If you had to pick one: ‘Barbie’ or ‘Oppie’?

A man in a fedora stands looking down a long desert road with a 1940s car parked nearby.
Cillian Murphy plays J. Robert Oppenheimer in “Oppenheimer.”
(Universal Pictures)

We’re a few days from Thanksgiving — this newsletter will be off next week, mired in a food coma brought on by far too much pie — and studios and streamers are scrambling to get a little preholiday attention to their awards season movies before the town shuts down and people head to LAX for ... a 2-mile walk?

I’m Glenn Whipp, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter and the guy who has always known that Angeles Crest Highway beats PCH. Let’s head to the roundup, shall we?

2024 Oscars shaping up as a ‘Barbenheimer’ sequel

A long time ago — relatively, in this short-attention-span age — and at multiplexes not so far away, the simultaneous theatrical release of “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” was pretty much all anyone could talk about. Admittedly, this was before Travis Kelce crafted a friendship bracelet for a certain someone, before we were well-versed on SAG-AFTRA interim agreements, before we were rewatching “Friends” through our tears.

And now, nearly half a year later, we’re starting to talk about “Barbenheimer” again. This time, the focus isn’t on the propriety of quoting the Bhagavad Gita during sex or how “Barbie” director Greta Gerwig worked references to “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and “The Red Shoes” into what, on paper, could have been an extended toy commercial. The conversation has turned to the Oscars, a ceremony that’s shaping up as a sequel to that magical opening weekend.


How big a sequel? I put on my thinking cap (a fedora, of course) and combed through the awards categories in a recent column to chart what’s going to be an (equally?) incredible Oscars for both films. What do you think?

Scorsese laughs off internet fame: ‘I was tricked’

It was a rainy day in Los Angeles and Martin Scorsese and I were nearing the end of a long conversation, talking about the future. Today’s his 81st birthday, and I was curious if he might pivot to a project or two that would take a little less time and effort than his last two full-feast films, “The Irishman” and “Killers of the Flower Moon.” (The answer is yes, and I’ll have more to say on that subject in a few weeks in a Los Angeles Times Envelope magazine cover profile.)

In the meantime, though, I mentioned the short films (OK, TikToks) shot by his talented daughter, Francesca, videos that have the cinematic legend guessing — quite successfully, it should be noted — the meaning of modern slang (GOAT) or bopping through the platform’s movie bracket challenge, ultimately landing on “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“I was tricked into that,” Scorsese tells me, smiling. “That was a trick. I didn’t know those things go viral. They say ‘viral.’ I didn’t know.

“I’m at home doing things,” he continues, “and she comes up to me and says, ‘Dad, look over here and tell me this.’ So I’m in my pajamas .... ,” Scorsese can’t finish the sentence, he’s laughing so hard.


We talked more about how he has become an unlikely viral TikTok sensation, why he prefers “Birdman” (and “Once Upon a Time in the West”) to “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and whether he actually watches any of these videos his daughter posts. It was a fun little slice of our conversation that I couldn’t resist writing up in advance of the profile — even if my movie heart will always belong to Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee Van Cleef.

Martin Scorsese, in a dark suit and blue tie, walks the red carpet at a film premiere.
Martin Scorsese at the London Film Festival premiere of “Killers of the Flower Moon.”
(Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

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Robbie Robertson’s personal connection on final film with Scorsese

After speaking with Scorsese, I headed over to Village Studios, the spot on Santa Monica Boulevard where the late, great Robbie Robertson recorded and created and dreamed. The occasion was a concert celebrating Robertson’s life and music. Somehow, I found myself sitting behind Joni Mitchell, grooving to Jackson Browne and Jason Isbell singing the Band’s anthem “The Weight,” and next to Barbi Benton, regaling me with secret tales connected to many of the people in the audience.

Robertson died in August, not long after his final musical collaboration with Scorsese, the score for the filmmaker’s latest masterpiece, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” had been heard by audiences at its Cannes premiere. Scorsese delivered a moving, 17-minute remembrance of his friendship with Robertson, which began with the concert film “The Last Waltz” and continued through collaborations on movies like “The King of Comedy,” “Silence” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

“I guess when all is said and done it was a kind of folie à deux,” Scorsese said, “for these two individuals who came together and did something that on their own, they wouldn’t have done.”

Tim Greiving recently wrote a terrific piece for The Times, focusing on Robertson’s work on “Killers of the Flower Moon,” a score he rates as the best of his career. Perhaps, Tim muses, that was because the film, which tells the story of the murder of Osage natives for their oil rights in 1920s Oklahoma, felt personal to Robertson, a descendant of Mohawks.

“It was what made it especially important for him, especially meaningful,” Scorsese told Tim. “I’m so happy we got to do it together.”

A man in glasses and a dark shirt sits smiling with his arms crossed
The late, great Robbie Robertson.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)


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