Oscar History

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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Entries in interview (207)


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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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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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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Interview: Denis Villeneuve on "Arrival" and his Future with Sci-Fi

by Nathaniel R

Though awards season is a roller coaster of emotion each year, one of its purely happiest annual trends is the sudden recognition of talent that have been doing consistently fine work all along. This year's "it's about time!" contender is surely 49 year old French-Canadian director Denis Villeneuve. A famous director at home with six wins at Canada's own Oscars, "the Genies," people are still learning his name in Hollywood and beyond. His international breakthrough was Incendies (2010) about twin siblings journeying to the war torn Middle East. It was nominated for the BAFTA and the Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. Since that breakthrough his profile in Hollywood has steadily risen and he's shown a gift for directing movie stars, versatility with genre, and a particularly refined skill at building and maintaining tension at feature length which has provided thrilling moments in all of his recent films from Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), Sicario (2015), and on to his current biggest hit yet  Arrival (2016).

Today he received a DGA nomination for Best Director, the surest awards season sign that a movie will be a Best Picture contender at the Oscars. Our conversation follows...

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Interview: Gael García Bernal on Neruda, Zorro, and Other Characters

This weekend at the Golden Globes, an unexpected but not all that surprising reunion of the best friends / stars of the Oscar nominated road trip classic Y Tu Mama Tambíen (2001) occured. Both Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna came to international fame together in the early Aughts and they're both still riding high in movies from Hollywood and outside of it.

I had the opportunity to speak with Bernal a month ago about his sturdy career, its auteurist origins, and his current busy playfulness. He's now juggling streaming television stardom (Mozart in the Jungle), occasional directing gigs, frequent producing duties, upcoming starring roles (Zorro?) and still doing what he was doing in his very first years of fame: headlining artistically ambitious Spanish language Oscar submissions. Though neither of his current films (Mexico's Desierto and Chile's Neruda) made Oscar's finalist list, Neruda did receive a well deserved Golden Globe nomination.

Gael full plate is just rewards for his sturdy talent and impressive range but it's also a very happy reminder that some mesmerizing debuts like his own in the Oscar nominated Amores Perros (2000) don't result in flash in the pan quick fades but long and beautiful careers.

NATHANIEL R: Your first movie Amores Perros was an international success and you've been busy ever since. How much of this career did you imagine for yourself back then?

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A Cocktail with Nicole, Always Our Leading Lady.

UNICEF held a screening of Lion this past week in Manhattan with stars Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar (who share the protagonist role of Saroo). I finally had the pleasure of getting some face time with Nicole at the party afterwards. The Monkey Bar's main room has restaurant tables and chairs circling the a big slightly lower open area where the stars enter and are then typically bombarded by press, photographers, and industry wellwishers.

The crowd gave adorable little Sunny plenty of space, looking so tiny and a bit overwhelmed while taking press photos, before he headed to a private table. Dev Patel worked the room shaking hands at tables. Nicole, at least from my vantage point, stayed in the center; you came to her. As it should be.

The statuesque star towered over me (she's only 1" taller, but, add heels)...

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An Interview with the Founder of the Seattle Film Critics Society

Please welcome Brian Zitzelman, our newest contributor. He's a member of the newly formed Seattle Film Critics Society and for his first post he's interviewing the founder of that society Michael Ward. A little inside peak for you. - Editor

Michael Ward of "Should I See It"by Brian Zitzelman

Beyond being a genuinely kind, smart man, Michael Ward has done what few have; he's created a film critic's society. The Seattle Film Critics Society to be exact.  

Despite being home to a near month-long film festival, a multitude of cinemas devoted to older movies and generally being pretty comfortably snobby about the arts, the city of Seattle hasn't had a proper Film Society for over a decade. Mr. Ward changed that with months and months of work dealing with studio reps here and cavalcades of other oddities. In between tallying the final votes and writing sensationally for his own site Should I See It, I spoke to Mike about the joys, troubles and curveballs of what it takes to develop something that’s usually an established institution in other parts of the country. 

BRIAN ZITZELMAN: Let me start with the obvious question; How happy are you to have this first year of the Seattle Film Critics Society behind you?

MICHAEL WARD: Well, it feels premature to say that we have a full year under our belts. We are still working with a team to complete the infrastructure but I am comfortable in saying that lots of people have put in lots of time to make this a reality. We are planning on voting in a Board of Directors in February 2017, and at that point, more than two years of hard work will definitely have paid off. 

Moonlight took 6 prizes including Best Picture at the first official Seattle Film Critics Society awards

Can you walk us through the whole concept? I think most people assume every major metropolitan city has its own film critics circle, especially those with a history of the arts like Seattle. 

While this iteration of a Seattle Film Critics Society is new, there was an organization that existed from 2001-2004. Unfortunately, when they disbanded it was an ugly dissolution, and people are still reeling from how that all apparently went down.  But you're absolutely right Brian, most major cities have a film critics society or organization which most people typically only hear about during awards season...  

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Billy Crudup won't tell you this but he's terrific in "20th Century Women"

20th Century Women, now playing in limited release, is named after its complicated women. There are three of them to be exact played by Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning. To the movie's great credit, the two male characters are no less fascinating. Take note, men: while the men have their own distinct characters, half of the reason they're so interesting is their empathy and curiousity about the women they share their lives with. One of the guys is a teenager just getting started in life (Lucas Jade Zumann) and eager to soak it all in. The film's quietest character is William (Billy Crudup). He's moving into middle age but headed nowhere in particular; the women have always come to him but he still doesn't know where he's going.

On a very busy day just before the holidays I was able to catch Billy Crudup for a few minutes at the tail end of his press duties for 20th Century Women. While far more articulate than his character, he was similarly self-effacing, deflecting praise more often than not to pass the achievement on to co-stars, directors, and writers. Suddenly his theorized resistance to being A Movie Star (a long-since forgotten topic of discussion from the early days of his career when he turned down high profile gigs) made a great deal of sense. And since he won't say it himself, let it be known that this modest actor is very good in a tricky part in this wonderful film.

lost William in 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (2016)

Here's our conversation...

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