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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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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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Thursday
Jan192012

Great Costuming... According to Costume Designers

The Costume Design Guild has spoken! As with all guild awards... it's a combination of "Really?" and interesting "Oh, yeah!" choices.

Clothes Horse Royals in "W.E." via Arianne Phillips

PERIOD FILMS
Mark Bridges for The Artist
Michael O'Connor for Jane Eyre
Sharen Davis for The Help
Sandy Powell for Hugo
Arianne Phillips for W.E.

Good news: I have an interview coming up with Arianne Phillips, who is one of my heroes. And not just because she's worked with Madonna for 15 years or so.  
Notable Omissions: AnonymousCaptain America (unless they considered it a fantasy), My Week With Marilyn, A Dangerous Method, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Oscar transferrence? The costume designers within the Academy, a much smaller number than votes on the guild awards, tend to prefer period work to other types of work so you could theoretically see all of these nominees repeat at Oscar, though Phillips is certainly most vulnerable as her movie is probably the least seen of these. Still royalty porn goes a long way with Oscar voters and Andrea Riseborough looks like she's wearing the entire budget of the film.

FANTASY FILMS
Jany Temime for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Penny Rose for Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Cindy Evans for Red Riding Hood
Alexandra Byrne for Thor
Sammy Sheldon for X-Men: First Class

Oscar transferrence? I'm guessing the best bet here is Alexandra Byrne for Thor.
Superheroes!: Interesting to see the fantasy category overtaken by superheroes (and yes I include Harry Potter there). I wonder if they categorized Captain America here or in "period"? Either way it didn't manage a nomination.
Strangest nods: Hasn't the Harry Potter cast been wearing essentially the sameish robes for the entire franchise? I have not seen Red Riding Hood so my apologies to Cindy Evans but I found that pink dress with red coat so painful to look at in tandem (even in the space of a 2 minute trailer!)  that my face lost a little of its color reading this nomination. Maybe every other costume in the movie is enticing?

CONTEMPORARY FILMS 
Leesa Evans and Christine Wada for Bridesmaids
Wendy Chuck for The Descendants 
Erin Benach for Drive
Trish Summerville for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Manon Rasmussen for Melancholia


Yay! We figured the scorpion jacket would get its due here but it's fun to see my double feature of bridal depression nominated. 
Oscar transferrence? Unfortunately that only happens for contemporary films when the entire movie is about the clothes (see The Devil Wears Prada).
Sigh. REALLY?: The contemporary category is where you often see guilds failing to live up to their duties as awards organization and just grab at whichever FYC screeners they're loving. No offense to Wendy Chuck who has done fun work on several contemporary pictures, not just Payne's movies, but apart from Clooney's hilarious run in inappropriate shoes the costumes aren't contributing a fifth as much to the success of The Descendants (consider it this year's Slumdog Millionaire with bizarre guild triumphs) as say the costumes of Young Adult, Beginners, Shame, Crazy Stupid Love, The Iron Lady (unless they considered that "period"), Martha Marcy May Marlene or The Skin I Live In are to their movies. The contemporary categories are almost always where you see the limits of guild imagination when it comes to defining "awards worthy". It's a fancy way of saying "WE LIKE THIS MOVIE A WHOLE LOT!"

How do you like these nominations and where would your votes go?

Tuesday
Jan172012

BAFTA Nominations: Driver, Marilyn, Soldier, Spy

The BAFTA nominations are out and though we've begun to lose interest in precursors -- 7 days until Oscar nominations are announced -- we should list them anyway! Precursors has two meanings for me. There's the calendar meaning which merely includes all awards that precede the Oscars. But there's a second meaning which is the awards that primarily exist to do just that, precede and thus predict the Oscar. We tend to never lose interest in the precursors that have their own personalities and quickly move on from the others.

BAFTA'S BEST PICTURE. Can you imagine how exciting this year would be if there were only five Oscar nominees again. What the hell would be nominated?

BAFTA's final shortlist is different enough than what we expect Oscar's to look like (Drive and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy both have devout fans but haven't captured that much awards heat in Hollywood) that we are forced into being slightly more interested than usual!

BEST FILM
THE ARTIST - Thomas Langmann
THE DESCENDANTS - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor
DRIVE - Marc Platt, Adam Siegel
THE HELP - Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY - Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo

Is Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which has won some notice from the guilds and a fair amount of interest at the box office gaining ground towards major Oscar nominations next Tuesday or not? It's one of the big question marks right there along with is the abundant Dragon Tattoo guild love a case of perfect timing or 'crossover appeal and you'll see it at Oscar, too!'


OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN - Simon Curtis, David Parfitt, Harvey Weinstein, Adrian Hodges
SENNA - Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Manish Pandey
SHAME - Steve McQueen, Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Abi Morgan
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY - Tomas Alfredson, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Robyn Slovo, Bridget O'Connor, Peter Straughan
WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN - Lynne Ramsay, Luc Roeg, Jennifer Fox, Robert Salerno, Rory Stewart Kinnear

OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
ATTACK THE BLOCK - Joe Cornish (Director/Writer)
BLACK POND - Will Sharpe (Director/Writer), Tom Kingsley (Director), Sarah Brocklehurst (Producer)
CORIOLANUS - Ralph Fiennes (Director)
SUBMARINE - Richard Ayoade (Director/Writer)
TYRANNOSAUR - Paddy Considine (Director), Diarmid Scrimshaw (Producer)

Given that there is no Oscar equivalent of this category and few clues in their nominations as to which of these they loved, we're interested to see who wins this one. I suspect it will be Tyrannosaur but I'll admit I'm personally rooting for Attack the Block. I'm not as crazy for it as Michael is but I do appreciate its energy and no budget invention.

Directors, Actors and everything else after the jump...

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