Awards Watch Archive for November, 2014

20 Weeks To Oscar: The Trouble With Biopics

We’re close to an all-biopic Oscar season. Maybe that’s why it’s such a blur right now. The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, Selma, Unbroken, Foxcatcher, Mr. Turner, Big Eyes, and American Sniper are all specifically biopics. Boyhood and Birdman are fiction, but have major biographical elements driving them. Lots of bios.

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20 Weeks To Oscar: First Major Event

Guild nominations are rarely outside of the well-established box. It takes a series of those events in coordination to change the game. Critics awards… lovely. But enjoy them for what they are, because they may not match nominations, much less winners.

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Seven Lessons In Creativity From The Director Of The Imitation Game

Seven Lessons In Creativity From The Director Of The Imitation Game And – How Designers Recreated Alan Turing’s Machine

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Mike Ryan On Selma And Ferguson, 11 Miles From His Hometown

Mike Ryan On Selma And Ferguson, 11 Miles From His Hometown

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“The undeclared subject of Citizenfour is integrity—the insistence by an individual that his life and the principle he lives by should be all of a piece. Something resembling an aesthetic correlative of that integrity can be found in the documentary style of Laura Poitras.”

“The undeclared subject of Citizenfour is integrity—the insistence by an individual that his life and the principle he lives by should be all of a piece. Something resembling an aesthetic correlative of that integrity can be found in the documentary style of Laura Poitras.”

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Gurus o’ Gold: Thanksgiving Week

This week, The Gurus offer up opinions on Best Picture and the two Supporting Acting categories. Also, what movies should voters try to see this holiday weekend before nominations commence? It’s a pretty big list, which is a sign of a strong year of movies, if not easy awards choices.

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Reese Witherspoon On Keeping The “Perky” Out Of Wild

Reese Witherspoon On Keeping The “Perky” Out Of Wild

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Will These Be 2014’s Oscar Visual Effects Contenders?

Will These Be 2014’s Oscar Visual Effects Contenders?

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Brent Lang Sez Citizenfour Deserves A Best Picture Nom

Brent Lang Sez Citizenfour Deserves A Best Picture Nom

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Gurus o’ Gold: A Week From Thanksgiving, aka Screener Time

There’s been a march on the Top Ten and the man leading the charge has moved up the Actors list as well. The field narrows as the holiday gets closer.

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Talking With The Authors Of Gone Girl And Wild

Talking With The Authors Of Gone Girl And Wild

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“What makes Inherent Vice, the book and the movie together, an artifact of such beautifully revisionist history is that it shows us another way the ’70s could have gone—the pigs washed away on an unstoppable tide of grooviness, the bungalows left standing and the suburbs taken under. But it’s just a proposition.”

“What makes Inherent Vice, the book and the movie together, an artifact of such beautifully revisionist history is that it shows us another way the ’70s could have gone—the pigs washed away on an unstoppable tide of grooviness, the bungalows left standing and the suburbs taken under. But it’s just a proposition.”

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Angelina Jolie Says Unbroken Was An Emotional Journey

Angelina Jolie Says Unbroken Was An Emotional Journey

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Eddie Cockrell Drops Hints From Sydney Preem Of Unbroken

Eddie Cockrell Drops Hints From Sydney Preem Of Unbroken

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20 Weeks To Oscar – The Ides Of November

It’s still early. And it’s so late! There are a few titles floating out there, waiting for their moment in the spotlight. But it’s getting awfully late to make a first impression.

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 Sets Homevideo Sales Record For Fox-DreamWorks Animation

How To Train Your Dragon 2 Sets Homevideo Sales Record For Fox-DreamWorks Animation

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Caroline Siede Sez, “Unfortunately, The Winter Soldier was the best female-driven superhero film of 2014″

Caroline Siede Sez, “Unfortunately, The Winter Soldier was the best female-driven superhero film of 2014″

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Scott Feinberg’s Rationale For Supporting The H’wd Film Awards

“My position has always been that, like them or not, the HFA are worthy of coverage by awards columnists/bloggers like myself because most of the top Oscar contenders show up for them, and when they do anything en masse, especially in front of a massive audience (as was the case this year when the Hollywood Film Awards,…

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37% Of Oscar-Submitted Docs Directed By Women

37% Of Oscar-Submitted Docs Directed By Women

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Screenwriter Larry Karaszewski Sez Big Eyes Has A Bigger Picture

Screenwriter Larry Karaszewski On Big Eyes‘ Bigger Picture

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This is probably going to sound petty, but Martin Scorsese insisting that critics see his film in theaters even though it’s going straight to Netflix and then not screening it in most American cities was a watershed moment for me in this theatrical versus streaming debate.

I completely respect when a filmmaker insists that their movie is meant to be seen in the theater, but the thing is, you got to actually make it possible to see it in the theater. Some movies may be too small for that, and that’s totally OK.

When your movie is largely financed by a streaming service and is going to appear on that streaming service instantly, I don’t really see the point of pretending that it’s a theatrical film. It just seems like we are needlessly indulging some kind of personal fantasy.

I don’t think that making a feature film length production that is going to go straight to a video platform is some sort of “step down.“ I really don’t. Theatrical exhibition as we know it is dying off anyway, for a variety of reasons.

I should clarify myself because this thread is already being misconstrued — I’m talking about how the movie is screened in advance. If it’s going straight to Netflix, why the ritual of demanding people see it in the theater?

There used to be a category that everyone recognized called “TV movie” or “made for television movie” and even though a lot of filmmakers considered that déclassé, it seems to me that probably 90% of feature films fit that description now.

Atlantis has mostly sunk into the ocean, only a few tower spires remain above the waterline, and I’m increasingly at peace with that, because it seems to be what the industry and much of the audience wants. We live in an age of convenience and information control.

Only a very elite group of filmmakers is still allowed to make movies “for theaters“ and actually have them seen and judged that way on a wide scale. Even platform releasing seems to be somewhat endangered. It can’t be fought. It has to be accepted.

9. Addendum: I’ve been informed that it wasn’t Scorsese who requested that the Bob Dylan documentary only be screened for critics in theaters, but a Netflix representative indicated the opposite to me, so I just don’t know what to believe.

It’s actually OK if your film is not eligible for an Oscar — we have a thing called the Emmys. A lot of this anxiety is just a holdover from the days when television was considered culturally inferior to theatrical feature films. Everybody needs to just get over it.

In another 10 to 20 years they’re probably going to merge the Emmys in the Oscars into one program anyway, maybe they’ll call it the Contentys.

“One of the fun things about seeing the new Quentin Tarantino film three months early in Cannes (did I mention this?) is that I know exactly why it’s going to make some people furious, and thus I have time to steel myself for the takes.

Back in July 2017, when it was revealed that Tarantino’s next project was connected to the Manson Family murders, it was condemned in some quarters as an insulting and exploitative stunt. We usually require at least a fig-leaf of compassion for the victims in true-crime adaptations, and even Tarantino partisans like myself – I don’t think he’s made a bad film yet – found ourselves wondering how he might square his more outré stylistic impulses with the depiction of a real mass murder in which five people and one unborn child lost their lives.

After all, it’s one thing to slice off with gusto a fictional policeman’s ear; it’s quite another to linger over the gory details of a massacre that took place within living memory, and which still carries a dread historical significance.

In her essay The White Album, Joan Didion wrote: “Many people I know in Los Angeles believe that the Sixties ended abruptly on August 9, 1969, ended at the exact moment when word of the murders on Cielo Drive traveled like brushfire through the community, and in a sense this is true.”

Early in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt’s characters drive up the hill towards Leo’s bachelor pad, the camera cranes up gently to reveal a street sign: Cielo Drive. Tarantino understands how charged that name is; he can hear the Molotov cocktails clinking as he shoulders the crate.

As you may have read in the reviews from Cannes, much of the film is taken up with following DiCaprio and Pitt’s characters – a fading TV actor and his long-serving stunt double – as they amusingly go about their lives in Los Angeles, while Margot Robbie’s Sharon Tate is a relatively minor presence. But the spectre of the murders is just over the horizon, and when the night of the 9th finally arrives, you feel the mood in the cinema shift.

No spoilers whatsoever about what transpires on screen. But in the audience, as it became clear how Tarantino was going to handle this extraordinarily loaded moment, the room soured and split, like a pan of cream left too long on the hob. I craned in, amazed, but felt the person beside me recoil in either dismay or disgust.

Two weeks on, I’m convinced that the scene is the boldest and most graphically violent of Tarantino’s career – I had to shield my eyes at one point, found myself involuntarily groaning “oh no” at another – and a dead cert for the most controversial. People will be outraged by it, and with good reason. But in a strange and brilliant way, it takes Didion’s death-of-the-Sixties observation and pushes it through a hellfire-hot catharsis.

Hollywood summoned up this horror, the film seems to be saying, and now it’s Hollywood’s turn to exorcise it. I can’t wait until the release in August, when we can finally talk about why.

~ Robbie Collin