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 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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Entries in Best Picture (96)

Thursday
Jul032014

Halfway Pt. 1: What if They Voted on the Oscars Right Now?

Oscar Chart Note: I'm experiencing some coding problems with the charts so I apologize for the update delays. Until it's fixed, please to enjoy this hypothetical discussion as we begin our Halfway Mark Review...


Happy July! We're now officially done with the first half of the year. There are MANY films to come including the bulk of Oscar contenders given Hollywood's preferred release patterns. But that doesn't mean the film year hasn't already delivered enormous pleasure. All conscientous Oscar voters, cinephiles, and critics ought to keep a list so they aren't tricked into believing that the thing they saw 5 minutes ago is the only thing worth voting for six months from now.

Which naturally begs the question: If the voting was sprung on everyone right now, which films would AMPAS go for? It's worth jotting them down because they have a head start and they'd be smart to capitalize on it somehow. They need to settle in the mind and hearts as viable options as it were so that the forthcoming biggies will have to unseat them rather than trample them on their way to Oscar thrones.

I'm thinking mostly of Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel and Ralph Fiennes as Best Actor. They'd both surely snag nominations if the voting were held today. But at this date, some 17 years into his career, Academy voters haven't yet fully embraced Wes Anderson. Comic performances are always trickier sells so Ralph Fiennes will need to capitalize on the fact that he's playing against type (in a way) and voters respect that. If Budapest hangs on for real Oscar play that should make the waters safe for all future Wes Anderson films (see also: David Fincher, David O. Russell, and Paul Thomas Anderson who all struggled to win attention until Oscar finally caught up with the critical passion and devout public fanbases and now they're automatically "in the conversation" before their films arrive.) 

Let's fantasize about what might be nominated if the voting were cut off right now when so few expected contenders have opened. My guesses as to the nominees go like so...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jun252014

List Mania

Two interesting lists came out in the past couple of days which are worth discussing / poring over / loving deeply / fuming at for various reasons.

Three LGBT Films I'm Always Wishing More People Had Seen. Paris is Burning (#3), Lilies (#64), and Show Me Love (#168)

• The Advocate crowd-sourced the 175 Essential LGBT Movies list which is a mix of non gay movies that gays love and actual queer films. Brokeback Mountain (2005) tops the list and the top ten is really cool and varied though it's obviously skewing toward historically important cinematic breakthroughs (regardless of quality) which I suppose explains the high ranking of Philadelphia (1993) which is not a good movie and so so timid and Making Love (1982), just outside the top ten which is interesting and way less timid than many movies which came after it (how's that for an odd turn of events) but it's also stiffly made. I've seen all but 34 of these pictures but some of the choices are... unfortunate. The foreign classics are shoved toward the back of the list (Almodóvar is present of course but woefully underrepresented and poorly ranked) but basically every popular American gay film from the last 25 years that actually sucks is accounted for; it's a myth that gays have good taste!

P.S. My Beautiful Laundrette, which we were just discussing, comes in at #21. 

 

And now a more mainstream list...

Only 5 live action musicals made the list. No Cabaret (1972)? I weep.

• The Hollywood Reporter surveyed industry types like Oscar winners, studio chiefs, and TV personalities and came up with a list of Hollywood's Favorite 100 Films of All Time. As a very mainstream list that only grazes Old Hollywood with the most iconic pictures (All About Eve, Gone With The Wind, On the Waterfront - that sort of thing) and heavily favors New Hollywood (roughly the 70s forward) it's fun. But you have to know what you're getting into. Most interesting to me is how beloved the year 1994 is with Pulp Fiction, Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump all in the top 15 !!! The most recent picture listed is Inception (2010) which... gross. Spielberg, Coppola, Hitchcock and Nolan all have multiple entries. Curiously Hollywood only loves modern animated movies - nothing made earlier than Beauty & The Beast (1991) which comes in at #86. Brokeback Mountain (2005) comes in at #76 (Crash is nowhere to be seen. I think Hollywood was embarrassed about that Best Picture win as soon as the morning after if not as soon as Jack Nicholson read the card).

P.S. Since we were just surveying 2004 I think it's worth noting that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the only picture from that year listed... none of the actual Best Picture nominees made the cut, not even Million Dollar Baby

What should we make lists of here at TFE? Summertime is obviously ideal for movie lists since nothing is actually happening at the movies (besides, you know, CG robots, monsters, and explosions) 

 

Sunday
Jun012014

First Oscar Predictions of the Year, Complete!

The April Foolish predictions for 2014 are complete! In record time* for June 1st.

INDEXPICTURE | DIRECTOR
ACTRESS | ACTOR  
SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR 
FOREIGN FILMS | ANIMATED FILMS
SCREENPLAYS | VISUALS | SCORE & SOUND 

BULLISH: I've predicted that Foxcatcher and Interstellar will lead the nominations with 8 nods each with Gone Girl, Mr Turner and Birdman not far behind. I also have high Oscar hunch hopes for Theory of Everything and The Imitation Game.

BEARISH: Though I will readily concede that Unbroken might be a juggernaut, I'm not yet feeling it's as as sure of a thing as many pundits are likely to given the extraordinary amount of Oscar boxes it checks off on paper.  My bearishness is largely because you can argue that Oscar has become less enamored of "traditional / inspirational" material in the past several years - even skipping inspirational Holocaust movies like The Book Thief -- and are quicker to embrace thornier auteurism than they have since the 70s. It's also because Angelina Jolie is a largely untested director whose first feature had a good measure of pre-release media attention only to be totally ignored once it arrived (and I don't mean in terms of Oscar nominations, though that was the case as well). That said if everyone agrees that Unbroken is quite good (nobody has to think it's great) it'll do very well for itself in the nominations. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May272014

Visual Index ~ How Green Was My Valley 

In five seasons we've never done a Best Picture winner for Hit Me With Your Best Shot . But not intentionally. So, here's the first. I asked all willing participants to watch the chosen film - in this case John Ford's 1941 film How Green Was My Valley -  and choose what they think of as the Best Shot. (Next week we're looking at another major Oscar player Zorba the Greek to kick off June's "year of the month" which will be devoted to 1964 so please join us... especially if, like me, you've never seen it. Let's fill those gaps in our Oscar viewing, together!)

How Green Was My Valley is marvelous to look at. Though its reputation has been dulled by beating Citizen Kane to Best Picture that year it's easy to see why it won Best Cinematography for Arthur C Miller (not the playwright) among its 5 Oscars. 

"How Green Was My Valley" Best Shot(s)
click on the photo for the corresponding article at these 8 fine blogs

Doing their very best impression of 19th Century British landscape paintings. And yet, the future sneaks in...
-Antagony & Ecstasy

 

Ford later revisited a similar provincial landscape in "The Quiet Man" with vivid Technicolor results, but the black-and-white cinematography here is just as lush...
-Film Actually

The beauty of the early scenes makes the ravages of time seem all the more cruel... 
-We Recycle Movies 


I just looked at these images and couldn’t imagine them being photographed any other way…
-Coco Hits NY 

Pretty scenery? Check. Religion, singing, and coal mining all have something to do with this moment? Check...
-Allison Tooey 


- The Film Experience 


Capitalism vs. religion, new ways vs. old ways. These are the main tensions of the history of industrialization...
- The Entertainment Junkie 

An uphill battle against the smoke and ash that threaten to cover her town...
-Lam Chop Chop 

If you haven't yet seen it, do these shows make you want to?

Thursday
May012014

'April Foolish' in May. Oscar Predix Prep Work

It's almost past time for the April Foolish Oscar Predi --  SIGH...

Okay, yes, kids. I'm behind. Before we get started on the April Foolish Oscar Predictions which have somehow migrated to May, I'd like your input a wee bit. Please peruse my list of films to watch out for in one to nineteen ways after the jump and let me know if I'm missing any you've heard about or are excited for. I don't want to post anything official if I'm stupidly forgetting a film somewhere.

Why do I say "one to nineteen" ways?

 Well that's how many feature film Oscar categories there are if you ignore, for the time being, the documentary and foreign film categories which have different rules and which we don't make year-in-advance predictions for. Technically there are 21 feature film specific categories (the 3 shorts categories make the Oscar 24)  but no film could be eligible in all of them since there are competing categories like Original and Adapted Screenplay. What's more, a film that could theoretically qualify for all three "special" feature prizes (Foreign Film / Animated / Documentary) like a Waltz With Bashir is never going to be nominated for all three and find itself eligible for acting prizes and craft categories. 

MUCH MUCH MORE AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr122014

Ten Reasons to Remember Tom Jones, a Foundling

Andrew here to celebrate an anniversary. Fifty years ago tomorrow, Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones won the 1963 Best Picture Oscar at the 36th Academy Awards. Up until a few weeks ago it was one of my most glaring cinematic blindspots from that era.

A cursory glance over the Best Picture winners of the 60s (ha, who am I kidding? I know the list by heart) reveals that by my faulty empirical research Tom Jones is easily the least discussed Picture winner from that decade today. Even Oliver, arguably the decade's least respected winner, seems more oft considered and it’s a curious thing because even ignoring the actual quality of Tom Jones it’s not business as usual as far as Oscar winners go. And, usually, we like to talk about when AMPAS throws us a curveball with its winners, for better or for worse.

Certainly, from an outsider's perspective it doesn't seem to be much of a curveball. What's the fuss about another period-piece turned Oscar winner? Although period films are lucky with awards they don't tend to be well remembered, or loved, on the internet. I could imagine what Tom Jones seems to represent to someone on the outisde looking in, another stuffy British drama Oscar bait film. (Something's that plagued Merchant Ivory films two decades after their heyday, but that's another story.) But, Tom Jones in all its unusualness has much to savour and enjoy, fifty years after its release.  

Here are ten reasons to give it another or your first look...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Mar032014

An Open Letter, Some Linkage, Blurry Photos

The Dolby Theater was quick about getting 12 Years a Slave up in their awesome atrium of Best Picture winners in Hollywood. I stared at that so much while I was in LA, trust. But naturally it must prompt my annual outrage again.

Dear, Internet. If the Academy themselves understand that we just watched the 2013 Oscars, so can you! - Love, Nathaniel R

This is really all the IMDb's fault and then Google, too. Now virtually everyone except the Oscars and The Film Experience calls the Oscars by the wrong year, which will wreak so much havoc at future trivia nights and in every way of documenting film history. I have a friend who did really great work on several Wikipedia pages and people kept trying to change his dates to the wrong year so now it's a mess of conflicting pages. This madness must stop. Cate Blanchett is not the Best Actress of 2014... (at least not yet. Will Carol be ready in time?). She's the Best Actress of 2013. The Oscars aren't like a Beauty Pageant where you get a title andtour the country for the following year before you pass on the tiara. It's not like that. It's for a movie you did. Pretending that Cate is the Best Actress of 2014 puts you in People's Choice territory where people just win prizes even if they sat at home that year but are still popular. It's not really territory you want to be in. 

Five completely random links (more time to catch up what's happening elsewhere tomorrow)

  • Vanity Fair on their Oscar Party 
  • Daily Mail on that pizza guy and the tipping situation at the Oscars
  • Buzz Feed if John Travolta had to pronounced other people's names at the Oscars
  • Vulture Pharrell's Happy performance gifs of the stars joining in. This was SO smart to include so early in the show. The energy was perfect. 
  • Vanity Fair [LONG READ] I bookmarked this story about trying to find out what happened to the real "Patsey" from 12 Years a Slave and I haven't had time to finish it yet but it's totally an interesting subject. I WILL carve out time to read it this week and so should you. 

After the jump my favorite blurry photos I took of my TV last night. But why blurry photos, you ask?

Click to read more ...