Of all five nominees for this year's DGA Award — Woody Allen (Midnight in Paris), David Fincher (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Alexander Payne (The Descendants) and Martin Scorsese (Hugo) — you might think that Hazanavicius (above) would be the least likely to have made the film that's sparked the fury of a Hollywood legend. "This Oscar season has so far been tame in terms of bad-mouthing," writes Deadline's Mike Fleming, "and I don't think I've heard a complaint quite like this one before." And he reproduces an official statement that went out far and wide today that begins:
Los Angeles: "I want to report a rape," said Kim Novak, the legendary star of Vertigo, Picnic, and many other revered classics. "My body of work has been violated by The Artist. This film took the Love Theme music from Vertigo and used the emotions it engenders as its own. Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart can't speak for themselves, but I can. It was our work that unconsciously or consciously evoked the memories and feelings to the audience that were used for the climax of The Artist."
Fleming has updated his report to note that, while The Weinstein Company has remained mum, Hazanavicius has not:
The Artist was made as a love letter to cinema, and grew out of my (and all of my cast and crew's) admiration and respect for movies throughout history. It was inspired by the work of Hitchcock, Lang, Ford, Lubitsch, Murnau and Wilder. I love Bernard Herrmann and his music has been used in many different films and I'm very pleased to have it in mine. I respect Kim Novak greatly and I'm sorry to hear she disagrees.
As it happens, Hazanavicius's love for Hollywood's past has made for another news item today. He's "already wrapped a section of portmanteau sex comedy The Players, once again working with frequent collaborator [Jean] Dujardin, but at an appearance at the Capri Hollywood festival in Italy over the weekend, the director revealed that he's decided on his next project," reports Oliver Lyttelton at the Playlist. "The director told the press that he's planning a contemporary reworking of Fred Zinneman's 1948 Oscar-winning post-war drama The Search."
Also in the works. Another item from the Playlist's Oliver Lyttelton: Blake Lively, Jude Law and Channing Tatum are to head up the cast in Steven Soderbergh's The Side Effects, a psychological thriller written by Scott Z Burns (The Informant! and Contagion).
Screenwriter Christopher Hampton (Dangerous Liaisons and A Dangerous Method) will be adapting Kurban Said's Ali and Nino, reports Diana Lodderhose in Variety: "The Azerbaijan-set love story, which was first published in 1937, follows the tale of Ali, a Muslim with his ancestors' passion for the desert, and Nino, a Christian Georgian girl."
Lists. Director of Film/Video David Filipi and Associate Curator of Film/Video Chris Stults rank 2011's best at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
Matthias Stork, who set off a debate this year with his video essay "Chaos Cinema," selects his "Best Films of 2011."
Sean Axmaker selects his top DVD, Special Edition, Blu-ray and home video debut of 2011. Team Twitch, too, picks its favorite DVDs and Blu-rays of the year.
Obits. From the Egypt Independent: "'The most beautiful of the Nile's birds leaves the lake this evening,' Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti wrote yesterday on Twitter. 'Goodbye, Ibrahim Aslan.' Aslan, one of Egypt's greatest authors, entered the hospital yesterday with a heart complaint and passed away. He was 77."
German actor and screenwriter Towje Kleiner, primarily known for his television appearances, has died at the age of 63. Spiegel Online has more, albeit in German.