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Oscar Watch: Academy loves 'Theory.' 'Interstellar'? Not so much

Oscar Watch: Academy loves 'Theory.' 'Interstellar'? Not so much
Rene Russo in the movie "Nightcrawler." (Chuck Zlotnick / Open Road Films)

Oscar Watch will come to you every Monday, sizing up the recent developments of the awards season. Who's up? Who's down? And why, if Christopher Nolan is such a perfectionist, couldn't academy members understand much of the dialogue in "Interstellar"? Read on for the answers.

"Interstellar"

Academy members finally had the chance to see Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic en masse Saturday night and their response pretty much mirrored that of critics and journalists who have praised the film's scope and ambition while opining that maybe, just maybe, the whole thing is just a bit too ridiculous for its own good. 

"Matthew McConaughey just kept talking and talking and explaining and explaining but I still have no idea what that movie was about," one academy member groused. Added an Oscar-nominated producer: "You know that planet they visit where every hour they spend on it equals seven Earth years? That's how I felt watching the movie."

About 800 people turned out for the evening screening and, contrasted with last year's outer space Oscar contender, the reaction was subdued to the point on non-existent. Perhaps that owed to the 169-minute running time. Or maybe the Oscar voters were clapping and we just couldn't hear them because Hans Zimmer's score was still ringing in our ears.

But the take-away remains the same. "Interstellar" isn't going to win best picture, as a few pundits had predicted, sight unseen. It might not even win a nomination. And, despite the fact that (apparently) "Hollywood loves Christopher Nolan," the exacting filmmaker will likely still be looking for his first nomination as a director come his next movie.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal's new movie, the thriller "Nightcrawler," played at Toronto too, where it won much love. It opened in theaters Friday to mostly fine reviews, with Gyllenhall receiving the kind of notices that usually thunder loudly through the Oscar pundit echo chamber. The catch with Gyllenhaal is that his "Nightcrawler" character is such a skeez that it's hard to believe that the same academy members who came to the "Theory of Everything" screening straight from high tea at the Huntington are going to vote for a guy playing a sicko who makes their skin crawl.

Of course, there's more than one type of academy voter. And maybe, just maybe, if Gyllenhaal continues to bring the cuteness in talk show appearances like this, voters possessing a more delicate sensibility will embrace this nice young man too.

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