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9 Foreign Film Finalists

"Cheering for BODY AND SOUL or LOVELESS for the win. - Travis

"My two favorites, BPM and Summer '93, were left out so now I'm rooting for Chile's A FANTASTIC WOMAN all the way." - Peggy Sue

"THE WOULD... I'm ecstatic its profile has been given this boost." -Goran

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new Claes Bang Actor
(Sweden's Oscar Submission)
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(Denmark's Oscar Submission)
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(Croatia's Oscar Submission)

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Entries in The Help (40)

Friday
Jan202012

Link Crumbs Trail

Mike Myers Oscar BuzzLinks. I Know These People Edition
<-- This Had Oscar buzz is a new tumblr from Joe Reid. I was totally giggling gawking at it earlier. It's all true! It's all true!
Pajiba Joanna on Michael Fassbender Penis Expert
Do Dump or Marry is but one of me pal JA's great features on My New Plaid Pants but I particularly enjoyed the latest all ladies 9 to 5 edition. 
Critical Condition looks at five stars who squandered their goodwill.
Nicks Flick Picks have you been following Nick's Best Actress Birthday party? It's amazing. Next up Patricia Neal and Geena Davis 
In Contention Kris Tapley is a Sundance Virgin. Virgin!
Slant Kurt interviews Steven Soderbergh 

Awards, Special Interest Edition 
The NAACP has released their Image Award nominees and Awards Daily is pleased to see the Cicely Tyson mention in supporting actress. That's all well and good as she was quite touching in the movie but it seems utterly bizarre to have FIVE actresses nominated from The Help for acting prizes and no sign of Jessica Chastain. It's Viola, Octavia, Cicely, Emma... and Bryce!?! Pariah, which is finally in theaters, also did very well in their nominations. Congratulations to the nominees especially Regina King who was nominated for Southland... so underrated. 

Team "Help" when the Oscar buzz was but a whisper at their world premiere.

And though I forgot to mention it a few days back, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association (aka GALECA) gave both of their best film prizes --the standard best film plus the best gay film prize -- to Andrew Haigh's Weekend. Michael Fassbender won the "We're Wilde About You Rising Star Award". We Were Here, a documentary about the early years of the AIDS crisis in San Francisco, took their Best Documentary honors. It's also an Oscar finalist this year.

Overseas the London Film Critics Circle took their cue from Nathaniel (kidding) splitting their prizes between his two favorite films of the year The Artist (Picture, Director) and A Separation (Screenplay, Foreign Film, Supporting Actress). And back here in the States the Iowa Film Critics yearned for Hawaiian vacations with The Descendantszzzs

Saturday
Jan142012

Globe Winner Predictions. A Nail Biting Night?

I normally look forward to Golden Globe night with the feverish pitch I otherwise save for Oscar Nomination Morning and Oscar Night itself. They're the holy trinity of awards season Father (Oscar Noms), Son (Oscar Night) and uh... Holy Ghost (The Globes). Well, there are spirits involved. I expect that the drunkest table will belong to The Help or Bridesmaids. Here's to inebriated ladies!

And here are my predictions. I'm just going for it and predicting a return to... January 2003. Wait, what? Read on!

MOVIES

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA

  • The Descendants
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • The Ides of March
  • Moneyball
  • War Horse 

With most of the attention swinging towards The Artist, Best Picture Drama feels like a free for all this year. Three films (The Descendants, Hugo and The Help) look like feasible winners since they've retained heat after the nominations. Common wisdom points to the inexplicable near-universal love for The Descendants but for whatever reason I'm imagining a repeat of the 2002/2003 Globes season wherein the throbbing heart of a female epic (The Hours) beat out an expensive Scorsese film and the Alexander Payne film about the widower dealing with his angry daughter whilst having spiritual awakenings. (Gangs of New York and About Schmidt)
Prediction: The Help
Spoiler: The Descendants 

BEST PICTURE, COMEDY or MUSICAL

  • 50/50
  • The Artist
  • Bridesmaids
  • Midnight in Paris
  • My Week With Marilyn

This one seems all sewn up for The Artist but I think it's worth noting that the Comedy or Musical category tends to be where the Golden Globes house their biggest surprises on average. That said a defeat for the Artist would be the kind of shocker that only happens once a decade. 
Prediction: The Artist
Spoiler: Bridesmaids (imagine the uproar!) 

BEST DIRECTOR 

  • Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
  • George Clooney, The Ides of March
  • Michel Hazanavicus, The Artist
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Hazanavicius may or may not be the frontrunner for the Oscar. It's tough to say with lesser known directors when they're battling cinematic giants who win awards based on their whole filmography rather than the specific film they're up for. But I'm guessing that the presence of Woody Allen pulls enough votes from Martin Scorsese to keep Hazanavicius in the lead.
Prediction: Hazanavicius
Spoiler: Scorsese

PREDICTIONS IN ALL CATEGORIES after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan122012

"Critics Choice" Winners From Viola to The Artist

Kirsten Dunst presented Best Supporting Actress to Octavia SpencerWe tried a live blog experiment which was very chaotic though conversational if you'd like to relive it vicariously through us if you weren't here. But otherwise, let's review the big speeches and the winner's roster.

Do you think all five of the major acting wins will translate to Globe and SAG hoopla... and then on to Oscar? It's been a surprising season to date so will it suddenly become a normal season where the same films and performances win each time?

SUPPORTING ACTRESS -Octavia Spencer for The Help

Okay um. Well I'm not prepared. I wasn't a Girl Scout. I guess the operative word here is Best Supporting  becasue I was truly supported by the most amazing cast and crew. Oh my god this is really kind of crazy. Okay. Uh. I'd like to thank everyone at Dreamworks -- Stacey Snyder thank you for giving me this chance. Holly Barrio. Chip Sullivan. Everyone at Disney. Rich [series of names that all blurred together for us] ...and then of course my two champions Tate Taylor and Brunson Green who have always believed in me. And thank God you believed in me enough to give me a job that actually paid this time!

But thank you so much to the BFCA. I am truly truly humbled by this. Thank you.

SUPPORTING ACTOR - Christopher Plummer for Beginners

Christopher Plummer, young againWinners and a Tearful Viola after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan062012

BAFTA Long List Losses

I've said it before and I'm forced to say it again. I'm *so* glad that the American Academy does not publish a long list. i.e. the semi-finals. You see, It's so much more bearable / engaging when you can imagine that straight up great achievements or achievements you really responded to personally but you knew might have trouble rallying huge swaths of support were in 6th or 7th place or 10th place in voting. The way BAFTA does it, however, you are forced to understand that Oscar buzz is everything and Super Size Mediocrities will always triumph over critical darlings or more challenging Art.

Take the Best Picture categories for a prime example. Notice that Weekend for example, a very British and very acclaimed film is not one of their "outstanding" homegrown products (they might want to check the reviews again) and notice that auteurist films frequently called masterpieces by their fans (The Tree of Life and Melancholia) are also absent. Other films ignored because you have to have space for The Lukewarmly Reviewed Biopics About Lady Actresses and Lady Politicians are... no, no. It's too horrible to start listing them!

Best Film The Artist, The Descendants, Drive, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Help, Hugo, The Ides of March, The Iron Lady, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, and We Need to Talk About Kevin 

Outstanding British Film Arthur Christmas, Attack the Block, Coriolanus, The Guard, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, The Iron Lady, Jane Eyre, My Week with Marilyn, Senna, Shame, Submarine, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Tyrannosaur, War Horse, and We Need to Talk About Kevin 

BAFTA voters went crazy 4 My Week With Marilyn, longlisted many many times

Film Not in the English Language  Abel, As If I Am Not There, The Boy Mir – Ten Years in Afghanistan, Calvet,  Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries), Incendies, Little White Lies, Pina, Post Mortem, Potiche, Le Quattro Volte, A Separation, The Skin I Live In, Tomboy and The Troll Hunter

More long list looniness with commentary after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec302011

A Raggedy Oscar Podcast Reunion

Surprise! The old team is back together momentarily. Clearly we need more time than 40 minutes to get into everything that's going on in the Oscar race so this one is a totally raggedy conversation... a la Margaret and Rampart, two films that are discussed.

So welcome back to Katey, Joe, Nick from Nathaniel, your host here at The Film Experience.

UPDATE: The entire podcast is embedded below but it is having some trouble playing all the way through with Google Chrome. Works perfectly in Firefox or download from iTunes

Topics include but are not limited to:
• Cooking tips from The Help
The Iron Lady and Streep's hard sell for the third Oscar
• Team Margaret and Team Rampart, two wildly underseen movies that share some intuitive storytelling and vivid ensemble work.
• Critical advocacy in the age of consensus
• The silly battle lines drawn between Hugo & The Artist
• Shailene Woodley and Nick's Descendants agnosticism.

A Raggedy Oscar Reunion

Tuesday
Dec272011

Interview: Jessica Chastain's Big Year / Big Future

Jessica Chastain was in Morocco when we spoke, jurying on a film festival. Or was she in Toronto filming a movie? No, maybe she was right here in New York City or in Los Angeles for a premiere or event? Who can say. It's been a dizzying year. Her definition of "staying put", I quickly discover, is staying in one place for a whole week. "I don't think this is a normal year for an actor," she says understating the case.

Chastain reigns over 2011's movies

She sounds bright and cheerful and ready for more movies, believe it or not, though she admits that the year has been tough on her personal life. This past summer she starred in two of the most talked about films of the year (The Tree of Life and The Help) and in the fall she was doing press for four more (The Debt, Take Shelter, Coriolanus, The Texas Killling Fields). 

Though her characters are already multiple, she is but one woman. The movies we're seeing all at once she made over the span of a few years and she helpfully provided the order when asked:

  • Wilde Salome ("My first film. It hasn't come out yet")
  • Jolene 
  • Stolen ("very small role")
  • The Tree of Life
  • The Debt
  • Coriolanus
  • Texas Killing Fields
  • Take Shelter
  • The Help ("I went straight from the set of Take Shelter")

I figure her sudden ubiquity is a good place to start the conversation...

"I'm fine right here" 

Nathaniel R: It's almost like you've sprung full grown from the head of Zeus for moviegoers.

JESSICA CHASTAIN: Which is so funny because I've been working so long!  But it does feel like this year with people starting to see my films they're asking "Where did you come from?" Well, I trained. I have been working for a long time.  You guys are just getting caught up . I didn't come out of nowhere.

NR: It just feels that way for us! I want to ask you about Take Shelter first. Long suffering wives of male leads -- how shall I put this? This type of part always runs the risk of feeling like a thankless stock role. How did you make it feel as specific as it does? That marriage is so vivid.

JC: It's funny. I think I teased Jeff [writer/director Jeff Nichols] quite a bit when we first started working together. I'm sure they were like "oh no…" because I do a lot of work before i show up on set. My script, it's not necessarily filled with answers but there are a lot of questions that I write down. In a scene in Take Shelter I might write down 'When's the last time he told me he loved me?'  Something like that which gets me thinking 'hmmmm, okay...'

For that movie I did that throughout the whole script. I had to make it so specific because my entire subtext in that film is "what's wrong with you?" but I can't say that the same way in every scene so I had to look for what's happened before each scene to make it as specific as possible. I really wanted to grasp it so much that on our first day I really embarrassed Jeff and Mike [Michael Shannon]. We're at lunch. The three of us sat down and I've got some questions. I looked at Jeff and said 'When do they have sex? I just wanna know.' Mike's mouth opened up, Jeff turns beet red.

'what's wrong with you?' Now, ask it in multiple unspoken ways.

[The Help, The Tree of Life and Chastain's future plans after the jump.]

Click to read more ...

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