The L.A. Times' Pete Hammond attended a party Tuesday celebrating Inglourious Basterds' eight Oscar nominations where he encountered a confident Harvey Weinstein: "We're going to win Best Picture. This is the movie people love and it's Quentin's time. We are going for it and we are gonna get it," says Harvey. "Look, best director may be a question — and you can quote me on that — but we won the SAG award for best ensemble, actors are the biggest branch in the Academy and they love the movie." Citing the unpredictability of the preferential ballot and the tons of money he's going to spend on advertising during the final Oscar stretch, Weinstein thinks he can pull this one off. Also to Basterds' advantage: the probable support of the Academy's daffy elderly.
Hammond spoke to the always-charming Mickey Rooney, who no longer gives a crap and certainly doesn't need to see Basterds to know how he feels about it: "Oh we don't see pictures anymore. We just watch Turner Classic Movies," he said. But before the 89-year-old Academy member darted off to meet Quentin Tarantino (whom he "likes very much"), his wife Jan assured Hammond that Rooney's Oscar ballot would be filled out and mailed in anyway. Maybe he'll just have his maid do it? That's what Sophia Loren does, according to her son Eduardo who was also at the party. (Related: Jack Palance once told Vulture's Dan Kois, "My ballot? Eh, I give that thing to my granddaughter every year and let her vote.")
Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil had been forecasting a Basterds victory for months (though he's now predicting that Hurt Locker will win), with his partial reasoning being that Academy members might not be able to resist checking the box next to Inglourious Basterds' funny misspelled title. And come to think of it, that definitely sounds like something a lovable coot like Rooney (or his maid) might do when faced with a blurry ballot otherwise full of correctly spelled, boring-sounding movie titles that he's not seen.
The Weinstein Company is really only competitive in one other top Oscar race this year (Basterds' Christoph Waltz is a presumed lock for Best Supporting Actor), so Harvey's attention between now and March 7 will be pretty much undivided. He's a famously ruthless campaigner, as everyone knows, so if he can just win over a few younger, marble-having Oscar voters, we could totally see this happening.
'Basterds' comes roaring into final stretch [Notes on a Season/LAT]