The 85th annual Academy Awards took place on Feb. 24, 2013, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Here is what this Oscar winner said backstage in the Academy Awards press room.
Best Original Screenplay
Do you know the impact your movies have, actually, not just in the United States, but all over the world?
Yeah. I’ve actually always prided myself on being an international filmmaker. The way I look at it is, I’m not an American filmmaker. I’m an American and I’m a filmmaker. But I make movies for the planet Earth.
And I have since the very beginning, with “Reservoir Dogs.” I went all around the planet Earth, pretty much, for a whole year promoting it and doing all that, and I’ve been doing that ever since. And so, to me, America is just another market. I make my movies for Earth.
When you have spent months getting so much criticism for the words that you put down on paper for “Django Unchained,” how rewarding is it to be recognized for winning an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for this movie?
Well, you know, I have to say, all that criticism that came out, it ended up being kind of a good thing because one of the things that I wanted to do is I wanted to actually start a conversation about slavery, about America’s role in it, and to actually take an audience member from the 21st century and stick them in the Antebellum South and see whether they would have a sense of what America was like back then. And so, even the people that have criticized the movie — and a lot of people don’t like it and I can understand that, but a lot of people do like it, and they have been kind of going back and forth. And that back and forth is really what I really wanted for the end of the day of this movie and I hope that actually even continues for the next few years.
“Django Unchained” was such a success at the box office, and so were a lot of the Best Picture nominees this year. Do you think that the financial success of these films is going to impact how studios think about making more adult-oriented and more serious-minded fare?
Well, you know, that’s a very good question, and I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. I found myself I go into my own little film study from time to time, especially during crazy moments like this to kind of put it out of my brain. And one of the things I’ve been doing is I’ve been doing a lot of study on the films made in the early ’70s — in particular, ’69, ’70 and ’71, and that was the beginning, starting in ’67, that was the beginning of what they called “new Hollywood.” And I have to say, I wasn’t thinking about us. I was just doing that study for my own edification.
And I looked at the nine nominees and I have to say, more than most other times you can think of, I actually recognized the spirit that was going on then with the nine nominees now, and even backed by some commercial success in the case of some of them, where actually making adult movies about subjects that there’s nothing about the subjects at all in a lot of these movies that would suggest they would be commercial or be popular, and then they have been. And I actually think an adult audience is kind of rising up. I mean, the fact that we are actually not making every movie for teenagers is kind of a cool thing, especially now that I am not a teenager anymore.
What led you to include an Australian character in the closing part of “Django Unchained”?
I cut it out, but the whole idea was the fact that they were kind of Australian indentured servants for the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company. And what I cut out was this moment where my character was there and Django says, “So, well, you work for the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company, don’t you?” “Yup.”
He goes, “Well, I know how much I’m getting paid.” “How much are you getting paid? Like, for instance, how much do you get paid for the day?” “Well, you know, what the law says, LeQuint Dickey paid for my passage from Australia to here. And, you know, I get paid and I send a little back home for the family and that’s just how it works. I’ll pay them back for the boat trip.”
And he goes, well, “How long have you been working for LeQuint Dickey?” “About three years.” “Three years and you ain’t paid them back yet?”
“Yup.” “Sh*t, peckerwood, you a slave, too. You just got bought for the price of a boat ride. At least they didn’t charge us for the boat ride.” That kind of explained it. But the movie’s f*cking long, so I got rid of it.
You filmed “Django Unchained” in Louisiana. And with there talks of being possibly a sequel to “Django Unchained,” would you consider coming to South Carolina to film?
South Carolina is a really, really lovely place. I have to say, Louisiana, in particularly in this instance, helped us out because, you know, it’s supposed to take place in Mississippi, and Louisiana and Mississippi look a whole lot alike. And they actually had better the plantations; they were actually kept in better shape in Louisiana than they were in Mississippi and that’s why we went down there and shot.
I could very well consider it. I’d have to write the script though. That’s the trick. Once I write the script and I know what I’m going to need, but I’ll always keep South Carolina in mind.
For more info: Academy Awards website
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