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Good Morning Hollywood, September 22: Talk of ‘The Town’

Debate heats up over the Facebook movie and the Boston bank robbery movie

AWARDS BEAT

In this morning’s roundup of movie news ‘n’ notes from around the web, debate heats up over the Facebook movie and the Boston bank robbery movie.

As the awards season gets underway for real, so does one of the occupational hazards of Oscar-watching: somebody writes about something, somebody else writes about what the first person wrote, a third person writes about the first two people, and then somebody else links to all of it. The new mini-tempest started when Deadline’s Pete Hammond called Ben Affleck’s “The Town” a bona fide Best Picture contender on the heels of a reportedly “smash” screening for AMPAS members last Saturday at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. While those screenings can be an effective indicator of where voters’ sympathies lie, they can also be misleading: last year, you might remember, Hammond swore that “Michael Jackson’s This Is It” was going to get a Best-Pic nomination because it played so well at the Goldwyn.  

Ben Affleck and Jeremy RennerAnyway, Hammond made his case, and the Hollywood Reporter’s Gregg Kilday followed with a piece whose headline dubbed “The Town” an Oscar contender, though the story itself mostly said “the debate has begun” over its awards-worthiness. And the debate did indeed begin: Patrick Goldstein wrote about Hammond and Kilday and insisted, “the film, for all its merits, isn’t a contender at all.” Jeff Wells went even further: “No. Effin’. Way.” And Good Morning Hollywood – which doesn’t think a Best Picture nomination is in the cards for the film – linked to all of them.

Ever since David Fincher’s “The Social Network” began picking up rave reviews and awards buzz, I’ve figured that the cries of “it’s fiction!” would begin raining down on the film. In part, Fincher has sidestepped questions of veracity by centering the film on court cases in which all sides tell their stories, and the film’s P.R. crew is emphasizing that Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay was written at the same time as Ben Mezrich’s book, and isn’t a true adaptation despite what the film’s opening credits say. (At In Contention last week, Kris Tapley explored the idea that it might qualify as an original screenplay, not an adaptation.) Now Gawker has reprinted a story from BusinessInsider.com, which uses Instant Messages, emails and unpublished documents to detail the ways in which the book (and movie) might have been misleading in its account of how and why Mark Zuckerberg pushed Eduardo Saverin (Mezrich's original source) out of Facebook. (Gawker)

Here’s a conspiracy theory to savor: Jeff Wells says “I’m hearing an idea that the departure of White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers … has something to do with a recent Washington, D.C. screening of Charles Ferguson’s ‘Inside Job.’”  He doesn’t have any real evidence – doesn’t even know if such a screening took place – but nonetheless loves the idea that Summers’ resignation might have been nudged by the film, which makes a convincing case that Summers was one of the Wall Street insiders-turned-policymakers who helped cause, and failed to halt, the conditions that led to the 2008 crash. The scenario seems unlikely, but Ferguson and Sony Classics might want to take credit regardless … (Hollywood Elsewhere)