April 21, 2021

Oscar Beat: Gone Girl and Grand Budapest Hotel

The David Fincher movie, Gone Girl, based on the best-selling novel of Gillian Flynn didn’t get much Oscar love recently. Rosamund Pike, in a tour-de-force role, garnered the only Oscar nomination in the Best Actress category. Ben Affleck, Tyler Perry and Neil Patrick Harris turned in decent portrayals, but it was Fincher that was perhaps unjustifiably left off the best director list. However you may feel about the unlikable characters, Fincher captured the twisty-turny plot effect of the book, no small feat when translating a novel to film. David Fincher’s films include Fight Club, Panic Room, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and two episodes of Netflix’s House of Cards so we don’t have to worry too much about his bruised ego.

I was pleasantly surprised that The Grand Budapest Hotel was not forgotten by Oscar even though the film’s release was ages ago, by awards season standards. The project was truly international with American film director Wes Anderson at the helm of this joint British-German production. Anderson’s screenplay was based on the writings of acclaimed Austrian author Stefan Zweig about a hotel in a fictional alpine state called the Republic of Zubrowka. Ralph Fiennes stars as a hotel concierge who is framed for murder. The cast reads like a “who’s who” list of film: F. Murray Abraham, Bob Balaban, Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Harvey Keitel, Jude Law, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Tony Revolori, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton, Tom Wilkinson and Owen Wilson. The marvelous art direction sets the characters in this vivid storybook setting with the film’s comedy but a thin veneer over more serious topics. I saw The Grand Budapest Hotel on a small screen and beg the distributors to re-release it in a theater or two if Oscar should land on Wes Anderson’s mantel for Best Picture, Best Direction or Best Original Screenplay. His other films include Bottle Rocket, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou, The Squid and the Whale, The Darjeeling Limited, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise Kingdom.

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