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Kick Ass Credits

After spending almost two months on the road, I’ve had a week now to get back to life. My wife and I have added a second French Bulldog to our life – “Timby”. He joins “Abby” as co-rulers of the Reitman household. This has honestly been the highlight of my return… Oh, and of course seeing my wife (don’t want to get in trouble).

We had an enormous opening in three cities. We averaged 52 thousand per screen, which apparently is one of the top fifty of all time. Fox Searchlight is thrilled and I can’t believe how well we’re doing. Sold out shows in LA, NY, and DC. I heard an audience in DC gave the movie a standing ovation after it finished… at a movie theater. Crazy, eh?

I went to the premiere of the “Inside Man” Wednesday night. That was fun. I saw Spike Lee sitting with Reggie Miller. Ran into some friends. Over the course of the evening, perfect strangers came up and congratulated me on TYFS. That was pretty cool.

Went back to USC with producer Daniel Dubiecki to speak at Leonard Maltin’s film school class. That was a total trip. Here we were in Norris Theater, a room we had taken plenty of cinema classes (even though I was an English major and he was a Business major). Instead of sitting in the audience making jokes though out the movie (yeah, I was that guy), I was up on stage with something to say… I hope.

If you haven’t seen the film at this point, stop reading, get in the car, and see the next available showing. However, if you have seen the film, you were privileged enough to see our kick ass opening credits. They were designed by the boys over at Shadowplay Studio who I met from our film festival days together. I can’t tell you how often people come up and tell me I have the best opening credits they’ve ever seen – EVER.

They’re definitely up there, and it’s all due to these guys. Check out their site for another glimpse of the credits:

http://www.shadowplaystudio.com/smoking.html

Or see the wonderful film that got them started, “This Guy is Falling”:

http://www.atomfilms.com/af/content/atom_358

Check out the announcement of my new company Hard C:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr/search/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002235708

Dan and I are going to be doing some cool stuff. More on that later.

In the mean time -

See the movie.

Come be my friend. www.myspace.com/jasonreitman

Dance more.


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Flew back into Los Angeles and went directly to the Four Seasons for my LA press day. I actually showered and changed at the hotel and did my interviews instead of going home first and getting ready there. Fox publicity said this was because it would be faster to head straight to the hotel… The truth is that they just don’t want me lollygagging at my house… catching up with my wife (it’s been two weeks). It’s the same reason they always send town cars. It’s not that they want to lavish their clients with luxuries… it’s more of a control thing. If you’re in a town car, you can’t slip out in the middle of the day and go for a two-hour Henry’s Tacos break (the best burrito in LA… yes I’ve tried “your favorite taco stand”).

Thursday night was our premiere in Los Angeles. An SUV picked my wife, her folks, and I at home and took us to the Directors Guild of America on Sunset, where we had one hell of a red carpet. Apparently, they had such a good response from the press, that they had to turn the red carpet from an “I” into an “L”.

Did a bunch of photos. Macy brought a cigar and the press loved it. I started doing photos with my whole family, when the photographers started unanimously asking for the “father/son” shot. My dad turned to me and said, “That’s the shot they came for”. We both smiled and posed. Then I did something… I don’t know why I did it… But I see it in photos all the time and it always works. I put on a proud smile and POINTED at my father. The cameras started to click double time. I don’t know why that move works so well, but it just does.

Went in and introduced the film. I started by saying quite excitedly, “We’re at the premiere of Thank You For Smoking” and the audience applauded. I didn’t know I was going to open with that until I started walking down to take the mic. It just hit me. I told everyone how proud I was to be in Fox’s hands - That I still get goose bumps when I hear the “Fox Music” at the beginning of my film… You know… The drums - “Dum, Dum!… Dum, Dum!… BadaBadaBadaBada… Dum Dum!”

While the movie played, Peter Rice (the head of Searchlight), Lawrence Grey (Fox executive and very close friend), my dad, my wife, and I snuck away for a bite at Gaucho Grill. We all talked about how excited we were about the future… speaking of - Check out the trades tomorrow. You might find a new production deal getting announced about a very exciting new indy comedy company featuring a smart ass director and his life-long producing partner getting to make cool films with Rupert Murdoch’s money. I don’t know… it’s just a guess.

The after party kicked ass. They turned all the columns in the giant DGA lobby into enormous cigarettes. They had little apple pies with American flags in them (you need to see the film to get it). The walls were adorned with famous photos of actors smoking cigarettes and the crowd was filled with cigarette girls with candy cigarettes.

Going into the night, there was only one actor who had not seen the film – Sam Elliott. I tracked him down at the party and he gave me a big hug. He looked down at me through the tips of his eyebrows and said he loved it and was very proud to have been a part of the film. This made me particularly happy as he had concerns going in about his character being portrayed with dignity. He also introduced me to his wife, Katharine Ross… and just as I’m walking away thinking, well done Sam, snagging Ross… my wife turns to me and goes “Sam Elliott is sooo handsome.” She was one of ten women to tell me that… And this is a room with quite a few handsome men. Well done, Sam.

Friday, the film was released in Los Angeles, New York, and Washingotn DC. The response was fantastic. I should start by saying I got hourly calls from the studio, telling me our numbers. It’s pretty frightening how up to the minute their information is. I kept getting calls from friends in each city, telling me of sold out shows. One friend in DC told me the audience gave the movie a Standing-O!

The numbers came back Sunday and we had made a per screen average of 52K per screen. That’s in the top fifty of all time. It’s outstanding. All day Monday, I got calls from people in the industry congratulating me. Tuesday, I was offered the job to direct a crazy cast in a comedy that’s going into production almost immediately. I can’t say what it is… but… dude! I’m in the midst of writing my next film, so I turned it down. But it was one hell of an ego stroke.

This coming weekend, we’ll be in ten cities. Fingers and toes are crossed. This is the time to be telling all your friends to come out and see the film. If they ask you why, refer them to Kenneth Turn of the LA Times, Peter Travers of Rolling Stones, or two guys they may have heard of named Ebert and Roeper…

http://www.calendarlive.com/movies/reviews/cl-et-smoking17mar17,0,999291.story?coll=cl-mreview

http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/movie/_/id/7622069/rid/9440863/

http://tvplex.go.com/buenavista/ebertandroeper/today.html

Going to work on the DVD now… I know… It’s crazy, but I’m putting together the deleted scenes. Lot’s of fun stuff waiting for you… after you see it in the theater.

Got a question? Get me through MySpace… Come be my friend –

www.myspace.com/jasonreitman

Check out my short films –

www.atomfilms.com

Cut Chemist just released a single from his forthcoming album. He fucking rocks -

www.cutchemist.com



A Note of Gratitude

When I found out Thank You For Smoking was to have a cast show on Charlie Rose, my heart skipped a beat. This is a true and rare honor. The idea that Buckley, Sacks, Eckhart, and I were going on simultaneously was all the more exciting.

Anyone familiar with the Charlie Rose show knows that besides it being one of greatest interviews on Earth, esthetically, it’s quite the minimalist experience. Two people, sometimes more, sitting in black limbo on wooden chairs, at a cheap circular wooden desk. It’s a show devoted to the conversation. Nothing more.

That said, the building in which they shoot the show is the most technically advanced structure I’ve ever seen - The Bloomberg Building. Located on the Upper East Side, the place is shaped like a horseshoe of glass. The place is littered with giant stadium sized digital boards of all shapes that feed you constant information. There are aquariums on every floor. A free kitchen unlike any I’ve ever seen (I took a bowl of cereal and some Oreos… thanks Mike). Post modern chandeliers that sometimes hang to the floor and glass windows that become opaque depending on your angle of view. Oh… and an escalator that corkscrews. Apparently, one of two in the world.

Charlie was very welcoming and conducted a thoughtful interview that traced the background of the project while speaking to its political values and sense of humor. I still can’t believe we all had the privilege. David Sacks was particularly thrilled. It was his life long dream to appear on that show. I spoke to Fox about putting the episode on the TYFS DVD. Fingers crossed.

The next day, I got to live out my NPR fantasy. Michele Norris on All Things Considered in the morning and Elvis Mitchell’s “The Treatment” that afternoon. It’s so intimidating to go on those shows. They’re so smart. Next time, I’m bringing Roget.

That afternoon, I showed the film to the National Board of Review and did a Q&A. They seemed to like the film a lot. It was a real pleasure speaking with them. One guy compared the film to Sturgis. I haven’t stopped blushing.

At this very moment, I’m sitting on a plane. I’m flying back to Los Angeles for the final press day and our Hollywood premiere at the DGA. I can’t quite believe this tour is coming to an end and that this film is about to be open. As Buckley said to me the other night, this baby is about to start walking and we’re going to have to let go.

What’s amazing to me is that beyond the good reviews we’ve been receiving, the film has somehow made its way into the social consciousness. The last Sunday Style section did a piece on our treatment of Birkenstocks in the film and how this relates to the politics of the granola sandal. Business Week just did a piece entitled, “It’s Hard Out Here For a Lobbyist” comparing TYFS to the recent lobbyist scandals. A Washington Post Op-Ed piece on White House lies used Nick Naylor to begin the discussion on spin.

This baby certainly is taking its first steps. However, that’s not an accident. It’s the work of some extremely talented people at Fox, who I couldn’t have been more fortunate to work with. I had always heard that they were the SWAT team of theatrical marketing and publicity, but experiencing it first hand and being the recipient of their hard work has been a pleasure beyond anything I could describe.

I’d like to take this moment to thank all of them. From the keys in Los Angeles and New York to all the reps across the US and Canada. You have made this experience so wonderful for me and have treated this film with so much care and respect. THANK YOU!

This is not the end of the blog. Just the perfect time to stop and express my gratitude. I think you have to make a film with the intention of making a good movie… not a financially successful one. While I would love this movie to become an enormous hit and make Fox everything it deserves for getting behind this film, I can’t help already feeling like I could die happy never making another movie. That’s how good this all feels. I really wish every person on this planet could get to feel how I do right now.

Has this all been too schmaltzy? If not, stop reading. If so, here’s a joke to lighten the mood:

A girl walks up to the checkout stand at a grocery store. The clerk begins scanning her items. She has one TV Dinner, one bottle of diet coke, one rental video, one carton of ice cream, and an US Weekly.
The guy at the checkout smiles at her and says, "Single, huh?"
The girl smiles back sheepishly and says, "Yeah, how did you know?"
“Because you're fucking ugly."

Why aren't you my friend on MySpace yet? -
www.myspace.com/jasonreitman

Also, check out the photo from the MTV folks in Canada. They mocked up my own anti-smoking logo for Canadian cigarettes - Hilarious.

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Chris Buckley gets frisky with a stranger in the dark… Just read.

Flew in to La Guardia Sunday morning. My wife landed in the same terminal ten minutes later. Big hug… then we rushed into the city for our NY premiere. Got to the hotel and jumped into our fancy clothes. She was wearing her birthday gift – A dress from Prada. She looked incredible.

Moments later, we were stepping out of a town car at MOMA. Yeah, did I mention it was happening at the Museum of Modern Art? Are you kidding me? We stepped out and all the photographers lowered their cameras… We’re nobodies. Then, the publicist from the film mentioned I was the director and flash bulbs started firing off. Thank God I don’t have epilepsy. It was kind of fun, but a bit shocking. Like a firing squad… only, they’re asking you to look down the barrel.

Michele (my wife) and I were just standing there, smiling for the cameras, when a car pulled up and a violent rush of energy ran through the crowd. People started yelling. Cameras fired away like machine guns – It was Halle Berry. I yanked Michele out of the way and took cover as the Halle Berry tidal wave came rushing through. It must be witnessed to understand. She is beautiful… she’s a star… she’s a force of nature. All you can do is stand clear.

We got inside the museum and started the red carpet. I was doing my first interview, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw Robert Duvall. I had not seen him since the shoot and feared he wouldn’t recognize me. However, he immediately smiled and gave me a big hug. I can’t tell you how nervous I was to hear what he thought of the film.

We went back to the red carpet to begin separate interviews. The first thing I heard, was a reporter asking him, “So, Mr. Duvall, will the Katie Holmes scene be in tonight?” and him responding, “What the hell are you talking about?”

The red carpet was a wonderful reunion. I saw Aaron and gave him a big hug during one of his interviews. Then my parents showed up… I hadn’t seen them in over a month since I started the tour. Chris Buckley was there too.

After the press was done, we took the escalator down to the large movie theater. It was already packed. Larry from MOMA introduced me by comparing TYFS to the work of Capra and Wilder… Yikes. Talk about setting the audience up for disappointment.

I got up there and thanked the people who meant most to this film. Buckley, Sacks, Eckhart, my producing partner Daniel Dubiecki (who’s been along for most if this ride), my wife, and my parents. I mentioned how my mom was the first person to ever bring me to MOMA and taught me to recognize the importance of art.

Then, I got the distinct honor of presenting a pristine print of Thank You For Smoking on behalf of Fox Searchlight to the museum. You see, MOMA has decided to archive TYFS in their permanent collection. I know… I can’t believe it either. We’re in the same temple as Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Chuck Close. My great, great, grandchildren will be able to come to New York and see a 35mm print of my film…You know, as long as they’re not too busy checking out central park or having a pretzel or something.

The movie started and apparently played well. I was a few blocks away having a P.J. Clarks hamburger during the film– The Best Hamburger In The World. (Yes, I’ll go toe-to–toe on this any day.) By the time we got back, the film was just letting out. We mingled in the giant lobby of the museum underneath a suspended helicopter from the Art of Safety Exhibition.

I saw Duvall in line at the dessert buffet and quickly shot over to him. A big gulp, then I tapped him on the shoulder. He smiled and shook my hand. “Great job”. He went on congratulating me and mentioning how he wished he had more scenes. His beautiful wife turned to me and added, “You know he means it. At another premiere, he walked up to the producer after the film, gave him a thumbs down, and walked out.” Duvall nodded to confirm the story.

Yikes.

I started back over to my table at the premiere, but found myself getting stopped every few feet with congratulations. People really seemed to like it. Even Halle liked it. I told her to remember that when I sent her a screenplay one day. We took a picture together and it wound up in Variety the following day. Not bad?

The best story from the premiere didn’t even happen to me. It involved Chris Buckley, who was sitting in front of Aaron Eckhart. Throughout the film, any time Eckhart did something great on screen, Chris would reach back and grab his ankle.

During the party afterwards, Eckhart and Buckley got to talking. Buckley said, “There was quite an energy in there.” To which Eckhart responded, “Oh, was there?”
Buckley frowned, “Weren’t you in the screening?”
Eckhart, “No, I left once the movie started.”
Buckley blanched, “Then, whose leg was I squeezing throughout the film?”

The Glorious Scent of Meat

Flew into Austin on Friday for South by Southwest. Stepped out of the airport, hightailed it into town, and found myself introducing the film at the Alamo Theater twenty minutes after I landed. For those of you who have never had the Alamo Theater experience, let me explain. It’s a movie theater with countertops in front of each row and just enough aisle space for a server to squeeze by and bring you dinner… and drinks.

Usually, I get pretty nervous about introducing a film. I like to take notes and have a small piece of paper to remind me of key people. However, there was no time for that. I wasn’t even supposed to speak. When I got in the car and heard we had a chance of making it before the film started, inspiration struck. I told them to hit the gas.

I got up in front of the audience and spoke about something that had not really occurred to me until I touched down in Austin. Two of my biggest filmmaking inspirations were not only from the state of Texas, but from that very city. I told the audience that throughout my childhood, my perception of an independent film was an inaccessible French film… But then I saw a movie called “Slacker” (Richard Linklater) and realized an independent film could be whatever it wanted… And then I read a book entitled “Rebel Without A Crew” (Robert Rodriguez) and realized I could do it.

I wasn’t pandering. It was the truth. It came from my heart and I think the audience appreciated that. Then, I stepped away from schmaltzing it up and let the movie begin.
Came back for the Q&A and had a blast talking with the audience. After, I went to the opening night party at a local bar. Played darts with my producer Dan and said hello to my buddy Judah Friedlander, comic/actor extraordinaire and World Champion. Don’t believe me? Look him up.

The following day, I did local press. There’s a manic look in the eyes of the Texan press during SXSW. It’s day one and they not only have hundreds of movies to cover, but hundreds of bands… most of them mediocre… that will make their ears bleed, until the thought of typing will drive them into a seizure.

The real treat of Austin, was being taken to the best BBQ in town by Quint from Ain’t It Cool. We had met at Santa Barbara Film Festival and discussed my trip to SXSW. He said there was one stop I must hit before I leave town... The Salt Lick.

CUT TO: Us in an SUV driving down a barren road in rural Texas. (Yeah, I used “cut to”. I’m a director. Blow me.) We’ve been driving by ranches for thirty minutes and I’m beginning to wonder how well I actually know Quint. Then, it appears on the horizon. A glint of light that became a parking lot of a hundred cars, piled up behind an enormous wooden barn house.

We pulled up into the driveway to find good old boys in jeans and shirts, with badges and side arms, pointing us where to go with absolute seriousness. There’s over a hundred people here sitting at picnic tables with their coolers. Under a canopy are a couple kids serving the best homemade lemonade I’ve ever had. And then the smell catches me… It’s coming from the main house off to the side. It’s the smell of meat. My mouth starts to water.

Inside is a fire pit, fueled only by logs, that sends smoke through an enormous circular grill carrying the variety of meat. A large dome captures the smoke, ensuring the smoky taste.

The five of us are seated forty-five minutes later and order the “all you can eat” special. What this means is a large plate of sausage, ribs, and brisket is brought to our table over an over, until we wave a white flag or simply die. The brisket is out of control. It’s worth the drive, It’s worth the wait. It’s worth the coronary.

While leaving, I caught a bumper sticker on a truck that put it best: "If God didn't want us to eat animals, why did he make them out of meat?"

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Taking a drunk girl’s virginity in Dallas… I’ll explain

Flew into Dallas and went straight to our screening at SMU. I love going back to college. Went down into the basement of the student center where TYFS was playing in the school theater. Next to the entrance of the theater, laid out over a dozen tables, was a Christian Books and Bible Fair. It occurred to me at that moment that “Southern Methodist University” could be a fairly religious school… The students who were hosting our screening assured me that it was nothing of the sort. Phew. I’m not ready to answer those questions.

Great Q&A. It went on for over a half hour and the poster signing went on about the same. One girl came up and told me her boyfriend was a huge Bill Macy fan. I signed a poster to him as follows: Sean, Stop jerking off to Macy, You Perv.

The next day was the usual press. First off was “Good Morning Texas”. The host just loved TYFS. I haven’t quite gotten used to the live morning show thing. It’s crazy to know I’m being watched live. All I keep thinking is - Whatever you do, don’t swear. On the show before me was Howard Stern’s girlfriend Beth. We spoke shortly. I mentioned that my father produced “Private Parts” and she lit up. She was well aware of “Thank You For Smoking”. She and Howard are apparently both excited about seeing it. I’m trying to get a screening set up for them.

Then, I went on a radio show called Pugs and Kelly. They were a fun duo, originally from Chicago. Pugs (the guy) is a huge David Koechner fan. Koechner plays the gun lobbyist in TYFS, but you probably know him best as Champ in “Anchorman”. I saw David for the first time in a band called the Naked Trucker that plays at Largo in LA. They’re out-of-control hilarious. What impressed me most was that Pugs had a Naked Trucker song cued up and ready to go.

Lunch was at Mia’s, home of the award winning brisket tacos. They were awesome. Well deserving of their accolades. From there, I went to my final Dallas interview. This young woman from a webzine came in to interview me. She set down a digital recorder and a mic and began asking questions. Something was a bit off, but I couldn’t quite place it. She seemed just a touch nervous. After the interview, she revealed that it was her first interview ever and that she had drank two beers before coming over to calm her nerves.

I said, “You gave me your interview virginity and didn’t even tell me?” Later on, she sent me an e-mail to let me know she had plugged the mic into the headphone jack and had recorded nothing. She now plans on doing the piece on how she downed a couple beers and blew the interview. It will probably make a better story.P1010025

Mr. Roboto

Tuesday Toronto. Wednesday Chicago.

Toronto brought me back to the Varsity Theater, where TYFS played during the festival. They actually had an autograph table set up for me after the screening. I felt like an author. I’ve added a few new lines to the autograph arsenal…

Bill, People will kill you for your shoes.

Janet, The rash still hasn’t gone away. Ointment?

Yakov (or any foreign name), Welcome to America! Behave yourself or we’ll ship you back.

While in most cities I haven’t had any time to myself, Toronto offered me a few minutes to hit the town. I dropped by this limited edition sneaker store called “Good Foot”. The place rocks. I picked up a pair of baby blue Nike SB’s as well as these frayed SB High Tops that aren’t available in the US yet.

I did a TV interview with this girl from the new MTV channel in Canada. It’s the first interview where the camera guys wouldn’t sit still. Halfway through the interview, she pulled out five Canadian cigarette packs (which feature gruesome photos and odd quotes). She told me to rate them 1-5. I picked the smoking pregnant woman that read, “Cigarettes hurt babies”. It’s the funniest by far. The quote makes me think of a cigarette character with arms and legs punching a baby… Maybe it’s just me.

Wednesday, I was off to Chicago. I wasn’t in my hotel ten minutes before I ordered a Chicago style stuffed crust pizza from Giordanos. My view from the hotel apparently looked over the old fair grounds featured in the non-fiction book, “The Devil in White City” (Must read if you like true crime).

Halfway through the press day, we stopped at the CBS affiliate for a taped interview with Bill Zwecker. We sat down for the interview and immediately experienced a phenomenon that creeps me out: Robotic Cameras. I had heard that human operators had fallen to the wayside to make way for automated dollies, but seeing them is pretty surreal. They’ve had them everywhere from Phoenix to Boston, but I can't get used to them.

Out of nowhere, they come to life, rising up as if awoken. They then glide towards you, get eye level, and stare through your soul. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were equipped with lasers for misbehaving guests. Ever seen the Chemical Brothers video “Believe”? (You should). It’s like that.

The Chicago screening took place in this crazy mall that uses an ascending walkway like the Guggenheim Museum in NY. Kind of crazy and not very efficient if you ask me. The audience was great and I’ve already become MySpace friends with some of them.

That reminds me – The TYFS MySpace page is now up:

www.myspace.com/thankyouforsmoking

Check it out. Also - Just saw a test of the official website. It kicks more ass than a Giordanos pizza. On the subject of food that makes you believe in God, I'm going to have to rate my top five meals on the road. Going to be tough. Got ridiculous tacos and BBQ brisquit to report from Dallas and Austin. Stay tuned.
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It's your turn to speak

Just realized something over the last few days… Journalists are reading my blog. This means two things of course: 1. They’re hearing all my bitching about getting asked the same question over and over which of course is no fault of theirs. 2. I have nothing to tell them when they arrive, because they’ve already read the majority of my answers here. Literally… in the last two days, I’ve had reporters say, “Yeah, I already read that answer on your blog… Can you give me something new?” A new answer - To the same question. They’re asking me to be two-faced.

Monday was my press day in Miami. Did a local morning radio show and got to share the air with Danica Patrick (Indy race car driver… Look her up. It’s worth it.) She’s about five feet tall and drives around two hundred thirty miles an hour for a living. She’s the best thing to happen to racing since they made that movie “3”. Love that thing. That said, I was in the studio and she called in.

Got finished up in Miami that afternoon and flew to DC. I landed at Reagan around 8pm. Got in the car, changed into a suit and tie and arrived at the Metropolitan Club around 8:15pm for an evening of politicos. I started my morning by talking to an Indy race queen who boasts getting pedicures before each race and finished the evening by dining next to Chris Matthews. How did I get here again? Oh, that’s right. I made a movie.

The dinner was out of control. The Metropolitan club is old world DC. Fifteen foot ceiling in a solid wood dining room. The table was arranged in a giant “U”… Like a UN summit. The first guy to congratulate me on my film… John McLaughlin. The last guy to congratulate me… William Cohen, (Secretary of Defense under Clinton).

The dinner began with a speech by Christopher Hitchens (Political satirist… Look him up. It’s worth it.) He did about fifteen minutes off the cuff. It was brilliant. Hilarious, touching, politically biting. I should have brought a dictionary. Moments after he finished, Chris Buckley got up and spoke. He’s even better. Complete command over the room and the English language. Then Chris Matthews spoke (completing the triumvirate of Christopher’s). He of course was brash, topical, and hilarious.

Then something happened… Everyone turned to me. They were expecting me to speak. Are you fucking kidding me? Buckley gave me a little look, meaning – I believe it’s your turn, lad. Gulp.

I stood up and took a deep breath and said, “I have no business standing in this room. I listen to these men speak and forget that I speak English.” Laughter – Good. “I went on about how because of this film, people actually think I’m political. They think I have an opinion worth listening to. And that can only be attributed to Christopher Buckley. He gave me my satirical voice and in doing so, gave me my career.” Big applause. I thanked them for hosting the dinner and told them I’d never forget the evening… Then I told them to find me on MySpace and friend me.

Got to sleep a little after midnight. Woke up at 4am for a flight to Toronto. Arrived around 8am. Went straight into press all day long, followed by a screening, and a 10pm phone interview. Then, I slept the sleep of blood-drenched warriors after battle.Dsc00149

Pyrrhic Victory

Oscars final tally: 17 and 7. Not exactly my best ever. I usually like to get at least 20 right. However, with three short film categories, it doesn’t leave much room for error. Had a nagging feeling about a few of them, but Crash… That was out of the blue… Or was it?

Over fifty percent of the academies voting body are actors. When you think about what an actor driven film Crash is and that it won the SAG award for ensemble cast, it begins to stand to reason. I like Crash. Sure, it’s emphatic, but it’s good. Personally, my favorite film of 2005 was Squid and the Whale. But what do I know?

More importantly, I just squeaked by the girl from Atlanta. 4-3. Not exactly a win I can be proud of… While a “W” is a “W”, in consideration of my “done deal” comment, perhaps we can call it a tie.

I watched the Oscars from my hotel room in Miami. Thought Jon Stewart was really funny. Loved him in bed with Clooney.

I was in Miami for the film festival. TYFS played in this incredible theater called the Gussman. It looked like an old time movie palace… that seats 1,500 people. Beautiful ornate walls and moldings. And what a crowd – When I came on stage for the Q&A, I got a partial standing-O (first time).

Oscar Show Down

While I was in Atlanta, this girl in the audience challenged me for my Oscar picks. She was a tough little cookie and predicted my failure. So below, I have listed my picks for all categories followed by her picks for the major awards. It should be noted that these are not all the films and people we think DESERVE to win, but rather who we think WILL win. Everyone and anyone are welcome to put their picks in the comments section. I have only one further thing to say little miss tough cookie - It's on.

MY PICKS:

Actor (done deal)
Philip Seymour Hoffman - CAPOTE
Supporting Actor (coin toss with Giamatti)
George Clooney - SYRIANA
Actress (coin toss with Reese)
Felicity Huffman - TRANSAMERICA
Supporting Actress (done deal)
Rachel Weisz - THE CONSTANT GARDENER
Animated Feature (done deal)
WALLACE & GROMIT IN THE CURSE OF THE WERE-RABBIT
Art Direction (confident)
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
Cinematography (confident)
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Costume Design (confident)
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA
Directing (done deal)
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Documentary (close, but confident)
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS
Doc Short (pure guess, it’s got the word Rwanda)
GOD SLEEPS IN RWANDA
Film Editing (confident)
CRASH
Foreign Film (very confident)
Paradise Now
Make-Up (good feeling)
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE
Musical Score (done deal)
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Music Song (could happen)
"It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" from HUSTLE & FLOW
Best Picture (done deal)
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Animated Short (good short, but a guess)
9
Short Live Action (wild guess)
AUSREISSER (THE RUNAWAY)
Sound Editing (confident)
KING KONG
Sound Mixing (confident)
KING KONG
Visual Effects (very confident)
KING KONG
Adapted Screenplay (Done Deal)
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN
Original Screenplay (Done Deal)
CRASH

THE TOUGH LITTLE COOKIE FROM ATLANTA'S PICKS:

Best Actress - Reese Witherspoon
Best Actor - Phillip Seymour Hoffman
Supporting Actress - Michelle Williams
Supporting Actor - Giamatti
Director - George Clooney
Best Picture - Crash