‘Wolf of Wall Street’ at the academy: What really happened
As we’ve exhaustively reported, the motion picture academy is on the older side. The average age of eligible Oscar voters is now 63. And as much as we’d like to picture these people as open-minded and artistically adventurous, reality just keeps slapping us in the face. To put it another way: We want to picture academy members as being like this guy when, in some cases, they’re more like him.
Now, with age comes certain privileges, but there is also an expectation that you’ve learned some manners along the way, which makes the dust-up at Saturday night’s academy screening of Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street” all the more ridiculous.
The Wrap reported off a Facebook post from 75-year-old actress Hope Holiday that after, as Holiday elegantly puts it, “three hours of torture -- same disgusting [junk] over and over again,” she headed for the elevator and, what do you know, when the doors opened, there was Scorsese and actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill and screenwriter Terence Winter. Awk-ward? Yes, especially when, according to Holiday’s post, another screenwriter “ran over to them and started screaming--shame on you.”
Of course, one can define “screaming” many ways. A Paramount rep labeled Holiday’s account as “extreme,” saying there was no shouting, only a negative comment offered in passing and quite possibly unheard as Scorsese and company were hurrying to get inside the theater for a post-screening Q&A. So when Holiday, who had roles in 1960’s “The Apartment” and 1965’s “The Rounders,” notes in the comments section of her post that “a fight almost ensued — I ran down the stairs,” we have to wonder whether she’s playing up the drama of this imagined “West Side Story"-style rumble just a tad.
What has gone unreported is that, aside from Holiday and the “screaming” screenwriter, “The Wolf of Wall Street” played quite well for academy members Saturday. Scorsese’s swaggering, drug-drenched saga of financial finagling isn’t for everybody, particularly those averse to garish, three-hour movies heavy on orgies, hookers and the tossing of little people.
But about 600 people showed up for the movie, a strong turnout given that Oscar voters had received a DVD screener of the film the preceding day. The audience laughed throughout the film and the comic set piece scene in which DiCaprio, incapacitated by Quaaludes, crawls to his car, drew loud applause as the film continued to play. “I haven’t seen that in some time,” one academy member notes. Members asked to stay anonymous as their opinions could affect Oscar voting.
“The craft of the movie is remarkable,” says another academy member in attendance. “People see that three-hour running time and groan, but it doesn’t feel like three hours when you’re watching it. And that’s a tribute to Scorsese and DiCaprio.”
When “Wolf” ended and the filmmakers entered, many members stood to applaud. Many didn’t. And a few had already left, probably returning home to rewatch “The Wizard of Oz” and wipe their memory banks clean of the debauchery they’d just witnessed.
“Are there really any good films anymore? Maybe it’s just me,” Holiday mused on her Facebook page. We’d like to think that the overall positive response to “Wolf” on Saturday, not to mention the general feeling that there’s been an abundance of great movies this year, would indicate that, yes, it is just you, Hope. And despite evidence to the contrary, we’ll keep that optimism alive, all the way through that last envelope at next year’s Oscars.
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