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the design of THE LOVE WITCH

 

"The look of the film is really fantastic, but the script begins to run out of steam after the first quarter." -Rob

"Great write-up. I had the pleasure of seeing this beauty in 35mm." -Roger

 

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Melissa Leo (The Most Hated Woman in America)
Ritesh Batra (The Sense of an Ending)
Asghar Farhadi (Salesman)

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Entries in Octavia Spencer (34)

Thursday
Feb232017

Black History Month: Spotlight on Octavia Spencer

by Steven Fenton

On February 26, 2012, Octavia Spencer won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her endearing performance as the feisty Minny Jackson in Tate Taylor’s The Help. With her win, Spencer joined an elite group, becoming just the sixth black actress to win an acting Oscar (and only the seventh overall, if you count Irene Cara’s Original Song win for Flashdance, since she also starred in the film). Prior to 2011, Spencer had worked steadily since the mid-90s, gaining a reputation as a warm and generous co-star and a beloved character actress. So her win in February 2012 felt like an authentic opportunity for the academy to recognize an industry favorite.

Spencer was an indomitable force in the 2011 awards season, snatching wins at the Critics Choice, SAG awards, Globe Globes, and BAFTA, and beating out a talented crop of women in sensational breakout performances, including: Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), and Spencer’s co-star, Jessica Chastain (who had taken both the LA and NY Film Critics awards for her outstanding trio of performances in The Help, Take Shelter, and Tree of Life). Spencer’s Oscar win was a foregone conclusion early in the race. The real competition that was year between Viola Davis and Meryl Streep in Leading Actress. Viola could have made history that night as the second black woman to win in lead, but it wasn’t to be. Instead, Spencer walked away with The Help’s only win that evening. Little did we know then, Octavia’s Oscar story wasn’t over, and she definitely wasn’t done making history...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb192017

Podcast: Smackdown Companion Discussion

Nathaniel welcomes fellow team members Murtada, Chris, and Abstew to discuss this year's Supporting Actress race. It's a verbal companion piece to the "Smackdown" we just held

Index (42 minutes)
Longform discussion of this year's supporting actress contenders Nicole Kidman, Viola Davis, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer, their futures, their films. What, if anything new, did they reveal to us this year and what would we like to see next from them?

You can listen to the podcast here at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes. Continue the conversations in the comments, won't you? 

Smackdown Companion - 2016 Supporting Actress

Saturday
Feb182017

Smackdown '16: Nicole, Viola, Michelle, Naomie, Octavia

Presenting the Supporting Actresses of '16. This year's slate of nominees features a selfless adoptive mother, a doting but suddenly resentful wife, a woman whose tragic past has suddenly resurfaced, a savvvy mother hen and supervisor struggling to gain respect, and an addict who makes her sensitive son's life a nightmare of instability.

THE NOMINEES 

One long-time-coming breakthrough for an exciting actress (Get it Naomie Harris), two Oscar winners elevating their films with warmth and precision (Kidman & Spencer), and two Oscar darlings who arguably should have won already attacking tragic material (Williams and Davis). Who will be triumphant in the smackdown?

THIS MONTH'S PANELISTS

Though we usually arrange for special guests including actors, writers, and film critics, for the first Smackdown of the new season, we opted to do it all 'in house' with only TFE crew just to get the series back up and running: Nathaniel, Abstew, Chris, and Murtada (you can read about the team here) are discussing the nominees. And now it's time for the main event... 

2016
SUPPORTING ACTRESS SMACKDOWN 

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb162017

Links: Colossal's Trailer, Moana's Brothers, Namor's Rights

Coming Soon Colossal, that kaiju movie starring Anne Hathaway that we told you about at least year's TIFF is coming out this year and it has such a cute poster (pictured left) and the trailer is also here.
Deadline good interview with Octavia Spencer on why she did Hidden Figures and diversity in film
Coming Soon here's a super duper strange news item. Kenneth Lonergan is writing an miniseries adaptation of Howards End to star Hayley Atwell. Never mind that there's zero chance of improving on Merchant & Ivory's 1992 masterpiece!
Variety what does the Academy look for in an Original Song nominee and winner?
Tracking Board what makes a TV pilot script a success?
In Contention profiles former sound mixing partners nominated against each other for the first time for Hacksaw Ridge and 13 Hours
THR an anonymous source talks about the lack of shame in Hollywood around the gender imbalance in the director's chair 
MNPP pays tribute to sexy German actor Clemens Schick
/Film the Jurassic World sequel has started production


Playbill a deleted scene from Moana - she had many brothers in an original draft
Playbill Fathom Events is showing the filmed movie of Disney's Broadway version of Newsies starring Jeremy Jordan today (and a couple of other dates within the next week)
Coming Soon I didn't think I could want to see Suicide Squad 2 any less than I already did. I was wrong. Mel Gibson is in talks to direct 
/Film the latest rumor has it that Marvel Studios is secretly working on a Namor film. I don't believe this one personally because since Namor is a mutant I assume his right are locked up with Fox (though the article mentions they were once with Universal). Fox owns most of the mutant characters due to their extensive X-Men contract and even if Namor doesn't fall under that (since he's rarely thought of as an X-Universe character he is much more closely associated with Fantastic Four which Fox also owns.
Film School Rejects a call for more wangs on screen -- and this from a straight dude so everyone is noticing that they refuse to show 'em - even in sex movies like 50 Shades
Variety the hilarious Constance Wu (Fresh Off the Boat) is in talks to headline a new romantic comedy called Crazy Rich Asians 

Tuesday
Feb072017

Pictures from the Oscar Luncheon

by Murtada

The question on a lot of people’s minds after the SAG Awards is how political are the Oscars going to be. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs put that to rest. Addressing those gathered for the traditional luncheon, she alluded to the banned Muslim nominees, Asghar Farhadi and others, by pointing to the empty chairs:

Today we celebrate you. Your work and your achievements, but everyone knows there are some empty chairs in this room which has made Academy artists, activists. There is a struggle globally today over artistic freedom that feels more urgent than at anytime since the 1950s. Art has no borders. Art has no language and doesn’t belong to a single faith. No, the power of art is that it transcends all these things. And strong societies don’t censor art. They celebrate it.

By calling the nominees “activists”, Boone Isaacs is sanctioning political speeches at the ceremony which could make for an interesting show. Still the mood was not somber at the luncheon, and many nominees took the time to socialize. Isabelle Huppert and Michelle Williams caught up at the cocktail hour. Others did that even while taking their places for the annual class photo. More favorite moments after the jump.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan272017

The Oscar Week: post-nominations, the campaigns rev back up.

In this weekly feature from Murtada we follow Oscar contender appearances and interviews. After taking a week off, contenders are back to the grind for Phase 2.

Supporting Actress
The warmest presence on the Oscar campaign trail is undoubtedly Octavia Spencer. She’s as delightful in interviews and appearance as her Hidden Figures character is on screen, except of course when she’s dealing with Kirsten Dunst’s racist boss. No wonder she’s so popular. On Twitter she acknowledged her nomination by mentioning not only her director and producers, but also her friends from The Help (and fellow nominees this season) Viola Davis and Emma Stone. Then she went further in by congratulating Barry Jenkins, Ava DuVernay, Dev Patel and Denzel washington. How lovely is she?

This week she was honored as Woman of the Year by Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Theatricals group. She looked delighted throughout the parade through the streets of Cambridge, to the roast and the presentation of the traditional prize, the pudding pot. That pot, she quipped, was harder to get than an Oscar...

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Jan182017

Linky Pudding

Buzzfeed It's official Will & Grace (& Karen & Jack) is returning to NBC for a ninth season. The series ended on May 18th, 2006 over 10 years ago but their recent one-off election special got everyone excited again. 
AV Club supposedly that long hinted at Eastern Promises sequel will start shooting in only two months and supposedly Viggo Mortensen and Vincent Cassell will return. We'll believe this when I see it but would be happy to do so
Criterion Ira Sachs on Rainer Werner Fassbinder's classic Fox and His Friends

Arnaud Trouvé offers up César nomination predictions. If you can read French you'll enjoy it more
THR It's Octavia Spencer for "Woman of the Year" and Ryan Reynolds for "Man of the Year" at Harvard's annual Hasty Puddings celebration. Someone cast them in a rom-com together!
Coming Soon Sony Pictures Animation slate to come from The Smurfs onward
About Last Night a long lost interview/profile of Mikhail Baryshnikov from 1998. Just because! 
Boy Culture Betty White interviewed for her 95th birthday this week
Paste Manuel on One Day at a Time's successful resuscitation of the theater/tv hybrid of the multi-cam sitcom
Decider in Joe Reid's new Oscar column he talks to me about three Oscar races: Actress, Director, and Supporting Actor. Here's an excerpt:

My fantasy is that Ralph Fiennes, easily the single most Oscar-worthy actor who can’t seem to ever catch Oscar’s eye, is nomination morning’s biggest shock for A Bigger Splash. The key word in that sentence being “fantasy”.