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The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R


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

 

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Entries in Punditry (14)

Saturday
Mar012014

Throwing the Link Bones

Gurus of Gold the final predictions. It's fascinating to see where the differences of opinion lie on this handy chart of top pundits
Telegraph Tim Robey picks the five best Oscar years ever from 1939 forward. Good choices.
Deadspin's "Hater's Guide to the Oscars" is insanely funny. Get on over there. Finally a piece making fun of the Oscars that is not dumb (Honestly I've had it with all the takedowns of Oscar we get every year. Even the 140 character type of takedowns. They're all so stupid and whiny ("why can't my favorites be nominated. waaaaaa") and clueless about how it all actually works and what movies, you know, exist in the world. 

Finally, you must read MTV Styles "United Colors of Lupita"... I know Oscar prediction is an inexact science, roughly akin to tossing small animal bones on the ground and pontificating but this is why I think Lupita is going to win.

This. 

Who needs all the precursors to line up when you can do this?

Friday
Feb282014

2 Days Til Oscar. Final Oscar Predictions

This article originally appeared in my column at Towleroad and is reprinted here (albeit slightly altered for the TFE crowd) with their permission

Gravity will win how many Oscars? The most at any rate.

Oscar Weekend is upon us! Those damn Olympics forced it into March so it already feels like its running late and pushing back the local news broadcast yet further into the AM hours. And it hasn't even started yet! But soon Ellen Degeneres will be dancing down the aisles and we'll be on our way. [Before we get there make sure to like TFE on facebook so you don't forget about us during the spring/summer. We hit it all year round!]

I've been an Oscar blogger for over ten years (yikes) and usually predicting the winners in the high profile categories is easy; it's about getting out of your own way since it's easy to overthink it and create scenarios which aren't likely to happen. This year is more volatile than usual, though, with Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, and American Hustle all displaying strength after strength during "precursor season" but meeting plenty of resistance, too, on their awards path. Anything might happen in Best Picture, which is not something you can usually say going into the big night. It'll be a groundbreaking night almost any way it turns out with a first in Best Director (first Hispanic winner or first black winner) and a first in Picture (first sci-fi winner or first film that's totally about black people) 

Oscar never presents the categories in the exact same order from year to year, but let's take these in the order the envelopes opened last year just as an outline on which to hang our predictions after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

Monday
Dec232013

The Wolf on Link Street

Parade 10 movie locations worth visiting from Walter Mitty to Sideways to Harry Potter and more...
Cinephilia and Beyond has links to all 2013 screenplays available for download legally direct from studios
New Yorker the best movies of the year
Slant best posters of the year
Variety The Santa Barbara Film Festival is celebrating the Before trilogy with screenings. I love that trilogy but what ISN'T Santa Barbara celebrating? I swear they have some tribute to every single contender... they're like the NBR, carefully giving out enough awards to get EVERY studio to their annual dinner

The Onion "9 Photos Of Jennifer Lawrence That Will Make You Reassess The Scope Of The 1986 Vienna Convention On The Law Of Treaties Between States And International Organizations"
Deadline Brie Larson and Jessica Lange are joining lead Mark Wahlberg in the James Caan lead role in a remake of The Gambler (1974)
Vulture John Ridley on the toughest scene to write in 12 Years a Slave, the one with Alfre Woodard 

Wolfy
Dealbook how do Jordan Belfort's victims feel about The Wolf of Wall Street?
In Contention counts down Leonardo DiCaprio's best performances. Wolf scores pretty high
The Wrap a Wolf of Wall Street Academy screening gone berserk. Scorsese gets a "shame on you" from a voter.
Awards Daily Sasha Stone also chimes in with a "this is why we can't have nice things" though I'm like "this is the last time anyone is going to call the movie 'nice'. 


It's been the talk of twitter today but I love David Poland's truth-serving response most...

 

 

 

An Oscar question
Here's a new spot for Dallas Buyers Club trumpeting its prize haul thus far. That awards loot is somehow more than what's sunk in if you know what I mean... but it's been a noisy season and Focus is relatively quiet. Is Dallas Buyers Club something we're underestimating outside the obvious places (Actor & Supporting Actor)

Monday
Dec092013

The AFI Lists. Useful or Redundant?

Earlier today we heard the AFI Lists for film and television. I immediately wondered what purpose they served. There are so many lists these days that are like spotlights on "CONSENSUS!" that the very act of publishing them feels redundant. With so many talking heads commenting on the Oscar race each year, both full time specialists and average reporters who become part time "experts" by virtue of, um, grist for the content mill, consensus is no longer an interesting thing to "find" or "capture" because it is so very inescapable.  AFI's list looks EXACTLY like an Oscar pundits chart, whereas in year's past they seemed to be about 70% Oscary 10% populist and 20% random. In fact, it looks the Gurus of Gold made it!

The AFI Top Ten (Motion Pictures)
12 YEARS A SLAVE
AMERICAN HUSTLE
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
FRUITVALE STATION
GRAVITY
HER
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
NEBRASKA
SAVING MR. BANKS
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET 

In fact it's identitical to the current Gurus of Gold top ten chart but for one switcheroo: the pundit chart includes Lee Daniels' The Butler instead of Fruitvale Station. Interestingly enough, both Best Picture hopefuls come from the Weinstein Company who are our usual Oscar champs but seem to be struggling with traction this year. In fairness, The Butler was never expected to place during "critic's week" but if it doesn't perform well at SAG and the Globes in a couple of days, it's Oscar dreams will die.

This can only mean two things:

 

  1. The AFI committee this year is secretly composed of only BFCA members and they're aiming to exactly predict the Best Picture race.
  2. It's a weak year for British pictures in terms of American traction. Since the AFI only looks at American pictures, strong British Oscar contenders sometimes automatically make the AFI list more interesting because they have to look elsewhere to fill the top ten. The only exclusion that might not be worrying awards strategists today is the exclusion of Philomena (also from Weinstein Co!) which is directed by, written by and stars Brits... and therefore ineligible. 

 

The American Film Institute also releases a television list for some reason despite the name of their organization. That went like so...

The AFI Top Ten - Television
THE AMERICANS
BREAKING BAD
GAME OF THRONES
THE GOOD WIFE
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN
MASTERS OF SEX
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
SCANDAL
VEEP

And I think it's a (slightly) more interesting list in that it looks a little more like the AFI lists of yore in that it's partially awardsy but also kind of guilty pleasure buzz-sensitive. Or maybe it's just more interesting because people can actually enjoy these shows instead of the movie list which is (sigh) heavily titled towards movies that have just opened or haven't opened... just like the critics awards. It's still fairly Emmy correlative but there's no Homeland or Modern Family so that's something. I haven't had time to write about it but I am head over heels in love with / in lust for /  in awe of Masters of Sex, which is the single best show on television at the moment. It's so assured, so fresh, so perfectly cast... and weirdly gets better every single week. I really can't get over it. I look forward to each new episode like I haven't looked forward to any tv show's new episode in years. 

Monday
Nov042013

Can Frozen's "Olaf" Melt Monty's Heart? 

This weekend on the podcast Katey asked if Monty, the web's original feline Oscar pundit, had met Olaf the scene-stealing snowman from Disney's impending Frozen. Generally speaking, Monty HATES stuffed animals and has even attacked them while they sat immobile, innocent and helpless, on a bed or couch.  I decided to risk the swag anyway and placed Olaf on the couch.  Some hours later our furry friend was caught sleeping right next to him rather than attacking him. Notice how the paw DOES NOT touch the snowman, a crucial distinction separating 'sure, ok' indifference from 'yes please' affection.  

I pushed my luck and moved Olaf nose to nose with Monty...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Oct122013

Notes From L.A.

backlit by L.A.'s eternal sunshineHello you. It's Nathaniel. I've been absent but with good reason. I'm in Los Angeles for a few days visiting friends and catching up with favorite peeps at a couple of studios before the season hits like a tornado and whisks us all away to the Merry Ol Land of Ozcars. But really things are already spinning furiously. And there's no Kansas. There's only New York and L.A. where your house might land. Los Angeles is sunny and beautiful and there are more blondes per block radius than you could ever imagine in NYC. I get why people love it here but I started longing for the East Coast within 36 hours. People complain that NYC is loud and crowded but at least you don't have to drive. Driving is terrifying here. Google maps is currently in hate with me for my frequent confusions on the road. I've driven to about 6 places and been lost 4 times. 66% chance of things going wrong! Yay me. 

 I just wrapped up a junket at The Four Seasons for Dallas Buyer's Club (more on that film real soon) and the conversation before the talent arrived was all about "locks" for Oscar. The press gathered were saying things like "there are 5 locks for... and 5 locks for..." and if you've been reading The Film Experience for any length of time whatsoever you will know that I was horrified.  This is not how it works people. Sigh. Entire categories don't lock up before the precursors and even when they do firm up, there's usually a deathmatch for slot #5 in any given category. Unless by "lock" you mean "this looks like it might happen but who knows" in which case the symboic word has lost all correlation to its real life counterpart so quit using it. 

I don't normally do junkets since it's virtually impossible to get fresh exclusive coverage from them. Apparently I have control issues because not being able to shape a conversation with a fine director (let's say, oh, Jean Marc-Vallée) or ask about his past work in relation to his new work while the noisiest junketeer in the room merely asks him to regurgitate the entire press note package for his entire alloted time in the room just makes me C.R.A.Z.Y.

HYPOTHETICALLY SPEAKING, YOU UNDERSTAND.

view from my room at the Four Seasons

 But I can't say that I didn't enjoy my time at the Four Seasons. Lounging poolside first thing in the morning, or typing in a plush bathrobe while the balcony door lets in a cool breeze, or a quick elevator ride up several floors to sit down with Matthew McConaughey? I'll take it!  

P.S. Good god his eyes are blue in person. When he touched the hand of the girl next to me to illustrate a point, I thought she might spontaneously combust. Or melt.

How is your weekend going? 

Tuesday
Oct082013

Monty & The Seasons First Oscar Screeners

Monty, my beloved gray furball, is the web's original cat Oscar pundit. So once again we beg his feline proclamations. They are usually mysterious and non-committal but there are also the unambiguous dismissals,  100% prescient predictions and dumb blunders... just like any pundit might make.

The first screeners of the season arrived last night: indie hit Mud and Sarah Polley's documentary hopeful Stories We Tell. I presented them to him. Which would Monty favor?

Click to read more ...