THR's Awards Season Awards
Phew, the Oscar campaigns are over! In recognition of extraordinary achievement in stunts, maneuvers and PR finesse, these honorees should take a bow.
♦ Best Swag: Ukulele, The Descendants
♦ Worst Swag: All those "official shooting script" booklets
♦ The Sleeping with the Enemy Award: Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids
Wiig's Bridesmaids script, co-written with Annie Mumolo, is facing off against The Artist for best original screenplay. But that didn't stop her from hamming it up in a Feb. 11 Artist parody with star Jean Dujardin on Saturday Night Live. The collaboration likely was frustrating for Bridesmaids studio Universal, which hasn't been able to get Wiig to do much awards press this season given her SNL commitment.
♦ The Hyperbole Award: Kim Novak
"I want to report a rape. I feel as if my body -- or, at least, my body of work -- has been violated by the movie The Artist." -- Novak, star of the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock film Vertigo, objecting to sections of Bernard Herrmann's love theme being used.
♦ The Overexposure Award: Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn
It has become apparent in recent years that to win the best actress Oscar, it helps to show a little skin. Indeed, everyone from then-33-year-old The Reader star Kate Winslet (nude on the cover of Vanity Fair) to sexagenarian The Queen actress Helen Mirren (in a bra on the cover of Los Angeles magazine) courted older male voters by doing just that during their winning awards seasons. Still, it was surprising to find Williams -- who long has fostered a demure image, at least off the big screen -- wearing barely-there lingerie and pouting seductively on the cover of February's GQ. Then again, perhaps a cheesecake shot is a small price to pay for a better chance at Oscar immortality.
♦ The Taking It to the Streets Award: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
For a franchise that grossed $7.7 billion worldwide, Harry Potter just can't win the Academy's respect: The first seven movies combined scored just nine Oscar nominations, all in craft categories. So Warner Bros. was determined to change that with the final film in the series. The studio decided to get a jump on the competition by launching an awards campaign early in the fall, with a half-dozen billboards -- all bearing the command "Consider" -- placed strategically around the Westside of Los Angeles. Academy voters, though, didn't seem to notice. Harry's swan song scored just three noms: For art direction, makeup and visual effects.
♦ The Less Said the Better Award: Nick Nolte, Warrior
Nolte, a two-time best actor Oscar nominee in the 1990s, saw his career crash after a 2002 arrest and one of the more infamous mug shots ever snapped. So when director Gavin O'Connor offered Nolte a role as a father overcoming alcohol issues in Warrior, he made one demand: Stay clean. Critics cheered Nolte's realistic performance in the film, but a rambling interview in January's GQ (accompanied by a photo of the actor giving the middle finger) suggested his work might have seemed realistic for the wrong reasons. He admitted he had, in fact, fallen off the wagon during the shoot. That was the last interview Nolte gave for a while. And after he scored a supporting nom, he showed up at the Feb. 6 Nominees Luncheon with a fanny pack and a bottle filled with an indeterminate liquid.
♦ The Oops Award: Hollywood Film Festival
Organizers of the October gathering invited Amber Heard of The Rum Diary to receive its Hollywood Spotlight Award. Diary then flopped, and that was the last time Heard or the film were mentioned during the season.
♦ The Man Bites Dog Award: Martin Scorsese (Hugo), Christopher Plummer (Beginners)
In the all-important battle of the Jack Russell terriers, frisky Uggie from The Artist ran circles around Cosmo from Beginners. Uggie showed off his tricks on red carpets, stopped by NBC's Today show and scored the coveted top prize at the inaugural Golden Collar Awards. It finally got to be too much. Scorsese rose to the defense of Blackie, the Doberman in Hugo, writing in the Los Angeles Times, "Uggie plays a nice little mascot who does tricks and saves his master's life, while Blackie gives an uncompromising performance as a ferocious guard dog who terrorizes children." And Beginners' Plummer barked during a Santa Barbara International Film Festival tribute: "I think our dear little Cosmo was much warmer than Uggie. That was a circus dog -- he was so glib! Cosmo's a real dog."
♦ The Annual Holocaust Invocation Award: The Artist
What does a movie about the transition from silent movies to talkies in the 1920s have to do with the Holocaust? Leave it to the always-industrious Weinstein Co. to come up with an answer. Turns out The Artist's Oscar-nominated producer, Thomas Langmann, and writer-director Michel Hazanavicius are both Jews whose parents hid in the countryside during the Nazi occupation of France. Claude Berri, Langmann's late father and a noted French director, based his directorial debut, 1967's The Two of Us, on his childhood experiences, so TWC partnered with Jewish human rights museum the Simon Wiesenthal Center to host double-header screenings in early February of Artist and Two of Us at the Museum of Tolerance outposts in Los Angeles and New York.
♦ The Best Defusion of Potentially Damaging News Award: The Artist
It didn't look good: Jean Dujardin, who had been meticulously positioned by Artist distributor The Weinstein Co. as a sophisticated Frenchman, in January began appearing on racy, arguably misogynistic billboards in France for the sex comedy The Infidels. Amid complaints, the billboard company agreed to take down the offending image of Dujardin in a, ahem, compromising position, while those involved quickly got on the phone with U.S. media to defuse the situation. "It's not a scandal," an executive at billboard company JCDecaux told gossip blogger Roger Friedman. "We're changing the ads tomorrow. But it's no big deal." Artist producer Thomas Langmann told THR: "The posters have been taken down, and the distributor excused himself -- it's over. It's finished." And it was.
♦ The How to Kill a Campaign Before It Starts Award: Melancholia
"What can I say? I understand Hitler … I sympathize with him a bit." -- Director Lars von Trier, May 17
♦ The Overcoming Adversity Award: Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
The Sept. 11-themed drama scored by far the worst reviews of the nine best picture nominees -- just a 45 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. (The next-lowest was The Help at 76 percent.)
♦ Best Made-Up Award: The Artist
The Los Angeles City Council declared Jan. 31 "The Artist Day" and bestowed its inaugural "Made in Hollywood" award on the French filmmakers for shooting in Los Angeles.
QUIZ: TALKING POINTS FROM THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Match the line to the contender who said it over and over. (Scroll down for answers)
- Marrin Scorsese
- Jean Dujardin
- Christopher Plummer
- 4Meryl Streep
- George Clooney
- A: "There is always more to learn about people we've decided we already know everything about."
- B: "I'd like to thank the actor who plays my son, that scene-stealing swine."
- C: "Just for the record, I don't really run like that in real life."
- D: "As Douglas Fairbanks would say, [silence]."
- E: "My wife asked me to finally make a film that my 12-year-old daughter can see!"
ANSWERS: Scorsese: e; Dujardin: d; Plummer: b; Streep: a; Clooney: c