Oscar History

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Janelle Monae's Breakout Year

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Entries in Oscars (11) (331)


Oscar Submissions: Serbia, The Netherlands, Angelina Jolie & the Austrians

The Oscar Submissions continue to trickle in.

THE NETHERLANDS (7 nominations, 3 wins)
For about a decade from the mid 80s to the mid 90s Dutch-language films were the rage with Oscar voters with 3 nominations which all went on to win the big prize. The country last nomination was for 2003's Twin Sisters but given their track record (at least one nominee a decade since their first) they'll be golden again soon. This year they've selected Maria Peter's Sonny Boy which is a true scandalous story based on a best selling book about a 40 something married woman and her affair with a 19 year old black student. The couple get pregnant. Trivia note: Their child --  "Sonny Boy" being the Al Jolson inspired nickname they gave him -- is supposedly still alive and an octogenarian now!

Oscar does like a true story. And they like epics involving World Wars. Here's the dialogue free teaser and you can decide for yourself how Oscar might respond.

They've never been nominated but there's got to be a first time. Dragan Bjelogrlic's Montevideo God Bless You which seems, from descriptions, to be a nostalgia soaked period piece about 1930s Belgrade just as much as it's a sweeping inspirational story of young men with big (sports) dreams, in this case football (soccer). To be specific their dreams take them to the  First World Football Championship in Montevideo, Uruguay.

If IMDb can be trusted on Serbian film industry goings on (they sometimes get foreign film info wrong) they're already filming a sequel  which is this movie. Can anyone translate that title for us?

This is quite a bit different than the type of film Serbia usually submits. They've never submitted a film by this director before and the films don't usually skew this young either. The film stars two relative newbies Milos Bikovic (previously on Serbian TV series) and Peter Stager (film debut).

Milos Bikovic and Peter Stager

Will Oscar take a longer look this time?

The closest Serbia has come to a nomination was The Trap in 2007 which made the finals but not the shortlist.

AUSTRIA (3 noms, 1 win)
Austria's entry this year also trains its lens on a young man, the 19 year old Roman (Thomas Schubert). Roman, though, doesn't have big dreams but is just trying to build a new life after prison.  Guilt haunts him for his teenage crimes. The film is directed by the actor Karl Markovics (most recently seen in the international hit Unknown).

It's worth noting that the movie is already an award winner. Schubert won Best Actor at the Sarajevo Film Festival and who handed him the prize but global icon Angelina Jolie, who was honored herself (and accepted tearfully) at the very same event. So should Breathing (Atmen) be Oscar nominated, Schubert might have another chance to share oxgyen with her. He's already experienced one embodiment of Hollywood glamour, just not the gold plated kind. 

Angelina Jolie at the Sarajevo Film FestivalPREVIOUS SUBMISSIONS AND SPECULATIONS


Interview: Vera & Dagmara in "Higher Ground"

You may expect, when sitting down to discuss a serious and deeply felt indie with two award-winning actresses that the air would be heavy with purpose or self-reflection. The film in question is the provocative HIGHER GROUND, a drama about a born-again woman named Corrine (Vera Farmiga) struggling with her faith in a tight knit religious community. But the initial conversation proves more sartorial than spiritual.

Dagmara & Vera on the day of this interview

Vera Farmiga, who has walked her share of red carpets (especially two years back with that well deserved Oscar nomination for Up in the Air) has forgotten the shoes she intended to bring for the next stop on the publicity circuit. Dagmara Dominczyk, her friend and co-star, is immediately sympathetic. Dagmara, you see, has just been shopping. Since she's arrived to the interview first, her contagious sense of humor is already familiar.

"Between the dressing room and my house it changed from 'Awesome!' to 'what was I thinking?'," Dagmara confesses, laughing, about the dress she's just purchased. 

Higher Ground, Deepest Chemistry

The actresses have such an easy warm rapport -- they quite literally finish two of each other's sentences and speak in unison twice during our time together -- that their mesmerizing chemistry onscreen as two Jesus-loving housewives with a physically intimate and spiritually edifying friendship is suddenly right there all palpable in three dimensions. Not the kind you have to wear glasses to see.

Dagmara & Vera in HIGHER GROUND (2011) © Sony Pictures Classics

"Chemistry is a funny thing. It's either there or it's not. And if it's not it's a bitch ...but it is possible." Vera says with Dagmara instantly agreeing that it was just there for them; they can't even remember how they met. "I personally think it's incredibly difficult to not have chemistry with Dagmara." Vera adds with a smile, and explains the very obvious: the moment one meets Dagmara one feels close to her.

"My first girl crush!" Dagmara interjects about Vera. "I've never had a girl crush before. I'm just putting it out there!"


Click to read more ...


Box Office "The Help" Still Gainfully Employed. 

The stars of The Help are actually in France at the moment (Venice isn't the only festival happening as I type: Telluride and Deauville are also attracting celebrities). They've been posing with a champagne bottle. Corporate sponsorship sitch aside, they have every reason to break out the bubbly with the longest time lodged at #1 since... Inception (!!!) With a budget of only $25 million, The Help is going to prove hugely profitable for all involved. So congratulations to Tate Taylor and team.

The movie shows no signs of slowing down, dropping only 2% this week while most movies fell about 25% (everyone got a small holiday boost). It might end up outgrossing pre-sold brands like The Smurfs and god knows what other huge budgeted would-be blockbusters when it's done. Maybe that Best Picture nomination could actually happen after all. [Please note: I'll be updating all the charts on September 13th... to kick off our busy season. And given what's happening at Telluride and Venice, there's a lot of changes to be made.]

Box Office (U.S.) Baker's Dozen -actuals
01 THE HELP [review] $14.6 (cum $118.9)
02 THE DEBT new $9.9 
03 APOLLO 18 new $8.7 
04 SHARK NIGHT 3D new $8.3 
05 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES [articles] $7.9 (cumulative $160.1) 
06 COLOMBIANA $7.4 (cum $22)
07 OUR IDIOT BROTHER [review] $5.4 (cum $15.7)
08 DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK $5.1 (cum $16.5)
09 SPY KIDS: ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD $4.8 (cum $29.2)
10 THE SMURFS $4.1 (cum $132)

11 CRAZY STUPID LOVE [thoughts$3.3 (cum $74.5)
13 CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER [review]  $1.9 (cum $171.6) 

What did you see over the weekend?
Did you love it?


Linker, Donor, Oscar, Bye

By now you've heard the rumor, which some sources say is closer to actual fact, that Eddie Murphy will be hosting next February's Oscar ceremony. That's a major get if true since Murphy hasn't performed live in years and years and is the kind of Household Name that Oscar always prefers. I'm sure we'll talk more about this if it pans out. 

Lorell and Jimmy are through-oooooooooh 

No matter how great Eddie is -- should he host -- I know I won't be fully satisfied because what are the chances he'd invite Anika Noni Rose (who you know we love) onstage for something. TRUE STORY: Every single time I hear "Eddie Murphy" since 2008 I hear Anika Noni Rose's glorious voice in my ear. I included the sound clip that plays in my head every time in the post. You better listen!

Have you seen Paul Smith's limited edition beautiful posters for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? They're minimalism and its most gorgeous and they're charitable too. All proceeds go to cancer.

This is my favorite from the batch.

I keep staring at it. But then I love minimalistic art. I think I must need room for my own projections of what an image, movie, or thing might be.

Ashley Judd & Michael Shannon & the aphidslinks!
Sunset Gun revisits Bug, mincing no words: "a masterpiece". I like this movie too but if you ever have a chance to see it on stage, that's where it really wows. So claustrophic and crazy and weirdly expectant of your co-dependency.
In Contention on George Clooney's tribute at Telluride. What a star that man is.
Awards Daily Sasha thinks Glenn Close has a real shot at the Best Actress Oscar with Albert Nobbs as career capper. She also likes The Descendants.
Super Punch stop motion recreation of the Johnny Quest opening credits. "WOW" and also: "What on earth for?" 
Terry Richardson has been shooting Jared Leto again. Those two. 
Movie|Line Stephanie Zacharek with a beautiful ode to Michael Fassbender in Shame and a funny jab at Al Pacino in Wilde Salome.

Today's Must Read
The Sheila Variations on Mia Wasikowska in Jane Eyre. Can we just cut and paste this whole write-up into her Best Actress FYC ads? Hopefully Focus Features takes a look at it.

Even if you haven't seen Jane Eyre (2011) it's an expansive essay taking on various schools (and limitations) of acting and it even has two beautiful shout outs to two of Nathaniel's all time favorite characterizations: Meryl Streep in Silkwood and Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? So I'm sensing that Sheila is a kindred spirit.

Oh and... uh... Happy Labor Day Weekend! 
I tried to take a vacation from blogging this week -- as i hinted in the "best of august" post -- and have now realized that I am unable. Constitutionally unable. Which is why you should all sign on as "subscribers" (in sidebar -- i've added a cheaper option for the brokest among you) so that I can keep blogging from here to eternity. I'm not suited for other types of work because I spend too much time dreaming about the movies.



I'm not sure what I'll do next weekend when I will actually not have an internet connection and must stare at actual friends all day...and not through a computer screen? GROSS.

Diesel Sweeties designed the perfect t-shirt for people like me -- and maybe you -- who can't stop working.




Jessica Chastain Receiving Her First Award...(of Hundreds?)

Though we've been as curious as any cinephile about the overnight sensation* that is Jessica Chastain (see previous post), allow us to register vaguely mild surprise that it took just 109 days in the public eye in a major way (starting with the Cannes premiere of The Tree of Life) before she's already standing at podiums thanking people for giving her shiny things! In this case the Gucci Women in Film prize.

In reality this is Chastain's second award, one click of research indicates that she won a best actress festival prize in 2008 (Seattle International Film Festival) for a film called Jolene though that didn't see the inside of movie theaters until late 2010 (Have any of you seen it?) But what a whirlwind these past few months must have been.

Madonna presents the Gucci Women in Film Award to Jessica Chastain

What a summer. It starts with a Cannes trip alongside Brad Pitt and three months later she's part of a $100 million hit and Madonna (that's right, Madonna) is handing her trophies. From Brad Pitt to Madonna all in the same summer. Hopefully her eyes have adjusted to travelling in these blinding megawatt circles. 

This news hit me courtesy of luxury style expert Jessica Michault who is trying to make us all jealous with her tweet droppings. Consider this one:

And for what it's worth Ms. Michault thinks Keira Knightley is Oscar-worthy in A Dangerous Method. Not that luxury fashion experts vote on Oscars but they do hobnob with those who do.


*"overnight sensation" is nearly always an oxymoron. Obviously Jessica Chastain put in a lot of acting hours prior to this weird explosion of film releases...