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Best Actress -- Who will be nominated?
Davis? Blunt? Adams? Chastain?

"I'm glad everyone is cheering Fences on, but I feel that people are overestimating its Oscar potential. The furor reminds me of when people were going ga-ga for August: Osage County. " - Jes

"Davis  in Fences. I saw it on Broadway ... it is a true blue supporting role." - Charlie G

"I really hope it's Amy Adams year, only because some of her stans are so insufferable and will never shut up if she loses again. " - Laura

 

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Entries in books (98)

Tuesday
Mar292016

Today's Must Read: Streep's "Kramer vs Kramer" Breakthrough

This new book on Meryl's rise will be released at the end of AprilIf you haven't yet chanced upon it or been directed there by multiple excited tweets, make sure to read this excerpt / reworking of a passage from a forthcoming book by Michael Schulman on Meryl Streep's rise to fame via Kramer vs Kramer that's currently gracing Vanity Fair. We've talked about Kramer vs Kramer multiple times here at TFE and it's been heartening to see the critical tide at least slightly turning in the blockbuster drama's favor of late. For a long time cinephiles seemed to despise it, due in no small part to its Oscars. When you beat noticeably ambitious artistic and stylized masterpieces like Apocalypse Now and All That Jazz to the Best Picture crown there's bound to be a backlash if your film is merely human-sized, no matter how resonant and superbly acted it may be. But, a truth, that's always worth noting in movie buff wars: every year has multiple films worthy of praise and just because one gets singled out in the moment, it doesn't mean its worthy of your ire.

But I digress. Read this piece! Here's a bit about the fantasies, realities, and fictions around Meryl Streep's audition --  nobody actually knows which is which since the accounts are different depending on who is interviewed:

Meryl marched into the hotel suite where Hoffman, Benton, and Jaffe sat side by side. She had read Corman’s novel and found Joanna to be “an ogre, a princess, an ass,” as she put it soon after to American Film. When Dustin asked her what she thought of the story, she told him in no uncertain terms. They had the character all wrong, she insisted. Her reasons for leaving Ted are too hazy. We should understand why she comes back for custody. When she gives up Billy in the final scene, it should be for the boy’s sake, not hers. Joanna isn’t a villain; she’s a reflection of a real struggle that women are going through across the country, and the audience should feel some sympathy for her. If they wanted Meryl, they’d need to do re-writes, she later told Ms. magazine.

The trio was taken aback, mostly because they hadn’t called her in for Joanna in the first place. They were thinking of her for the minor role of Phyllis, the one-night stand. Somehow she’d gotten the wrong message. Still, she seemed to understand the character instinctively. Maybe this was their Joanna after all?

That, at least, was Meryl’s version. The story the men told was completely different...

Monday
Mar282016

Cast This: Highsmith's Ripley TV Series

Manuel here. Patricia Highsmith is definitely back in vogue. We'll obviously credit Carol (based on her Price of Salt novel) but the ample filmography her books have begat should remind us that she's been the type of author whose works seem ready-made for the screen. While there's still no new word on whether that Gillian Flynn/David Fincher Strangers on a Train remake is still in the works, we now have another Highsmith property to get excited about.

Well, perhaps "new" is too strong a word. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Mar222016

The Signage of the Lambs

Can we get a round of applause for Daniel's great work on the new series "The Furniture"? I'm loving it so much and we're only two episodes in.

Consider this a spin-off one-off. I thought I'd share a particular movie obsession that we haven't yet dived into in all these years of blogging - signs. Shove a professional sign or any diegetic text or hand-scrawled message in front of the camera and I go all bookworm eyes. Are they subliminal subtitles? That's surely up to the set decorator, prop man, production designer and director. But on our recent revisit to Silence of the Lambs (1991) its signs felt newly purposeful.

Probably because the film begins with such a bold aggressive dare, nailed right to a tree. [More...]

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Feb272016

Avu DuVernay to direct A Wrinkle in Time

Lynn here, chewing on another bit of non-Oscar related movie news.

Ever since it was announced earlier this week that Ava DuVernay had signed on to direct the upcoming film version of Madeleine L’Engle’s much-beloved A Wrinkle in Time, I’ve been trying to imagine just how the director of Selma is going to approach a sci-fi fantasy that features benevolent shape-shifting inter-dimensional beings, entire planets controlled by a single giant brain, and children who literally cross the universe by bending the laws of both space and time.  She won’t be starting from scratch, at least; the project’s apparently been in the works for some time, with a script by Frozen’s Jennifer Lee.  But this will be the first time the book’s ever been brought to the big screen.  It’s frequently, and unsurprisingly, been called unfilmable, and the only previous adaptation – a 2003 TV movie on ABC – was such a failure that it’s best known for the quip it inspired from L’Engle:

I expected it to be bad, and it is.”

In other words, there’s every reason for apprehension.  Is there also reason for hope?

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb232016

Oscar Screenplay Records That Could Be Broken

Manuel here to talk Oscar nominated screenplays. We first greeted them by looking at their first lines of dialogue, we crunched the numbers about how 2015 was a good year for female scribes, ranked them by quotability, and this week we’re taking a more playful approach. Think of it as a way to find some levity as we near the Big Day.

Now, we know there are frontrunners (and some dark horses) but I put all of that aside and imagined a world where every screenplay nominee has a shot and offered some records that could be broken Sunday night.

IF Bridge of Spies wins
Joel & Ethan Coen would join the ranks of most awarded screenwriters of all time, tying Woody Allen, Billy Wilder, Charles Brackett, Francis Ford Coppola, and Paddy Chayefsky, all of whom have three wins, though Allen holds the distinction of winning all three for Original screenplays.

IF Ex Machina wins
It would be the first film with a Latin title to win (previous failed bids include Equus and Europa Europa)

IF Inside Out wins
It would be the first animated film to win a screenplay award (previous failed bids include Toy Story, Shrek, Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, WALL-E and Up in the Original Screenplay category and Toy Story 3 in Adapted)

more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb212016

7 Days til Oscar...

We already celebrated the 7th nominations of both Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet on the day of the nominations so what shall we celebrate today now that we're exactly one week from Hollywood's High Holy Night?

Hmmm. The Martian? It does have seven nominations but don't feel like it today. So let's just go with the year sevens. Oscar's choices, biggest box office, and our favorites here. 

1937: Oscar: Life of Emile Zola; Public: Snow White; TFE: The Awful Truth

1947:
 Oscar: Gentleman's Agreement; Public: Road to Rio; TFE: Black Narcissus

1957:
 Oscar: Bridge on the River Kwai; Public: Bridge on...; TFE: A Face in the Crowd

1967:
 Oscar: In the Heat of the Night; Public: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?; TFE: Bonnie & Clyde It's worth reminding you here that Mark Harris's book about this year in film "Pictures at a Revolution" is one of the best movie books ever. Get it!

1977: OscarAnnie Hall; Public: Star Wars; TFE: Annie Hall

1987:
 Oscar: Last Emperor; Public: 3 Men and a Baby; TFE: Moonstruck

1997:
 Oscar: Titanic; Public: Titanic; TFE: Boogie Nights

2007:
 Oscar: No Country For Old Men; Public: Spider-Man 3; TFE: There Will Be Blood

2017:
 Oscar: TBA; Public: Star Wars Episode VIII; TFE: TBA

Your favorites in "7" years?  And let us all have a moment of silence for the great Se7en (1995) which only received one Oscar nomination in its year for Best Film Editing. What a shame! 

Thursday
Dec102015

Outstanding Achievement in Belated Linkage

It's so tough to keep up with other movie stuffs during precursor week. So here are several news items, essays, montages to help up catch us all up. Ready. Set. Go...

NEWS
i09 One sorcerer supreme is not enough for Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch. He's also signed on to play Jasper Maskelyne, a Nazi-fighter War Magician
The Wrap Universal's Mummy reboot will swap the gender of the monster. Sofia Boutella (Kingsman: Secret Service) will star
Film Stage George Clooney's next directing job is the noir Suburbicon. He's lining up an all star cast and Julianne Moore just joined

Playbill Lee Daniels creating a girl band tv series for Queen Latifah (Empire was such a succcess that there are  lot of music industry series about to hit or in development)
/Film Ang Lee's Thrilla in Manila, a boxing drama is said to be eyeing Ray Fisher as Muhammad Ali and David Oyelowo as Joe Frazier
Guardian looks like it's Idris Elba vs Matthew McConaughey for the upcoming adaptation of Stephen King's  Dark Tower

OF INTEREST
Film School Rejects has a curious but interesting take on why people need to stop naming Mad Max Fury Road "Best" of the year
Film School Rejects on the Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation commentary track
Viv & Larry interview with illustrator Alejandro Mogollo Diez who specialize in movie icons
MNPP Rob Kazinsky's new tv show has been renamed... but will it help? People really aren't into the Frankenstein myth that much as evidenced at box office 
Pajiba's review of Joy is getting a lot of traction for its skewering of David O. Russell as a mansplainer of feminism. I suppose I should write about this movie. It's not great but I don't think it's getting a fair shake 
Comics Alliance Frank Miller is not into Netflix's Daredevil choices 

LIST MANIA / AWARDAGE
Washington DC Film Critics award Spotlight best pic but give multiple prizes to Room, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Revenant
African American Film Critics Assn give Straight Outta Compton Pic, Ensemble, and Supporting Actor (Jason Mitchell - weirdly ignored by NAACP). Creed wins three prizes including Breakthrough for Michael B Jordan... um, he broke through years ago people!
Vulture & Slate both do best TV shows of 2015: Jessica Jones, Mad Men, Jane the Virgin etc
The New York Times best theater of 2015: Hamilton, The King and I, Lupita Nyong'o etc

TODAY'S VIEWS
If you haven't yet seen these give them a spin. It's David Ehrlich's Top 25 Films of the Year (his editing skills are absurd but so is having Tangerine way down at #24), Channing Tatum saying 8 Hateful things to a kitten "you know what sucks about you, dude. You don't have thumbs" You know what sucks about you, Chan. You're not in nearly enough of The Hateful Eight to make that 182 minu--- oops, embargo.

THE 25 BEST FILMS OF 2015: A VIDEO COUNTDOWN from david Ehrlich on Vimeo.