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Entries in Bradford Young (4)

Thursday
Jun262014

Welcome to the Academy. 10 Interesting Invitations

The Academy welcomes its new members at an invite only event in September, just as we begin to feel the rumblings of Oscar buzz everywhere.

While not every person nominated for the first time for an Oscar in any given year is invited to join the next year (isn't that weird?) it's common practice that they are. So new names like Lupita Nyong'o, Barkhad Abdi, and more established actors like Sally Hawkins and June Squibb will all be voting for the first time this coming season after walking the red carpets as nominees. That's expected. What's far more interesting is the people invited in any given year that have not been nominated.

Here are ten names I want to highlight because they're interesting invitations for one reason or another.

Sean Bobbitt - Cinematographer (12 Years a Slave) - egregiously snubbed last year which might have done it but that's not his only beautifully shot film. He also filmed Hunger and Shame and The Place Beyond the Pines. contributing much to their moods and power.

Bradford Young - Cinematographer (Pariah, Mother of George, Aint Them Bodies Saints, Middle of Nowhere) one of the brightest stars among newer DPs. The Academy could not have chosen better. He's just brilliant.

Denis Villeneuve - Director (Prisoners, Enemy) Surprised this Canadian hasn't been invited previously given that Incendies was nominated in Foreign Film. Technically speaking the director isn't an official nominee when a movie is nominated for Foreign Language Film but here at TFE we consider it to be so since the Director accepts and sometimes keeps the Oscar.

Sonja Klaus - Production Designer/Set Decorator (The Counselor, Prometheus)- she's done pretty great work for Ridley Scott several times as well as work on big popcorn movies like X-Men First Class and the Lara Croft movies.

Casting Directors In General - 22 of them were invited (!!!) which leads me to believe AMPAS is seriously considering finally adding a Casting Oscar. People have been complaining that there isn't one within the industry for some time.

Paul Rudnick -Writer. Rudnick was such an endearing and important comic voice in the 90s (Addams Family Values, Jeffrey, In & Out) but his last feature film credit was literally The Stepford Wives ten whole years ago. So why now for the Motion Picture Academy? I don't begrudge him any honors but he doesn't even work in movies any more. (though his first project in ten years is supposedly due this year, a TV movie with Bette Midler). 

Casting Directors In General - 22 of them were invited (!!!) which leads me to believe AMPAS is seriously considering finally adding a Casting Oscar. People have been complaining that there isn't one within the industry for some time.

Beatrix Aruna Pasztor - This costume designer has never been nominated despite a filmography that includes films of wildly varied genres: Vanity Fair, Aeon Flux, Great Expectations, Brothers Bloom, To Die For and many more so she's versatile. But I'm highlighting her mostly because Nick and I like saying her name to each other. (Long story)

Josh Hutcherson in "Mockingjay Part 1" / Ben Foster in "Lone Survivor"

Josh Hutcherson & Ben Foster - Actors. Sometimes the actor invitations are real head scratchers when it comes to timing. Aren't we a bit premature on Josh (please note: I like him as an actor) and aren't we super duper late to the party on Ben Foster who has been quite acclaimed for some time. Was it Lone Survivor that did it? These things are puzzling because if you didn't want to invite him after 3:10 to Yuma what the hell is wrong with you?

Beth Grant - Actress (Small Role Goddess of Limitless Indies / Mainstream Efforts)

Sometimes I doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion."

 

The full press release from the Academy is after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Apr052014

Team Top Ten: The Greatest Working Cinematographers

Amir here, to welcome you back to Team Top Ten, our monthly poll by all of the website’s contributors. For our first episode in 2014, we are looking at The Greatest Working Cinematographers in the (international) film industry. As long time readers of The Film Experience are surely aware, the visual language of cinema is something Nathaniel and the rest of us are very fond of discussing. Films and filmmakers that have a dash of style and understand cinema as a visual medium always get bonus points around these parts. We celebrate great works in cinematography on a weekly basis in Hit Me With Your Best Shot, but it was time to give the people behind the camera their due.
 

More than 50 cinematographers from all across the world received votes. If the final, somewhat American-centric, list doesn’t quite reflect that, chalk it up to the natural process of consensus voting. Cinematographers like Agnes Godard, Oleg Mutu, Mahmoud Kalari, Rodrigo Prieto and Eric Gautier all had their fans, as did Hollywood stalwarts like Dante Spinotti and Robert Richardson. Furthermore, Harris Savides’s name was attached to several ballots, with the unfortunate note that if he were still alive, he’d be on the list. That would have certainly been the case, so here’s Glenn Dunks with an honorable mention for Savides, and then on to the top ten:

Does anybody doubt that Harris Savides would appear on this list if it weren’t for his death in 2012 at the age of 55? I would even hazard a guess that he could have been number one. I distinctly remember wanting to know who this man was and what his career had been after witnessing Birth. The way he mixed golden hues of UWS high society with the chilly silver of a New York winter captivated me. That film alone with its graceful tracking shots and magnetic opera sequence would be enough of a game changer if it weren’t also for his prior film-defining work with Gus Van Sant on Elephant, Gerry and Last Days. He would later work with David Fincher (Zodiac), Noah Baumbach (Greenberg) and his last great collaborator, Sofia Coppola (Somewhere and The Bling Ring). A mighty force taken too soon.”

 

TOP TEN GREATEST WORKING CINEMATOGRAPEHRS

10. Dion Beebe
“Who on Earth is Dion Beebe?” felt like a common question in the early-to-mid-2000s when the Australian cinematographer stormed onto the Hollywood scene. Whatever it was that director Rob Marshall had seen of his prior work that gave him enough faith to turn to him for Chicago I’m not sure – Australian films Praise and Holy Smoke! were hardly indications to hire him for a lavish musical – but beautiful work it was. Still, if his further collaborations with Marshall on Memoirs of a Geisha (for which he won an Oscar) and Nine (for which he should have been nominated) suggests perhaps little more than a handsome craftsman, then it was his sensual and sensorial work on Jane Campion’s In the Cut, visually representing erotic tingles with images, and Michael Mann’s digital masterworks Collateral and Miami Vice that proved he was a bold and innovative one, too. – Glenn Dunks

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Sunday
Jan272013

Sundance Winners: Will "Fruitvale" and "Blood Brother" March On to Oscar Glory?

Here is Amanda Seyfried with some paparazzi at Sundance. Amanda is great at being a celebrity. 

So even if Lovelace didn't exactly light the world on fire, she still wins.

But I suppose we should discuss actual festival winners, now that the fest has wrapped and the journos have all exited the snowy peaks of Park City, Utah. Before we list the winners, let's look at the context of how well they usually fare come Oscar time the following year. Are there any patterns?

2012 Beasts of the Southern Wild & The Sessions split the jury & audience prizes for drama, respectively. Beasts went on to major Oscar nominations and The Sessions (which also won a prize for its ensemble acting held on for one Oscar nomination in the form of the title character played by Helen Hunt (back then it was called "The Surrogate" remember?). The House I Live In and The Invisible War split the juried & audience prizes for doc and the reverse happened: Oscar went with the audience fav rather than the jury fav. (Personally I think The House I Live In is a much stronger documentary so that outcome disappointed me). 

Total Oscar nods from Sundance prize-winning films:  9
Most Predictive: Best Documentary. 3 of the eventual 5 nominees won prizes here 

2011 This year produced a lot of disparate favorites but most of the hot films in the cold climate of Park City like How to Die in Oregon, Tyrannosaur, Project NIM, Like Crazy, Buck, Circumstance, Martha Marcy May Marlene, failed to win any Oscar nominations.

Total Oscar nods from Sundance prize-winning films:  2
Most PredictiveBest Documentary. 2 of the eventual nominees won prizes here 

More after the jump including this year's winning Sundance films. Obviously, congratulations for now and well done, can't wait to see you. Etcetera. (But will we be talking about them at Oscar time next year?) 

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Saturday
Jan192013

Sundance Chaos Begins: Crystal Fairy, Two Mothers, Etc...

It'll be tough this year to follow the happenings from afar at Sundance without accidentally reading anything about Richard Linklater's Before Midnight, which reunites Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Celine (Julie Delpy) for a third go round, but I shall try! In truth though Sundance, like TIFF and other A list festivals is nearly impossible to follow in general -- even if you're there!  The "Opening Night" Film badge is kind of an annual myth -- this year that was May in the Summer from Amreeka director Cherien Dabis which drew mixed reviews -- as there are always multiple films playing at any big festival.

Celebrity Tweet:

 

I couldn't not share from the cuteness. That's Ellen Page and Juno mamma Alison Janney reunited for Lynn Shelton's Touchy Feely (Josh Pais, pictured is alo in the cast). Shelton's follow up to Your Sister's Sister also stars Rosemarie DeWitt in the lead role of a massage therapist.

While we're on the subject of Juno, here's a strange trivia note about Sundance '13: Michael Cera has made not one but TWO unrelated pictures with the Chilean director Sebastián Silva (most famous for the wonderful dark comedy The Maid) and they're both showing at Sundance. The first is  Crystal Fairy which is about a boorish American (Michael Cera) travelling in Chile and 'creating chaos at every turn' as he and his friends seek a shamanistic hallucinogen called the San Pedro Cactus.  More after the jump...

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