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Entries in 12 Years a Slave (57)

Sunday
Oct292017

Middleburg Farewell: Nicholas Brittel, Greta Gerwig, and "American Crime Story"

Day 1 (Darkest Hour), Day 2 (James Ivory, Mudbound, A Fantastic Woman) in case you missed them, Day 3 (Last Flag Flying)

Ann Hornaday and Greta Gerwig talk after a screening of Lady Bird. photo src

The last moments of Middleburg were a blissful blur that it's taken me a week to recover from. Before I left the splendor of the country at this under-the-radar festival in Virginia, I managed to attend three more events.

Lady Bird
I caught some of Lady Bird again (one viewing is definitely not enough). Just enough to give me that rush of pre-college feels again before meeting one-on-one with Greta Gerwig. We'll share that interview next week as Lady Bird begins its theatrical release. Gerwig is such a singular actress that we don't want her to give that up (please never leave our screens!) but it's a joy to know that she writes and directs just as beautifully. 

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
Since Middleburg largely takes place at a single resort, there are several panels and discussions in their coziest event space. The last on the menu was a discussion about the forthcoming miniseries The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story which is the second season of that anthology series which began with the Emmy-winning The People Vs Oj Simpson...

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Tuesday
Feb162016

Adam Stockhausen: From a Budapest hotel to a "Bridge of Spies"

Adam Stockhausen won the Oscar on his first nomination for GRAND BUDAPEST HOTELEmmanuel Lubezki (who keeps winning prizes) isn't the only craft superstar repeating the Oscar rounds this year. Last year's winner for Production Design Adam Stockhausen (Grand Budapest Hotel), a 43 year old powerhouse who's amassed a very impressive resume in just a doesn't years, is back in the mix this season with the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies.

That Best Picture nominee is his first movie with Steven Spielberg but he's already worked with auteurs like Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom) on terrific projects, too. 

Here's our interview:

NATHANIEL: From Wes Anderson to Steven Spielberg! These auteurs seem very different. I imagine Wes Anderson making his own dioramas, and being like "Recreate this. Adam!". Whereas Spielberg, I don’t think of him in that 'this is what the set looks like' way at all!

ADAM STOCKHAUSEN: They have more similarities than you think. I don’t know if I want to get too deeply into what they do, because I’ll leave that for more esteemed people than myself, but I certainly see similarities. There are differences in the day to day: Wes pre plans shots and they’re carefully choreographed, Steven is slightly different in that the shots aren’t planned in advance, but the choreography is very similar. 

more after the jump...

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Sunday
Jan242016

Podcast: Oscar's Diversity Initiative, PGA Win

NathanielKateyJoe and Nick, talk about this week's tumultuous Oscar season events and somehow Dolores Hart former actress/current nun, keeps popping up in conversation.

30 minutes 
00:01 PGA goes to The Big Short. Will SAG?
03:00 Hollywood & Racism
08:40 AMPAS new diversity plans
16:30 Oscar Stats, Prestige Math, and Future Oscar Races
22:20 12 Years a Slave (2013)
25:00 Who might lose their Oscar vote?

Related Reading For Context:
Academy press release Diversity initiative
PGA winners
Birth of a Nation (2016) at Sundance
Penelope Ann Miller's statement
• Mother Dolores Hart "From Hollywood to Holy Vows"

On the Next Podcast:
We all share our top ten lists! 

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes soon

Diversity & Hollywood

Tuesday
Oct142014

Top Ten: Most Deserving Oscar Wins of the Decade (thus far)

It's a special "top ten day" to kick off fall film season. Lists all day long. Enjoy!

As we move into awards seasons it's a good time to think positively and hope for the best. Though AMPAS is too high profile to ever get an entirely fair shake (people will always take them to task because one man's treasure is another's junk and because it's easier to remember the gross dereliction of their duties more than their classy moments) they don't screw up all the time. Some Oscar wins are highly deserved no matter how you look at it. Though it seems weird to call this young decade "the Teens" already given that we've just left the pre-teens, that's what it'll surely be called when it wraps in December 2019

MOST DESERVING OSCAR WINS OF 'THE TEENS' (thus far)
2010-2013 

Honorable Mention
 Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables (2012 Supporting Actress)
"I Dreamed a Dream" and its fearful preamble "At the End of the Day" had seismic emotional impact. Performances this raw are always risky (and usually divisive!) but I'll never forget her confrontational mix of anger, sorrow, memory and beauty; a woman staring into the abyss, still stunned she's at the brink of it.

MOST DESERVING OSCAR WINS OF 'THE TEENS' (thus far)
2010-2013 

10ish  Christian Bale, The Fighter (2010 Supporting Actor)
Christopher PlummerBeginners (2011 Supporting Actor)
I couldn't decide which of these fine actors I wanted on the list and on an earlier draft I accidentally left both off as a result. Oops. Both are arguably leads, so it felt a bit strange to include them but they are two very fine instances of overdue actors finally winning the top gong. While they probably won at least in part as "whole career" honors, that much derided Oscar tactic that often gives actors Oscars for one of their lesser performances, doesn't always backfire; both were, happily, incredibly deserving.


09 Lupita N'Yongo, 12 Years a Slave (2013 Supporting Actress)
A close call, perhaps, with "It Girl" JLaw nipping at her barefeet. Or maybe not close at all given how much of its operatic sorrow the sometimes cerebral Best Picture owes to her proud wails and immeasurable pain.  "I'd rather it be you" 

8 more greats after the jump from Gravity to A Separation

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Thursday
Jul242014

That's What I Call Movies: The Hits of '73

To give the impending Smackdown some context we're looking at the year 1973. Here's Glenn on tickets sold...

1973 was like the end of a box-office era. While year-end charts weren’t suffocated with superheroes, CGI natural disasters, and dystopian visions of futuristic societies for a little while yet, but 1973 was as far as I can tell the last year to not have a single now-traditional effects-driven film in the top ten hits of the year. Just one year later in 1974 the end-of-year charts would include the one-two punch The Towering Inferno and Earthquake (plus Airport '75), and 1975 essentially ushered in the modern era of the blockbuster with Jaws and since then it's been a steady increase.

Here is what the top ten films of 1973 looked like.

01 THE STING $156m 
02 THE EXORCIST $128m
03 AMERICAN GRAFFITI $96.3m
04 PAPILLON $53.3
05 THE WAY WE WERE $45m
06 MAGNUM FORCE $39.7
07 LAST TANGO IN PARIS $36.1
08 LIVE AND LET DIE $35.3m
09 ROBIN HOOD $32m
10 PAPER MOON $30.9m

Just look at those films and let them sink in for a moment.

The runaway hit film of 1973 was a period-set heist movie. Then there was a religious horror film (always popular with audiences, but rarely to this extent), a nostalgic indie featuring mostly unknowns, a romance about class and marxism, a European X-rated erotic drama, a Disney kids cartoon and a black-and-white comedy set during the Great Depression. Only one franchise film (the weird Blaxploitation-themed James Bond entry Live and Let Die) is on the list, and not a single spaceship or flowing cape amongst them. 

It’s cliché and frankly rather boring to decry the so-called death of movies for adults in favour of Hollywood’s constant churn of male-centric fanboy action films. I think it misses the point in many ways, not least of which that it is predominantly adults that are making Man of Steel, Fast & Furious 6 and Star Trek Into Darkness the colossal hits that they are rather than just the teenage boys that they once may have been.

Still, it’s fascinating to look at this list and compare to it today’s. It seems crazy to realise the likes of Battle of the Planet of the Apes (the fourth and worst sequel), Soylent Green and Westworld were all beaten at the box office rather handily by Paper Moon, but let’s not pretend that the kids and their comic book and Young Adult adaptations are the ones to blame for the disparity of 1973’s Oscar best picture being no. 1 of the year and 2013’s (12 Years a Slave) ranking at no. 62 beneath adult-targeted films like Last Vegas, A Good Day to Die Hard and Now You See Me.

 For what it’s worth, the top film at the box office 41 years ago was Enter the Dragon  which was released not even a whole week after the death of its now iconic star Bruce Lee. It held the number one spot for four weekends.

Saturday
Mar222014

Interview: Alfre Woodard on Her Favorite Roles

Alfre Woodard has been an American treasure on screens large and small since the early 80s when she first broke through in a big way with her Oscar nominated supporting role as "Geechee" in Martin Ritt's Cross Creek (1983). Yesterday we learned that Alfre will be co-starring in a new series pilot "State of Affairs" starring Katharine Heigl as a CIA Operative. Woodard is tapped to play none other than the President of the United States who Heigl counsels.

That'd be shocking given how slowly American politics moves toward inclusiveness, were it not for Woodard's natural gravitas. Last year, that formidable screen presence was put to uncommonly good use as the fascinating Mistress Shaw, a slave who married her master, in the Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave. We recently celebrated that small but pivotal role right here in our own awards.

With 12 Years now on DVD and the announcement of her new role, it seemed like a perfect time to look back on her career beginning with that amazing cameo and working our way backward to her favorite roles. They might surprise you...

Click to read more ...