Oscar History

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Visual Effects Oscar Semi-Finals 

"All I know is that if I had worked on A Monster Calls, I'd be pretty pissed that I didn't get in but Sully did." -The Jack

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Previous Interview Index



Interview: Kim Jee-woon on South Korean Oscar Submission 'The Age of Shadows'

By Jose Solís.

Kim Jee-woon is certainly no stranger to genre extravaganzas, but in The Age of Shadows (which Tim reviewed here) he takes it to the most sumptuous level yet. The spy thriller set during the Japanese occupation of South Korea centers on the dilemma a double agent (Song Kang-ho) faces when he realizes the resistance fighters he’s trying to capture, might actually be more patriotic than the people he’s working for. With stunningly choreographed action sequences, exquisite period detail and powerhouse performances, the film is the rare historical film that actually feels urgent and exciting. Since it’s South Korea’s Oscar submission I spoke to director Kim Jee-woon about what he discovered about the resistance, working with some of his best known collaborators, and what the Oscar nomination would mean to him.

Special thanks to interpreter: Areum Jeong

Read the interview after the jump.

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"Arrival" Holds Strong While "Jackie" Tip Toes Into Theaters

What did you see this weekend? I caught up with Hacksaw Ridge and Krisha (which keeps winning "new generation" style awards) and went to a Pedro Almodóvar talk all of which we'll try to discuss very soon. Until the box office charts and, behind the scenes at the moment, podcast editing and Oscar chart revamping...

Not much changed at the box office this weekend with very few films opening but it's worth noting that Arrivalis proving to have very shapely legs. i.e. it's not dipping like you're supposed to dip each week and moved UP the chart this weekend indicating very good word of mouth...  

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The 42nd Annual LAFCA Winners !

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association stretches back to 1975, a very great year in cinema history with one of Oscar's all time best Best Picture lineups (Dog Day Afternoon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Nashville, Barry Lyndon, and Jaws). They gave four of those pictures awards in their first year, ignoring only Jaws. Though we normally despair that all film critics awards seem to be viewed through the prism of Oscar influence or prediction (critics groups should have their own identity / agenda or else what good are they?) in the LAFCA's case it's difficult to avoid. Los Angeles is an industry town and these are their local critics. So go crazy when you're looking at this list and want to think of it in terms of Oscar; It's easy to argue that its the single critics list that Oscar voters take most seriously since the bulk of the membership lives there.  You can especially see this influence lately in LAFCA's choices for "career achievement" which are not so infrequently named as Honorary Oscar winners the following year or three thereafter as happened recently with Anne V Coates, Gena Rowlands, and Frederick Wiseman!

For a refresher last year's big LAFCA winners were Spotlight and Mad Max Fury Road which were of course very popular with Oscar, too. They sometimes get creative in the Best Actress category but their Best Picture winner tends to go to an obvious and highly competitive future Best Picture nominee or winner with rare exceptions like WALL•E (2008), American Splendor (2003), or Do The Right Thing (1989).

This year's prizes were bathed in Moonlight though La La Land put up a fight.


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Baby Groot Pushing Buttons, Stealing Teasers

Guardians of The Galaxy Volume 2 arrives in five months time. Baby Groot steals this new teaser though we'll surely have more of them in which the others try to steal it back. Good luck with that.

The last Guardians took the world by surprise to become the third biggest global and domestic hit of its year (despite next to zero brand recognition before it arrived) and two Oscar nominations (Makeup and Visual Effects). Volume 2 won't have its element of surprise but what do you think the outcome will be? 


Interview: Pavel Giroud on Cuban Oscar Submission 'The Companion'

By Jose Solis.

Cuba’s Oscar entry The Companion, will surely be seen with new eyes with the recent death of Fidel Castro, as more stories about his decades long regime will come to the surface. Directed by Pavel Giroud, the film is set in a sanatorium in the outskirts of Havana, where HIV positive people were sent to live in the 1980s in an effort of the government to try and contain the epidemic. Each of the patients was assigned a companion, who would report on their behaviors and habits (no smoking or drinking allowed!), one of them is former boxer Horacio (Latin Grammy winner Yotuel Romero) who seeks another chance at glory, while he has to look after the rebellious Daniel (Armando Miguel). The two men develop an unlikely friendship which helps as the channel through which we see other subplots unfold, all of which contribute to helping audiences come up with a more complete portrait of what it was like to live in Cuba. Without resorting to sensationalization, the film both celebrates the country and criticizes the regime in which health came at the price of liberty. I spoke to director Giroud about cult Cuban musicals, his research for the film, and what it’s like to be the first Oscar submission after Cuba and the US have normalized diplomatic relations.

Read the interview after the jump. 

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