Eye on the Oscars: Oscar Wrap

Over the past several months, the Variety Screening Series assembled a healthy slice of the world’s finest filmmakers and talent to talk about their Oscar-contending films. Here are some of the most memorable quotes.

“I mean, it’s a shame that I had to be in this movie, because if Gene Wilder had been in it, I think it would’ve been the greatest movie of all time.”
Ryan Gosling
on “Lars and the Real Girl”

“I had a very easy time writing this screenplay. I paced with a cigarette and dictated half of it, and typed away freehand the rest with my assistant. It took me about 25 days, or something like that, but I had been thinking about it for 10 years. And so when I went to write the script, I made a point of not reading the book, which I had only read two times in one day, 10 years earlier. And I just kept writing, writing, writing. And finished, and then I went back and reread the book, and it turned out I had very few adjustments to make.”
Sean Penn
“Into the Wild” writer-director

“It’s not an empowering movie. It makes you want to go home and hug your wife and kiss your kids. From my point of view, I think it’s very unique — but very real — in the way that it deals with violence.”
Josh Brolin
“No Country for Old Men” co-star

“So we talked a lot about acting, and tried to find a style of acting for the piece, but we also ate a lot of lunch. And kind of got to know each other really, which I think is really important. And I always cast people I like. I never generally cast people that I don’t personally like. Because I just can’t talk to people that I don’t like. So it’s quite a little gang. A clique if you like, but no one’s excluded from it, apart from the rest of the world.”
Joe Wright
“Atonement” director

“To give all the credit that Russell deserves, he knew looking at this script, it’s called ‘American Gangster.’ It’s not called ‘American Cop.’ And Denzel has a very flashy role, and so for (Crowe) to kind of dig into this part the way he did, more credit to him.”
Steve Zaillian
“American Gangster” producer, on the film’s stars, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington

“When I got this job, my dad said, ‘Oh! You’re auditioning for this thing?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah! I get to do this movie with Jim Mangold!’ He was like, ‘That’s amazing!’ I was like, ‘I get to do this movie with Russell Crowe, Peter Fonda, Christian Bale …’ He goes, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Yeah! I shoot Peter Fonda!’ Dead silence. He goes, ‘You shoot Captain America? That’s amazing!'”
Ben Foster
“3:10 to Yuma” co-star

“I remember meeting with Tim (Burton) and saying, ‘Let’s just bite the bullet and say it’s a musical world. These people sing because the emotions they are feeling are such that they have to be heightened, and they have to sing — and the audience finally will accept it or won’t.’ That was sort of a gut-check decision.”
John Logan
“Sweeney Todd” writer

“First of all, when you have an excellent script, and you have a sensitive director and good actors, it’s very, very exciting not to have any money. It’s wonderful. Truly. What I wore came out of thrift shops. … Lili (Taylor) and Lauren (Ambrose) and I shared one tiny room in that apartment with a curtain in the middle of the room, and I’m changing clothes, and they’re changing clothes. … And really you have nothing to concern yourself with but excellence. You have nothing to work towards except that.”
Frank Langella
on “Starting Out in the Evening”

“If someone’s delivering a line that doesn’t feel right, (Denzel Washington) will stop, he’ll go up and give them a little whisper of something — no line readings, ever — and (the actor) will do it again. He gets it, and he moves on.”
Todd Black
“The Great Debaters” producer

“They were so primed, Laura and Phil. I think they were so perfectly matched in a certain way. They were like athletes that are perfectly matched to each other’s talents or skills. There was so much trust between them in terms of playing the scenes and lobbing the ball back and forth and having a kind of confidence that the person would throw it back maybe with a spin. There was a lot of pleasure there watching those guys do that thing they do.”
Tamara Jenkins
“The Savages” writer-director, on co-stars Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman

“Ironically, when Paul (Haggis) told me that he wanted Tommy (Lee Jones) to play the part, my initial reaction was fear, because he is a very imposing guy. But I think my fear came from what a good actor he is, and I think I knew that if he was onboard that I would definitely have to bring my A game. (Laughing, to director Haggis:) Remember when we had lunch and I was like, ‘I’m a little scared of Tommy.’ And Paul kept saying, ‘This is going to be great for the relationship I’ve written.'”
Charlize Theron
“In the Valley of Elah” co-star

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