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Entries in Directors (167)


Halfway: Oscar Chart Updates - Picture, Director, Visual, Sound

½way mark - part 5 of ?
All this week we're taking stock of what's happened thus far in the film year but also at what's to come... at least as it involves Oscar Charts. They're updated in every category now (save Foreign Film... for which I now start the hard 70+ country research work on backstage).

Best Picture | Best Director 
In these charts you'll see gains for Inside Out and Youth and Sicario after hot responses in Cannes or in theaters and for Suffragette and Steve Jobs which both arguably aced their trailer game, which helped to build perceptions of "forthcoming jewel - see it!". And though the vast bulk of the contenders in Best Director are still white American men, there is at least one woman (Sarah Gavron's Suffragette) and one African American (Ryan Coogler's Creed) and a few foreigners who you can imagine traction for if their film's explode critically or with the media or at the box office.

I've also added George Miller to the director chart -- I don't really see a precedent for an actual nomination, mind you, but it's fun to imagine the director's branch getting ballsy each year and rallying behind someone whose work really impressed in non-Oscar bait projects. And given that this 70 year old schooled just about any action director whose name isn't James Cameron, there's a lot to be impressed by. It's worth noting that his Oscar record is damn weird. He's been honored in four categories in the past, winning the Animated Feature Oscar (Happy Feet) and receiving one nomination each for Best Picture (Babe), Adapted Screenplay (Babe) and Original Screenplay (Lorenzo's Oil) ...but he's never been nominated for Best Director, and essentially he's a director who dabbles in other things. It's kind of like the hilarious statistic that Lars von Trier is only Oscar nominated as a songwriter. Tee hee. 

Visuals | Sound
Though I lost a little faith in In the Heart of the Sea and Bridge of Spies, with buzz on other films growing and in the case of Spies a middling trailer, I didn't drop them for the tech charts per se. As we know the Academy's visual branches are not as prone to think outside the Best Picture box as they once were which is sad for visual artists working on movies (sometimes the individual parts are much greater than the sums). You'll notice thatMad Max Fury Road was also added to a few charts. Given the hallelujah critical chorus that greeted its arrival and the likelihood that a DVD release and top ten lists could result in a reprise of that very same chorus -- we're pretending (at least for the time being) that Oscar voters might consider it despite it being the fourth film in a franchise that they've had no time for.

Immortan George directing Charlize Furiosa

Previously at the Halfway Mark
pt. 1 Oscar Chart Updates - Acting
pt. 2 10 Best Leading Performances
pt. 3 Best & Worst in Animation 
pt. 4 Most Ubiquitous - Alicia Vikander 


Breaking News: Almodovar Will Produce Asghar Farhadi's Next Film

Amir here, to share really exciting news involving two of The Film Experience’s favourite auteurs.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's next international project has been announced by an Iranian agency and it will be produced by none other than Pedro Almodovar! The as yet untitled film will start shooting in Spain in October 2016 according to Khabar Online

Farhadi’s script for this France-Spain co-production has already been completed. Alexandre Mallet-Guy of Memento Film (which distributed Farhadi’s previous feature The Past) will co-produce the film along with Almodovar. The screenplay is written in English and Spanish and the cast will be comprised of American and Spanish actors. 

Reports suggest that Farhadi, who rose to international fame with About Elly and the Oscar-winning A Separation, intends to film another one of his finished scripts in Iran before travelling to Spain to commence pre-production. The film will be his second feature filmed outside of Iran, following the success of the Paris-set The Past. Almodovar, meanwhile, has his own film to deal with before moving on to Farhadi’s project. He is currently filming Silencio.


Welcome to the Academy - The Lucky 322

As is their annual tradition now AMPAS has released the list of the names they've offered memberships too. If you're new to the tradition, you'll note in the following list that most of the time a first nomination will results in an invite (but not always) and that generally a few people who weren't nominated but got a lot of buzz the previous season will be invited (hi, David Oyelowo & Gugu Mbatha Raw). Lately the lists have gotten longer and much more surprising too as the Academy attempts to broaden its demographic after years of being dinged for skewing too  'old white and male'

The complete list of 322 potential inductees is below. There's a welcome to the Academy reception in September for those that accept and then the process starts again. The Academy works on a referral basis of sorts so current members can nominated new prospective members and that process (a longer list of names than this - never publicized that I'm aware of) concludes in March each year. Unless they're all "You can't sit with us!" then they end up on this list which comes out in the summer.

So let's look at who was invited.

Multiple Branches
Damien Chazelle (Writer/Director) Whiplash
Malcolm D. Lee (Writer/Director) The Best Man Holiday
Paweł Pawlikowski (Writer/Director) Ida
Abderrahmane Sissako (Writer/Director) Timbuktu
Damian Szifron (Writer/Director) Wild Tales
Andrey Zvyagintsev (Writer/Director) Leviathan
Mathilde Bonnefoy (Documentary/Editing) Citizen Four

Damian Szifron, WILD TALES writer/director

These eight people must decide which of the two branches that invited them they will join. While members can be on more than one branch -- I imagine Warren Beatty, for example, is on a few since he's been nominated in four different categories -- they can't join two in one year. You'll notice that four of the Foreign Language Film nominees are accounted for though weirdly not the director of the Estonian film Tangerines

Actors and Actresses are in the same branch but I've separated them just for fun as befits the Oscar categories and also to point out that they invited way more men than women, more than twice as many! Hey, I thought they were working on the diversity thing! They also invited both men who got crying closeups at the ceremony earlier this year.

315 more people after the jump...

Click to read more ...


Lost in La Linka

Recommended Randomness
Movie City News there's been a lot of talk of the sexism of Hollywood hiring in terms of the directors chair. David Poland decided to investigate (albeited in a limited sample way) which studio jobs since 1999 went to previously indie directors. He's since added 2000 and 2001.
VF Hollywood Courtney Love interview excerpts - good stuff on her small role in Empire which she hopes to return to for Season 2
Deviant Art Awesome Seussified illustrations via Dr FaustusAU: Mad Max, Alien, The Exorcist and more 
TimeOut NY talks to Patti Lupone. Did you guys see her on Penny Dreadful. She was surprisingly effective in straight horror drama, no comedy or singing necessary 

MNPP honors the awesomeness that is Simon Russell Beale on Penny Dreadful (I also totally love that performance - S2 is just running circles around S1)
"New York is Dead" My pocketbook can take no more Kickstarter but I would love to see the Gayby stars (besties Matthew Wilkas and Jenn Harris) in this comic series. Sounds morbidly perfect for them
Gene Kelly's Butt is my new favorite tumblr. How come noone told me about this one before? It's a cheeky wonder
Vulture Amy Schumer photobombs a random couples engagement photo in Central Park - lucky guys!

News Catch Up
Variety in news that will surprise no one Hungary has selected Son of Saul as their Oscar entry this year. It's our first "official" player
THR Emmy Nominations will be announced at 11:30 AM EST instead of the customary morning show frenzy. Will this set off a chain reaction? (I always love the early morning thing myself)
Variety Jaden Smith is joining Baz Luhrmann's Netflix series (ugh) as a graffiti artist
Pajiba the actresses who've admitted they want to play Captain Marvel from twins Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard and onward
MTV Joseph Gordon Levitt promises that the Sandman movie will be faithful - i.e. not an "action flick" like other comic book movies
Empire Danger Danger. Terry Gilliam finally has funding for Don Quixote. Do we really need this? I once read a very convincing argument (I forget which critic -sorry) during the release of that 2002 documentary about his spectacular failure to get that made that his entire career was already Quixote myths so it was for the best that he didn't go for the redundancy

Must Read
"AS IF..." you haven't already read this. But just in case you missed it. Vanity Fair has excerpts from an upcoming book on the Oral History of Clueless that seminal teen flick which is now (gulp) 20 years old. Somehow Paul Rudd still looks basically the same but the rest of us who loved it and everyone else involved have aged. I love that one of Amy Heckerling's inspirations for it was the positivity of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

For about a hot minute yesterday I thought "ooh, we should do a 'top ten lines from Clueless' article" but by the end of the hot minute I had thought of 50 with no end in sight so perhaps we'll have to wait until its 25th to come up with that. Daunting... as perfection tends to be.


April Foolish Predictions: Direction, Costumes, Cinematography, Sets! 

The April Foolish Predictions probably won't be quite finished by April's end, damnit! So we'll have to save four categories (Actresses and Screenplays) for May 1st. Blame Nathaniel's BFF who has demanded a Marvel marathon which starts very soon and which will then usurp a good chunk of the next 24 hours of Nathaniel's life. Since the bestie rarely wants to play movie games, Nathaniel obliges. Nathaniel also talks about himself in the third person for which he apologizes. 

But while we're talking Oscar predictions -- even deferred Oscar predictions - let's talk Visual Categories and Best Director. Since more charts are now up!

This question will horrify the Birdman haters (they are depressingly legion) but could Alejandro González Iñárritu manage back-to-back Oscars for direction? It's only happened twice before, both times in the 1940s (John Ford in 1940/1941 and Joseph L Mankiewicz in 1949/1950), but since The Revenant will be such an about face from Birdman the fire could still be burning for honoring the Mexican auteur's work. Especially since Oscar has never ignored one of his films. Between the five titles there are 21 nominations and 5 wins so if the new picture becomes a perfect average it's looking at 4 nominations and an Oscar somewhere. Other previous winners that might be in play are Spielberg, Hooper, Howard, Zemeckis, Beatty or Boyle. And will David O. Russell or Quentin Tarantino ever actually win Best Director?

Newbies? On a whim I'm going to predict Denis Villeneuve who I've enjoyed for a long time and who seems very proud of Sicario (his FBI vs Cartel drama led by Emily Blunt) and whose career seems about to explode post Prisoners. If civil rights period drama Suffragette (Sarah Gavron) or The 33 (Patricia Riggen) are good enough might we finally have another female director nominated? 

There are a three potential double dippers this year from Oscar darlings Sandy Powell (Cinderella & Carol) and Jacqueline Durran (Pan & MacBeth) to Jane Petrie (you're saying "who?" but you'll know her by the end of the year since she went from relative unknown to suddenly prolific with four period pieces Suffragette, Jane Got a Gun, '71, and Genius which will all be released in 2015 in the States if Genius gets finished and gets distribution in time.

Elsewhere we have to wonder if the very talented long time costume designer Daniel Orlandi (Trumbo) is ever going to score his first nomination. And can I just say how amusing I find it that the great Jenny Beavan who has only ever been nominated for what some might derisively call 'masterpiece theater' style dramas costumed Mad Max: Fury Road this year? That's too fun! 

Cinematography could be a murderer's row of great again since Deakins, Lubezki, Kaminski, Deschanel and more all have projects this year. As for the rest and the general overview - i made small adjusments to picture and supporting actor as well due to rethink of craft categories and the hunch that Sicario might really be something with Blunt and Villeneuve both still rising -- check out the all chart index 

As always, your comments are not just welcome but implored. Let's try the wisdom of crowds. What are you sensing at this extremely early date? 


Details on the Cannes Lineup

The Cannes Competition Lineup (and more) was announced in the wee wee hours of the morning -- not so wee for France mind you -- and here's what we're looking at. A lot of French and Asian films, a few foreign giants doing their first English language films and at least three directors we haven't had a film from in 7 or 8 years.

International beauties we can safely expect to see walking that Cannes red carpet include but are not limited to: Cate Blanchett, Qi Shu, Marion Cotillard, Diane Kruger, Emily Blunt, Natalie Portman, Catherine Deneuve, and Maîwenn. ANNOUCEMENT: Friend of TFE Diana Drumm will be reporting for us a bit from the festival like last year. If we've written about any of these films before, the links will take you there. Included after the jump are descriptive bits of each film that we know anything about.

Click to read more ...


Women's Pictures - Jane Campion's Sweetie

Welcome to Jane Campion month! When I asked you all to vote for our next Female Filmmaker, I was surprised when the New Zealand native won nearly half of the vote. In retrospect, I should have seen it coming. Jane Campion is one of the most honored ladies on our list! She’s been nominated for two Academy Awards (one of which she won) and two Golden Globes for The Piano in 1994, garnered three Emmy nominations for Top of the Lake two years ago, and she won the Palm d’Or in 1986, before our story with her even starts! We pick up with her three years after her prestigious win, with a sad, strange, sometimes silly story of one weird woman’s even weirder family.

If taken at face value, Sweetie is a cautionary about how a daughter's untreated mental illness can cause an already unstable family to disintegrate. But nothing in Campion's surreal story is meant to be taken at face value. With the help of (lady!) cinematographer Sally Bongers, Campion shows a gift for making the mundane malevolent. When cast under shadows and seen through a wide angle lens, plastic furniture, dappled rugs, and the brightly-colored trappings of middle class suburbia suddenly suggest something rotten in the state of New Zealand. Campion refuses to shy away from the ugliness of her characters, instead covering them with candy colors that make them all the more grotesque.

Jane Campion's twisted family story after the jump

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