Oscar History

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Entries in Federico Fellini (8)


44 days til Oscar nominations. Screenplay stats!

by Nathaniel R

With only 44 days until Oscar nominations and lots of confusion as to what might be nominated for screenplay (there are seemingly 7 locks for Original and only 1 contender for Adapted -- the math doesn't work. Haha!) let's use today's numerical trivia prompt for writing awards. Fact: Oscar's 4 favorite screenwriters have 44 nominations between them for writing. That's a lot of hogging of writing honors. They are...

(Numbers below are for screenwriting categories only)
01 Woody Allen (16 nominations and 3 wins)
He's also been in the Acting and Directing races. Classics include Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, Manhattan and more...
02 Billy Wilder (12 nominations and 3 wins)
He's also been in the Directing and Producing races. Classics include Sunset Blvd, The Apartment, Some Like it Hot, and more...
03 John Huston (8 nominations and 1 win)
He's also been in the Acting, Directing, and Producing races. Classics include The African Queen, The Asphalt Jungle, Prizzi's Honor and more...
04 Federico Fellini (8 nominations but he never won for writing)
He's also been in the Directing, and Producing races and of course his films have taken multiple Foreign Language Film Oscars. He's the Academy's favorite Italian... yes, even more than Sophia Loren. Classics include La Dolce Vita, I Vitelloni, 8½ and more...

It's perhaps no surprise that all of these writers are also directors and thus were in charge of bringing their own words to visual life. With greater control comes greater consistency in results. Without checking before you hit the jump can you guess which working writers are next in line to join this group?

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The Furniture: Grotesque Extravagance in Fellini's Casanova

"The Furniture," by Daniel Walber, is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Since the Honorary Oscars are handed out next week, here's a Donald Sutherland film for you!

Federico Fellini didn’t much like Giacomo Casanova, the famously amorous subject of his meandering fantasy-biopic. The director may not have liked Donald Sutherland, either. The actor was required to shave his head and sport both a false nose and a false chin to play the long-winded lover. The costumes aren’t especially flattering either. Fellini’s Casanova is an erotic descent into Hell, a grotesque pageant of 18th century moral abandon. It frequently borders on the disgusting.

It was also on the edge of Oscar’s attention, sliding into only two categories. While Fellini’s Casanova did win for its costumes, its production design missed out entirely. Anyone betting that year would likely have lost money; La Dolce Vita, 8 ½ and Juliet of the Spirits were all nominated for both.

Though this sexualized panorama thrilled the costume designers, it may have shocked too many art directors. Like Sutherland’s performance, it’s proved to be a bit too much for the Academy. That’s a shame, because the contribution of legendary designer Danilo Donati is dazzling...

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La Strada

We close out our 1954 celebration with Amir on one of Federico Fellini's classic from the year...

Writing about canonical classics can be as difficult as it is rewarding. The larger amount of existing texts and the time that has been afforded to an artwork to cement its place in our cultural psyche allow for deeper familiarity and reflection in a way that is impossible with more recent films.  On the other hand, well, fresh angles are harder to find. What is there left to say about a film like Federico Fellini’s La Strada? Not much, but in truth, you can never talk too much about one of the best films ever made.

Growing up as an Iranian cinephile, and gradually getting into more serious films as a teenager, Italian cinema is the most natural foray outside of the local arthouse. Iranian cinema is not as indebted to any Western filmic culture as it is to the films of Italian masters; those films strike a particularly strong resonance. (Consider that the latest poll of the greatest films of all time voted on by Iranian film critics includes The Bicycle Thieves, La Strada and Cinema Paradiso all in the top ten.)

Fellini’s films are of a different breed than the neorealism of Zavattini, De Sica and Rossellini whose influence loomed heavily over the arthouse I was voraciously consuming at the time. To the dismay of some of his contemporaries, Fellini veered off quite drastically from his roots in neorealist cinema. [More...]

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Wes Anderson on 'Budapest', Fellini and Revisiting Max Fisher.

Jose here. Last week I attended a screening of The Grand Budapest Hotel followed by a Q&A with director Wes Anderson. Self-aware and adorably humorous he shared anecdotes about the making of the film, and also discussed his influences. Here are some of the most interesting tidbits.

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Top Ten 1960s

I still have a lot more to see from the 1960s but this top ten, more than most apart from the 1980s is a combination of films I fell for as a child on television in the 70s and 80s and films I love now as an adult. I'm bookending with two Natalie Wood features -- the first actress I ever loved -- though I recognize that they are more personal favorites than perfect films. That caveat aside I do find Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice to be grossly undervalued since it's essentiall a comedy about its time and therefore "light" and "dated" . Still, I absolutely insist, it's a wonderful wonderful light and dated thing. At the top of the list West Side Story has been my favorite film of all time for as long as I remember being conscious of movies so it'll just have to keep on being so -- it's fundamentally part of who I am -- flaws and all (and yes, I can see its flaws).

Natalie & Deneuve, the greatest of the 60s screen beauties

top ten
01 West Side Story (1961)
02 Persona (1967)
03 Psycho (1960)
04 The Sound of Music (1965)
05 Bonnie & Clyde (1967)
06 Hud (1963)
07 They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969)
08 [Cheating w/ a Deneuve Double] The Umbrellas of Cherbrough (1965) & Belle de Jour (1967)
09 The Manchurian Candidate (1962) 
10 Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969)

pick a film, any film

i'll only be satisfied with a top 17
11 Rosemary's Baby (1968)
12 Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
13 Splendor in the Grass (1961)
14 La Dolce Vita (1960)
15 Mary Poppins (1964).... coming up soon on "Hit Me..."
16 Playtime (1967)
17 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

and affectionate nods to... 
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962), Breathless (1961), Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? (1962), My Fair Lady (1964), 8 ½ (1963), Darling (1965), The Apartment (1960), Bay of Angels (1963), and Rachel Rachel (1968).

Which films define you and which films can't you live without... from the subcategory of the 1960s of course?

Previous Top Ten Quickies
1930s | 1950s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2010s (thus far)  
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Juliette or Guilietta?

Have you heard that Juliette Lewis will be starring in a film called The Days of Mary (2013?) loosely based on Federico Fellini's Oscar-winning Nights of Cabiria (1957)? It feels like her first lead role in ages so we hope it actually happens.



It's now in Reno -- practically Rome's twin ! (kidding) -- and Juliette is a girl looking for love in, we presume, the wrong places. Bad things tend to happen in movies where Juliette is entangled romantically: mass murder (NBK), end of times chaos (Strange Days), thumbsucking (Cape Fear) but this project doesn't feel as shocking / sacrilegious when you remember that Nights of Cabiria has already been reimagined once as Sweet Charity (1969) starring Shirley Maclaine.

Okay, wait, we need to remake reboot reimagine that poll now...



Have you seen Nights of Cabiria and Sweet Charity? If not, get on that, will ya?


Link On Link Off

Old Hollywood loves Federico Fellini. Isn't that an amazing sketch (left)? It's Fellini's first rendering of Gelsomina from La Strada
The Sheila Variations a beautiful birthday piece about crushing on Ralph Macchio before The Karate Kid (!) and the transformational power of getting hooked on the storytelling arts and the actors who make us dream.
Thelma Adams corrals some friends to discuss the annual topic: does nudity equal bravery for actresses?
Your Movie Buddy (and ours) interviews Kirsten Dunst on Melancholia.
ioncinema Fox Searchlight signs the Borderline Film trio (Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, and Josh Mond) to a first look deal. That filmmaking collective operates in such a cool way, alternating in the director's chair but sticking together and supporting each other. Their latest venture being the fab Martha Marcy May Marlene (my review if you missed it).
Little White Lies interviews our current favorite Norwegian director Joachim Trier on his new film Olso, August 31st

Coming Soon Gallery of on set images from Terrence Malick's Lawless starring The Driver and That Girl With the Tattoo. Now that Malick is making movies as fast as say, Martin Scorsese (Allen & Eastwood's clip will thankfully remain out of reach... that speed doesn't do many people favors), that 20 year gap between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line is looking ever more perplexing.
Tom Shone thoughts on Leonardo DiCaprio and a top ten. It's odd that I disagreed so much with the content of the article but apart from the weird preferencing of Blood Diamond, I totally get the top ten choices.
MNPP Jake Gyllenhaal on the subway. Stars... they're just like us!
Flickr awesome gallery of "the end" onscreen 
In Contention will be there for a Vanessa Redgrave AMPAS tribute in London next week 
Oh No They Didn't 13 Movie Poster trends from the legs spread stance, to floating heads in clouds threw sexy backs holding weaponry. 


That's the Hunger Games cast doing one of those Vanity Fair shoots that make everyone look All American Rising Star Sun Dappled Models in the Great Outdoors. Doesn't it bother anyone that the movie is all about these people killing each other and yet it's like "yay, the cool kids. you could be their friend, too!"


Distant Relatives: 8½ and Synecdoche, New York

Robert here w/ Distant Relatives, exploring the connections between one classic and one contemporary film.

Portrait of the Artist as a Confused Man

Perhaps the idea of a filmmaker making a film about himself, his fears, his hopes, his life, is inherently self-indulgent. It's hard to argue otherwise though self-portraits have always been a staple of art. Perhaps Da Vinci and Rembrandt were self-indulgent too. Still, something about the self portraits is so necessary. Someone has to explore the life of the artist. Biopics, whether celebratory or critical, are often too structured and viewed from outside looking in. Only autobiographies allow the filmmaker the ability to really explore their internal rot. The cinema this creates may not always be compelling but it always feels essential. Federico Fellini's career is saturated in self-exploration, from the continual casting of his wife Giulietta Masina (La Strada, Nights of Cabiria, Juliet of the Spirits), to his reminiscence on his childhood (Amarcord) to his contemplation on the de-evolution of social ascencion (La Dolce Vita). Fellini's career is a tribute to himself, and never more than in , a film so self-referential that its title is devised from the number of films Fellini had made to that point. It is his eighth and a half. Charlie Kaufman's career too is filled with expressions of his own desires and anxieties. He sees his life as that of the impotent artist, and they appear throughout his films in one form or another. The fact that Kaufman had already written a film, Adaptation that featured himself as the lead character (writing a film that featured himself as the lead character) shouldn't detract from the fact that Synecdoche, New York's Caden Cotard is very much a Kaufman stand-in. In fact, Adaptation's use of Kaufman as character may have even freed up the real Charlie Kaufman into a more subtle (if that's possible) cypher for the later film. Adaptation feels a bit like a warm up for Synecdoche, New York with its musings on love and death and the meta-realities of art. Both titles refer to the artistic process as well (self-referentially like Fellini's). Adaptation is obvious. As many of us learned only upon the relase of the film, a "synecdoche" is a part of speech where a part of something is used to represent a whole, such as saying "threads" to mean "clothes" or "set of wheels" to mean "car." And so it is with art, the attempt to use one small story to represent some truth about the whole of existence.
In both films, 8 1/2 and Synecdoche, New York we begin with a misanthrope, unwell in health and heart, about to embark on the ultimate boondogle of his career, whether he knows it or not. Continue...

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