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Entries in Oscar Ceremonies (137)

Saturday
Jan262013

One Night Only ♪

Have you heard that The Academy is going to honor the renaissance of the movie musical with tributes to Chicago, Dreamgirls and Les Miz during the ceremony on February 24th? I'm never been that big on amorphous "tributes" which usually come in the form of sloppy montages at the expense of time celebrating either specific grand careers (lifetime achievements) or actual nominees. And I can't quite see what the through line is between those three pictures (as opposed to any other modern musicals). But you know I love musicals. Still... this makes precious little sense to me, not when you have a decent current lineup of Original Song nominees you could focus on for once. And not when you're only focusing on three films, two of which had little to do with the musical genres resuscitation.

It's a Musical Diva Throwdown

Everyone knows (or should come to understand) that it was the one-two-three-four punch of Disney's resurrection (The Little Mermaid + Beauty & The Beast) + Dancer in the Dark + Moulin Rouge! +  Hedwig and the Angry Inch from 1989-2001 that reopened the musical floodgates artistically and reminded everyone "ohmygod... look what this versatile genre can do!!!". Chicago (2002) then was the behemoth that came charging down that road that had been pre-paved for it by stronger films, despite how grandly entertaining it was, to claim the trophy for the whole genre.

At any rate the strangest exclusion from their planned tribute is surely Moulin Rouge! which had, if you'll recall, just as many nominations as both Les Miz and Dreamgirls (I guess 8 is the magic number for non-BP winning popular musicals), starred people who are still very much in the cultural conversation, and is already widely regarded as part of the new canon. That's something that none of the three films Oscar is planning to rehonor on the ceremony can quite claim... no, not even Chicago.

Thursday
Jan242013

Which musical performances will we see at the Oscars?

Though the Academy has officially announced that Adele will be singing "Skyfall" (her first time performing it live) on Hollywood's High Holy Night, we still don't technically know if there will be Best Original Song performances as there often used to be on Oscar night. The Academy had previously announced a 50th anniversary celebration of the James Bond franchise and it's probable that Adele's soulful warbling will be folded into that, whether or not the whole category is represented. We also don't know if she'll be singing before or after her Oscar win*.

There's also been rumors that some permutation of the Les Misérables cast will be performing live but unless they're doing a choral version of "Suddenly", that doesn't necessarily equate to Best Original Song performances either since a cast performance sounds more like a "One Day More" type situation.

But, if you ask me, they'd be crazy not to just have five Original Song performances this year since that'd give you the opportunity to have four superstars on stage at various points: Scarlett Johansson ("Before My Time"), Adele ("Skyfall"), Norah Jones ("Everyone Needs a Best Friend") and Hugh Jackman ("Suddenly") plus a gorgeous little outreach for a little world music ("Pi's Lullaby") on the side.

I know that people think the Best Original Song category is silly but if you look back through the history of the Oscars it has often provided great water-cooler moments or at least tuneful bathroom breaks. 

*the night's biggest lock?

Thursday
Jan172013

Link-o-logy

Indiewire Robert Redford on whether or not he'd start the Sundance Film Festival again today
Gold Derby on Leo DiCaprio's slightly odd Oscar history 
Los Angeles Times Kathryn Bigelow pens an editorial on torture and her depiction thereof
Stale Popcorn on the Hitchcock meets Lynch vibe of the Bates Motel posters 
Observations on Film Art has a passionated detailed essay for fans of The Hobbit
CHUD Trey Parker and Matt Stone have lots of money. And now a movie production company to spend it.


Movie|Line looks at Bradley Cooper's showbiz past including a nude beach humiliation?
In Contention wants Argo to win Best Picture
Salon wonders what the Golden Globes mean to us, culturally, and to the industry they celebrate
Unreality looks at a study of the colorology of movie trailers. Turns out blue and orange are the winners. I could've told you that without the study. Most overused colors ever in the movies.  
The Advocate has an odd story about anti-gay harassment at a movie theater. At a Barbra Streisand Guilt Trip no less. (Wrong crowd, asshole.)
The Envelope Fox Searchlight will rerelease Beasts of the Southern Wild this weekend in about 70 theaters to celebrate its Oscar nominations. If you haven't seen it, go. It deserves the big screen treatment 
Broadway.com is Miss Julie next for über busy Jessica Chastain? 
Guardian Shortcuts  Les Misérables provoking buckets of tears

Finally... did you hear that the cast of Les Misérables will  be singing at the Oscars? Yes, the whole cast! Which either means they're reworking Original Song nominee "Suddenly" as a rousing choral piece or Hugh Jackman gets to take the stage twice. Either way, we win.

Thursday
Dec202012

Premature Jessica Chastain Nostalgia. Is She Streep 2.0 ???

Remember when Jessica Chastain brought her grandma Marilyn to the Oscars in February?

What a sweet moment that was. Do you think she'll take her again this year?

What a difference a year makes, huh? Just last year we were wondering who she was and how she'd arrived to us so fully formed as an actress, and I had the pleasure of asking her just that shortly before she won her first nomination (Best Supporting Actress, The Help). This year she'll be fighting it out for the actual Best Actress trophy for Zero Dark Thirty.

Should Jessica be nominated in January (very very likely), one might even be tempted to think of her as Streep: The Next Generation. Meryl Streep is a tough act to be compared to but consider the similarities. Meryl Streep was a late arrival to the cinema (as actresses go) making her first motion picture in 1977 (Julia) in her late 20s after stage triumphs and degrees from Vassar and Yale. Jessica didn't arrive on movie screens until her early 30s last year though she had been filming movies since her late 20s (some of them were significantly delayed before release) after stage triumphs and an acting degree from Juilliard. By Streep's third year in the public eye she had co-starred in three Best Picture Nominees (Julia ,The Deer Hunter, and Kramer vs. Kramer -- the latter two won) and was a two-time Oscar nominee and winner and a full-fledged movie star. By Jessica Chastain's second year in the public eye she will have presumably co-starred in three Best Picture nominees (The Help, The Tree of Life, and Zero Dark Thirty) and become a two-time nominee.

The only thing missing in the comparison is a) the Oscar win for her second nomination which is a maybe at this point and b) the full fledged stardom. Chastain is definitely a known quantity now but not exactly a household name. Her films haven't had the seismic impact of Streep's breakthrough pictures -- The Deer Hunter and Kramer vs. Kramer were colossal hits of their day though The Help's box office reign last year was not unimpressive.

Jessica Chastain and her Take Shelter co-star Michael Shannon at a party for Zero Dark Thirty this week.

If Chastain wins this year, do you think she's got a triple the caliber of French Lieutant's WomanSophie's Choice and Silkwood, in her immediate future? Or is this way way way too much to ask? 

 

Tuesday
Dec112012

Original Song Eligibility List = Lots of Opportunities For Oscar Night Celebrity Live-Singing!

Now that Skyfall has been declared eligible can Adele finally break the unofficial NO NOMS FOR BOND thing that's been going on forever?As you may have heard, 75 songs have qualified for consideration for Oscar's Best Original Song Category...and not just from animated films. I love this category in my more imaginary moments neither because of what's been nominated over the years (ewww) nor any belief that songwriting is a particularly valid "filmmaking achievement". I only love it for its potential to provide my favorite night of the year with some entertaining interludes -- I love acceptance speeches but you gotta break the night up for variety's sake. Sadly, Oscar has been mucking with this category for so long that it almost never reaches its potential of providing 5 awesome short breaks from people standing at podiums, preferrably while also letting various celebrities sing live to us. In the year of Les Miz it will be a great shame if there isn't live singing on Hollywood's High Holy Night.

But I keep the dream alive and pray that one day some Academy executive will realize that the only thing the category is good for is putting celebrities on stage in a different context than acceptance speeches or merely to introduce yet another mind-numbing montage of something that has nothing to do with the films we happen to be celebrating this annum. So with that in mind, I'm placing in ALL CAPS the performer of the song if it's somebody who it would immediately enrage if they chose not to invite them to sing it to us so that they could shove all the songs into one medley for, like, Miley Cyrus to sing or something (remember how obsessed the Oscars were with having Miley Cyrus present there for awhile?! Yeah, that was... well, let's not dwell.)

LIST AND MORE AFTER THE JUMP

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