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Tarantino prepares to be spurned by Oscar

Director thinks breaking the film into two pieces hurt its chances.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Quentin Tarantino has just one regret about splitting his “Kill Bill” vengeance saga into two movies: The move may have undermined its Academy Awards prospects, particularly for star Uma Thurman.

“I think the only thing that might have been lost in that decision is we could have gotten considerably more awards play if the film had been one big, giant epic,” Tarantino, 41, told The Associated Press. “As one big movie, Uma would have gotten a best-actress nomination, for sure.

“I’m still hoping we’re going to do good at the Oscars this year” for “Kill Bill — Vol. 2,” which came out on home video Tuesday. “Kill Bill — Vol. 1” was shut out in the last Oscar nominations.

Film honors aside, breaking “Kill Bill” into last fall’s “Vol. 1” and spring’s “Vol. 2” worked well financially and artistically, Tarantino said.

Distributor Miramax set itself up for a double dose of theatrical, home-video and television revenue for the two installments, which cost a combined $65 million and grossed a total of $136 million domestically.

As one movie, audiences either would have had to sit through a four-hour epic or Tarantino would have had to cut critical footage, he said. The graphic anime sequence in “Vol. 1” would have been sliced in half, and other favorite moments would have been greatly curtailed, among them Thurman’s training with a pitiless martial arts master and co-star Michael Madsen’s humiliating treatment by his strip-club boss, Tarantino said.

“If I tried to turn it into a three-hour or two-and-a-half-hour movie, all the scenes that would go would be scenes I think give the movie its weight, its resonance,” Tarantino said. “If I truly, truly believed the film would have had more impact shorter, I would have done it that way.”

The “Kill Bill” films were Tarantino’s first since 1997’s “Jackie Brown.” The story of “Kill Bill” dates back to the production of 1994’s “Pulp Fiction,” when Tarantino and co-star Thurman dreamed up the character of the Bride, a former assassin who goes on a rampage against her old crew after they kill her wedding party and leave her for dead.

The saga co-stars David Carradine as Bill and Madsen, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah and Vivica A. Fox as members of his hit team targeted by Thurman’s Bride.

Tarantino has thought about doing a “Kill Bill” sequel in about 15 years, when the Bride’s daughter and the daughter of Fox’s character both would be about 20. Fox’s daughter witnesses her mother’s death at the hands of the Bride in “Vol. 1,” and Thurman tells the young girl to feel free to come looking for her after she grows up.

“Uma laid down the challenge, and she deserves her revenge as much as Uma did,” Tarantino said.

More immediately, Tarantino plans to film “Inglorious Bastards,” a mammoth World War II tale. He said he might slip in a smaller-scale movie project before that, though.

As a lead-in to Oscar season, Tarantino hopes to have both “Kill Bill” installments playing as one long film in limited release at theaters late this year.

“For the next 50 years, I can show ‘Kill Bill’ as one movie at revival houses,” Tarantino said.