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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | letterboxd

 

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Entries in Les Misérables (56)

Thursday
Oct182012

How long can Russell Crowe hold a note?

I had an errant random and one might say spoilery thought involving Les Misérables just the other day. Read no further if you're the type of (possibly very young) person who was like "OMG. ANNE HATHAWAY DIES?!?!?" when people first started talking about the film version en masse...

...

Okay we lost two of you.

...

During Javert's (Russell Crowe) final number "Javert's Suicide", after Jean Valjert (Hugh Jackman) has inadvertently humiliated him by saving his life, he leaps to his death due to his twisted sense of honor -- apparently bayonets aren't so good with the hari kari -- and stage productions have to come up with some suggestive way to show this while the final note of the song falls with him. Whatever he jumps from, even if it's just a few feet off the stage, it's a long way down cuz his note will go on. and on. 

How on earth will they film this, sung live, without it looking and sounding absolutely ridiculous? Anyone want to guess?

 

Sunday
Oct142012

Podcast: Lincoln, Pitch Perfect, and the Supporting Actress Oscar

Weeeeee're ba-aaack.

Katey and Joe attended the sneak Lincoln preview at the NYFF and lived to tell the cel-phone free tale. Nick forces yours truly, Nathaniel, into an aca-awkward confession and the only movie that everyone has seen is Pitch Perfect which is clearly 100% appropriate for an Oscar-focused podcast. Certain to sweep!

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Anna Kendrick being so over it in Pitch Perfect.
  • Sally Field being over the top of it in Lincoln.
  • Helen Hunt being on top of it (John Hawkes) in The Sessions.
  • Nicole Kidman killing it in The Paperboy.
  • Supporting Actress doubling up on it.
  • Elle Fanning giggling through it for Ginger & Rosa
  • Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Molly Ringwald (???) and More!

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen to it right here. The more the merrier in this conversation so join in in the comments.

Pitch Perfect, Lincoln, Supporting Actress

Thursday
Sep202012

Hitchcock Arrives Early

Hitchcock, which was formerly known by the very expositional title Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho will now open Friday November 23rd says Fox Searchlight. The Oscar game board was already quite crowded but Searchlight isn't exactly a shrinking violet when it comes to their own chess pieces. With The Sessions opening in October, and Hitchcock ideally positioned a month later for Thanksgiving weekend, they're clearly feeling confident.

 

2012 was already so crowded (particularly in Best Actor!) but what the hell, right? It's not like anyone will have an easier time being invited to Oscar dinner again than Anthony Hopkins if he nails the mimicry. While it's absurd to suggest that an Oscar for someone playing Alfred Hitchcock is like an Oscar for Alfred Hitchcock, who AMPAS is consistently flogged for not honoring properly, but... well you know how people love a proxy.

And the man himself was always particular about timing. If Fox Searchlight, really wanted to go all out with this movie they'd get really fussy about the screenings, too, to further the Psycho for Psycho homaging.

Imagine everyone being forced to sit down before a movie starts in 2012! Although this might constitute cruel and unusual punishment rather than a savvy marketing ploy; in 1960 they didn't play 25 minutes of commercials before movies began. (In 1960 they still understood that 'no commercials' was a major pro for the movies, something TV could never offer you.) 

Sacha Gervasi, who previously directed the very winning documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil! helms his first traditional feature but if he can bring the humor and pathos of that documentary to this biographical comic/drama than this might be a winner. The all star cast includes Helen Mirren as Hitchcock's wife and Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh. Toni Collette plays Hitchcock's longtime personal assistant Peggy Robertson. Might we have new Supporting Actress candidates to consider too? Even leads if the story thread about Hitchcock's marriage gets lots of screentime.

Time to update the charts again. I just did and this news and the new Oscar dates have already made them seem so out of date and long ago. And now we've even got a new "live singing!" Les Miz video to enjoy. This Oscar race? It's on.

P.S. My weirdly persistent flu -- which you've seen reflected here in erratic posting -- turns out to actually be pneumonia. Boo. So I am a mess and must stay in bed rather than attend my NYFF screenings.... [weeping]! But perhaps I'll be a blogging maniac as I mend. Laptops were invented for bed rest.

Tuesday
Sep182012

Naked Gold Man: Les Miz Slows Down, Oscar Speeds Up

As surely as the weather cools and kids go back to school en masse, we begin to shift gears towards Phase One of Awards Season. That's the pre-nomination time frame when all the hype and guessing gives way to actual buzz (or not) and more educated guessing as the films arrive and are met with shrugs, boos, huzzahs, and precursor nominations . On nomination morning, Oscar gets the last word. Phase One happens to be my favorite part of awards season and today we learn that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has shortened my joy by two whole weeks!

I've had to adjust our side bar widget. That was a quick two weeks we lost! Nominations will now come early on January 10th. That's just 112ish days from now and every 24 hours will count. Which means that instead of the usual month between nominations and Hollywood's High Holy Night we'll have a painful six weeks of running on fumes with the narrower range of people and films to talk about. People are going to be so sick of the chosen few by Oscar night!

This early nomination news arrived on the heels of the news of a delay:  Les Misérables has abandoned its December 14th release date and will try its luck with everything else come Christmas time. Voters won't have much time to see that particular movie -- or many others. This might mean that the precursors will be more influential than ever, essentially filling out voter ballots for them by narrowing their focus when they're losing it in a sea of screeners --all of which they're expected to watch over their holiday breaks. Since the studios simply refuse to give up their beloved December 18th-31st strategy -- the only one they have implicit trust in -- the best thing that could ever happen in Oscar world is two consecutive years of voters enjoying their family over the holidays instead and burning their screeners and only nominating films they'd seen earlier in the year.

Shut up --  I'm allowed to fantasize! It would just be seismic for the enjoyment of serious films all year round because the industry would have to rethink. But that's another topic and a broken record round these parts! 

With so little time for the buzz to settle in December before voting  I suspect we'll have a less volatile season than usual with fewer surprises on nomination morning and the studios will have more say in what gets nominated since they can control the dialogue better before people see the movies.

Important Dates to Know
Dec 1st Governors Awards
Dec 13th Golden Globe Nominations
Dec 17th Oscar Nomination Voting Begins
Jan 3rd Oscar Nomination Voting Ends and PGA Nominees Announced
Jan 8th DGA Nominees Announced
Jan 10th Oscar Nominations Announced
Jan 13th GOLDEN GLOBES NIGHT
Feb 4th Oscar Luncheon
Feb 8th Final Voting Begins
Feb 19th Final Voting Ends
Feb 24th OSCAR NIGHT

Which brings me to another question that's been needling me...

Fantine prays for God's forgiveness. And Oscar traction

You may recall that when they first announced the new voting strategy for Best Picture (the one in which the number of nominees would change each year depending on how many films muster up enough votes) we were told that they had run the numbers on the past several years of 5 nominees only and found that there would have been years with 5,6,7,8, and 9 nominees (but never 10 though the rules allow for it). But here's the catch that no one discussed at the time. The numbers were run on past ceremonies in which every voter was fully aware that only 5 films would be nominated. Many pundits and casual Oscar watchers were surprised last year -- i know I was -- to see 9 nominees in the inaugural year of the new rule. I just didn't see the support for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close but lately I've been wondering... 

Does the knowledge that the rules are different fundamentally change the way Oscar members vote?

Think it over. If, in years past, your favorite film of the year was one which had zero traction, would you have thrown your vote to your second favorite instead since everyone agreed that one was a legit spoiler possibility for Best Picture? Now that members are fully aware that up to 10 films can be nominated if they can find enough ardent fans, it seems likely that a 5 wide Best Picture year is a thing of the past. Why would anyone abandon their favorites in this new more permissive climate?

 

Tuesday
Aug282012

Nathaniel On His Travels: Streep Branding & Les Miz Jitters

Hi kids. I thought I'd check in briefly from my mom-centric travels. I'm typing this from my hotel room in St. George, Utah where the air is hot, the rocks are red, and my nephews live. They were inundating me last night with all sorts of information I didn't understand (mostly about video games) but once we got to the movies I was on sound footing (their preferred topics: superheroes and Miyazaki).

But how are you doing -- Aren't the guest bloggers doing a bang up job keeping us entertained? I ate up all of Leslye's posts (by which I mean read them multiple times) and pricked my ears up to a new voice in our sound mix, Matt Zurcher. Thank you as ever to longtime regulars Jose and JA. And to Beau, too,  because Sharing is Caring -- TFE is like his new Confessional which I guess makes me (and you) the priest? Hee!

I bought two books in the airport from sheer indecision about what to read (why don't I have a kindle or iPad yet?) and the one I've started is "The Meryl Streep Movie Club" which is probably a shameless attempt to borrow TFE's most discussed movie star's bankability to sell some books. But here's the catch to shamelessness: it often works. I bought the book didn't I? It's about an estranged family of sisters, who after a tragic orphaned childhood, reunite as adults and get some very bad news. Their aunt hosts a weekly movie night at the inn where they've gathered and it happens to be Meryl Streep Month. So far Silkwood has been name dropped the most -- a choice I fully support -- and they're about to watch Bridges of Madison County. I'm not very far in because my inflight movie was The Avengers (more on that in a couple of days when I'm back to NYC) which was more than enough to keep me occupied.

As you read this my soul is being stirred.

 Chances are at least. See, I'm off to see Les Misérables on stage for the first time in aeons. As a teenager I wore out my tape of the soundtrack and when I found out it was playing at Cedar City's annual widely acclaimed Shakespeare Festival (they've even won a regional Tony Award) I jumped at the chance to take my mom because a) she doesn't get out much and b) she's never seen it on stage but loves musicals and started me early on them for which I can only give her millions of hugs. It's a perfect opportunity to see the show before the movie hits and becomes the possibility definitive version for millions upon millions of people who don't get to stage shows often or ever. Which is unfortunately a lot of people -- even for shows as successful as Les Miz which has earned over $2 billion globally in its 27 year life.

I have no jitters about seeing the show on stage again because it's a magnificent epic in its original medium. But will it work on the movie screen? Bring it home, Tom Hooper! Bring it home.

Which brings me to my exit questions:

  • Have you ever seen Les Miz on stage?
  • Which is your favorite song? (If you must know mine is "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables")

 

Wednesday
May302012

Yes, No, Maybe So: "Les Miserables"

Q: You know what I always wanted for Christmas?
A: A miserabilist musical epic about whores, convicts, slum lords, revolutionaries and starving street urchins in 19th century France.

Thanks, Santa!

And thanks, Baby Jesus! Even though your dad was not as forgiving as Fantine (Anne Hathaway) dreamed. Les Misérables trailer and discussion after the jump

Click to read more ...