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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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Sunday
Feb282016

Take a Number: Here's the Order of Tonight's Statue Delivery

This was tweeted out by Jake Hamilton today. I assume it's accurate since it looks like the official program.

The hardest category to predict this year is, I mantain, Costume Design. I'd call it the only truly five-wide race. And it's fourth so some real suspense right off the bat. We'll also know very early whether a Kate & Leo reunion is coming since Supporting Actress is third... though I fully expect Alicia Vikander to take that one. [Final Predictions ICYMI

You'll also notice that they're not doing the short films all at once this year but (perhaps) pairing them with kindred spirit categories (animated short with animated feature, doc short with documentary, and live action short with foreign film... which makes sense since it's often a hodgepodge of foreign shorts that are nominated).

Are you feeling excited yet or merely panicked whilst preparing for your festivities?

P.S. Please enjoy this great Leonardo DiCaprio goodie from The Flippist.


Sunday
Feb282016

Film Bitch Awards ~ The Grand Finale

Another film year closes. Tonight when the Best Picture prize is handed out (it'll be a nailbiter down to the wire, even if The Revenant is taking lots of craft prizes) it's all over but the post-mortem party and then we're on to 2016's movies. At last! But first, if you haven't checked Nathaniel's own annual tradition the Film Bitch Awards (the name came from friends in college before the site existed -- yes, i was giving out imaginary prizes every year since, like, junior high -- and it stuck for better and SEO worst), please do.

Nominations and gold, silver, and bronze medals in 18 traditional categories and 22 "extra" fun ones have all been announced. Consider this a yearbook of TFE's most beloved screen adventures and obsessions from the 2015 film year. I wish we could have an awards show (perhaps a video show for 2016? though we'll need more funds first. Hint hint. Subscribe!) or forge actual medals. But for now these annual prizes will have to do!

PAGE 1  Picture, Director, Screenplay
Carol and Mad Max begin their huge medal runs. Which will emerge victorious?

PAGE 2  Acting Categories
Prizes for Steve Jobs, 45 Years, Love and Mercy, Creed, and more... 

PAGE 3  Visual Categories
Ex Machina refuses to leave empty-handed despite fierce competition

PAGE 4  Music & Sound Categories
Sicario gets much of its punch from its ear candy. Or ear poison, rather, because that shit is sinister.

PAGE 5  Extra Acting-Related Categories
*JUST ANNOUNCED* Nominations and Medals in the Limited and Cameo categories including honors for Magic Mike XXL, Grandma, lesser known actors from Spotlight and more...

PAGE 6  Memorable Characters
Prizes for Inside Out and more...

PAGE 7  Best Scenes
Here's where films of all genres and target audiences tend to rise up to joust with each other. Notices for a huge swath of high and lowbrow achievements: 50 Shades of Grey, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, TangerineDiary of a Teenage Girl, and many more...

Please enjoy and discuss. It's more fun when movie-love is communal!

 

Sunday
Feb282016

Less than 24 Hours Until the Oscars !!!

Saturday
Feb272016

Live Blog : Independent Spirit Awards

Welcome to the Independent Spirit Awards Live Blog!  Your usual host Nathaniel is otherwise occupied. I’m Murtada hoping to take you through the next couple of hours in good spirits and minimal puns.

Refresh periodically for updates!

The show hosts today are Saturday Night Live star Kate McKinnon and  Silicon Valley’s Kumail Nanjiani. They gave a fun interview to Vanity Fair where they both admitted to being obsessed with awards shows growing up. Do you think they read The Film Experience?

McKinnon:

 "I have this notebook. I’m about 12 and I’ve got a notebook, and I watch all these shows and write down the winners in all of the categories. In every category at all the Oscars, the Globes, the Emmys. . . . Because I was really so interested in the entertainment industry.”

 Nanijani:

"I loved the Oscars and I had V.H.S. tapes for the Oscars, and I used to watch them over and over. There was probably one year where I watched it like 20 times or something.”

 

Read it when the commercials are on; it’s fun.

The nominations were led by Carol (6) and Beasts of No Nation (5). But if the last few years are any indication then Spolight, which scored 4 nominations, is the favorite since it's the only Oscar best picture nominee in the running. They really love the Oscars at Indie Spirits. 

However this year there are several categories that have 0 correlation with Oscar. So we are in for an unpredictable show. Hopefully.

Live commentary after the jump:

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb272016

And the Links Go To...

People say such strange things when they're talking about Oscars
Bwin predicts Leo will lose the Oscar. One especially weird bit of reasoning is that all of the Actor nominees are playing good guys. Um, did they watch Steve Jobs?
The Guardian says a "conservative" estimate is that Australians will win 10 Oscars tomorrow. Conservative? Have they not heard of The Revenant?
/Film Stunt people want their own Oscar and recently protested again. Unfortunately they also felt the need to belittle other industry talents saying: 

 People love action; that’s why people go to the movies. No disrespect, but who goes to the movies to see the hairstyles?”

*raises hand*

More Oscar Mania
Vanity Fair fun interview with nominated Jenny Beavan, Mad Max Fury Road costume designer, with a choice Charlize Theron quote
Boston Globe really interesting piece from Ty Burr on "what if the Oscars didn't exist..." and it takes you to place I personally wasn't expecting
Psychology Today on why we're obsessed with the Oscars. STOP PSYCHOANALYZING ME! 
IndieWire Ira Deutchman suggests changes to make the Academy more diverse. "First film" would be interesting and skew young but I am adamantly opposed to breakthrough since that is too easily gamed -- see the "breakthrough" prizes Charlize Theron won for Monster after several years of stardom. We'd have a whole new category fraud problem with that.
The Guardian has an interesting take on the Short Film categories -- why don't people watch them when they're increasingly available -- and why do they feel like commercials for features? 
Variety beautiful reminiscence from Alfre Woodard on her earliest theatrical success and her 80s Oscar nomination 
Tim Brayton's Oscar Predictions 
Movie Motorbreath's Oscar Predictions 

General Film
Interview ZOMG Julianne Moore interviewing Christina Vachon!
Instagram The Sleeping Beauty dragon via LEGOs! 
i09 JJ Abrams is claiming Star Wars will feature gay characters. I'll believe that when I see it (but until then it's fun that Oscar Isaac winked to queer fans with Poe Dameron. And also the Star Wars Saga is largely asexual anyway so...

Off Cinema
Pajiba nails Marco Rubio with a great Turing Test joke
i09 Bram Stoker Awards -- for horror fiction. Which of these will end up as movies?
/Film Tom McCarthy is going to follow up Spotlight with a Netflix series called 13 Reasons Why... it's based on a bestseller but honestly the suicidal premise sounds atrocious / reductive. Already worried!
Jeanne the Fangirl amazing find - a letter to Marvel from 1974 complaining about Iron Fist's whitewashing. Here we are in 2016 and Marvel is STILL planning a white Iron Fist even though the story is Asian by origin
Playbill.com has a badly needed redesign. Check it out if you love Broadway 

Today's Watch
A Cat predicting the Oscars. (Monty, TFE's Oscar predicting cat, wouldn't cooperate this year but he's always been temperamental about his psychic duties. Also: he's very very old now and only wants to sleep.) So anyway here is some random cat who thinks he can do it. Rampling, eh?

Saturday
Feb272016

Film Bitch Awards - Best Scenes of Multiple Kinds

We're nearly finished* with 2015 Film Bitch Awards, our own annual year in review yearbook/party and of imaginary Oscar ballot (well, half of it is that). Today the remainder of our Best Scene categories with six final scene categories. This group hands more nominations to films from the top ten list of course but for highlights to point out here on the blog before you click over, we're using films outside the top ten list. 

Obviously this page (and post) of awards contains mild spoilers so if you haven't seen the films and wish to stay pure, these are not the awards categories you're looking for. Here is one nominee I felt the need to gab about (maybe you will too?) from each category...

BEST KISS
While Creed was mostly ignored by the Academy, chances are its big box office (which significantly outgrossed Stallone's last two attempts are reigniting the franchise) will insure a big career for Michael B Jordan. Can Tessa Thompson hope for the same (it's always trickier for actresses of color)? They're wonderful together. Especially endearing is the scene in her apartment where Adonis makes up a godawful wrap and they end up collapsed on the floor, caught up in the moment. It's an upside down shot from above and they're something beautifully innocent and pure but also sexy about this kiss. (Later they'll bring the heat in a proper sex scene at Rocky's house. "but what about your Uncle?" / "He old!" Ha!)

SEX SCENE
Angelina Jolie's third directorial effort By the Sea was mercilessly trashed upon arrival but this was always going to be its fate. The Jolie-Pitts are extremely mainstream-famous. And household name blockbuster stars that the public has longed to see paired again onscreen aren't supposed to reunite for an indulgent overly serious tribute to Euro art cinema of the 1970s. That's for the other kind of movie star, like the Julianne Moores and the Ryan Goslings of the world, whose filmographies are built on eclectic sensibilities and crisscrossing between the ittybitty and the giant. But By the Sea isn't without its moments. The best scene, repeated in different forms like a musical riff, is when the couple sits on the floor in their hotel room and shyly watches another younger couple (Melanie Laurent & Melvil Poupaud) make love in the next room through a peephole. It's beautifully sympathetic and tragicomic, an estranged couple tiptoeing back to intimacy through surrogates.


OPENING SCENE
David O. Russell's Joy is an easy movie to quibble with. It often feels like five different movies that haven't reconciled themselves. This problem (?) is embedded right in its prologue which jumps from inside a stylized soap opera, to Diane Ladd's wonderfully expressive fable-like narration, and back to the soap opera but this time "outside" of it through a TV set, and into little Joy's bedroom where she makes a castle and theorizes about her possible superpower (maybe she doesn't need a Prince?). Ladd's Grandma guides us through this collision of styles and ideas with an expertly dropped line about Joy's creativity that doubles as a guide to how to watch and make ambitious movies.

The patience to figure it out."

Will Joy grow on us with time? Perhaps it might. Perhaps we quibbled too much. Perhaps Russell didn't have the patience to truly figure this one out but there's a lot to figure therein.

ENDING
Spotlight may have the most mellow finale we've ever nominated in this category but there's something about its sober work ethic and the core ensemble wide shot, with Walter "Robby" Robinson centered, that really lands emotionally and elevates the film. His phone rings and they all just return to work. Where they've always been.

Spotlight..."

CREDIT SEQUENCE
I've been disappointed these last few years that it's more and more common for films to have virtually no credits at the beginning and double up at the ending. So shout out to Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation which has great opening and closing credits. The opening credits would be spoiler-alert central if they didn't come at you so aggressively with machine-gun montage speed. The ending credits are even more stylish --both an homage to the TV show and film appropriate -- with action frames from the film outlined by the wicks of time bombs; this movie is a blast.

[Read more about these two sequences at The Art of the Title.] 

MISCELLANIA - A DOZEN FAVORITE SCENES
When writing about the Film Bitch Awards I often revisit a whole bunch of movies in clip forms, particularly the earlier releases that are blurry int he memory. Here we are at the end of the prize-giving and here comes Diary of a Teenage Girl and it suddenly looks just as good as everyone claimed it to be (I was previously in the admired but only admired camp). It was easy to turn certain movies off after checking the scene in question but I kept getting sucked into this film, as if it were the first time. One of the best moments is an animated interlude "The Making of Harlot" where a 'Beautiful Junior,' getting it on with Minnie, remarks upon her aggressive sexuality with something like judgment in his voice (though he's benefitting). Giant Minnie, holding him in her King Kong paw, turns away, with a single teardrop and casts him aside. True movie magic.

THE COMPLETE "BEST SCENES" CHART

* Only three categories left to announce (Limited Roles x2 & Line Readings). Can you believe we're actually going to finish this year before the Oscars**?! Wheeee. We'll announce those three categories plus all the Gold Silver and Bronze medals at some point in the next 24, ya dig?

** Okay technically I won't have finished, damnit. I never named the Animated Feature nominees (we only go 3-wide here) because I was trying to see Boy and The World before voting. So we'll be finished with everything but that category.