Juicy Lost in Translation Dish!

Chatting About the Oscars

Juicy Lost in Translation Dish!

Chatting About the Oscars

Juicy Lost in Translation Dish!
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Feb. 27 2004 2:17 PM

Chatting About the Oscars

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Dear David,

I totally disagree with your analysis of your posting yesterday—I thought it got us off and running. And it violates Rule No. 1 of e-mailogogy: Never reread after you press "Send." Publish and be damned. Anyway, leave the self-flagellation to the thousands in the multiplexes enjoying what you called "The Jesus Chainsaw Massacre."

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Insightful point about Anthony Minghella: Before he slipped on the earphones to his iPod on our recent flight, he noted that the epics he had made—and I'm a huge fan of TheTalented Mr. Ripley—had made him long for the simplicity of Truly, Madly, Deeply, the movie that alerted me to his wonderfully fresh voice. I once overheard Stephen Frears make the same point: That making big, splashy American movies often estranged directors from the impulse that had brought them to filmmaking in the first place. That's why so many of the best Aussies stay home—Peter Weir, for example—and the Brits return as well.

As far as Sofia the director vs. Sofia the first daughter goes, there is a great rumor going around, and I have no idea whether it is true, but I am going to write it anyway, so as not to be accused of pulling punches. When the great dad saw the movie, he gave her three pages of notes. She threw them away. He was said to have been very hurt. It feels true, anyway. I want it to be true.

Lost in Translation has the honesty and freshness of something touched only by the filmmaker. Had it gone through dread studio notes and previews, it never would have survived intact, to say nothing of its precious whispered ending, into which we can each write our own dialogue. None of it would have been possible if Sofia had not been empowered.

As for Mel, I am utterly exhausted by it all. It has already cost me one big party invite, and you can't go anywhere around here without feeling that half of the country is paralyzed by the fear that the other half might be gathering on the banks of the Mississippi with torches and pitchforks, driving the rest of us into the Pacific. As for humor, the only really funny person about all of this has been Jon Stewart—never has humor been more needed. If Mel is a presenter on Sunday—does he get Sundays off?—remember that he's a Movie Star and a Box Office Wizard, and so will be treated respectfully (even if it's muted respect). If there is a Michael Moore-like response, that would be hideous. Remember the First Amendment.

Yours, thinking outfits, dreaming PJs,
Lynda

P.S.: Tonight is the big party night—two of them; it would have been three—so I will post tomorrow with the consensus balloting from the crush of schadenfreude. Should be fun, fun, fun. …

David Edelstein is Slate's film critic. Lynda Obst is a producer at Paramount Pictures and author of Hello, He Lied. She can be reached through her Web site, LyndaObst.com.