Oscars

Oscars

The Golden Globes are not like the Academy Awards (and don’t let anyone ever tell you as such, even if they are holding both a pair of Louboutins and a dirty martini and seem very convincing). While the Globes come to us care of “Hollywood Foreign Press Association,” a voting body made up of, well, members of the foreign press who like to shower their nominees with a boozy dinner (and apparently just a lot of small boxes of Godiva chocolates), the Oscars are put together by a giant body of Academy members that include professionals across the industry who refuse to provide even a plate of whatever to their honorees and guests. The Globes also honor television (even if its talents are stuck in the back of a ballroom that seems to be crammed beyond all comprehension with far too many tables and far too few paths to the stage), while the Oscars are pure cinema. With the Globes concerned with two different mediums, there’s no room for awards for technical stuff like cinematography or costume design, and the Oscars relish that sort of stuff. There’s also the elephant in the room – the Oscars are the Hollywood awards ceremony, the Golden Globes are the other (more boozy!) Hollywood awards ceremony. Being a Golden Globe winner in no way guarantees that you will be an Oscar winner.

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Oscars

Oscar voting starts today and runs for two weeks wherein AMPAS members will nominate the movies that they think deserve gold. That’s people who yell, “Shame on you!” to Martin Scorsese and actively engaged industry members alike. More than 6,000 people all pushing cinema they love closer toward a democratic consensus on greatness. In the real world the voting is compartmentalized (costume designers aren’t voting for sound design), but here in fantasyland, we can afford to run the gamut. So if you were an omnipresent kind of Academy member, who would you submit for the honor? What cinematography took your breath away? What acting reached into your soul? What editing astounded you? What movie should we remember for years to come? Please share your nominees in the comments section.

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Monuments Men

Hollywood has a favorite sport, one that comes complete with odds and bets and even occasional physical contact, though it’s not one that requires a ball or a uniform or actual rules – it’s Oscar prognostication, and it’s out of control. Every year, awards season wonks start crafting lists of possible contenders and winners still earlier and earlier. Many of this year’s safest bets (if there can be such a thing) have yet to even hit theaters or screen beyond film festivals, but plenty of journalists, bloggers, and writers who focus their attentions on awards season have already gotten to work on their lists for 2014. It must be noted – many of the films apparently bound of Oscar glory haven’t been completed yet, some of them haven’t even started filming, and yet they are already the subject of career-making guesswork. The last few weeks have seen a surprising number of “surefire” awards season contenders drop out of this year’s race, simply by moving their release dates from late 2013 (prime awards season) to various times in 2014 (obviously, a film cannot be eligible for 2013 awards if it opens in 2014). George Clooney’s The Monuments Men is the latest to join a long line of films, much like Foxcatcher, The Immigrant, Grace of Monaco, and (for awhile there at least) Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

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Reservoir Dogs

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Oscars

The morning’s fascinating articles from around the movie website-o-sphere. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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Oscar 2013 Mid-Year

What kind of movies get released in January? In the summer? From November through December? Exactly. We know the cycle so well that a movie with only half a dozen explosions in June is considered counter-programming while Fall films are actively baiting golden statues and podiums. We know it so well that people predict the following year’s Oscars the day after the Oscars. We know it so well that the ceremony “shaking things up” has become the status quo. So I wondered what would happen if they truly shook things up by holding the Oscars in July. A kind of mid-year awards ceremony where The Weinstein Company hasn’t even brought out its heaviest hitters yet. This alternative universe isn’t necessarily about what movies are the best — because the Oscars almost never are. It’s about finding the close enough blend of prestige and popularity from the first half of the year, but make no mistake, it would still result in a wildly different list of nominees.

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Life of Pi Tank

Dear Mr. Lee, When asked about the bankruptcy of Rhythm + Hues, the visual effects house largely responsible for making your film Life of Pi as incredible as it was, you said: “I would like it to be cheaper and not a tough business [for VFX vendors]. It’s easy for me to say, but it’s very tough. It’s very hard for them to make money. The research and development is so expensive; that is a big burden for every house. They all have good times and hard times, and in the tough times, some may not [survive].” I just want to point out that while, yes R&D can be expensive and yes it takes a lot of technology and computing power to create films like yours, it is not computer chips and hard drives that are costing you so very much money. It is the artists that are helping you create your film.

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Oscar2013Winners

Editor’s Note: This article will be updated in real time as the winners come in during the Academy Awards broadcast. Please join us for our Live-Blog tonight (because we ask nicely), and while you wait for the winners, check out our full Oscar coverage, where you will find breakdowns and predictions for all of the major categories. Winners will be bolded. Will it be Argo? Or Lincoln? Or will Resident Evil: Retribution have launched a furious write-in campaign that puts it up on the podium? These are the questions that exactly no one is asking because anyone who’s reading this post has already scrolled beyond this to check out who won. We get it, and we don’t take it personally. But here’s something fun to remember tonight and heading into tomorrow: there have now been 85 Oscar winning Best Pictures, but there are far more than 85 iconic movies. This is a shining awards show with an undeniable power to propel films into the cultural conversation, but it’s only one avenue to do so. Granted, it’s got a pretty solid track record (Driving Miss Daisy notwithstanding), but these names tonight are more about celebrating excellent work than choosing movies that will echo for eternity. And the Oscar goes to…:

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Tux PJs

An honest question: would you rather scroll through a bunch of Oscar experts’ probably practiced thoughts during the 85th Academy Awards, or would you rather share your opinions while carousing alongside the whisky-stabalized Reject crew? Exactly. But you’re already here, so why not stay a while? This year, we’ll be getting comfortable in formal pajamas, propping up a pillow fort and collectively sharing our shock when Anne Hathaway rips off her mask and reveals that she’s been Meryl Streep all along. Obviously we’ll have our usually brand of snarky profound insights, trivia and interactive polls, but this year you won’t be required to put on pants. Enjoy!

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Emilio Fernandez

Every year, dozens of people wrap their hands around Emilio Fernandez‘s torso and hoist him high into the air while thanking their supporters. Usually, they’re played off the stage by a swelling orchestra, but they still get to take Fernandez home. Fortunately for everyone involved, he comes in portable size that you can keep easily on your shelf because Emilio Fernandez is the Oscar. Or, rather, the Oscar statue is Emilio Fernandez. As the story goes, he was a good friend of actress Dolores Del Rio who introduced Fernandez to her future husband, Cedric Gibbons in 1928. Gibbons was an art director at MGM, an original academy member and the man who supervised the design of the trophy that would go on to become an international icon. All he had to do was convince Fernandez to pose nude, and AMPAS had their statue. But Fernandez was more than just the body that would become Oscar. He was an accomplished actor, director and writer who worked nearly six decades making movies right up until the year he died.

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Oscars Death Race Explosion

Well, here we are. Awards season is almost over and the Oscars await us on Sunday night. What’s left to say? After months of campaigning, precursor awards and general flustering, what have we learned? The focus now is on the last unknowns of the race heading into the big night. Some of the winners are already obvious, while others remain subjects of much debate and anxiety among Oscar prognosticators. Daniel Day-Lewis is a shoo-in for Best Actor, but what about Best Cinematography? The suspense is killing all of us. However, I won’t go into that here. The Film School Rejects team has spent the last week running through the categories in great detail, and there’s really nothing I can add. Check out the tip-top analysis here. What I can address is the overall character of the awards season. I can do this because as of late Wednesday night, I have completed what is known as the “Oscars Death Race.”

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Film Jockeys #11 Life of the Oscar Party

What happens when a legendary film critic brings is geriatric crankiness to an internet movie show? Film Jockeys follows the adventures of Carl Barker, his far-too-young production staff, the filmmakers and the movie characters that inhabit their world. Written and illustrated by Derek Bacon, it’s the perfect webcomic for passionate movie fans who are also ready to rock the red carpet. For your consideration, Episode #11:

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Ben Affleck Globes

With painted-on Tuxedos and a foolish bet about who can accurately predict more Oscar winners, we set out to discuss the Academy Awards with the lucky benefit of hindsight. We’ll be borrowing expertise from Guy Lodge of HitFix’s In Contention blog for a look into how this year shapes up (and what the future may bring). Plus, one of us is going to be drunkenly reciting the opening monologue from Patton next week. It all comes down to who wins for Best Achievement in Costume Design. Download Episode #7

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Olly Moss Oscar Poster 2013

For 85 years, the Oscar statue has been the symbol of the ceremony, evolving into a mythic icon with its own storied history. Now master artist Olly Moss has transformed that perfectly postured, bald man into a sexy hitchhiker, a southern belle, a skull-carrying Danish prince, a pudgy butcher, a chariot racer, a Shark (or a Jet?), a chauffeur, a little girl in a red dress, a king of the world, a bomb disposal technician and 75 other figures from Best Picture winners. It’s also a fun game to see if you can spot all the winners and the characters he’s chosen to represent each. My personal favorites include the statues for The Godfather, The Deer Hunter, Casablanca and American Beauty, but there’s a kind of brilliance in what he did for the Oscar winner of 2001. Check out the hi-res poster over at Moss’ website and play along.

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2013 Nominees

The masterminds behind the Academy Awards are not simply content with making all their nominees sit together in one room during their actual ceremony, they also like to gather them for an annual Nominees Luncheon a few weeks before the big dance, apparently just to get them all to pose like some massive graduating class (with risers and everything!). How totally fun and supremely awkward, especially when you consider the odds of how many eventual winners are crammed in alongside other talents who will soon have to talk about how “it’s such an honor just to be nominated.” Feel free to click on the picture for a larger version so that you can properly scrutinize the faces and outfits of all the nominees (for instance, Robert De Niro appears to be going for the Tommy Lee Jones look, Anne Hathaway is sporting the brightest smile, and the color of Jacki Weaver‘s dress is fantastic). It’s basically Where’s Waldo? with Oscar nominees. The Academy Awards will air on Sunday, February 24th. [via Cinema Blend]

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Henry Short Film

Short films are an easily misunderstood art form. At the Oscars, celebrity introductions of the short film nominees and winners often justify the importance of the category by citing shorts as a platform for future feature-filmmaking. But the elements that make up a great short are hardly the same as those that make for a great feature. Here at FSR, we’ve made something of a habit of looking at short films on their own merits, as works of cinema with their own unique possibilities. The short film category at the Oscars is typically a rushed-through affair so that the broadcast can proceed to more ratings-friendly moments. But the Academy Award-nominated short films make for some of the strongest categories of the event: all the nominees are, most often, very good. Here’s my take on the Academy Award nominees for Best Live-Action Short Film.

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2013 Oscar Animated Shorts

Short films are an easily misunderstood art form. At the Oscars, celebrity introductions of the short film nominees and winners often justify the importance of the category by citing shorts as a platform for future feature-length filmmaking. But the elements that make up a great short are hardly the same as those that make for a great feature. Here at FSR, we’ve made something of a habit of looking at short films on their own merits, as relatively brief works of storytelling with their own unique possibilities. The short film category at the Oscars is typically a rushed-through affair so that the broadcast can proceed to more ratings-friendly moments. But the Academy Award-nominated short films make for some of the strongest categories of the event; all the nominees are, most often, very good. It’s also a level playing field. In the shorts categories, studio properties can compete with self-funded passion projects and film school theses. Since they’re out in a handful of theaters today, here’s my take on the Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Short Film.

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How to Survive a Plague

If you want to sell a movie script, you’ve got to get in the room. But what do you do once you get there? Geoff answers a listener question by explaining what you need to do when prepping a pitch and presenting it to producers (all of whom are throwing knives at you as you speak). Plus, we kick off Oscar Month, celebrating the 99th anniversary of Oscar royalty Charlie Chaplin‘s appearance in film, and Scott engages in an insightful discussion with How to Survive a Plague director David France about his Academy Award-nominated AIDS documentary. Download Episode #4

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Dooley Wilson in Casablanca

A few weeks back, Matthew Perpetua of Buzzfeed wrote a post arguing that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should consider an award for “Best Use of an Old Song,” citing the memorable instances of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” in Silver Linings Playbook and Benjamin Britten’s “The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” in Moonrise Kingdom as possible contenders in this imaginary category. I could not agree more. It’s been a long time since a Best Original Song or Best Original Score winner made a major cultural impact, and the Music Supervisors who find the best existing music (within legal and budgetary constraints) for the greatest effect deserve their day in the spotlight for making us think about old songs in a new memorable audio-visual context or introducing us to great music that we didn’t know was always out there. Here are the reasons why such a category doesn’t already exist.

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Amour Movie

Amour is a very difficult movie. I would go so far as to say it’s the toughest, most painful Best Picture nominee in an awfully long time. It’s so heartbreaking and uncomfortable that I was somewhat taken aback when it pulled five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Sure, Emmanuelle Riva seemed like a good bet and it was certainly going to be ahead of the pack in the Foreign Film category, but that top-tier nomination? Only eight foreign language films have been nominated for Best Picture in the past, and only one of them (Ingmar Bergman’s Cries and Whispers) is as profoundly upsetting as Michael Haneke’s blunt portrait of love and death. It just didn’t seem likely. Obviously, I was wrong. Let’s hope that isn’t the theme of the season. In hindsight, the impressive crop of nominations for Amour makes a ton of sense. It makes so much sense that I think it has a very good shot at winning three Oscars. Here’s the case:

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published: 01.29.2015
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published: 01.28.2015
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published: 01.28.2015
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published: 01.28.2015
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