Good Morning Oscar, October 25: The Rom-Com Bias

One actress works the room, and another fights that prejudice against romantic comedies

In this morning’s roundup of Oscar news ‘n’ notes from around the web, one actress works the room, and another fights that prejudice against romantic comedies.

Love and Other DrugsJeff Wells is ticked off about something else. This time, his ire has to do with awards-season handicappers’ refusal to consider that Anne Hathaway might be a Best Actress contender for “Love and Other Drugs” – a reluctance, he says, that is due to a bias against anything even remotely romantic-comedy-esque, and against director Ed Zwick. Shame on all the prognosticators who “haven’t touched notions of Hathaway with a ten-foot pole,” says Wells, who saw the film and thought its leading lady was definitely awards-worthy.  Then he turns around and writes off Lesley Manville, Sally Hawkins, Naomi Watts, Diane Lane and a host of others, because he’s sure that Natalie Portman, Annette Bening and Jennifer Lawrence are locks for Best Actress nominations, and the other two slots are between Hathaway, Michelle Williams and Nicole Kidman. That much certainty this time of year is a wonderful thing, if you can sustain it; I certainly can’t. (Hollywood Elsewhere)

Another Best Actress contender (and one of Wells’ three “locks”) is “Winter’s Bone” star Jennifer Lawrence, who’s in the midst of a 48-hour whirlwind trip to Los Angeles from the London set of “X-Men: First Class,” where she’s landed the blue body-painted role of Mystique. And considering how she just got into town a matter of hours ago, Lawrence has already generated a big chunk of press: Gregory Ellwood talks to her about Oscar campaigning and blue makeup (Awards Campaign), Scott Feinberg says he just spoke to her on the phone and will write about the conversation soon (ScottFeinberg.com), Wells posted at 4:30 this afternoon that he’d had a phone conversation with her “three hours ago” (and one of his readers responds, “Well I had the chance to speak to her about one hour ago”)  (Hollywood Elsewhere), and somewhere in there she squeezed in a BAFTA screening, a post-screening Q&A and an evening reception with co-stars John Hawkes and Dale Dickey. And, yeah, I met her at the reception and will be interviewing her on Monday afternoon, before she picks up a Hollywood Film Award and then immediately heads back to London.

If Oscar handicappers have a bias against Ed Zwick, it’s nothing compared to the way they look askance at Tyler Perry. The hitmaking director’s “For Colored Girls” has had a tough time picking up any serious awards buzz, because a lot of folks refuse to believe that the man who brought us all those Medea movies is an Oscar-caliber filmmaker. Of course, much of that skepticism came before Lionsgate showed the film to anybody, with occasional whispers suggesting that his new film could in fact be a contender. Not so fast, says Anne Thompson – who hasn’t seen the movie herself, but who excerpts the first two trade reviews (the Hollywood Reporter calls it a “train wreck,” Variety says it’s “inauthentically melodramatic”) and concludes that Lionsgate’s best bet might be to push for a Best-Song nomination for Janet Jackson.  (Thompson on Hollywood)

The Oscars just select the best movie of the year. But how about the most important  movie of the past quarter century? That’s what the magazine Mental Floss does in its new issue, with writers Carina Chocano and Mangesh Hattikudur producing a list topped by (are you ready?) “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.” Sacha Baron Cohen’s raucous, lawsuit-heavy comedy ranks first, they say, because of how it impacted the country of Kazakhstan, and gave it “an identity crisis.” The entire story is available only in print, but Christopher Campbell gives the rundown on a list of important films that also includes “Hoop Dreams,” “Do the Right Thing,” “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince,” “Toy Story,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Titanic,” “The Big Lebowski” and “sex, lies and videotape.” A little something for everybody, I guess. (indieWIRE)