FEINBERG & FRIENDS, Episode 2: Scott and Hollywood-Elsewhere's Jeff Wells on the Awards Race (Audio)

A discussion about the box-office numbers of George Clooney's "The Ides of March," Oscar prospects of "Bridesmaids" scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy, and more.
Melissa McCarthy in "Bridesmaids"

I'm very pleased to bring you the second episode of "Feinberg & Friends," a podcast that will air on The Race blog every Tuesday. Each episode will feature a discussion between me and a different guest -- a film blogger, critic or journalist of some other variation -- on about 10 different awards-related topics (which we will list in the text accompanying the audio so that you know exactly what you're signing up for) and will last about 30 minutes (so that if one topic is not of particular interest to you it will only be about three minutes before we're on to the next one, which hopefully will be).

I was delighted that my friend Jeff Wells, a prolific and always entertaining blogger who operates the website Hollywood-Elsewhere, agreed to join me for this episode. I really enjoyed our chat, during which we addressed the following 10 topics:

  1. We discuss Monday night's surprise screening at the New York Film Festival, assuming -- since we taped this chat Sunday -- that it would be Martin Scorsese's Hugo, as it did indeed turn out to be. Why might Paramount have decided to unveil it then and there?
  2. We discuss the underperformance of George Clooney's The Ides of March at the box-office over the weekend, where it placed a distant second behind Real Steel and not much in front of carryover Dophin Tale. Did its awards stock consequently take a hit?
  3. Over the past week, we got our first look at the posters for Shame (which debuted exclusively on The Race) and for J. Edgar; trailers for War Horse and for Young Adult; and new trailers for The Adventures of Tintin, for Arthur Christmas and for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (for international audiences). Can we glean any valuable information from any of these things?
  4. My Week With Marilyn, which stars Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe, premiered at the New York Film Festival on Sunday. Do the early reactions bode well for Williams' prospects of scoring a second consecutive best actress Oscar nod?
  5. Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, which has divided audiences and critics, was released Tuesday on DVD and Blu-Ray, just in time to reinsert it into the awards discussion. But can an existentialist film with a nontraditional narrative structure really compete for the top Oscar in a year in which only five slots are assured?
  6. Glenn Close and Roadside Attractions (the studio that is releasing Albert Nobbs, the film for which she is hoping to score a best address nod this year) aren't missing an opportunity to remind people about her long, accomplished, and heretofore Oscar-less career -- she recently picked up a lifetime achievement award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, agreed to pick up another at the Hollywood Film Festival and appeared on the cover of Entertainment Weekly along with her the famous co-stars from the film in which she gives her most famous performance, Fatal Attraction: Michael Douglas and a little white rabbit. Will this strategy help her to get to the podium or backfire?
  7. Did Lars von Trier's stupid comments at Cannes in May irreparably undermine the awards hopes of his film Melancholia and Kirsten Dunst's standout performance in it?
  8. Some awards pundits are going crazy for Woody Harrelson's performance in Rampart, which was picked up for domestic distribution by Millennium, but others feel that the character that he plays is mysoginistic and want nothing to do with celebrating it. At the end of the day, can Woody still manage to crack into the best actor field?
  9. Both Drive and 50/50 have performed disappointingly at the box office, but those who have seen them -- with the exception of the woman who saw the former and then sued its distributor last week because it wasn't as much of an action film as she thought it would be -- tend to be passionate fans of it. Can the male lead of either film -- Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, respectively -- generate enough support to score a best actor nod?
  10. In recent weeks, Bridesmaids scene-stealer Melissa McCarthy upset a lot of better known actresses to win the best actress (comedy) Emmy and also earned primarily positive reviews for her work as the host of Saturday Night Live. Is there any real chance that the unlikely "It" girl -- who appeared on a recent cover of The Hollywood Reporter magazine, could rive this wave of goodwill to a best supporting actress nod, or is that being unrealistic?

We ran a little longer than 30 minutes this week, but I think it was all time well spent. You can decide for yourself by tuning in below...

NOTE: We welcome your constructive feedback about this week's edition and topic suggestions for next week's edition in the comments section below.