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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

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The biggest Oscar winners that weren't Best Picture nominees

"I have to add that i's a pity Terminator 2 wasn't nominated for Best Actress for Linda Hamilton." - Cris

"That Dracula costume win is one of the most deserved Oscars of all time. Ishioka = genius. Her costumes were their own characters." - Sawyer

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INTERVIEWS

Oscar Interviews
Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)
Saroo & Sue Brierley (Lion)
Martin Butler & Bentley Dean (Tanna)
Nicole Kidman (Lion)
Denis Villeneuve (Arrival

 

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Entries in interview (187)

Tuesday
Feb212017

Interview: The Global Resonance of "Zootopia" and its Animal Kingdoms

Zootopia gets a lot of its pizazz from the clash of its odd couple leads but behind the scenes things are much more sympatico. When I sat down to interview the director Rich Moore (Wreck-it Ralph) and producer Clark Spencer (Wreck-it Ralph, Bolt, Lilo & Stitch) they weren't so much finishing each other's sentences as they were most definitely reciting from the same page. Rich calls Clark the 'best producer he's ever worked with' and credits him for creating a structure so that the creatives didn't have to worry about the minutae but were kept aware of it to keep them on track.

Unfortunately the third key member of their team Byron Howard, who the project originated with had bronchitis on the day we met. He'll be long since recovered by Oscar night which will likely be a happy one for the team.

Zootopia is the second project Moore and Clark have done together but when we sat down to speak over coffee the spectre of Wreck-It Ralph 2 hung like a comic cloud overhead because, as they joked, they've got deadlines! The film doesn't open until March of 2018 but that's a very short time in the production lifespan of an animated feature.

Byron Howard, Clark Spencer, and Rich Moore won the Golden Globe for Zootopia. Will they win the Oscar, too?

But for now, the wrap up of the long journey of Zootopia on Oscar night. This Disney fable about diversity and harmonious living has been successful all over the world grossing over a billion dollars globally, the fourth most successful picture of 2016 behind three films that had a built-in sequel advantage (Captain America, Finding Dory, Rogue One).

In other words, it's been quite a spectacular runaway success. Selections from our chat follow...

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Greig Fraser talks "Lion," his shifting style, and Jane Campion

Here's one mystery solved: Greig Fraser isn't pronounced any sort of fancy way. It's merely "Greg" with a silent extra "i". If you want to say it perfectly, though, you'll have to say it with an Aussie accent, mate.

We've been singing the praises of the cinematographer Greig Fraser for 8 years now, even if we often pronounced his name wrong while doing so. After the visually jaw-dropping calling card of Bright Star (2009) one of the new century's most undervalued and most transcendentally beautiful movies, his name appeared more and more regularly in major prestige films. Curiously though, despite his ever broadening range (he's aced virtually every genre he's hopped to and front) and quite a few critically lauded and Oscar nominated movies under his belt, he is just now enjoying his very first Oscar nomination for his evocative and resourceful lensing of the Australian hit and Best Picture nominee Lion.

Fraser (top left), Sunny Pawar, and director Garth Davis on the set of Lion

I was eager to talk to him about his ability to tackle any genre, his time with Jane Campion and the challenge of Lion. Here's our interview...

 

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: Kristóf Deák from "Munich" to "Sing" 

Kristóf DeákIf you've had a chance to catch the touring films in the Oscar nominated shorts program in select movie theaters now, we're willing to be that one of your favorites was the Hungarian short Sing written and directed by Kristóf Deák. This sweet well acted story is about a new girl in a children's choir whose teacher makes her feel less than welcome. 

Sing, not to be confused with the current blockbuster cartoon about pop star wannabe talking animals, could well be a threat to win its category though competition is ever tough and unpredictable in the shorts categories. Kristóf has seen and enjoyed the "strong batch" competition, saying "I won't shed any tears if we don't take the statue home"

I had the opportunity to talk to the young director, currently in Los Angeles for the final push before Oscar, and though he doesn't know what's in store for his career, he's taiken the smart stance of "be ready with projects and pitches" should key opportunities arise. The London based Hungarian director got his first post film school movie gig in the large editing department of Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) and now he's an Oscar nominee for his fourth short which has been picking up several prizes at festivals.  

Our chat follows..

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Monday
Feb202017

Interview: on Jungle Book's live-action aping Visual Effects

You may not know the name Robert Legato, but you definitely know his work. He's been on the visual effects teams of all sorts of blockbusters (Armageddon, Interview with the Vampire) and won his first Oscar for groundbreaking work on one of the most popular films of all times Titanic (1997) before creating the system that allowed for Avatar (2009). Hes' got two Oscars (Titanic and Hugo), two BAFTAs (Apollo 13 & Jungle Book) and two Emmys (both for Star Trek series). Will a third Oscar follow next weekend? It looks likely for the live action photorealism of the not really live action Jungle Book

Though a lot of the particulars of his craft are still a mystery to me after our conversation, I've cherry picked some pieces to share with you that are more readily translatable from our moviegoing perspective. 

NATHANIEL R: Rob, I'm not sure where to even begin with your work on Jungle Book. The big takeaway was of course the animals. Are you trying to put all four legged creatures out of work? 

ROBERT LEGATO: That's really the bottom line cause behind all this. How can we prove that you don't need those bastards anymore!?

[Laughter]

The thing is we're not even allowed to use them. You can't bring them on to photograph them for a study. It's against the rules at Disney....

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Saturday
Feb112017

Interview: The Real Saroo and Sue Brierley on Their Favorite Moments in 'Lion'

By Jose Solís.

David Wenham with the real Saroo and Sue Brierley whose story is told in "Lion"

If I didn’t already know Nicole Kidman is a genius, I would’ve been convinced after meeting Sue Brierley, the real life woman who inspired the character she plays in Lion. As I sat down to speak with Mrs. Brierley and her son Saroo (played by Dev Patel in the film), I was first struck by how Nicole perfectly captured her cadence, her soft voice and her piercing look, but then I was completely disarmed by her warmth. Watching her sit next to her son, and look at him with tenderness - she caressed his back, held his hand, and smiled constantly - perfectly encapsulates why the film is so successful. Their story simply needed to be told.

JOSE: Was it surreal to see your story on the big screen?

SAROO BRIERLEY: Yeah definitely, from writing a book, to seeing it turned into a movie, you want to be cautious when it’s a personal story. We’re humbled and touched by the reaction so far.

Read the rest of the interview after the jump...

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Friday
Feb102017

Interview: 'Tanna' Directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean on Australian Cinema, Oscar Season and Movies They Love

By Jose Solís.

At first glance Tanna might seem like another take on the Romeo and Juliet story, as we see two star-crossed lovers, living in the title South Pacific island, fight their way in a society that doesn’t understand their love. But upon giving it a closer look, the film reveals itself to be a fascinating anthropological study about the way in which ancient civilizations have been able to maintain their traditions for centuries, as the colonizers around them always seem to be on the verge of self-destruction. Watching the idyllic living of the Ni-Vanuatu people in the film makes one wish our governments also found ways to listen to everyone in the community. But even when it’s clear that not everything in the island is good, after all they’re living in a conservative patriarchal society, directors Bentley Dean and Martin Butler are able to remove all romanticism, and deliver a document that works as a love story and an insightful look at a culture we know very little about.

The gorgeously shot Tanna features wonderful acting by the locals, non-professional actors who were chosen based on qualities that best approximated the characters they would play. For example leading man Mungau Dain was chosen because everyone believed he was the most handsome man on the island, and his leading lady Marie Wawa was chosen for her strength. The film was warmly received at the 2016 Venice Film Festival where it picked up two awards, and was selected as Australia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film, making the final five when nominations were announced. I spoke to the directors about the challenges of shooting the film, their love for movies, and Oscar season.

Read the interview after the jump.

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Friday
Jan132017

Interview: Pablo Larraín on his recent triple - Jackie, Neruda, and The Club

Portman and Pablo at the premiere of JACKIE (2016)by Nathaniel R

Pablo Larraín, currently Chile's most celebrated director, first broke into the festival circuit via his second film, the violent and disturbing Tony Manero (2008). I found it so upsetting that I thought I'd never risk another one of his features. That resolve didn't last long. His international breakthrough No (2012), was a hit with audiences, critics, and the Oscars and surprisingly enjoyable too. But due to the always unpredictable release dates of movies, we didn't see his work again until 2016 and then there were three movies at once, the sex predator priest drama El Club, the playful writer on the lam whatsit Neruda, and of course the outstanding Oscar hopeful Jackie.

You might call this Pablo's Year but for the fact that he doesn't coddle the audience and his films are as likely to unsettle and challenge as they are to reward you with their significant pleasures like fascinating performances, strong themes, unexpected humor, and emotional acuity.

When we found an opportunity to talk I figured I'd jump into the deep end about the unsettling nature of so many of his features. Our interview follows...

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