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PRESENTS JA N UA RY 29, 2020 OSCA R N OM I N E ES

Could

Parasite make Best Picture history?

DEADLINE.COM/AWARDSLINE

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“COMPELLING. ” BEAUTIFULLY SHAPED, “COMPLEX, STIRRING, TIMELY AND spanning continents as it surveys the past, present and possible future of American labor.”

“EXTRAORDINARY.” MANOHLA DARGIS,

“+++++. EXQUISITE.

LOS ANGELES TIMES

That rare documentary that’s not only compelling in its content but a profound sensory pleasure. In claiming a small patch of working-class Ohio with such nuance and expansiveness, it winds up containing multitudes.”

“A TOWERING ACHIEVEMENT.” “SUPERB.” SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

ANN HORNADAY,

WINNER

WINNER

BEST POLITICAL DOCUMENTARY BEST DIRECTOR

BEST DOCUMENTARY GOTHAM INDEPENDENT F I L M AWA R D S

CRITICS’ CHOICE D O C U M E N TA R Y AWA R D S

WINNER

WINNER

BEST DIRECTOR STEVEN BOGNAR AND JULIA REICHERT

BEST DOCUMENTARY/ NON-FICTION FILM LOS ANGELES FILM C R I T I C S A S S O C I AT I O N AWA R D

I D A D O C U M E N TA R Y AWA R D S

WINNER

WINNER

DIRECTING AWARD: U.S. DOCUMENTARY

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN NONFICTION FEATURE FILMMAKING

SUNDANCE FILM F E S T I VA L F E AT U R E F I L M AWA R D S

CINEMA EYE AWA R D

WINNER

THE WRAP

WINNER

THE ALLAN KING AWARD FOR BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN DIRECTION STEVEN BOGNAR AND JULIA REICHERT

TORONTO FILM CRITICS A S S O C I AT I O N

C I N E M A E Y E AWA R D

NOMINEE

NOMINEE

BRITISH ACADEMY OF FILM AND TELEVISION ARTS

FILM INDEPENDENT S P I R I T AWA R D S

DOCUMENTARY

BEST DOCUMENTARY

“EYE-OPENING.” “FASCINATING.” THE MOST HONORED OSCAR -NOMINATED DOCUMENTARY OF 2019

A.V. CLUB

®

NEW YORK MAGAZINE

DIRECTED BY STEVEN BOGNAR AND JULIA REICHERT

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FIRST TAKE Kathy Bates tells a real-life horror story in Richard Jewell Documentary Roundup: Despite narrative film exclusion, this year female directors rule nonfiction International: How the newly-named Foreign Language category surprised and delighted

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COVER STORY Bong Joon Ho brings Parasite to the Best Picture race in the culmination of a journey that busted through every language barrier

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THE LONG ROAD TO OSCAR Tracing the trail from initial idea to Academy accolades for the nine Best Picture nominees

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THE DIALOGUE: NOMINEES’ GALLERY Charlize Theron Margot Robbie Cynthia Erivo Todd Phillips Jonathan Pryce Anthony Hopkins Taika Waititi Greta Gerwig Saoirse Ronan Rian Johnson Pedro Almodóvar Antonio Banderas Renée Zellweger Quentin Tarantino Laura Dern Adam Driver

54

FLASH MOB SAG Awards PGA Awards ON THE COVER Bong Joon Ho and the cast of Parasite photographed exclusively for Deadline by Josh Telles ON THIS PAGE Margot Robbie photographed exclusively for Deadline by Josh Telles

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L o v i n g ly h a n d - m a d e b y

, the st

deserves to be “Missing Link ted Feature. a im n A r o f r e n a frontrun

e c e i p r e t s a Am t ambitious One of the mos ever created. � animated films -AWARDS DAILY

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u d i o t h at c r e at e d

AND

For more on this extraordinary film and a schedule of where you can see it go to missinglinkguilds.com. Also available to stream now on

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CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE IN CASTING PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES Thank you to the following creators, producers, and actors for signing our open letter calling on the entertainment industry to increase opportunities for performers with disabilities. Jason Alexander Josef Altin Robert James Ashe Shani Atias Tim Bagley Carol Barbee Robby Benson Maleni Chaitoo Glenn Close Len Collin John P. Conollly Chris Cooper Marianne Leone Cooper Bryan Cranston Cherie Currie Danny DeVito Vincent D’Onofrio Bobby Farrelly Peter Farrelly Fern Field Micah Fowler Willie Garson Jason George Angel Giuffria Ewan Gotfryd Sammi Haney Kevin M. Iannucci Geri Jewell CJ Jones Orlando Jones Luke Kidd John Lawson Norman Lear Eva Longoria Ruth Madeley Camryn Manheim Marlee Matlin Glen Mazzara Matthew McClain Jillian Mercado Rachel Miner Daryl “Chill” Mitchell RJ Mitte James Moore Olivia Munn Edward Norton Ryan O’Connell Jonah Platt Emily Prior James Rath Mark Ruffalo June Schneidmond Tony Shaloub Cole Sibus Jamie-Lynn Sigler Lauren “Lolo” Spencer Ali Stroker Marlee Talkington Charles Venn Steve Way Steven Weber Roy Wol Danny Woodburn Kurt Yaeger

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OF APPROVA L

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Songs of 1917 p.14 | The Year of the Women p.16 | International Intrigue p.18

Sweet Justice In the telling of Richard Jewell, Kathy Bates found a mother’s real-life horror story and the kind of meaning every actor craves BY A NTO NI A B LYTH

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ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE BEST ORIGINAL SONG “I’M STANDING WITH YOU” ®

KWAKU ALSTON FOR foureleven.agency

FROM THE FILM

B E S T

O R I G I N A L

S O N G

“I’M S TA N D I N G W I T H Y O U” Music and Lyric by DIANE WARREN

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W

THE WHOLE TRUTH From left: Bates in character as Bobi Jewell; preparing for a scene with director Clint Eastwood on set.

HEN KATHY BATES SMASHED THAT SLEDGEHAMMER into James Caan’s ankles 30 years ago in Misery, the world may have collectively cringed, but it made Bates an unforgettable force in Hollywood history. The then 42-year-old actress wasn’t a household name when she took on that role of the now-iconic homicidal nurse Annie Wilkes.

Bates had theatrical successes

and has this wily sense of humor that’s kind of flirty and fun. And she baked me a pound cake because it was my birthday.” The method by which Bates embodies her roles was first impressed upon her by Alvina Krause, “a wonderful, wonder-

And Richard Jewell really does

sat and talked for two or three hours

ful teacher and director who ran

before, some smaller roles on film,

matter, in that telling the true story

and I recorded her voice. We went

Northwestern for years. She told me,

and in television shows like St. Else-

of a wrongly-accused person will

through the script and she corrected

‘You bring the character, you know

where and L.A. Law. And yet, she took

always matter. Jewell surely deserves

a few things. She teared up quite a

who the character is, how they dress.

home an Oscar with Misery, her first

all the public exoneration a big-name

few times. She was very determined.

What’s precious to them. The jewelry

major movie role.

feature film can deliver, even after his

She gave me the Vanity Fair article

they wear, what it means. The music

untimely death in 2007 at just 44.

that Marie Brenner had written that

they listen to.’ It means you really

the film is based on. Bobi looked very

have to work hard before you get to

This year, she’s enjoying her fourth Academy nomination, this

The film details his intense media

time for Richard Jewell, the Clint

and FBI hounding, while his mother

different then, she was more my size,

the set, which is what Jessica Tandy

Eastwood-directed true tale of

Bobi, played by Bates, suffers under

so that made me feel good. At one

used to call our ‘kitchen work’. When

a heroic security guard falsely

the weight of defending her son.

point I said, ‘I just want to get this

you’re slicing the vegetables to make

accused of planting a bomb at the

Feeling “very nervous”, Bates

right for you Bobi.’ And almost like a

soup, which reminds me of Lily Tom-

1996 Atlanta Olympics, although he

flew to Atlanta ahead of the shoot

little girl, she said, ‘Well, just be me.’

lin and her wonderful one-woman

actually found the device and saved

for her first meeting with Eastwood.

And I thought, ‘Oh God, if that were

show, [The Search for Signs of Intel-

many lives.

“I remember asking him why he

true, I’d have 15 Academy Awards by

ligent Life in the Universe]. Making

wanted to make this movie,” she

now.’ I had to, as an actor, create a

soup, is it soup or is it art? You don’t

only very recently, in conversation

says, “and at first he looked up with

character of Bobi, otherwise it would

even realize it’s happening.”

with Eastwood, that Bates allowed

those eyes and I thought, ‘Oh God,

have been robotic. You can’t just go

herself to consider her success.

here we go.’ Then he said, ‘Well,

in and try to mimic somebody.”

Despite the Oscar recognition, it’s

Bates shared the screen with Tomlin in Woody Allen’s Shadows and Fog,

“I said to Clint, ‘I’ve been doing

I think it’s a movie I’d like to see.’

Jewell resonated personally for

this for 50 years, but I finally feel like

He was so angry at how Richard

Bates. “I grew up in Memphis, and

nominated Fried Green Tomatoes, both

I hit the big time,’ and I don’t mean

had been treated. He felt this was

she reminded me of my mother a

released in 1991, hot on the heels of

with all the marching bands and

an American tragedy, and that it

lot,” she says. “She’s a Baptist, my

Misery. The ’90s also served up the

the confetti, I mean, working with

needed to be told.”

mother was a Baptist. She has that

role of ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’

poise, that sense of humor, that grit.

in Titanic, and a part in The Waterboy

It’s in her posture. She’s in her 80s

opposite Adam Sandler—who, despite

another incredible director, and doing a story that matters.”

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So, she went to work, researching Bobi Jewell. And then they met. “We

and with Tandy in the double Oscar-

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FEATURE FILM WRITING

The Writers’ Program congratulates the winners of the 2019 UCLA Extension Feature Film and TelevisIon Writing Competitions 1ST PLACE Frank del Aguila Quetzal (Drama)

2ND PLACE Kerry Kolbe Kerry Kolbe (Dramedy)

3RD PLACE Kelly Campbell Pyramid Scheme (Action/Adventure Comedy)

TELEVISION PILOT WRITING

CELEBRATING TOMORROW’S TOP SCRIBES

1ST PLACE Sandra Hamada Lucha Lopez: Illegal Alien (One-Hour)

2ND PLACE David Crane The Mashings (Half-Hour)

3RD PLACE Jenny Raftery Mom’s Club (Half-Hour)

71623-20

TELEVISION SPEC WRITING

1ST PLACE Leon Golterman Mindhunter: Sons of Sam (One-Hour)

2ND PLACE Marion Kotzenberg Madam Secretary: Old Friends (One-Hour)

3RD PLACE Angus McNair The Good Place: Janet’s Id (Half-Hour)

Thanks to our Writers’ Program instructors and mentors: Cynthia Hsiung, Zac Hug, Nancy Nigrosh, Koji Sakai, Barry Vigon, and Michael Weiss. Special thanks to our industry judges: (Feature Film) Rick Berg, Code Entertainment; Elisa Oliveras, New Cadence Productions; Chris Sablan, Avenue 2020; (Television) Chelsea Benson, Echo Lake Entertainment; Isabella Mastrodicasa, Heroes and Villains Entertainment; and Mette Norkjaer, BOOM! Studios. The Writers’ Program is one of the most prestigious continuing education writing programs in the nation. Alumni include Gavin Hood, Stuart Beattie, Melissa Rosenberg, Doug Ellin, Kevin Williamson, Tucker Cawley, Earl W. Wallace, and Diane Thomas.

To receive information about the winners, or to learn more about the Writers’ Program, call (310) 825-9415, email writers@uclaextension. edu, or visit writers.uclaextension.edu.

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FALSELY ACCUSED Clockwise: Hiding from the press; with Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser; Bobi pleads for her son’s reputation.

his own Oscar nomination snub this

affectionately on set as ‘Campi’,

as human beings. And to do it for

year for Uncut Gems, was one of the

Bates says. “You don’t have to be

someone, on behalf of someone,

first to congratulate his onscreen

hitting marks, which is very unusual,

that’s been a real gift for me at this

‘Mama’ on Twitter.

and you can just live. There’s a

Bates has also directed, and in

wonderful shot in the movie, it was

2004 received a DGA nomination

one of Clint’s favorite shots, where

for Six Feet Under. Having taken

the FBI has come in, and a gazillion

the helm herself, she appreciated

times we’ve told Richard, ‘Don’t say

Eastwood all the more. “I remember

anything. Don’t talk. These are not

Mike Nichols saying this to me years

your friends.’ And there’s a shot of

ago when I did Primary Colors—I was

him at the end of the dining room

getting ready to do my first directing

table putting on the gloves. And it

gig for PBS—I said, ‘Mike, what’s your

pans over to Watson [Sam Rockwell]

advice? How do I talk to actors?’

and Bobi looking at him like, ‘Are you

And he said, ‘Just love them.’ And it

kidding me?’ That wasn’t scripted.

really was true with Clint.”

That’s Campi’s magic, picking up

Eastwood’s reputation for doing just two takes, is, Bates says, “just

those things.” Shortly after the film’s release,

WE ALL KNOW WHEN IT’S GOOD, IT RINGS A BELL IN US AS HUMAN BEINGS. AND TO DO IT FOR SOMEONE, ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE, THAT’S BEEN A REAL GIFT FOR ME AT THIS STAGE OF MY CAREER.”

stage of my career. This was such a very different thing for me, to play a real person.” At the premiere of Richard Jewell, she ran into Bobi Jewell on the red carpet. “She loves the film,” Bates reports. “And I have this feeling that she has been brought some relief. She just wishes that it could have happened when Richard was alive.” But then, beyond the film, there has been other progress for the memory of Jewell. Officials at Atlanta’s Centennial Park, the scene of his heroism, announced they’ll unveil a

BS”. What he actually does is keep

controversy erupted around the

the camera rolling, “and what hap-

depiction of journalist Kathy

pens is, you just keep going, and you

Scruggs, played by Olivia Wilde.

just keep relating to one another in

Scruggs’ then-employer, the Atlanta

that particular scene, and he gets

Journal-Constitution railed against

little bits that are just little gold

the insinuation that she gave sexual

nuggets for him that he can put

favors to an FBI agent (played by Jon

has battled cancer twice and still

together. And we, as actors, get the

Hamm), in exchange for information.

deals with a painful condition called

useful,” she muses. “We all want to

opportunity to relate to each other

So how did Bates feel in the wake

Lymphedema, a swelling in her limbs

do something useful in this world

as characters in an improvisational

of that furore? “[It] really clouded, I

caused by cancer treatment. And

because all of us say, ‘Why am I

situation. And if you do it right, you

felt, the film. I worried that it would

yet, her focus remains on bring-

here? Why was I born?’ And it’s that

only need to do it a couple of times.”

affect how people would feel toward

ing her best work. “You can’t focus

Mark Twain thing: ‘The two most

“The secret sauce” is also there in

the film,” she says. “As an actor, all

on limousines, you can’t focus on

important days of your life are the

Eastwood’s longtime camera opera-

I can say is I just really hope that it

awards,” she says. “We all know

day you were born, and the day you

tor Stephen Campanelli, known

doesn’t turn people off from going

when it’s good, it rings a bell in us

know why.’” ★

12

to see it.” At this point in her life, Bates

plaque honoring the man who saved so many lives that summer night in 1996. Some wrongs have been righted, and for Bates, that brings great meaning to her work, and even to her life. “I think all of us want to feel

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VIDEO SERIES

THE ACTOR’S SIDE Intriguing one-on-one conversations between Deadline’s awards editor and leading actors of film & television

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CHARTED TERRITORY

Gold Derby’s Oscar Odds At press time, here is how Gold Derby’s experts ranked the Oscar chances in the Best Picture and Best Director races. Get up-todate rankings and make your own predictions at GoldDerby.com BEST PICTURE

War Score

How composer Thomas Newman met 1917’s novel one-take concept with an equally inventive score IN 1917, COMPOSER THOMAS NEWMAN found the biggest challenge of his career—a film crafted to feel like one continuous shot, which posed a long list of questions, with regard to musical vocabulary, pace and tone. Set during World War I, the thriller follows two British soldiers deep into enemy territory, as they race against the clock, to deliver a message that will save 1600 lives. For director Sam Mendes, who had previously collaborated with Newman on six films, what was key with 1917 was to transcend the clichés of the war film, bringing fresh musical ideas to the genre. “The music had to be exciting and promising, but it couldn’t get in the way of the story,” the composer explains. “He didn’t want the movie to fit in a box, and he didn’t want the music to put it in that box.” This meant, for instance, that when looking for rhythmic elements to incorporate into the music, Newman eschewed snare drums, which would be the conventional choice. He turned instead to lap dulcimers and processed field cadences, which would propel the film forward and lend it a unique sense of atmosphere. Tending to strike a balance in his scores between orchestral and electronic elements, Newman did just that with Mendes’ latest, penning 95 minutes of music in total. “The thing about electronic or ambient sounds is it hides intent more,” he reflects. “It allows for an orchestra to grow out of something, as opposed to being there to begin with.” —Matt Grobar

1917

11/2

2

Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood

6/1

=

Parasite

6/1

4

The Irishman

8/1

5

Joker

17/2

6

Jojo Rabbit

19/2

7

Marriage Story

10/1

8

Little Women

21/2

9

Ford v Ferrari

12/1

BEST DIRECTOR

ODDS

1

Bong Joon Ho Parasite

71/20

2

Sam Mendes 1917

37/10

3

Quentin Tarantino Once Upon a Time...in Hollywood

4/1

4

Martin Scorsese The Irishman

9/2

=

Todd Phillips Joker

9/2

as a reference for Jojo, Rubeo’s

On Jojo Rabbit, costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo artfully captured the perspective of a child

challenge was to map a visual arc in

MAYES C. RUBEO WENT against the

Taika Waititi, the drama centers on

the world around him would have to

grain to design costumes for Jojo

Jojo, an avid member of the Hitler

subtly transform as well. “Starting

Rabbit, avoiding the drab aesthetics

Youth, whose interactions with a

from the colors, and the mood of

expected of a World War II film, and

Jewish girl lead him to question his

the temperature of the photography,

instead pursuing a visual palette as

hateful worldview. Looking to 1948

everything changed,” the designer

poetic as it was realistic. Directed by

film Bicycle Thieves’ character Bruno

explains. —Matt Grobar

14

1

costume that worked with the arc of the character. As Jojo evolved,

MILITARY COLORS Sam Rockwell with Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis and Rebel Wilson.

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

BLOOM OF YOUTH

ODDS

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AMERICAN FACTORY

She Who Dares

Sama with Edward Watts. “Two days before the nomina-

happen,” Al-Kateab says. “That really will shed light on what’s happening in

tions, I was terrified that, no, we will

Syria now and make people [inter-

not make it,” Al-Kateab confesses.

ested in] looking at our films.”

“When we heard our name I was like, ‘Oh my God.’” For Sama tells the dramatic story

For Sama was produced by Britain’s Channel 4 and distributed in the U.S. by PBS. The Cave, meanwhile,

of Al-Kateab’s effort to raise her baby

comes from National Geographic, the

Oscar’s Documentary Branch makes this the year of the woman

daughter Sama in Aleppo as the

company behind the 2019 Oscar win-

city was bombed to ruins by Syrian

ner for Best Documentary Feature,

government forces and their Russian

Free Solo.

BY MATTHEW CAREY

allies. It’s one of two documentaries about Syria to earn Oscar nomina-

of the Oscar feature documen-

WHEN THE 2020 OSCAR NOMINATIONS WERE ANNOUNCED critics immediately seized

tions this year; the other is The Cave,

tary nominations, but this year the

directed by Syrian filmmaker Feras

streamer roared back, claiming two

Fayyad (Last Men in Aleppo) and pro-

of the five slots in the feature doc

upon the glaring lack of women recognized in the Best

duced by two women, Kirstine Barfod

category with The Edge of Democ-

and Sigrid Dyekjær. The Cave’s main

racy, directed by Petra Costa, and

subject is Dr. Amani Ballour, the first

American Factory, directed by Steven

woman physician to run a hospital

Bognar and Julia Reichert (Netflix

in Syria, a subterranean facility near

also scored a nomination for Best

badly handling women,” comments

Damascus that came under constant

Documentary Short with Life Over-

category, four of the five nominated

Carol Dysinger, who earned an Oscar

bombardment by the same forces

takes Me, directed by John Haptas

films are directed or co-directed by

nomination for her short doc Learn-

that attacked Aleppo.

and Kristine Samuelson).

women. In Best Documentary Short,

ing to Skateboard in a Warzone (If

it’s the same story—four of five

You’re a Girl). “But in my community,

conventional wisdom suggested only

what she sees as a crisis in the

nominees are directed or co-directed

documentary, we do OK.”

one Syria-themed doc could hope to

politics of her native Brazil, which

land a nomination.

has witnessed the kind of extreme

Director competition. But on the nonfiction side, it’s a completely different story. In the Best Documentary Feature

by women. It’s also a year when Greta Gerwig

Among the women documentary filmmakers recognized with an Oscar

Leading up to the nominations,

“For the Academy people to push

Last year Netflix was shut out

Costa’s documentary explores

polarization in the electorate that

was overlooked for Best Director in

nomination this year is Syrian-born

these two [Syrian] films, it was for

we’ve seen in the U.S. Some of the

the fiction realm. “Narrative is so

Waad Al-Kateab, who directed For

us the best thing that could ever

same factors have been in play in

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to take everything and then leave [nothing] for tomorrow and those who are providing for you. And it’s a universal message,” declares director Ljubomir Stefanov. His fellow director, Tamara Kotevska, agrees, adding, “The best comparison would be with modern consumerism, because this is like FOR SAMA

THE CAVE

a microcosm that has the same rules as this world has about how consumerism destroys the natural resources completely.” Honeyland not only earned a Best Documentary Feature nomination, but also scored a nomination for Best International Feature Film (the category formerly called Best Foreign Language Film). No film has ever before been nominated in both those categories. While Sundance docs are well represented among the Oscar nominations, it’s not the only festival to enjoy bragging rights. The Cave premiered at the Toronto

HONEYLAND

THE EDGE OF DEMOCRACY

International Film Festival and For Sama premiered last March at SXSW in Austin, Texas.

NARRATIVE [FILM] IS SO BADLY HANDLING WOMEN. BUT IN MY COMMUNITY, DOCUMENTARY, WE DO OK.” —CAROL DYSINGER, DIRECTOR.

Brazil, and for that to stop, because

everybody at this point has prob-

we’re really at the edge and we

ably lost a job, lost a job that they

what transformed everything,”

should all be concerned with this.”

liked, and maybe had to settle for a

Watts says. “We tried to get into

job that didn’t pay just as well.”

Sundance but the film was still not

American Factory takes viewers inside an auto glass plant outside

American Factory and The Edge

“We got into SXSW and that’s

quite finished in time.”

Dayton, Ohio, that was built by

of Democracy both premiered at

At the SXSW awards ceremony,

a Chinese entrepreneur on the

Sundance, the independent film

For Sama won the Grand Jury Prize

site of an old GM manufacturing

festival that so often serves as a

for documentary and the audi-

facility. It’s a nuanced exploration

forecaster or arbiter of Oscar docu-

ence award. When the grand prize

of the challenges of putting two

mentary contenders. Honeyland, the

was announced at the Paramount

very different cultures together on

other Oscar nominee for Best Docu-

Theatre, Al-Kateab gave a shout

the same factory floor—Chinese

mentary Feature this year, likewise

from the audience and then bolted

managers and workers who came

debuted at Sundance, where it won

up from her seat straight towards

with their perspective on getting

three highly notable awards, includ-

the stage.

the job done, and American hourly

ing the Grand Jury Prize for World

employees who felt increasingly dis-

Cinema Documentary.

illusioned by low wages and tough working conditions. Producer Jeff Reichert, director

On paper, Honeyland may sound like the unlikeliest of Oscar final-

“I was running down to the [podium],” Al-Kateab recalls with a laugh. “I left him [Watts] behind.” “She ran. She always runs,” Watts

ists—a story from North Macedonia

admits. “I’m always like the old man,

Julia Reichert’s nephew, believes

about a woman named Hatidze

chasing after.”

both countries—social media exac-

American Factory has resonated

who takes care of her ailing and

erbating those political divisions

with audiences because, “It’s a

elderly mother in a rustic hut, sup-

Documentary Branch voted to

and, arguably, leading to a rise in

movie about people who work and

porting them by cultivating honey

determine the nominations for

nationalism and intolerance.

have jobs, and how many of us out

from wild bees. But the film has

features and shorts. Then, the

there do not have the luxury of not

consistently charmed and moved

final vote is thrown open to the full

world is very intertwined with the

working or not having a job? Sure,

viewers, and connected with its

Academy membership, who will

state of democracy in Brazil,” Costa

not everybody works in a factory,

compelling environmental message.

determine which of the documen-

asserts. “So, I think that from now

not everybody does that kind of

Hatidze only takes half the honey

tary filmmakers earn the right to

on, there will be more international

labor on that kind of schedule,

from the hives, leaving the rest so

walk, or even run, down that Dolby

attention on the abuses of the rule

but we all know pressure. We all

the bee colony survives. “The point

Theatre aisle to clasp their coveted

of law that have been happening in

know workplace insecurity. Almost

is to take as much as you need, not

Oscar statuettes. ★

“The state of democracy in the

Members of the Academy’s

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PARASITE

CORPUS CHRISTI

International Affair This year’s newly-renamed category for non-English language cinema threw up other surprises, too BY NANCY TARTAGLIONE

HONEYLAND

THE FINAL FIVE TITLES NOMI-

taken this long for Hollywood awards

NATED FOR THE NEWLY NAMED

bodies, and domestic audiences,

INTERNATIONAL FEATURE FILM

to take notice. There have been

OSCAR CATEGORY INCLUDED

remakes of other Korean films, and

SOME SURPRISES when they were

rights acquired for sure, but the mar-

announced in January. Chief among

ket should now be even higher on

the latter is Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite,

the radar, particularly as television

an awards season darling that has

adaptations of Bong’s work start to

continued to cement its position as

gear up with a Snowpiercer series

a leading candidate for this particu-

soon to debut on TNT and a Parasite

lar race, while also increasingly mov-

transfer set up at HBO.

ing into serious contention for some other categories. The blackly comic thriller about

for the International Feature Oscar as the season begins to tighten its

the members of a poor family

focus. But it’s also become a real

who scheme to work in a wealthy

contender in Best Picture and its

household by posing as unrelated,

other categories, as our cover story

highly-qualified help, is only the

on page 20 details. Other recent

sixth movie to land Best Picture and

films to generate similar heat have

International Film (formerly Foreign

included Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma

Language) nods, and the first Korean

from last year, and Michael Haneke’s

film to do so. It is the 11th non-English

2012 Amour, which each scored Best

language film ever nominated for

Picture nominations. Both won the

Best Picture.

Foreign Language category. However,

What makes the feat even more

no foreign language film has ever

impressive is that Korea has such a

won Best Picture to date. It remains

rich homegrown industry, bursting

to be seen now if Parasite can break

with talent and very sophisticated

that streak.

audiences. It’s surprising that it has

18

Parasite is the odds-on favorite

Pedro Almodóvar, whose Pain and

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PAIN AND GLORY

LES MISÉRABLES

Glory began its career in Cannes,

that debut director a big honor in

Documentary Feature races to have

Pawlikowski. Corpus Christi was a

bagging the Best Actor prize for

Cannes and the film went on to

scored nominations in both. There’s

Venice premiere that’s surprisingly

Antonio Banderas, who’s also up for

win the Foreign Language Oscar.

been some upset in the past about

inspired by real events. It’s the story

an Oscar, is another filmmaker who

While Ly’s politically charged urban

a country selecting a doc as its for-

of a 20-year-old who experiences

has had nominations outside the

drama is extremely timely given the

eign language representative, rather

a spiritual awakening while in a

International category in the past.

current strife in his home country,

than giving two films a potential

youth detention center. Barred from

He won that race with 1999’s All

the movie hasn’t had the same

shot (2016’s Fire at Sea from Italy

entering the seminary as a result of

About My Mother. If the Academy

momentum as Son of Saul. Ly has

advanced in Documentary but did

his crimes, the young man pur-

ends up putting its weight behind

a bright future ahead of him (he

not make the cut in FL). However,

sues his dream by impersonating

Bong in Best Picture, and opts to

signed with CAA in Cannes) so will

narrative documentary Honey-

a priest and ministering a small-

honor another foreign language film

likely have his day another time.

land proved to be the bee’s knees,

town parish. It’s been a box office

advancing North Macedonia to an

hit at home and is a further sign

in its place, Almodóvar’s autobio-

France has been in the winners’

graphical movie could be the one

circle more than most, and Les

International Feature mention for

of the strength of Polish cinema,

they’ll go for. The director has been

Misérables’ nomination is the 38th

the second time since the country

where the industry has continued

the Spanish representative seven

for the country. Nine films have

began submitting films in 1994. The

to expand and thrive. The country

times and scooped nominations on

converted to wins, but it’s been a

first was for its initial rep, Before the

has been nominated 12 times since

three of those occasions. In total,

long dry spell since 1992’s Indochine

Rain. It has never won.

1963, winning just once.

Spain has had 20 nominations in

walked away with the gold statue.

this field, with four of those going

As a silent movie, 2011’s The Artist,

prizes in Sundance and has picked

of the category this year, the Acad-

on to win. The last time was for

which won Best Picture, was not in

up others along the way, largely

emy expanded the annual shortlist

2004’s The Sea Inside.

the Foreign Language race.

in documentary races. The film

from nine to 10 titles. The films

follows the life of the last female

that did not make the nominations

The third movie on the roster

The two surprises on the

Honeyland scored multiple

Along with changing the name

that has drawn the most atten-

International Oscar nominee ballot

beekeeper in Europe, living in an

cut include Václav Marhoul’s The

tion since it debuted in Cannes is

this year are Jan Komasa’s Corpus

isolated mountain region deep

Painted Bird (Czech Republic), Tanel

France’s Les Misérables. From Ladj

Christi from Poland and Tamara

within the Balkans.

Toom’s Truth and Justice (Esto-

Ly, this was a breakout for the first-

Kotevska and Ljubomir Stefanov’s

time feature helmer who took the

Honeyland from North Macedonia.

puts Poland back in the race after

Remained (Hungary), Kantemir

Jury Prize at the festival. Recently,

The latter is the first entry to

last year’s Cold War and 2014 win-

Balagov’s Beanpole (Russia) and

both the International Feature and

ner Ida, both of those from Pawel

Mati Diop’s Atlantics (Senegal). ★

László Nemes’ Son of Saul gave

Finally, Komasa’s Corpus Christi

nia), Barnabás Tóth’s Those Who

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BONG JOON HO’S FETED HIT HAS DEFIED ALL THE ODDS TO SET RECORDS FOR KOREAN AND WORLD CINEMA. GATHERED WITH HIS CAST FOR PARASITE’S BIGGEST PHOTOSHOOT OF THE SEASON, AND WITH FREQUENT COLLABORATOR SONG KANG HO BY HIS SIDE, DIRECTOR BONG WONDERS TO JOE UTICHI JUST WHAT IT IS ABOUT HIS ODD CLASS PARABLE THAT HAS PLACED IT IN POLE POSITION AS OSCAR NIGHT APPROACHES.

P H OTO G R A P HS BY J OS H T E L L E S

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GOLDEN ENSEMBLE From left: Song Kang Ho, Lee Jung Eun, Choi Woo Sik, Bong Joon Ho, Park So Dam and Lee Sun Kyun. D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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FAMILY MISFORTUNES Above: The Kims—Ki-woo (Choi Woo Sik), Ki-taek (Song Kang Ho), Chung-sook (Jang Hye Jin) and Ki-jung (Park So Dam)—fold pizza boxes to earn a crust. Below: The Parks’ son Da-song (Jung Hyeon Jun) plays dress-up and matriarch Yeon-kyo (Jo Yeo Jeong) panics.

AN A NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM WIN BEST PICTURE on the American industry’s grandest night of the year? It is a question Oscar prognosticators have been chewing over for months, with increasing intensity, as Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite has been making history at every turn. Parasite’s life began at the Cannes Film Festival in May where, a few days after its world premiere, the movie became the first from South Korea to be awarded the prestigious Palme d’Or. The recognition came only a couple of years after Bong courted controversy in the French press for bringing Okja, a Netflix production, to the festival. Okja’s premiere sparked a debate about streaming’s role in cinema that continues to this day. Reflecting now, director Bong considers the Cannes debut for Parasite, where the crowd reaction was decidedly more vocal than the austerity usually expected of a highly reverent Côte d’Azur audience, to be a watershed moment in his realization that the film was having a unique impact. 22

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But the record-setting for Parasite

We meet again for the movie’s

never stopped. Earlier this month, it

AwardsLine cover shoot on the occasion

became the first film from South Korea

of the SAG Awards, alongside his most

nominated for Oscar’s Best International

frequent collaborator in Parasite’s cast,

Feature Film prize (the category was, until

Song Kang Ho. It is mere hours before

this year, known as ‘Best Foreign Language

his cast will set records again as the first

Film’), one season after Lee Chang-dong’s

ensemble of a non-English language

Burning was the first to make the shortlist.

movie to win SAG’s top prize, bringing

This, perhaps, is the most surprising

the dream just that little bit closer. And

statistic considering the healthy film

while the film’s astonishing players missed

industry of South Korea, which celebrated

out on individual recognition from the

its 100 anniversary in 2019. Filmmakers

Motion Picture Academy—perpetuating

like Park Chan-wook, Hong Sang-soo and

a dispiriting tradition for Asian-fronted,

Im Kwon-taek, to name a few, have been

Oscar-friendly movies like Crouching Tiger,

contributing to a golden age of Korean

Hidden Dragon and Slumdog Millionaire—it

cinema that has run for decades now.

seems fair to say that, no matter what

th

But maybe there’s something to the Academy’s rebranding of this category that suggests barriers like language

happens on February 9th, Parasite’s place in motion picture history is assured. I begin by sounding off Parasite’s

are breaking down in an increasingly

extraordinary achievements, and ask the

globalized filmmaking world. Parasite is

question I am sure Bong and Song have

also the first Korean movie nominated

been chewing over for a while…

for Best Picture, and only the sixth film not in English to take nominations in both

There is something decidedly different

categories. While no foreign language

about the trajectory of this movie,

movie has ever pulled off a Best Picture

making history for Korean cinema.

win, it was only last year that Alfonso

What has changed?

Cuarón’s Roma spent its season as a key

Bong Joon Ho: I never planned this. When

frontrunner for the prize, with Cuarón

I was preparing this movie, there was no

ultimately claiming Best Director and Best

plan. I just wanted to make my seventh

Foreign Language Film. Among Parasite’s

feature film. When I shot the film, I shot it

six-strong haul of Oscar nominations,

as I’ve always done, just hoping it would

Bong is also nominated for Best Director

then lead to my eighth, ninth and tenth

and, along with co-writer Han Jin Won,

features. But then we went to Cannes

Best Original Screenplay.

and we won the Palme d’Or, and that’s

On the day of this year’s

when we found out that it was also the

nominations, Bong told me he felt like

centennial of Korean cinema. When that

he was living inside Inception. “Soon

happened, the U.S. distributor, NEON,

I’m going to wake up and realize this

said, “Parasite is going to be summoned to

was all a dream, I’m still in the middle

awards season regardless of whether you

of Parasite and all the equipment is

want it or not.” We were sort of forced to

malfunctioning. I see the catering truck

begin this whole journey [laughs]. It really

on fire and I’m wailing.”

wasn’t something we were anticipating at all. To be honest, I never plan; I never expect it. It just sort of happened. But it’s not a bad thing, I suppose.

“YOU CAN SAY THAT THIS IS THE EXCEPTION FOR KOREAN CINEMA, OR ON THE OTHER HAND, YOU CAN SAY THAT THE KOREAN INDUSTRY HAS BEEN GRADUALLY PREPARING FOR THIS MOMENT BY MAINTAINING A VERY ROBUST INDUSTRY.” —BONG JOON HO

You can say that this is the exception for Korean cinema, or on the other hand, you can say that the Korean industry has been gradually preparing for this moment by maintaining a very robust industry, so the moment that was meant to come has finally come with Parasite, and maybe this can happen again for Korean cinema. It isn’t so long ago that the government of South Korea held a blacklist that had your name on it, Bong, along with some 10,000 names of filmmakers deemed to be critical of the administration, and those people D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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were prevented from receiving arts

So, I grew up surrounded by these scholars’

For a moment, it was so flustering that I didn’t

funding. In 2018, the new administration

stones, and there were a lot of times where

know if it meant the film was really good or

issued a public apology for the existence

he asked me to go to the river with him in

really, really bad [laughs]. Of course, ultimately,

of that blacklist. Are things better now?

search of these stones. My mother used to

I knew there was something great waiting for

Song Kang Ho: Now, and as it was the case

hate those stones, because they were heavy

us, just to see the energy in the room.

in the past, filmmakers never really thought

and hard to clean. So, when we’d move, my

Director Bong usually tells me about his

much about these blacklists. Filmmakers

mother would secretly throw them all away.

projects a couple years prior. But this time

have always done their best to push and

But I think she still has one in her home. There

when he handed me the script, he also

create their passions and their works. I don’t

are certainly none in mine!

handed me another piece of paper. It was an

think it was a big influence on Korean artists.

24

We first screened the film at Cannes,

NDA that I had to sign. It said that if I leaked

Bong: Director Park Chan-wook and I were

and the audience was comprised of people

anything, he would sue me, so I had to sign it

on that blacklist, but actually, we weren’t

from many countries. And even though it

to receive the script.

significantly influenced by being on the list.

was a competition screening in Cannes, it

Bong: We never sue each other [laughs]. It

The filmmakers that were most affected

felt more like it was a Midnight Madness

never happens.

were the ones that need government fund-

screening at Toronto. People were clapping

ing, like documentary and indie film artists

in the middle and laughing out loud. It was

Did you wonder if the themes would

that were excluded by the list. Director Park

quite a different, very heated response that

translate outside of Korea?

and I, we always work with private companies

we saw, and that’s when it first felt that

Bong: There have been many films and TV

like CJ Entertainment, so we weren’t affected

something was different. It wasn’t quite

shows about rich and poor. I don’t think

directly. But just the fact that this blacklist

what I’d anticipated. Regardless of whether

that, just because a story has a universal

existed in the first place is quite pathetic, and

or not it would win awards, I was very

theme, it’s instantly accessible to everyone

something that you would normally see from

happy to see it receive such an enthusiastic

around the world. But if you think about the

a military government.

response. And then we kept screening it.

mundane humor of this film, I think that a lot

In Sydney, and Munich, and Toronto. And

of people just immediately grasped it. Things

Parasite’s ride made me wonder if maybe

the reactions were all quite similar. That

like the Jessica jingle; the melody Kim Ki-jung

you had a mystical scholars’ stone at

enthusiasm that we saw.

[Park So Dam] uses to memorize something.

home bringing you luck, like in the movie.

Song: I was very surprised, because over the

I remember at Cannes, a lot of people from

“It’s so metaphorical!”

past 13 years, this was my third film in com-

different countries told me they all have

Bong: [Laughs] Actually, when I was young,

petition at Cannes. With the other films, the

melodies like that, that they used at school

my father, who passed away a couple of

viewing experience was very serious, and the

to memorize things about history or math.

years ago, he used to collect these scholars’

atmosphere was almost suffocating. Just to

These were things that people were very

stones. There were a lot of families like that.

see people’s euphoric responses was just crazy.

easily able to understand through context.

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FOR LOVE OR MONEY From left: Chung-sook settles into her new life as the Parks’ housekeeper; Ki-taek tackles an unruly urinator outside the Kim home; Yeon-kyo lounges with Mr. Park (Lee Sun Kyun).

this year with Parasite, the perpetrator

who were hiding in plain sight. Perhaps

these kids searching for Wi-Fi and they

of those murders finally confessed this

we should have suspected from looking

can’t guess the password. These are very

year. How did that feel?

at them that they were capable of real

mundane, very small Korean details, but I

Bong: His name is Lee. Lee Choon-jae.

darkness, and yet we didn’t.

think that it’s accessible, because if you live

Those serial killings were a big trauma for

Bong: I often imagined Lee Choon-jae’s

in a metropolitan area, everyone’s life takes

our generation. I had no idea it would take

face while we were making the movie, and

on the same form. I think there aren’t that

so long for him to be caught. I would like to

there are police sketches of his face as well.

many differences in terms of how people

visit him and meet him, but I don’t think he

But I think we all have this desire to check

lead their lives.

would allow something like that. 17 years ago,

the face of criminals and evil people. We are

Song: When I read the script for the first

I spent a year or two just completely being

comforted by knowing their faces, so we can

time, I was so fascinated by the story. And

obsessed with him while I was writing and

be aware, and protect ourselves. Not knowing

then I reflected on director Bong’s career over

making Memories of Murder, and I’m sure

the faces of these people caused a lot of

the past 20 years, and the path he’s led as

Song was just as obsessed with him while

anxiety and pain, and people went through

an artist. I remembered the excitement I felt

shooting the film.

that pain for decades.

Even in the opening scenes, you have

when I first read Memories of Murder, and just

When you look at the picture of him, you

how alive that story was. Those memories,

ask yourself, does he look normal? Does

Has it crossed your mind that he’s

they all came back when I read Parasite.

he look like an ordinary guy? Maybe you

probably seen the movie? What do you

remember the very last line of dialogue in

think he would have made of it?

us all. We all want to try our best to live the

the movie. A little girl meets Song, and she

Song: It’s very difficult to imagine how he

best life we can, but our environments don’t

had witnessed the killer. He asks the girl

received the film.

necessarily let us do so. In the process, we

what the killer looks like and she says, “Just

Bong: A couple of his cellmates said that

might go through a lot of sadness and joy,

ordinary.” But I don’t think the real killer has

when the film aired on TV, he watched it

suffering and happiness, and there’s always

an ordinary face. That somehow comforted

around three times. Who knows if it’s true or

comedy and tragedy mixed in, as well. So,

me. I think I’d have felt worse if he had a

not—criminals tend to lie—but they did say

for me, it was really very natural to perform

normal, nice face. Maybe I think he looks like

that he’d watched it.

this character.

a killer because I know now that he is one.

I think the character of Ki-taek is within

But I think he does look a little off. You mentioned Memories of Murder,

To be honest, even while we were making the movie, it was hard for us all not to imagine that when it was released in

which came out in 2003 and was based

Perhaps you can only say that after the

theaters, it was possible the real murderer

on a real, unsolved serial murder case in

fact. I can think of some recent examples

would come and watch it. Imagining him

Korea that happened between 1986 and

of very high-profile people who have

coming to the theater made me feel very

1991. To add to the full circle effect of

now been exposed for wrongdoing, and

complicated. Not so good. D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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SHOOTING THE COVER

That was your first movie together.

“WE’VE NEVER HAD this many actors

Song: When I look back at the past 20 years,

together before,” says Bong Joon Ho as he marvels at

and consider the films we’ve made together,

Parasite’s avengers, assembled for their only group

they’re not just the best films either of us

photoshoot since the movie’s awards campaign

have made; they’re also some of the best

began. “It’s all thanks to the SAG Awards, being

films in Korean cinema. The most meaningful

nominated for Best Ensemble. All 10 actors—even the

works that Korean cinema has produced;

little boy of the Park family [Jung Hyeon Jun]—they’re

and works that have become the canon of

all nominated. Today’s a very good day.”

the industry.

He says this a few hours before his cast will

You subsequently made The Host and Snowpiercer with one another, in addition to Parasite. What keeps you coming back to one another?

I feel like I’ve worked with director

take to SAG’s stage twice—first to present the

Bong alongside the evolution he’s shown

movie, welcomed with a standing ovation from the

as a filmmaker and as an artist. When I

audience, and then as crowned winners of the Best

look back on the projects, they’ve always

Ensemble prize. They will become the first cast of

made me curious, they’ve always made me

a non-English language movie to win the award,

excited. And this excitement is always very

adding to Parasite’s extraordinary run on history. A

mysterious. There’s a lot of mystery behind,

very good day is about to get even better.

like, what stories will he tell next? What kind

Joining director Bong for our cover shoot,

of movie will he come up with? There’s an

seated is Song Kang Ho, perhaps the most recog-

excitement and anticipation that comes

nizable of the movie’s actors, thanks to his past

from knowing he will always introduce me

work in movies like Park Chan-wook’s Thirst and

to a new world every time. That’s the kind of

Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, and Bong’s own Memo-

partnership we’ve had.

ries of Murder, The Host and Snowpiercer. He plays

Bong: When I think about my creative

the poor family patriarch Kim Ki-taek in Parasite.

process, I’m not a very realistic person. I’m

The Kims are further represented by Park So Dam

more the type to come up with a lot of

(Veteran) as Kim Ki-jung and Choi Woo Sik (Train to

strange thoughts by myself. All these absurd

Busan and Bong’s Okja) as Kim Ki-woo.

and eerie ideas that I have; I have a very

Lee Sun Kyun (Take Point, A Hard Day) is the

strange sensibility as an artist. But Song is an

sole representative for the rich family, starring as

icon of Korean cinema. He really represents

Park Dong-ik in the movie. And rounding out the

the Korean everyman. And so, when my

ensemble is another Okja star, Lee Jung Eun; the

strange ideas meet him, they become more

put-upon, peach-fearing housekeeper Moon-

realistic. It’s like he helps those ideas lay roots

gwang. In Okja, she in fact provided the voice for

in the real world.

the peculiar porcine pal.

When I work knowing that he will play these roles, it makes me bolder. I know I can

orifice [laughs].

Woo Sik, Lee Jung Eun, Bong Joon Ho, Song Kang

latch on to those really strange ideas. With

Bong: It’s not just us, it’s all the filmmakers

Ho, Park So Dam and Lee Sun Kyun.

Parasite, there’s a very realistic atmosphere

[in this race]. Noah [Baumbach] has dark

that only the actors created. If you exclude

circles under his eyes [laughs]. Tilda Swinton

all these performances and only think about

won the Oscar for Michael Clayton in 2007.

the words on the page, it’s a very strange

She was in Okja and Snowpiercer, so I asked

story. It’s the actors that pull off the trick

her what to expect. She said it wasn’t this

of convincing the audience that this is

intense back then.

something that can happen in our everyday

Song: It is physically demanding because

lives. Something that can happen in our

for all of us—not just director Bong—it’s our

neighborhoods. That’s something you have

first time going through an awards campaign.

to credit to these actors, and at the crux of

But because we’ve never done it before,

all that is Song.

everything’s very fresh and a big surprise.

In our cover photo, from left to right are: Choi

Seeing how passionate everyone is has really

26

You’ve also been able to join the

motivated me as a filmmaker. It feels like

promotion for the movie, which is

we’re all in this together. We see them every

unusual for a foreign language picture

day and they’ve started to feel like family.

released in the U.S. Usually it’s a lonely

Bong: When will we ever again get to see

tour for the director.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino three times a

Song: Yeah, and it has given me nosebleeds.

week in our lives [laughs]? With Taika Waititi

Bong: [Laughs]. He means really. Physically.

as well, we’ve been seeing him every day, so

In Telluride, in the altitude.

at this point he feels like a friend. It’s a very

Song: But now I’m bleeding from every

happy journey we’re on.

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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“THERE’S AN EXCITEMENT AND ANTICIPATION THAT COMES FROM KNOWING BONG WILL ALWAYS INTRODUCE ME TO A NEW WORLD EVERY TIME. THAT’S THE KIND OF PARTNERSHIP WE’VE HAD.” —SONG KANG HO

PRINCES PEACH Above: Bong Joon Ho directs . Below: Song Kang Ho performs.

This is a big moment for Korea, but

of the internet and this new environment,

received. That makes me realize that what’s

following so closely on the heels of Roma

things have been changing in so many ways.

truly important is the story and the film itself.

being a frontrunner last season, do you

My speech was a little late in all that.

Of course, I don’t mean to take anything away

think it shows an increased appetite for

from my previous work, but it’s something I

foreign language cinema in the U.S.?

Coming to America to make an English-

did notice with Parasite.

At the Globes, Bong, you said, “Once

language picture was once seen as

Song: As an actor—and I think it’s the same

you overcome the 1-inch-tall barrier of

a prize for a foreign director. You

for all other artists and filmmakers—I don’t

subtitles, you will be introduced to so

made your first American movie with

think anyone should really makes films for the

many more amazing films.”

Snowpiercer and came up against one

sake of success. I don’t think that’s what’s

Bong: That speech I gave at the Golden

of those people hiding in plain sight that

truly important. People assume everyone

Globes was something I came up with on the

we were talking about earlier. Harvey

wants to succeed as a great Hollywood star,

spot as I was walking up to the stage. It’s not

Weinstein fought tooth and nail with

but I don’t think any actor really performs

something that I had prepared in advance.

you during the production of that movie.

with that goal. Of course, it feels great to

And I almost feel like my speech was a little

When you made Okja and it premiered in

feel loved and receive attention globally, but

late. I didn’t have to mention this barrier of

Cannes, all the press was about the fact

that should never be the goal. That’s not

subtitles because this barrier is already being

that it was a Netflix movie in the Cannes

how life works, and it’s not how art works.

destroyed, thanks to YouTube and Netflix and

selection. Did it make you wonder

What’s important is not to create something

the other streaming services. And of course,

whether making English-language

or perform a role with a certain goal in mind,

with social media. It feels as though the bor-

movies was such a great prize?

but to find your own value in the work itself,

ders and barriers we put up between nations

Bong: I think the answer is in your question.

and in the process itself. Naturally, success

and continents are not as significant as they

When I did Snowpiercer and Okja, which

will follow if you really focus on the values

once were. We live in a time where individuals

are both about 80% in English, they were

that you find in the process. I think the key

follow other individuals. And I think because

not received as well as Parasite has been

example of that is Parasite. D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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“IT FEELS AS THOUGH THE BORDERS AND BARRIERS WE PUT UP BETWEEN NATIONS AND CONTINENTS ARE NOT AS SIGNIFICANT AS THEY ONCE WERE.” —BONG JOON HO

Bong: Sometimes in the Korean industry, people will talk about creating movies that target a particular market, whether that’s the North American market or the Chinese market or whatever it is. But I think that in itself is a little absurd, because a film is not like a shoe or a car. As a filmmaker, I don’t think there should be anything between me and my story. I should face the story transparently. And for the actors, there should be nothing between the actors and the characters they’re trying to create. They should delve themselves into these characters transparently. That’s the only way to handle cinema. Movies are not shoes [laughs]. Song: You mentioned Harvey Weinstein… Director Bong isn’t the type to really talk about his struggles, or the internal conflicts that he goes through; he tends to just deal with it all on his own. I only heard bits and pieces of what he went through on Snowpiercer, because he never shared the full details. I never got the full story on that. Bong: At the time I wasn’t aware of his reputation at all because I’d exclusively worked within the Korean industry up until then. I did know that his nickname was Harvey Scissorhands, so there was a lot of fear in that. I had to figure out how to avoid that kind of crisis, because previously all my works had been released in director’s cut form. I went into Snowpiercer already very afraid I wasn’t going to get that. It was a huge struggle to maneuver through that situation. Thankfully, I had the support of my financiers at CJ, and we were able to move through it. We did get kind of a happy ending when the film was handed off to RADiUS-TWC. It was a limited release, but at least I was able to keep my director’s cut. And, of course, the person who handled that entire process was Tom Quinn, the co-founder of NEON. So that experience on Snowpiercer led very directly to this great partnership that I have now, in the journey of Parasite. You are embarking on another American adventure with the announcement of a Parasite series for HBO, being produced with Adam McKay. It’s early days, I know, but you told me that you’d be exploring the unturned scholar stones of these particular characters and it made me wonder whether this new attitude to foreign language cinema might make it possible that you’d keep the show in Korean rather than turn it into something English-language. Bong: Before language, I just hope that this becomes an opportunity that can powerfully

28

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prove the universality of this story, and the

kind of life he’s led.

themes of this story. That, whether it’s set in

Bong: When we were filming the scene in the

the U.S. or the U.K., this story can be applied

drivers’ restaurant, and he was talking about

to the rich and poor in all countries.

his previous failed businesses, I was imagining

The Parasite series idea was something I

Ki-taek frying chicken or making Taiwanese

actually suggested myself. It wasn’t an offer

cupcakes. I really wanted to shoot it, but we’d

that came to me, for a remake or anything

already made the decision that we weren’t

like that. I told the producers at CJ from the

going to shoot any flashbacks or get into any

very beginning that I would eventually like

of those kinds of intricate devices. But the

to make a limited series, because when I

desire was there.

was writing the script, I had so many hidden stories in my iPad. Accumulated ideas that I

Are there any elements of the movie that

couldn’t convey in a two-hour film.

you’re surprised people haven’t asked

I’m not even thinking about this as a TV

you to expand upon?

show. I don’t watch a lot of TV. For me, it’s a

Song: I thought that, with the climax,

high quality five- or six-hour film; an expanded

whether it was with Korean audiences or

version of the Parasite we have now. That’s

anybody else, people would find it very cha-

the direction I want to take, and that’s what

otic. It was something that I was concerned

has led to the partnership with Adam McKay

about when we were shooting. But there was

and HBO. They’ve proved themselves with

no need for concern; we haven’t really had

Succession—although I haven’t watched it

any questions about that. But then, I was also

yet—and so that’s a team that I already trust.

curious about the climax because not a lot of

I’m excited to start that process.

people have mentioned it [laughs]. Bong: I think people have mostly tried to pro-

What were some of those stories?

tect the climax and not spoil it. But thinking

Bong: Well, for example, you remember the

about it, even during after-screening Q&As

moment—and this is a spoiler—where the

people don’t really talk about the climax…

original housekeeper comes back in the

Translator and filmmaker Sharon Choi with Song Kang Ho and Bong Joon Ho.

UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR

Actually, a couple of weeks before

rainy night, and her face is full of cuts and

we filmed the climax, Song and I had a

IT STARTED WITH A QUICK PHONE

bruises? The movie never fully explains that,

conversation about it. I asked him to grab

call for 25-year-old Sharon Choi, when Bong Joon

but I have two or three stories already about

a meal with me so we could discuss the

Ho was preparing to take Parasite to Cannes and

that in my mind. Also, there’s a very strange

climax. What you see in the film is much

needed a translator for some early interviews—

relationship in the film between the original

bolder than the descriptions in the script.

including with Deadline for our Disruptors

architect of the house and that housekeeper.

Spoilers again, but in the script, it’s quite

magazine. The Seoul-based Korean American saw

Why did the architect only tell the house-

vague whether Ki-Taek intended to kill Mr.

it as a chance to make a little extra income as she

keeper about the bunker in the basement?

Park, or whether it’s just an accident. In the

pursued her own ambitions. And director Bong

Maybe something happened between

final film, you know that it’s intentional, with

immediately sparked to the skill with which Choi

them. I have so many ideas like those, as an

the instant rage he feels. And of course, he

spun his turns of phrase into English (he speaks

example. I really wanted to expand the story,

regrets it later on.

good English but prefers to communicate the

in a deeper and more meaningful way, and I

I asked Song how he felt about the

think for people that have already watched

bolder moment, and he said that reality is

turning Choi into a key part of the Parasite

the movie, they will be surprised by the many

much crueler. It’s raw, and it’s more violent.

ensemble ever since.

revelations there are still to come, that are

It was the answer I wanted to hear, and I

buried within the detail of the movie. So, look

was encouraged by that. I didn’t hesitate to

become a star in her own right, especially after

forward to it [laughs].

make those changes, and we actually shot it

Bong became the first non-native speaker featured

pretty fast.

as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy

Song, did director Bong share any of

nuance of his interviews in his native tongue),

Now, more than six months later, Choi has

Fallon, with Choi taking the couch alongside him to

those backstories with you when you

Is the Parasite TV show your next

translate. “She has her own fandom now, in Korea

were creating Kim Ki-taek? Would you

priority? Or are there other features you

and the U.S.,” insists Song Kang Ho, translated—

hope to reprise the role in the show?

want to make first?

just this once—by Bong himself, who says Choi is

Song: We did have a couple of conversations

Bong: There’s a very small chance that I’ll

“too embarrassed to translate it herself”.

while sharing a drink, but he didn’t go into any

direct an episode of the TV show. We’re

detail and lay out the entire story or anything

currently searching for other directors. My

translator,” Bong says. But Choi understands more

like that.

role is more as a producer. I will be involved

than just English and Korean. “Actually, she’s a

in the story, but I won’t be on set much,

filmmaker. Her major was in filmmaking.” With

course with Parasite we had the physical

managing things. My priority is always feature

such a huge disparity between the vocabulary and

limitation of a two-hour runtime. The

films. I’m currently working on two scripts

structure of the two languages, it takes someone

possibility of being able to delve deeper into

right now, which are in the very early stages.

with a grasp of the language of cinema, also, to be

this character and tell a much wider range

I haven’t been able to work much on them

able to effectively telegraph Bong’s answers. “She

of stories of his life, that’s a very exciting

because of the awards campaign. Instead of

will make a film of her own this year,” Bong adds.

possibility and I’m so curious to see what

writing scripts I’m going to all these events. ★

It’s an incredibly charming role, and of

“You already know she’s not a professional

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1917

because of the propulsive effect of

FROM CONCEPTION to exe-

a sprint through enemy territory.

cution, the World War I thriller 1917

But even veteran DP Roger Deakins

became a Best Picture frontrunner

needed some persuading. “The

even though it took the hardest

front [script] page said, ‘This movie

possible route. Try assembling

takes place over two hours of real

a $100 million WWI movie that

time and with one exception, it is

entered the Oscar race too late to

written and designed to be one

be showcased at a film festival the

shot.’ I’d had that in my head before

way most of its competitors were.

I ever put pen to paper, even with

The movie started shooting on April

the first rough outline.”

cameras seeing what is, essentially,

1, and post was completed in mid-

Deakins dreaded the possibility

November; breakneck speed for a

that following the two characters

film with this level of ambition.

would be visually suffocating and

The concept director Sam

one shot. “His main concern was,

-Cairns came from Mendes’ own

we wouldn’t just be trotting behind

recollection of stories told him as a

their heads, or pulling them in a

child by his grandfather, Alfred. Fleet

straight line. How were we going to

and short, he was a messenger who

let the movie breathe in and out?”

raced from one end of the trenches

Over nine months of prep, they

to the other, and Mendes hung onto

worked to answer those questions.

the image for 50 years. Because

The nature of the project meant

the lead actors had to be young

shooting in arduous conditions.

enough, star casting was out of the

But, says Mendes, “Every day, I

question, and Mendes bolstered

thought about my granddad and

the newness of George MacKay and

what he went through. The idea of

Dean-Charles Chapman with clever

sacrifice on this level, for some-

cameos by Colin Firth, Benedict

thing bigger than yourself, seems

Cumberbatch and Mark Strong.

to me to be something we have to

From the moment he comeight-minute action scene of his second James Bond film Spectre in one-shot style, he believed that doing the same with an entire WWI thriller was worth the challenge

EACH OF THIS YEAR’S BEST PICTURE NOMINEES HAS SURVIVED A JOURNEY TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE, BEFORE EVER EARNING THE ACADEMY’S CONSIDERATION. HERE’S HOW THE OTHERS CAME TOGETHER.

asked him why it had to be done in

Mendes scripted with Krysty Wilson

pleted the opening

THE LONG ROAD TO OSCAR

acknowledge.” —Mike Fleming Jr.

"THE FRONT PAGE SAID, 'THIS MOVIE TAKES PLACE OVER TWO HOURS OF REAL TIME AND WITH ONE EXCEPTION, IT IS WRITTEN AND DESIGNED TO BE ONE SHOT.'" —SAM MENDES

LITTLE WOMEN

ing.” After Lady Bird, “They came back and said, ‘Would you like to

“IT’S IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME

direct it?’ And I said, ‘Yes, I’ve been

to tease out at this point if Jo

waiting for you to ask.’”

March was like me, and that’s why

Soon after, at an awards show,

I was drawn to her,” writer/director

Saoirse Ronan approached Gerwig.

Greta Gerwig says, “or if I liked Jo

“I said, ‘I know you’re going to do this

March, and thus I made myself like

thing. I want to be in it, and I really

Jo March.”

think the only part I can play is Jo

Gerwig isn’t alone in her love

March.’ It was the most ballsy I’ve

of nascent writer Jo. With this, its

ever been,” Ronan says. And it paid

sixth film incarnation, Louisa May

off with a Best Actress nomination

Alcott’s story of the March family

for Ronan, alongside Gerwig’s for

continues to resonate some 150

Best Screenplay.

years after the book’s publication. Reading it again as an adult,

30

“Ultimately, they did hire me to write the script, which was amaz-

Best Supporting nominee Florence Pugh took on Amy March,

something clicked for Gerwig. “My

a dislikeable, man-hungry figure

experience with the book completely

in previous adaptations. Gerwig

changed,” she says. And thus, an idea

brought out a nuanced, somewhat

germinated. Hearing Sony were con-

feminist Amy. “What Greta did was

sidering a new film adaptation, she

she essentially pulled out these

boldly set a meeting with producer

lines that Amy does say,” Pugh

Amy Pascal and the studio. But, Ger-

says. “What’s so fascinating is that

wig hadn’t yet written and directed

everybody’s so shocked that Amy

her debut feature Lady Bird. “I had no

actually has a brain, and she has a

traction in this area,” she says.

plan.” —Antonia Blyth

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD

ES

THERE WERE TWISTS and turns

nominations for their roles. “On the

on the road to Once Upon a Time…

page, the guys were very different

in Hollywood, but looking back, it

from each other,” Tarantino says.

was a case where everything that

“It’s there in the script, but exactly

could have gone right, did. The

how uneasy Rick is in his skin, and

project overcame the implosion

how easy Cliff was in his, was really

of The Weinstein Company, rolled

radiated by these two [actors].”

the dice on a Cannes premiere

“We instinctively knew that

that became the event of the

dynamic and relationship, and who

festival, and defied a threat by the

these guys were to one another,”

Chinese government to block its

DiCaprio says of the experi-

release in the Middle Kingdom due

ence. “We both have had those

to its portrayal of Bruce Lee.

relationships on set. There was

Tarantino basked in the revi-

a lot of improvising between us,

sionist world he was cooking up,

and neither of us had this sense of,

rewriting the Manson tragedy with

‘I’m going to try to top you,’ or, ‘I’m

the help of a fading actor and his

going to piss all over this parade.’”

MARRIAGE STORY IT WAS HARD NOT TO SEE

warring couple, and the film is

the autobiography in Noah

at great pains to present the

Baumbach’s film about a director

experience of divorce—and the

unpicking his marriage to an

toll it takes on their young son—

actress; Baumbach had, himself,

from both of their perspectives.

dealt with the divorce industrial

But the rawness of its emotion

complex in 2013 at the end of his

made it a particular challenge

marriage to Jennifer Jason Leigh.

for the actors. “There’s always,

tained cool, Alain Delon or Steve

“Of course, I have a real connection

I feel, a scene, or a few scenes in

McQueen, and hold the screen like

to the material,” he says. “But I

a movie that you’re anticipating

that. We had our own dynamic on

was also at a time in my life where

or overthinking because they’re

meshed so brilliantly with Brad

set, but watching the movie, I was

many of my friends were getting

physically exhausting, or mentally

Pitt that both actors took Oscar

like, ‘Wow.’” —Mike Fleming Jr.

divorced. I saw it as an opportunity

or emotionally just taxing,” says

to do something more expansive,

Driver. “But in this instance,

so I did a lot of research. I

every scene felt like that. They all

interviewed a lot of my friends, and

felt too early in the schedule to

friends of friends, and then also

start. That’s a testament to good

lawyers, judges, mediators.”

writing, that in every scene, the

out-of-work stuntman buddy. It

DiCaprio enthuses in particular

was a blatant love letter to Hol-

about Pitt’s Cliff Booth visiting the

lywood of the 1950s and ’60s, and

Manson camp at Spahn Ranch.

Tarantino was so immersed that

“What I was so impressed by in

he wrote five entire episodes of

Brad’s performance was it is a very

a fictional TV series for his Rick

particular craft and skill to be able

Dalton to lead.

to do that kind of completely con-

The director returned to a pair of past collaborators to take on his lead roles, and Leonardo DiCaprio

He wanted to stress just how best intentions can be diverted by

stakes were high.” Driver and Johansson are

the realities of the legal process.

both nominated for their roles,

The characters, Charlie and Nicole,

as is Laura Dern, who plays an

both insist that they want to be

inscrutable—and yet somehow

amicable, but their lawyers have

beguiling—divorce lawyer on

other ideas. “It makes it very

Nicole’s team. “I felt many feelings

difficult, no matter how good

about it as I was reading the

the intentions are, to maintain

script,” Dern says. “And then I got

the course that you wanted

to the monologue and realized,

to maintain in the beginning,”

with some contempt, that, Oh my

Baumbach says.

god, she’s right also. So, I sort of

Baumbach cast Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as the

have to love what I’d learned to hate.” —Joe Utichi

“I HAVE A REAL CONNECTION TO THE MATERIAL, BUT I WAS ALSO AT A TIME IN MY LIFE WHERE MANY OF MY FRIENDS WERE GETTING DIVORCED. I SAW IT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO DO SOMETHING MORE EXPANSIVE." —NOAH BAUMBACH

D E A D L I N E .C O M / AWA R D S L I N E

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THE IRISHMAN

IT HAS BEEN 23 YEARS

all was said and done, nobody

since Martin Scorsese last made

really wanted to get behind the

a movie with Robert De Niro, but

film. And then Netflix embraced it

it wasn’t for lack of trying. They

and came on board and were the

discussed a role for the actor in

greatest partners ever.”

The Departed and held a greenlight

JOJO RABBIT ALL SEASON, PEOPLE HAVE been marvelling at the fearlessness of Taika Waititi, to take

young Jojo is forced to ask serious questions about his indoctrination. “Because he’s never seen a Jew

The Irishman’s success would

on an adaptation of The Winter of

hinge on the believability of the

Frankie Machine, the Don Winslow

de-aging effect, the producer

novel about a targeted retired

knew. While Scorsese was

hitman who must save his family.

making Silence in Taiwan, visual

As research, De Niro read Charles

effects supervisor Pablo Helman

Brandt’s Frank Sheeran memoir I

detailed his idea to work with

Heard You Paint Houses, and when

ILM on de-aging technology that

he shared it with Scorsese, the

wasn’t invasive and didn’t involve

greenlit project was unplugged to

green screen. A test was done

be replaced by a development deal

on a scene from Goodfellas and

that would take another 12 years to

it was encouraging, but Tillinger

become The Irishman.

Koskoff says her fears about its

Along the way, the script by Steve Zaillian became the hit of Cannes with STX acquiring foreign,

effectiveness lasted long into post. “Only then could I breathe again.” Oscar nominated

but it wasn’t enough to cover

cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto

Scorsese and De Niro’s ambition

worked with Helman to create

to use unprecedented de-aging

the “three-headed monster”, the

techniques to convincingly convey

camera that allowed the footage

a three-decade span of the

to be altered. To him, none of

relationship between Sheeran,

this was a gimmick. “For me the

Jimmy Hoffa and mobster

whole thing is the movie is about

subject matter like the Second

before, all he has in his mind is the

World War and the Holocaust and

stuff from propaganda, and the

apply to it his trademark brand of

books that they gave to children,”

humor. “Someone the other day

Waititi says. “In his mind, it’s basi-

said, ‘Wow, it’s pretty bold, putting

cally a monster in the attic, and so

humor with this subject matter,’”

he’s trying to figure out what to do

Russell Bufalino that ended in the

the passage of time,” Prieto says.

relates Waititi. “I was like, ‘Yeah,

about this monster.”

disappearance of the Teamsters'

“That is a very important theme in

larger-than-life leader.

the film, [and it] required creating

I know, because it’s only been 80 years since The Great Dictator.’” Indeed, there is a storied tradi-

Waititi put his own spin on the script, adapted from Christine Leunens’ more dramatic Cag-

tion of laughing at the darkness of humanity that runs through comedy dating back to its invention, and which Waititi suggests has been instrumental in the success of the likes of Monty Python.

“SOMEONE THE OTHER DAY SAID, ‘WOW, IT’S PRETTY BOLD, PUTTING HUMOR WITH THIS SUBJECT MATTER. I WAS LIKE, ‘YEAH, I KNOW, BECAUSE IT’S ONLY BEEN 80 YEARS SINCE THE GREAT DICTATOR.’” —TAIKA WAITITI

“The biggest challenge was

different looks for different for the

finding the right home for the film

years. Part of it was certainly the

creatively,” says producer Emma

de-aging, but I think the big part

Tillinger Koskoff. “Everybody was

of it was just the design to make

intrigued by the notion of bringing

these looks work—a sensation of a

the band back together, but when

memory.” —Mike Fleming Jr.

What has really

32

beguiled audiences about Jojo

ing Skies. An added detail was

Rabbit—leading the film to that

Waititi casting himself as Adolf

coveted Toronto People’s Choice

Hitler, or rather Jojo’s imaginary

Award in September—is not that

friend version of the Führer. “It’s a

it makes fun of a historical wound,

10-year-old boy’s manifestation of

but that it blends that humor with

Hitler,” Waititi explains. “It’s basi-

true pathos, detailing the com-

cally a projection of the possibility

plicated mindset of a young boy

of what Jojo could become, so I

whose upbringing in the shadow of

wanted to show the little devil that

the Nazi regime shapes attitudes

sits on your shoulder. This version

he doesn’t truly feel. Confronted

of Jojo that is giving him terrible

with the reality when he finds a

advice and trying to pull him back

Jewish girl hiding out in his attic,

to the dark side.” —Joe Utichi

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FORD V FERRARI JUST AS FORD overtook Ferrari at Le Mans for muscle car dominance through the persistence of Carroll Shelby, driver Ken Miles and their team, James Mangold’s triumph of making Ford v Ferrari came down to an unwillingness to give up. Mangold was obsessed for years by the story, but it was

JOKER

always just out of reach. “I’d been tracking it since 2011,” he says. “I “I ran it through as realistic

was always checking in on it, but it

to a $1 billion gross and 11 Oscar

a lens as possible, down to the

was tied up in one configuration or

nominations, director Todd

white face, the laugh, and why

another with actors and filmmak-

Phillips understates when he

his hair is green,” Phillips says. “I

says, “It has been a wild ride with

never believed falling into a vat of

ers. I’d go away and make a movie

this bonkers little bonkers.”

acid would make your hair green

DESCRIBING JOKER’S JOURNEY

The journey began at the premiere of Phillips’ War Dogs, as he stood outside the Chinese

and your skin white. The new regime was like, ‘What the hell?’” Joker was saved by its low

and check in with Emma Watts again, because I loved it.” It went through actors like Brad

“WHAT PULLED ME WAS THE UNIQUE STORY OF THESE CHARACTERS AND PUTTING ONSCREEN THIS IDEA OF RACING AT ITS DAWN, BEFORE SPONSORSHIPS AND MEDIA. OUR MOVIE IS ABOUT THE MOMENT SOMETHING VERY PURE BECAME CORRUPTED.” —JAMES MANGOLD

Pitt and Tom Cruise and filmmak-

rebellion—Martin Scorsese and

ers such as Michael Mann, with

Francis Coppola are among those

titles like Go Like Hell. But when

voicing similar concerns—against

Theater wondering if his movie

budget—$60 million—but

had enough to cut through

the studio hedged by adding

the fog and succeed in a world

BRON and Village Roadshow

it finally became Mangold’s, he

corporatized movies that prize

raised on a diet of stay-at-home

Pictures to share the risk. Phillips

adopted a policy of scaling right

sequels and IP designed for teen-

streaming and superheroes. As

understood: “On the page, the

back on digital effects, instead

agers. He saw an analogy here, in

he considered a nearby billboard

movie was even a little darker

embracing the interplay between

the fight between Shelby’s team

for a superhero movie, an idea

than it was onscreen. It was a big

Shelby and Miles. He got Matt

and its corporate overlords at Ford

struck him—one he would pitch

bold swing.”

Damon and Christian Bale to

to create something pure. “That

commit, with a budget that made

dance is everything to me, and so

Fox willing to gamble despite the

much of how I spend my life get-

spotty record of racing movies.

ting movies made.”

to Warner Bros. before the

Phillips brought up the

evening was out—about taking

name of Phoenix during that

a different tack by delving into

very first pitch, and watched

a strong character study of the

the actor drop 52 pounds from

makings of a supervillain.

his thin frame as he honed

The first hurdle: soon

a transformative physical

“I love the design of cars, driv-

Mangold filtered all the action

ing and sports, but I am not a car

of the movie through the prism of

fiend,” Mangold says. “What really

these two men and their relation-

everyone who loved the risky

performance. Phillips didn’t

idea was gone and Phillips had to

get in his way. “What I did was

pulled me was the unique story

ship. “Carrol Shelby was one of the

start all over again convincing a

supply tremendous empathy for

of these characters and putting

greatest drivers ever, felled by a

new team that a movie with real

him, which is odd because the

onscreen this idea of racing at its

heart condition, so he found the

world violence and a mentally

movie is about the effects of the

dawn, before sponsorships and

greatest driver he could find and

unstable antagonist was the way

lack of empathy in the world we

media. Our movie is about the

lived vicariously and passionately

to go, at a time when DC was on

live in. I just tried to make him

an uptick because the dark tone

comfortable to both fuck up and

moment something very pure

through his effort. What a remark-

of its movies had brightened.

try things.” —Mike Fleming Jr.

became corrupted.”

able connection between two

There was also Mangold’s own

men.” —Mike Fleming Jr.

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D THE DIALOGUE OSCA R N O M I N E ES

Charlize

THERON

Best Actress Bombshell

How did it feel seeing Megyn Kelly on Instagram, saying she wished she’d done more, but she felt powerless? We shouldn’t even be in that situation in the first place. We want more than that. We want a world where that’s not even asked. Where we are not even in that situation where we have to choose what we’re going to do in the first place. And I just don’t think that is too much to ask. I think that is a human right that we should all have. We should be able to go to work and live in a world where we’re not threatened, we’re not powerplayed, and we’re not sexually harassed. We’re not sexually assaulted just in order to provide for our families or for ourselves. Julie Zann was in tears watching the film with other former Fox News staffers Kelly, Rudi Bakhtiar and Juliet Huddy. Julie, and Rudi, and Juliet, all of those women, and so many more, they all share something that is so visceral, and still so real, and the idea of having to revisit something that’s been—I think for Rudi, it’s been 13 years—I bet that’s not something that you want to jump at. I know that must be really hard for them. The thing I’m most grateful to them for is the fact that they understand the weight of their stories; they understand what their stories could mean for changing this, and also for other women. To do what they need to do in order to heal and to try and stop this. —Antonia Blyth

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Margot

ROBBIE

Best Supporting Actress Bombshell What happened at Fox News represented one of the first big dam breaks of an era in which powerful men are being held to account. Do you think real change has taken place? The fact that people can now point to an interaction and define it as sexual harassment, that to me is a game changer in itself. The reason something as insidious as sexual harassment can go on for as long as it does in some cases is because it’s operating in that gray area where someone may not feel like my character, Kayla, in that situation. “He didn’t touch me. What do I call this thing that just happened? Maybe I’ll rationalize it as a business transaction, and maybe this is just a part of my job.” The conversation that has been so prevalent for the last two years has helped us start pointing to situations and saying, “That’s not okay. That is absolutely not appropriate.” Then, I think the next step is saying, “No, I won’t stand for it.” Fair to say you don’t share Kayla’s politics? I didn’t have a similar upbringing to Kayla. But Charles [Randolph] did. He very much understood Kayla, and I could talk to him a lot about that. I was trying to understand this young millennial, but extremely conservative, point of view, and Twitter was a great source because there’s a lot of young, Christian, conservative women who are very vocal on social media. That was fascinating and enlightening. —Joe Utichi

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Cynthia

ERIVO

Best Actress Harriet

What was your research process to play an iconic Civil Rights hero like Harriet Tubman? It took a lot of work and a lot of training, because she’s a super physical role, but you want to make sure that everything feels authentic and real. I was lucky enough to work with Kasi Lemmons, who gave me the space and the time to figure out what it was we wanted to bring forward about her—to bring the love for her family, the tenderness that she felt for her husband, all of those things—and turn her into a human being, really and truly. How do you hope this film impacts people? I hope that people can take away the fact that someone who was doubted, someone who was small, somebody who had very little means, was able to achieve something almost impossible. I hope people see that we have so much more at our fingertips, and that anything that we dream of can be possible if we put our minds and our hearts to it. I think that she was second to none. She was a hero whose sheer force of will took her where she needed to be, and I think that we also have the chance to do the same. We have the chance to change the world with very little, if we want. —Matt Grobar

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Todd

PHILLIPS

Best Picture Best Director Best Adapted Screenplay Joker Why do you think this movie really spoke to people? I think there are themes in the movie that really resonated with people. None of us thought an R-rated movie could do over $1 billion across the world. But I think the themes in it really resonated. The thing Scott Silver and I set out to do when we wrote the movie together was to make something meaningful in that comic book space, but also something really that addressed what was going on in 2016, when we started writing. It’s pretty obvious what was happening in our country in 2017, while we were writing it, and we really wanted to use Joker to make a movie about the loss of compassion and the lack of decorum in the world.

Xxxxxxx

XXXXXXX

Best Actress Can You Ever Forgive Me?

You play Lee Israel as an ornery, hard-to-like woman with a total lack of vanity. But you make it hard to not feel sympathic. Well, I just loved her. From probably 20-some pages into the script, when I didn’t even exactly have a tangible reason for why I liked her so much, I saw myself rooting for her. I realize she hasn’t really done anything that I should be rooting for, but I loved the thought of someone who just doesn’t need to be validated. It didn’t make things easier for her at all, being caustic and tricky, but I thought especially in today’s world where everybody needs so much validation from other people on social media, I just loved the thought of Lee being like, “I don’t need you to like me; I don’t even really want you to like me.”

What was the experience of working with Joaquin Phoenix? Working with him, for me, was the greatest experience I’ve had in terms of director and actor. Part of it was that it’s a character study with one person. I’ve never worked that closely with just one singular person for 60 days shooting, and for four months leading up to it. He likes to talk about things a lot before we go to set. Meaning, in those four months of prep, we spent a lot of time talking about Arthur, talking about Joker, talking about the transformation, auditioning the laugh, auditioning the voice, all those things that you do. But he goes hard, and we went deep. —Anthony D’Alessandro

How did you find the handle to play her? I started by reading everything I could, but while Lee was a great biography writer who could live through other people, she didn’t put herself into her book. She didn’t want people to know about her, so I was learning what a good writer she was, but I wasn’t learning about her. I got very lucky with two of our producers, David Yarnell and Anne Carey. Anne knew Lee very well for 10 years, and David knew her for 40 years. He’s the big reason she finally wrote her autobiography. Listening to their stories about Lee was incredibly helpful to me. And there was a wonderful character written into that script. —Mike Fleming Jr.

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Jonathan

Anthony

Best Actor The Two Popes

Best Supporting Actor

PRYCE

HOPKINS

Jonathan, what was your reaction when this project came to you? My agent called me and said, “You’ve been offered the role of Pope Francis,” and I said, “God, I don’t want to do that.” I was quite reluctant to even think about it. And then, I could see what a good script it was, and a great story; even if this hadn’t been a living person, if it was a work of fiction, it would still be a great story. I was told Fernando Meirelles was directing it, and I felt this was not going to be a biopic, it was going to have a great energy and a life to it that he brought to his other films, City of God being one of my favorites. Anthony, you played Benedict, a wildly different kind of Pope. It was a very easy role for me to play. I’d have to play an old man, and I am an old man [laughs]. I know he had bad legs, and I have bad legs, and I have a bad back. So, working with Jon and then going into the scene in the Sistine Chapel, I really did have to deal with getting up the steps. So, it was no big stretch for me. We did this first scene in the garden together, where I had to stumble about in Latin a bit, but I enjoyed it. I enjoyed the challenge of learning a bit of Latin, a bit of Italian, and then to be in Rome. —Pete Hammond

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Taika

WAITITI

Best Picture Best Adapted Screenplay Jojo Rabbit You play imaginary Hitler in Jojo Rabbit. You regularly cast yourself in your films. What prompts that? I love taking roles in my movies. I only started making films when I was 29, but I always loved acting, and it started when I was doing theater and it was Jemaine [Clement] and I, and our buddies, just making stuff up and directing one another. I came from that to trying to be an actor in film and TV, and realizing, fuck, there are no roles. That was super frustrating, so I started writing stuff for myself; interesting things to play. I became a director by stealth. There’s a good deal of heart to the film beneath the silliness. And that seems like a hallmark of your work. I think my best attempt at making a real comedy was What We Do in the Shadows, and that was just because I had Jemaine writing it with me and he’s way funnier than I am. Mainly with my stuff, I guess you would call it drama with jokes. I’m mostly attracted to art films, or a movie like The Graduate, which I think is one of the greatest films ever made, and it has this great mix of emotion and heart. I wouldn’t want to make anything that didn’t have any sort of meaning behind it. —Joe Utichi

PHOTOGRAPH BY CHRIS CHAPMAN

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Greta

GERWIG

Best Adapted Screenplay Little Women Had you been considering Little Women as an adaptation for a while beforehand? Well for me, it was the book of my childhood in terms of a character that I identified with wholly. I was ambitious, I wanted to be a writer, I was angry, I was artistic. All of the things that Jo is, I was. She felt like she knew my secrets already, and that was thrilling. And I loved the book, and I read it and re-read it like you often do with books in childhood. And it had been so absorbed into my sense of myself that some of the secrets, and some of the things that the March girls do, felt like they had happened to me. How did you sell your idea to Sony and Amy Pascal? The thing I said to them was, it was so clear to me when I re-read the book, this book is about women, ambition, money, and art. And it was about the intersection of those things. I want to make a movie that focuses in on that, because to me, that’s what this book is about. And moreover, that’s what Louisa May Alcott liked, in fact. And this distance between Louisa May Alcott and Jo March is also at the crux of my story. I wanted to explore all that. I think I said it with enough confidence that they accepted my analysis. —Antonia Blyth

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Saoirse

RONAN

Best Actress Little Women

Did you feel the pressure of taking on a literary icon in Jo March? I don’t want this to sound arrogant, because it’s not me saying, “What do I have to feel nervous about?” but I just didn’t. I was so excited to do it. I was so ready to have fun doing it. Having done Lady Bird and Brooklyn in quick succession, two films that were bringing me back into doing leads again, and as a young woman as opposed to a child, I was very scared doing them. I overthought both of them. And thankfully that worked for the characters because they are also in a state of finding themselves, so that’s fine, but it was scary for me in the first few years of my 20s. Was it just the draw of Greta, or was there something special for you about Little Women? I think it was Greta and Jo. I think it was Greta, and specifically Jo March, and the character being such a huge inspiration and a heroine. She’s a character that so many people love. And, not that I knew this at the time, but the reason why Patti Smith writes is because of Louise May Alcott and Jo March. If there’s any girl out there that’s looking to go into the world of writing and they read about Jo, I think they can see themselves in it. It has obviously given a lot of people the courage to just go for it. —Joe Utichi

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Rian

JOHNSON

Best Original Screenplay Knives Out

Where did your writing process on Knives Out first begin? I start in a very abstract place, in terms of structure and genre. This is a genre that I adore, but I do think that the one weakness of it is that it can tend to be a bunch of clue-gathering, leading to one big surprise. So, the initial thought was as simple as, can you put in the engine of a Hitchcock thriller, and still have all the essential pleasures of a whodunit? Can you have your cake and eat it, too? Figuring out a shape for how that would work was the first step, but very much in the abstract. Were you reading or watching other whodunits? Did you go down that rabbit hole? Not really, because I have done that with whodunits. I’ve just been reading them since I was a kid, it’s something that I always keep coming back to. I find it not useful to do research and read specific books. To me, it’s more useful to blur my vision, and to think, in more general terms, about what I love about the genre—to almost create an idealized vision of what works about the genre for me, and then take that and set that as my goalpost. Otherwise, there might be the danger of just creating a patchwork of stuff from other sources. For me, it’s much more about getting at the heart of what about this genre really resonates for me. —Joe Utichi

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Pedro

Antonio

Best International Feature Film Pain and Glory

Best Actor

ALMODÓVAR

BANDERAS

Pedro, how did the stone start gathering moss towards what this movie would become? This specific script was started just as you see in the movie, writing about those moments when I was in my swimming pool, under the water, and they were the only moments where I didn’t have any kind of muscular tension. The only moments I was in peace. So, I started there, writing about the situation of feeling like a ghost inside the water, alone with yourself, your mind and your memory. Antonio, you play a man based on Pedro himself. Did you think the actor character in the film, Alberto, was based on you? I think Alberto, in a way, is a Frankenstein made of many of the characters of the actors, and also the actresses too, he has known along the way. But actually, he called me, and he said, “I’m going to send you a script. You’re going to feel me in it, and you’re going to feel the references to many of the stories that we’ve lived in the past. You’re going to see some of the characters that we’ve put together.” —Joe Utichi

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Renée

ZELLWEGER

Best Actress Judy

What personally resonated with you in taking on the daunting task of playing a screen legend? Well, she was a trailblazer in every respect. She participated in a way that I don’t know. She went toe-to-toe with the guys on television and held her own. She always hit the ball back, and then perhaps she didn’t have agency, or as much autonomy as ladies do today, with respect to determining the trajectory of their professional lives. She did speak her mind, and she did exercise what power she did have. I think she did everything. There was nothing she didn’t do. Just truly an inspirational, iconic performer. She was an original. She carved out a place that belongs to her. I think her decision to redefine herself as a live performer was a brilliant turning point. Did you get the chance to speak with Liza Minnelli or Lorna Luft when you were preparing for the role? I did want to speak with Liza and Lorna, and I was not successful in reaching out to them through my friend Neil Meron, who has produced a lot of Liza’s live shows. I actually had gone to see her last performance of her tour. I guess it was right around that same time when we watched I Could Go On Singing together in Vegas. She was a force; extraordinary. She went on around midnight and just danced and sang through the night. She was unbelievable. —Anthony D’Alessandro

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Quentin

TARANTINO

Best Picture Best Director Best Original Screenplay Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood The film really digs into this melancholic feeling of the end of an era. But you don’t seem like a very melancholic guy. Yeah, I’m not very melancholy, alright [laughs]. My life has been pretty charmed since I’ve been working here in Hollywood. But the thing about it is, if I didn’t throw Sharon into this story, it probably wouldn’t have been as melancholy. I don’t know what it would have been, but just putting her into it, and knowing that you’re heading towards that day—even if I stopped in February, even if I never got to August, you know August is going to happen—that, in itself, adds a sobering aspect to the film, especially in a film like this that doesn’t really have a story. There is, however, some optimism to the way you rewrite history in the ending of the movie. The weird thing about thinking about that ending, and then doing it in the context of the movie, was that I wasn’t quite prepared for how I’d feel when it came. When it was just an idea in my head for a story I was writing, it was like, “Great, she’s saved, done.” But in the movie, when I watched it put together, it was like, “OK, she’s saved… Dot, dot, dot.” Because no, she’s not. It’s that ellipsis where you have to realize, things did not happen this way. To tell you the truth, I never thought about that during these five years I had that shot in my head. But, in context, you can’t help but turn the page. —Joe Utichi PHOTOGRAPH BY JOSH TELLES

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Laura

DERN

Best Supporting Actress Marriage Story Why did this project appeal to you when you first heard about it? Probably a good year before we saw the draft of the movie, Noah [Baumbach] invited us to all to begin conversations. He wanted to make a love story through the lens of divorce, which I thought was an incredible idea. And then he and I specifically talked about the business of divorce. It invades a narrative that a family sets out for themselves, especially when they have a child, which is, despite the discord and the pain, let’s try to do this amicably. And then lawyers show up and change everything. Your monologue as Nora the divorce lawyer was at the heart of the film in a very real way. He and I cared about giving some understanding of why this divorce lawyer decided to do what she does. Otherwise it just seems like someone only out for the money, or the win, and very calculated. The monologue was describing why she wanted to step into the role of representing the voiceless in the business of family law and women particularly, even though she’s not, I think, a particularly generous character in every other scene in the movie. I said, “Do you mind if I add one little thought at the end?” Which was, “God didn’t even do the fucking.” Because guys, he didn’t. It’s an amazing way for a writer to describe this double standard, that I think is just so delicious. —Antonia Blyth

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Adam

DRIVER

Best Actor Marriage Story

This was your fourth Noah Baumbach film. What’s the experience of working with him like? It just feels like an ongoing conversation that changes location. We start at dinner, then we go to each other’s houses, then we’ll be in a rehearsal room, then on set, and we’re still talking about it, even though there’s nothing to change about it. Things that were good about it, not good about it, or things we want to do next. It just feels like a conversation. Noah’s following in a tradition here that I love, that you’re creating this company of people that are really very forthcoming. What does that lend to the making of the film for you? Keeping it private is almost a disservice to the movie, so he’s aware of our strengths and weaknesses. Then, when we get on set, no time is wasted. Noah has created an environment where you waste no time. He doesn’t take for granted that we’re making a permanent thing, that we’ve asked everyone to travel to a location, and somebody’s paying a lot of money for us to tell this story that hopefully had better be worth the effort and time. So, there’s no energy wasted on not trying to be as present as possible. —Pete Hammond

PP H HO O TT O OG G RR AA PP H H BB YY M MA I CRH KAM EA L NBNU C KNER

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BEST PICTURE

BEST ACTOR All season long, this year’s incredibly dense and crowded list of contenders for Best Actor have been much debated. There were at least five actors who could have won in any other year, but didn’t even get nominated. The five who did are formidable, with Cannes winner Antonio Banderas in Pain and Glory, Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, Adam

THE RACE FOR BEST PICTURE AT THE 92

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ACADEMY AWARDS

is turning out to be one for the ages. With nine nominees, and a record-breaking four of them with ten or more nominations each, we have a real dogfight on our hands. At press time, which is right after SAG and PGA Guild Awards have been handed out, but preDGA, WGA and BAFTA, the signs of success have been all over the place. Add to that, the complicated accounting system for Best Picture—the only category in which voters have to rank their favorites from first to last—and you have the possibility of a genuine upset as the Academy tries to get a consensus. The Academy Awards will be handed out earlier than ever this year on February 9th, making these guesses all the more difficult.

Driver in Marriage Story, and Jonathan Pryce in The Two Popes. However, Joaquin Phoenix in Joker has been running away with the precursor awards at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, and SAG, where his acceptance speech pretty much sealed the deal. THE WINNER: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Ford v Ferrari DIRECTOR James Mangold PRODUCERS Peter Chernin Jenno Topping James Mangold

BEST ACTRESS Just like the Best Actor race, there has been one clear winner all season long, since her film about the final months of Judy Garland,

STUDIO 20th Century Fox

Judy, premiered at Telluride. This is Renée Zellweger’s to lose, and so far, she hasn’t

OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Film Editing Best Sound Mixing Best Sound Editing

lost a thing, with wins at the Globes, Critics’ Choice, and SAG cementing a victory here. She’ll likely win over the likes of Cynthia Erivo A victory for this film in the Best Picture category would appear to be much more difficult than Ford’s triumph in this riveting and beautifully crafted movie. Firmly in the auto racing genre, it succeeds first and foremost as a great human story. Directed by James Mangold and toplining two superb performances from Christian Bale and Matt Damon, the movie received only four nominations, lowest of all the Best Picture nominees, and none in the other major categories of acting, directing or writing. No film since Grand Hotel in 1932 faced those steep odds, and ended up in the winners’ circle. Still, the fact that it is among the nine finalists is a tribute not only to the film itself, but also to the great Oscar legacy of 20th Century Fox, for which this represents a last great hurrah before its Disney acquisition.

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in Harriet (who represents the only person of color among all the acting nominees this year), Scarlett Johansson in Marriage Story, Saoirse Ronan in Little Women, and Charlize Theron, whose uncanny work channeling Megyn Kelly in Bombshell makes her the only one who could possibly upset, but I am afraid this time Judy Garland gets to the podium. THE WINNER: Renée Zellweger, Judy

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The Irishman DIRECTOR Martin Scorsese

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

PRODUCERS Martin Scorsese Robert De Niro Jane Rosenthal Emma Tillinger Koskoff

In a category where at least four of the five

STUDIO Netflix

it here this time around. All were exceptional,

OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Director Best Supporting Actor Best Adapted Screenplay Best Cinematography Best Production Design Best Costume Design Best Film Editing Best Visual Effects

nominees are arguably leading roles, any room for true supporting actors went out the window this year. Also, the category contains three past Best Actor winners, but they’re slumming and all five have Oscars already, but look for the contender whose previous Oscar was for producing, not acting, to take the prize, as Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood’s Brad Pitt A classic mob movie, spanning decades and ultimately serving as a coda to a criminal era gone by, director Martin Scorsese and star Robert De Niro’s dream project was rescued by Netflix, who put up a budget rumoured to be anywhere between $160 million and $200 million. The results of the three-and-a-half-hour epic are impressive indeed, although it may be hampered by the format. Informal conversations with some Oscar voters indicate they watched it on Netflix, or screeners, in bits and pieces rather than one sitting—which is what a great movie like this requires, if you ask me. That might affect its vote, already indicated by its lack of love at the Globes, Critics’ Choice, PGA, and SAG awards. With 10 nominations however, it is clear enough that the Academy found much to love.

has already done at the Globes, Critics’ Choice, and SAG Awards. Tom Hanks, Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins will all just have to give their lead actor Oscars an extra hug on the night, as will past supporting winner Joe Pesci, who came out of retirement to do The Irishman and has already retired again. THE WINNER: Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Jojo Rabbit DIRECTOR Taika Waititi PRODUCERS Carthew Neal Taika Waititi Chelsea Winstanley

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

STUDIO Fox Searchlight

the circuit when the envelope is opened, and

OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Supporting Actress Best Adapted Screenplay Best Production Design Best Costume Design Best Film Editing

killer role of divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw in

Like all the other acting categories this year, there has been one consistent name heard on that is hometown favorite Laura Dern for her Marriage Story. Oscar will be no different than the Globes, SAG or Critics’ Choice, and the other nominees will have to be content just This admittedly daring, offbeat, but human and touching movie from director Taika Waititi uses humor to portray the horror and idiocy of Nazi Germany in World War II. Focusing on a young boy who must navigate complicated feelings about fitting in as a Nazi kid and using an imaginary Adolf Hitler playmate to do so, the film drew some mixed reactions when it first opened. But it won the often Oscar-predictive People’s Choice prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered, and that put it squarely in the race, where it has stayed since. This is a dark horse, since although Waititi received a DGA nomination, he did not get a corresponding Oscar nod in the directing category. That is the same situation another TIFF People’s Choice winner found itself in just last year, and we all know what happened to Green Book. With six nominations overall, don’t count this under-rabbit out.

having a nice night out. They include Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell, Florence Pugh for Little Women, Margot Robbie for Bombshell, and Scarlett Johansson for Jojo Rabbit. Johansson has a double nomination this year, in both lead and supporting—a rare feat—but alas, not one that will reap a statuette this time. THE WINNER: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

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Joker DIRECTOR Todd Phillips PRODUCERS Todd Phillips Bradley Cooper Emma Tillinger Koskoff STUDIO Warner Bros. OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Director Best Actor Best Adapted Screenplay Best Cinematography Best Original Score Best Costume Design Best Film Editing Best Sound Editing Best Makeup and Hairstyling Best Sound Mixing

Until last year, no movie ever derived from a comic book character was nominated for Best Picture. Marvel’s Black Panther changed all that, and now for the second year in a row we have a comic book creation, Joker, leading the race with 11 nominations. It is DC’s turn now, but this is not your father’s comic book movie. Closer in spirit to Taxi Driver than Batman, this is a dark and disturbing origin story of how one man with mental illness is tossed aside by our society and turned into a monster of sorts. There was no movie this year more pertinent to its time, even though director and co-writer Todd Phillips set it in the ’80s. Fronted by a remarkable turn by Joaquin Phoenix, this is the highest-grossing nominee of the bunch, at over one billion dollars and counting. With more nominations than anyone else it can’t be counted out.

Little Women DIRECTOR Greta Gerwig

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY Anthony McCarten’s script for The Two Popes was perhaps the most literate and inventive of all, but the film wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, so we can probably discount its chances. This might be a place to honor The Irishman with Steven Zaillian’s epic script, or to give the prize for sheer audacity and achievement to Todd Phillips and Scott Silver for transforming DC Comics’ Joker into something deadly real and serious. However, I think it could come down to Greta Gerwig as a sort of consolation prize (it isn’t) for not being nominated in the Directing category for Little Women, or Taika Waititi for the sheer originality and joy of Toronto People's Choice winner Jojo Rabbit. WGA’s winner could factor into this one. THE WINNER: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM The nominees are Poland for Corpus Christi, North Macedonia for Honeyland, a rare documentary nominated here, France for Les Misérables, Spain for Pedro Almodóvar’s brilliant and personal Pain and Glory, and South Korea in the category for the first time ever with Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. Every time a nominee in this category has also been nominated for Best Picture, it wins here and loses there. I’m not certain what will happen in Best Picture, but this is the category to bet the farm on, folks. THE WINNER: Parasite

PRODUCER Amy Pascal STUDIO Sony Pictures Entertainment OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Actress Best Supporting Actress Best Adapted Screenplay Best Original Score Best Costume Design Hollywood just can’t stop remaking Little Women, but Greta Gerwig has made this seventh movie version of the classic coming-of-age tale every bit as contemporary and relevant as any film out there. This is the first version of the Louisa May Alcott classic to gain a Best Picture nomination since the 1933 adaptation, and it is well deserved. Gerwig is now only the second female director ever to see two of her films up for Best Picture, and in her case, they were her first two solodirected movies—an impressive feat, even if she was overlooked by the directors’ branch this time around. She was only the fifth woman to be nominated for directing in Oscar history just two years ago for Lady Bird. The odds of a win here are long, but the outrage around her absence in the directing category just might give it a long shot chance if the frontrunners manage to cancel each other out.

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BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY Four out of the five nominees here are also nominated for Best Picture, so that means we can probably eliminate Rian Johnson’s fiendishly clever Knives Out—the sole nomination for that movie. Also, Sam Mendes, making his screenwriting debut with first-timer Krysty Wilson-Cairns in 1917, is probably a long shot, since the script wasn’t really the selling point. That leaves Parasite, Marriage Story, and Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood (which is not eligible for WGA, so keep that in mind) to duke it out. This is a tough one to call, since Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story was brilliant and he’s overdue. Parasite has a lot of heat all of a sudden, but this is the category where once again I think past two-time winner Quentin Tarantino gets his moment. THE WINNER: Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE Two sequels, the third edition of the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, The Hidden World, and the fourth Toy Story, compete with two films from Netflix, I Lost My Body—a multi-prize winner that debuted in Cannes and won Critics’ Week there—as well as the holiday film Klaus. The fifth nominee, Missing Link is from Laika, which has landed a nomination for every single one of their films, but never a win. It was, however, the surprise champ at the Golden Globes, and that made me sit up and take notice. But Pixar usually has a way of pulling it out. THE WINNER: Toy Story 4

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Marriage Story DIRECTOR Noah Baumbach PRODUCERS Noah Baumbach David Heyman STUDIO Netflix OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Actor Best Actress Best Supporting Actress Best Original Screenplay Best Original Score Netflix’s second entry in the Best Picture category is perhaps the most personal ever from writer/director Noah Baumbach. In a movie he calls a “love story about divorce”, he hits all the notes from funny to sad and everything in between. With superlative performances from Adam Driver, Scarlett Johansson, Laura Dern, Alan Alda, and Ray Liotta among a superb ensemble cast, this film hits a nerve for many, and presents this story of a marriage breaking up and a family trying to stay together in ways we haven’t seen in a long time. Baumbach also missed out on a directing nomination, so odds are long that this could triumph in the end. But Netflix should be immensely proud of it no matter what happens.

1917 DIRECTOR Sam Mendes PRODUCERS Sam Mendes Pippa Harris Jayne-Ann Tenggren Callum McDougall STUDIO Universal Pictures OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Director Best Original Screenplay Best Cinematography Best Original Score Best Visual Effects Best Production Design Best Makeup and Hairstyling Best Sound Editing Best Sound Mixing

PETE’S

WINNER PICK

The latest breaking entry into this year’s race is Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes’ extraordinary tribute to his grandfather who fought in World War I. Employing a clever technique of making the entire film look like it was done in one shot, this movie reaches far beyond that kind of gimmick to become a compelling, suspenseful, touching, and gut-wrenching look at two soldiers as they take a vital message behind enemy lines to save a unit marching into a German trap. Epic in scope, yet intimately told, it rings all the bells of a classic Best Picture winner, and indeed upset the apple cart by taking the Golden Globe for Best Picture Drama and the very important PGA award as well, a sure sign it could be on its way to victory at the Oscars.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY Extraordinary work from all in this category runs up against the 800-pound gorilla of Roger Deakins for his amazing ‘one shot’ 1917, and it’s hard to see him losing this award, since this is a film that belongs to the cinematographer almost completely. The Irishman and Joker are deserving entries, and I think Robert Richardson did wonderful and exemplary work in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The Lighthouse is probably the least seen of these films, and is the only non-Best Picture nominee among them, so you can count it out, despite superlative blackand-white images. THE WINNER: Roger Deakins, 1917 BEST COSTUME DESIGN This award almost always goes to period costume pictures, and this year, each nominee is set in a distinct period, whether recently, as with the ’80s of Joker or the late ’60s of Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The Irishman spans several decades, while Jojo Rabbit is set in the Nazi Germany of the ’40s. That leaves only Little Women to go way back to the Civil War era, and that could be an advantage. My guess is as good as yours. THE WINNER: Jacqueline Durran, Little Women BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE For the first time, one movie was nominated here and for Best International Film: Honeyland. That would seem to give this amazing North Macedonian film about the last of the wild beekeepers a leg-up. However, Netflix’s American Factory has Barack and Michelle Obama on its producing team, and that is pretty irresistible. The Cave’s director is getting a lot of publicity about his troubles, making it into America from Syria due to travel bans, so that could factor. There’s also The Edge of Democracy and For Sama nominated too. All worthy. All heavy. THE WINNER: Honeyland BEST FILM EDITING Always a key category, especially given how a nomination here affects your Best Picture chances. However, taken on their own merits, and considering the entire Academy’s votes and not just editors’, there can be some surprise winners. Thelma Schoonmaker is beloved, but voters may punish The Irishman for being three and-a-half hours, and blame that on the editor. Joker is nominated, and so is Ford v Ferrari, but both lost at the ACE Eddies to the other two contenders, Jojo Rabbit and Parasite. The latter has likely become the frontrunner here. I have a hunch that this is one place we might see a little love for Ford v Ferrari and I am going with that. THE WINNER: Ford v Ferrari BEST MAKE UP AND HAIRSTYLING The transition of Joaquin Phoenix into Joker was subtly achieved and frightening. Renée Zellweger has her team to thank for not making her Judy Garland into a drag queen version, but someone she could become. Angelina Jolie’s angular cheeks are worthy of an Oscar alone in Maleficent: Mistress of Evil. And all those soldiers were appropriately muddy and bloody when they needed to be in 1917. But really, can anyone compare to the complete transformation of Charlize Theron into Megyn Kelly? No way. THE WINNER: Bombshell

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Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood DIRECTOR Quentin Tarantino PRODUCERS David Heyman Shannon McIntosh Quentin Tarantino STUDIO Sony Pictures Entertainment OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Director Best Actor Best Supporting Actor Best Original Screenplay Best Cinematography Best Costume Design Best Production Design Best Sound Editing Best Sound Mixing

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film is also his best, and certainly his most personal, if you ask me—a love letter not only to Los Angeles, but also to a changing era of the movies. Set in 1969, the film meticulously recreates what was going on in the industry and the city, but at the same time wistfully, and with no shortage of bittersweetness, reimagines events in ways that are, to say the least, surprising and heartfelt. This movie represents the career pinnacle of a master of the medium, and more importantly, a true lover of it. Winner of the Golden Globe for Best Picture Comedy/Musical, and Best Picture at the Critics’ Choice Awards, its 10 Oscar nominations are proof it is in it to win it, but losses at PGA and for the cast at SAG, plus the lack of an Editing nomination are troubling signs.

BEST ORIGINAL MUSIC SCORE When I first heard Thomas Newman's stirring score for 1917, I thought this would bring the 15-time nominee his first Oscar. I mean, after all those nominations he’s in danger of becoming Oscar’s Susan Lucci. Let’s give him one. However, the sheer complexity and brilliance of the world of Hildur Guðnadóttir in Joker, a score she wrote before filming began, just based on the script, is the one to beat. The fact that she’s a woman, a rarity in this field at the Oscars, doesn’t hurt. The other nominees are Little Women, Marriage Story, and John Williams, with his 52nd nomination, this time for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. THE WINNER: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Joker BEST ORIGINAL SONG Speaking of Susan Lucci, there’s Diane Warren with her 11th win-less nomination. This time it’s for “I’m Standing With You” from Breakthrough. She’s got to win one day. However, this faith-based film from early last year is largely forgotten, and unlikely to do the trick for Warren this time. The Frozen II song “Into the Unknown” sounds a lot like Oscar winner “Let It Go” from the first Frozen, so I doubt they will go there again, but you never know. “Stand Up” from Harriet is stirring, and Randy Newman’s latest tune from the Toy Story franchise is fine, if forgettable. The best of the bunch comes from the legend Elton John, so I predict his one new tune from Rocketman, already the Golden Globe winner, will carry the day. THE WINNER: “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again”, Rocketman

Parasite DIRECTOR Bong Joon Ho PRODUCERS Kwak Sin Ae Bong Joon Ho

BEST DIRECTOR

STUDIO NEON OSCAR NOMINATIONS Best Director Best Foreign Language Film Best Original Screenplay Best Production Design Best Film Editing The most unexpected entry in this year’s race could also be the one that makes history. The first ever film from South Korea to be nominated for Best International Film (formerly Foreign Language), and winner of five other nominations, this Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner has the first real opportunity to be a foreign film that wins Best Picture. Bong Joon Ho’s masterpiece also just became the first foreign-language film to win the Outstanding Cast award at SAG. The drawback is that many voters might thing picking it for International Film is reward enough, and that’s precisely the scenario that’s occurred every time a Foreign Film has had a Best Picture nod in the past. Still, it’s beloved and the Academy’s complex voting system for Best Picture could really help it achieve the dream.

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BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN Always an impressive category, and this year there are lots of different looks. Spanning decades provided the challenge for The Irishman, and recreating a German town during World War II gave Jojo Rabbit its uniquely colorful feel. The recreation of battlefields and bunkers, which had to be done from scratch, was deftly achieved in 1917, while 1969 Los Angeles was brilliantly and meticulously rendered in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood. The unique housing designs for Parasite, however, were key in making that movie work—almost a character in and of themselves. This is another tough one. THE WINNER: Parasite

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT Again, I haven’t seen most of these at press time, so check later on my online version. The nominees are Brotherhood, Nefta Football Club, The Neighbors’ Window, Saria, and A Sister. I did see The Neighbors’ Window, which revolves around a husband and wife with three kids who find themselves watching Rear Window-style at the swinging sex parties going on in the neighbor’s apartment directly across the street. In just 20 minutes, it remarkably tells two distinct stories, and is unexpectedly moving and surprising. It comes from multiple Oscar nominated documentarian Marshall Curry, and is his first narrative film. It’s very fine. THE WINNER: The Neighbors’ Window

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM At press time I hadn’t seen all the shorts, so take this with a grain of salt. The nominees are Dcera (Daughter), Hair Love, Kitbull, Memorable, and Sister. Hair Love is from former NFL football star Matthew Cherry, and revolves around an African-American father trying to deal with his daughter’s unique hair style. Very clever and charming. Kitbull comes from the geniuses at Pixar, and revolves around the relationship between a kitten and an abused pitbull dog, both of whom are in need of a forever home, and join together to forge differences and help each other out. It’s simply terrific and Pixar obviously has a great track record. I will trust them again. THE WINNER: Kitbull

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT The nominees are In the Absence, Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl), Life Overtakes Me, St. Louis Superman, and Walk, Run, Cha-Cha. I will be weighing in more heavily in the online version of this category, but I have seen Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone, and it has all the right stuff that won this award last year for Period. End Of Sentence, as it concerns a program of skateboarding for young girls in Afghanistan who are otherwise not allowed to leave their house. Also a little interesting side note: In the Absence is the first South Korean film ever nominated in the documentary categories, so in the year of Parasite this could be an Oscar harbinger. THE WINNER: Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)

BEST SOUND EDITING Despite fine work in Joker, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, I think this is a race between the screeching tires of Ford v Ferrari and the World War I sounds of 1917. They both won awards at the Golden Reels. The category has a history of going to both genres— wars and racing—and might be a toss-up, at least for me. Both are Best Picture nominees as well, so that helps. On a hunch… THE WINNER: Ford v Ferrari BEST SOUND MIXING Star Wars didn’t make it into this category, but otherwise it is identical to the contenders in Sound Editing. Another outer space epic, Ad Astra got named instead of Star Wars here. The branch is considering consolidating both into one category for next year, which is wise since lately the same film tends to win in both. With that in mind I will follow suit for now. It’s still between 1917 and Ford v Ferrari. THE WINNER: Ford v Ferrari BEST VISUAL EFFECTS This is the one category where the year’s box office champ got nominated, just like last year. The now all-time highest grosser, Avengers: Endgame is up for the award, but will they want to honor that achievement now that Avengers is done? Or can The Lion King follow the live action Jungle Book to Oscar glory? Could Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker prevail as a gift for the end of that series? Maybe the deageing magic that drove up the cost of The Irishman? Some groundbreaking work there. Or will a Best Picture frontrunner, 1917, sweep in this category with its more subtle effects depicting the horrors of war? THE WINNER: 1917

PETE’S

WINNER PICK

MARTIN SCORSESE

TODD PHILLIPS

SAM MENDES

QUENTIN TARANTINO

BONG JOON HO

If ever there was sentiment for a veteran in this category, it would be for Scorsese who received his ninth nomination here, and his 14th overall. The list of his previous nominations is awe-inspiring, ranging from Raging Bull to The Wolf of Wall Street, and there’s no question he’s deserving for this mob epic as well. He’s won only once for The Departed in 2006. However, the competition this year makes a second win iffy, and much will depend on how the DGA calls it two weeks before Oscar night.

Phillips is the only director among these five nominees who didn't receive a DGA nomination, and that isn’t a good sign—the DGA winner has predicted the Oscar every time since 1949 when the DGA began giving out awards, with only seven exceptions. Long odds indeed, but Phillips’ inclusion shows the incredible strength that Joker has in the Academy, since many thought he might be overlooked here too. This is his first nomination here, but he probably has a better chance in Adapted Screenplay this time.

20 years ago, Mendes made his first film, American Beauty, and won an Oscar for Best Director right out of the gate. While he hasn't been nominated in this category since then, he recently won the Golden Globe against this very same group of directors, as well as seeing his film take the PGA award. The DGA could be a real factor here in either winning or not winning. The sheer technical achievement he engineered with 1917 is the kind of thing that really impresses voters, and it may be just enough to sneak in at the end of the year and take it all.

Tarantino already has two Oscars at home for writing Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, but he has yet to be honored for directing, despite previous nominations in this category for Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds. This film however seems like the culmination of a great career for a contemporary auteur who truly deserves this award. However, competing scenarios for the other nominees could see him coming up short once again here, while taking another screenplay Oscar. He deserves both.

The Cannes Film Festival may have set up a preview of this showdown between Bong and Tarantino, as Parasite's director took the Palme d’Or, while Tarantino’s film won nothing but the ‘Palm Dog’. Will there be a repeat where Bong Joon Ho is once again triumphant? As recently as last year, we saw a split between Best Picture and Director as Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, another foreign language film, won here. The same could happen two years in a row with this South Korean master.

The Irishman

Joker

1917

Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood

Parasite

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Scarlett Johansson

Parasite director Bong Joon Ho with his cast

Nicole Kidman & Jennifer Aniston

Robert De Niro & Leonardo DiCaprio

SAG Awards Taika Waititi

Cynthia Erivo

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PGA Awards JA N UA RY 18 , 2 02 0

Sam Mendes

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Constance Wu

Noah Baumbach, Laura Dern & David Heyman

Octavia Spencer

RE X /S H U T T ERSTOC K

Lily Tomlin & Jane Fonda

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JANUARY 29, 2020 OSCAR NOMINEES

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Profile for Deadline Hollywood

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Deadline Hollywood - AwardsLine - 01/29/20 Oscar Nominees