Friday, May 24, 2024

Oscar Campaign for “The Master” Sends out Scientology Parody Magazine


I almost thought that there was no Oscar campaign for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master.” But today arrived a parody of a Scientology mailing promoting the film, which should be a Best Picture nominee and have three actor nominations as well. The Weinstein Company sent out a folded magazine on newsprint called “The Cause Footpath.” The Cause, of course, is the cult religion started by Lancaster Dodd, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman in a performance as good as Daniel Day Lewis’s Lincoln or Denzel Washington’s addicted pilot.

The Footpath is a fictional publication from Dodd– “The Weekly Newspaper for the Enlightened.” It mimics the annoying periodicals published by Scientology or Jehovah’s Witnesses “The Watchtower.” Very clever. Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams are shown on the cover. I’ve reproduced it twice here.

Inside TWC includes mostly the sterling reviews for the movie. The backpage is a long quote from Dodd, from Anderson’s original screenplay. There’s also a very witty fake 1949 article about Dodd and his wife Peggy (Amy Adams, Best Supporting Actress nominee without a doubt).

“The Master,” one of my favorite movies of 2012, is eligible for Best Picture, Best Director (Best Actor (Phoenix and/or Hoffman), Supporting Actress (Adams), Original Screenplay (Anderson) plus cinematography, editing, set design, costumes, art design.

I’m very torn about putting Hoffman into Supporting Actor. He is as much the lead as Phoenix. Lancaster Dodd is one of the greatest character inventions in modern movie history. I do think PSH is an absolute genius, in the league of Daniel Day Lewis and maybe just a couple other actors of this generation. (Don Cheadle and Ralph Fiennes are close.)

If you’re voting with any groups this month, don’t forget “The Master.” And I do believe “The Cause Footpath” will become a collector’s item overnight!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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