Awards Watch Archive for October, 2013

20W2O: Choking On The Tea Leaves

In the last week, there have been a series of attacks on the box office potential of 12 Years A Slave, which is “dirty tricks”-speak for “there is something less than great about this movie about the black people you have no responsibility for to which They are trying to force you to give a Best Picture Oscar.” These two stories ran, by the way, on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, the day before the film’s first expansion to 123 screens, and then in the New York Times, two days after the film’s first expansion.

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David Simon On 12 Years A Slave

“It marks the first time in history that our entertainment industry has managed to stare directly at slavery and maintain that gaze.” David Simon On 12 Years A Slave

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Picturing The Many Hats Of Matthew McConaughey

Picturing The Many Hats Of Matthew McConaughey

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Trailering The Wolf Of Wall Street For Christmas Delight

Oh, It’s A Comedy: Trailering The Wolf Of Wall Street For Christmas Delight

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Awards Season Bonuses Set For Dallas Buyers Club Players

Awards Season Bonuses Set For Dallas Buyers Club Players

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20W2O: LA Times A1 Piece On 12 Years A Slave Could Be A Hit Job By An Awards Rival

This story is a textbook example of how to give a hard backhand slap to a movie that someone sees as having vulnerabilities. None of the Oscar Whisperers out there could have asked for anything better, short of a series of stories that people had actually gotten ill or had to run out of the theater to avoid the horrors of this film. It’s a marketing story! Why would that be bad?

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20 Weeks To Oscar: Late October And Still No True Frontrunner

Truth is, We have usually set the field pretty effectively by mid-November. 80%-plus of nominees are pretty well guessed at by then. So then it gets even weirder, as We fight over the last 20% and attempt to “win” by guessing the winners before anyone else. Every minor shift gets overemphasized because it – how dare it! – surprises Us. What started as somewhat rational prognostication turns personal… and sometimes ugly. And the people who have jobs trying to convince Us of this or that get sharper edged, which is often misconstrued as “dirty tricks,” but outside of the bubble is just called “publicity.”

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The Persistent Mystery Of Solomon Northup’s Later Years

The Persistent Mystery Of Solomon Northup’s Later Years

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Brad Pitt Naysays Those Who Challenge His Casting In 12 Years A Slave

Brad Pitt Naysays Those Who Challenge His Casting In 12 Years A Slave

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Consultant Henry Louis Gates Jr. Fact-Checks 12 Years A Slave

Consultant Henry Louis Gates Jr. Fact-Checks 12 Years A Slave

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Austerlitz On “The Tangled History Of The Slavery Film”

Austerlitz On “The Tangled History Of The Slavery Film”

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Barnes Offers Theory Walt Disney Co. Is Breaking Barriers By Depicting Walt Disney As A Flawed Human In Saving Mr. Banks

Barnes Offers Theory Walt Disney Co. Is Breaking Barriers By Depicting Walt Disney As A Flawed Human In Saving Mr. Banks

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Steve McQueen Video-Anatomizes A Scene From 12 Years A Slave

Steve McQueen Video-Anatomizes A Scene From 12 Years A Slave

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Gurus o’ Gold: Post New York Film Festival

This week, in our last pre-November rankings, The Gurus are looking at the Best Picture race, split into films that have been widely seen by the industry (in theatrical release, wide screenings or at festivals) and those that have not.

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Julia Louis-Dreyfus As “National Treasure”

Julia Louis-Dreyfus As “National Treasure”

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Hoberman On Gravity And “Drowning In The Digital Abyss”

“Genuinely experimental, blatantly predicated on the formal possibilities of film, Gravity is a movie in a tradition that includes Intolerance, Napoleon, Olympia, and The Birds, as well as its most obvious precursor, 2001. Call it blockbuster modernism.” Hoberman On Gravity

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Introducing Barkhad Abdi

Introducing Barkhad Abdi

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“Blackwater At Sea: The Legacy Of Captain Phillips”

“Blackwater At Sea: The Legacy Of Captain Phillips“

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“Gravity is not a “hopeful”: It’s in, because while huge grosses, rapturous reviews, two well-liked movie stars, a respected director from another country, nerdgasms all over Twitter, and bar-raising visuals are not, in themselves, guaranteed roads to an Oscar nomination, the combination of them certainly is.”

“Gravity is not a “hopeful”: It’s in, because while huge grosses, rapturous reviews, two well-liked movie stars, a respected director from another country, nerdgasms all over Twitter, and bar-raising visuals are not, in themselves, guaranteed roads to an Oscar nomination, the combination of them certainly is.”

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Yes, That “Space Suspense In 3D” Gravity Is Not A Documentary

Yes, That “Space Suspense In 3D” Gravity Is Not A Documentary

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Awards Watch

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“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg