I should've gone to a movie today because it's the most instantaneous cure I know for the blues. But I'm too backed up with work. Maybe tomorrow if I'm a good boy for President's Day? Bruce Willis & Jai Courtney's father/son tough guy act for A Good Day To Die Hard topped the Valentine's Weekend as the only "manly" option with several softer options competing for similar demographics. Safe Haven came in third just behind last week's champ Identity Thief. The romzomcom Warm Bodies somehow fended off the other supernatural romance Beautiful Creatures which was surely aiming for the same crowd. Was it the simplicity of the Warm Bodies concept or just its strong word of mouth in a 3rd week?
Or maybe it's those totally chaotic Beautiful Creatures commercials. What the hell is it? And can we talk about how much the posters for Beautiful Creatures looks like perfume ads!?! Especially Alice Englert's "Lena"... (I hope the bottle looks just like her necklace.)
From the commercials I'm guessing that Emmy Rossum's "Ridley" perfume smells like succulent ham.
What did you see this weekend?
If you saw Beautiful Creatures, spill. Aromatic or rotten? And you think Jane Campion ever expected her baby daughter to go so mainstream so fast?
Each year at the Oscar ceremony I hope against hope that they'll ditch one of the numerous superfluous montages celebrating something or other throughout history and just do a runway show of the year's best costumes. On rare occasions we've seen a living tableau before the winner was announced and at least once, a Whoopi ceremony, the host actually incorporated costume design into the gig.
Imagine Seth MacFarlane coming out as Fantine in a shredded Les Miz gown or Queen Ravenna's raven collar dress. Sorry, no! I apologize deeply for putting those images in your head. Let's just say that I feel reasonably certain there will at least be a stovepipe hat during the ceremony in honor of Lincoln.
• Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
• Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
• Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
• Paco Delgado, Les Misérables
• Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Hunstman
will win: Anna Karenina, it's not quite traditional "royalty porn", their favorite thing in this category, but the Russian aristocracy is close enough.
should win: Anna Karenina, Durran continues to just amaze in film after film.
weird trivia: The Oscars love Colleen Atwood but she only ever wins when she's pitted against their other all-time favorite Sandy Powell
possible spoiler: if Oscar voters are feeling daring and/or sentimental you could see a posthumous win for the great Ishioka whose costumes always function as their own setpieces they're such scene stealers
OSCAR VISUAL CHARTS
My Own Ballot & Semi-Finalists with shout-outs to all the Oscar nominees (great lineup. well done AMPAS) as well as Sharen Davis, Kasia Walicka-Maimone, Caroline Eselin, Julie Weiss, Mark Bridges, and Manon Rasmussen
I think this begs a reader poll...
Jose here. The Berlin Film Festival came to its end a few hours ago and the big winners came from Romania and Bosnia. Călin Peter Netzer's Child's Pose won the prestigious Golden Bear, while Danis Tanovic's An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker picked up the Jury Grand Prix as well as the Best Actor award for Nazif Mujic.
The winners as selected by the jury headlined by Wong Kar-wai were:
- Golden Bear: Child's Pose by Călin Peter Netzer
- Jury Grand Prix: An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker by Danis Tanović
Tanović's movie has a real life family recreate an event that almost cost them their son's life. Not only does this sound like an interesting project but it also shows a two year trend in the festival where real life people dramatizing events have taken the main prizes. Last year's Golden Bear winner, Caesar Must Die (which is great and just opened in NYC!) had real life inmates put on a Shakespeare play. Tanović has also had a great record with awards, remember his No Man's Land upset Amélie for the Oscar twelve years ago? We might be in the presence of the first Oscar-y movie of 2013...
Emile Hirsch and Paul Rudd in Prince Avalanche
- Silver Bear for Best Director: David Gordon Green for Prince Avalanche
- Silver Bear for Best Actress: Paulina García for Gloria
García keeps on perpetuating the fantastic renaissance of Chilean cinema. Chile is having a great year so far, with No (which just opened in the US) being perhaps the only movie that could give Amour a run for its money in the Oscar race. Incidentally Pablo Larraín, who directed No is listed as a producer for Gloria.
- Silver Bear for Best Actor: Nazif Mujić for An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker
A still from Closed Curtain.
- Silver Bear for Best Script: Jafar Panahi for Closed Curtain
Panahi, who is still banned from film making, shot this in his own beach house and once again managed to smuggle the film out of Iran! Just two years ago, his brilliant This Is Not a Film (which was shamefully left out of the Oscar documentary race) caused a commotion in Cannes after it arrived via birthday cake! Is it just me or is Panahi's life much more interesting/politically inspiring than Argo? Sigh.
- Award for an outstanding artistic contribution: Vic and Flo Saw a Bear by Denis Côté
- Teddy Award: W imię... by Małgośka Szumowska (the Teddy, an LGBT-focused award, is chosen by an independent jury)
On an interesting note, the Special Award winner - Vic and Flo Saw a Bear- also features lead characters who are gay, yet the movie wasn't featured in any of the Teddy selections. Makes for an interesting question on how different jury members vote for different things and spread out the wealth.
- Special Mentions:
- Promised Land by Gus Van Sant (whatever happened to this movie Stateside?)
- Layla Fourie by Pia Marais
In recent years, more than ever before, we've seen an overlap of Berlin and Oscar, particularly in the Foreign Language category. Just last year Berlin gave awards to War Witch and A Royal Affair, both of which ended up being nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category this year. Which of these movies are you dying to see? Have you kept up with Tanovic's work after his Oscar win?
I'm saving my beloved category Costume Design for its own post. For now let's talk Cinematography, Production Design, Editing and Visual Effects. At the Oscars Life of Pi is up for all of these categories. It can pick up all of those statues if it can fend off viable threats from Skyfall, Anna Karenina, Argo and The Avengers respectively. Is it likely to? I'd say no but it's a safe bet that it won't go home empty-handed come Oscar night. If Anne Hathaway can use her Golden Globe as "a weapon against self-doubt" than orphaned Pi can surely use an Oscar as blunt heavy object to fend off that tiger. (Life of Pi isn't up for all four of those prizes at The Film Experience's own awards but then no film is.)
We're definitely living in some kind of golden age of cinematography. There are so many great DPs working right now in the 21st century that it feels downright ungrateful each January when only five are held up as the gold standard. So I'm happy to honor an at least partially different list in my own awards. Don't talk to me about Greig Frasier, one of the single brightest stars who this year alone lit Snow White and the Huntsman, Killing Me Softly and Zero Dark Thirty, still being nomination-free --- I CAN'T! Other relative newbies I'm personally excited about are Radium Cheng (Starlet), Bradford Young (Middle of Nowhere), and Mihai Malaimare Jr. (The Master) And that's just scratching the surface of cinematographers who Oscar didn't notice this year. There are so many longtime giants still walking the earth in this field that Oscar couldn't even find room for a talent as big as Darius Wolski (Prometheus) or any of the exciting newbies.
Oscar Nominated: Seamus McGarvey (Anna Karenina), Robert Richardson (Django Unchained), Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi), Roger Deakins (Skyfall) and Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln)
Should Win: McGarvey
Will Win: Miranda -- Pi looks gorgeous through and through and cinematography has lately become the province of vfx epics... though it's hard to tell where computers take over for DPs these days in post
Spoiler Possibility: Skyfall is stunning eye candy which might help Roger Deakins. He's more likely to win for sentimental reasons than for the best-looking Bond. It's ridiculous that he's still waiting for an Oscar at 63 after 10 nominations and such an amazing influential career.
(formerly titled Art Direction at the Oscars)
My guess is that Anna Karenina is headed for the eye candy double (Costumes + Production Design) that I've come to think of as "The Moulin Rouge! Awards" But it's possible that they'll throw this bone to a Best Picture nominee instead.
Oscar Nominated: Anna Karenina (Sarah Greenwood), The Hobbit (Dan Hennah), Life of Pi (David Gropman), Lincoln (Rick Carter), Les Misérables (Eve Stewart)
Should Win: Anna Karenina
Will Win: Anna Karenina
Spoiler Possibility: Life of Pi
We can all agree that this Oscar category will land safely in the hands of Life of Pi, can't we? Damn but that tiger alone, right. Even Hulk can't smash its Oscar dreams.
In a piece about Argo's Oscar chances I already detailed my feelings about this race. I think Argo will take it but if you ask me William Goldenberg (double-nominated) did much stronger work on Zero Dark Thirty so he'll win for the wrong film -- which won't be any kind of Oscar first ;). Goldenberg's work Zero is the only Oscar nominee that crossed over into my ballot.