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Entries in Best Picture (138)


182 Days Until "Carol" Opens

This screenshot from Carol lies. The first Todd Haynes movie in 8 years is opening on December 18th, not the 21st. Anyway the screenshot is pulled from new footage which is mixed in with other footage and interviews from Cannes from Film4 which you can see below

And because we're thinking about HOW VERY LONG IT IS UNTIL WE SEE CAROL here's the holiday calendar just to lament, as is our tradition, that early December is empty but late December is crowded (sigh). 


The Good Dinosaur
Victor Frankenstein
Midnight Special 


04th Krampus (Horror Comedy)

Why is this weekend so empty?

11th In the Heart of the Sea (Ron Howard)
        The Lady in the Van (that lady be Dame Maggie Smith)

Why is this weekend so empty?

18th Carol (Todd Haynes)
        Star Wars: The Force Awakens (aka Episode VII)
        Sisters (Amy Poehler & Tina Fey) 

I mean obviously Carol breaks all opening weekend box office records this weekend

23rd Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip


Two of the Hateful Eight: Demian Bichir & Kurt Russell

25th Point Break (Remake)
        Concussion (Will Smith in a drama about football brain injuries)
        The Hateful Eight (Tarantino's latest bloody western going the Django route)
        The Revenant (Inaritu's directs Leo DiCaprio & Tom Hardy)
        Snowden (Oliver Stone & Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
        Joy (David O. Russell & Jennifer Lawrence)

31st Nothing scheduled yet but this is traditionally the weekend wherein sometimes great movies are sacrificed to the whims of "Oscar qualifying" contracts and get no real support from their distributor

There are still several films with major stars and/or possible critical darling appeal without US release dates: the new version of MacBeth, Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert, Jean-Marc Vallée's Demolition, Luca Guadagino's A Bigger Splash, James Vanderbilt's Truth, the Lance Armstrong bio The Program and the Hank Williams bio I Saw the Light. Some of them will surely end up in December but we hope against hope that this year is light on the stupid "Oscar Qualifying" releases. 


Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Amadeus" (A Visual Index)

For this week's Best Shot topic, Milos Forman's scrumptious musical duet between jealous Salieri and genius Wolfgang. It was called Amadeus and it was very very good and very very popular -- raking in big box office, too. Though it never landed in the box office top five it had major legs and ended its reign as the 12th highest grosser of 1984.

The music drama won 8 Oscars (from 11 nominations) but curiously one of the prizes it lost was cinematography! The DP was Miroslav Ondrícek who had also been nominated for the previous Milos Forman picture Ragtime (1981).

Amadeus is so visually luxurious that I figured it would be a hard assignment and these eight images surprised me and I can't wait to dig into the articles. Unfortunately I had a computer mishap -- something is not working about my screengrab program (argh-the timing) -- so my own pick for Amadeus will have to wait. But please do read these articles and consider the visual choices. I'm not even going to attempt to put these in chronological order. It's a massive three hour film with lots of performances and difficult to place shots from the luxury overload. Today's Best Shot choices, from brave cinephiles round the web who dare to play this game, are presented in the order in which they were sent to me.

click on the photos to be taken to the corresponding article 
Next Wednesday: MAGIC MIKE (2012)... grab your singles and pick a shot to shove them into 

Forman wisely draws a visual (and comedic) parallel between the two appearances of the mask.
-The Entertainment Junkie 

When all you can do is seethe in your utter failure...
-Drink Your Juice Shelby 

In a film with such a lavish production, a quiet, almost bare scene caught my eye...
-Sorta That Guy

Hard to pick a shot because its best visual moments come from clever cutting and juxtapositions...
-Coco Hits NY

'It seemed to me that I was hearing the voice of God...'
-54 Disney Reviews

Thematically, I can't think of a more blunt message statement... 
-Antagony & Ecstasy

-Movie Motorbreath 

If every Oscar winner was as loose and irreverent as Amadeus...
-Serious Film 

This resplendent film earned every one of its 8 statues.
-Film Actually

The perfect metaphor for the movie's dynamic...
- The Expert Newbie *first entry* 

"I'm frightened!!!" Yet she was fearless. Cynthia Nixon at 18
-Paul Outlaw



YNMS: Suffragette 

Every day since Cannes wrapped it's become clear that the Oscar charts must be updated. We were already banking on Focus Feature's Suffragette for a Best Picture nomination but when we update we might get even more bullish after this new trailer and that prime October real estate (October has been very kind to Best Pictures of late - December is so passe). Anyway, let's not get distracted with Best Picture talk.

Suffragette stars Carey Mulligan as Maud, a working wife and mother who is recruited to join the growing movement and becomes a fierce activist. Mulligan, having a great year with Far From The Madding Crowd's success and a Tony nomination, will likely reap Oscar traction if people like the film but she's backed up by quite the ensemble of talented ladies. Meryl Streep is apt to get all the glory, as she does, for her small role as Emmeline Pankhurst, a catalyst for the story and an icon of Suffragette history, but I'll be interested to see which other members of the supporting cast can win any attention or praise (if any) for strong characterizations or memorable scenes once people start seeing the whole film. Suffragette will premiere at the London Film Festival. 

The trailer and our Yes No Maybe So breakdown -- which we'll do a little differently this time -- after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Revisiting Rebecca (Pt 5): Burn It Down, Mrs Danvers

Previously on "Revisiting Rebecca"
Pt 1 - a whirlwind de Winter courtship
Pt 2 - return to Manderley, meet Mrs Danvers
Pt 3 - feel up Rebecca's lingerie
Pt 4 - attend a costume ball but don't jump out the window, young lady!

...And here is Jason, with our final installment.

1:44:50 We fade up from a kiss to a sign reading "Kerrith Board School 1872." It seems so exact it made me wonder if this is a real place, but a quick google comes up with nothing. I assume this, like most everything save the more obvious natural exteriors (the beaches filmed on the California coast, for example), was a set. It seems an odd detail to so prominently focus upon though. My guess is Hitch liked the connection to The Past, with it hanging over everyone – he was never exactly the most subtle with his themes.

In the Hitchcock/Truffaut book the two filmmakers discuss how "the location of [Manderley] is never specified in a geographical sense; it's completely isolated." Hitch actually talks at length about how he sees this possibility of isolation as an "American" thing -- that if Rebecca had been filmed in Great Britain he'd have shown the countryside surrounding the house but filming it in America gave him the possibility of this "abstraction." It certainly helps that whenever we’re seeing the mansion itself it’s always a miniature, and not an actual location. Anyway, here we are... Where ever here is!

Continue on to the final installment

Click to read more ...


April Foolish Predictions. Let's Talk Best Picture

Subverting expectations, let's not start small but big with our annual April Foolish Oscar predictions. The first chart is up for the BEST PICTURE competition. Bear in mind that apart from Fox Searchlight's Brooklyn, (reviewed at Sundance) nobody has seen any of these films so this is pure fumbling in the dark for things that have the general shape of Oscar darlings. There are so many variables in each season and this first guess as to the general field is meant to spur conversation and must be taken with a grain of salt salt block.

A lot of recent Oscar darlings will try to sell new wares including Hooper, Inarritu, Vallée, Tarantino, and David O. Russell. Steven Spielberg, a perennial, could be back with his cold war film Bridge of Spies. Previous winners with heavy cobwebs on them in terms of Academy favor like Ron Howard, Warren Beatty, Jonathan Demme and Robert Zemeckis will try for comebacks. And one of TFE's all time favorite filmmakers, Todd Haynes, is back after a long long big screen hiatus. Oscar has never quite known what to do with him so will they figure him out once they see Carol? It's a big question mark even though the movie sure looks like a potential beauty.

The films I have the most faith in at the moment -- in terms of Oscar appeal only -- are The Danish Girl and The Revenant but it's all guesswork until we see real footage on all these films.

Thoughts? Psychic revelations? Future tomatoes thrown?


Release Date Jockeying: Hey Studios, Keep Spreading the Wealth!

The conversation about the 87th Oscars had barely died down yet when you could hear rumblings about the 88th Academy Awards. It's not just the "will they go back to five" question but the sudden jockeying for release dates for the oncoming battle. Today we've had two new November announcements (Brooklyn & The Danish Girl) to go along with the previously announced titles of potential interest. 

And so far... miracle of miracles, things look pretty balanced... but will that continue?

Titles That Might be of Awards Interest In Some Way
Not a complete list of releases - links take you to articles

Click to read more ...


Back to Five? Back to Reality. (On the Best Picture Problem)

Back from a fantasy, yes...

By now you have read the rumor that the Academy is considering going back to only five Best Picture nominees per year. I've been amused by the headlines about this as they're extremely telling before you even get to the editorials. Consider Awards Daily's jaded / defeated "As They've Always Wanted" (Sasha likes the expanded field) or In Contention's even angrier / more insulting "Wants to Go Backward" (Gregory also likes the expanded field). Oscar bloggers have, for the most part, enjoyed the expansion because it gave us more to write about.

I never personally liked it. Oh sure it was fun the first couple of years in the way sudden upheavals in any tradition can feel thrilling in either an adventure film or horror film way. It also prompted fun guessing games about what might have been nominated in years past. But as a lover of Oscar history who enjoys comparing all eras too each other in out-of-time conversation, it was ultra-disruptive. How to compare years with 5 versus years with 8 versus 9 versus 10? Pick a number and stick with it. I understand that people have enjoyed the diversity of genres that the expanded field brought us but that only worked the first two years. [Lots more...]

Click to read more ...