Oscar History
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Monday
Nov032014

Blog Wars: The Link Strikes Back

Must Read ICYMI
The Hoopla Frances McDormand suggests that looking your age is a subversive act. Great stuff. It's been great to see her face all over signage for Olive Kitteridge

More Linkage
Coming Soon strange news: Christian Bale drops out of Steve Jobs biopic two weeks after taking it claims 'he's not right for the role'. Hmmmm, then why take it?
CHUD the poster for Neil Blomkamp's Chappie with Hugh Jackman. It's weird and cute and hmmm.
Previously TV great piece on a key scene in the awesome series Transparent (on Amazon - you must watch it if you haven't, especially if you're interested in the psychology of family dynamics or in trans issues) 
MNPP if you missed any episodes of Jason's "13 Phones of Halloween" now is the time to rectify that. Was your holiday good this past weekend?
Towleroad Benedict Cumberbatch responds to complaints that The Imitation Game isn't as gay as its subject
Dissolve JJ Abrams confirms via "thank you" letter (such manners!) that Star Wars Episode VII has wrapped filming 
Deadline bonafide crazy person Nicolas Winding Refn is making a female led horror film called The Neon Demon because...

One morning I woke and realized I was both surrounded and dominated by women. Strangely, a sudden urge was planted in me to make a horror film about vicious beauty" 

Variety Johnny Depp performed with Marilyn Mason on Halloween
MNPP [NSFW] Awww, it's Dolph Lundgren's birthday today. Remember Showdown in Little Tokyo? a Bad Movies We Love winner
/Film Tom Cruise doing his own Mission Impossible stunts again like a crazy person
Pajiba Taylor Kitsch "Officially" reacts to being replaced as Gambit by Channing Tatum in the forthcoming superhero movie
Pop Culture Crazy thinks The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a knockout (I wish I liked this one more! I want to)
Daily Mail Jamie Dornan refers to his cock as "gratuitous, graphic and ugly" when discussing what we will and won't see in 50 Shades of Grey. How could any part of him be ugly? 

Exit Video ICYMI
Every death in the original Star Wars trilogy. The saddest part isn't even a minute in when the body count jumps to 2 billion. Sigh, Alderaanians. We hardly knew thee.

 

Monday
Nov032014

Beauty vs Beast: Chris Nolan's Anti Heroics

JA from MNPP here with this week's latest "Beauty Vs Beast" tourno, wherein we ask you to choose between a good guy and a bay guy (half of those words should have meaningful quotation marks around them -- good, bad, what does it all mean???) from the halls of movie-dom and explain why you're on this or that team. This week Chris Nolan's got a new picture coming out so I figured we'd hit up one of his flicks; I contemplated a couple of other choices (DiCaprio versus Cotillard? Pearce versus Pantoliano?) but it just comes down to one in the end, doesn't it?

Going back to The Dark Knight does have a couple of knocks against it for this series - Nathaniel was just bemoaning the internet's blanket-coverage of superhero movies a few days ago, for goodness sake, and also we've already done a showdown between a Batman & Joker when we looked at Tim Burton's 1989 flick back in June. But but... but, ya know? If I'd gone with Bale vs Hardy, it just would've felt like a chance missed - the shadow of Heath Ledger's performance towers too great. So we gotta go with...

 

As always you have seven days to clear your throats and make yourselves heard - are we with the compromised brooder or the gleeful maniac - in the comments, so have at it. Die a hero or live long enough to become the villain, y'all.

PREVIOUSLY We finished up our four weeks of October "Final Girl" series with John Carpenter's Halloween and sure enough the girl smart enough to turn a wire-hanger into a weapon won our hearts once again. Said brookesboy of Laurie Strode, ultimate final girl:

"Gotta go with Laurie. Thanks to the virtuous precedent she set, all teen heroines with virginal fortitude who came after were spared the slasher's wrath. Their resistance of carnal pleasure guaranteed their safety, at least until the sequel. Thanks, Laurie. I'm sure the knee socks helped."

Monday
Nov032014

134 Semi-Finalists for Best Documentary Feature

Whoopsy. I forgot to share this list... Herewith the films that could be up for Best Documentary Feature this year. We'll get a finalist of 15 at some point next month followed by 5 nominees in January "until we crown A WINNAH!" If we've reviewed the titles, you'll notice their pretty color which you can then click on to read about them. The magic of the internet. You can also see the animated and documentary Oscar charts here.

The 134 Semi-Finalists

A-C
Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case, Algorithms, Alive Inside, All You Need Is Love, Altina, America: Imagine the World without Her, American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs, Anita, Antarctica: A Year on Ice, Art and Craft, Awake: The Life of Yogananda, The Barefoot Artist, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, Before You Know It, Bitter Honey, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, Botso The Teacher from Tbilisi, Captivated The Trials of Pamela Smart, The Case against 8, Cesar’s Last Fast, Citizen Koch, CitizenFour, Code Black, Concerning Violence, The Culture High, Cyber-Seniors

D-F
DamNation, Dancing in Jaffa, Death Metal Angola, The Decent One, Dinosaur 13, Do You Know What My Name Is?, Documented, The Dog, E-Team, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Elena, Evolution of a Criminal, Fed Up, Finding Fela, Finding Vivian Maier, Food Chains, The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden, Getting to the Nutcracker, Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me, Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia, The Great Flood, The Great Invisible, The Green Prince, The Hacker Wars, The Hadza: Last of the First, Hanna Ranch, Happy Valley, The Hornet’s Nest

I-M
I Am Ali, If You Build It, The Immortalists, The Internet’s Own Boy, Ivory Tower, James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge, Jodorowsky’s Dune, Journey of a Female Comic, Keep On Keepin’ On, Kids for Cash, The Kill Team, Korengal, La BareLast Days in Vietnam, Last Hijack, The Last Patrol, Levitated Mass, Life Itself, Little White Lie, Llyn Foulkes One Man Band, Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles, Manakamana, Merchants of Doubt, Mission Blue, Mistaken for Strangers, Mitt, Monk with a Camera, Nas: Time Is Illmatic, National Gallery, Next Goal Wins, Next Year Jerusalem, Night Will Fall, No Cameras Allowed, Now: In the Wings on a World Stage

O-R
Occupy the Farm, The Only Real Game, The Overnighters, Particle Fever, Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes, Pelican Dreams, The Pleasures of Being Out of Step, Plot for Peace, Point and Shoot, Poverty Inc., Print the Legend, Private Violence, Pump, Rabindranath Tagore – The Poet of Eternity, Red Army, Remote Area Medical, Rich Hill, The Rule, The Salt of the Earth, Shadows from My Past, She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, A Small Section of the World, Smiling through the Apocalypse – Esquire in the 60s, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon, The Supreme Price

T-Z
Tales of the Grim Sleeper, Tanzania: A Journey Within, This Is Not a Ball, Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide of Silence, Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People, True Son, 20,000 Days on Earth, Unclaimed, Under the Electric Sky, Underwater Dreams, Virunga, Waiting for August, Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago, Warsaw Uprising, Watchers of the Sky, Watermark, We Are the Giant, We Could Be King, Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger, A World Not Ours

IDA Nominees
Nominations were also recently announced for the International Documentary Association Awards and the IDA Nominees for Best Documentary Feature are all represented here: Finding Vivian Maier (also honored for its writing), Citizen Four, Point and Shoot, The Salt of the Earth, and Tales of the Grim Sleeper. Other films on this long list receiving IDA nominations in various categories are: Keep on Keepin' On (Humanitas Nominee), Last Days in  Vietnam (Best Editing), and two films honored for their compelling use of news footage (Captivated the Trial of Pamela Smart & Concerning Violence), and Evolution of a Criminal (Emerging Filmmaker Prize)

Absent from the List
I'm disappointed not to see Stray Dog from Debra Granik. The Possibilities are Endless which was just nominated for a BIFA today is also absent. But the real shockers are no Silvered Water: Syria Self Portrait or The Look of Silence, a sequel of sorts to Oscar nominee The Act of Killing, which have both received nothing but raves. But then again it's always desperately confusing as to when and why documentaries qualify for Oscars. Maybe we'll see them on next year's eligible list since some of the titles in the list above are over a year old?

Monday
Nov032014

British Independent Film Award Nominations

Manuel here bringing you fresh awards news from across the pond.

O'Connell in the Belfast riots film '71

The British Independent Film Awards (I will kindly refuse adding the requisite champagne-sponsor ahead of their name) announced their nominations earlier this morning and from the looks of it, we are surely headed for a fascinating "Year of Jack O'Connell" narrative to shape up in the next few months. We already got a nice glimpse of his physique in Starred Uphere he's racked up a nod for nomination leader '71 (reviewed by Nathaniel), and that small film Unbroken will by year's end cement him as not only an up and comer but a firmly established rising star.

While I have yet to catch many of these (Pride and Frank's strong showings are gentle reminders that I really have no excuse for not doing so already), I have to say a lot of these categories look quite impressive; that Best Actress lineup (Pei Pei, Knightley, Jabeen Ahmed, Mbatha-Raw and Vikander) is wonderfully diverse while that International Independent Film category (with Ida, Blue Ruin, Boyhood and The Badadook) seems cooked up by (and for!) the TFE community.

Catch the full list of nominations after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov032014

The Honoraries: Maureen O'Hara in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

In "The Honoraries" we're looking at the careers of this year's Honorary Oscar recipients (O'Hara, Miyazaki, Carriere) and the Jean Hersholt winner (Belafonte). Here's Nathaniel...

Sanctuary ! Sanctuary !

You often feel like you've seen the classics, even if you haven't. Victor Hugo published "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" 183 years ago and like most enduring classics, including Hugo's other culturally imposing masterwork "Les Miserables,"  it feels familiar even if you have no first-hand experiences with it. Hunchback, like Les Miz, has been adapted several times but has actually been musicalized more often. I regret to inform that I had never seen the 1939 RKO version starring Charles Laughton and Maureen O'Hara until now so the Disney version was my only true cinematic reference point, at first forcing comparisons where I didn't want to see anyway.

The easiest comparison to shake off was Esmeralda, since Maureen O'Hara's fresh faced  breakthrough slipping through crowds and dancing in circles with her tambourine, beats Disney's Gypsy princess voiced by Demi Moore instantaneously. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov022014

Podcast: Birdman, Pride and Nightcrawler

In this episode of the podcast, Nathaniel, Nick, Joe and Katey are charmed by Pride's ensemble balancing act and political smarts. Then we're adamantly split on the merits of Birdman and but (mostly) thrilled by its craft wizardry. The acting also impresses with special attention paid to Michael Keaton's closeups, Andrea Riseborough's surprise facility with "fun" and Nick's Edward Norton problem. We wrap up with Nightcrawler's duet between eye-popping Jake Gyllenhaal (who splits opinion) and Rene Russo who deserves more good roles immediately. "Get it bitch!"

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download on iTunes tomorrow (it generally takes 24 hours to show up there). Continue the conversation in the comments! 

Birdman & Nightcrawler