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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R

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Adapting "Guardians" -a screenwriting interview

I especially like that part about how boundaries can be a good thing. Knowing where the plot points have to hit always stops me from wandering aimlessly in my writing. Some may see those thing as cookie cutter but I've always found them inspiring.❞ -Daniel

 

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Entries in Best Picture (89)

Monday
Jan062014

Linker and Commander

My New Plaid Pants the greatest "which is hotter?" of all time
Pajiba's bitch rankings for the new season of Downton Abbey. So happy it's back. Love Mary so much. 
The Backlot Did Sir Ian McKellen out gay actors who everyone knows are gay even though they're not actually really out even though they're gay? The silliest "controversy" of the weekend. Gay gay gay

Awards Daily seems convinced that American Hustle is going to win Best Picture and everyone knows it. Ummm... we don't even have the nominations yet. I'd say the race is still on.
The Carpetbagger let's ask Siri about Samantha in Her why don't we? Yes, let's.
Variety Judi Dench, Bruce Dern and 12 Years get props from the AARP in their annual "best movies for grownups" list
In Contention oooh, it's BAFTA's rising star nominees! I always forget that they do that.  The nominees are: Dane DeHaan (Kill Your Darlings), George Mackay (How I Live Now), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), Will Poulter (We're the Millers), and Léa Seydoux (Blue is the Warmest Color). They aren't nominated for those specific pictures but I just include them to remind you. Who would you vote for?

Best Read
If you haven't yet read this open letter to James Franco from The Village Voice's Amy Nicholson, titled "do the double dick dude" you absolutely must: hilarious, provocative, and smart.

Today in Randomness...
A happy 25th birthday to actor Max Pirkis. Remember how great he was opposite Paul Bettany and Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: Far Side of the World? I've been meaning to rewatch that for in forever. You never know with child actors if it's merely a great director, a natural gift, or a happy accident. Pirkis later had a supporting role on HBO's Rome as the evil Gaius Octavian (I only saw the first season of that show but I understand it was akin to a King Joffrey part?) but he's been absent from screens for all of his twentysomething years. He's returning to the movies this year in Flying Home (with Jamie Dornan) and the horror flick The Quiet Ones (opening in April) and we wish him well, especially if Master and Commander was indication of his potential. As I was typing this up I realized he was on twitter and twitter accounts from non celebrity actors are a peculiar joy. There you can sometimes spot actual opinions instead of careful PR positivity about everything. For example, he has Oscar opinions, didn't like whatever Jodie Foster was doing in Elysium (but who did, really?). And, this is my favorite, because I never quite understood why people were so gaga for The World's End (which I think is the worst of the Cornetto Trilogy and by a significant margin. 

 

Friday
Jan032014

Nebraska, Finely Aged and Potentially Oscar Record-Breaking

I'm sure you've seen the melancholy yet uplifting new spot for Nebraska that points out the ages of its principal cast and how long they've been acting. It's inspiring, for sure, as longevity often is. Hollywood and the Oscars often favor the sprinters (note all the stars, particularly actresses, who won too soon and all the films that opened in the rush of awards season that were only hot for two months) but life is a marathon.

Assuming Bruce Dern and June Squibb are both nominated on January 16th (and smart money says they will be) they'll both be among the top three oldest performers ever nominated in their categories. It will break down like so...

OLDEST BEST ACTOR NOMINEES
01 Richard Farnsworth, The Straight Story (1999) who was 79
02 Bruce Dern, Nebraska (20) who is 77*
03 Henry Fonda, On Golden Pond (1981) who was 76
04 Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby (2004) who was 74
05 Peter O'Toole, Venus (2006) who was also 74
06 Morgan Freeman, Invictus (2008) who was 72
07 Sir Laurence Olivier, The Boys From Brazil (1978) who was 71
08 Frank Langella, Nixon (2008) who was also 71
09 Paul Newman, Nobody's Fool (1994) who had just turned 70

Those are the only 70somethings ever nominated for Best Actor... if Robert Redford and Bruce Dern are both nominated we'll have a perfect full top ten of 70something Best Actor candidates; they're only two months apart in age (with Dern born first). Among these senior men Henry Fonda was the only winner. If Dern wins --  and I've long thought he might with that magic combo of a likely Best Picture nominee, a moving performance, and a stellar campaign --  he'll become the oldest winner ever in the Best Actor category. 

OLDEST BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS NOMINEES
01. Gloria Stuart, Titanic (1997) who was 87... and the oldest in *any* category actually
02. Ruby Dee, American Gangster (2007) who was 85 *but there are conflicting reports on her age*
03. June Squibb, Nebraska (2013) who is 84
03. Jessica Tandy, Fried Green Tomatoes (1991) who was 82
05. Eva Le Gallienne, Resurrection (1980 - recently discussed) who had just turned 82

Those are the only 80somethings ever nominated in Supporting Actress and none of them won. Can June Squibb break the pattern this year? (The current oldest winner ever in this category is Dame Peggy Ashcroft for A Passage to India (1984) who was 77). Speaking of Squibb, have you been watching the American remake of the British nursing comedy series Getting On? Squibb guest stars in one episode as a foul-mouthed cigarette-smoking patient. She and Niecy Nash are pretty great together.

What do you make of Dern & Squibb's Oscar chances? 

Saturday
Dec212013

Updated Charts - All Categories

The Oscar Charts are fully revised. Enjoy! I've currently predicted 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips and American Hustle to lead the nominations hogging 37 nominations between them and The Great Gatsby and Saving Mr Banks to share the asterisked honor of "most nominations without a Best Picture bid. The wildest card is still The Wolf of Wall Street and the guilds will have to show us if that one is going to make a dent.

PICTURE | DIRECTOR | SCREENPLAYS
The top five look set in stone but how many nominees will we have? The race with the most mystery might just be Original Screenplay. Too many films still seem absolutely believable as future 'of course it was nominated' nominees. But there can be only five. Can Enough Said or Fruitvale Station, two films which have never exactly left the conversation, find a way to slip in?

ACTRESS | ACTOR | SUPPORTING ACTRESS | SUPPORTING ACTOR
The precursor awards have locked up the female categories and placed guards around the door despite a pre-season that seemed robust with possibility. That's always a shame when the performances on the outside are as good as the ones that Adèle, Greta, Brie, Sally, Julia, and so on are giving. The male categories have also tightened up but the chamber isn't nearly as air tight. A bit of "who will it be?" mystery remains.

are these the films that are the biggest wild cards in terms of nomination count?

VISUAL CATEGORIES | SOUND CATEGORIES
Before the Guilds speak up let's speculate wildly!

FOREIGN FILM | ANIMATED, DOCS, SHORTS
The fields are already small from "finalist" lists. Watch along with us as we try to see them all. 

Sunday
Dec152013

Podcast: Awards Week Blowout Special

Nathaniel is back from his Iceland trip and going regional with JoeNick, and Katey for a one hour discussion of the barrage of film critics prizes from New York, Detroit, Boston and San Diego. And another thing: are LA's "ties" okay with this panel? 

Afterwards we pick on the Screen Actors Guild and their bizarre All is Lost joke (no Redford in actor but a stunt ensemble nomination when there's only one character and Redford did his own stunts?!)  and the team splits on the quality of Rush, recently resurgent thanks to SAG. Then we're on to the  Golden Globes for a discussion of the troublesome Comedy/Drama divide (read Joe's article for context) and we pick the best and worst of their nominees.

Also discussed: Jennifer Lawrence's backlash, Greta Gerwig's surprise, Forest Whitaker's acting, Leonardo DiCaprio's elusiveness, 12 Years a Slave's power, Philomena's luck, Dallas Buyers Club's ensemble, Wolf of Wall Street's editing, and Fruitvale Station's potential.

You can listen here or download the conversation on iTunes

Awards Week Blowout

Tuesday
Dec032013

Do the NYFCC Hustle

The New York Film Critics Circle, the oldest such organization in the country, provided us with a surprise bang this morning. Like Jennifer Lawrence playing with her "science oven" in American Hustle their announcement leaves visible scorch marks, as if awards season has just blasted off like a rocket. 

Whether or not these prizes have a lasting impact is yet to be determined. Some will say that the one-two punch of the Gotham Awards and  NYFCC not awarding 12 Years a Slave with their best feature is a sign. But it may well just be a coincidence and could even be good for the film; it's better to be a wildly special underdog than a frontrunner with heavy baggage when you have three whole months left to carry oneself across the finish line. 

Picture American Hustle
Director Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Actress Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Actor Robert Redford, All is Lost
Supporting Actress Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Supporting Actor Jared Leto, Dallas Buyer’s Club

Critics prizes, even the once holy trinity (NYFCC, LAFCA, and NSFC) don't mean as much as the internet likes to pretend. With roughly 30 other critics organizations handing out prizes each year now, and those same critics groups often behaving like Oscar pundits instead of critics, I'd argue that the value of critics prizes has greatly depreciated from market saturation and loss of identity. The thing that constitutes bragging rights these days seems to be domination (who can win the most?) rather than key victories. 

Screenplay American Hustle
Foreign Film Blue is the Warmest Color
Animated Film Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises
Non Fiction Film Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell
First Film Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station
Cinematography Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis
Special Award Frederick Wiseman, documentarian

Do you think they did the "special award" for Frederick Wiseman solely because they didn't give him best documentary for At Berkeley? And, referencing the most recent podcast, am I the only person who isn't wild for the cinematography in Inside Llewyn Davis?

For what it's worth, American Hustle (which is under critical embargo until tomorrow), is very entertaining and also very fresh in the minds of voters having been screened just this past weekend. And Jennifer Lawrence is also very fresh (and entertaining) in it. 

[More on their voting and runners up here]

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