Oscar Stock Quotes: Polanski Up 10%, "Dragon" Up 5%
New awards boost "How to Train Your Dragon" and change Polanski's image from hot tub sex beast to cool arthouse auteur.
As Oscar season revs up and awards and nominations proliferate like the little skittering puff-bomb bugs in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which awards matter and which don't? The European Film Awards, handed out Saturday in Estonia, don't usually matter to Oscar voters, because they have no U.S. telecast like the Golden Globes. In fact, they were created in opposition to the dominant American awards -- you might call them the F--- You, Oscar Awards. But The Ghost Writer's 6-trophy sweep does matter, because of Roman Polanski's bizarre position.
While Polanski startlingly won the best director Oscar in absentia for The Pianist in 2003, a lot of people still feel a queasy unease about the indiscretions of his Quaalude youth and his arrest warrant in 188 countries. And being AWOL from Hollywood ever since makes him seem like a spectre. The EFA wins, on top of the 2003 Oscar, make him seem like a director again, even though he accepted the award as a spectral presence on a big screen, via Skype (an Estonian invention), so as not to get extradited. He's still an Oscar longshot, but now more people will actually watch the only Oscar contender edited by a director under house arrest. When Jack Nicholson once reportedly asked Polanski to direct the troubled Chinatown sequel The Two Jakes, Polanski reportedly said he couldn't, because once a film started to go bad he'd never seen it get better again. Polanski's career seems like it's getting better again.
How to Train Your Dragon's 15 Annie Award nominations, announced Monday, would mean more if Disney/Pixar hadn't pulled out of the International Animated Film Society, but they might nibble away at Toy Story 3's lead. Still, even 1500 Annies would would have a tough time countering Disney's marketing putsch, I mean push, for Toy Story 3. The Annies did more to help the other Annie nominees clawing for the third Oscar best animated feature slot, Despicable Me, The Illusionist, and Tangled, which tangled with Harry Potter and won this weekend. That's magic.
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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 and 2013, when he called 21 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.