Is this finally, at last, Martin Scorsese's year? Is it possible that the director of "The Departed" will be recognized for his work and for his movie, get his Oscars and finally be able to let go a sigh of relief?
It sure looks better now than ever.
Scorsese's "The Departed" is a hit, a bona fide, solid hit, raking in more than $60 million and holding the No. 1 slot down for 12 days. And with that domestic take and $17 million in international sales, "The Departed" will not just break even but make some money.
Now here's "The Departed," with so many strong actors that the word has not come down yet about who will be tapped for lead and supporting Oscar nods. Is Jack Nicholson's crazed villain supporting? Yes. But he's on screen at least as much as Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, both of whom deserve shots at the lead awards. Then there's a host of supporting players, starting with Alec Baldwin, who do great work.
And there's one other thing: Everyone likes "The Departed." There's no debate about it. Audiences love it. Strangers and people outside of the business talk about it. Scorsese has not had a popular hit on this scale since "Goodfellas," which was some 16 years ago.
In a taped tribute from Tangiers, Matt Damon demonstrated just how world famous his buddy is. The camera panned to a local movie theater showing Clooney's Batman and Robin (you know, the one that features infamously large nipples on his costume). Seconds later, Damon was giving refunds to the outraged North African audience who lashed out at Clooney for ruining the Caped Crusader movie franchise. "Float me some cash," pleaded Damon. "The Peacemaker is opening here in, like, three months."
But in the end, Clooney got his revenge. He showed embarrassing photos of everyone who chided him on the stage's big screens. There was a bare-chested Don Cheadle in a cowboy hat striking a come-hither look with a finger on his lips. A very young Damon was shown in a shiny orange suit and caught in a midair, arms-flapping dance step.