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Entries in Oscars (13) (319)

Wednesday
Nov302016

Why Amy Adams May Have to Sit This Oscar Year Out... 

The news of Amy Adams winning the NBR delighted many and also stirred up the usual "The Film Experience hates her!" complaints in the commentary. We do not. Being frustrated by an actor's ubiquity and dullness at one particular annual event is not the same as hating them or their work. Amy Adams is a very fine actress. She has given many delightful performances, two of which would have even made non-controversial Oscar wins had she managed to actually nab the statue (Junebug or The Fighter).

Amy Adams (5), Albert Finney (5), and Glenn Close (6) are the living actors with the most Oscar nominations who have never won.

And it's true that she's quite amazing in Arrival, serving as the audience vessel to in two simultaneous and important ways that the movie couldn't succeed without: she's awestruck by what she's watching (she's our eyes and surely our facial expressions in the dark); apart from that awe she's emotionally and intellectually engaged with the events in order to grapple with them and suss out meaning which is what the audience is always doing when they're watching grand films that demands that they pay attention with both their heart and their mind.

But for all of that I don't think she's making the Oscar lineup and here's why...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep092016

What Does Tom Hanks Have to Do to Receive Another Oscar Nomination?

by abstew

The world was a very different place in January 2001. George W. Bush was being sworn into office for the first of his two terms as President, people used disposable cameras and brought the film to be developed at...drug stores, and the main places to watch new films was in the actual movie theater (where the average ticket price was $5.39) and then later going to the nearest Blockbuster to rent it. It also happened to be the last time that Tom Hanks was nominated for an acting Oscar.

With a total of 5 Best Actor nominations for Big (1988), Philadelphia (1993), Forrest Gump (1994), Saving Private Ryan (1998), and Cast Away (2000) and back-to-back wins (only the second Best Actor to accomplish the feat after Spencer Tracy almost 60 years before and only one of five actors (the others are Luise Rainer, Katharine Hepburn, and Jason Robards) to have achieved the distinction in the Academy's 88 year history) it's not like Hanks is hurting for accolades. And if that weren't enough, he's even taken gold for television, winning 7 Emmys so far as a producer and director on multiple miniseries.

The Academy often has brief but passionate affairs when it comes to actors...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Mar032016

If these were offered as doll sets each year...


yes, that's the whole decade* thus far

 

 

...I would need a bigger apartment.

... Also I would go bankrupt. (Especially when trying to hunt down 1950, 1973, 1961 and 1939)

(On a Related Note: Did you see Jose's Best Dressed List?)

 

* Well, not quite the whole decade. Judi Dench was the sole no-show for her nomination for Philomena so that's 59 of the 60 nominees above as they were be-gowned on Oscar night. If you could only afford 1 of these 6 doll sets which year would it be?

Wednesday
Dec232015

HBO’s LGBT History: Behind the Candelabra (2013)

Manuel is working his way through all the LGBT-themed HBO productions.

Last week we dipped our toes into Todd Haynes’s Mildred Pierce only to find that it’s oddly divisive, as is its leading lady, Ms Kate Winslet. Who knew? This week we look at a high profile project that was intended for the silver screen but given the current film market found itself in the not too shabby quarters of HBO: the Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, written by 2016 WGA Ian McClellan Hunter Award honoree Richard LaGravenese and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

Released in 2013, the project was perhaps the gayest project on HBO’s roster since Kushner’s Angels in America. Indeed, if you’ve been following us these past few weeks you’ll notice we’ve dealt with low-key flicks like Bernard and Doris and Cinema Verite. Documentaries it’s where it was until Soderbergh brought his glittering film to the Home Box Office. Upon its release (it premiered at Cannes), the film was showered with praise not only for Soderbergh’s visual flair but for its central performances, with Michael Douglas earning some of his best reviews in years. [More...]


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Thursday
Apr302015

A.I. "Her," or The Rise of the Empathetic Machines

Wrapping up the sci-fi week festivities (did you see the final top ten list?) we turn the time over to our fine new contributor Lynn Lee. You'll want to read this one! - Editor


Deep down, most people who think about artificial intelligence have the same fear: that it will not only surpass humanity but supplant us, ending our reign as the planet’s dominant species and extracting cosmic revenge for our own abuses.  Building on these anxieties, movies about A.I. have embraced a pretty consistently grim outlook for humanity in the face of this phenomenon (which even has a fancy, if oddly spiritual-sounding name: the singularity).  The slaves become the masters, seeking either to exterminate or enslave us. 

But if A.I. overtakes human intelligence, and the machines evolve into a superior being, wouldn’t that include superior emotional intelligence?  And wouldn’t a super (emotionally) intelligent being have developed extraordinary powers of empathy?  Rather than using those powers to manipulate us, couldn’t they serve as a bridge between us and them?  Or would they, in outstripping our own poor abilities, become a further source of divergence?

Films that pursue this line of inquiry typically balance the A.I.s’ desire to understand and learn human emotions against their basic survival programming.  Blade Runner’s most transcendent moment involves a replicant (“more human than human”) reaching out to save a man (who may actually be a replicant himself) he was ready to kill just a minute earlier.  A.I: Artificial Intelligence, brandishing the tag line “His love is real.  But he is not,” teases out the conceit of such artificial beings, initially programmed to be and feel just like humans, evolving into a super-species who must deconstruct the emotional memories of one of their earliest prototypes in order to understand their own connection to us.  

More recently, the quietly disquieting Ex Machina introduces an A.I. who turns the Turing test on its head and leaves unanswered whether a machine that can so expertly read and simulate our more vulnerable emotions will ever come to feel them for “real.”

I can’t think of another movie, however, that explores these questions quite like Spike Jonze’s Her...

Click to read more ...