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Entries in Directors (106)

Thursday
Jan242013

Posterized: BAFTA Honoree Alan Parker

Director Alan Parker, who our youngest readers will probably beunfamiliar with, used to be a prestige director. He's been retired for ten years but his taste in material was quite awards-baity. He's receiving the BAFTA Fellowhip (aka career tribute) in February at the BAFTA ceremony. Because the BAFTAs aren't aired live and weirdly only ever broadcast parts of that show who knows if we'll see it.

So I thought we should look back at his career through Posterized. (We haven't done one of those in a while!)

How many have you seen?

Bugsy Malone (76), Midnight Express (78), Fame (80)

Three arguable classics right off the bat? And 11 more movies after the jump

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan182013

Best Director. My Choices and Theirs.

This is one of those awards seasons in which I curse my time management skills. I prefer to post my annual Film Bitch Awards in the traditional Oscar categories before the nominations to avoid undue influence from the west coast, however subtle that influence may be. I didn't manage in time this year, partially due to Oscar's rushed schedule. Imagine my joy when both Benh Zeitlin and Michael Haneke were nominated for an astonishing debut and a culmination of gifts respectively for Oscar's Best Director list. Then imagine my frustration when I realized that nominating them both a week later -- though they'd been irreplaceable factors in every lineup I considered naming -- would seem like sloppy seconds. I had predicted that Haneke's decade long ascendance as a World Great would be enough for Oscar's Director's Branch to recognize him this year but I was genuinely surprised to see Zeitlin's work on Beasts of the Southern Wild recognized instead of big Hollywood names. I personally don't care who they had to shove aside to make room for him because he absolutely deserved the kudos. If it looks like I am only copying AMPAS's two most brilliantly fringe nominations this year, so be it. They're the only Oscar choices that show up on in my nominated director's field.

No really. To me Soderbergh is an OBVIOUS choice for any lineup this year

I imagine that my most controversial choice will be Steven Soderbergh but that strikes me as madness and typical of the dearth of imagination that most awards bodies (and, yes, to their shame critics groups) suffer once you've dropped them anywhere outside a 5 mile radius of "prestige". Consider how wrong Magic Mike could have gone in any number of ways but instead it's this beautifully subtle and earnest slice-of-life drama and character/ milieu study despite the pelvic thrusts and plentiful ass cheeks. (But points to Soderbergh for not skimping on those either for the sake of "reputable" filmmaking.)

MY NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTOR

Have you voted on the Oscar poll yet in this category?

Tuesday
Jan152013

Steven Soderbergh @ 50

You guyz. I totes forgot to honor Steven Soderbergh on his 50th birthday on Monday but The Stubborn Jodieness of Jodie, who also just turned the half-century mark, was all I could process. And process. And process. Anyway... Soderbergh announced his retirement so long ago and kept right on making movies that it's started to seem like a comic dark cloud that's hung over his career since, oh, sex, lies and videotape (1989).

I couldn't begin to list my 50 favorite things about him, or even my top ten films since I haven't been a completist and he's often as much of a deterrent as a draw for me (especially this past decade). But there's no denying that he's a restless, creative guy who occassionally crafts something masterful.

Here are his five essential films according to my brain... aka my favorites. I love them so much more than the rest of his output that it's not even close. That said I have very very dim memories of King of the Hill (1993) and some people swear by it. (Which five Soderberghs are closest to your heart?)

  • sex, lies and videotape (1989, Palme D'or at Cannes, Oscar screenplay nom)
  • Out of Sight (1998)
  • Erin Brockovich (2000, Best Director nomination with Oscar)
  • Oceans Eleven (2001)
  • Magic Mike (2012)

And how thrilled are you that Behind the Candelabra, his Liberace biopic, is not so very far away now?

Thursday
Jan102013

10 Big Surprises of Nomination Morning: From Batman to Ben

Before you can ever delve deep into the nominated fields, you have do the requisite double takes to process the surprises. Herewith the most shocking turns of events this morning. If I haven't included something you found truly eyebrow-raising and faith-shaking ('how can I ever turst the pundits again?!') make sure to share it in the comments. 

 

 

10 The Supporting Actor List is All Previous Winners
In the entire history of the Oscars, I can't recall any acting category having been composed entirely of men or women who already had Oscars. At least one newbie always manages to join the celebrated. Other than that it's not a surprising list really given that all five of the men had precursor support (typical) and two are leads masquerading as supporting (typical) and all are veterans (typical). This is the kindest category to acting veterans and the most impervious to actual excitement. Year in and year out, it's the dullest major Oscar category even when the field to choose from is brimming with electricity. And to think we could have had a rising star playing an android, a rising star singing and crying his heart out, a rising star shaking what his mama gave him while stoned in Mexico, an A list reaching a career peak with nothing but a G string and a great great performance, and a baker turned actor among the dozens of possibly more thrilling choices.

The Legend Ends... and so do Batman Oscar Dreams09 The Dark Knight Rises with Zero Nominations
It's a beautiful symmetry. Batman f***ed Oscar over by sending them into a tizzy of low-confidence voting rule changes after the infamous 2008 snub (presumably to include more populist choices in Best Picture) and now Oscar has f***ed Batman over by ignoring The Dark Knight Rises altogether -- this despite the series being very popular with voters since long before Chris Nolan took over.  

Eight more increasingly startling morning alarms after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan102013

Fun Facts About This Year's Best Picture / Director Nominees

The Official Best Picture and Best Director pages have been posted. I'm brainstorming some way to make the charts less static this year so you can enjoy returning to them whenever the mood strikes you. So now that the pages are up, you can vote on your choice of best (not your prediction) and read about the nominees. Let's spitball fun facts!

Box Office

You mean to tell me a sober drama about old age and death hasn't outgrossed The Avengers? 

  • I believe Amour is the lowest grossing Best Picture nominee ever (with under $350,000 in the can at the US box office as of this writing). At least for now! Box Office Mojo used to have before and after nomination box office gross charts for the Best Picture nominees of each year though I can't seem to find them now. The lowest previous pre-nomination gross I can personally recall was Clint Eastwood's Letter From Iwo Jima (2006), also a subtitled picture in miniscule release before the nominations arrived.

Acting

  • Silver Linings Playbook becomes the first film since Reds (1981) to win nominations in all acting categories
  • No Spielberg directed performance has ever won the gold -- no, not even Ralph Fiennes in Schindler's List (only one of the greatest performances of all time) -- but Daniel Day-Lewis and maybe even Tommy Lee Jones may well break that unlucky stat in February.
  • The Best Director Nominees have all directed actors to nominations: Haneke & Zeitlin (1 each), Lee (5 nominees), Russell (7, two of which have won), Spielberg (11 nominees)

Genre

 

  • Les Miz is the first musical nominee since Chicago (2002), which won and it received the same # of nods as Dreamgirls (2006), though Dreamgirls missed BP (back when there were only 5 nominees)
  • Lincoln is the first biopic nominee sinc --- kidding! We don't ever go a year without.

Trends & Stats

  • 5 of the 9 nominees have terrifying scenes involving drowning/flooding/watery-death (more on that here)
  • Les Misérable's Fantine sings about tigers and Life of Pi stars a tiger. Coincidence?! ;) 
  • Benh Zeitlin is the 8th youngest ever at only 30 years of age and also the first with an extra h in his name. He's also the 8th youngest nominee ever in this category at 30 young years.  The youngest is still John Singleton who was 24 when his debut film Boyz n the Hood made him a nominee.  

"Previously On..."

  • Lincoln is almost an exact carbon copy of Schindler's List in terms of Oscar noms. 12 nominations for each and the only difference is Lincoln has Supporting Actress in place of Schindler's List had "Makeup". Schindler's List eventually won 7 Oscars... can Lincoln replicate that success?
  • Life of Pi, with 11 nominations, becomes the great Ang Lee's most nominated picture. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon won 10 nominations in its year, also without any acting nods
  • The only other film version of the Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables to win Oscar attention was way back in 1935. It received 4 nominations. 
  • I keep starting trivia sentences about Kathryn Bigelow only to remember she was not nominated, the director's branch nominations being the Most Shocking of the Morning