More from An Evening With Sofia Coppola

Screen captures from the baptism/murder sequence of The Godfather, dir. F. F. Coppola

Production Diary
I grabbed an image from each of 35 massacre cuts in The Godfather's baptism/massacre sequence to use as reference for shooting. Given the conditions, however, and the fact that I was also a co-host, with a speech to give, and I had major ass to kiss, this served as only the roughest guide.

I needed at least one shot of me, though, and so when my co-host Hilary and I went up to the podium, I gave my running camera to the nearest pair of hands I could find--Bill Murray.

Murray played along, and in fact, started filming Hilary's dress, chest, earrings, and hair, which cracked everybody up. Anyway, by the end of the night, I think I got enough footage that formally references Coppola's original, but is, of course, completely different.

When another speech (the intro went too long for the taste of at least one big cheese producer) said how MoMA was interested in great films, "not just films from India or Senegal or someplace," several stunned people turned to look for a reaction from the rather great Indian filmmaker Mira Nair--who was sitting right behind me. She didn't flinch.

Quentin--who was sitting next to me--was a rockstar, and we talked endlessly about making and remaking movies. Gus Van Sant's Psycho was, he said, his favorite movie of 1998, and he had non-stop praise for Eric Zala, Jayson Lamb, and Chris Strompolos, the three teenagers who spent seven years making their shot-for-shot adapation of Raiders of The Lost Ark.

My wife couldn't come at the last minute, so I turned her seat back in, not knowing who I'd get as my seatmate. Just before the lights went down, a very genial and genteel-looking older lady was escorted in. Somebody's mother, I figured; did they plan to leave her at the hotel if they couldn't score her a ticket? Turns out her name was Lillian Ross. She's a writer or something. Didn't get the details. Very nice. She borrowed my cell phone to call her son, who I met later at dinner. Also very nice. But not related to any of the filmmakers there, as far as I could figure.

Anywho...the gossip, the first blind item on, blind because not stupid; I'd still take their meeting:
A very recent Oscar winner told me, at the party, about meeting a fellow nominee, i.e., one of the losers--who actually had two films nominated--so technically, a double loser. Upon being introduced--by the Mayor of New York City, no less--the loser replied, "I can't believe you won; your film was so boring!"

I'll leave the comments open for a while this one.


There was an amazing, wonderful writer called Lillian Ross who wrote for the New Yorker for over 40 years, until the late 80s. Could it have been her?

I want to crack the blind item, but will you throw us a bone by saying if it was a technical category or an acting one...if not, I'll be poring over Academy data.

Same woman. When she said she writes, I thought she meant for the catalogue, but that's Lillian Vernon.

And the oscar wasn't "technical" or acting. That should narrow it down, as should my assiduous avoidance of gender-indicative pronouns.

Cool, comments come to

Post (on the video that Murray shot!

My uneducated guess is Harvey Weinstein, or some other Miramax representative, to Sofia Coppola.

Coppola won Best Screenplay (Original), a category in which Miramax had two nominations: "The Barbarian Invasions" and "Dirty Pretty Things".

Harvey strikes me as the kind of guy who would not only know the Mayor of New York City, but who'd find "Lost in Translation" boring as well.

How'd I do?

It must've been Weinstein or some other bigshot producer who felt robbed of Oscar by Sofia. I personally think her script was fittingly minimalistic and subtle, it was her direction that was perfect for the script she'd written. Such an incredible taste in everything she's got, from perfect casting, soundtrack selection to overall film direction. Great, great filmmaker is being born in front of our eyes.

Greg, could you post that video Bill Murray shot, or at least the pictures from the party. TIA.

Nice analysis, Matt, and Weinstein's a natural guess. So natural, I'd probably have attributed it to him.

But I confess I didn't realize Miramax had two nominations in the screenplay category when I posted.

As for the Murray shots, I'll be digitizing this week and will post some stills. I have to say, for all Murray's talent, he didn't actually manage to recreate any the Godfather shots that I needed...

Weinstein or a Miramaxie would be a good guess, but since there was a win for "Barbarian Invasions," they weren't total losers. Unless I'm not being strict enough.

I'm going to guess Andrew Stanton or anyone associated with Finding Nemo, since Sylvain Chomet had two nominations for Triplettes of Belleville. But I'm probably wrong.

Well, Greg, I'm at a loss. No idea.

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: April 1, 2004.

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