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Entries in Cinematography (156)

Sunday
Dec012013

Podcast: Spirited Spirit Discussion

In this week's episode,  Nick channels that THR Hollywood Actress Roundtable (previously live-blogged) and Nathaniel, Katey, and Joe join in but eventually it comes around to this week's topic: Spirit Award nominations.

We haven't seen all the films but the best thing about the Spirit Awards is advocacy for smaller titles you might not be familiar with. Are they shirking that privilege and responsibility with the focus on so many future Oscar nominees in the last few years? The discussion includes but is not limited to: Inside Llewyn Davis, Afternoon Delight, Mud, Upstream Color, Frances Ha, Fruitvale Station, All is Lost, Computer Chess, Short Term 12, Blue Caprice, and Spring Breakers.

You can listen at the bottom of the post or download it on iTunes. Join in the conversation in the comments.

Spirit Awards Nomination Chat

Thursday
Nov282013

Beauty Break / Best Shot: "Making a Scene" with Oscar Contenders

One of my favorite Oscar traditions is the New York Times short films celebrating Oscar contenders, locked contenders and longshots alike. And by short films I mean very very short. Like one minute. You might remember that previous year's editions have given Casting Directors a ton of brilliant ideas which, for the most part, they've been slow to pick up on like Viola Davis as a frightening villain. Remember that?

This year's shorts, eleven in total, are all directed by two-time Oscar winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski who is most famous for shooting Steven Spielberg's filmography (and less famous for once being married to Holly Hunter but that's cool, too.) The shorts are sublime in concept -- they mismatch contender actors with one or two lines from screenwriting contenders (update: not from the writer's actual contending films, which I initially thought since the Bradley Cooper bit sounds like a near lift from the All is Lost's opening monologue) -- though not always in execution since this multiplied tradition can't help but be a bit uneven each year. 

Cate Blanchett with a line from the writer of "Computer Chess"

For fun, and as a shout back to the Hit Me With Your Best Shot series that's currently on hiatus, I've selected my favorite single image from each of the shorts [10 more after the jump]. But by all means go and watch the shorts. It'll only take you 15 minutes and there will be many delicious thanksgiving feasts for your eyeballs beyond the ones posted here.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov222013

Happy 98th to a Great Cinematographer!

Let's sing a big raucous happy birthday to 98 years young Oscar winner Oswald Morris who is still with us! That's a lot of candles. And a lot of great movies.

The British born Morris only ever received Oscar nominations for big screen musicals (Oliver!, Fiddler on the Roof , and The Wiz) but that's hardly the full picture of his career. Though reknowned for his use of color -- his cinematography on Moulin Rouge (1952, recently discussed) was particularly innovative -- he also won prizes for his black and white work, most notably: Moby Dick, The Pumpkin Eater, The Hill, and The Spy Who Came in From the Cold. Other well known pictures include EquusThe Guns of Navarone, Stanley Kubrick's Lolita and a couple of Liz & Dick adventures (The Taming of the Shrew and Reflections in a Golden Eye). His awards haul includes 1 Oscar, 3 BAFTAs, 3 British Society of Cinematography wins and a couple of career tribute trophies.

Curiously or too-cutely, you decide, his last two motion pictures were all about puppets. He retired after The Great Muppet Caper (1981) and The Dark Crystal (1982) thirty-some years ago. We hope he's still enjoying that good long retirement. 

The Dark Crystal was Morris's last gig before retirememt
The Pumpkin Eater with Anne Bancroft
Oswald (far left) with Deborah Kerr & Robert Mitchum on the set of "Heaven Knows Mr Allison"

 

Tuesday
Oct292013

Vintage 1968: Ten Most Awesome People (And Other Lists)

Each month's Supporting Actress Smackdown inspires us to go back to the year in question for a little context. When the movies of 1968 were playing in theaters, making their case for Oscar glory the following spring, the world was experiencing a time of great unrest. The Vietnam War was raging; The Prague Spring was happening; Martin Luther King Jr was killed; Racial tensions ran high in the Civil Rights fight; student protests in France raged (derailing the usual Cannes process - no Palme D'Or that year); the Zodiac killer began his murder spree; Andy Warhol was almost killed. (All of these events have received cinematic treatments over the years in films like The Dreamers, Zodiac, I Shot Andy Warhol and countless historical epics and war films.)

1968 introduced Goldie Hawn, The Big Mac, "Hey Jude" and TV's first interracial kiss 

But our focus is on the movies, so let's investigate the cinematic crop.

Best Movies According to...
Oscar: Funny Girl, The Lion in Winter, Oliver!, Rachel Rachel, and Romeo & Juliet were the Best Picture nominees but Oscar obviously also really enjoyed Star! (a flop that still managed an incredible 7 nominations), 2001: A Space Odyssey (4 nominations) and the foreign film classic The Battle of Algiers (3 nominations) which finally opened in America.
Golden Globes: Hollywood's Foreign Press Association liked Charly, The Fixer, Heart is a Lonely Hunter, The Lion in Winter and a movie I've never heard of called Shoes of the Fisherman (Drama) and they also sang and laughed with Finian's Rainbow, Funny Girl, The Odd Couple, Oliver!, and Yours Mine and Ours (Comedy/Musical)

Awesome people, dance parties, and more '68 trivia after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Oct082013

Be Careful What You Wish For: Lubezki's First Oscar?

"Oscar giveth. Oscar taketh away."

I've said it often and each year the phrase reasserts its truthfulness. One might also substitute this with "Be careful what you wish for." Oscar maniacs know this warning well. They beg for a first Oscar for Winslet or a third for Streep, for example, and then those things come true and no one is really satisifed with the way it came to pass. And that's just two recent examples. I don't much believe in "locks" in Oscar races in the way most pundits and Oscar fans do -- especially pre-Christmas locks. Upsets do happen, fates don't align, narratives don't take hold and so on. But if there's one or two Oscars this year that I feel are most probable at this juncture, yea even unto lock-dom, it's not Best Actress Cate Blanchett (though she's in third place for "most likely"), but the visual effects and cinematography of Gravity

Famed DP Emmanuel Lubezki is a true genius not just a "genius" in the overindulgent fandom sense. His work is exquisitely lit and beautifully composed but never in quite the same way, each time his light beautifully enveloping and serving the film at hand.  If you think of it like vocal range he's a Mariah Carey/Cyndi Lauper 4 octave diva while most other DPs, even the really fine ones, are closer to the standard 2 octave pop stars. I've wanted him to win the Oscar so many times and I still consider it insane that he lost for both Children of Men (2006) and The Tree of Life (2011).

Oscar Trivia, Computer Trouble, and more after the jump

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct072013

Gravitational Link

The Hollywood Reporter Woody Allen pulls Blue Jasmine from its India release due to anti-smoking laws. Don't tell Woody how his films have to be shown. He gets riled up. See also: Manhattan's (lack of) history on television.
Vulture one of our all time favorite DPs Emmanuel Lubezki looks at scenes from 5 of his beauties: The Tree of Life, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Children of Men and Gravity
Cinema Blend Katey on SNL's 50 Shades of Grey audition skit
San Francisco Chronicle how to spot a future classic? interesting article.
The Wrap on the huge amount of documentaries that Oscar voters will have to mull over
Vulture Patton Oswalt reveals his crushes from the Whedonverse. This is so cute
Playbill NYC and Brooklyn residents take note: sing-along screening of Little Shop of Horrors coming up with Rick Moranis 

TV
Pajiba You MUST see this accidental crass move from Disney via Once Upon a Time's spinoff (ugh. one bad show spawns another that will sure attempt to out-ugly Eyesore in Wonderland)
E! Online congratulations to Dot-Marie Jones (Glee) who got engaged to her girlfriend over the weekend. At Disneyland. [Inappropriate Side-Note Given The Happy Times Congratulation: Dot-Marie Jones, like Joan Cusack on Shameless, has competed for "Guest Actress" at the Emmys in three consecutive years. These are series regular roles. Emmy's "Guest" category has, like Oscar's "Supporting" category, gone from being a great idea to a "what is this for?" prize due to the constant fraudulent nominations. Stop the madness!]

I love this photo from behind the scenes of Gravity

Gravitational Pull
The Dissolve a spoiler-laden discussion between two critics on the movie of the moment 
Slate "Gravity is going to be a camp classic"  - this post is so prophetic! 
Vulture fact-checking Gravity with an astronaut. What if you vomit in your spacesuit? 
Deadline on the film's very impressive record-breaking box office