudin and Harvey Weinstein, whose The Social Network and The King's Speech are duking it out for best picture. For an exclusive report on the Weinstein-Rudin fight and an unusually candid Scott Rudin profile, check out the Nov. 17 issue of The Hollywood Reporter. But please, don't roll it up and hit somebody with it.
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Scott, whose THR coverage appears both in print and online, is one of the film industry's most experienced and trusted awards analysts, and possesses one of the strongest track records at forecasting the Oscars. His best showings came in 2006 (when he called 21 of 24 winners) and 2004 (when he called 20 of 24 winners); he was also the only pundit to project long-shot best picture nominations for The Reader (2008), The Blind Side (2009) and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). An alumnus of Brandeis University, he previously ran "The Feinberg Files" blog for the Los Angeles Times. He is now a voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Broadcast Television Journalists Association, and is writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 350 high-profile Hollywood figures.
Gregg contributes awards news, features online, and "The Race" column in print.
Tim contributes awards news and features, both in print and online.