Filmmaker James Cameron joined Chris Wallace on the latest episode of HBO Max and CNN’s “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace” to discuss his new movie “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which is currently breaking box office records. Wallace felt the need to bring up his Oscar acceptance speech for “Titanic” where Cameron quoted his own movie, shouting “I’m the king of the world!” And Cameron did admit that the moment is, in retrospect, “cringe-worthy,” but also explained where he was coming from: “I was trying to express the joy and excitement that I was feeling in terms of that movie, and the most joyful moment for the character.”
Wallace couched the question by acknowledging that, with 11 wins, “Titanic” is the winningest movie in Oscar history (tied with “Ben-Hur” and “Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King”), although the Oscar ceremony he was grilling Cameron about happened on March 23, 1998, so it’s a little baffling he brought it up at all. But here we are. History’s most successful director taking guff from a guy who worked for Fox News for almost 20 years.
“What I learned is, you don’t quote your own movie if you win,” Cameron explained. “Because it’s cringeworthy. It makes the assumption that you didn’t win by a narrow margin but that every single person sitting in the audience on that night at the Kodak Theatre saw and loved ‘Titanic.’ We’ll never know how much we won by, but it might not have been a landslide at all. I took flack for all 25 years after that, but you know, you live and you learn. I think what was interpreted as arrogance or a big ‘f— you, I-told-you-so’ wasn’t what was in my head at all.”
Cameron ended his remarks with a joke referencing Sally Field’s infamous “I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!” acceptance speech in 1985 (frequently misquoted as “You like me, you really like me!”) when she won for “Places in the Heart.” “You do have to be careful what you say in your acceptance speech. Me and Sally Field, we have a little self-help group together on this,” Cameron said.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is in theaters now. It is the best.