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Entries in Oscars (14) (342)


Biggest Foreign and Documentary Hits of the Year (Thus Far)

Since Labor Day Weekend is historically a lame box office weekend, it affords us a fine opportunity to look back at the year thus far rather than wait for box office results. Especially in terms of films that aren't usually spoken of in terms of box office. So let's look at two sets of baker's dozens: 2015'S FOREIGN LANGUAGE and DOCUMENTARY HITS.

*second* biggest-hits in Foreign & Documentary: "Baahubali: The Beginning" and "Amy"

How many have you seen?

Top Dozen of 2015 thus far
01 Bajrangi Bhaijaan (India) $8+
02 Baahubali: The Beginning (India) $6+ 
03 A La Mala (Mexico) $3+
04 Wild Tales (Argentina) $3+ Review
05 Dil Dhadakne Do (India)  $3+ 
06 Tanu Weds Manu Returns (India) $3+
07 Clouds of Sils Maria* (France)  $1+ Various Sils Maria Articles
08 Piku (India)  $1+
09 Assassination (South Korea) $1+
10 Phoenix (Germany) $1+ Nina Hoss Interview
11 i (India)  $1+
12 Timbuktu (Mauritania) $1+ Review, César Winners
13 Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem (Israel) $.9+ Review, Second Opinion

As we always see in the foreign charts in the past decade or so, Bollywood films continue to be solid imported hits without the benefit of any media attention whatsoever. That's what comes when you have distribution companies that cater to niche audiences and understand/market directly to them. This is surely what China Lion is attempting of late though they have yet to find as much regular support for Chinese language films. Aside from the Hindi language films, the top of the charts also painfully remind us that subtitled films have far teensier grosses even when they get breakout media attention than they once had. Wild Tales for example surely would have been at least a $13 million rather than a $3 million hit a decade ago. The chart also shows us that Oscar nominations help (see #4 and #12) but aren't necessary (see #10 and #13). 2015 hasn't yet had a breakout Oscar-headed hit like Ida from Poland last year (Phoenix was passed over for Oscar submission last year by Germany so it's been on its own without awards-buzz to find its audience. Happily, it's done just that). Sadly Sweden's sublime Oscar entry for this year A Pigeon Sat on a Branch... earned only $200,000 at the US box office. Maybe Labyrinth of Lies, Germany's submission, which opens September 25th can fill that semi-annual slot of foreign hit that doesn't wait for its Oscar fate to make a stir. 

* I'm fudging to include Clouds of Sils Maria I know. It's surely ineligible for France's Oscar submission as its more than 50% English. If you remove it from the list, the film that enters at the lowest rung is The 100 Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared from Swedish director Felix Herngren. It earned nearly a million at the US box office but was a huge hit internationally with an additional $50 million!

Top Ten of 2015 Thus Far
01 Monkey Kingdom $16+ 
02 Amy $8+ Review
03 The Salt of the Earth $1+ Documentary Nominees Conversation
04 Iris $1+
05 The Wolfpack $1+ Review
06 Dior & I $1+
07 Meru $.8+ 
08 Red Army $.6+
09 Best of Enemies $.6+ Review
10 Cartel Land $.6+
11 Seymour: An Introduction $.6+ Review
12 Deli Man $.5+
13 The Hunting Ground $.4+


The list includes only one of last year's Oscar nominees The Salt of the Earth since most of them played in their correct calendar year. The big story beyond Disney's nature epic and the Amy Winehouse hit, is the success of Sundance Award Winners since The Wolfpack, Cartel Land and Meru were all hits in release. The late Albert Maysles (Grey Gardens) final full documentary feature Iris about eccentric fashion icon Iris Apfel was also well-received.

From this list we really expected Red Army to break out a little further as the Russian Olympic hockey documentary was quite entertaining and benefitted from a highly accessible international-interest storyline. If they hadn't waited for their Oscar nomination -- which they didn't get -- they might have fared better. 

Here's a crazy colorful musical number from the year's #1 foreign language hit Bajrangi Bhaijaan starring Salman Khan called "Selfie Le Le Re"

When was the last time you saw a Bollywood film in theaters? Do you seek out the buzz titles from these categories?


European Film Awards - Vote for the 'People's Choice'

Have you ever been to Berlin? The annual European Film Awards will be held there this year just 102 days. As part of their annual tradition if you vote on their People's Choice Awards you can be entered to win a trip to the show.

This year's People's Choice slate (the only category thus far announced) feels slightly more "behind" than usual or perhaps we misremember past years? Generally the EFA titles are a mix of current and previous Oscar seasons (due to scattered release dates) but this year's batch feels especially 2014 heavy. On the down side this means it's less helpful in seeing which films are making inroads to general critics prizes and Oscar love down the road... in that they already have or haven't. On the plus side, potential voters will have seen more of them. YOU CAN VOTE RIGHT HERE... They also have an official facebook page up now.

The 10 Nominees...  

  • A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence d. Roy Andersson
    Just announced as Sweden's Oscar submission! This auteur's unique 'vignettes in absurdist tableaus' sensibility must be experienced to be believed. Reviewed / Best of 2015 (Thus Far)
  • Force Majeure d. Ruben Östlund
    Sweden's acclaimed awards magnet was a big Oscar snub in the Foreign Film category last season... though it was up for Best Film at the EFAs. Is the American remake still planning to go ahead despite being a terrible idea? Reviewed / Blurbed / Top 20 of 2014 
  • The Imitation Game d. Morten Tyldum
    Last year's Best Picture contender qualifies as European because...? Perhaps it's the Norwegian director. But it's a US/UK production so it feels strange to see it here. Past Articles.  
  • Leviathan d. Andrey Zvyaginstev
    Russia's Oscar nominated and Golden Globe winning hit last season. Past Articles.
  • Marshland d. Alberto Rodríguez
    A serial killer drama from Spain.

  • Samba d. Oliver Nakache & Eric Toledano
    Omar Sy (The Intouchables) and Charlotte Gainsbourg headline this French film about a struggling Senegalese immigrant and a woman trying to get her life back together
  • Serial (Bad) Weddings d. Philippe de Chauveron
    A French comedy about a Catholic couple whose four daughters all get married to men of different origins and religions
  • The Salt of the Earth d. Wim Wenders & Juliano Riberio Salgada
    Best Documentary Nominee at the Oscars. On the international journeys of Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado. Discussed
  • Victoria d. Sebastian Schipper
    Winner of 6 Lola Awards. Germany couldn't really select this hard-partying drama about a girl who gets mixed up in a bank robbery for their Oscar submission -- too much English in it -- but it's won raves and a lot of attention for its one take trick. That's right, a 140 minute movie all in one continuous shot without Birdman's tricks. Laia Costa and Frederick Lau star and took the German Oscars (the Lolas) for Best Actress and Best Actor.
  • White God d. Kornél Mundruczó
    Hungary's Oscar submission last season (not nominated), an allegorical film featuring rampaging packs of wild dogs, has been riveting moviegoers since its 2014 Cannes debut. Now on DVD. Reviewed / Interview

I'll have to choose between the two Swedish films for my personal vote. Who gets yours?



Your Daily Reminder That Julianne Moore Won an Oscar

Hat tip and Quote of the week to our friend Ali Arikan in Istanbul

Turkish bootlegs don't have time for your bullshit."
-Ali Arikan 



That's a Wrap ~ All the 87th Academy Awards Coverage

Thanks for reading & listening. You should sign up for the forthcoming weekly newsletter so you don't miss important events like a new Actress Psychic contest, the April Foolish Predictions and films to watch before big articles hit. It'll take you 5 seconds. Do it! 

It's okay boys. Not everyone can go home with an Oscar.*

The Arrivals - Dakota Johnson, Rosamund Pike, The Streep
The Live Blog - Flu-ridden spontaneous responses
Best & Worst Moments - the Team speaks out
Birdman Post-Mortem - reflections on the Best Picture win
Readers Choice - who TFE's audience was rooting for. Sorry!
Nathaniel's Ballot - Nathaniel's 2014 favorites for comparison's sake
Title Cards - how beautiful was this year's art for each category?
Oscar Stages - how did this year's compare to past set designs?
Oscar Charts - updated. To be replaced with new predictive ones starting in April!
Best Oscar Tweets - from gaga gloves to great sex

Julianne Won an Oscar - a love letter
Julianne's Baby Boy Won an Oscar - who's next?
Best Supporting Actress Gowns - and a few presenters
Best Actress Gowns - and the Aussie goddesses
Lupita's Stolen Dress - we name suspects
Oscar Snacks - what did you serve at your party?
After Party Gowns - Andie Macdowell, Hailee Steinfeld, and more
New Trivia - several interesting things happened
Podcast - wrapping it all up. Final reflections.

The New Actress Hierarchy - Julianne Moore enters the royal palace


COMING IN MARCH: "We Can't Wait" 2015's Most Exciting Movies, Cinderella (2015), The return of "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" with The Sound of Music (Tomorrow! Are you ready?), The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Chappie, and looks back at Paris is Burning, Pretty Woman, and the films of Ida Lupino.

* last chance to post a photo of Channing Tatum in a singlet - had to take it.


Podcast Finale: The Team Reflects on the 87th Academy Awards

Nick, Katey, Joe and Nathaniel reunite for the podcast season finale. The topic is the Oscars and these are our last words on this year's. The conversation includes but is not limited to:

• Neil Patrick Harris strong opening but then...
• Our choices for MVP from the audience
• Musical numbers - good but too many?
• Who should host next time?
• Power Trio: Canonero, Lubezki & Desplat
• Obsessing over Julianne Moore's speech
• Eddie Redmayne's glee
• Nick's John Travolta prediction
• Which of the nominees will be nominated again quickest?

And of course we play our favorite game of suggesting pairings of actors and directors. 

Juli is a little embarrassed at our obsessing on her 

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes.  

87th Oscars Reviewed


Birdman Post-Mortem

BEST PICTURE | BEST DIRECTOR | BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY | BEST CINEMATOGRAPHYWe're nearly a week out from Birdman's big win and as we close out 2014 coverage (I'm hurrying backstage with our awards and the podcast Sunday night is our Oscar finale) I'm feeling more and more satisfied with the way everything panned out. Oh sure the Julianne Moore Coronation kept my mood up but there were other things to cherish.

Share the wealth years are usually more satisfying not to mention more representative of a film year and all the Best Pictures took a statue (or more) home. And with Boyhood winning so many prizes on the way to Oscar, well that labor of love got plentiful rewards too. I know those awards weren't the Oscar but what's the point of having all of these awards if they all go to the same things. We should celebrate the teensy tiny bit of diversity of wins when they happen.

My delight in Birdman's win is, of course, in direct opposition to what seems to be the majority of critics, which is odd since the film had strong reviews originally. The internet was downright furious when it took Best Picture but when isn't the internet furious, you know?

Depression, navel-gazing and recommended reads after the jump...

Click to read more ...


The Likeliest Culprits in The Pearl Dress Thievery

Previously in Oscar Fashion Discussions
- Reader Poll Supporting plus Viola, Jessica, Scarlett
Reader Poll Actress plus Kidman, Blanchett,  Robbie


...and just when y'all thought we were done talking Oscar night fashions.

As you may have heard that amazing pearl dress worn by Lupita Nyong'o was stolen from her hotel room. My first thought was "but where could you even wear that?  Everyone will know and you're not going to look as good as Lupita anyway!" but then a more basic bitch realization: oh right, THOUSANDS of pearls. Supposedly 6,000 of them in all and unmarked and the dress is worth something like $150,000. Or, probably more than Lupita was paid for co-starring in 12 Years a Slave back before she was a household name, Oscar winner and instant fashion icon.

Theories abound but here are TFE's three best guesses as to the culprit. 

01. THAT CREEPER who was lurking around the actresses all night. Suspicious!*

02 THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE. Consider the facts: She WAS at the Dolby that night. She IS cultivating a "Modern" bad girl image. She DOES have a thing for pearls.

03 URSULA. Her rep declares the allegations unfounded and insulting. "On the whole she's been a saint."

*Scarlett Johansson is now a character witness so it looks like he's off the hook.