My first New York social engagement, a few hours after touchdown at JFK, will be an Oscars party in Brooklyn. New Yorkers don’t watch much TV—life there is too much fun—so for the big nights television owners generously open their living-rooms. This gay Superbowl is my favourite.
The Irish media keep running interviews with the Sheridan family, who are up for the screenwriting award, but boo, hiss! I say. In America was an okay film with dodgy dialogue. It’s not that I have much respect for the Academy, but I’d like to see Sophia Coppola win that Oscar and any others going, not least because I can trust her to wear a very lovely Marc Jacobs dress to the podium.
Lost in Translation was the first true American movie I’ve seen in years. In script, photography, casting, and music, she outdoes daddy and her gurning ex-husband (and skewers Spike Jonze beautifully by casting twitchy, zombie-faced Giovanni Ribisi as Scarlett Johanssen’s husband.) Bill Murray, bless his pockmarks, has always been my dream dinner date, and I would die happy if he ever serenaded me with “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding?” And Johanssen, though her character is maddening and maddeningly familiar, does a fine job.
I hear complaints that the movie is racist, that it propagates Japanese stereotypes, that it shows only postcard Tokyo. They’re missing the point. This movie is about dislocation and fleeting recognition. We need to be at home in ourselves to explore, and her characters aren’t, yet. That’s why Coppola shows us faithfully the postcards and cartoons they see.