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Entries in Drive (31)

Wednesday
Feb082012

Our Favorite BAFTA Tradition

I forgot to mention this goodie but with BAFTA hitting this weekend (we'll live blog) we're quite happy that this is an annual tradition now with BAFTA. Each year they hire illustrators to make Best Picture guides for their nominees. Look at this one for Drive

The scorpion jacket is an obvious image to go with but where this really wins me over is the little touches like the bold red splash, the clenched fist, the faint suggestion of an elevator (that glowing button) and that tell-tale glove hanging from the back pocket. It just such an instant recall of so much of the movie's indelible moments. 

The Help, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Artist and The Descendants after the jump

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Tuesday
Feb072012

Curio: Oscar Unsheets, Part II

Alexa here.  In the weeks up to the Oscars I'm celebrating all the wonderful unsheets (a.k.a. fan-created poster art) inspired by the nominated films that are populating the web. (See last week's post for my favorites from the acting categories). But I can't help but mention that the nominations let me down hard this year: my top three films were Melancholia, Drive, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and save for a long overdue nomination for Gary Oldman, there was nary a nomination in sight.  So with my poutyness in mind, here are a handful of posters for films that were, at least from my perspective, robbed.    

Melancholia by drMIERZWIAK.Melancholia by Olaf Łyczba.Click for Tinker Tailor and Drive...

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Thursday
Feb022012

Oscar Symposium Day 2: Invisible Art & Self Love

Previously on the Oscar Symposium... we discussed and defined the business of actors elevating their movies, spent time at "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"'s stale office party mingling with the nine Best Picture nominees (only one of which we all seem to love) and agreed that Brad Pitt deserves Best Actor. Eventually Nathaniel's second favorite movie of the year (The Artist) took quite a beating so he sulked off to lick his wounds.

And here we pick up for Day Two of our three day symposium...

MARK HARRIS: While we're waiting for our host... Nick raised a really interesting point yesterday in his persuasive case for Plummer, which is: Just what the hell is a supporting performance anyway? I like his definition (and Plummer would probably get my vote too, for showing amazing restraint in a part that could be played as one Big Moment after another). But I'm also drawn to performances like Jonah Hill's, in a role that exists purely to give Pitt's character a wittily contrasting somebody to bounce off of, and like Melissa McCarthy's (my favorite in that category, I'm not ashamed to admit), even though she's more a standout in an ensemble than a pure supporting actress. Do any of you feel that there are supporting performances this year that are miscategorized? The French clearly do, since when the Cesars nominated Berenice Bejo for The Artist, it was for Best Actress.

NATHANIEL ROGERS: I plead the fifth on category fraud. I've said too much over the years about that whole... nightmare.

KURT OSENLUND: I'm going to flip it on its head and go 'lead to supporting.' By which I mean, I think I'm one of the few who still believes Viola Davis belongs in the supporting category. I'll admit this is a complicated stance. I think it's the film/text that's guilty of cheaply attempting to make Aibileen a lead character, giving her a tacked-on coda of "closure" and trying to reduce the shame of taking a black women's story and still handing it, mainstream-style, to a white redhead. By extension, I think awards bodies are guilty for taking the bait. Ideally, I'd like to see Meryl walk away with Best Actress, Viola walk away with Supporting Actress, and Octavia sit comfortably with a nomination, for a performance that's highly enjoyable, but shrill and stereotypical and nowhere near as soulful as her co-star's.

My short answer to the 'supporting to lead' question would be that, this year, I actually think all of the supporting stars are placed where they belong.

NICK DAVIS: I don't think the ending of The Help feels tacked on. I don't even think it feels like closure: we have no way to predict Aibileen's next move, much less to presume its ease.  And from those opening minutes with all of her backstory and daily routine, and through all of Davis's impeccable playing of heavily weighted scenes, I think she's definitely a lead.  I know her screen time must be small compared to other leads, but at the very least, she falls squarely in that Marge Gunderson/Hannibal Lecter category where her charismatic impress is so profound from the lead/supporting borderline that it pushes her handily over.  It helps that even the blocking and costuming and editing and lighting choices keep conspiring to shift focus from Skeeter to Aibileen whenever they share a scene.  Emma Stone is just giving away those scenes, as markedly as Meryl all but erased herself in the Doubt standoff.  I wouldn't want anyone watching me act opposite Viola Davis, either.

MARK: At last, a fight! I'm going to strongly disagree about Viola Davis, who not only carries the emotional weight of The Help, but has considerably more screen time than past lead-performance winners like Frances McDormand in Fargo. Kathryn Stockett's novel isn't Skeeter's story, even if Skeeter is a storyteller -- it's told from the first-person perspectives of Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny. (So, if the movie were really true to the book, Octavia Spencer would probably have to be considered a third co-lead.) To me, Skeeter's "...and then I wrote the book" storyline feels as inorganic to what The Help is really about as the closure the movie gives Davis. The movie's emotional strength -- what there is of it -- lives in Aibileen's struggle; she's arguably even the title character. Yes, the movie is technically Skeeter's story, but only in the way that Training Day is technically Ethan Hawke's. So I'm happy Davis is where she is.

After the jump: The Help, Best Screenplay, and Masturbatory Movies

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Wednesday
Feb012012

The Link Experience

Towleroad Revisiting Drive on DVD. Ryan Gosling's scorpion jacket is at auction. One more day to bid! (I suspect this is a good investment as movie memorabilia goes.)
Carpetbagger Author Jeffrey Eugenides on his Oscar ballot. He loves The Tree of Life and all things Woody Allen. Has issues with Bridesmaids
In Contention breaking Oscar's biopic addiction. Halleloo. 
Movie|Line today is The Artist day in LA. Officially! Harvey Weinstein continues to be a god amongst mortals when it comes to Oscar campaigns.

 

My New Plaid Pants JA has gone totes l'amour fou for Jean Dujardin. Pervy animated gifsm, dancing in boxer shorts, gratuitous photo spreads. But can you blame him?
Empire another new role for Jennifer Lawrence in the adaptation of the novel Serena about an ruthless ambitious married couple running a timber empire in 1929. This role was once earmarked for Angelina Jolie so clearly Hollywood has faith in Jennifer Lawrence.
IndieWire for your consideration at next year's Oscars. The Sundance crop.
Towleroad Director Stephan Elliott (The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert) is out of the closet. I didn't realize he was in. 

The TV Experience?
Brief somewhat random thoughts on Glee vs. Smash and more small screen after the jump...

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Wednesday
Jan252012

Farewell Oscar Hopeful! (Snubs That Hurt Us)

Last night at 4 AM this was the only image my brain would settle on...

I don't normally spend time in the middle of the night thinking of Fassbender lying naked in bed (Shush!). It's just that I had the worst insomnia I'd had in months. As I stared down at this still image in my state of delirious sleep deprivation I'm reasonably certain that he stared back, his eyes shifting just a little. He must have seen a mirror image of his vacant orbs and haunted zombie expressionless. Only with less handsomeness.

Brandon's addiction was sex and mine is the Oscars but either way we are powerless against our disease. Perhaps it was all the Oscar Morn Excitement catching up to me? Fassy's frozen image reminded me that I forgot to offer my condolescences to the Oscar Forgotten yesterday. Some people and cinematic contributions you'd be really happy to spend another 32 days celebrating but the time has come to say goodbye. [sniffle]

Farewell Oscar Hopeful. Better Luck Next Time
8 Snubs/Omissions That Hurt The Most

08 Melancholia Best Anything
Given that mad Dane Lars von Trier's sole nomination is in songwriting (find a more hilarious Oscar statistic, I dare you!) we never suspected that this would be an Oscar film. But the tiny scattered awards crumbs for his dreamy apocalyptic depression metaphor, arguably his best film in a decade, allowed us to pretend in a feverish bipolar sort of way that miracles would occur and it would wake up as the nomination leader. No, not really. But it's a shame that that masterful Cinematography and Kirsten Dunst's spooky narcoleptic bride won so little traction.

Click for 7 more

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