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Entries in The Artist (42)

Wednesday
Nov232011

Do Movies About Movies Win Oscars?

George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) has had it with the movies in "The Artist"Over at Fandor's Keyframe blog I'll be musing about the Oscar race on a biweekly basis. This week's topic is the unusual abundance of movies about movies in this year's Oscar race from Marilyn Monroe (My Week With Marilyn) to George Melies (Hugo) to Hollywood's seismic sound shift in the late 20s (The Artist). But one thing I didn't dwell on too much in the article (which I hope you'll go and read!) is the lack of Oscars won for movies about movies.

Everyone predicting a win for The Artist (2011) before the nominations are even announced should consider the following list and sobering fact: No movie about movies has ever won Best Picture.

Movies About Movies: How Do They Do With Oscar?
(Best Picture Nominees are in red) 

Janet Gaynor (already an Oscar winner) was nominated again for playing an actress who wins a fictional Oscar in "A Star is Born"1930s
What Price Hollywood (1 nomination. 0 wins)
A Star is Born (7 nominations. 1 win + 1 honorary) 

1940s
Was Hollywood too busy with patriotism to make movies about movies? Or were they still too enamored by live theater to turn their cameras on themselves?

1950s
Sunset Blvd  (11 nominations. 3 wins)
The Bad and the Beautiful (6 nominations. 5 wins)
The Star (1 nomination. 0 wins)
Singin' in the Rain (2 nominations. 0 wins)
A Star is Born (6 nominations. 0 wins)

1960s
Sweet Bird of Youth (3 nominations. 1 win)
8 ½ (5 nominations. 2 wins) 
Inside Daisy Clover (3 nominations. 0 wins)
The Oscar (2 nominations. 0 wins)

1970s
Day For Night (4 nominations. 1 win) 
The Way We Were (6 nominations. 2 wins)
The Day of the Locust (2 nominations. 0 wins)
California Suite (3 nominations. 1 win)
All That Jazz (9 nominations. 4 wins) 

1980s
The Stunt Man (3 nominations. 0 wins)
The Purple Rose of Cairo (1 nomination. 0 wins)
The Kiss of the Spider Woman (4 nominations. 1 win)
Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (6 nominations. 3 wins. 1 special achievement.)
Cinema Paradiso (1 nomination. 1 win) 

Baby Herman (a handful off camera) and Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)... which would have been a worthy Best Picture contender.

1990s
Postcards from the Edge (2 nominations. 0 wins)
Bugsy (10 nominations. 2 wins)
Barton Fink (3 nominations. 0 wins)
Chaplin (3 nominations. 0 wins)
The Player (3 nominations. 0 wins)
Ed Wood (2 nominations. 2 wins)
Boogie Nights (3 nominations. 0 wins)
Gods and Monsters (3 nominations. 1 win) 

Jude Law as Errol Flynn and Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in "The Aviator"2000s
Shadow of the Vampire (2 nominations. 0 wins)
Mulholland Dr (1 nomination. 0 wins)
Adaptation (4 nominations. 1 win)
The Aviator (11 nominations. 5 wins)
Tropic Thunder (1 nomination. 0 wins)
Nine (4 nominations. 0 wins)
Inglourious Basterds (8 nominations. 1 win) 

2010s
The Artist (we shall see)
My Week With Marilyn (we shall see)
Hugo (we shall see)

A semi-random selection of movies about movies that Oscar ignored: The Cameraman, Man With a Movie Camera, Sullivan's Travels, Stand-In, Peeping Tom, Contempt, Beware of a Holy Whore, F For Fake, The Last Action Hero, Stardust Memories, Blow Out, The Majestic, Irma Vep, Living in Oblivion, Be Kind Rewind, Guilty by Suspicion, Los Angeles Plays Itself,  etc...

You'd think that Hollywood's High Holy Night, which is one big self-congratulatory spectacle, would embrace movies about movies and they do to a point. But perhaps even Hollywood's notoriously fulsome egos feel sheepish about taking it all the way. Do they fear it would be overkill, the back-patting night of nights morphing into something far more orgiastic, a daisy chain of self regard? 

What are your favorite movies about movies? Do you think The Artist can buck the trends here?


Related: my new keyframe article and a previous roundup on Keyframe "top ten films about filmmaking" which I also had the pleasure of contributing to and which should give you plenty of rental ideas.

Monday
Nov212011

"baby, you are going to miss that link"

Please tell me how to feel about the proposed Before Sunset (2004) sequel. I don't mean to shirk my duties as an "opinion maker" *snort* but sometimes I just don't have one. A definitive opinion, I mean. See, when the magical Sunset was first announced it sounded like an iffy idea at best and a terrible idea at worst chasing such a fleeting wisp of enchantment like Before Sunrise (1995), one that purposely left the future up to our collective or, rather, individual imagination.

But then Before Sunset arrived and it turned out that a second encounter with Jesse and Celine was not just a good idea, but a great one. It was as if the stars and the Richard Linklater, the writer/director, had not just matured nine years in the interim but that they're maturity combined had tripled that depth of their real time spell-casting. What an incredible film. But if a third film were to triple the depth and power of the second, we would have to count it among the greatest films of all time and what are the chances of that happening? 

Do you want to know what happened to Jesse & Celine or are you more than content to imagine for yourself what came after the fade out?

Links!
fourfour "the diva chain" love it. 
The Playlist awww, damnit. No The Fly sequel for David Cronenberg after all.
AV Club on the new muppet "Walter".  
Rope of Silicon talks to Michel Hazanavicius on Tati, Chaplin and The Artist. Can you believe he's never seen The Thin Man?!
The Wrap Weird News Of Day Alert: Rocky is being musicalized. I've always thought there was great crossover between boxing fetishists and musical theater lovers... uhhhh
The Awl Mary & Natasha are all "!!!!!" on all things The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1 "I CANNOT EVEN" myself but maybe not in the same way. 

Finally... Hollywood Elsewhere reveals a big "No" on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close screenings for NBR and NYFCC awards voters. Stephen Daldry's latest just won't be ready by their crazy-early deadlines (November 28th and 29th respectively) It is a bit ridiculous that people are trying to vote on "best of the year" in November. But, then again, it's kind of ridiculous that so many movies don't want to show themselves until December. Lots of magazines have deadlines for "best of year" pieces that have always required long lead looks. November expectations for December offerings are nothing new behind the scenes.

Saturday
Nov052011

European Award Noms (Shades of Oscar, 2011 AND 2010)

Our Oscar chart updates are underway (much more coming at you tomorrow) and now The European Film Award nominations are out. The Film Experience always enjoys their attempt at boiling down so many countries into one group of "best of"s. The American and British Film Academies don't have it so hard, you know, each generally only dealing with the best of Hollywood and London with the occasional embassy outreach to a hot foreigner. (That'd be The Artist this year).

Melancholia vs. The Artist at the EFAs

For our Oscar discussion purposes the most amusing thing about this year's lineup is that two Oscar winners from 2010 (the UK's The Kings Speech and Denmark's In a Better World) are competing against one of the presumed frontrunners of 2011 (France's The Artist) with a few arthouse madman (The Melancholia) and French language side dishes (The Kid With a Bike -- not submitted for this year's Oscar race -- and Le Havre, which is an Oscar submission for in Best Foreign Film).

FILM

  • The Artist
  • Le Havre
  • In a Better World
  • The Kid With a Bike
  • The King's Speech 
  • Melancholia

Sigh. The King's Speech. At this point it's like an unstaked British vampire, sucking the life from Gallic beauties and crazy Danes. 

DIRECTOR

  • Susanne Bier, In a Better World
  • The Dardenne Brothers, The Kid With a Bike
  • Aki Kaurismäki, Le Havre
  • Béla Tarr, The Turin Horse
  • Lars von Trier, Melancholia

It seems absolutlely bizarre to snub Michael Hazanavicius for direction (The Artist, more than most movies, would've been a disaster without its careful but exuberant guiding hand). Meanwhile Tom Hooper probably won't lose sleep over his snubbing here. Once you've won the Oscar...

ACTRESS

  • Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
  • Cécile de France, The Kid With a Bike
  • Charlotte Gainsbourg, Melancholia
  • Nadezdha Markina, Elena
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

Melancholia's sisters (Dunst & Gainsbourg) each get half the movie. They also share the EFA nom.

We're literally revisiting Cannes jury deliberations for this lineup since all of the women were there. Remember when everyone was all: will it be Kiki or Tilda in "Best Actress"? I wish the EFA had a higher profile just to give Dunst another boost and get back into the Oscar conversation.

More after the jump including actors, composers, and dreamy unsettling production design.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Oct232011

Naked Gold Man... Now With Golden Globes

Late last week I went out for a drinks with an old friend of mine who introduced me to a friend of his I'd never met. They had just seen Jesse Eisenberg's new play and were arguing about how much to tell me about ("spoiler alerts!" and all) though they both highly recommend it.

Once we sat down for drinks and dinner, the topic turned to Oscar. You know I felt immediate kinship when this new insta-friend told me a hilarious story of his teenage self absolutely freaking out on the night of March 29th, 1989 when Jodie Foster's name was read out and his beloved Glenn Close was shunned again. Inconsolable he was!

Let's just say his breakdown was less composed than the Merquise de Merteuil's when she met her ignoble end in Dangerous Liaisons.

After the story, he requested an article on Golden Globe predictions. "You haven't written about that," he says. He's right. So, let's ditch the sword and pick up the globes.

Let's focus on Comedy/Musical ...AFTER THE JUMP

Click to read more ...

Monday
Oct172011

NYFF: Second Opinions 

Serious Film's Michael C. here. The New York Film Festival just wrapped up its strongest year in recent memory, so I thought it was worth tossing in some additional thoughts on titles that Kurt and Nathaniel already weighed in on. We'll follow this up with a podcast. (coming soon!)

Carnage - Although it is difficult to spot any instance of Polanski's Carnage stepping wrong, it is just as hard to shake the empty feeling that follows in its wake. Deprived of the electricity of live performance the source material is revealed to be a sharply crowd-pleasing exercise in presenting obvious truths in the most entertaining way possible. The skill that went into the production from top to bottom cannot be dismissed, but still, for all the polished craftsmanship Polanski brings to the table he can't quite hide the artifice of the whole production. One never really believes it. Read my full reaction.  

A Separation - Asghar Farhadi's deeply absorbing drama ranks as the best film I saw at the NYFF. Farhadi recalls the best of Krzysztof Kieslowski with his ability to depict how our choices reverberate and ricochet through the world with consequences that could never be anticipated. Having secured a qualifying release date A Separation demands to be included on the Best Picture roster. Read my full reaction.

My Week With Marilyn - A waste of a great Michelle Williams performance on a shallow coming-of-age story with no real insight about the real person behind the image. The only thing that separates the protagonist from the rest of the people who want a piece of Marilyn is that he has a better seat from which to gawk. Read my full reaction

Pina - I was more excited for the idea of Pina than the execution. A 3D tribute to a brilliant dancer seems like a great use of the gimmick for once, but Wim Wenders insists on frequently interrupting the dance sequences with underwhelming info segments just as they are gathering momentum. Alright for what it is, with many memorable images, but it could have been much more.

Martha Marcy May Marlene - A strong debut from writer/director Sean Durkin with a very fine lead performance from Elizabeth Olsen as the escapee from a cult with a psyche as fractured as the title suggests. Durkin attacks the potentially sensationalistic material with an intelligence that impresses. He never once goes for the easy melodrama and as a result this foreboding story has a ring of truth and a tension that never lets up. As good as Olsen is in the lead, the performance that wowed me is John Hawkes in his second great supporting role in two years as the seductive cult leader. 

The Kid With a Bike - I second everything Kurt said. An extraordinarily moving film and the best child performance since The Sixth Sense.

A Dangerous Method - The big disappointment of the festival for me. Not an terrible film by any stretch, but a disjointed one, which never gathers any momentum as it continually leaps forward in time. As a result, the actors are left struggling to create believable character arcs the script doesn't support. Keira and Viggo fair the best playing characters that range from wildly hysterical to quietly enigmatic, respectively. It is Fassbender who suffers the most as the movie is never able to connect to the torrent of emotion supposedly churning under his surface.

The Artist - One of the biggest outpourings of cinematic joy since Amelie hit theaters a decade ago. If I have one minor complaint that prevents me from doing Donald O'Connor backflips off the wall (like Nathaniel did) it's that the story of the washed-up silent film star is simple in the extreme. But when the filmmakers tell this simple tale with such an explosion of creativity, and all the story beats go over like gangbusters, why quibble? Jean DuJardin is so charismatic in the lead role I wouldn't be surprised for him to get the Oscar just so everyone can have an opportunity to see him smiling on stage.

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We hope you enjoyed our NYFF coverage.