CEO & Editor in Chief, Sharon Waxman, welcomed Oscar Nominees and Hollywood’s elite to Culina Restaurant in The Four Seasons Beverly Hills last night for the fourth annual The Wrap Pre-Oscar event. Press Pass LA was on the red carpet to speak with Harvey Weinstein, Kathryn Bigelow, David O’Russell and other nominees.
Harvey Weinstein- Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook (Best Picture Nominees)
PPLA: What are you looking forward to this year? What makes Django and Silver Linings Playbook different from the other films you’ve produced?
HW: They’re super controversial. Silver Linings is a movie that progresses the mental health idea of destygmatizing that. Enchanting triumphant movies…Django this is the most political movie I’m proudest of Quentin’s. We’ve been together since Reservoir Dogs. I am proudest of him for this and the fact that he dealt with such a serious subject in such a brilliant, entertaining way.
PPLA: Why do you think this year was such a big year for movies on social and political issues?
HW: The movies were great. As a result, the movies push the agenda of the human heart. That’s the best agenda.
PPLA: How are you going to unwind after the Oscars?
HW: I have four daughters. I never unwind.
John Kahrs- Paperman (Nominated for Best Short Film-Animated)
PPLA: What does this nomination mean to you personally and on a professional level?
JK: It’s just a huge thrill to be in the running. Especially this week and last week they make you feel so great, already like a winner. When you’re working on a project you’re just like ‘Is this right? I don’t know. I’m making these decisions.’ You don’t know if it’s going to come together or not. On the other side of it here, this week leading up to the Oscars is just very gratifying.
PPLA: What do you want people to know about this film?
JK: Paperman is a story about the universal sense that everyone wants to feel a connection with someone out there. That there’s someone for them and hopefully they can connect to them and maybe the fates will conspire to bring those people together.
PPLA: What other Oscar film do you admire and are rooting for?
JK: I was blown away by Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it was tremendous in so many ways. I would like to meet any of those people.
Pierre Even, War Witch (Best Foreign Language Film nominee)
PPLA: What does this nomination mean to you?
PE: A year ago we were at the Berlin Film Festival, but at the Oscars, it’s just something else. The entire world is looking at the Oscars. Our Congo team didn’t know Berlin, but they know the Oscars. It’s a great honor.
PPLA: Who at the Oscars would you like to meet or collaborate with?
PE: Many of them. I would like to say hi to George Clooney, as an actor, as a producer, I admire him very much.
PPLA: What about Ben Affleck?
PE: Of course. It’s a great film that I look up to.
Kathryn Bigelow- Zero Dark Thirty (Best Picture Nominee)
PPLA: What does this nomination mean to you as a woman, as a director, and as a professional in the industry?
KB: It’s incredibly gratifying. Incredibly gratifying! I mean to be recognized by your peers is extraordinary.
Benh Zeitlin- Beasts of the Southern Wild (Best Director Nominee)
PPLA: You have an amazing film that has done well at a lot of festivals and now you are here at the Oscars, so congrats! Looking forward, is there anyone you would like to collaborate with on your next project?
BZ: I’m still star struck. This is my first time in Los Angeles. I’m still meeting everybody.
PPLA: What are your thoughts already of LA?
BZ: Haha, I’m ready to go home, but I’m kind of enjoying myself at the same time.
PPLA: Are you excited to see Seth MacFarlane hosting?
BZ: Yeah I loved Ted. I thought it was a great film. I think it’s cool that a filmmaker is hosting it this year. I think it will be interesting.
PPLA: How are you going to unwind after all this craziness?
BZ: Gonna go back home and celebrate with my friends for eternity!
Mychael Danna- Life of PI (Nominated for Best Original Score)
PPLA: How do you translate your emotions into music when you think about turning a book like this into a film. What process do you go through to put that into musical notes?
MD: That is the most mysterious thing, and I think that’s why this is such a stressful thing to be a composer for films because I have no idea after I’ve been doing this for 20-something years! I don’t know the answer to that. At the beginning of every film, I feel like how do you do this again. It is a matter of kind of closing out everything in the outside world and locking yourself in a room with the film and then just unlocking feelings that you have inside and letting it flow. I think all writers in any medium know that feeling and the mysterious nature of writing is something that I don’t understand, and I think I understand less than ever.
PPLA: Do you take it in visually and then translate it through sound?
MD: Definitely, when you’re getting into a motive and just losing yourself in a film I think I do start hearing things and suddenly I feel this itch, this urge to write and that’s the moment I have to lock the door and do what I need to do.
David O. Russell- Silver Linings Playbook (Nominated for Best Director)
PPLA: On this film, working with Jennifer Lawrence, there seemed to be a certain magic on set that came out in her role. You’ve already cast her in your next film, how do you make that happen again?
DR: The secret about magic is you can’t talk about it too much or the magic goes away, so you have to just talk to them about the role in a way that is secret and magical. I believe that she’s very delved into this character. I met with her and Christian Bale together and they’re going to be very interesting together in this triangle along with Amy Adams. It will be very interesting. All the actors are going to be doing things that we haven’t seen them do before.
Other attendees included Oscar Nominee Jessica Chastain, Jane Seymour, Dennis Haysbert, Jerry Ferrara, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and more.