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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 | letterboxd


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"I loved Clarke's scenes with Edgerton in The Great Gatsby. I thought, oh now I'm watching men not boys, and now I'm watching actors not movie stars.-Adri

"He has become someone I look for in films because he always comes across with such honesty." -Henry


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DGA Nominees

The nominations for the 64th annual Director's Guild Awards have been announced. Shortlisting here is one of the surest signs of industry support and future Oscar nominations for both directors and the films.

Woody Allen for Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist
David Fincher for The Girl with dragon Tattoo
Alexander Payne for The Descendants
Martin Scorsese for Hugo

Who This Helps: Fincher and that girl with the tattoo. It's surging at the right time despite audiences not falling in love with it.
Who This Hurts: Spielberg who the DGA usually loves. If he didn't place here that's big trouble for War Horse.

The 64th Annual DGA Awards will take place on Saturday, January 28, 2012 in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. Just four days after Oscar nominations are announced, someone will win this super coveted prize. And that remains a very big deal. The DGA, like so many other awards-giving bodies, is proud of their Oscar predictive status. They're official bragging rights go like so:

The DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film has traditionally been a near perfect barometer for the Best Director Academy Award. Only six times since the DGA Award's inception has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award:


Spielberg has 6 Oscar nominations and 2 wins for directing. He's even more popular with the DGA with 10 noms and 3 wins for the same filmography..1968: Anthony Harvey won the DGA Award for The Lion in Winter while Carol Reed took home the Oscar® for Oliver!. 1972: Francis Ford Coppola received the DGA's nod for The Godfather while the Academy selected Bob Fosse for Cabaret. 1985: Steven Spielberg received his first DGA Award for The Color Purple while the Oscar® went to Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa. 1995: Ron Howard was chosen by the DGA for his direction of Apollo 13 while Academy voters cited Mel Gibson for Braveheart. In 2001 Ang Lee took home the DGA Award for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, while the Oscar went to Steven Soderbergh for Traffic. In 2003 Roman Polanski received the Academy Award for The Pianist, but the DGA Award went to Rob Marshall for Chicago.

Looking over that list it's clear to me (though your take may vary) that when Oscar differs from the DGA it's a toss up as to whether or not it's an improvement. A toss up leaning Oscar's way.

P.S. The nominations for television, documentary and commercial directorial achievements will be announced tomorrow. 

Related Page: Best Director Oscar Predictions which will obviously need to be updated now. Predicting awardage during a blissfully volatile awards season, is like making your bed every morning. A beautiful cozy bed that you can't wait to sleep in again. Loving this year!


Complete Three Sentences (Box Office, Banner, Ballot)

• The new exorcism flick The Devil Inside shocked at the box office with a $34 million opening weekend (a bigger opening weekend than The Muppets! and as big as the entire domestic gross than Drive!) which only goes to show you that  ________________________. 

• My favorite back in your new banner belongs to _________ because ________ .

• If I could vote for ONE thing to see more of at The Film Experience in 2012 it would be _______________ .


25th Anniversary: George Clooney's Big Screen Debut

Twenty five years ago one of the world's few bonafide movie stars and one of this year's Best Actor frontrunners made his silver screen debut. Internet sources disagree on the exact date -- probably due to the film being a no-budget indie with an erratic release schedule -- but the earliest is January 9th. The point is this: We've now reached a quarter century of Clooney on the big screen!

If you investigate a trail of blood in a horror movie, you deserve to die.

Like many stars before and after him, George Clooney's first movie role was in a cheapo horror flick. His was named Return to Horror High (1987). Though Clooney is dispatched in the first fifteen minutes (first victim is an honor in horror casts, yes?) he was a big enough "name" in a field of (mostly) nobodies to get second billing.

He'd already had two short-lived series regular gigs on television, most famously a recurring role on The Facts of Life. In 1984 he starred in a sitcom called E/R which is hilarious in retrospect (the gig not the show) since it was about emergency room doctors in Chicago. Ten years later with ER, a very different show about the exact same thing, he'd become a major star. It'd be nice to state something triumphant like 'Return to Horror High was the first and last time he'd ever have to accept second billing!' but it wouldn't be true. In between there was lots of flailing around... in roles and screens big and small.

A prophetic moment after the jump.

Click to read more ...


"Melancholia" it is for the NSFC

Bucking 2011-focused critical tradition thus far, which has divvied up the best picture prizes between The Tree of Life, The Descendants, Drive and The Artist. The National Society of Film Critics have gone with Lars von Trier's epic sci-fi depression metaphor Melancholia (TFE's top ten list) for their Best Film. 2011 precursor season continues to be a delight with its wide spread of honors. We're especially pleased for Kirsten Dunst though their backing comes far too late to improve her neglible Oscar traction. But Oscar isn't everything. This is a beautiful way for the resurgent actress to close out 2011 which will undoubtedly be a pivotal year for her career. 

The year began with the afterglow of terrific reviews for All Good Things (interview) and peaked with a Cannes win for Best Actress. Meanwhile with goodwill for her career finally restored, she lined up or filmed a completed work on a handful of new movies. Well done Kiki!

Picture Melancholia (ru: The Tree of Life and A Separation)
Director Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life (ru: Martin Scorsese for Hugo and Lars von Trier for Melancholia)
Actress Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia (ru: Yun Jung-Hee for Poetry and Meryl Streep)
Actor Brad Pitt, for Moneyball and The Tree of Life (ru: Gary Oldman and Jean Dujardin)

Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain, for Tree of Life, Take Shelter and The Help  (ru: Jeannie Berlin for Margaret and Shailene Woodley for The Descendants)
Supporting Actor Albert Brooks, Drive (ru: Christopher Plummer and Patton Oswalt)
Screenplay A Separation (ru: Moneyball and Midnight in Paris)
Non Fiction Film Cave of Forgotten Dreams (ru: The Interrupters and Into the Abyss)
Foreign Film A Separation (ru: Mysteries of Lisbon and Le Havre)
Experimental Film Ken Jacobs for "Seeking the Monkey King"

Film Heritage Prizes
• BAMcinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective
• Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon.”  
• New York’s Museum of Modern Art's Weimar Cinema retrospective
• Flicker Alley's box set “Landmarks of Early Soviet Film.”
• Criterion Collection's DVD package “The Complete Jean Vigo.” 


Streep Reader Ranking ~ Coming Soon

While Meryl continues her triumphant march towards Oscar nomination #17 for The Iron Lady (and possible Oscar #3) we've been tabulating your opinions about her 16 previous nominations.

I received a lot of mail about this and since I love reader participation  I'm not complaining! Don't misunderstand. But that means it's taking me some time to tally up the results including, most beloved performances, which performances are underseen but have über-devotees and so on. I'm halfway through so results are coming next weekend but a few sneak peeks before then. Stay tuned!


Oscar Excitement Rises With Magazines / Trailers

A lot of folks are dissing this trailer spoof whatsit heralding the oncoming Oscar but I think that's just a sympton of "you can't please everyone anyone" on the internet / when it comes to Oscar. I'm sorry but I ♥ the moment that they open the briefcase and the golden glow emerges. That shiny naked gold man brings me joy every damn year. It's true! Even when I hate him I love him.

Sure the ad is meaningless / not hilarious but it's kind of fun in a stupid ha-HA way. You were expecting cutting edge comedy with Billy Crystal?

That said I will readily admit that it is a bit odd to have former co-stars of Transformers as your key actors. Nothing against Josh and Megan but no A listers were available? (Remember when Robin Williams was A list? That's as dusty a notion as Billy Crystal hosting the Os--- uh, never mind.)

In much more euphoric Oscar news... I am planning to marry Entertainment Weekly's new Oscar cover. It was love at first sight. It's my favorite Oscar cover since, oh, ever. I considered actually buying it and writing it up like a live-blog magazine read but I couldn't find it anywhere in my neighborhood. Supposedly it hit newsstands yesterday.

Clooney and Viola Davis are both such class acts and if that's who were celebrating, can it be February 24th tonight, please?

She’s amazed at how the Best Actress race is shaping up this year. “Can you wrap your mind around someone throwing you into the ring with Meryl Streep?” she marvels. “I just don’t understand the competition thing. How can you compare two actors’ performances? How do you say one is better than the other?”

“I know how you do it,” Clooney says to Davis. “You have to play Margaret Thatcher and she has to play the maid.”

And yet... In regards to the frontrunner for Best Actor. The only thing that could make this cover better was if it was Brad Pitt in the tux.

While I love Clooney as a celebrity as much as anyone does, he already has an Oscar and I think if we're in the mood for one of those Movie Star Appreciation Nights come late February, we've got a more deserving idol right next door in Brad Pitt! He gave not one but two career best performances this year! And though that blurb might not mean much coming from many loudmouth journos, it means a lot coming from me since Brad Pitt is one of my all time favorite actors. Thus I am able to say "career best" without any of the not so subtle "I was never impressed before" connotations that "career best" citations arrive with. I think he's been sorely undervalued (as an actor) his entire career.


Say What, "Lovelace"?

Amuse us by adding dialogue or a caption* to this first image of Peter Sarsgaard and Amanda Seyfried in Lovelace (2012) a biopic about the porn star of infamous Deep Throat fame. 

The film will be directed by Oscar winning documentarian Rob Epstein and Emmy winner Jeffrey Friedman and will co-star Hank Azaria, Wes Bentley, James Franco, Demi Moore (as Gloria Steinem!), Robert Patrick, Eric Roberts, Sharon Stone and Juno Temple. [Note: This is not the same Linda Lovelace biopic that Lindsay Lohan was supposed to star in in one of those hallucinatory moments when it looked like she might get her shit together. That competing bio will star Malin Akerman.]