‘Steve Jobs’ biopic too nasty to win Best Picture award

“As masterfully played by Michael Fassbender in this weekend’s New York Film Festival centerpiece ‘Steve Jobs,’ the late, iconic Apple founder is the ultimate Boss from Hell, an arrogant monster who goes out of his way to torment and embarrass even his most loyal and talented associates,” Lou Lumenick writes for The New York Post. “In this horror-movie-style biopic, Jobs even pushes away the 6-year-old daughter he initially refuses to acknowledge (despite a positive DNA test) — Jobs won’t even admit that he named his Lisa computer after her until well after he’s sure she might have inherited some of his genius.”

“Danny Boyle’s ‘Steve Jobs’ makes ‘The Social Network’ — another acidic portrayal of an arrogant tech genius with ice water instead of blood in his veins, also written by Aaron Sorkin, that ended up losing in Oscar’s major categories — look positively warm and fuzzy by comparison,” Lumenick writes. “I don’t think it will land the really big awards on Oscar night, though. Audiences outside the two coasts (Universal has scrapped plans for a nationwide opening next Friday, sending it into just nine theaters to build buzz before going wide on Oct. 23) and Oscar voters (particularly the largest branch, the actors) may have trouble embracing a film so cold it should require a frostbite warning.”

“There will also be the inevitable, and probably justified, attacks on the accuracy of a film (based on Walter Isaacson’s best-selling biography) that so relentlessly focuses on what the filmmakers consider the negative aspects of Jobs’ personality that it will be labeled a hit job,” Lumenick writes. “Though the latter years of Jobs’ life (including his biggest triumphs) are not even mentioned, I came away with the feeling that the makers of ‘Steve Jobs’ were practically implying Jobs’ early death at 56 was some kind of karmic payback. That’s really harsh, and I don’t think Oscar buyers are going to buy it.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We had high hopes – until Sorkin publicly attacked Tim Cook. Maybe the seemingly quite insecure Sorkin figured out the movie is unbalanced and not being as well-received as he’d hoped. Not so long ago, we were excited to see this film. Now, we’re dreading it.

Andy Hertzfeld: ‘Steve Jobs’ movie ‘deviates from reality everywhere’ but ‘aspires to explore and expose the deeper truths’ – October 2, 2015
Aaron Sorkin blasts Apple’s Tim Cook over ‘Steve Jobs’ critique: ‘You’ve got a lot of nerve’ – September 25, 2015
Kate Winslet on ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic: ‘Sorkin makes it almost not about Steve Jobs at all’ – August 26, 2015
Watch Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs in new official trailer – July 1, 2015
See Michael Fassbender as ‘Steve Jobs’ in first movie trailer – May 18, 2015
Universal Pictures announces full cast of ‘Steve Jobs’ as biopic begins shooting – January 28, 2015
Filming for Steve Jobs biopic underway at Apple co-founder’s childhood home – January 17, 2015
Perla Haney-Jardine to play Lisa Jobs in Universal’s ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – January 6, 2015
Kate Winslet eyed for female lead in ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – December 22, 2014
Jeff Daniels eyed to play former Apple CEO John Sculley in ‘Steve Jobs’ biopic – December 9, 2014

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler.” for the heads up.]


  1. I love Sorkin’s work, but I was taken aback by his thin-skinned nasty attack on Tim and Apple. Tim was not singling out Sorkin as being an opportunist, but Sorkin took it that way and then ignorantly singled out Apple and the Chinese labor BS. I’ve avoided other hit jobs on Steve, might have to avoid this one too if it’s not worth the aggravation.

    1. This Sorkin guy might be talented, but he is nasty character as person, and he has created cardboard “evil genius” caricature of Jobs, depriving him of humanity (which was obvious from countless stories told after his death); this approach lacks depth.

    2. Working is no fool, but he is very much part of the cynical machine that is the entertainment industry. If he spent more than 5 minutes researching his movie (and he is known for his detailed research) then he knows that his comment on 17 cents an hour Chinese workers is completely wrong. So why would he say that? It’s all about getting an audience, and marketing was probably telling him he’d make a lot more money if he could get fandroids in the door too – those comments were straight from the fandroid playbook. The “apology” to Tim Cook was just to appear to not alienate Apple/Jobs fans. Never underestimate the venality and cynicism of Hollywood.

    3. For Tim Cook to say anyone is opportunistic is bullshit. He’s opportunistic. He’s a hypocrite. Tim Cook is the CEO of a for profit company. One of the most profitable companies in the world. The products his company makes are made in China using cheap labour. Period. End of story.

      Anybody who says Tim Cook is opportunistic is making a completely fair and accurate comment. But when Tim Cook calls another person who’s making a for-profit-product opportunitistc he’s an idiot and gets egg on his face. Welcome to reality Tim.

      Sorkin’s comments about 17 cent labour wasn’t about being accurate in terms of knowing exactly what those employees get paid, it was to point out that he uses cheap Chinese labour and is thus opportunistic. And also to draw attention to the issue and the movie. It doesn’t matter if he said $1, $2, 5 cents, or whatever. The larger point is what he was trying to make.

      1. your post is so laughable in it’s logic it’s hard to know where to start to criticize it.

        1) cook is saying is that people are opportunistic in making those Jobs movies because they are DISTORTING THE TRUTH to make a buck, not just because they are trying to make money. (cook also said he didn’t see the Sorkin movie but was commenting on the Jobs fiction industry in general)

        It’s like if Apple sold stuff and LIED about it, like a Retina screen was actually just a normal screen. Lying to make a buck is what Cook was getting at

        2) saying 17 cents is a low blow , it’s like someone criticizing the boss of McDonalds because he pays his workers $1 an hour in the USA. Using an UNTRUTH to make an argument. So you’re saying the fact of $1 vs the REAL start pay of around $8 USA is not relevant in judging the ‘evilness’ of McDonalds ? Seriously? If you believe THAT kind of logic is ok there’s no arguing with you.

        Actually the difference of $1 and real McDonalds pay is LESS than the 17 cents Sorkin stated and real Chinese pay so he was even worse than my example. Actually what Foxconn (which by the way is NOT an apple company) pays it’s workers is HIGHER than the average for people of their educational level in china.
        If you think comparing CROSS COUNTRIES (i.e Foxconn is lower than USA/Europe) is OK why don’t you compare the actual Foxconn wages of $2-3 plus an hour with the 11 cents average in Cuba? The foxconn guy can earn a monthly Cuban wage in 2 days. So comparing with Cuba the Foxconn worker is RICH.

        “average Cuban salary equates to only about $20 per month. Starting with this figure, we can work out, that based on a worker working 9 hours per day, 5 days per week and 4 weeks per month, (total 180 hours), that the average hourly salary is about 11 cents per hour.”)

  2. I wrote this earlier on the other MDN article on the movie where one of the consultants said much of it was fake :

    so what they are saying is that this is a FANTASY about a character coincidentally called ‘Steve Jobs’.

    From the first trailer (before they revamped it) it seems like a hit piece on Jobs and Apple filled with falsehoods like the urban legend “Apple stole the GUI”.

    Also Sorkin’s assertion that APPLE PAYS IT’S CHINESE WORKERS 17 CENTS AN HOUR (said probably to entice Tim Cook in a pissing match to generate publicity for the movie) shows how little he cares or even KNOWS what is accurate about apple and he’s willing to perpetuate ‘apple hate’ with lies for his ends.

    So what is the point of watching the movie? Even Woz (and the other consultants) said the conversations and many incidents were made up. You can’t learn anything about Jobs or Apple because you don’t know what is fake. (seriously how can this movie be accurate if the creator thinks apple pays it’s workers 17 cents?)

    Sorkin if he was so desperate to make a buck should have GONE ALL THE WAY to make fantasy, get his character ‘Jobs’ ride a motorbike, carry a shotgun and shoot terminators, he might sell more tickets …

  3. As for Sorkin’s nasty response to Cook, this is one of those stories where the first, sensationalist part, goes viral, but the immediate follow-through disappears into oblivion.

    Very soon after the comment, Sorkin apologised to Cook (in his Sorkinesque way…):

    “”You know what, I think that Tim Cook and I probably both went a little too far. And I apologize to Tim Cook. I hope when he sees the movie he enjoys it as much as I enjoy his products.”

    1. The problem with that Sorkin “apology” is he was apologizing for Tim Cook when none was necessary nor solicited. It would have been more genuine if he had apologized just for himself. I have to say though anyone really smart as her is supposed to be wouldn’t have made that perilous and grossly incorrect China/Apple claim to begin with. Reeks of a school yard juvenile jibe.

      1. There are 2 Hollywoods. One that doesn’t live relatively quiet lives, abhors the cheap theatrics of the industry and has real talent (easily recognizable by their work product).

        Then there is the other Hollywood, the one that lives in a fantasy world dependent on the ‘glamour’ and ‘glitz’ of a self adulating PR machine, to offset deep rooted feelings of professional inadequacy.

        Unfortunately for movie goers everywhere, the latter are more vocal, more visible, and vastly out number the former.

  4. I knew from early on this was going to be an ugly hit-job, and I wasn’t at all interested in seeing it. This Sorkin guy is clearly out to paint tech history in as ugly a way as he can, he’s very narrow-minded and too imbalanced to give us any sort of accurate portrayal of Steve’s real character.

  5. It is quite amusing to see everyone slamming the film before anyone had a chance to see it.

    I don’t know if it is good or bad. I will NOT say anything either way UNTIL I actually get to see it.

    1. if a person made a movie of Ray Kroc creator of McDonald’s and said “Big Macs are made of Dog meat” (like Sorkin’s 17 cents an hour jibe) do you REALLY need to see the movie to know how it’s likely to be?

  6. Are all of you people in denial about what kind of person Steve Jobs was? Yes, he was brilliant and changed all of our lives. But by virtually all accounts, he was a colossal asshole who treated everyone around him like garbage. You can admire the man and his accomplishments while also acknowledging he was a rotten human being.

    1. “Treated everyone around him like garbage”? How do you explain the deep love and respect for Jobs expressed by so many who worked with and for him? Subtlety seems to be a bit beyond your binary thought processes. It is you who are in denial.

    2. “asshole who treated everyone around him like garbage”

      so why would Ive, Forstall, Cook, etc work with him for years?
      They were are all brilliant — numerous awards — could work anywhere and become millionaires , Cook had a great job at Compaq before.

      Cook even OFFERED JOBS a PIECE of his LIVER !! Cook said that Jobs was such a great friend that he knew it would be a risk for Cook that he refused preferring death.

      Lasseter creative head at Pixar who is described as ‘big teddy bear’ also worked with Jobs for years, and Ive is soft spoken. (btw when Jobs sold Pixar to disney he made sure Lasseter was made chief creative officer at Disney, some ‘asshole’ who treated people like garbage).

      Sure the guy was flawed and eccentric in some ways (as brilliant people often are) , maybe when he was younger even unpleasant under certain circumstances (especially to fools) but ‘treating everyone like garbage’?

      Ken Segall in his book Insanely Simple had a good illustration.
      When he met Jobs for the first time as an advertising guy, Jobs said to him his TV ads were brilliant but his print ads “shit”.
      Segall said Jobs then proceeded to continue the conversation calmly. Calling his stuff ‘shit’ wasn’t emotional it was just cutting to the crux (the stuff WAS inferior ), Jobs didn’t HEDGE things as he didn’t want to waste time and said what he saw, and this sometimes offended people. But that’s one big reason for Apple’s success , Cut to the Core is Apple’s Philosophy, to simplify things, that’s why Segall called his book ‘Insanely Simple’.

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