By Eric Wilder - Hollywood
It may be early, but clearly, an epic battle for the Best Picture Academy Award is now on.... and everybody in the industry knows it. Arnon Milchan and Brad Pitt's 12 Years a Slave, will face off with Columbia Pictures' American Hustle, in an awards-season clash of the titans. Both movies have picked up the bulk of the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild top nominations... which are historic barometers for the Oscars.
If 12 Years a Slave pulls it off, it will be the first Academy Award for Arnon Milchan, one of the most successful and prolific independent producers in Hollywood history. An award that would be long overdue, considering his massive portfolio. It is unknown how recent publicity surrounding Mr. Milchan's extracurricular biography as a former spy will affect the voting. Co-Author of Milchan's biography, Joseph Gelman, said the following:
"Given his massive body of work and contributions to the industry, if there is one person in Hollywood who deserves an Academy Award, it would be Arnon. 12 Years a Slave is a worthy and meaningful candidate for Best Picture. It is a movie that will stand the test of time as perhaps the definitive cinematic portrayal of America slavery, the most problematic institution in American history.
I don't think that American Hustle, a fun movie, brings that kind of gravitas to the table. It's not a serious movie. It is not a movie that people will look back on 20 years from now, or even a year from now, and say 'wow!' Hollywood likes to think of itself as a meaningful industry, in addition to being an entertainment industry.
Somewhere deep in Arnon's conscience, I know that he sees 12 Years a Slave as a small measure of repentance for past transgressions involving his activities in South Africa. It's an interesting story of redemption, and Hollywood loves stories of redemption. If Milchan wins the Oscar for this important movie, I would put that as the final scene in the movie version of his biography. A real closing of a circle. A "Hollywood ending" if you will.
Meir and I will be pulling for 12 Years a Slave, not because of Arnon, but because frankly, it's the best movie of the year. It's that simple."