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Entries in Lincoln (25)

Monday
Feb252013

Morning After Links

BuzzFeed "The 16 Most Epic Faces Jennifer Lawrence Made on Oscar Night" ...my favorite (pictured below) is the "i can't remember your name" face
Slate who was wrongest in their Oscar predictions?
Gawker all of Seth MacFarlane's sexist, racist and homophobic jokes collected
i09 Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2 wins all the Razzies... speaking of did we ever figure out why Kristen Stewart was on crutches... was it the crushing weight of her own celebrity?

Salon on why Lincoln lost
Nick's Flick Picks I think in the Oscar Glut yesterday, a lot of you missed this fun group party wherein a bunch of us picked our favorite wins from past years. Super fun. And more to come. 
Nick's Flick Picks also live-blogged the whole show. I haven't read this yet but since it's Nick, you know it'll be good. 
Pop & Hiss Adele and Dame Shirley Bassey saved the Oscars
The Great Showdown celebrates the Best Pics in Scott C's wonderful way 
Hulu for the first time you can watch the Oscars online in full (for a limited time)
IndieWire watch Quvenzhané Wallis get down at the after party!  

And behold, my favorite photo I've yet seen from the After Parties

Answer me these questions three:

  • How much do you love both of these men?
  • What do you suppose they were saying to each other here? 
  • Which Ang Lee movie do you think Daniel Day-Lewis loves most? 
Sunday
Feb242013

Oscar Day: The Key Nail-Biter Categories

I filed my final Oscar predictions on Friday and I'm just horrified looking at them now, certain I'll be wrong. Surveying the landscape of my predictions in chart format (I changed the photo above each category to those final predictions) I realized I was predicting a night that has very little in the way of dominance with 4 Oscars to Life of Pi and 3 each for Lincoln, Les Miz, and Argo. The problem with this prediction is that it doesn't account for the year long Bond Mania (which did end up breaking through AMPAS's historic disinterest in the franchise; they gave Skyfall 5 nominations more than doubling the franchise's previous 49 year tally of nominations) and it doesn't account for the Weinstein factor. Only one Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook feels improbable and foolish as predictions go, given how hard they pushed this last month. And yet the one Oscar I did predict for it (Best Actress) is the one that a lot of other pundits have abandoned in favor of Emmanuelle Riva's late surge for Amour

Here's the categories I change my mind about every five minutes and the ones I think will reveal themselves as "keys" to how the general membership really felt this year once the dust settles. 

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
Three Way Race. Though I felt fairly confident predicting this one for Argo, it's not inconceivable that Lincoln could still take it considering the "deserved" factor and Kushner's Pulitzer prestige. But then the current Silver Linings Playbook mania suggests that it's also a likely winner... unless Oscar voters decide that Director is as good a place as any to reward David O. Russell who they finally came around to with The Fighter (2010). The perverse trivia-mad side of me is actually hoping that Argo ONLY wins Best Picture because it would be such a fun statistic to obsess over and reference in future years, don't you think?
Oscars Nominees | My Choices  

PRODUCTION DESIGN
Three Way Race. I predicted Anna Karenina with Life of Pi as a probably spoiler. Now I absolutely wish I had reversed that. My prediction was wishful thinking in that I've become quite uncomfortable with the cinematography & production design categories being so fused so consistently with visual effects. Visual Effects is its own form and ought not to be confused with others. Anyway, they've retitled the category to "Production Design" instead of "Art Direction" and though it's the exact same category it's not unthinkable that the title shift also affects perception for those who aren't well versed in the specifics putting Anna at a disadvantage since it reads more "art" than "design" if that makes sense. And yet... if voters like Lincoln as much as the nomination tally suggests rather than as little as the internet keeps insisting, here's where it picks up its sole statue outside the big eight. A final note on Lincoln: The constant groupthink noise of the internet -- a different pool of thought and a different demographic than the Academy -- makes predicting much harder than it once was rather than easier. If you trusted the internet NO ONE in the Academy would ever dream of voting for "tries hard" Hathaway or "boring" Lincoln. And yet obviously this is not the case. It can be hard to keep your head clear of the noise or at least keep your ears discerning. For, embedded in all the internet noise, is both buzzy truths and bored conjecture falsehoods ... but how to tell the difference?
Oscars Nominees | My Choices  

DIRECTOR
Three Way Race. Whoever wins this, it'll show (I think) that that was the runner-up film for Best Picture... unless it's a shock win for Michael Haneke or Benh Zeitlin in which case the voters felt that Spielberg (Lincoln) & Lee (Pi) had been awarded enough in previous years and they weren't quite ready to hand the once "difficult" Russell (Playbook) the top prize. I thought about changing my prediction to a shock win for Michael Haneke until I remembered that no director of a foreign language film has ever won this prize -- no not even Federico Fellini or Ingmar Bergman, Oscar's indisputable favorites as foreign auteurs go. Neither of them ever won for direction or writing despite multiple nominations in each category. They never took home a competitive Oscar outside of Foreign Film which, semantically speaking, belongs to the country rather than the director.  (Though surely the director keeps the trophy?)
Oscars Nominees | My Choices 

You votin' for me? You votin' for me? Then who else you votin' for?

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Five Way Race. The internet seems to believe that this is now Robert DeNiro's to lose given the Playbook mania, the lack of "narrative" in giving any of them the prize (weak year), and the hard hard push to get the acting legend a third Oscar. I stuck with Tommy Lee Jones on account of I do still think anyone could win and the numbers separating them all will be razor thin. Is it too much to hope for an historic tie? Nevertheless I have trouble imagining that that "hasn't won an Oscar in 30 years" narrative for De Niro will really pay off. Sure, it worked for Streep last year but that was only after several attempts (aka lots of momentum) and a year-long build up with tributes and genuflection. De Niro had no such festive built up and literally zero momentum (outside of this last month) given that he has done nothing Oscar worthy in those 30 years. I think if Jones loses, it'll be Christoph Waltz at the podium. But if Jones loses, I think it's clear that the Lincoln fans in the room weren't very committed to the film despite the hefty nomination tally. 
Oscars Nominees | My Choices  

Which categories are giving you the strongest last-minute anxiety?

Sunday
Feb172013

7 Days 'til Oscar: Costume Design

Each year at the Oscar ceremony I hope against hope that they'll ditch one of the numerous superfluous montages celebrating something or other throughout history and just do a runway show of the year's best costumes. On rare occasions we've seen a living tableau before the winner was announced and at least once, a Whoopi ceremony, the host actually incorporated costume design into the gig.

Imagine Seth MacFarlane coming out as Fantine in a shredded Les Miz gown or Queen Ravenna's raven collar dress. Sorry, no! I apologize deeply for putting those images in your head. Let's just say that I feel reasonably certain there will at least be a stovepipe hat during the ceremony in honor of Lincoln.

OSCAR NOMINEES
• Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
• Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
• Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
• Paco Delgado, Les Misérables
• Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Hunstman

will win: Anna Karenina, it's not quite traditional "royalty porn", their favorite thing in this category, but the Russian aristocracy is close enough.
should win: Anna Karenina, Durran continues to just amaze in film after film.
weird trivia: The Oscars love Colleen Atwood but she only ever wins when she's pitted against their other all-time favorite Sandy Powell
possible spoiler: if Oscar voters are feeling daring and/or sentimental you could see a posthumous win for the great Ishioka whose costumes always function as their own setpieces they're such scene stealers

OSCAR VISUAL CHARTS
My Own Ballot & Semi-Finalists with shout-outs to all the Oscar nominees (great lineup. well done AMPAS) as well as Sharen Davis, Kasia Walicka-Maimone, Caroline Eselin, Julie Weiss, Mark Bridges, and Manon Rasmussen

I think this begs a reader poll...

 

 

 

Sunday
Jan272013

Three Reasons Why "Argo" Became the One To Beat

You can't always know how the future will treat each year's awards recipients. Will their strengths will come into sharper focus as time erodes the particulars of the movie culture and conversation they arrived into or will that erosion grind a movie or performers appeal down with it? What will we make in five year's time of this moment when Hollywood threw awards at Argo instead of, say, Lincoln? That's what happened again last night at the Producers Guild Awards when Ben Affleck's 1970s CIA rescue tale took the top prize.

We don't have to wait for hindsight clarity when it comes to Argo's sudden rise in the previous deadheat Oscar race.  I'd say that three things are responsible, two of which no one could have predicted.

1. I'd been saying from the very start that Argo's narrative subtext, embedded into its truish story of a fake movie being used to rescue Americans from a hostile regime, that 'Movies Save the World!' feel would be irressistible to the back-patting awards season mentality in much the same way it was for the documentary The Cove some years ago.

The other two factors were not things anyone could have predicted though....

2.  Zero Dark Thirty emerged to somewhat reductive "so much better than Argo!" laudatory soundbytes (they both involve CIA meddling in the Middle East so they must be compared incessantly!) and for about a week it looked like The Real Oscar Deal but what happened next with it was very kind to Argo. Zero became the media's most slobbered on and teared at rag doll with everyone tsk-tsking and fuming and eventually subtly equating the making of it with condoning torture. By extension voting for it felt unpleasant to some, too. Suddenly the "better than Argo" conversation died and was replaced with just "...Argo", a rebooting if you will of where the Oscar conversation had previously been. Sometimes opening early helps and it's more than helped Argo.

3. The last, and most shocking turn of events was Ben Affleck's omission from the Best Director lineup. I'd long been predicting him to win that statue even though I hadn't viewed Argo necessarily as the future Best Picture champ, suspecting that we were in for a split year. The best thing that ever happened to Argo in terms of its Best Picture prospects was Affleck's "snub". And conversely, that's the worse thing that happened to Lincoln. Whatever one makes of the quality of the Best Picture nominees (have you voted for your favorite here?), Lincoln previously had the strongest narrative arriving as it did in this historic year of President Obama's reelection and the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. Affleck's over-mourned "snub" (people keep conveniently forgetting how strong the Best Director lineup is without him!) handed Argo an underdog narrative in a season where the narratives -- those tricky hooks that make a person or movie so irresistible in the Story of the Year's Entertainments -- weren't all that strong even if the movies were.

Reason no. 3 is in some ways the most understandable now that it's happened and the most baffling. If you really step back for some perspective Ben Affleck is an enormous waste of a Sympathy Vote. He's already an Oscar winner. He's an Oscar nominee even when he's snubbed (he'll win the Oscar if Argo wins Best Picture since he produced) - fancy that. He has a happy Hollywood marriage. He rose to fame with his best friend who is still a huge power player in Hollywood, too. He's risen from the ashes of a weirdly shaky leading man career to become a respected director and a... uh... leading man again. He's super handsome and aging well. He's made only three films all of which received Oscar attention, the latter two of which were big big hits. If anything he's a true golden boy of showbiz with a hugely enviable career and awards run and yet, you'd think he were dying! To this Awards Season he's suddenly treated like the Fantine figure in Les Miz on her death bed; the one to cry over "if only life weren't so cruel!", the one to promise everything to in order to make amends.

And all because he missed out on an expected Best Director nomination?

Mrs. Affleck at the PGAs. Oh, you know she makes this pose at home while mock scolding BenTHE WINNERS

Outstanding Producer, Film: Ben Affleck, Grant Henslov, George Clooney for Argo
Outstanding Producer, Documentary: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn for Searching for Sugar Man
Outstanding Producer, Animated: Clark Spencer for Wreck-it Ralph
Outstanding Producer, Longform TV: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong for "Game Change"
Outstanding Producer, Episodic TV (Drama): Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm for "Homeland"
Outstanding Producer, Episodic TV (Comedy): Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker for "Modern Family" 
Outstanding Producer, NonFiction TV: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy,Julie Sacks for "American Masters" PBS 
Outstanding Producer, Live TV: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell,Jon Stewart for "The Colbert Report" 
Outsanding Producer, Competition TV:  Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo for "The Amazing Race"

Outstanding Sports Program: "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel"
Outstanding Children's Program:  "Sesame Street"
Outstanding Digital Series: "30 Rock: The Webisodes" 

 

 

Thursday
Jan242013

Is "Lincoln" Nervous About Losing SAG?

Early "Lincoln" SwagThis just in. A SAG voter shot me a note yesterday after received a Lincoln screener at the tail end of voting -- the Awards are this Sunday night -- wondering if the Lincoln team was nervous about losing the SAG Ensemble prize to one of its formidable competitors in the seemingly wide-open Best Picture race. 

It was sent last minute, priority mail envelopes, clearly put together quickly.  It wasn't on the initial list of screeners or downloads so it was a last minute decision, it would seem."

It seems weird to hear "put together quickly" about a Lincoln screener since mine was artfully packaged and I received it a month ago. Truth: Lincoln has been the most active movies in terms of continual swag at least at my house: I've gotten Spielberg books, Presidential cookbooks, a screener, a hardcover script (those are rare) and more... but it is a significant expense to send screeners to SAG voters as compared to 6,000ish AMPAS members and 300ish BFCA since members since the Screen Actors Guild has so very very many voting members. 

Do you think Lincoln is nervous about a potential Ensemble loss on Sunday... and thus less momentum heading into the final month of Oscar voting?  

I'm torn myself as to which film I think is winning: Momentum is with Argo, but Silver Linings Playbook is definitely a hit with actors and is campaigning hard. Maybe Lincoln wouldn't have had so much to worry about if they hadn't abused their ensemble by leaving out some of the best players... and not even campaigning for Supporting Actor for audience favorites like James Spader (dear god I never thought I'd write the second half of that sentence). 

only seven -- SEVEN -- members of Lincoln's sprawling awesome cast are nominated in the "Ensemble" category. That's less actors than are in most of the scenes! In contrast: Argo has 13 nominees; Les Miz has 12; Best Exotic has 8; Silver Linings Playbook has 6

P.S. For what it's worth if I were a Screen Actor (I am... not) I would probably vote for Lincoln in this category but not happily since the award would not go to many of the colorful performances featured.