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Best Actress -- Who will be nominated?
Davis? Blunt? Adams? Chastain?

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Entries in interview (156)

Friday
Feb052016

Interview: Carter Burwell on Composing "Carol" and "Hail, Caesar!"

Carter Burwell gives great soundtrack. The proof is all around us. His scores are everywhere right now, in movie theaters with Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa and the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar! and in the Oscar mix; his work on Carol brought him his long long overdue first nomination for Best Original Score.

The 60 year-old composer started his music career in the punk scene but after that fateful first collaboration with the the Coens on Blood Simple (1984) he quickly become a film regular. He's composed every Coen brothers score since then with the exception of Inside Llewyn Davis. They aren't the only filmmakers who steadily rely on his gift. He's worked frequently for Bill Condon, Michael Caton-Jones, Spike Jonze, John Lee Hancock, and Todd Haynes among others.

I asked him how he keeps his work fresh with so many projects and how he approached the recent challenges of the "ridiculous" comedy of Hail, Caesar! and the restrained drama of Carol.

Our interview follows after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb042016

Interview: Alicia Vikander on Modern Girls, Talking Robots, and Scandinavian Celebrity

Vikander at the SAG Awards where she won Best Supporting ActressWhen I sat down with Alicia Vikander to discuss her career she was full of surprises, and not just in the way she answered questions. She approached in what looked like the simplest black dress, nothing special at all, until she turned around and the dress had an elaborately elegant back with a trailing bow. She promptly plopped down in a chair, opened a small bag of chips, and began munching away. She's a vision, alright, but the vision kept shifting: Unadorned Beauty, Glamorous Star, Girl Next Door. 

This hard to pin down picture shouldn't come as a surprise. In the short time we've been watching her she's been equally believable as a sly robot, a conflicted Danish queen, a debutate Russian aristocrat, a bohemian artist whose world is turned upside down, and a British writer during wartime.

But she's been so ubiquitous this year, both on screen and red carpets, that we're wondering which sides of herself she's yet to reveal. So we begin, counterintuively, with her future.

[The following interview was conducted before she won her SAG Award else we'd have talked about it.] 

NATHANIEL R: You've had so many movies released in the last few years. If you don't slow down, what's going to be left to accomplish?!? 

more after the jump...

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Wednesday
Feb032016

Interview: 'Rams' Director Grímur Hákonarson on Working with Sheep and Icelandic Idiosyncrasy

In Grímur Hákonarson’s darkly funny Rams, two brothers who haven’t spoken in decades must unite forces to save their legacy when the government demands all their livestock must be slaughtered to contain a disease. Hidden behind long beards and stubbornness, Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) take on the impossible task of trying to outsmart the government, making for a fascinating allegory about the things we lose in the name of progress. After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category, Rams went on to being chosen as Iceland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission. As the film opens in the US, I got a chance to sit down with Hákonarson who spoke about how his childhood shaped the film, how Cannes changed his life, and shared interesting trivia about sheep.

JOSE: Your parents used to send you to the country to work during the summers. Did you ever think of this as a punishment in any way?

interview after the jump

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan142016

Prediction Stats & Well Wishing

Focus, Nathaniel, focus. So many posts are in embryonic stages of writing so be patient. This day is so demanding but we love it. It's our Christmas (Oscar Night being our New Year's Eve). True, The Academy always delivers a few ungodly lumps of coal (like ignoring Carol in Best Picture) but you take the bad with the good or you go insane. 

First we should begin by saying "Congratulations!" to all the nominees. In the next 48 hours we'll talk about our favorite choices the Academy made, wonder about the headscratchers, say a symbolic farewell to our beloved but snubbed, and cover trivia and such.  If you missed recent interviews with some of the nominees now would be a great time to catch up with them and comment away: Jack Fisk (Production Design, The Revenant), Jacqueline West (Costume Design, The Revenant), Phyllis Nagy (Screenplay, Carol), László Nemes (Foreign Film, Son of Saul), Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Foreign Film, Mustang). More Oscar Nominee interviews are coming soon including Alicia Vikander, Sandy Powell, Chivo, and a little Star Wars: The Force Awakens

As for how I did on my predictions? I scored 79% accuracy in the big eight categories but a 74% overall. Not shabby but not great either in one of the more difficult years I've experienced as a pundit. You can see the breakdown on the nomination index page (nailed Actor and Sound Editing, biffed big time on Song & Production Design) or on this blow by blow account. 

Did the morning turn out as you'd predicted?
One things for sure: If you were betting against The Revenant you were viciously mauled by The Academy. They went for it in nearly every category they could save Best Supporting Actress where they passed on Judy the bear.  I'll confess: though I admire much of the craftwork, it's  already my great borennoyance of the season, just grunting and bleeding and sufferring and suffocatingly obssessed with its own masculinity.

Friday
Jan082016

2015 Film Year Interview Index

There will be another handful (or two) of interviews coming as we march toward Hollywood's High Holy Night on February 28th. But with Oscar nomination voting closing today and so many interviews these past few weeks this seems as good a time as any to ask you to "consider" our official index of interviews from the film year and to take a less daily approach to the remaining one-on-ones.

Actors
Laia Costa (Victoria)
Chris Eigeman (Metropolitan's 25th anniversary)
Nina Hoss (Phoenix)
Jeremy Irvine (Stonewall)
James Ransone (TangerineSinister 2
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)
Géza Röhrig (Son of Saul
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina / The Danish Girl)

...and super brief chats with Sir Ian McKellen (Mr Holmes), Jane Fonda & Paul Dano (Youth), Michael Keaton (Spotlight), Pilou Asbaek (A War), and Carey Mulligan (Suffragette)

Creatives
Judy Becker (Production Design, Carol)
Carter Burwell (Composer, Carol, Anomalisa, Hail, Caesar!)
Odile Dicks-Mireaux (Costumes, Brooklyn)
Jack Fisk (Production Design, The Revenant)
Affonso Gonçalves (Editing, Carol)
Roger Guyett & Pat Tubach (Visual FX, The Force Awakens)
Ed Lachman (Cinematography, Carol)
David Lang (Original Song, Youth)
Emmanuel Lubezki (Cinematography, The Revenant)
Nathan Nugent (Editing, Room)
Daniel Pemberton (Original Score, Steve Jobs)
Sandy Powell (Costume Design, Carol)
Adam Stockhausen (Production Design, Bridge of Spies)
Ethan Tobman (Production Design, Room)
Kasia Walicka-Maimone (Costume Design, Bridge of Spies)
Jacqueline West (Costume Design, The Revenant

Writers & Directors
Gillian Armstrong (Women He's Undressed)
John Boorman (Queen & Country)
Lucinda Coxon (The Danish Girl
Deniz Gamze Ergüven (Mustang - France's Oscar nominee)
Ciro Guerra (Embrace of the Serpent - Colombia's Oscar nominee)
Klaus Härö (The Fencer - Finland's Oscar finalist)
Tobias Linhdolm (A War - Denmark's Oscar Nominee)
Kornél Mundruczó (White God)
Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
Joshua Oppenheimer (The Look of Silence - Doc Nominee)
Lázló Nemes (Son of Saul - Hungary's Oscar nominee)
Giulio Ricciarelli (Labyrinth of Lies - Germany's Oscar finalist) 
Josh Singer (Spotlight -Screenplay)
Frédéric Tcheng (Dior & I
Wim Wenders (Everything Will Be Fine


 ...and lots more Foreign Film Oscar Submission Interviews

 

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2014's Index - Anna Kendrick, Oscar Isaac, Hans Zimmer, etc.
2013's Index - Matthew McConaughey, Sarah Paulson, Sally Hawkins, etc.
2012's Index - Nicole Kidman, Eddie Redmayne, Kerry Washington, etc.
2011's Index  -Jessica Chastain, Charlize Theron, Corey Stoll, etc.
2010's Index - Julianne Moore, Kirsten Dunst, Juliette Lewis, etc.

 

Friday
Jan082016

The Revenant's Jack Fisk on Outdoor Movies & His Life with Sissy Spacek

Jack Fisk at the Oscars for "There Will Be Blood" with his Best Actress wife Sissy SpacekThe Revenant, just nominated for eight (!) BAFTAs, opens nationwide today so here's our last interview of the week to celebrate this wilderness epic. 

Jack Fisk, the Oscar-nominated Production Designer (There Will Be Blood) is no stranger to outdoor challenges. Many of his most famous films, due in no small part to his long collaboration with Terrence Malick, feel the spiritual pull of nature as does the man who designs them. He prefers to build on location and with the tools that would have been present at the time, whatever time the movie happens to take place in.

When he signed on for The Revenant, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu gave him a copy of Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev which he used for inspiration of scale and detail. His longtime collaborators Emmanuel "Chivo" Lubezki (Cinematographer) and Jacqueline West (Costumes) Fisk -- who he had worked with on many projects though only once altogether (The New World, 2005) were also on hand to realize this brutal of frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) surviving bear attacks, bloody skirmishes, and mercenary Tom Hardy.  

I asked Fisk about his onscreen life with auteur collaborators, his offscreen life with one of the great screen actresses, and his preference for outdoor cinema. Our conversation is after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan072016

Interview: Affonso Gonçalves and the Art of Editing Great Actresses

Affonso Gonçalves with this ACE win for editing True Detective (2014)Affonso Gonçalves is a man that every actress lover ought to both thank and envy. Over the course of his career in TV and film he has been privvy to a consisently vivid series of strong and sometimes downright iconic performances by several of our greatest actress. He's helped shape the way we see them, too.

His career began in earnest with as an assisant editor on Todd Solondz's cult hit about a nerdy teenager Dawn Weiner in Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995) and soon thereafter he was editing multiple films for Ira Sachs and other independent minded directors. In the 20 years since his debut he's edited performances by Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), Kate Winslet (Mildred Pierce), Kerry Washington (Night Catches Us), Michelle Williams (The Hawk is Dying), Kim Basinger (The Door in the Floor), and  Patricia Clarkson (Married Life). More famously he's edited two star-making young performances that went on to be Oscar nominated for Best Actress in Jennifer Lawrence in Winter's Bone (2010) and Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012). Next week he'll likely be able to add two more Oscar nominated performances to his editing triumphs with Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara's duet in Carol.

I had the pleasure recently of grilling him about watching and shaping these Best Actress performances in Winter's Bone, Beasts of the Southern Wild and Carol. Here's our conversation (edited for length and clarity) with very mild Carol spoilers if you haven't yet seen it. The film opens in additional theaters this weekend. More after the jump...

Click to read more ...