Bill Murray presented Sofia Coppola with a “Special Filmmaking Achievement” award for “Somewhere” at the National Board of Review Awards last night. Vulture has a full transcript of his speech. A selection:
I want the best for her because she’s a lady. She acts like a lady, the women in her movies are ladies, they have strength and power and they’re strong. Even the pole dancers in this latest movie have enough of themselves to call the lead actor a moron. As all you women should call your men this evening, I think, pole or not. So we’ll give her a boost to say, go on, you’ve made it this far, push her out into the deep water, push her out into bigger and deeper films, more and more films. She has a beautiful eye. She has great taste in the people she chooses to work with. She’s a kind and thoughtful director and editor and producer. She’s all the things that we hoped we could be when we were like this. She’s been lucky so far, and she’s been strong so far. Let’s keep her going.
It’s charming, it’s fond, it’s funny, it’s very Bill Murray, and yet even in this congratulatory speech, aren’t there shades of the same kinda negging terms that are inevitably applied to Coppola? We’re reminded of her apparently overwhelming femininity, that she’s talented at hiring other talented people, how lucky she is (thanks, dad!), and her need to expand her filmmaking horizons, which seem like gentler, sunnier spins on Anne Thompson’s thoughts on Coppola’s “safety zone” and what Stephanie Zacharek described at the Slate Movie Club:
I can’t tell you how many times when I mention Coppola’s name in casual or even critic-type conversations there’s someone there to drain credit away from her. And usually they’re guys. One male critic assured me that Francis Ford Coppola cut his daughter’s early movies. Maybe it’s true, but if so, how come they make a lot more sense than Tetro does? (Or at least they’re movies I’d much rather watch.) When Sofia won the top prize in Venice, the wagging tongues immediately chalked up her achievement to the fact that her ex-boyfriend, Quentin Tarantino, was the chairman of the jury. Lost in Translation was a good movie–but only because Bill Murray was great in it. Somehow, there’s always a man responsible for anything Coppola has achieved.