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Dreamworks Animation Pt 2: The Fall

"I loved this article. It reads like vintage EW, back when they relished the behind-the-scenes stories of Hollywood and the studios." -John T

"Dreamworks should not have oversaturated the animation market. Home is Dreamworks 31st animated film. Do you know what is Walt Disney Animation's 31st film? Aladdin. It took Disney over 5 decades to get there." -Chinoiserie

Part 1 here if you missed it

 

 

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Entries in Film Bitch Awards (67)

Saturday
Feb232013

Film Bitch Awards: Best Actor, Best Actress, Medal Ceremony!

I hate to ask anyone to pay attention to this site's own infamous Film Bitch Awards on the same night as the Indie Spirits (we'll discuss very soon) and the day before the Oscars (so late I am!). I'll get hoarse from the look-at-me shouting. But here, finally, is my Best Actress and Best Actor list, the latter of which is remarkably like Oscar's best actor list, with only Bradley Cooper missing the cut... though I think he's the best thing in Silver Linings Playbook and a worthy Oscar nominee. This rarely happens so it's a kind of a special treat for me. Actress, our marquee category each year, is always trickier. I wanted to name seven nominees but even then only two of the Oscar nominees  (Emmanuelle Riva and Jessica Chastain) make the cut. 

These nominations complete this year's traditional category Film Bitch Awards, so while we're at it, start playing those national anthems film scores for the medal ceremony. I've named gold, silver and bronze medalists in (almost) all of the Oscar-mirror categories. It has to be done before the Oscars! The "extras" like Best Scene, Diva of the Year, and Best Cameo and more are still to come but I promise they're already partially written. I realize that that smells of danger for those of you with long memories (what about 2011 for f***'s sake) but I shall prevail and find a third wind next week and try to wrap up before March. I can already feel that 2013 will be kinder to The Film Experience. I'm finding the faith after a difficult year.

But until we get to the 2013 film year, celebrate these great films and performances in the comments. Or, you know, bitch about them with "agree to disagree" tact. 

Sunday
Feb172013

7 Days 'til Oscar: Costume Design

Each year at the Oscar ceremony I hope against hope that they'll ditch one of the numerous superfluous montages celebrating something or other throughout history and just do a runway show of the year's best costumes. On rare occasions we've seen a living tableau before the winner was announced and at least once, a Whoopi ceremony, the host actually incorporated costume design into the gig.

Imagine Seth MacFarlane coming out as Fantine in a shredded Les Miz gown or Queen Ravenna's raven collar dress. Sorry, no! I apologize deeply for putting those images in your head. Let's just say that I feel reasonably certain there will at least be a stovepipe hat during the ceremony in honor of Lincoln.

OSCAR NOMINEES
• Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
• Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
• Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
• Paco Delgado, Les Misérables
• Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Hunstman

will win: Anna Karenina, it's not quite traditional "royalty porn", their favorite thing in this category, but the Russian aristocracy is close enough.
should win: Anna Karenina, Durran continues to just amaze in film after film.
weird trivia: The Oscars love Colleen Atwood but she only ever wins when she's pitted against their other all-time favorite Sandy Powell
possible spoiler: if Oscar voters are feeling daring and/or sentimental you could see a posthumous win for the great Ishioka whose costumes always function as their own setpieces they're such scene stealers

OSCAR VISUAL CHARTS
My Own Ballot & Semi-Finalists with shout-outs to all the Oscar nominees (great lineup. well done AMPAS) as well as Sharen Davis, Kasia Walicka-Maimone, Caroline Eselin, Julie Weiss, Mark Bridges, and Manon Rasmussen

I think this begs a reader poll...

 

 

 

Saturday
Feb162013

8 Days 'til Oscar: The Visual Wonders

I'm saving my beloved category Costume Design for its own post. For now let's talk Cinematography, Production Design, Editing and Visual Effects. At the Oscars Life of Pi is up for all of these categories. It can pick up all of those statues if it can fend off viable threats from Skyfall, Anna Karenina, Argo and The Avengers respectively. Is it likely to? I'd say no but it's a safe bet that it won't go home empty-handed come Oscar night. If Anne Hathaway can use her Golden Globe as "a weapon against self-doubt" than orphaned Pi can surely use an Oscar as blunt heavy object to fend off that tiger. (Life of Pi isn't up for all four of those prizes at The Film Experience's own awards but then no film is.) 

CINEMATOGRAPHY
We're definitely living in some kind of golden age of cinematography. There are so many great DPs working right now in the 21st century that it feels downright ungrateful each January when only five are held up as the gold standard. So I'm happy to honor an at least partially different list in my own awards. Don't talk to me about Greig Frasier, one of the single brightest stars who this year alone lit Snow White and the Huntsman, Killing Me Softly and Zero Dark Thirty, still being nomination-free --- I CAN'T! Other relative newbies I'm personally excited about are Radium Cheng (Starlet), Bradford Young (Middle of Nowhere), and Mihai Malaimare Jr. (The Master) And that's just scratching the surface of cinematographers who Oscar didn't notice this year. There are so many longtime giants still walking the earth in this field that Oscar couldn't even find room for a talent as big as Darius Wolski (Prometheus) or any of the exciting newbies.

Kaminski has lensed 13 of Spielberg's movies. He's nominated for the 6th time for Lincoln

Oscar Nominated: Seamus McGarvey (Anna Karenina), Robert Richardson (Django Unchained), Claudio Miranda (Life of Pi), Roger Deakins (Skyfall) and Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln)
Should Win: McGarvey
Will Win: Miranda -- Pi looks gorgeous through and through and cinematography has lately become the province of vfx epics... though it's hard to tell where computers take over for DPs these days in post
Spoiler Possibility: Skyfall is stunning eye candy which might help Roger Deakins. He's more likely to win for sentimental reasons than for the best-looking Bond. It's ridiculous that he's still waiting for an Oscar at 63 after 10 nominations and such an amazing influential career.

PRODUCTION DESIGN
(formerly titled Art Direction at the Oscars)
My guess is that Anna Karenina is headed for the eye candy double (Costumes + Production Design) that I've come to think of as "The Moulin Rouge! Awards" But it's possible that they'll throw this bone to a Best Picture nominee instead.

Oscar Nominated: Anna Karenina (Sarah Greenwood), The Hobbit (Dan Hennah), Life of Pi (David Gropman), Lincoln (Rick Carter), Les Misérables (Eve Stewart)
Should Win: Anna Karenina
Will Win: Anna Karenina
Spoiler Possibility:  Life of Pi

 

What if Bruce Banner had to share a boat with Richard Parker?

VISUAL EFFECTS
We can all agree that this Oscar category will land safely in the hands of Life of Pi, can't we? Damn but that tiger alone, right. Even Hulk can't smash its Oscar dreams.

EDITING
In a piece about Argo's Oscar chances I already detailed my feelings about this race. I think Argo will take it but if you ask me William Goldenberg (double-nominated) did much stronger work on Zero Dark Thirty so he'll win for the wrong film --  which won't be any kind of Oscar first ;). Goldenberg's work Zero is the only Oscar nominee that crossed over into my ballot.

OSCAR INDEX & OSCAR RACE ARTICLES
OSCAR VISUALS
FILM BITCH AWARDS - VISUAL CATEGORIES 

Thursday
Feb142013

10 Days 'til Oscar: Score, Song, & Sound

We're in the final crunch now. Oscar voters have to make their final decisions by Tuesday February 19th (with the winners announced Sunday February 24th) so I'm throwing up my own nominees (which I like to announce before the Oscar nominations even. Oy) so you can see my film bitch award picks for the best in the various aural categories here. But while we're on the subject of sound, a film craft I always vow to learn more about and then forget to educate myself, let's make some early Oscar predictions.

BEST SCORE
Naturally I prefer my nominees to Oscars. Unlike many pundits, I knew that the Beasts of the Southern Wild score didn't have a prayer since Oscar's music branch is notoriously exclusive. In addition to their resistance to new composers they also don't really cotton to directors muscling in on their territory, so step away from the sheet music Benh Zeitlin, Benh Zeitlin. (Even an Oscar God as Revered as Clint Eastwood hasn't been able to do it.) Nevertheless Oscar voters and I do have a bit of overlap here as we all swooned for Dario Marianelli's work on Anna Karenina and Mychael Danna's evocative score for Life of Pi. I'd be pleased if either of them won the category. As for the other nominees, I never quite understand the mandatory nature of John Williams nominations. He's certainly created some classic scores over the years but I swear if he just whistled a few bars on a soundtrack he'd be nominated. I also still don't get the Argo score being nominated since Desplat wrote about five film scores this year and they're ALL better than his decent but surprisingly generic work on Ben Affleck's well regarded thriller. A nomination for Zero Dark Thirty would've been so preferrable.

Should Win: Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina
Will Win: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi. (Even though the music branch is loathe to welcome new blood once they do, they don't tend to have issues with them actually winning the gold.)
Possible Spoiler: Despite Williams' endless nominations, Oscar voters don't seem to be sentimental about giving him a final (and sixth) statue, so I'm guessing Danna's only potential loss comes from Argo-Mania. Alexandre Desplate still hasn't won an Oscar which is starting to seem crazy. 

SONG
Though Oscar and I don't have much overlap -- look, I know Joyful Noise is a crap movie but Dolly Parton writes beautiful movie songs and still doesn't have an Oscar --  I really love the Oscar nominees anyway. All of 'em! It was a good year for original movie songs. I'm looking forward to the performances (should we get them... and it seems like we will).

007 Skyfall - Opening Credits (Best Quality Yet) from Gunnar Lien on Vimeo.

Should Win: Skyfall
Will Win: Skyfall (the night's biggest lock?)
Possible Spoiler: Skyfall... in case they decide to give Adele two Oscars just to see if she pisses herself laughing. 

SOUND EDITING & SOUND MIXING
Oscar likes exceptionally loud movies in the sound categories from the following genres: sci-fi, war, musicals. Which is why you rarely see fragile sounding haunted dramas like, say, The Deep Blue Sea, or fascinating soundscapes like Cosmopolis or artful indies like Beasts of the Southern Wild in the mix. So the weirdest nominee from their choices might be Lincoln which is not particularly loud or showy in terms of sound. I think they missed the boat in ignoring Prometheus in both sound categories this year... but the studio didn't really campaign so there's that. The sound categories can be difficult to predict since who knows what actors make of "sound", you know? And they make up the biggest voting block for winners. Greg P. Russell has been nominated 16 times without winning and he's up again for Sound Mixing on Skyfall. If enough voters become aware of his Oscarless plight, I can't see him losing for such a well loved widely seen film. But are they aware?

watery films are often popular in sound categories

Should Win (Mixing/Editing): abstain... I'm still thinking about this
Will Win (Mixing/Editing): Skyfall & Life of Pi... wild guesswork. They do sometimes split those prizes... and these two films might be in tough battle after tough battle for the entire first half of the ceremony in the craft categories.
Possible Spoiler (Mixing/Editing): Les Misérables & Skyfall

What are you rooting for soundwise with Oscar and what do you think of the film bitch award nominees

Wednesday
Feb132013

Best Supporting Actor: Oscar's Ballot & Mine.

I haven't been shy about my disappointment with this year's Best Supporting Actor Oscar Ballot, a lineup lacking in narrative oomph (which shouldn't be a factor in judging "best" but still makes Oscar way less fun to follow when he eschews it for old favorites) and missing several electric, fresh, film elevating and moving performances in favor of merely solid work from Oscar winners in popular films. I'm all in for Tommy Lee Jones winning since he's the only nominee Oscar & I agree is worthy to hold a place in this particular shortlist. [While we're on the subject of votes, you should cast yours in the poll]

Will he win? That's another matter entirely. I'd wager he still has the lead by virtue of a very long one (since November when he took it from Matthew McConaughey... who never really had it *sniffle* in the first place) even if the precursors have never quite settled on a frontrunner and even if his no-show at SAG didn't exactly help his cause. Christoph Waltz's BAFTA win for his leading role in Django Unchained (which might more accurately be called Schultz Unchains Django Who Only Takes Over the Film-Carrying Duties For the Final ½ Hour of a 2½ hour Film) suggest that the tide has shifted but in the end with Argo and Silver Linings Playbook campaigns both fighting so hard in the final weeks for wins, I'm not so sure that votes won't still be all over the place in this category, letting Tommy take turn two at the podium.

More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Feb112013

Supporting Actress, My Ballot

With Oscar barrelling towards us (at last) I have no choice but to wrap up my own awards. I don't know where I'll find the time but forward into film bitch awardage...

there's an anchor of grief under those voluminous dresses pulling her down

My Best Supporting Actress Starter Kit, about 20 actresses long, was quite a lot different than the one we heard about all pre-season. For starters Helen Hunt and Ann Dowd, who Oscar season dubbed "supporting", were leading stars for me (Hunt's designation is entirely debatable, Dowd's is not). I am, as ever, more impressed with stylized genre-friendly work than awards bodies, particularly Oscar, ever are. I think Eva Green in a movie that wasn't much good (Dark Shadows), Gina Gershon and Nicole Kidman in movies that might accurately be called "trashy" (Killer Joe and The Paperboy) were all running circles around more respectable names like Maggie Smith or Amy Adams that kept cropping up in "Best of" lists. And though surprise Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver did make my top 12 for her homey egg-shell peace-making in Silver Linings Playbooks, my personal vote for Doing the Most With The Least this year would go to Olivia Munn in Magic Mike... though I didn't go quite so far as to nominate her.

That's all just preface - the point being that I debate this with myself (and with you in the comments) all year long. In the end while Oscar chose an entirely respectable list (save for the exclusion of the incomparable Nicole Kidman which I shall forever deem indefensible) my list has only two women in common with theirs. I had to make room for Diane Kruger (Farewell My Queen) and Lorraine Toussaint (Middle of Nowhere), too.

MY NOMINEES AND WHY I CHOSE THEM

As always I welcome respectful disagreements, fan mail and counterpoint lists. In Actressland many five-top opinions are welcome in "Best" lists.

Tuesday
Feb052013

Film Bitch Awards Best Supporting Actress Prizes (2000-2011)

I'll announce 2012's nominees the second the write-ups are done (working on them this week). But until then another listy flashblack to year's past here at The Film Experience. My opinions have changed somewhat over the years (as many opinions should if we continue to evolve) and perhaps I'll detail which changes those were in the future but mostly I like to think of Awards, both mine and other people's as time capsules of What We Valued At That Moment.

So here you go... 

Nominees in Alpha Order
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy 
Diane Kruger, Farewell My Queen
Lorraine Toussaint, Middle of Nowhere
write ups here 

Gold: Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Silver: Sarah Bayet, A Separation
Bronze: Carey Mulligan, Shame
Also Nominated
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Gold: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
Silver: Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Bronze: Amy Adams, The Fighter
Also Nominated
Kimberly Elise, For Colored Girls
Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer

 
Gold: Mo'Nique, Precious
Silver: Vera Farmiga, Up in the Air
Bronze: Marion Cotillard, Nine
Also Nominated
Samantha Morton, The Messenger
Rosamund Pike, An Education

*I believe this is my longest run of Oscar agreement as to winners in any category... throughout time. They went three consecutive years (2007-2009) making brilliant choices for wins in this category.


Gold: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Silver: Rosemarie DeWitt, Rachel Getting Married
Bronze: Viola Davis, Doubt
Also Nominated
Samantha Morton, Synecdoche New York
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler


Gold: Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
Silver: Imelda Staunton, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Bronze: Cate Blanchett, I'm Not There
Also Nominated
Charlotte Gainsbourg, I'm Not There
Marisa Tomei, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Gold: Emily Blunt, The Devil Wears Prada
Silver: Fiona Shaw, The Black Dahlia
Bronze: Meryl Streep, A Prairie Home Companion
Also Nominated
Adriana Barraza, Babel
Mira Kirshner, The Black Dahlia

Gold: Maria Bello, A History of Violence
Silver: Michelle Williams, Brokeback Mountain
Bronze: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Happy Endings
Also Nominated
Amy Adams, Junebug
Ziyi Zhang, 2046

Gold: Virginia Madsen, Sideways
Silver: Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Bronze: Daryl Hannah, Kill Bill, Vol. 2
Also Nominated
Patricia Clarkson, Dogville
Natalie Portman, Garden State

Gold: Holly Hunter, thirteen
Silver: Miranda Richardson, Spider
Bronze: Catherine O'Hara, A Mighty Wind
Also Nominated
Shohreh Aghdashloo, House of Sand and Fog
Patricia Clarkson, The Station Agent

Gold: Michelle Pfeiffer, White Oleander
Silver: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Chicago
Bronze: Meryl Streep, Adaptation
Also Nominated
Patricia Clarkson, Far From Heaven
Bebe Neuwirth, Tadpole

Gold: Kate Winslet, Iris
Silver: Marisa Tomei, In the Bedroom
Bronze: Helen Mirren, Gosford Park
Also Nominated
Frances McDormand, The Man Who Wasn't There
Maggie Smith, Gosford Park

Gold: Catherine Deneuve, Dancer in the Dark
Silver: Samantha Morton, Jesus' Son
Bronze: Kirsten Dunst, The Virgin Suicides
Also Nominated
Kate Hudson, Almost Famous
Frances McDormand, Almost Famous/Wonder Boys

Do you remember these performances fondly?
Do you remember your choices over the past decade?


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