Postcard from... Los Angeles

 

Venice’s canals looked exquisite in this morning’s autumn sunshine. But most tourists weren’t able to enjoy them – thanks to a boat and water taxi strike that put paid to any hopes of wafting down the Grand Canal.

You can tell it’s Oscar season in Los Angeles, because every resident is made to feel like an Academy member. You need only open the LA Times to find acres of newsprint devoted to film advertising captioned “For Your Consideration”.

Driving around town, your eyes are drawn with dangerous frequency to the vast movie billboards. One prime location for these costly, self-congratulatory statements is the junction of Sunset and La Cienega Boulevards in the heart of Hollywood. Here, while stuck in traffic, you can gawp at the epic poster of Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill from The Wolf Of Wall Street, backed by even more epic yellow lettering proclaiming “BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME”. The ad positively shouts down the more demure Blue Jasmine billboard just down the street.

The quote is from DiCaprio’s character, real-life trader Jordan Belfort, as he explains his drug regimen. “I use Xanax to stay focused. Ambien to sleep, pot to mellow out, cocaine to wake up and morphine… because it’s awesome.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the poster is one of four Paramount has erected in Hollywood to tout Martin Scorsese’s three-hour comedy. But it will have to overcome the odds to beat 12 Years A Slave, or American Hustle to Best Picture next month.

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