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 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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YNMS: "Room"

"One of the most frequent complaints about the Room trailer is that it gives away too much. IT DOESN'T." - ConMan

"Brie was brilliant in Short Term 12, hope she proves she is not a one hit wonder with this." -Anonny

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VFX Finalists. Which will have the honor of losing to Gravity at the Oscars?

The Academy has named ten films finalists for the visual effects Oscar and now the branch members will screen 10 minute clip packages from each film and make their selections.  Half of these films recede into the ether and the other half enters the history books as "Oscar Nominated" on January 16th, 2014. 

the cavalry in Iron Man 3... soon to be Oscar nominated


I am clearly not adept at predicting the finalists because two of the film's I had actually predicted for nominations did not even make the list: say goodbye to the Man of Steel and Oz: The Great and Powerful. Other films that Oscar won't even be considering now for this prize include: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The Conjuring and The Wolverine. 

Each of the ten films listed above will be able to hide their clunkiest CGI and just show the really great stuff to the branch. Which films will be nominated and share the honor of losing to Gravity? Time will tell but it might be too steep a wall for World War Z to scale since Oscar doesn't like zombie flicks (in any category) and a bridge too far for Thor since he wasn't nominated last time around. Franchise history suggests that the crews on Iron Man 3 and The Hobbit can start fitting their tuxes. If we still had only 3 nominees in this category the nominees would be Gravity, The Hobbit and Iron Man 3. Which means there are essentially only two spots open. Any combo of the others seems possible which means we'll soon be haunted by this agonizing possibility: will The Lone Ranger be forevermore referred to as  'The Oscar-nominated The Lone Ranger'?)

A final tangential thought: I'm glad that we don't have bakeoffs and "showreels" for acting categories. Could you imagine? Not that greatest hits clips aren't how some people experience the acting nominees in the age of YouTube but you can't properly judge a whole unless you've seen all the parts. Even the lesser parts. Each of these ten films will be able to hide their clunkiest CGI and just show the really great stuff. Which films will be nominated and share the honor of losing to Gravity? Time will tell. 


Animated Feature Contender: Ernest & Celestine

Tim Brayton will be looking at the key contenders for Oscar's Animated Feature race. He previously reviewed Frozen and Letter to Momo. This week: Ernest & Celestine...

The French animated import Ernest & Celestine manages to dispel two related myths. The first of these, encouraged by so many thoughtpieces on the juvenile status of American animation, stuck in an eight-decade reliance on the codes established by Walt Disney’s cartoons, is that foreign animation is somehow inherently more mature and grown-up than homegrown stuff. This is emphatically untrue of Ernest & Celestine, which is as much a “kids’ movie” as anything that Pixar or Disney or DreamWorks of Blue Sky has put out in a decade.

The other myth is that kids’ movies are merely that – movies best or even solely enjoyed by kids, with maybe some feeble gesture in the direction of keeping their parents barely amused. This is emphatically untrue of Ernest & Celestine. Certainly, if some farcical complication on the model of an ‘80s adventure comedy put me in control of children, I’d be hugely enthusiastic about putting them in front of the film, which is very warm and sweet, with an unmistakable moral about accepting people who aren’t like you, fleshed out by deeply appealing characters. But I don’t have those children, and without any such excuse, I’m still hugely enthusiastic about the thing; warmth, sweetness, and well-meant life lessons aren’t solely the province of the very young, after all.

Click to read more ...


Team FYC: Stories We Tell for Best Editing

In this series our contributors sound off on their favorite fringe contenders. Here's Jose Solis on "Stories We Tell" It's winning Best Documentary critics prizes but let's talk another category.

Sarah Polley’s brilliant Stories We Tell isn’t as much a “documentary” as it is a psychological thriller. As the film begins she teases you suggesting this will be a simple case of “let’s find the truth about my mother” kind of film, only to then pull the rug from under your feet and reveal that she’s not exactly interested in delivering a beautiful conclusion tied up with a pretty ribbon. Delivering more twists and turns than any other film this year, Stories We Tell owes much of its success to its byzantine editing (by Mike Munn), which takes us on what feels like an emotional roller coaster ride.

Earlier this year, I spoke to Polley who explained how and why this structure came to be:

[instead of going for a traditional linear structure] what if we’re revealing information that is from before this story starts and reveal it halfway through this story, so that it gives a whole new meaning to what we’ve seen and for me it felt like it would give the audience a sense that was similar to mine. You know you hit bottom and a trap door opens, then you hit bottom again and another trap door opens and you never really got solid ground under your feet, because the amount that you can learn about something and its context is infinite.”

The fact that she wanted audiences to share her experience the same way she had lived it is admirable and humble, the fact that she pulled it off by reminding us that memory might very well be the essence of cinema is nothing if not brilliant.

Previously on Team FYC



Silent Linking

Variety glorious piece gently berating Disney for their self-loathing Frozen marketing ('no, this isn't about girls and it's not a musical, either!')
Towleroad James Franco's '50 Shades of Batman & Robin'. Ha! I know a lot of people hate Franco's absurdities and his ubiquity but I love that he has turned the boredom of professional acting (all that time not acting on film sets or between jobs) into performance art.
EW Marcia Gay Harden will play Christian Gray's mother in 50 Shades of Gray. Can the movie just be about her instead?
MNPP which is hotter retro reminder: American Hustle's JLaw or... 

Vanity Fair Katey wonder whether Lena Dunham or Kristen Stewart have the Sundanceiest Sundance movie
Time Wispy beautiful Gal Gadot from Fast and Furious 6 will play the world's most famous Amazon warrior, Wonder Woman. Or at least Diana Prince in that likely-to-be-terrible Man of Steel 2 Men of Steel? Batman vs Superman? World's Finest. (I don't care what it's called. So bored of superhero movies... especially Batman. He's been on movie screens regularly since 1989... hibernate in the cave for a bit, PLEASE. Make us miss you)
Cinema Blend Two competing live action version of The Jungle Book are headed your way. It's Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu vs. Jon Favreau. I can't be the only person who still remembers the 90s live action version with Jason Scott Lee, can I?
The Wire Joe Reid on Her's NBR win
Hollywood Elsewhere Jeffrey Wells is grossed out by some hearsay that someone somewhere who is savvy about Oscars thinks Saving Mr Banks is going to win Best Picture. (P.S. You can find someone somewhere who thinks anything... even among people who are generally not completely dumb about the Oscars)
Coming Soon a new Ira Levin adaptation is coming: Veronica's Room. If it's anywhere close to as good as previous Levin adaptations like Rosemary's Baby or The Stepford Wives (original) than we are in for a treat.

Today's Must Read
Gawker Tom Scocca's essay about "Smarm" and social media. A lot of food for thought. Don't dismiss it unless YOU'VE written a 9,253 word thinkpiece...


Library of Congress findings on Silent Films

Finally, I'm noticing a lot of news sites suddenly reporting about these awful stats about the survival of silent film... or the lack thereof that is. This chart and many of the articles, are stemming from a September 2013 report from the Library of Congress which you can read in full here.


Team FYC: Tye Sheridan for Best Actor

In this series we sound off (individually) on their favorite fringe contenders. Here's Philippe Ostiguy on Tye Sheridan in "Mud"

It is no secret that, while the Academy rarely misses an opportunity to reward a young actress’ breakout, it likes to keep the boys running a while longer – in fact, over the past twelve years, female acting nominees have been on average a full eight years younger than their male counterparts. Little Tye Sheridan, then, has virtually no chance of catching voters’ eyes, especially in a field as crowded as this year’s Best Actor category, and with a film that peaked in buzz back in May.

But boy, does he deserve a chance. Previously only seen as The Tree of Life’s youngest, quietest sibling, the seventeen year old gives in Mud a performance of the highest class, one played with evident maturity that nevertheless remains candid and childlike (Sheridan was fifteen at the time of filming). Though it was sold as the story of a runaway criminal, likely to bank on Matthew McConaughey’s involvement, Mud is above all the tale of Ellis’ coming-of-age, as his naïve idealism is confronted with a reality much harsher than he had anticipated. Having lived a sheltered childhood and bumpy family life, Ellis is all too happy to find a role model in McConaughey’s Mud, with his grand talks of love, freedom and independence, and all too unprepared for the kind of letdown his trust sets him up for. Though the veteran gives a first-rate turn as the titular character, it is Sheridan’s much less showy portrayal that gives the film all of its heart. His Ellis is earnest and hopeful, out of his depth but determined to hold it together. The way Sheridan grounds the entire film with his restraint and soul brings to mind Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout as Ree Dolly in Winter’s Bone, albeit with a greener, tenderer character. Ellis’ tenderness is in fact his biggest strength: when he finally lashes out in disappointment, eyes red and voice cracking, he rips your heart out.

For reminding us adulthood is not a prerequisite for complex, layered and relatable characters, Mud should mark Tye Sheridan’s first Academy Award nomination. But hey: if that doesn’t pan out, he’ll still have David Gordon Green’s acclaimed Joe, David Fincher’s star-studded Dark Places and the central role in the dark indie Grass Stains, all due next year, to cheer him up.

Related Post
Critics Choice Balloting: Eligible Performances for "Best Young Actor/Actress" 

previous FYCs
Original Screenplay In a World... | Production Design The Conjuring | Supporting Actor Keith Stanfield | Score Nebraska | Costume Design Lawrence Anyways | Foreign Film Neighboring Sounds | Supporting Actress Cameron Diaz | Picture The Spectacular Now | Make-Up Warm Bodies | Sound Mixing World War Z | Director Edgar WrightSupporting Actor Ulysses the Cat


'Great Gatsby' and 'The Rocket' Lead the "Australian Oscars"

Glenn, Team Film Experience's resident Australian, here. In all the hubbub surrounding the big wins for American Hustle and Her, it went unnoticed (not surprisingly, but also not without reason) that the nominees for this year's AACTA Awards were announced. Australia's own "Academy" (renamed from the Australian Film Institute several years back) went big for Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, which is hoping for a tech resurgence later in the guild-stretch of the Oscar season, and Kim Mordaunt's The Rocket, which is still holding on hope for an Academy foreign language short-listing. Other famous names like Rose Byrne, Hugo Weaving, Mia Wasikowska, and Naomi Watts also appear across the 14 categories recognising Australian films.

Catherine Martin and her team of production/set/costume designers are - let's face it - the only likely Oscar cross-over here for their work on The Great Gatsby so it's hard to picture her losing. That would give Martin a total of seven awards from her home country. One for every single nomination she's received. You don't get much better than a 100% win ratio, do you? Are we thinking she'll be adding two more Academy Awards to her weighed-down shelf of achievements? At this stage I actually think it's entirely possible. 

The full list of nominees are...

Best Film

  • Dead Europe
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Mystery Road
  • The Rocket
  • Satellite Boy
  • The Turning

Click to read more ...