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Oscars for 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' Penelope Cruz and Woody Allen?

August 17, 2008 | 12:09 pm

Timing of its release couldn't be better for the Oscars prospects of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which comes just months after its star Javier Bardem, sporting the creepiest hairdo this side of Donald Trump and Jacko, terrified Hollywood into handing over piles of academy gold to "No Country for Old Men."

At the previous Oscars, Penelope Cruz ("Volver") posed the most serious threat to usurp Helen Mirren ("The Queen") in the best-actress race but, having failed, now seems due to reign too. At the derby before that, many Oscarwatchers thought Woody Allen would finally have his big comeback, but "Match Point," despite nabbing a screenplay nomination, didn't catch fire, so the three-time winner is now sparking new heat.


"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is a more appropriate vehicle to return Woody Allen to Oscars glory since it's what he does best. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is a comedy, and Woody Allen's career could sure use a smile. His flicks have mostly fizzled this decade. The Hollywood Reporter was among the media that lambasted his previous film "Cassandra's Dream" (2007): "As writer, Allen offers lazy plotting, poor characterization, dull scenes and flat dialogue."

If Woody Allen wins a screenplay Oscar for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," it'll be his first since "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986) and his third overall after best-picture champ "Annie Hall" (1977) earned him gold for writing and directing. But let's recall that Woody Allen didn't bother to show up to accept those honors. In 1978 (for the '77 awards), it was far more important to him to remain in New York to play his clarinet in the New Orleans Marching and Funeral Band at Michael's Pub.

Back then he scoffed, "I have no regard for that kind of ceremony. I just don't think they know what they're doing. When you see who wins those things — or who doesn't win them — you can see how meaningless this Oscar thing is."

But lots of stars have blasted the Oscars just like that, then turned around and — in the grand tradition of Hollywood hypocrisy — accepted the golden statuette with glee. Think Glenda Jackson, who denounced the kudofest as "a public hanging," and Dustin Hoffman, who pooh-poohed it as "an obscene evening."

Woody Allen did his flipflop in recent years, actually attending the ceremonies in 2002 (for the 2001 awards) and 2007 (for 2006 kudos). Voters may have been reluctant to embrace him with victory after he was tainted with a sex scandal, but they recently forgave Roman Polanski (best director, "The Pianist," 2002), who battled similar woes.

After all, Woody Allen is one of the academy's longtime darlings. After ignoring him throughout the first decade of his blazing career ("Bananas," "Sleeper"), members more than caught up with him afterward. In fact, Woody holds the record for most screenplay nominations (14), compared to 12 for Billy Wilder. However, both Allen and Wilder have 21 nominations overall.

Woody Allen directed 14 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Michael Caine ("Hannah and Her Sisters"), Judy Davis ("Husbands and Wives"), Mariel Hemingway ("Manhattan"), Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall"), Martin Landau ("Crimes and Misdemeanors"), Samantha Morton ("Sweet and Lowdown"), Geraldine Page ("Interiors"), Chazz Palminteri ("Bullets Over Broadway"), Sean Penn ("Sweet and Lowdown"), Mira Sorvino ("Mighty Aphrodite"), Maureen Stapleton ("Interiors"), Jennifer Tilly ("Bullets Over Broadway"), Dianne Wiest ("Hannah and Her Sisters," "Bullets Over Broadway"), and himself ("Annie Hall"). Caine, Keaton and Sorvino won Oscars — Wiest did so twice.

Now Woody Allen claims that he wrote "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" specifically for Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Scarlett Johansson. Penelope Cruz has just the kind of flashy part that gets his characters noticed by the academy. Scarlett Johansson is outrageously overdue for her first nomination.

Photo: L.A. Times

The comments to this entry are closed.


Allen creates the same boring self indulgent characters over and over again forced to suffer the indignity of enacting Woody Allen's fantasies. His women are projections of Allen's distorted and limited view of women. Empty and dissatisfied victims. The voice over was childish. If Allen had used Bardems voice as the narrator who examined his own character throughout the movie, it might have aded some maturity to an otherwise adolescent film.

Penelope Cruz kisses Scarlett Johansson: So, what more do you need to know? :)

Seriously, this was a good movie as romantic comedies go. It suffers from the same triteness, predictability, and obvious plot-forethought the whole genre suffers from, but the same can be said about action films, etc. Nonetheless the acting is very good all-around but as others have pointed out, Penelope Cruz stole the show. She played the crazy borderline disordered bi ex-wife perfectly. A nomination at least, though I fear the character was too vapid and unremarkable personally (except for her craziness) to warrant an Oscar.

The unsung heroine of the movie though I feel is Rebecca Hall. She channeled Woody Allen's sense of malaise and inevitable feckless predisposition toward misery very well in the first half of the movie. Though to Allen's credit he stopped speaking through her when the romantic stuff got interesting and allowed the character to actually become more than just a bullhorn for his own outlook on life (which we all already know-- he showcases it mercilessly in all of his films!)

But aside from all that heavy karma, she managed to carve out a new character in the second half of the film and show how the confusion in her personal life forced her to grow in the sense that she had to start looking at things in new ways in order to be able to manage her emotional turmoil.

The other positive thing was that this film was mercifully short. No film should exceed 2 hrs. unless it's REALLY REALLY good, and those come once every 10 years. This wasn't one of them.

That kissing scene between Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansen ended wayyy too soon. =)

penelopez cruz will win the oscar! omg she was blazing hot and stole every scene! dont think scarlett will get a nomination. but definite noms for the screenplay, directing, and best picture. go penelope!!!!!

Ok--what I want to know is where the clothes came from? Rebeca Hall's shirts and pants, please! Brands, please! The movie was just average and at times the dialogue was ridiculous, but the clothes look nice.............

I don't believe Vicky Christina Barcelona will have a big splash in the upcoming Academy Awards. Its best shot is a screenwriting nod for Woody Allen and maybe an acting nod for Penelope Cruz, but I wouldn't be surprised if this film is entirely snubbed.

Woody Allen should be in jail, not allowed to make movies. He's a pedophile people! Just ignore that because he makes movies?

I happen to think that VCB is Woody's best film in years and I'm completely behind the push for Penelope Cruz, who was phenomenal in the movie. But Scarlett? My God, she was terrible, nearly sunk the movie. If there's going to be a second nomination for VCB, go with Rebecca Hall, who gives a surprisingly effective naturalistic performance.

Who approved the paranoid conspiracy rant about cloning? Do the moderators even read the comments?

There is NO ONE more deserving of an Oscar than Woody Allen - his contributino to film over the last 43 years deserves a Lifetime Acheivement Award if not a nod to his best film in five years.

I would like inform you that Scarlett Johansson (actress)actually is a clone from original person,who has nothing with acting career.Clone was created illegally by using stolen biomaterial. Original person is very nice(not d**n sexy),most important-CHRISTIAN young lady!I'll tell you more,those clones(it's not only one)made in GERMANY-world leader manufacturer of humans clones,it is in Ludwigshafen am Rhein,N. Bavaria, Mr. Helmut Kohl home town.You can't even imaging the scale of the cloning activity.But warning! H. Kohl clone staff 100% controlling their clones spreading around the world,they are very accurate with that, some of them are still NAZI type disciplined and mind controlled clones,be careful get close with clones you will be controlled too.Original family did not authorize any activity with stolen biological materials,no matter what form it was created,it all needs back to original family control to Cedars-Sinai MedicalCenter in LA.Original Scarlett is not engage,by the way!

Amen! It's exciting to see someone smartly addressing alternative relationships and the emotions they create. Fans of “Vicky” will love the dangerous, true threesome romance written about by a Harvard Grad, his crazy wife and real Romanian dancers in:

"Caribbean Dreams: TRUE STORY of an Ivy League Couple who Bought a STRIP CLUB in the Caribbean"



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