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Entries in Anna Karenina (18)

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

Click to read more ...

Friday
Apr042014

The Faces of Jude

Here's abstew on one of TFE's very favorite actors

This past Wednesday saw the limited release of the British film Dom Hemingway about a safecracker that is recently released from prison after serving 12 years. The marketing material is also quick to point out that he's played by Jude Law because it's not immediately apparent.(The film also stars The Mother of Dragons herself, Emilia Clarke, as his...daughter! Well, at least she's not the love interest. At least, I hope not.)

Sporting a couple gold teeth, the craziest mutton chops not normally seen outside of a Civil War reenactor, and more girth than usual (Law gained 30 pounds for the role and it's not even Oscar bait!), the role is certainly a departure for the man that was once Dickie Greenleaf. (Although he's still kinda sexy as Dom. Am I crazy?)

Even in his early roles it was often noted that Law was a character actor trapped in the body of a movie star. Although he's been named People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive before, he's hardly an actor to rely solely on his good looks. Throughout his career he's been allowed to embrace the character actor aspect of his roles and experiment with his appearance along the way.

Let's take a look back at some of his most memorable looks!

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Nov092013

Europa! Europa! EFAs Feeling Broken, Blue and Beautiful

The European Film Awards have announced their annual year-straddling list of nominees and featured heavily are several Oscar contenders from 2012 and 2013. Recognisable names like Keira Knightley, Naomi Watts (not for Diana, thankfully) and Jude Law rub shoulders with Felix van Groeningen, Fabrice Luchini and Luminita Gheorghium, which is just how we like it! 

However, like many award shows at this time of the year the biggest eyebrows isn't so much in what they nominated, but what they didn't. The cries of "snub!" will surely come thick and fast for Adele Exarchopolous and Lea Seydoux who failed to make the actress nominees for their soaring performances in Blue is the Warmest Color. Lucky then that the film picked up major nominations in picture and director for controversial Abdellatif Kechiche. Movies amassing big nomination hauls include Belgian Oscar hopeful The Broken Circle Breakdown, Italian Oscar hopeful The Great Beauty, and Germany's hit Oh, Boy! while films representing Romania, and Spain (albeit last year) also popped up prominently as did Francois Ozon's In the House.

High profile films amongst films that the EFA didn't find room for include Oscar-nominee Kon-tiki, Only God Forgives, A Hijacking, The Selfish Giant, Berberian Sound Studio (sadly - the best horror film of the last few years!), Borgman, and What Richard Did. Here's the list of nominees + the additional technical winners that have already been announced.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Apr282013

April Showers: “Anna Karenina”

 April Showers semi-daily @ 11 

 Andrew here to briefly talk about Anna Karenina, because  I relish any opportunity to talk about one of my favourite 2012 films.

Among the great many things about Anna Karenina I remain grateful for (Keira’s most adult performance, Marianelli’s most inventive score, great work from Durran are a few) Jude Law’s turn as Alexei Karenin is near the top. Prior to Anna Karenina I’d been experiencing something akin to cognitive dissonance with Jude for the last eight years or so. Other than the odd Contagion thrown in I’d been finding it more and more difficult to justify the reasons I kept maintaining that he was my favourite actor under 40. So, naturally, he had much to prove to me with Anna Karenina and luckily I wasn’t disappointed.

The shower in question is brief but comes at a pivotal moment in the film. With a third of the narrative left Karenin, assured of his wife's infidelity, experiences an awkward dinner with her brother's family. He is too scrupulous to excuse or understand Anna’s cheating ways and when he receives a letter plaintive letter he rips it to shreds.

 
 
 

 With that tortured look, alone, I’m willing to forgive less than exciting work in the years preceding. It's not that post-2004 and pre-2012 Jude was slumming it, but he's not been pushing himself either. It’s one of the key reasons I would reach for Wright’s Karenina before any other. Karenin is not a footnote, but a full realised man. Wright and Stoppard are unwaveringly interested in ALL of their characters and the examination of Karenin is as compassionate and warm as that of the eponymous heroine. As the shredded paper morphs into a shower of snow it leads to one of the multiple glorious images of the film.

Seeing steadfast Karenin (and his good ethics) inundated in a shower of white does not seem accidental, to me. The idea of a jilted lover standing in a shower of rain is not unheard of, but of course Karenin - forever suffering in silence - is showered not in loud raindrops but snow which is not only as pure and immaculate as his morals are but silent, too. There is no pitter patter as this shower unfolds but a chilling soundlessness as the snow falls to the stage. Like Karenin himself, a man not out of love with his wife but too emotionlessly silent to show it, there is no sound. Poor cuckolded fool, though; shredded paper and all he’s at her bedside in the next scene.

Was anyone else as moved by Jude's Karenin last year? Did Wright's compassion for the cuckolded husband impress you too?

Friday
Feb222013

Final Oscar Predictions

This article has been cross-posted at Towleroad

Yesterday on Kathy Griffin's new show she began with an Oscar monologue and brought out a gold trunks-clad model with his hair cropped tight and his body sprayed gold. I'll let it slide that he wasn't actually bald but he stood with his legs spread far apart and his hands behind his back. 

Had he never seen an Oscar statue before?

UR DOING IT WRONG! 

As you may have guessed I hold the Oscars sacred. You might call it my religion. I've been watching them since I was a little kid and as an adult I have spend an inordinate amount of time obsessing over them and even made something of a career out of it. [A struggle!]  But never before in my life have I had such a hard time predicting the winners.

Oh sure, Argo will win Best Picture and Daniel Day-Lewis who many of us first fell in love with as a blonde gay punk working in that Beautiful Laundrette will win for becoming President Lincoln but elsewhere in Oscar's 24 Categories there's an awful lot of room for pundits to embarrass themselves this year!

Best Director, for one, is baffling. The tech prizes look like a very bloody battle between at least three pictures (Anna Karenina, Skyfall & Life of Pi). And so on. AFTER THE JUMP my Oscar predictions. If I get everything wrong please forget we ever spoke of this! 

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Feb202013

Costume Designers Honor Princess Hathaway & Anna Karenina

The last (I think?) guild has spoken. And they have announced the movies (and tv) that were 'CLOTHED IN IMMENSE POWER'  for 2012. Apologies to Lincoln for stealing their line ...but at least they were nominated!

The evening included Career Achievement Awards to Eduardo Castro a frequent Emmy nominee with shows like "Ugly Betty" and "Once Upon a Time" under his belt and Judianna Makovsky who made waves this past spring with Hunger Games and costumed films as diverse as the original Harry Potter, Seabiscuit, and Reversal of Fortune. There was also a special award, the LACOSTE Spotlight Award to Anne Hathaway because Guilds generally find a way to honor a movie star or famous director during their ceremonies.

Her award seems to be a crystal alligator of some sort and it looks like she's inviting it to eat Russell Crowe's diaphragm in the photos. Hey, anything to stop him from singing at the Oscars on Sunday!

TV WINNERS:

Television Movie/Mini-Series Lou Eyrich for "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Commercial Costume Design Judianna Makovsky for "Captain Morgan Black"

Contemporary Television Molly Maginnis for "Smash
Period/Fantasy Television Carolina McCall for "Downton Abbey"
Their series awards are hard to argue with, right? Although "Smash" has an unfair advantage over other contemporary shows in that it can also work in period and fantasy wear without stretching the boundaries of the show.

AND THE FILM PRIZES... 

Contemporary Film Jany Temine for Skyfall
Period Film Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina 
Fantasy Film Eiko Ishioka for Mirror Mirror 

...which sets up the Oscar contest in brief.

I've said for some time that I think that Anna Karenina will be winning this statue (the other nominations for the film show some cross-branch interest and, no small matter, the costumes are also beyond gorgeous and memorable). But Mirror Mirror does pose a formidable threat if the Academy is feeling silly and adventurous  (bunny ears on top hats, stilt legs, supersized bows, etcetera) or merely feeling misty about the passing of the great Eiko Ishioka.

Which way do you think it will go? Are you happy with the CDG winners? 

Thursday
Feb142013

10 Days 'til Oscar: Score, Song, & Sound

We're in the final crunch now. Oscar voters have to make their final decisions by Tuesday February 19th (with the winners announced Sunday February 24th) so I'm throwing up my own nominees (which I like to announce before the Oscar nominations even. Oy) so you can see my film bitch award picks for the best in the various aural categories here. But while we're on the subject of sound, a film craft I always vow to learn more about and then forget to educate myself, let's make some early Oscar predictions.

BEST SCORE
Naturally I prefer my nominees to Oscars. Unlike many pundits, I knew that the Beasts of the Southern Wild score didn't have a prayer since Oscar's music branch is notoriously exclusive. In addition to their resistance to new composers they also don't really cotton to directors muscling in on their territory, so step away from the sheet music Benh Zeitlin, Benh Zeitlin. (Even an Oscar God as Revered as Clint Eastwood hasn't been able to do it.) Nevertheless Oscar voters and I do have a bit of overlap here as we all swooned for Dario Marianelli's work on Anna Karenina and Mychael Danna's evocative score for Life of Pi. I'd be pleased if either of them won the category. As for the other nominees, I never quite understand the mandatory nature of John Williams nominations. He's certainly created some classic scores over the years but I swear if he just whistled a few bars on a soundtrack he'd be nominated. I also still don't get the Argo score being nominated since Desplat wrote about five film scores this year and they're ALL better than his decent but surprisingly generic work on Ben Affleck's well regarded thriller. A nomination for Zero Dark Thirty would've been so preferrable.

Should Win: Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Will Win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi. (Even though the music branch is loathe to welcome new blood once they do, they don't tend to have issues with them actually winning the gold.)
Possible Spoiler: Despite Williams' endless nominations, Oscar voters don't seem to be sentimental about giving him a final (and sixth) statue, so I'm guessing Danna's only potential loss comes from Argo-Mania. Alexandre Desplate still hasn't won an Oscar which is starting to seem crazy. 

SONG
Though Oscar and I don't have much overlap -- look, I know Joyful Noise is a crap movie but Dolly Parton writes beautiful movie songs and still doesn't have an Oscar --  I really love the Oscar nominees anyway. All of 'em! It was a good year for original movie songs. I'm looking forward to the performances (should we get them... and it seems like we will).

007 Skyfall - Opening Credits (Best Quality Yet) from Gunnar Lien on Vimeo.

Should Win: Skyfall
Will Win: Skyfall (the night's biggest lock?)
Possible Spoiler: Skyfall... in case they decide to give Adele two Oscars just to see if she pisses herself laughing. 

SOUND EDITING & SOUND MIXING
Oscar likes exceptionally loud movies in the sound categories from the following genres: sci-fi, war, musicals. Which is why you rarely see fragile sounding haunted dramas like, say, The Deep Blue Sea, or fascinating soundscapes like Cosmopolis or artful indies like Beasts of the Southern Wild in the mix. So the weirdest nominee from their choices might be Lincoln which is not particularly loud or showy in terms of sound. I think they missed the boat in ignoring Prometheus in both sound categories this year... but the studio didn't really campaign so there's that. The sound categories can be difficult to predict since who knows what actors make of "sound", you know? And they make up the biggest voting block for winners. Greg P. Russell has been nominated 16 times without winning and he's up again for Sound Mixing on Skyfall. If enough voters become aware of his Oscarless plight, I can't see him losing for such a well loved widely seen film. But are they aware?

watery films are often popular in sound categories

Should Win (Mixing/Editing): abstain... I'm still thinking about this
Will Win (Mixing/Editing): Skyfall & Life of Pi... wild guesswork. They do sometimes split those prizes... and these two films might be in tough battle after tough battle for the entire first half of the ceremony in the craft categories.
Possible Spoiler (Mixing/Editing): Les Misérables & Skyfall

What are you rooting for soundwise with Oscar and what do you think of the film bitch award nominees