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 Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. Also loves cats. All material herein is written and copyrighted by him, unless otherwise noted. twitter | facebook | pinterest | tumblr | instagram | letterboxd | deviantart 


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Entries in Oscars (11) (328)


No hay banda. No hay linka. 

Twitch What's this? What's this? David Lynch may be prepping a "Club Silencio" to open in Paris. Mullholland Dr. lives on and on.
My New Plaid Pants defaces the Larry Crowne poster. I'd see this imaginary movie and I'm not even a horror fan.
Cineuropa Apichatpong Weerathesakul will head the Horizons Jury at this year's Venice Film Festival. More details at the link
Hollywood Wire Tap wait... now it might be David O. Russell directing Angelina Jolie for Maleficent? I can't keep up. This is why I ignore the rumormill. Better to concentrate on actual films.
MTV Madonna finally returning to the recording studio.
The Wrap Avi Arad talks about producer Laura Ziskin (RIP)

Two Videos
Filmdrunk explores "Woody Allen Surrogates" with this video.

A Retrospective of Woody Allen Surrogates from FilmDrunkDotCom on Vimeo.


And this Green Lantern news bit from The Onion made me giggle. Especially the movie posters "[pictured above]", the franchise sequel plans and this Ryan Reynolds quote.

'Green Lantern' To Fulfill America's Wish To See Lantern-Based Characters On Big Screen

I've been a Green Lantern fan every since I was told I would be the person starring in the Green Lantern movie so this is a thing come true for me.


Finally... if you can't gather enough opinions about the Oscar Best Picture Shift to sate your lust for all things shiny, naked and gold here are more reactions on the Latest Oscar Rule Shift (already discussed right here)  from Peter Knegt (super con and then mixed), Kris Tapley (very pro), Sasha Stone (con -- she liked the ten) and Stu Van Airsdale (pro with a dose of 'so what? there are larger problems')


10 Best Picture Nominees... OR LESS

Just when we were getting acclimated to the new system of ten best picture nominees, Oscar is changing up their rules again. Deadline reports that after carefully studying their voting data, the Academy's governing board has decided that that Ten Best Picture Nominees thing was perhaps a little too generous. 'Shouldn't there be some threshhold of passion for a film to win that coveted "best picture" title' they asked themselves.

Their answer was "yes".

How much passion will be required exactly? The magic number is 5%. In short, a film will have to win at least 5% of #1 votes in the nomination balloting in order to join the Best Picture Lineup. There'll be no less than 5 Best Picture nominees in any given year and no more than 10. So one could say they're splitting the difference between the old system and the new.

Best Thing About This Change
It'll be quite unpredictable. We won't know until Oscar nomination morning how many "Best Pictures" we're getting. Otherwise I can't see an upside. We'll still get those pictures that we scratch our heads over "how did that get in there?! That doesn't belong!" -- don't think for a moment, for instance, that you can wipe out choices like The Blind Side. After all, we had those kind of decisions in the days of five nominees. Bad taste is indestructable!

The ZZZ Thing About This Change
I suspect other pundits will disagree but I don't see how this change means anything at all in terms of precursor madness. Not all precursor awards -- those would be tastemakers that proceed AMPAS's 'final say' -- are bound and determined to predict the Oscars but they'll stick with 10 nominees anyway as it gives them more wiggle room in the mirroring.

The Worst Thing About This Change
If you value visual and numerical symmetry as I do -- and boy do I -- you'll hate that you won't be able to line up various years in neat chart formats or say things like "2013's lineup is so interesting but nothing beats 2007. No, no, let us not speak of 1999!" There won't be any way to directly compare year-to-year anymore. (How will we even structure our prediction charts?) There's something quite beautiful about tradition in mythic institutions like Oscar. The chronologies will line up nevermore. Won't it also be more of a slap in the face for the snubs? "Sorry there were only 5 nominees this year but the rest of you who were 'in the hunt'. Turns out they only told you they loved you in the heat of the moment. They didn't."

Here's the part I found most intriguing* about the decision...

“In studying the data, what stood out was that Academy members had regularly shown a strong admiration for more than five movies,” said Davis. “A Best Picture nomination should be an indication of extraordinary merit. If there are only eight pictures that truly earn that honor in a given year, we shouldn’t feel an obligation to round out the number.”

If this system had been in effect from 2001 to 2008 (before the expansion to a slate of 10), there would have been years that yielded 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 nominees.

*And by intriguing I mean CRAZY-MAKING. Does this mean none of those years would have seen 10 nominees? Will ten films be a once a decade thing? [Tangent: This DOES mean that they keep all the voting data. How is it that this never leaks? Price Waterhouse must be guarded by Heimdall or suspended in a heavily guarded plastic prison like Magneto.]

You know what else this means: LISTS, Lots of lists! We'll look at 2001 through 2008 soon but we have to save some chi for a later post, can't blow it all at once on this announcement.  For now, let's just discuss this change and wonder which films would've been axed from the top ten by way of not getting enough #1 placements.

Here's my guesswork...

2010 - 8 nominees

I realize I'm stubborn about The Kids Are All Right... I enjoy being stubborn. But there was a time, if we're being honest with yourselves, that people thought it would be one of the five even if there were only five. My guess is that 127 Hours just barely slipped in and that Winter's Bone, despite being very well regarded was lacking in #1 votes. Who knows... But there did seem to be a broad range of support for many features last year so perhaps only The Boy And His Rock would've been eliminated.

2009 - 7 nominees

Though I was personally horrified at The Blind Side's inclusion in 2009 I do not think it was in 10th place. Oscar is so much more mainstream than the media likes to pretend and given the massive embrace of that movie from the general populace, there are few sound reasons to think AMPAS voters weren't also squeezing it, with formulaic tears streaming down their faces. District 9... well, I'm still surprised it got in given Oscar's history of shunning sci-fi. Perhaps most controversially, I'm guessing Pixar would've had to wait until Toy Story 3 to get the "only the second animated picture nominated for Best Picture" honor.

What'cha think of the rule change?

P.S. In other rule changes, the number of Animated Features nominated will be more flexible too. Previously it was 3 or 5. Now it'll be 2 to 5 depending on the number of films released that are eligible and number of votes those films received. The documentary category's eligibility will now be in sync with the calendar year like most categories.


l i n k 

Another day, another several celebrities with new ad campaigns.  Here's Angelina Jolie for Louis Vitton (reportedly she's not wearing any makeup here and wearing her own clothes) and Tobey Maguire for Prada.

How many of them do you think make more money posing for ads than actually acting? Even the ones who command huge actorly paychecks.

oh yes... a few links

Self Styled Siren a fun post on romantic choices, "sleeve tuggers" and The Phantom of the Opera (1943)
Alt Screen celebrates Buster Keaton in College.
Men's Journal spends manly time with Kyle Chandler.
Cinema Blend a retro poster for Captain America: The First Avenger
Super Mercado a fan poster for "The Case" that movie within the movie Super 8

Off Cinema
The Daily Beast thorough critical rundown of new TV season. Pan Am with Christina Ricci sounds great and they say it's sexy, too.
Basket of Kisses roots for Mad Men hard at the inaugural "Critics Choice" for television.
8th Annual Naked Bike Ride. This looks like it would hurt. They do some naked bike riding in that Flemish movie The Misfortunates. Have any of you seen that? It's surprisingly affecting, despite being relentlessly sozzled and depressed.

Tony Aftermath
The ratings were up 10%. Yay!
BlogStage has video highlights of the Tonys. I added a couple of these to my live blog in case you're just joining us and want to catch up.
La Daily Musto takes off the blindfold on those Tony related "blind items"... this link is for theater obsessives only, though.
Sarah's Tumblr
thought the Tonys were fine but this shirtless photo of Gene Kelly made her night.
Movie|Line thinks the Oscars should take after the Tony Awards. But some of this oft-heard advice is impossible: You can't get rid of the precursors. Oscar has no say in those. They'd have to collapse on their own. Plus, the technicals should not be cut (though maybe the "short film categories" could go without spoiling that it's a night about cinema. Still I like my Oscars long. But they do need to have more spirited presentation. HIRE NEIL PATRICK HARRIS & HUGH JACKMAN AS A DUO. (see also TFE's live blog for their wonder-twin-powered duet)



Madonna's "W.E." In the Hunt For Oscar

...That's the only possible reason that the Weinstein Company would be interested in distributing her original movie about a woman obsessed with those King's Speech supporting characters, right? Insiders have called it "smart and stylish" and claimed that Andrea Riseborough is Oscar worthy in it.

Abbie Cornish and Andrea Riseborough in 'W.E.'

Perhaps the Weinstein's will do some magic sleight of hand and try to sell it as a revisit. "If you loved the King's Speech, you'll love..."

Please don't be fooled by W.E.'s simply HIDEOUS movie poster, which is floating around the net. This movie could well be very good. Please to remember that The King's Speech also had an absurdly ugly photoshopped teaser poster, too.  W.E. stars Abbie Cornish (in contemporary time) and Andrea Riseborough as Wallis Simpson in ye olden King's Speech times. No word yet on the release date but if we know our Weinsteins it'll be between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.

Even if the movie hits AMPAS's sweet spot, the woman behind the film could still be an easy snub. In fact, Madonna has never been Oscar-nominated despite writing the following classic movie songs, nearly all of them better than some of the Oscar nominees in their years.

Madonna in Charge.

"Crazy For You" -VisionQuest (1985)
"Into the Groove" -Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
"Who's That Girl" and "Causing a Commotion" and "Look of Love" -Who's That Girl (1987)
"Live to Tell" -At Close Range (1986)
"This Used to Be My Playground" - A League of Their Own (1992)
"I'll Remember" - With Honors (1993)
"Beautiful Stranger" - Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me (1999)
"Die Another Day" - Die Another Day (2002)

Arianne & MadonnaThe Academy's music branch hates her but since they have legendarily horrid taste and confounding voting practices, we can't let it bother us too much.

As is usually the case with tricky-to-gauge period pieces, W.E.'s best Oscar bet is probably in Costume Design. Arianne Phillips (pictured left with Maddy) who has worked with the icon quite often and done sensational work on previous films like Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The People Vs Larry Flynt, 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line (Oscar nominated) is doing the costumes.

Stay tuned...


Stage Door: Ghost Musical, War Horse, Sandra Bernhard, Tony Predix

Future Live Blog Alert! The Tony Awards are this Sunday evening, June 12th on CBS with Neil Patrick Harris hosting. We'll do a live blog even though we haven't seen most of the productions. It's still the Tonys which means: song, dance, celebrity, weird gaffes that you'd think wouldn't be possible in a show celebrating LIVE performances... i.e. shouldn't they know how to handle live events?

So be here if you're so inclined. Now on to our four theater topics with film tendencies.

Since all hit films (from 1984 and onwards) are now required to become stage musicals at some point, this had to happen. Should we predict right now that whoever plays Oda Mae Brown wins the Tony when this hits Broadway? 

I was going to write up this "preview" embedded below but sometimes you gotta admit that there's no topping another write up. I challenge anyone to beat Movie|Line's headline... "YOU IN DANGER, LEGIT THEATER"

I've been a bad Oscar pundit and haven't yet picked up the novel on which this hit play and Steven Spielberg's upcoming movie are based. From what I've gleaned about the show and its competitors, I can see where Michael Muston at ArtsBeat is coming from when he says:

“War Horse” is a children’s story. It’s not a remarkable piece of dramaturgy. It’s all in the staging. People are going to conflate in their heads the play with the staging, and it’s going to win the Tony.

As for Steven Spielberg's film version... there hasn't been all that much news yet but when I saw this tweet from MTV's Josh Horowitz I initially interrupted it as "he's seen the movie!". Overexcitability much, Nathaniel?

One assumes, after smelling salts, that Josh meant the play and has already imagined its suitability for hankies, Oscars, and iconic bearded auteurs.

For my birthday celebration my friends took me to see Sandra Bernhard's new show "I Love Being Me, Don't You?" which was indecent with 'look how many famous friends I have!' shenanigans: Justin Bond, Rufus Wainwright and Liza Minnelli came out for duets and Chaddo Ralph Rucci designed her stunning wardrobe.

Though thrilling on paper, the guest appearances were too unrehearsed to be the highlight of the show. The best moments were 100% undiluted Sandy... (More Sandra --with video -- and the Tony Award Predictions)

Click to read more ...


Oscar June Predix Update. What We Know Now...

... can fit into a thimble or a wee baby's hand. Sometimes by May's end one or two fairly-sure things have become clear, but the closest we have to that, still, is Rango in the animated film department. Old news.

What did the Month of May teach us suggest to us?

1. The Weinsteins, who finally won their first post-Miramax "Best Picture"  with The King's Speech, will not likely be satiated by that triumph. It'll just make them hungry for another. They have been beefing up their competitive slate. They either have faith in both Phyllida Lloyd's Thatcher bio The Iron Lady (which sounds typically "prestige" enough for Oscar play, even if it turns out dull) and the crowdpleaser The Artist (which sounds accessible enough for Oscar play, despite being a silent film) or they didn't want anyone else to have one or both of them. You never know with them. And you won't know till the last minute; the Weinsteins are notoriously patient about waiting it out, either because they like to see what the awards air is like, or just because they believe more strongly in the "ONLY DECEMBER!" Oscar strategy than any other distributor. We'll find out more about their plan towards the end of the year. 

2. Cannes elevated the intriguing possibility of Kirsten Dunst Best Actress traction for Melancholia -- something we've long hoped for for one of our favorite actresses -- but what's yet more delicious than her Cannes win is the myriad ways this could play out with a complicated mix of voting factors (actual high quality performance, off-performance sympathy votes, career comeback of sorts, Lars von Trier's unpredictable track record in US distribution); Those moviegoers who love to follow the politics of Oscar, not just the movies, are bound to enjoy this particular story as it unfolds. 

3. The warm reception for Midnight in Paris raised the distinct possibility that Woody Allen could see his 15th Best Original Screenplay nomination. Pundits, including myself, have regularly sold the idea that Mr Allen is always a threat in the Original Screenplay category but in truth, that "always" is quite an overestimation given that he hasn't been a  "regular" since the 90s. (He only received one nomination in the Aughts making him less an always then a 10% kinda guy these days). He didn't even get much Oscar traction for Vicky Cristina Barcelona despite a Golden Globe  Picture win and an eventual Oscar for Penélope Cruz. But Midnight, might be a different story. Firstly, there's no individual performance that awards bodies can latch on to -- the showiest work is done by the people with the teeniest parts -- and if anyone reaps the benefits of the love for the film, it'll be Allen himself. Midnight is quite light on its feet despite a theme with melancholy resonance, and it's performing well at the box office. As The Film Experience has always maintained, Oscar voters tastes are basically a figurative amalgam of critics + moviegoers + media; if those three groups like something (even if they do so for entirely different reasons), Oscar will join them.

4. I'm not sure what we know about The Tree of Life. I feel lost here. At first one heard "mixed reviews" than it won the "Palme D'Or" and then it opened. It's been a whirlwind of activity. If the random stories of older audiences walking out are true -- can one ever trust "stories" about certain demographics loving or hating any film? Said stories always seem rife with possible agendas and/or horse's mouth biases -- than it might be dead in the water for Oscar. BUT. It just opened. Let's see how it plays as it expands. If Malick teaches us anything he teaches us patience, right? See you at his next film in 2019! (I'm kidding. Supposedly the next film has already completed shooting... but I'll believe back-to-back Malick releases when they happen and no sooner.)

5. My guess is that Pirates of the Caribbean bombed too badly with critics to win it much heat in the technical categories where it's previously done fairly well for itself. Thor wasn't a big enough deal financially and in the passion-meter of its fans to score any technicals (though it's worth noting that its production designer Bo Welch is an Academy favorite), so the next two superhero tests are X-Men First Class and Green Lantern. For some possibly silly reason, I've convinced myself that it's Captain America that might get the tech nods that you know at least one of the comic book films will win.

Eventually comic book films will invade Oscar. Though it seems improbable now it's a matter of percentages. As more and more of them get made, Oscar will have less and less ways to avoid them.

Here's something we don't know...

What the hell is going on with The Eye of the Storm? It's one of those titles, an adaptation of a novel, that I only discovered in researching potential Oscar players (and talking in the comments to you!) but I never hear a peep about it in terms of "official" anything. Nevertheless it looks promising and actressy, and maybe Geoffrey Rush's post-Speech heat and general hammy deliciousness (to AMPAS palettes at least) can help it out? I've tried everything I could think of to embed the teaser (everything I could think of = copy and paste) but nothing works so you'll have to go to Twitch to see it.

Fly away, pigeon. Just say your farewell and go.

Dying Charlotte Rampling theatrically dismissing bitchy Judy Davis is my new two second obsession. Enjoy it with me!

Click on the individual category titles to explore further.