Oscar History

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Handmaid's Tale ep 1 & 2

"Margaret Atwood's novel is superb. If this is half as good, it will be great!" - Marcelo

"My one concern is how much of the novel is covered so quickly. Even in the first episode, they pulled a lot of events from the middle of the novel right in there to establish the universe. The pacing works onscreen, but what are they going to have left to cover by episode 9 and 10?." - Robert


Betty Buckley (Split)
Michael O'Shea (The Transfiguration)
Filmmakers (Cézanne and I)
Melissa Leo (Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (Sense of an Ending)

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Entries in Drive (31)


Yes, No, Maybe So: Drive

Robert (of Distant Relatives) here with the lastest Yes, No, Maybe So. Even those well versed in the films of Nicolas Winding Refn may have been surprised when his latest film Drive, starring Ryan Gosling as a Hollywood stunt driver by day/getaway car driver for hire by night and Carey Mulligan as his love interest, was announced as part of the lineup for Cannes 2011. It premiered as one of the break out hits of the festival, and Refn took home the Best Director prize. Since then it's been hype, excitement, anticipation and endless tals of Refn/Gosling man-love. For those of us who didn't catch it on The Croisette, we're finally getting our first look.

I admit, I count myself among those who'll see just about anything with Gosling in it. But the supporing cast is equally intriguing, Mulligan, Christina Hendricks, Brian Cranston, and Albert Brooks whose buzzy villainous turn isn't even played up here. In fact there's something refereshingly sincere about this trailer, in a world where action movies are either for kids (or at least made to appeal to the widest possible PG-13 demographic) or ironically self-aware in a Machete, Shoot 'em Up kind of way that loves winking at you over their intentional B-picture status. No one here is mugging or pandering. At least not that I can tell.
Of course, I'm not sure that the Gosling fanbase and the gritty action movie fanbase are one in the same. I admit that I have mixed feelings about the genre and aren't even sure if I'm looking foward to this as a lark or with the excitement of something that could really be among the best films of the year. If the film didn't star Gosling, or the rest of that cast, or didn't have all the Cannes hype behind it, would I be as excited? Then again toss in enough hypotheticals and you're left with "if this film didn't have the elements that made it this film, i'm not sure I'd want to see this film," no kidding.
Really though, any personal reservations I can muster up are minor. I find myself squarely in the "yes" category for this. The trailer does a good job of solidifying it as a tough-as-nails action film with some staple archetypes and high cinematic style while maintaining plenty of mystery. It's a good tease. And then there's Gosling. Has anyone perfected the good boy charm/bad boy intensity like he has? Can we declare this "The Year of the Goz?" Maybe not yet, but he certainly seems at home as an action character.

Have you been anticipating this since Cannes? How important is the presence of Gosling? How much has the trailer affected the hype? Are you up for a good thriller?


Extremely Loud-Mouthed and Incredibly Close-Up Oscar Predix

...and everyone is doing it now that the year is half over. Wheeee.

Best Picture
Here are updated predictions in all categories from Best Picture down to Best Key Grip. The new Best Picture rule -- they can have anywhere between 5 to 10 nominees and we won't know until Oscar nominations are announced -- is causing me chart difficulties. I can't figure out, aesthetically, how to divvy up charts with so many different numerical outcomes. If you must know I would like to make this wild July speculation that there will be 6 nominees to include War Horse, The Descendants, We Bought a Zoo, J Edgar, The Artist and new entry Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close which now plans to arrive in 2011.

It's not that I have any particular hunch or faith in that upcoming Stephen Daldry 9/11 film. It's more like anti-wishful thinking: See, I'm allergic to movie representations of that day since I was here in New York City and I tend to find the world's and especially the media's obsession with it absolutely grotesque. (For reasons that have nothing to do with cinema or the Oscars, so let's move on...)

John Williams and Steven SpielbergBiggest Annoyance
The music categories are always high-maintenance in terms of predictions. Original Song has zillions of hard to figure eligibility issues. Plus, there are still so many films that have not announced their composers in the Original Score category. Yes, it's often a late-to-the-party job as movie productions go. But I always suspect that even after the composers are announced that it takes a good long while for that information to trickle onto key pages like official sites and the IMDb. If you know of a better source of who's scoring what, do let me know. (I don't want to have to call 12 production companies!) With J Edgar, however, which also hasn't announced, it feels safe to assume that Clint Eastwood will compose some simple piano motifs for it because that's how he do.

That said, this category might be easier to predict than usual because the King of the Category John Williams will surely take up 40% of it. Oscar's music branch has always trembled for his Treble, zinged for his Strings and mooned over his melodies so they'd never pass up the chance to honor him for The Adventure of Tin Tin and for War Horse now that he's scoring again after basically a six year break from features (excluding that Crystal Skull reprising). John Williams turns 80 next year and chances are strong that they won't want him to retire without a sixth Oscar.

Craziest What If?
The new prediction I'm most enamored of because it's a Winding road way off the well-paved Bait path and because it would be highly awesome if the crazy thing came to pass and I predicted it first is an editing nomination for the Cannes hit Drive (2011). I mean why the hell not, right? It's July. Think outside the Bait Box! The prediction holdovers that I was initially excited to imagine but am now worried about -- though I didn't change them -- were all the Captain America nominations (Costumes, Makeup, Visual Effects). When I went there months ago I was totally confident that it could happen but public fatigue with superheroics makes me wonder if all films from this genre will be snubbed even in seemingly likely places like visual effects. Did Green Lantern leave an emerald stain?

The movies are getting all jumbled in my head now.

Why is Gosling driving off with the good Captain. Where is he taking him? "SHOTGUN!"

And on a final note, looking over Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor the competitions and competitors seem far more interesting than usual. Supporting Actor, for example, seems to have a number of Career Honors vs. Career Honors vs. Career Honors possibilities and in the lead race, could it finally be Leonardo DiCaprio's year?  Or maybe the manly half of the acting lineups will get boring real fast and it really will come down to a Close vs. Streep 80s throwback Actress-Off. Maybe it's just the oppressive July heat warping our crystal ball.

Comments? You realize we cry a single tear for every post that doesn't enter double digit comments, right? Don't cause us any more agony. Once you're done contemplating Oscar, hit the gym, the links, and the (Italian) showers. Yeah, yeah, it's summer ...but this blog has air conditioning.


Antonio Banderas, Ham. Ryan Gosling, Driven.

Gee, do you think Antonio Banderas is glad to be back in an Pedro Almodóvar picture or what? Here he is posing for photographs at Cannes with his The Skin I Live In co-star Elena Anaya (Talk to Her) and Pedro himself (cutest director/muse picture of 2011?). Photos via Zimbio via Getty Europe.


In other Cannes news, Off LVT that is, though we haven't yet seen premiere photos, Ryan Gosling's vehicle Drive, has been seen by critics. Which prompted this hilarious tweet from In Contention's Guy Lodge.

Ryan Gosling in DRIVE

DRIVE (A-) I won't lie to you: I pretty much want to have sex with this movie. Hot, clipped, nasty, beautiful. Best thing in competition.

I told him if he'd only film that, he'd take fanfic to a whole new level.

In just a few more days we'll know who takes Best Actor, Best Actress and the Palme D'Or. Any bets?

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