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Soderbergh hits double?
Steven Soderbergh has
Hollywood abuzz with talk of Oscar nominations for both of his films this
year - the huge spring hit Erin Brockovich, and the forthcoming
drug drama Traffic.
"You don't like to toot your own horn," Soderbergh told The Sun yesterday on a whirlwind, 24-hour Toronto visit to promote the December 27 release of Traffic. "You just let it play."
Soderbergh was Oscar-nominated for writing Sex, Lies and Videotape. His edgy 1989 directorial debut also shocked the Cannes Film Festival that year, winning the Palme d'Or as best film, but he has never been nominated for an Oscar as a director.
"If they invite me, I will be there with a big smile on my face," Soderbergh says. "But, if not, I tend not to agonize over things that I cannot control, and this is one of them. I just want people to see the films. Luckily, a lot of people saw Erin. I'd rather have people see the movies than win an award."
So Erin Brockovich is already sitting pretty.
"That movie doesn't need any more attention," Soderbergh says.
And yet he is Oscar-rooting for Julia Roberts, he says. "She's great. If she doesn't get at least a nomination I would be flabbergasted. It's a towering performance and she carries that movie. The film is only as strong as she is, and she absolutely delivers."
Traffic, however, desperately needs the attention. It is an
exceptionally well-crafted, thoughtful but tough-minded epic about the
drug trade between Mexico and the United States.
"Absolutely," Soderbergh says of the need for Traffic to get awards of all kinds, including Oscar nominations. "Its only hope is to get that kind of attention.
"That's why, from the get-go, it was designed to come at the end of the year. It was a calculated move, because it is inherently a difficult movie to put across, outside of very cine-literate cities. So we have to keep our fingers crossed."
Generating attention is precisely why Soderbergh flew in to Toronto from a weekend of press interviews in Hollywood. By last night, he was scheduled to be in New York for more screenings and another round of press interviews.
"For a movie like this, in the States especially, it's not even a neutral thing," Soderbergh says. "We have to overcome a very strong sense that people have that 'I don't want to see a movie about drugs!' It's going to be an uphill battle."
Oscar nominations would help win the war for Soderbergh and USA Films (plus distributor Odeon Films in Canada). And Oscar night would be fun again, Soderbergh says.
"I see it as a terrific party with a great door prize."
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