Acceptance speech

Nobody gets to coast. Nobody. I don’t care how long you’re in this business, what you’ve accomplished, NOBODY gets to coast.

You coast, someone takes your lunch. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’m the schoolyard bully who demands your lunch money and you people have been handing it over without a fight.

This is ridiculous. I’m competing against myself and it’s getting boring. Come after me. Show me something, show the audience something. If these movies are the best you can do, good luck.

I take my foot off the accelerator when you show me some juice. I’m not going anywhere. Make up your mind. Get on board or get the heck out of my headlights or I will run you down.

You want names?

Michael Keaton – you’re losing your hair – get over it and get back to work.

Jodie Foster – I’m confiscating your car keys. No more beach trips or Disney World. You don’t get to take two years off, lady. Hire a darn nanny. You were not put here to raise children. Your sole purpose on this earth is to share your gift, not check your kids’ hair for ticks.

When I find Daniel Day-Lewis – and I will find him – I will hang him upside down by his ankles, flog him until he agrees to make two films a year. What does he do all day, make furniture?

Dustin, if I see you doing one more stupid voiceover in one more stupid animation, I’m coming after you with sharp objects. Stop taking bread out of some poor actor’s mouth and go back to challenging yourself.

And Julia – go home, raise your kids. But I’ll remind you, is it any coincidence that Jolie and Paltrow stopped getting awards and became mediocre as soon as the kids came along?

Stop having kids, stop adopting kids. Kids are the worst thing that can happen to an artist. As soon as kids arrive, choices become bland. “I don’t want to embarrass my children.” Barf bag. “My children complete me.” Stop it. Nobody cares about your darn kids. The work is all that counts. The WORK.

And stop seeking balance. Balance is colorless, bland, safe. The audience should be seeking balance.

We should be dysfunctional. We should be flirting with madness. Vivian Leigh, James Dean, Brando, Orson Welles, Dennis Hopper, Richard Pryor, Natalie Wood, Jennifer Jason Leigh, James Woods, Gary Oldmann, Jack Nicholson, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Robert Downey, Christian Bale…NONE of these people sought balance – some are crazier than me – but look at the body of work. That’s all that counts, the body of work.

The problem with this industry is there are too many happy, well-adjusted people making movies. You need to do the sensible, logical thing and make me Film Czar. Give me complete control and I promise to bring miserable yet talented people in to make films. The upgrade in quality will be astounding.

Everyone has gone soft, even Harvey Weinstein. There is only one truly dangerous person in this entire industry: Vincent Gallo, and no one will hire him. I won’t even hire him. God is that man scary.

Picasso, Nabokov, Martha Graham, were creative giants well into their late years. Clint Eastwood has to be carried from the hammock to the couch to get his nap, but he’s still in the game. You do not turn off creativity like a faucet.

You’re getting buried because you let corporations take over studios. You’re getting buried because special effects and cartoons grab people the way you used to before you let yourself become business people instead of artists. You’re getting buried because you surround yourself with 15 people and you have to keep making crap so you can pay them. You’re getting buried because you got fat, lazy, smug and self-satisfied.

And if you continue this way, you will continue to get buried, and I’m the guy holding the shovel.

So come and get me. Get angry, if you’re still capable of caring that much. But for God’s sake, get back to work! Don’t get up. I know my way out. Joe Del Priore is a frequent contributor. Comments on this piece can be sent to:


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