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Entries in FYC (129)

Friday
Jan132017

"Having your heart broken is a tremendous way to learn about the world."

This is the mantra I will hold close if Bening misses the Best Actress list and Mike Mills misses the Original Screenplay list for the grand wise funny altogether fantastic 20th Century Women. Consider that the final FYC as Oscar ballots close. 

(Also it's how I'm going to survive 2017; I'm going to know so much about the world soon!)

Thursday
Jan122017

FYC: Best Original Screenplay, Toni Erdmann

by Daniel Crooke

While you will find ancient cities, hairy beasts, and moments of jaw-dropping audacity steering the rudder of its staggering runtime, you won’t hear a film score in Maren Ade’s Toni Erdmann – an epic of the heart and soul that depends on its screenplay to direct emotional payoffs the way many films depend on their orchestra. Set against the backdrop of a rapidly globalizing yet regionally fractured Europe, the central couple in Toni Erdmann is not a pair of battle-scarred lovers or unlikely allies in combat but an estranged father and daughter, torn apart by generational attitudes in the culture war.

This central reconciliation resonates thematically now more than ever, at a time when capitalist societies across the Western world forgo compassion and human consequence in pursuit of a more profitable bottom line. In her hysterical, observant comedy, Ade crafts a squirrely, screwy rebuke to anesthetized corporate cold-heartedness but – more importantly – champions a disappearing social fabric by weaving together the frayed ends of a family unit...

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Thursday
Jan122017

FYC: Best Adapted Screenplay, Love & Friendship

By Tim

Over the course of 21 years and four features, Whit Stillman's dominant themes as a storyteller have remained steady: an affectionate contempt for the economically and intellectually well-off and their aspirations to become even better; and a love of using language as a dueling weapon, with characters using dialogue as a means of asserting superiority and dominance. In both of these respects, we might say that he's always been making Jane Austen movies. For what are Austen's books, if not loving but merciless dissections of the social codes of the upper-middle-class of her own world?

The marriage of Stillman and Austen was thus as inevitable as it proves to be welcome with Love & Friendship, which nobody could recklessly call "the best" Austen adaptation ever. But it might be the most Austen-esque...

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Thursday
Jan122017

FYC: Best Costume Design, The Dressmaker

By Glenn Dunks.

Cinderella. Mirror Mirror. Bright Star. I Am Love. Australia. Marie Antoinette. The list goes on.

The costume design branch so commonly gives films their single solitary Oscar nomination that it’s become a prognosticator mission of sorts to figure out which couture creations the branch will extend this particular honor to. They are also the branch most likely to ignore critical and commercial receptions and nominate based purely on the craft and that’s why we love them. Perhaps it is because costume designers have spent decades being the frills-and-sequin-loving daughter of Oscar when all he wanted was sons, but they use their unique privilege more wisely than others (we’re looking at you, composers!)

It was obvious, then, to me which film I should be championing here and it is Marion Boyce and Margot Wilson for The Dressmaker...

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Wednesday
Jan112017

FYC: Jackie's Original Score by Mica Levi

by Sean Donovan

You sit down in a movie theater to see the latest biopic that has earned a superstar Oscar heat, and after the series of trailers for undoubtedly happier movies you could be seeing, you stare at a black screen. Gradually you hear something, a strong string note that quickly careens down the scale into dissonant whine. It’s immediately upsetting, destabilizing: flat and lacking grace when you were promised a classy portrait of one of America’s most iconic first ladies. So disjunctive it possesses a strange, ethereal beauty. It reminds me of the sound of an airplane flying overhead, fitting for a film where some of the most dramatic scenes occur onboard Air Force One. 

Music is the standard-bearer for everything that makes Jackie an unusual Oscar contender...

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Tuesday
Jan102017

The Furniture: A Last-Minute FYC for the Home Décor of "Paterson" and "Jackie"

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. Here's Daniel Walber...

Oscar balloting has begun! As Nathaniel explained last week, AMPAS branches have received their nomination ballots. They’re due on the 13th. The Academy’s production designers occasionally make offbeat choices, though they don’t do it as often as the costume designers or the makeup artists. So here’s a final nudge on behalf of the best work of the year.


I’ve already written about three of the five movies I’d nominate, were I in charge. The crazed fandom of the apartment in Florence Foster Jenkins is a work of precision and inspiration. So is the heavily curtained metaphor that is the mansion in The Childhood of a Leader. The hotel in The Lobster, meanwhile, is as perfectly sterile as the above settings are feverish. All three would be a thrilling surprise on nomination morning.

My other two have become less present in the awards conversation than I’d guessed...

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Saturday
Jan072017

FYC: Moonlight, Best Original Score

By Chris Feil

It's always ceaselessly frustrating to see deserving below-the-line work from so-called smaller films miss out on Oscar nominations. Even when a film is a favorite in the major categories, it can still be hard to break through beyond major races - just look at last year's Room. This year, Moonlight deserves those nominations for its behind-the-scenes craft, each of its elements too powerful and integral to deny. But for brevity's sake, I'll just call attention to its evocative score by Nicholas Britell.

Britell threads recurring melodies and tones through each of Chiron's chapters without feeling repetitive. As the piano theme comes in and out, it takes us back to the previous struggles that add weight to the fresh one, just as life is connected memory to memory. The sharp strings show the soaring relief of a moment like Juan teaching him to swim, but also reveal the anxiety of being seen for what he truly is, the fear of what that means.

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