Back in September, the Spring Breakers team announced its (probably doomed) intention to chase a Best Supporting Actor nomination for James Franco, releasing an ad to awards voters showing his lusciously begrilled Alien double-fisting a couple of statuettes, a pose suggesting he'd not only already won, but also decided to storm the podium and take a second trophy, because it would look better to have two of those little gilded fuckers splayed out among the treasures on his bed. (He's right — you need that kind of respectable hardware to balance out the AK-47s and precarious Jenga towers of shuriken. That's just basic feng shui, y'all.) Now that we're heading into the year-end Oscar-qualifying sprint, the Breakers gang seems to realize the buzz on competitors like Dallas Buyers Club’s Jared Leto and 12 Years a Slave’s Michael Fassbender has become deafening, kicking things into a higher gear with the release of the first "Consider His Shit" video. So here it is. And it's all wrong.
While others mark the holidays by traditional, picturesque heralds like the changing leaves or first snowfall, in Tinseltown they track the shifting seasons with Oscar campaigns. And where the natural world has the winter solstice, Hollywood has something just as portentous, and far more baffling: The New York Times Magazine’s annual bizarre video shorts in which Oscar hopefuls dance like HD monkeys in abstract video cages. Every year, I watch these videos because they pop up on the Times homepage. Every year, I think C’mon, they’re a minute each, where’s the harm? And every year I realize how precious a minute of my time can be. Are these inscrutable curios art, intellectual parody, or just a joke no one really gets? I still haven't figured it out.
This time around, master cinematographer Janusz Kaminski was chosen to dress up one-line non sequitur scripts by the likes of Spike Jonze, J.C. Chandor, and Nicole Holofcener in lens flares and color-coordinated chiaroscuro. But if they're going to insist on continuing to put these precious, A-list-packed little baubles of absurdity out into the world, then I shall don my amateur critic hat and be as high-falutingly obnoxious about them as possible. Let the reviews commence!
Finally, a trilogy everyone actually wants to see. (If this doesn't sound like you, please locate the X on your browser and click it. Or just grab a Sharpie and mark a fat X over your screen — that will also work.) Amy Poehler and Tina Fey, humor empresses and superlative Neil Patrick Harris hecklers ("Yo, NPH, take those pants off, America wants to see what you're workin' with!"), will return to host the Golden Globe Awards not just next year, but even the year after. The BFFs, who totally need their own celebrity portmanteau (is there one already going around? Is it Tinamy? Fehler? Amina Poehley?), brought 19.7 million viewers to the NBC telecast this past January, a six-year high for the show; there was also a 28 percent increase in the 18-to-49 demo. Meaning that, yes, signing Poehler and Fey for two more years was what they in the biz call "a no-brainer." (Surprisingly rare, though. Ricky Gervais hosted three straight years starting in 2010, but each uncomfortable performance was followed by waves of "he probably won't be back"/"I'm not coming back" chatter.) Folks — millions of 'em — will tune in for the next two Januarys with purpose, vigor, and high, boozy expectations.
Attention, late-night talk-show hosts: time to dust off your long-mothballed League of Nations jokes. Leonardo DiCaprio’s next big Oscar-bait role could very well be as our 28th president, Woodrow Wilson. Warner Bros. is apparently ready to secure rights to the new POTUS bio of the month, Wilson by A. Scott Berg, with Leo attached to both star and produce. Emboldened by pulling off Jay Gatsby where others have so notoriously failed (sorry, Mr. Redford), Leo must be looking for a challenge and is apparently determined to corner the market on old white men from the turn of the 20th century: Howard Hughes, J. Edgar Hoover, and now the man who went from president of Princeton to president of the U.S. before you could say “Eating Clubs are elitist” three times fast.
When this vast, important film festival — street name: "TIFF" — moved its hub to downtown Toronto, it was a win. The streets are smaller. The food is better. And so are the multiplexes and nightlife. There are also fewer businesspeople to trip over and protests to avoid. (I'm not kidding: I have missed the start of many a movie because of some worthy-cause march.) The festival built itself the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which is in use year-round as a state-of-the-art moviegoing facility. Most years I leave sad I'm not Torontonian. But I think the downtown luster has begun to tarnish.
Everything is coming up Franco. The laughter from last night's Comedy Central–sponsored Night of 1,000 Francos hasn't yet stopped ringing in the heads of hungover Francophiles, and already his Spring Breakers publicity team has scrambled the For Your Consideration jets and told The Hollywood Reporter that a full-court awards-season press is on its way. Look upon Franco's Oscar shit and despair, every other person not winning that Best Supporting Actor statue this year:
I hate every awards show except the MTV Video Music Awards. The Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and all of the other fringe awards shows have it all wrong by pretending like their stupid trophies matter. We only watch awards shows to judge the way people look and facilitate our sick obsession with critiquing the projected personalities of celebrities.
The MTV Video Music Awards is the perfect awards show because every year it is a slave to hyper-recent cultural trends. Above all else, the VMAs create a stimulating awards show for the viewer by being completely shameless when it comes to curating a handful of moments worth talking about. This is the same sort of trend-addiction vortex that got Psy to a billion views on YouTube. The VMAs aren’t like the Oscars, piling the legacy of the entire show on one guest host. Their strategy seems to be putting as many celebrities as possible in the same room and hoping it turns into chaos, which basically means a black rapper interrupting a teenage white girl’s acceptance speech.
After going back-to-back on Best Picture and Best Director nominations for The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell officially put his next project in the threepeat crosshairs. So what's he bringing to the Oscar party this time? The trailer for American Hustle debuted this morning on Good Morning America, as, uh, all serious awards contenders do, and we've now got our first look at how absurdly Russell has stacked the deck for his latest run. There's Oscar-winning Fighter star Christian Bale in a spread collar, ascot, and truly unfortunate hairpiece. Then Bradley Cooper, Oscar-nominated for Playbook, shows up. Oh, and didn't somebody else actually win for that movie? Right, Jennifer Lawrence. Yeah, she's in it, too. How about another Fighter Oscar nominee in Amy Adams? Yup. De Niro? Not in the trailer, but he's in it. He's won stuff. And let's also throw in a Renner, just because the call sheet has all those fun boxes for names.
Two Fox news anchors tried to interview Ryan Lochte. After he haltingly explained the layout of his bathroom and the anchors bid his beautiful face adieu, they busted a gut for a minute and a half, during which time my girl in red started crying with laughter and almost lost an eyelash. Totally recruiting her for the fourth Girl in Hoodie spot, though if Ryan's available he can join us as a dood in a snood. The YouTube comments on this puppy are worth a quick browse if you're seeking out light content today (WE ARE ALL SEEKING OUT LIGHT CONTENT TODAY): "Guy was probably hungover from puling an all-nighter from stuffing 10's," "If you're an idiot at night, you're an idiot in the morning," "At least he's handsome and won 11 gold medals ! What have you won Miss Thing ????"
James Franco returns to his roots this week, playing a character in a movie in which he presumably just reads his lines and acts, without any extra layers of metacommentary, irony, or self-parody. We emphasize presumably, of course — it's possible that Franco's whole career has been an elaborate work of performance art, from his breakout on the beloved, short-lived Freaks and Geeks, to the 2011 Oscars hosting debacle, to this week's seemingly innocuous Oz: The Great and Powerful. Untangling the mystery that is James Franco is a near-impossible (not to mention obnoxious) task, but we thought we'd start with a few YouTube clips.
Molly, Tess, and Emily had a long gabfest over cosmos this weekend about branding and gender identity and decided to rename the podcast Girls in Hoodies. Now that we finally have a name that won't possibly annoy anyone on the Internet, we can focus on more important things, like this week's Academy Awards, and why exactly it's pretty much impossible not to love Jennifer Lawrence. We also chat about the now-infamous Onion tweet and the pifalls of the infectiousness of Hollywood snark. Finally, we rehash Girls’ road trip to Manitou, where we thankfully didn't run into any murderous demon babies, but where there was still plenty of irresponsible behavior on display.
You can't have her, Jack. Jennifer Lawrence is the world's girlfriend now. She is the rarest, most charming butterfly and can never be pinned onto a piece of decorative corkboard and imprisoned in a frame. Cradle her essence in your hands and then set her free, laughing and dancing against the backdrop of beautiful nimbus clouds in the skies of freedom. Watch the rain tickle the antennae of her many talents, Instagram her wings glittering in the dark night of awards-show disappointments and awful missteps. Don't ever make her a "poor Oscar spouse." Hope. Freedom. Change. Obama. Lawrence. Jennifer. Love. That's a poem, and it's also what I'm going to name my future children. I plan to have at least 15, so I'm going to look ahead to next year's Academy Awards for more ideas. Foxcatcher would make a really beautiful name for a little girl. Definite prom queen potential.
Chris and I took last week off, due to work and travel concerns — there is no truth to the rumor that a media cabal led by Frank Darabont and Bob Greenblatt had us canceled. It turns out we needed the downtime to fully prepare ourselves for the gross orgy of smarm, song, and dance that was the Oscars last night. Although we disagreed strongly on the relative merits of Django Unchained and Moonrise Kingdom, Chris and I were in total agreement on the not-good-enoughness of Argo and especially the ceremony's dreadful host, Seth MacFarlane. We talked through the backstabbing politicking in the weeks leading up to last night (here's the Los Angeles Times piece we mention on the downfall of Zero Dark Thirty), the awards in each major category as well as some potential future fixes, only one of which involves Jessica Chastain and a return visit to Gdansk.