“Art is not a hundred meter race, you know. There’s not an objective measurement about what is the best. There’s always taste. There’s always the gestalt of the moment — for some reason, a movie happens to jell.” That’s filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron, whose “Gravity” space drama is up for 10 Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director, talking about movies competing. “Gravity” tied with “12 Years a Slave” for the Producers Guild’s top prize over the weekend, while “American Hustle” won the Screen Actor’s Guild’s ensemble award. Which of the three will win top honors Oscar night is a tough call.
“Awards are fantastic because they are the reflection of a moment,” adds Cuaron. “If a film is not nominated it doesn’t necessarily mean it is not great; there were other great films that were not even nominated.”
Cuaron is especially thrilled about the attention being lavished upon leading lady Sandra Bullock as an astronaut in horrific jeopardy in space. “I’m very happy for Sandra — Sandra is the film. You know, this film, if it works, it’s Sandra. We can have all this floating and visual effects and stuff, but Sandra is heroic what she did. She holds the film together, not only in terms of an exciting and accessible way, but also carrying all this deep emotional charge. If you’d seen what she had to endure to make this performance, you would apprectiate it even more…
“She’s a warrior, she’s fearless, she’s generous. She’s amazing behind the camera and in front of the camera. Yeah, it was easy for me because I had Sandra. It was tough for Sandra.”
We caught up with Cuaron at the Television Critics Association’s Winter Press Tour in Pasadena, where he joined fellow “Believe” executive producers J.J. Abrams and Jonas Pate (“The Grave,” “Deceiver,” “The Take”) to help launch the show about a little girl with potentially earth-changing supernatural powers.
Also on the press conference panel for the series that debuts March 10 were stars Kyle MacLachlan, Delroy Lindo, Jamie Chung, Jake McLaughlin and juvenile actress Johnny Sequoyah.
Onstage, he joked that he was attracted to the series, in part, because “nobody is floating.” Sci fi giant Abrams, whose latest film undertaking is the new “Star Wars,” told the crowd that he’d been wanting to work with Cuaron for 20 years.
Later, we asked Cuaron if he felt the same way about Abrams. “All the time,” he replied. “We met — I think it’s been more than 20 years ago. He wrote a script that I loved for ‘Speed Racer.’ He wrote a beautiful screenplay. But at that time I was just starting. It was a big movie. I was not the obvious choice [to direct].”
Now that he’s jumped into the television pool, how does he like it?
“It’s been a really good experience. When you do film, [the story] is closed, but when you do TV you can keep adding things.”
Cuaron admits his schedule has been “a bit busy” but points out that “Believe” does not rest on his shoulders alone. “Look, the great thing of this is, you’re working with Jonas. Jonas is just gettnig the show together and moving everything forward.”
While Alfonso heads off to collect more awards.