The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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1 Day Til Oscar... "No. 1 Fan"

Flashback March 25th, 1991

Which one of these guys do you think Kathy Bates wanted to lock up in her house and possibly hobble? If neither Tom nor Dustin are the correct answer who do you think Kathy was eyeing on Oscar night that year? Tell us in the comments.

Question #2: If you had to nurse one of this year's Oscar nominees back to health in your remote house in the woods, who would it be? 



Spirit Award Winners

The first national live television broadcast in the US took place in 1951 but sixty-three years later, certain awards shows are unaware that this technology has been invented yet. The Spirit Awards will be broadcast on IFC tonight at 10PM EST the tent in Santa Monica will be cleared and we'll know all the winners and we'll have probably have lost interest completely, this being Oscar weekend when time is precious and tight.

That's Greta Gerwig left on the red carpet (that's where the stream froze so that's the expression you get!) where she said...

The Spirit Awards are my jam."

The best moment on the red carpet was definitely birthday girl Lupita Nyong'o evading questions about what she's doing on Monday once the Oscars are over.

I'm getting away from here."

She wouldn't say why, what for, or where. Smart girl.


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Why Amy Adams Might Have Us All Fooled, or The Emancipation of Sydney.

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, gone for far too long, with something that I've been racking my brain over for the better part of two months.

Much has already been said about American Hustle, on this site and throughout the internet in general, and the film has taken on a kind of love-it-or-hate-it reputation that makes it seem even more controversial than Scorsese's touted lightning rod, The Wolf of Wall Street. Whereas that film is richly deserving of its many dissenting opinions, the criticisms being levied at Hustle tend to direct themselves at its lightness, so to speak. A puff pastry strutting about in sequins. Indeed, the general consensus for a long period of time was that the film was too light to be considered a threat for the Oscar for Best Picture. Its themes of survival are dwarfed by Gravity, a film where said theme is made literal and considerable. Themes of deception are dwarfed by the hedonists of Wolf of Wall Street. Jennifer Lawrence's show-stopping performance in particular has become a source of contention, with mentions of miscasting, ageism, an inconsistent accent all to blame.

And while I have my own reservations about the film, there has been one particular element of the picture that's been thrashing about in my head, one performance that I can't seem to lay my finger on entirely. It evades me, like a crook whose face I know and can identify, but who always seems just out of my grasp. [More...]

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But who did Zhang Ziyi vote for?

I know you. You woke up this morning desperate to know what Zhang Ziyi's Oscar ballot looked like. I am here, as ever, to improve your day with answers and actressness.

The Chinese superstar wasn't* nominated for  Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000) or Memoirs of a Geisha (2005, around the time AMPAS invited her to join) despite plentiful US media attention. (I imagine teen and early 20something readers aren't super familiar with her since it's been 9 years since she was a regular fixture in the US entertainment press???) The Grandmaster raised her profile a bit again and she obviously helped the costumes and cinematography to their Oscar nominations on account of good god she's photogenic.

She discussed her ballot with fans on her Weibo account  though she was cleverly vague about whether she was talking votes or predictions (AMPAS members aren't supposed to reveal their actual votes).

She wrote [translated for TFE - thanks Tony!]:

Quite a chaotic year. Voted without taking any precursor awards into account. Some simple predictions based on experience and personal feeling.  

Best picture: Gravity. Animated feature: Frozen. Not just great movies but both female-centric.  Blanchett best actress. J.L. best supporting actress. Leto best supporting actor. For best actor I loved Matthew's performance but voted for DiCaprio, he deserves this no matter what.

For art department and cinematography I'm rooting for the home team of course. Good luck to them. A tip: Mr. Sunglasses** will walk the red carpet


In the spirit of Zhang Ziyi's social media sharing you know you want to share this ballot on Facebook or twitter

*As I've stated numerous times Asian actors don't have much luck with the Academy or Hollywood. They don't get invited to present very often at the big show, you rarely seen them in color blind casting decisions, and they rarely get nominated for Oscars even when they have a high profile year like Ziyi or Gong Li before her. In fact, no Asian has ever been nominated for Best Actress (unless you count "Dark Angel"'s Merle Oberon who was half Indian but hid her heritage in the less diverse Hollywood of the 1930s)

** "Mr Sunglasses" would be her director Wong Kar-Wai


Throwing the Link Bones

Gurus of Gold the final predictions. It's fascinating to see where the differences of opinion lie on this handy chart of top pundits
Telegraph Tim Robey picks the five best Oscar years ever from 1939 forward. Good choices.
Deadspin's "Hater's Guide to the Oscars" is insanely funny. Get on over there. Finally a piece making fun of the Oscars that is not dumb (Honestly I've had it with all the takedowns of Oscar we get every year. Even the 140 character type of takedowns. They're all so stupid and whiny ("why can't my favorites be nominated. waaaaaa") and clueless about how it all actually works and what movies, you know, exist in the world. 

Finally, you must read MTV Styles "United Colors of Lupita"... I know Oscar prediction is an inexact science, roughly akin to tossing small animal bones on the ground and pontificating but this is why I think Lupita is going to win.


Who needs all the precursors to line up when you can do this?


Review: Non-Stop

Here's Amir on this weekend's high-octane Oscar escape starring 3 Oscar nominees.

In the opening scene of NON-STOP, federal air marshal Bill Marks is sitting in his car in the parking lot of the New York airport before he enters the building to take his flight. As he fidgets with his phone, making one last call before departing, he turns the radio on. The radio voices just happen to be discussing the issue of airport security in the post 9/11 world. Fast forward to ninety minutes later when the mystery of the film is solved and the dead and alive are separated and the television is on. The newscaster, mic in hand, looks us straight in the eyes and, under the guise of national news, explains what we have just witnessed. She clarifies the twists of the film with sincerity and merrily wraps up by tying everything with a bow. As the title suggests, subtlety is not Non-Stop’s strongest suit, but it is precisely the combination of ridiculous and grandiose that makes it such an enthralling experience.

Liam Neeson, in the latest episode of the subtextual franchise which reinvents him as America’s unlikelies action star, stars as Bill Marks (that name!) an air marshal who has been assigned to a New York to London flight. Also on the plane: Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) a seemingly nervous woman intent on finding a window seat – she ends up in the one next to agent Marks, a school teacher named Bowen (Scoot McNairy), an NYPD officer named Austin (Corey Stoll), Michelle Dockery and Lupita Nyong’o as flight attendants, and a seven year old girl called Becca, whose first interaction with Marks screams "Emotional Subplot!" thousands of miles ahead of its destination.

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2 Days Til Oscar. Final Oscar Predictions

This article originally appeared in my column at Towleroad and is reprinted here (albeit slightly altered for the TFE crowd) with their permission

Gravity will win how many Oscars? The most at any rate.

Oscar Weekend is upon us! Those damn Olympics forced it into March so it already feels like its running late and pushing back the local news broadcast yet further into the AM hours. And it hasn't even started yet! But soon Ellen Degeneres will be dancing down the aisles and we'll be on our way. [Before we get there make sure to like TFE on facebook so you don't forget about us during the spring/summer. We hit it all year round!]

I've been an Oscar blogger for over ten years (yikes) and usually predicting the winners in the high profile categories is easy; it's about getting out of your own way since it's easy to overthink it and create scenarios which aren't likely to happen. This year is more volatile than usual, though, with Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, and American Hustle all displaying strength after strength during "precursor season" but meeting plenty of resistance, too, on their awards path. Anything might happen in Best Picture, which is not something you can usually say going into the big night. It'll be a groundbreaking night almost any way it turns out with a first in Best Director (first Hispanic winner or first black winner) and a first in Picture (first sci-fi winner or first film that's totally about black people) 

Oscar never presents the categories in the exact same order from year to year, but let's take these in the order the envelopes opened last year just as an outline on which to hang our predictions after the jump... 

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