Oscar History

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Viola's Speech

"If she'd said "We're a profession that celebrates what it means to live a life" instead of "the only profession" it would have been a truer, less self-aggrandizing statement. But what she said about exhuming stories from those who are dead - ordinary lives that should be illuminated on film - was powerful and is worth remembering" - Hustler


Asghar Farhadi (The Salesman)
Krystof Deak (Sing)
Robert Legato (The Jungle Book)
Rich Moore (Zootopia) 

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Entries in Stellan Skarsgård (8)


Today in Film History. Meow

It's Father's Day. Happy Father's Day. It's also Juneteenth. The day in which the nation commemorates the end of slavery in the mid 1860s (though like most holidays the actual timeline involves several days and months and years and lots of political manuevering -- see Lincoln and be reminded what a mess governing and policy making and constitutional debates always are). June 19th has another history civil rights event in 1964 with the passing of the Civil Rights Act (see Selma) so exercize your right to vote in November. People are always trying to deny people that right, and if everyone voted, we'd be in such better shape. Now on to cinema...

On this day in history as it relates to the movies...

Good god, woman. Let it go.1865 Dame May Whitty, two time Oscar nominee is born in Liverpool. Remember her all caps obsession with winning that damn flower contest in Mrs Miniver
 The first Nickelodeon (an early form of the movie theater) opens in Pittsburgh. By 1910 there are thousands of them and an estimated 26 million Americans visit them weekly. Can you imagine how popular film blogs would be - sniffle. The movies shown in them get longer and longer...

Click to read more ...


Shia Gets Served

Jason from MNPP here, taking a look at today's big news out of everybody's favorite Oscar baiting genre, the bio-pic - famous actor slash shit-stirrer Shia LaBeouf is set to play famous athlete slash shit-stirrer John McEnroe in Borg/McEnroe, which will tackle the long-term rivalry between Mr. McEnroe and the underwear-salesman slash Swede Bjorn Borg. Playing Borg is the actor Sverrir Gudnason, who I am not familiar with, but he sure does have some big tiny shorts to fill...

(Cue my childhood crush on Borg rearing its head.) 

Stellan Skarsgård is also in the film, playing Borg's coach, and Danish director Janus Metz (Armadillo) is directing. Anyway Shia might maybe be rebounding? I actually think he's given his best performances over the past couple of years in the middle of what did seem to be a bit of a public breakdown. He's managed to channel it into his work in interesting ways, that is. And there aren't many movies in the world right now that I need to see more than I need to see Andrea Arnold's American Honey, and the word out of Cannes on that one only made that more true. And playing John McEnroe seems like a crazy good match of actor and subject. What do we think?


Review: Nymphomaniac: Parts I & II

Michael C. here fresh from a four hour romp through Lars von Trier's sexual subconscious. First a review, then a hot shower. Or five.

It’s tough to think of a recent film more resistant to review than Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac. Not only to does it vacillate wildly in quality between brilliant and dreadful, but it also feels redundant to review a movie so thoroughly engaged in the act of reviewing itself.  

We are first introduced to Charlotte Gainsborg’s Joe laying beaten and unconscious in an alley. When Stellan Skarsgård’s Seligman picks her up off the ground and gives her a place to rest, she narrates her lifelong saga of sexual exploration to him by way of lengthy explanation for her current state. [More]

Click to read more ...


Yes, No, Maybe So: Nymphomaniac

I have been remiss in my Von Trier worshipping duties. He was once basically vying for Nathaniel's Favorite Working Director since I loved everything he made from 1996 through 2004. But in roughly those same years Almodóvar was peaking and Lars lost the Battle of the Auteurs. In the past nine years I have gone off Lars a little though Melancholia (2011) came thisclose to reginiting the passion. If it had only been tighter! I've tried to rewatch it a few times because I think it's a near masterpiece but the padding and wandering repetitions really undermine its potency and actively make me angry since it could have been one for the all time lists!

Which brings us to Nymphomaniac which is NOT keeping it tight as if to spite me. It's the story of a very loose woman, played by glutton for punishment Charlotte Gainsbourg (3 films with LVT now), and it's reportedly 5 hours long. (One wonders what it is that editors actually do on an LvT picture beyond lining up the scenes and calling it a day.)

So let's do a Yes No Maybe So on the very very very NSFW trailer so don't click on the "click to read more" link if nudity offends you since there will be screen captures... Okay, prudes and whores, let's do this!

Click to read more ...



The Film Stage on Marc Webb's approach to the 'untold story' of The Amazing Spider-Man which has been told oh so many times before.
Vulture Star Market Charlize Theron
Coming Soon has a chat with shooting star Tom Hiddleston on War Horse and Midnight in Paris
The Playlist Stellan Skarsgard on getting naked for Lars von Trier for next year's The Nymphomaniac. Another von Trier alum Charlotte Gainsbourg will co-star in what Lars is calling his "porno"... not to be confused with the pornographic moments from The Idiots (incidentally one of the director's very best films though people rarely speak  of it now.) 

Moviefone 25 things you didn't know about Harold & Maude for its 40th anniversary.
The House Next Door picks the worst movie posters of the year.
In Contention interviews Kenneth Branagh on his "dangerously obvious casting" as Sir Laurence Olivier
Cinema Blend promised me a list of best "tiny" performances and then just gave me a list of good supporting performances, some of them in several scenes of their movies, one them third largest role in the movie! I need cameo suggestions, for my own awards, c'mon!!!
The Advocate has a fun list: Most Googled gays and lesbians of 2011. Congratulations to the lot of them.
MNPP The trailer for a trailer for a not prequel sequel Prometheus

Pajiba Dustin hates the Dexter finale on Season 6 (as did I) yet plans to come back for more. This is why TV shows outstay their welcome! Don't do it. Jump ship once the show jumps shark. If people exhibited half the patience they give television to the movies Bela Tarr and Sofia Coppola would have 100 million grossers under their belt ;) Why do people hate on "slow" movies but come back for TV shows week after week when it can sometimes takes 12 hours for something to happen which actually advances the plot? 
Paste 100 Best Twitter accounts of 2011... sadly the movie stars aren't bringing it. Real celebs on the list are mostly music and TV talents but Steve Martin and Diablo Cody richly deserve their places on the list. 
Animation Magazine a new Bill Plympton animated short based on Winsor McCay's "Flying House" is hitting the festival circuit. Maybe we'll hear of it in next year's Oscar discussion?  He's been nominated twice before.
The New York Times wonders what's going with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's late breaking Oscar campaign.  

If you'd like to read a piece that is fine though unrelated follow up to Michael's recent "Burning Questions" post about being nominated without precursor support, Erik at has been crunching other numbers with the same time frame using the Chicago Film Critics of all things as a major predictor. He also reminds us of those unlucky few leads from the past decade who did NOT go on to Oscar nominations despite having the entire big precursor trifecta BFCA/SAG/GLOBE and they were Cinderella Man's Russell Crowe, Sideways' Paul Giamatti, Lars and the Real Girl's Ryan Gosling and A Mighty Heart's Angelina Jolie. Locks can be broken in other words. Of this year's leading crowd that already has all three I'd say only Tilda Swinton and Leonardo DiCaprio seem vulnerable. That said, I'm not prepared to bet against Leo, biopic leads being crack cocaine to AMPAS. Tilda on the other hand I still wonder about given that it's not an Oscar style film by any stretch of the imagination.


Links: Fiennes' Shakespeare, Moviegoer's Etiquette, Freddy's Bio?

So EDDIE MURPHY it is for Oscar host. I said a few words about that here but it is now confirmed. The one time nominee (Dreamgirls) and legendary standup star will be your host for the Oscars in February. 

Ralph Fiennes © Alastair MuirYour Movie Buddy Kurt unloads about bad theater etiquette springboarding from a recent incident at the Alamo Drafthouse. Seriously, what is wrong with people these days in movie theaters? Don't come if you don't wanna be there!
Playbill Guess his directorial debut Coriolanus (coming to movie theaters soon) is not enough Shakespeare for star actor Ralph Fiennes this season. He's currently playing Prospero in The Tempest in London (pictured left).
The Lost Boy Michael Fassbender talking about Shame in Venice. 
Alt Screen looks at modern critical takes on the brutal gay film Cruising (1980).  
Kenneth in the (212) 'Correction of the Year' from a scandalous book about Vanessa Redgrave and that acting dynasty.

Cinema Blend Lars von Trier wants his frequent actor Stellan Skarsgård for the male lead of his upcoming pornographic epic. 
IndieWire on the top ten hit box office indies this summer season: Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life, and Beginners lead the pack. (They'll all fight it out for Oscar nominations, too, obviously.)
Clothes on Film on Patricia Norris's amazing character-exposing and era-milieu-specific work on Scarface (1983). Since it's not even close to being one of my favorite 80s movies you may wonder why I link to every good piece on Scarface. And my answer is...

 Duh! Any excuse, you know.

Screen Rant Hawkeye and The Black Widow in their Avengers costumes. Did Joss Whedon set every sequence in the great outdoors for this movie? I bet the actors miss the privacy of soundstages.
My New Plaid Pants Xavier Dolan seven times 
Nick's Flick Picks Nick's annual check list of fall film anticipation. This one with Mariah Carey as theme.
Awards Daily Sasha on A Dangerous Method's Oscar hopes. 

I kind of loved Knightley in this ultimately, even though she might be off-putting to some.  That is precisely what makes it a Cronenberg-strange movie.  Her facial expressions represent the grotesque. 


 Did you see today's Google Doodle celebrating the late Freddie Mercury's birthday? Here it is below. It begs the eternal question: why does his biopic never get made? Wasn't it supposed to be a Sacha Baron Cohen project at one point. When was the last time we heard any news on this one? The Show Must Go On filmmakers.



Norway and Oscar. Which "Amanda" Nominee Will They Submit?

Last night I had a lovely Scandinavian dinner with friends as we discussed our book club title "The Ice Princess" the latest best seller capitalizing on the super hot Scandinavian crime genre (oh what The Girl With/Who... has wrought!). I didn't like the book at all and the translation seemed clunky (or maybe that was the fault of the original prose?) but I find the whole trend vaguely hilarious since Scandinavian countries, to their vast collective credit, are not exactly known as hotbeds of crime! Returning home, what do I have in my inbox?, but the nominations for Norway's annual "Amanda" Awards. Don't you love unexpected theme days?

Norway had a record breaking year with 34 original films eligible for their own prizes. To give you a very general sense of the amount of films various countries make each year here's a handy graphic AMPAS provided for the films of 2007. Would that all the regularly Oscar submitting countries had been listed!

It's no surprise that Bollywood is the biggest deal with over a thousand films made a year.


They basically have two "Best Picture" categories since Scandinavia has a rich history of children's films. So the six lucky movies are as follows.

Nokas was released in Norway the day after last year's foreign film eligibility cutoff!Best Children's Film

  • Elias og jakten på havets gull (Lise I. Osvoll) -ANIMATED
  • Jørgen + Anne = sant [a.k.a. Totally True Love] (Anne Sewitsky)
  • Keeper’n til Liverpool (Arild Andresen) -a comedy about a 13 year old soccer goalie.

Best Film

  • Gazas tårer [aka Tears of Gaza] (Vibeke Løkkeberg) -This is a documentary film about the consequences of war.
  • Kongen av Bastøy/ The King of Devil's Island (Marius Holst) -Here is the highest profile release, a true story period epic about a boy's prison in the early 20th century.
  • Nokas (Erik Skjoldbjærg) -Another true story, this one a crime drama about Norway's most famous robbery. This is from the director of the famous thriller Insomnia (1997) which Christopher Nolan went and remade.

Trailer to The King of Devil's Island with Stellan Skarsgård

Eligibility dates aren't exactly the same for the Amandas as they are for Oscar submissions but you shouldn't be surprised if one of these six films is Norway's submission. Two other films of note: Maria Sødahl's Limbo, a period film with the great Lena Endre about expat Scandinavians in Trinidad, did very well in total nominations (acting, screenplay, direction and more) but missed the Best Picture cut under the familiar awards rule of something-has-to. But it won't be the Oscar submission as it would have been eligible in 2010 and it also has a lot of dialogue in English. Trolljegeren, known abroad as Troll Hunter (it's even in release as we speak right here in the States) won multiple nominations, too.

I'm assuming that Joachim Trier's second feature Oslo 31, August missed the eligiblity cut off for these awards. And given that it was so well received at Cannes, perhaps Oscar submission is in the cards? Norway submitted the young filmmaker's debut Reprise once upon a time. (Oscar foolishly ignored it. God, what a startling debut that was. I nominated it!). Here's the trailer to Oslo 31, August.

...same lead actor as Reprise, playing a troubled soul again. I shouldn't make any uninformed guesses but my hunch is that it'll be this one or The King of Devil's Island for Oscar submission.

"I'm going to lose to the King's Speech again??? It's my turn!"Best Foreign Film
One of the funnest things for awards junkies when perusing off-Oscar prizes is how often Oscar giants show up in Foreign Film prizes. Hint: They usually do.

Click to read more ...


Yes, No, Maybe So: "Melancholia"

yes no maybe so ~ in which we determine how we feel about new movies based on their trailers.

Lars von Trier. Those three syllables used to excite me beyond any others in moviedom. I'm not sure where I lost the thread but ever since the brilliant Golden Heart trilogy (Breaking the Waves, The Idiots, Dancer in the Dark), it's been like the air slowly (very slowly) going out though I still find a lot to enjoy, respect and respond to in the films. So how about the wedding set MELANCHOLIA, von Trier's spin on the Apocalyptic Drama.

Yes. First things first, I have been a major believer in Kirsten Dunst as an actress and have been ever since The Virgin Suicides. I think that if she stays focused on her craft andgets the opportunities, two big "ifs", she will continue to surprise and evolve. I'm also delighted that von Trier cast Stellan Skarsgård and Alexander Skarsgård as father and son because that's always a treat in movies when people fictionalize their own realities.

All that and then then Charlottes? I'm in. Von Trier always gives his cast a lot of thematic and character meat to chew on... and then he makes them gag on it.

Is everyone in your family stark raving mad?

No. I don't get what Keifer Sutherland is doing here exactly and sometimes I suspect that Lars von Trier casts in a similar way to Woody Allen where he only vaguely pays attention to Hollywood and then is like "they're popular right now, right? Let's use them" and sometimes there is a lag in awareness or what not. And I do worry a bit about trying to do a Celebration style family drama AND an apocalyptic drama. Too ambitious?

Maybe So. Then again... this collision of genres might be completely fascinating. Von Trier's gift with indelible images -- and they're totally spoiling us with how many there are in this one trailer -- combined with how far he pushes his actors could make this truly special. And not to get all philosophical as we wrap up but should the apocalypse we always fear come, wouldn't it arrive and be experienced in a terrifyingly intimate way with friends and family and our neurotic interior monologues rather than with CGI explosions, a motley cast of strangers and Hollywood bombast?

This is actually the one thing i really loved about M Night Shyamalan's Signs (2002) though I didn't otherwise care for that movie and I never ever ever ever ever thought I'd cover M Night with Lars von, and I feel perverse doing so now. But watching that movie -- at least for the first hour, I thought 'this is how you'd experience something that was affecting the whole world.' It'd be how it hit you at home and what you saw on the news and what you attempted to piece together and how it affected you and your loved ones.

I am resounding "Yes" all told but I'm trying to keep my expectations down in lieu of Antichrist which I was too excited for, heard too much about before seeing it and was only thrilled by it visually.

Melancholia from Zentropa on Vimeo.


So what about you: YES, NO, or MAYBE SO?
Did Antichrist's wicked idea of a horror movie leave you ready for more or do are you hoping this is more in the harrowing Breaking the Waves human vein?