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The Next La La Land?

"It looks like fun and Hugh and Zac make a cute couple" - Jaragon

"Why do we keep treating La La Land like some sort of longsuffering, put-upon, misunderstood underdog? It's like making time to assure the prom queen that she's pretty and popular.." -Hayden

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Pablo Larraín (Jackie)
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Entries in biopics (161)

Wednesday
Jan112017

FYC: Jackie's Original Score by Mica Levi

by Sean Donovan

You sit down in a movie theater to see the latest biopic that has earned a superstar Oscar heat, and after the series of trailers for undoubtedly happier movies you could be seeing, you stare at a black screen. Gradually you hear something, a strong string note that quickly careens down the scale into dissonant whine. It’s immediately upsetting, destabilizing: flat and lacking grace when you were promised a classy portrait of one of America’s most iconic first ladies. So disjunctive it possesses a strange, ethereal beauty. It reminds me of the sound of an airplane flying overhead, fitting for a film where some of the most dramatic scenes occur onboard Air Force One. 

Music is the standard-bearer for everything that makes Jackie an unusual Oscar contender...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec232016

On This Day in History: 1988 & 1994's Opposing Best Pic Lineups!

Feeling festive today but not quite ready for Christmas? Celebrate one of these anniversaries!


1805 Joseph Smith Jr, founder of the Mormon Church is born in Vermont. Here's a very random piece of trivia: Outside of the very early movie Brigham Young (1940) about his successor with Vincent Price in the Joseph Smith role, the only actually famous actor to ever play him is Dean Cain of Lois & Clark fame in a movie called September Dawn (2007)? It's kind of hard to draw a line connecting Vincent Price and Dean Cain otherwise, right?
1867 Madame CJ Walker, cosmetics mogul and the first black female millionaire in America, is born in Louisiana. Where's her biopic, Hollywood? History has more than just Great White Man stories.
1887 Underappreciated director John Cromwell who guided Bette Davis's breakthrough role in Of Human Bondage , and the all female wonders of Caged was born in Ohio. One more Bette related anniversary after the jump...

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Friday
Oct212016

Middleburg Day 1: "Lion" is a winner

By Nathaniel R

Sheila Johnson welcomes you!Salamander

Middleburg Film Festival, now in its fourth year and just an hour outside of Washington DC, is a rising festival to watch. Most of the festival's big events take place at the Salamander Resort and Spa which sits on 340 beautiful acres. The rooms are gorgeous -- I even have a nice little terrace to sit on while typing up these diaries for you. In short, this is a destination festival rather than a 'drop in for a film or two or two after work' type big city festival. Emma Stone and Damien Chazelle are coming into town for La La Land and other luminaries appear for their films, too.

The festival, which has an Oscar hopeful heavy lineup, was founded by the African-American billionaire Sheila Johnson (co-founder of BET network) who welcomed us to the opening night screening. The event was in the resort's huge ballroom and I was surprised to be very happy and pleased with the screen size and sound since non-traditional venues at regional festivals can sometimes present challenges.


 The opening night film was the lost child / adoption drama Lion. True to early buzz we've heard the movie is quite wonderful...

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Thursday
Oct132016

Marie Antoinette Week: The Musical Stylings of Sofia Coppola's Biopic

Editor's Note: On this very week in 1793 the Queen Consort of France Marie Antoinette (born Maria Antonia Josepha Johanna von Habsburg-Lothringen -whew) stood "trial" and was guillotined during the French Revolution. She's haunted popular culture ever since. On this very week ten years ago in 2006, Sofia Coppola's undervalued and unconventional biopic Marie Antoinette began its trip to movie theaters. We're celebrating every day at 3 PM EST for a week. Party.

Lynn Lee looks back at Marie Antoinette's (2006) controversial use of music...

First come the fast, bracing guitar chords, followed by the almost-too-on-point Gang of Four lyrics - “The problem of leisure, what to do for pleasure?” - as the opening credits roll in bright hot pink against a black background.  We catch a quick shot of a reclining Marie Antoinette (Kirsten Dunst), tasting one of an array of sumptuous cakes as she tries on a shoe and gives a saucy sideways glance into the camera as if to say “Let me eat cake.”  It’s our first tip-off that this isn’t going to be your standard historical costume drama...

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Wednesday
Oct122016

The definitely incomplete history of Janis Joplin biopics

by Josh Forward

There have been so many rumoured, green lit and delayed productions of a Janis Joplin biopic, it’s nearly impossible to keep track. But we're here to try! Janis was a 60’s superstar, with an iconic voice and an image that was reflective of the counter culture of the times. She also sadly joined the 27 club by a drug overdose. 

Her incredible life and talent has been promised on the big screen for decades and the latest announcement has Michelle Williams as Joplin under the direction of Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene). This will be based on Laura Joplin’s book "Love, Janis" made up of real letters from Joplin. This is not to be confused with the delayed version starring Amy Adams directed by Jean-Marc Vallee, halted by legal trouble which was tentatively called Get it While You Can.

But these two productions have actually been competing since the 1990’s. And before them there were other failed attempts. Let’s look back...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Oct062016

Break me off a link of that

Vulture Amy Landecker is Julia Roberts' voice double. This is amazing. Especially if you love the movie Duplicity
Geek Tyrant yummy yummy fandom pies
Coming Soon backwards told and trippy actually is commercial Strange Dr new the

Variety Robert De Niro's The Comedian will be getting an Oscar qualifying run. I guess Cinelou really wants to make these Oscar Qualifying runs their thing (see also Cake). Sigh. 
Women & Hollywood Emma Thompson and Stanley Tucci will star in the adaptation of Ian McEwan's bestseller "The Children Act" to be directed by Richard Eyre (Notes on a Scandal) -- ooh, sign us up. 
Awards Daily Oscar hopeful Loving about the famous right to marry case from the 1960s has released interracial and same sex emojis
Tracking Board Wolverine 3 gets a title, Logan, and a spirit of the beehive poster moment 
The Guardian another report on Hollywood whitewashing of Asian stories and characters. I love Billy Magnussen but am sad that he's now involved in this too. Apparently the Bruce Lee biopic Birth of the Dragon has been saddled with a white character as lead, sidelining Bruce Lee in his own story What the actual fuck?
Variety Ian McKellen is getting the documentary treatment in McKellen: Playing the Part  

Today's Video
Kristin Chenoweth sings the Game of Thrones theme song

Finally...
Winter is Coming looks at the top paid actors per TV episode via Variety. These are so weird to look at. The numbers rarely align with what you think of as pop cultural worth. Though if you're on a phenomenal success like Game of Thrones the two sometimes line up. One assumes the numbers have a lot to do with how long a show's been running and whether actors have been able to renegotiate. And also network pays more than streaming which pays more than cable, etcetera. For instance... how weird is it that Taraji P Henson as the key figure on one of TV's biggest smashes (Empire) makes the same figure per episode as Michelle Monaghan a less famous star on a show people don't talk about (The Path).

Friday
Sep302016

Foreign Watch: Two Oscar Favorites Join the Fray

We've been faithfully updating the Oscar charts daily to reflect the submissions in one of our favorite categories. We'd call it our favorite but then how would Cinematography, Production Design, both Actress categories, and Costume Design feel? The deadline for submission is just a few days away so in a week or two the Academy will make the list official. Generally speaking, there are one or two surprises from our charts once they do -- a sudden addition or replacement and maybe a single disqualification. But if this list holds we are just short of the all time record number. The are currently 82 submissions, which is one shy of the record from 2014 (the Ida year).

90 year old legend Andrezj Wajda with his film trophies

Among the newly announced films are After Image, a biopic of an avant garde artist, by Andrzej Wajda for Poland and The Idol, the true story of a man who competed on "Arab Idol," from Hany Abu-Assad of Palestine. Oscar loves these two directors so they're surely threats for the finalist list. Poland has submitted films by Honorary Oscar winner Andrzej Wajda a total of nine times in their history and four of those were nominated: The Promised Land in 1975, The Maids of Wilco in 1979, Man of Iron in 1981, and Katyn in 2007. Meanwhile both of Palestine's nominations in the Best Foreign Language Film category come from Hany Abu-Assad: Paradise Now in 2005 and Omar in 2013.  Can these men work their Oscar-hooking magic again?

Updates to the charts (part 1, part 2, part 3) also include new contenders from Argentina, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kazakhstan, South Africa, and Turkey.