If there’s anything with even the slightest ability to nudge Cate Blanchett’s path to Oscar victory off course, it’s the seemingly endless Farrowgate scandal, which has Woody Allen’s allegedly molested daughter calling out his muses by name, and guilting them in an attempt to harm the director by extension. As Mark Harris brilliantly observed in his Grantland essay “Oscar Season Turns Ugly,” this kind of linkage of Oscar results to actual sociopolitical issues is at once necessary and ludicrous—a tricky conundrum that can’t be assessed “without acknowledging that something horrible is being inappropriately trivialized and something trivial is being inappropriately transformed into a crisis of situational ethics.” I don’t think anyone ever felt that Blanchett, an unerringly shrewd celebrity, would have indulged the open invitation to address this scandal in her subsequent acceptance speeches. But few likely foresaw that, amid a pop-cultural atmosphere in which the topic simply cannot be ignored, the Aussie frontrunner would find a way to dodge it while taking an unimpeachable high road, dedicating her Best Actress BAFTA win Sunday night to the “late, great Philip Seymour Hoffman.” In raising her Stoli martini with a twist of lemon to one of the Academy’s departed elite, odds are Blanchett closed whatever case Dylan Farrow had in terms of exacting revenge by setting a trip wire for Blue Jasmine’s leading lady.
Dylan Farrow (#1–10 of 4)
1. “Woody Allen Speaks Out.” Last Sunday, Nicholas Kristof wrote a column about Dylan Farrow, the adopted daughter of Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Mr. Allen has written the following response to the column and Dylan’s account.
“Not that I doubt Dylan hasn’t come to believe she’s been molested, but if from the age of 7 a vulnerable child is taught by a strong mother to hate her father because he is a monster who abused her, is it so inconceivable that after many years of this indoctrination the image of me Mia wanted to establish had taken root? Is it any wonder the experts at Yale had picked up the maternal coaching aspect 21 years ago? Even the venue where the fabricated molestation was supposed to have taken place was poorly chosen but interesting. Mia chose the attic of her country house, a place she should have realized I’d never go to because it is a tiny, cramped, enclosed spot where one can hardly stand up and I’m a major claustrophobe. The one or two times she asked me to come in there to look at something, I did, but quickly had to run out. Undoubtedly the attic idea came to her from the Dory Previn song, ’With My Daddy in the Attic.’ It was on the same record as the song Dory Previn had written about Mia’s betraying their friendship by insidiously stealing her husband, André, ’Beware of Young Girls.’ One must ask, did Dylan even write the letter or was it at least guided by her mother? Does the letter really benefit Dylan or does it simply advance her mother’s shabby agenda? That is to hurt me with a smear. There is even a lame attempt to do professional damage by trying to involve movie stars, which smells a lot more like Mia than Dylan.”
1. “From Sochi, journalists report Winter Olympics woes: poor conditions and ongoing construction.” #SochiProblems has already gained steam on Twitter as journalists find their hotels unfinished and the streets of the Olympic village in Sochi, Russia still being paved—just days before opening night of the $51 billion games.
“Don’t flush the toilet, don’t drink the water and don’t expect a good night’s sleep. These are just some of the bizarre problems guests and athletes can expect at Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. With just days to go before the opening ceremony, the seaside city is a bit of a five-ring circus. For example, some journalists found this advice in their bathrooms: ’Please do not flush toilet paper down the toilet! Put it in the bin provided.’ Others were greeted with a diagram offering the proper use of the bathroom facilities. No fishing was among the ’don’ts.’”
1. “Stay, Little Valentine.” Philip Seymour Hoffman, 1967-2014
“He was not un-photographable; quite the contrary, he was magnetic, even in roles that gave him a handful of lines. But he was not a matinee idol and never pretended to be. In most of his roles he was heavy, round. His early parts often cast him as a big, soft man poured into clothes that didn’t fit. He looked like an utterly ordinary fellow you might see in daily life, at a bus stop or in an electronics store or in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles, and not think twice about—unless, perhaps, you got a close look at his face, and sensed the lacerating and self-lacerating intelligence in his eyes and smile; or if you heard his rumbling voice. When Hoffman opened his mouth to speak, he sounded smart, but often not as as smart as his characters imagined or wished themselves to be. That sense of mis-estimation always added to the performance by connecting it to reality. We’re never what we imagine ourselves to be. We’re always a bit less—or a bit off.” [More remembrances from Max Winter, Dana Stevens, and Owen Gleiberman.]