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Entries in Oscar Snubs (30)

Thursday
Dec062012

The Modern Bias in Best Cinematography.

Jose here. When the New York Film Critics began announcing their awards yesterday the biggest shock, for me, came early on as they decided to award Greig Fraser with Best Cinematography for Zero Dark Thirty. Don't get me wrong. I have absolutely nothing against Mr. Fraser and up to that moment I hadn't even seen the movie (I did later and ZOMG!). Anyway, what surprised me the most is that a contemporary movie had been recognized for an award that usually goes to period or fantasy movies. It's as if awards bodies don't feel that modern life is "pretty" enough to give it a photographic award. 

Yet the fact that people assume that "best" cinematography instantly means "prettiest" cinematography might be the greatest mistake in a category whose winners sometimes defy all logic...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov302012

Visual Effects Finalists: Superheroes Rule, Subtlety Drools

Yesterday the finalists for Oscar's Visual Effects prize were announced. In the end there will be five nominees but for the next month ten films can dream of winning the nomination before the great culling on January 10th, 2013. Once again we see a preference for computer generated imagery with only Skyfall and The Dark Knight Rises as obvious examples of films which tried mightily to rely on in-camera practical effects and stunt work. At a recent "Evening With Christopher Nolan" here in NYC (more soon) Nolan revealed his preference for in camera work with computers relegated to touch up work. 

Did you know that that infamous collapsing football field that led into the seige of Gotham was actually, in part, a collapsing football field (!) and not a figment of a computer artists imagination!? 

Snubs: Generally speaking you can expect the more subtle fx work to be shut out each and every year. This is why Skyfall probably won't be nominated in the end. But my eyes were instantly drawn to the absence of Looper which is a shame, since it's most effectsy sequences, like that finale in the cornfield, were weirdly hypnotic and even the tiny touches like the frequent telekinetics were unfussy and unshowy but totally served the film. Plus, it's a good film which is more than can often be said about nominees in this category. It's also strange, at least in a multi-year context, to see The Impossible miss the finals when Hereafter's less impressive tsunami (in a less impressive film at that) went on to actually be nominated. More traditionally nominatable CG heavy movies shown the door were Battleship, Men in Black III, and Dark Shadows.

Which 50% of the films still standing will prevail? 

still hanging. I hate this film more and more in retrospect.

  • The Amazing Spider-Man
  • The Avengers
  • Cloud Atlas
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
  • John Carter
  • Life of Pi
  • Prometheus
  • Skyfall
  • Snow White and the Huntsman

Your guess work in the comments, please.

Sunday
Nov112012

Interview: On 'Head Games' and Reshaping Oscar's Doc Branch with Steve James

Amir here. With an unusually large number of high profile contenders and a recent overhaul in the branch’s voting system, the documentary category is sure to be one of the exciting races at the Oscars this year. There are a few films firmly in the conversation already, but I recently caught up with a contender that has curiously slipped under the radar despite the talent involved.

Head Games, the newest from Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) is based on a book by former WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski and takes on the issue of concussion in contact sports, a topic that is increasingly discussed among Football and Hockey enthusiasts in particular. James goes back to a more traditional structure in setting up his film with many talking head interviews and archival footage, but the end result is unexpectedly moving. Given the prevalence of these injuries in athletes, from kids who play Football or Soccer on a regular basis at school to the professionals of NFL and NHL, it’s a film that will be emotionally involving for a lot of people. I choked up a few times.

James’s history with the Oscars is well-known: despite universal critical acclaim, both aforementioned titles were snubbed by the Academy, not to mention his other powerful films. He was nominated in the editing category for Hoop Dreams, but it will be a big moment whenever he finally scores his first nomination for best documentary. On the occasion of the film’s qualifying release, I had the opportunity to chat with him about the film, his passion for sports, the Oscars, and the documentary branch’s new voting system.

 Steve James, the director of Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters and now Head GamesINTERVIEW, OSCARS & EBERT AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct222012

Oscar Horrors: Hush Hush Campy Agnes

[Editors Note: For today's episode of Oscar Horrors, I invited award-winning writer Manuel Muñoz ("What You See in the Dark" "The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue") to join us. I've gave all the contributors a list of every Oscar nomination from the horror genre and they chose their own subjects. -Nathaniel R.]

Here Lies... Agnes Moorehead in Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Hush…Hush, Sweet Charlotte is either Grand Guignol catnip or the most ridiculous Scooby Doo plot ever, depending on your level of generosity.  The film lacks the sustained camp thrills of its kissing cousins What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? and Strait-Jacket.  But it remains obligatory viewing, whether to fulfill your quota of the era’s is-she-crazy suspense vehicles starring Hollywood’s aging belles, or to check out Oscar offerings with peculiarly high nomination counts.  Charlotte picked up seven (yes, seven) Oscar nods and while you might shrug off most of them as applause for technical show, a major Supporting Actress bid (and maybe an almost-win) came with the fourth and final invite to the big dance for Agnes Moorehead as 

But first, the tawdry beginnings.  Set on a once sunny Louisiana estate in 1927, the film introduces us to a young Charlotte, whose father doesn’t approve of the news he’s heard from her secret suitor.  At an elaborate party (and in one of the most nimbly arranged sequences of the film), things get downright bloody, and Charlotte emerges from the shadows with one of the most conspicuously stained dresses ever to stun a crowd.

Fast forward decades later, and our fun begins

Click to read more ...

Friday
Oct052012

Will Oscar Voters Sing Along With "Skyfall" ?

My freinquaintance Mark Blankenship at New Now Next is in love with Adele's "Skyfall" theme. That crush is sweeping the internet though the song also has its "it's dull!" naysayers.

He's written a fun article but I wouldn't be so bold about predicting an Oscar to go along with the chanteuse's Grammy statues. For one thing you can hear iconic Bond underscoring and you know how the music branch loves to disqualify the best movie songs for stupid reasons or just not nominated the best ones even if they do qualify. (Moulin Rouge!'s über classic "Come What May" -- not that Adele's song is that caliber -- is an example of the former and Bruce Springsteen's Wrestler theme is an example of the latter.)

Here's Adele's song if you haven't yet committed it to memory.

I should stop being a killjoy about Oscar dreams and such a bitch about the music branch but it's impossible for me not to note the statistics -- it's a sickness! -- and they aren't promising. Oscar's music branch has been notoriously stingy about awarding this Original Song Bonanza of a Franchise. To date these are the only three Original Song Oscar nominees from 007 films (four if you count the non-official Bond film Casino Royale from the 60s since "The Look of Love" was nominated)

 

  • Live and Let Die (1973)
    "Live and Let Die" Paul & Linda McCartney (sung by Paul McCartney)
  • The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
    "Nobody Does it Better" Marvin Hamlisch & Carole Bayer Sager (sung by Carly Simon)
  • For Your Eyes Only (1981)
    "For Your Eyes Only" Bill Conti & Michael Leeson (sung by Sheena Easton)

 

That statistic will shake your faith but it's not very stirring.