Oscar History

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Entries in Alexander Payne (16)


A Case for Hong Chau in "Downsizing" 

By Spencer Coile 

Downsizing took a quick downward turn during awards season. Premiering at the Venice Film Festival last August, it was met with exceedingly positive notices. This goodwill vanished after its lackluster showing at TIFF and its absence from subsequent awards conversation. And although the film is arguably not very good and looking like a non-entity for any major Oscar consideration, it does still have one strong asset: Hong Chau...

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TIFF: Notes on Oscar hopefuls "Darkest Hour" and "Downsizing"

Detroit may have bombed but the letter "D" could still reign come Oscar time with Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, and Downsizing all potential Best Picture players. Though it can sometimes feel gross to discuss rich movies from an Oscar perspective before they've even been considered as films, it happens to us all this time of year and the films invite it with their slow rollouts from festival reviews that result in months of discussion and speculation before the public can buy tickets. In other words: Look what they made me us do!

After 'miniature masterpiece' style reviews at Venice the critics got considerably chillier with Alexander Payne's latest once it hit Telluride. Now the film is playing in Toronto and the reviews continue to be mixed. This could spell trouble for the film, but be patient. Initial reviews are only part of the Oscar equation...

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Posterized: The films of Alexander Payne

by Nathaniel R

Nebraska's most successful auteur son, 56 year old Alexander Payne is back with his seventh feature. Downsizing, his new satire about a man (Matt Damon) who joins a community that have shrunk themselves, premiered at Venice to the kind of reviews that seem startling until you remember all the reviews for all the other Payne directed movies. Raves are par for the course. He's won two Globes and two Oscars for his screenplays. His films have won an incredible 3 Best Picture prizes and he's also won four personal prizes from the normally spread-your-wealth folks at the Los Angeles Film Critics Association over the past 20 years.

The film opens in movie theaters on December 22nd and is expected to be both a box office hit and a major Oscar player. Could it finally be his year to win Best Picture?

How many of his films have you seen? The posters (and more about Oscar) are after the jump...

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Beauty vs Beast: Political Animals

Jason from MNPP here, posting today's edition of "Beauty vs Beast" from deep down inside my underground election bunker -- it's kind of like 10 Cloverfield Lane only depending on which way things go tomorrow I'm possibly going to be dissolving myself in acid. Until then, cheers! And don't go blind from drunkeness.

But first I've got to put in front of you the most obvious poll for this week's contest that I could possibly have gone with. When it's right, it's right, ya know? In 1999 Alexander Payne dropped Election, his second-best movie, on the world and it's resonated deeply and profoundly every four years since. There's a character for every type - Paul Metzler's a little bit Bush and a little bit Obama; I like Tammy too much to attach Trump to her but their shared anti-establishment rhetoric is pretty on-point. And as for Tracy Flick, well... obviously.

But for "Beauty vs Beast" it only make sense to face off the real adversaries of the film. There are morals, and there are ethics, and it's one lone man's job to police the distinction...

PREVIOUSLY Last week we tackled the love-struck teenaged maniacs of Heavenly Creatures and I forced you to split the duo in two like you're they're heteronormative parents side-eyeing their affections - it was close (I was hoping for a tie!) but Winslet's Juliet squeaked it out with 54% over Lynskey's Pauline; seeing as how Juliet is ever so slightly roped into the killing by the more enthusiastic Pauline I suppose we can understand. But said our host Nathaniel (and I'm prone to agree):

"I love this movie with all my heart (the best of its year if you ask me) and this is an awful thing to be expected to answer! Cruel, Jason, cruel."


Podcast: Our Favorite Films by This Year's "Best Directors"

It's a special edition of the Podcast. And by special I don't mean "filled with sound problems for which I apologize" but that we're not staying in the now but looking back. Joe and Nick join Nathaniel to discuss this year's Best Director Nominees... but not for their new films. We each choose our favorite film by the five artists nominated.

We throw in a few Oscar party food tips as well...

00:00 Oscar Fatigue and Scheduling
02:30 The Films of Steve McQueen
07:45 The Films of Alexander Payne 
16:00 The Films of Alfonso Cuarón 
20:25 The Films of David O. Russell
28:30 The Films of Martin Scorsese 
39:30 Tangent: The Departed and Modern Day Scorsese
43:00 Oscar Parties - Do We Go? Do We Have Them?
47:00 Choosing Oscar Party Food Items

You can listen to the podcast right here at the bottom of the post or download the conversation on iTunes. Continue the conversation in the comments! Hunger, Shame, I Heart Huckabees, Taxi Driver, King of Comedy, Goodfellas, Cape Fear, Children of Men, Y Tu Mama Tambíen, 

Director Filmographies


Does Box Office Affect The Golden Globe Wins? 

Amir here, with something vaguely resembling the weekend’s box office report. You're surely more interested in the Golden Globes this weekend than how many tickets Lone Survivor sold (it's winning the weekend - did you see it?) or whether Frozen is now on course for two gajillion dollars (why, yes, it is), so let’s have a look at how the Globe nominees have fared at the box office and whether or not that matters to HFPA voters historically. All that plus my Globe predictions after the jump...

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Cinematic Companions: 'Nebraska' and 'The Last Picture Show'

Hello, lovelies. Beau here, finally coming up for air from my last few weeks of undergrad to comment on Alexander Payne's fantastic new feature, Nebraska, and note some uncanny resemblances it has with another particular favorite of mine.


It's not a far stretch to imagine why these two films have been linked to one another so often in various articles and reviews lately. Aside from the obvious aesthetic choices made on the part of the creative team to shoot in black-and-white, the framing of the eerily silent, seemingly deserted locales or the clarity with which both films perceive and study their unique characters, Nebraska and The Last Picture Show both manage to tread a fine line in American cinema of empathizing with their characters without fully submitting to them. 

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Podcast: A Nebraskan Thanksgiving!

Happy Holiday Podcast!

In this week's episode, Nathaniel, Katey and Nick prepare for the impending Thanksgiving dinners by sharing our favorite turkeys (movies) and succulent hams (actors). We answer reader-submitted questions on topics ranging from Jennifer Lawrence's meteoric rise to fame, through Michael Fassbender's decision not to campaign for Oscar and on to confessions about nominated movies and performances we've never seen. Plus: Nathaniel and Katey share celebrity run-ins with Melissa Leo (Prisoners) and Nicole Holofcener (Enough Said)

But we begin by taking a black and white road trip to Best Picture hopeful Nebraska with Alexander Payne as tour guide. (Nick doesn't like the way he drives but Katey and Nathaniel enjoy the view) 

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download it on iTunes. Join in the conversation in the comments.

Nathaniel and Katey (& their friend Rob in the middle) November 2012

We also briefly mention last year's Fox Searchlight Holiday party (as well as this year's) and our friend Rob so I thought I'd include this photo that Katey and I took there a year ago. 

A Nebraskan Thanksgiving