2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

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Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

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Miranda Richardson, Spider

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Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

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The Blog:
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
The Kid Stays In The Picture D

Legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans is the subject of a film (or at least an E! style biography) about his life called The Kid Stays In The Picture, based on his autobiographical book of the same name. I do not know what kind of secrets, rich background information, interesting Hollywood factuals, or lessons learned are in the book, but they certainly are not in the movie.

Evans started out as a bad, minor Hollywood star, and was suddenly thrust into a VP of productions job at the then floundering Paramount studios. Immediately he turned the studio around, and in quick succession he made Rosemary's Baby, Love Story, The Godfather, and Chinatown amongst other films. Then in the 1980s, like many of Hollywood's new young guard of the 70s, Evans had a downfall which included legal troubles and drug issues. And now in the 90s he is kind of doing alright. That about sums up what The Kid has to say about Evans' life, and one would think that an autobiography turned into a biographical picture narrated by the man himself would shed some light on such an illustrious career, instead directors Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen (along with Evans evidently, he must have had a hand in trimming down his life into a 90 minute movie) give a very brief synopsis of a man who changed a studio and the kinds of movies that could be made there. Reading the back cover description of Evans' book probably gives more in depth information than this movie does, and it inexplicably leaves out the details in almost ever important event in his career (his sudden appointment at Paramount happens so quick one might miss it, and his legendary spats with Francis Ford Coppola are glossed over, the awards, press and praise over most of his hit films are much too humbly passed by, as is Evans' notorious womanizing).

The big surprise is that The Kid Stays In The Picture is the typical rise and fall arc common in almost any fictional or non-fiction story that starts all humble in the early 70s, rises to stardom soon after, and then hits the required drug bump/career nightmare called the 1980s. What could make this particular been-there-done-that arc different (besides the fact that it is mostly true, however one sided and biased) is that the movie is about ROBERT EVANS for heaven's sake, the man is responsible for more classic American films than any producer in history and his story should be interesting. This version is a watered down, glossed over, generalized, summed up, detail-less synopsis of a life that is obviously more fun, more interesting and had more ups and downs than The Kid makes clear. How did Evans learn how to produce? What exactly were his duties at Paramount? How much of a hand did he have in the classic films that bare his name? What kind of social life did he have? He says he loves his job, but what about it? Bossing people around? Creating art? Evans' rise is quick and painless, and apparently so is the creation of the historically difficult shoots of movies like The Godfather and Rosemary's Baby. Mr. Evans' narration, taken from his book, sounds like he is musing on something that happened so long ago he has strategically decided to forgive and forget all that happened, from his frequently vicious tiffs with Coppola to his sudden fall from grace in the 80s (who's origins are murky in the film, some drug this and that, some bad headlines and suddenly Evans is making bad films and no one likes him?). His wonderfully smooth, throaty voice irons over the tough wrinkles of his career, and under the guise of admitting how badly things went or how high he was on life, it is always clear that everything was much worse, or much better, than he makes it seem. The poor man does himself little justice.