Happy 10th Anniversary to ED WOOD!

How time flies while you’re waiting for a DVD to be released! Today marks the tenth anniversary of the theatrical release of Tim Burton’s ED WOOD, a celebration of the courage, loyalty, and indefatigible spirit of the worst director in Hollywood history. Johnny Depp plays Ed Wood with just the right mix of desperation and enthusiasm; in interviews, he claimed he based his characterization on “the blind optimism of Ronald Reagan, the enthusiasm of the Tin Man from THE WIZARD OF OZ, and [disc jockey] Casey Kasem.”

Martin Landau won a supporting actor Oscar and a Golden Globe as the fading star Bela Lugosi, whom Ed Wood befriends. Here’s what he said about Johnny in his Golden Globe acceptance speech: “This is for us, Johnny. No matter what happens tonight, this is for us, because [. . .] if you play tennis by yourself, it doesn’t work. That guy is the best young actor in this town. Not only that, he comes in prepared, he’s ready to work, and he’s willing to take chances, and I love him.”

The Region 1 DVD of ED WOOD, promised for February 3, 2004 and then mysteriously recalled from the shelves, will be released on October 19th. Amazon.com is offering a pre-release price of $20.99. Ed Wood never made a great movie, but his life inspired one. Somewhere in the Great Beyond, he must be smiling.

Will a "leaner, meaner Miramax" be able to mount a strong Oscar campaign?

An article by Sharon Waxman in today’s New York Times questions whether Miramax–which recently cut another 55 employees and has reduced its workforce by 30% this year–has a big enough staff to mount its traditional aggressive Oscar campaign. The layoffs “leave the studio diminished just when it most needs muscle,” Waxman observes.

In the good news, bad news department, the good news from the Times story is that Miramax has chosen to put its (now limited) resources into a campaign for FINDING NEVERLAND and its leading actors, past Oscar nominees Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. The bad news is that Miramax’s other high-profile fall release, Martin Scorsese’s THE AVIATOR, will have a much better-funded campaign “because Miramax can count on cash from well-heeled Warner Brothers,” the Times reports. “Warner is covering half the film’s marketing and distribution costs, an arrangement that should support a full-scale push to win prizes for the picture and its star, Leonardo DiCaprio.”

A Miramax executive told the Times that being forced to abandon aggressive marketing might actually help the studio’s Oscar contenders, by averting the anti-Miramax backlash that hurt GANGS OF NEW YORK in 2002 and COLD MOUNTAIN in 2003. Johnny’s innate modesty and Kate Winslet’s good-natured candor could provide a refreshing contrast to past Miramax campaigns. The Zone thanks Newbie for breaking the story; you can read the Times article on the News & Views forum.