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Tuesday Roundup: Memos from Cameron, Weinstein; Tarantino at Cinematheque; Carrey, McGregor knighted

February 2, 2010 |  1:28 pm


Take a memo, please: Letters of Note is a fascinating site that compiles personal correspondence from a wide range of famous folks -- among their collection (the authenticity of which cannot be verified, but they do note that "fakes will be sneered at") are letters from Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson, the late J.D. Salinger and even Mary, Queen of Scots. 

Since the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday, we thought you might enjoy eyeballing memos from three new-minted Oscar nominees. First is "Avatar" director James Cameron, who sent an exceptionally polite note in 1986 to the agent of artist H.R. Giger that explains why he didn't consult him on creature design for "Aliens" (Giger won an Oscar for his work on "Alien"). Cameron's reasons are well considered, and he is positively gushing in his praise for Giger's work.

Somewhat south of polite is "Inglourious Basterds" exec producer Harvey Weinstein's 1988 missive to Oscar-winning documentarian Errol Morris about a radio interview promoting his acclaimed documentary "The Thin Blue Line." Harvey spares Errol no quarter regarding his performance ("you were boring") and threatens to replace him with an actor (!) if he doesn't start putting on a show (should you want to hear how snooze-inducing Errol's interview allegedly was, it's here). "The Thin Blue Line" did go on to win a slew of awards, earn recognition as one of the best documentaries ever made, and contribute to the release of a man on death row, so perhaps Harvey's take should be swallowed with a grain (or two) of salt.

And lastly, here's a charming and gracious fan letter from multi-Oscar nominee Quentin Tarantino to Filipino director Brilliante Mendoza, whose 2009 film "Kinatay" took best director (and beat Tarantino) at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival. It's difficult to say what is more appealing about the note -- Tarantino's schoolboy spelling and handwriting or the thoughtfulness of his praise for Mendoza's work. 

And if you'd like to compliment Quentin in person for his good manners, you can do so Monday at the American Cinematheque's Egyptian Theatre. He'll attend screenings of "Pulp Fiction" and "Inglourious Basterds" that day and the Cannes Film Festival versions of "Kill Bill, Vols. 1 and 2" on the 9th. And if you're in the mood for more Oscar nominees, the vicious U.K. political satire "In the Loop," which earned an academy nod today for adapted screenplay, will be featured nightly from Feb. 10 to 13. And Agnes Varda's "The Beaches of Agnes," which made it to the feature documentary shortlist, will screen Feb. 11 to 14. 

And since we're on a particularly sunshiney tip today, let's end on a happy note: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor were both made knights of France's National Order of the Arts on Monday. The actors, who co-star in the upcoming "I Love You, Phillip Morris," were in Paris to promote the picture and receive praise from the country's Culture Minister, Frederic Mitterand, who capped his speech by declaring his love for both men.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: James Cameron. Credit: Getty Images. 

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