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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 (12) (289)


Funny Linky People

Mashable on the glory of the Oscar envelopes. May they never go digital 
The Village Voice Nick Pinkerton remembers the late great critic Andrew Sarris 
The Advocate ten reasons to watch the Oscars on Sunday. (I linked to the most succinct universal one!)
MovieLine taxi cab survey of who will win the Oscars. It's not the names that will  be called out when the envelopes are open. (New Yorkers apparently still think Lincoln is going to sweep!) 

THR a director votes on the Oscars. In detail. (I know you've probably read this already but just in case... there's a lot to discuss) 
Salon will Jack Nicholson be presenting Best Picture yet again on Sunday night? (As I've long complained and long tried to help them the Oscar producers never have any imagination in this one area)
Slate announces that the musical genre is never coming back by essentially changing the argument of what people who say it's back mean when they say, "the musical genre is back!" Yes, agreed, the movie musical genre will never be what it was back when it was the most popular genre and everyone knew the showtunes. But do not agree that it's not back. We've had a steady clip of musicals ever since that glorious one two three punch of Hedwig, Dancer in the Dark and Moulin Rouge! got the ball rolling again just over a decade ago.

The Onion "Johnny Depp now made entirely of scarves and bracelets"
Happy Place the six types of people who watch the Oscars - this is a fun concept but it leaves out too many types... including Oscar Fanatics who are busy cataloguing it all in their head to reference for years and years to come. Hypothetically speaking. I've heard those people exist.
Vulture Best Picture as pie charts. I didn't want to like this -- i wasn't in a snark mood -- but they're funny 
Babble six year olds judge the Oscars by their posters... kids say the darndest things. Some are alarmingly accurate but I love that Les Misérables is about faeires and Argo is an earthquake... teehee. My favorite might be Silver Linings Playbook...

This is a movie about building things and it's a happy, good movie. The two people are inventors that invent things that have to do with fish because of all those little scribbles that look like fish. They work together. He's also really, really tall and she likes to wear her hair really, really high.

Hee. I would totally see a movie about Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence inventing fishy paraphenalia. She's right that Bradley Cooper is tall ~ 6'1"!


Posterized: Oscar's Well Loved Losing Dozen

"And the Oscar DOESN'T Go To..." The following dozen films are historically the biggest losers in Oscar history. All of them had 8 or more nominations and won zip on Oscar night. But, please to note, "loser" is a tongue-in-cheek title here. If you're well regarded enough to win nearly two handfuls of nominations as "best of the year" you're already a winner, even if you "lose".

How many have you seen?

The Little Foxes (1941) 9 nominations
Quo Vadis (1951) 8 nominations
Peyton Place (1957) 9 nominations 

THE NUNS STORY (59) - 8 noms
THE SAND PEBBLES (66) - 8 noms
THE TURNING POINT (77) 11 noms *tied for most noms without any wins*

THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980) 8 noms
RAGTIME (1981) 8 noms
THE COLOR PURPLE (1985) 11 noms *tied for most noms without any wins*

REMAINS OF THE DAY (1993) 8 noms
GANGS OF NEW YORK (2002) 10 noms
TRUE GRIT (2010) 10 noms

Trivia Puzzle: It happened most often in the 50s (3 films) and 80s (3 films) though I couldn't tell you why!

SPIELBERG NOTE: You'll notice that Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple still shares the title for "biggest loser" (with The Turning Point). Unfortunately, though he has been enormously well rewarded over the years, this weird notion that Oscar doesn't like him continues in the rhetoric you hear online sometimes particular in regards to Saving Private Ryan's loss and Lincoln's probable loss on Oscar night. If you ask me if you are among the ten most nominated directors in history (tied for fifth) and you already have two directing Oscars and a possible third on its way (which would put you in tied for second place of all time with director wins!), there's no chance in hell that they don't like you. (The internet is such a sweaty hysteric sometimes!)

THIS YEAR: If Hathaway (Les Miz) and Day-Lewis (Lincoln) are mortal locks in their respective categories this year than the only films that might break into this top (bottom?) twelve this year are Silver Linings Playbook (8 noms) if Jennifer Lawrence mysteriously fumbles at the finish line for Best Actress which some people think is more possible than others (I personally think she's way out front unfortunately) or The Life of Pi (11 noms) if Lincoln and other films mysteriously dominate in all the technical races which is HIGHLY unlikely. So in other words: this list of 12 Oscar Favorites That Had No Hardware To Show For It is unlikely to change this year. Basically abundantly nominated films that win nothing are rare beautiful creatures. 


Costume Designers Honor Princess Hathaway & Anna Karenina

The last (I think?) guild has spoken. And they have announced the movies (and tv) that were 'CLOTHED IN IMMENSE POWER'  for 2012. Apologies to Lincoln for stealing their line ...but at least they were nominated!

The evening included Career Achievement Awards to Eduardo Castro a frequent Emmy nominee with shows like "Ugly Betty" and "Once Upon a Time" under his belt and Judianna Makovsky who made waves this past spring with Hunger Games and costumed films as diverse as the original Harry Potter, Seabiscuit, and Reversal of Fortune. There was also a special award, the LACOSTE Spotlight Award to Anne Hathaway because Guilds generally find a way to honor a movie star or famous director during their ceremonies.

Her award seems to be a crystal alligator of some sort and it looks like she's inviting it to eat Russell Crowe's diaphragm in the photos. Hey, anything to stop him from singing at the Oscars on Sunday!


Television Movie/Mini-Series Lou Eyrich for "American Horror Story: Asylum"
Commercial Costume Design Judianna Makovsky for "Captain Morgan Black"

Contemporary Television Molly Maginnis for "Smash
Period/Fantasy Television Carolina McCall for "Downton Abbey"
Their series awards are hard to argue with, right? Although "Smash" has an unfair advantage over other contemporary shows in that it can also work in period and fantasy wear without stretching the boundaries of the show.


Contemporary Film Jany Temine for Skyfall
Period Film Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina 
Fantasy Film Eiko Ishioka for Mirror Mirror 

...which sets up the Oscar contest in brief.

I've said for some time that I think that Anna Karenina will be winning this statue (the other nominations for the film show some cross-branch interest and, no small matter, the costumes are also beyond gorgeous and memorable). But Mirror Mirror does pose a formidable threat if the Academy is feeling silly and adventurous  (bunny ears on top hats, stilt legs, supersized bows, etcetera) or merely feeling misty about the passing of the great Eiko Ishioka.

Which way do you think it will go? Are you happy with the CDG winners? 


Me, Elsewhere. Talking Oscar

I was a special guest star on two different sites today. So I have to send you away; come to me by going away! 

First, I was one of two guest stars on the latest edition of the fine podcast OpKino which stars my friend Katey Rich and her harem of movie besties Matt Patches, David Ehrlich and Da7e Gonzales (all of whom are infinitely worth following on twitter if you don't yet). I'm one of two guests. Not the one talking up The Amazing Spider-Man 2 rumors (i.e. Spider-Man 5) although I have nothing against Spidey. (Oh wait, I do now. Damnit.) I'm there to talk Oscars. Are they important? Why should people who don't like them learn to appreciate? And more...

Second, the fine folks at Slate and I have revamped last year's Acceptance Speech Analysis Essay and Interactives to bring it to the right now. I was so proud of this last season so if you missed it please read. Or read again. I spent DAYS researching it - fun filled eye strained days of watching actresses and actors stutter, cry, freak out. Now of course every site is writing about acceptance speeches since Oscar went and made it easy for them, transcribing all the actors acceptance speeches from somewhere in the 70s onward. They did it a year too late to save me those days and days of research but I like to think that I gave AMPAS the idea with my Slate thesis last year! They can thank me by inviting me to the Dolby next year. I'll be a lowly seat filler, bathroom attendant, or janitor, I don't care. 

P.S. Before you click away, as instructed, why not like the Film Experience on Facebook?



Interview: Rich Moore on His Long Journey With "Wreck-It Ralph"

The Animated Feature Oscar race has been unusually competitive this year. In the final week of voting (ballots are due tomorrow) FYC ads and toys were still showing up in the mail. Which to play with first: Brave bow and arrows, Frankenweenie stuffed animal, or Wreck-It Ralph hands? That is the question. When I spoke with Rich Moore, a long time animation force who made his theatrical directing debut with Wreck-It Ralph, a few weeks back he was very contemplative. Awards season has been a "surreal" experience especially nomination morning.

You hope that they will but when they really do... it was fantastic!"
-Rich Moore on the surreal joy of Nomination Morning 

Moore never quite equated his own story with that of Wreck-It Ralph's but I couldn't help projecting and connecting the dots when he told his story. There was a sturdy sweetness to it, not unlike Ralph's own, as he repeatedly expressed loyalty and gratitude for each of his past projects and opportunities. After graduating from CalArts in the late 80s he went to work for 70s animation legend Ralph Bakshi on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse -- which might not seem like a prime gig to us in retrospect but back then it was. "Those days there were not a lot of jobs for young animators," he explained.

"We were very very lucky to be hired onto that show by Ralph. Several of the people, my friends went on to form Pixar. [Bakshi] opened our eyes. If you could dream it it could happen because we would see Ralph do that on a daily basis. He is so passionate. And so crazy!" 

After his time with Bakshi he found himself at work on The Simpsons. And the experience still sounds shockingly fresh to hear him recall it. "I was 25 years old and somehow had the wherewithal to recognize that it was the chance of a lifetime - 'If I do not give this everything I've got I will not be able to live with myself.' It was gold."

He went on to marvel at how "antiquated" the idea was at the time -- it hadn't been done since The Jetsons. And I kept thinking of Wreck-It Ralph... an 8 bit game in a whole new world. Throughout his experiences with The Simpsons and then Futurama his CalArts friends who founded Pixar kept trying to woo him over. Finally the 'annual call' worked and he did some soul searching and stopped resisting, said a tough goodbye to one animation family for his original one. 

But, I wondered. How long had the Wreck-It Ralph idea been with him and how possessive did he feel about it animation being a hugely collaborative process and not exactly an auteurist medium. 

He calls it a "fine line to walk." Your precious idea, you have to let go and allow others to raise the child as strong as it can be. Here's how it worked. Moore pitched an idea for a story about a world of videogames where an old school character (then unnamed) had lost his passion for his work, and wonders about his station in life. "It began pretty much that simply," he explains. From there it shifted into a two person project for a year with he and screenwriter Phil Johnston. "From there it just begins to grow exponentially. You add more and more people to the mix. Last September there were up to 450 people - artistis, technicians, managers -- working on something that started as a pitch between John Lasseter and I four years ago."

Moore is suddenly contemplative and sounds a little sad. "To be the guy who walks through the whole thing from beginning to end is an interesting seat to have. When people talk about 'oh, it's journey'. It really is. it's a strange kind of trip you take. I find myself now at the end very reflective about the whole thing and appreciative to have been able to bring to Disney my contribution to this long line of films they've been making since the '30s. It's a very kind of profound feeling." 

As to that long line of films, Moore names Dumbo and Pinnocchio as his favorites from animation's early years and Toy Story 2 and The Iron Giant as his modern favorites. But as for his contribution -- he isn't quite ready to put Wreck-It Ralph behind him. He has dreams of a sequel and there's still Oscar night to get through. 

"I hated Christmas or Halloween to be over. oh no it's going to be done," Moore says recalling himself as a child. "I hate to let it go. That's where my head is right now. The 11th hour on Christmas day. You hate to see it come to a close but it's been a beautiful experience. It was so satisfying."

more on animated films
more interview 


Interview: Alexandre Desplat on Composing for "Argo" & "Zero Dark Thirty"

Matt here! Knowing my music background, Nathaniel asked me to speak with Alexandre Desplat for his fifth Oscar nomination. Desplat has composed scores for over 100 films including Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The King’s Speech, and The Tree of Life. This year alone, he wrote for Moonrise Kingdom, Rust and Bone, Rise of the Guardians, Zero Dark Thirty, and earned his latest Academy Award nomination for his work on Argo.

Desplat conducting his Rise of the Guardians score

Not only is Desplat impossibly prolific but he produces music of unprecedented diversity. Who could have guessed that the same man behind the jaunty storybook sounds of Fantastic Mr. Fox also wrote the cloudy chords at the end of Zero Dark Thirty? [more...]

Click to read more ...


7 Days 'til Oscar: Costume Design

Each year at the Oscar ceremony I hope against hope that they'll ditch one of the numerous superfluous montages celebrating something or other throughout history and just do a runway show of the year's best costumes. On rare occasions we've seen a living tableau before the winner was announced and at least once, a Whoopi ceremony, the host actually incorporated costume design into the gig.

Imagine Seth MacFarlane coming out as Fantine in a shredded Les Miz gown or Queen Ravenna's raven collar dress. Sorry, no! I apologize deeply for putting those images in your head. Let's just say that I feel reasonably certain there will at least be a stovepipe hat during the ceremony in honor of Lincoln.

• Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
• Joanna Johnston, Lincoln
• Eiko Ishioka, Mirror Mirror
• Paco Delgado, Les Misérables
• Colleen Atwood, Snow White and the Hunstman

will win: Anna Karenina, it's not quite traditional "royalty porn", their favorite thing in this category, but the Russian aristocracy is close enough.
should win: Anna Karenina, Durran continues to just amaze in film after film.
weird trivia: The Oscars love Colleen Atwood but she only ever wins when she's pitted against their other all-time favorite Sandy Powell
possible spoiler: if Oscar voters are feeling daring and/or sentimental you could see a posthumous win for the great Ishioka whose costumes always function as their own setpieces they're such scene stealers

My Own Ballot & Semi-Finalists with shout-outs to all the Oscar nominees (great lineup. well done AMPAS) as well as Sharen Davis, Kasia Walicka-Maimone, Caroline Eselin, Julie Weiss, Mark Bridges, and Manon Rasmussen

I think this begs a reader poll...




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