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Entries in The Impossible (6)

Tuesday
Jan222013

Podcast Nom Reactions Pt 2: All Category Run Through

I've had bizarre trouble in getting this last two-part podcast up! I am technologically inept I suppose. I never can explain / figure out what happens when things go wrong but nevertheless here is finally part two of that Post-Nomination discussion. In Pt. 1 Joe, Katey, Nick and I (Nathaniel) discussed the big eight categories and answered reader questions.  

Pt 2:  Animated Feature, What happened to The Impossible?, Best Pictures, Small Pictures and Craft Categories, Best Makeup (and Hairstyling!), Costumes, Best Actor,  is Cinematography the "Supporting Actor" of the craft categories this year?, and lots of praise for Amour.

 

You can download the podcast on iTunes or listen right here at the end of the post. 

 

Category Run Through

Sunday
Jan062013

Drowning in Oscary Waters All Over the World

It's less than 4 days until we're drowning in it! I was called to task a bit for the tsunami image from The Impossible that greeted my first "days until" Oscar nominations post a week ago. I understand the charge of insensitivity and I'll admit it was a weird judgment call. But I have been feeling not just metaphorically deluged. There is so much literal fear or water / drowning on screens this film season. Have any of you noticed? It didn't hit me at first since it's not a particularly visceral fear for me... I've always loved the water.

Let's recount each dive in this year...

If Steven Soderbergh had filmed Life of Pi this would be the entire color palette!

  • Beasts of the Southern Wild -for Hushpuppy drowning is the end of the world, hurricanes as apocalypse. Those shots of drowned animals and her thoughts about them having no daddies? Heartbreaking. 
  • The Impossible - tells a true story of survival from the 2004 Thai tsunami. I still think it odd that it's visual effects and makeup did not make the finalists list for Oscars.
  • Skyfall -Adele's killer theme song kicks in just as James Bond plunges into the water, presumably to rest in a watery grave... or at least to sink into the trippy watery grave visuals of the opening credits
  • Oslo August 31st - this critical darling drama about an addict in recovery basically begins with the protagonist going all Virginia Woolf by loading his pockets with rocks and walking out into the water
  • Life of Pi - at the center of an ungainly expository drama, is a miniature visual masterpiece about a shipwreck and a tiger and boy sharing a boat alone in the vastness of the ocean
  • Jeff Who Lives at Home - stacks its coincidences one on top of the other to lead to a drowning rescue scene
  • The Dark Knight Rises -- death by exile (SPOILER) exile being an icy watery grave
  • Rise of the Guardians -- begins with an icy drowning
  • Moonrise Kingdom features a big storm and flood
  • Amour - has flooding but in which context we shouldn't say
  • Rust & Bone - Marion Cotillard loses her legs in a killer whale accident in France's Sea World and there is also a drowning terror sequence
  • Zero Dark Thirty -the waterboarding torture sequence is what keeps everyone talking though it's a tiny part of the movie. But still: horrific.

 

Last night, the Film Society at Lincoln Center showed two of the foreign language finalists (sort of*), Iceland's The Deep and Norway's Kon-Tiki, a double bill that was the equivalent of being tossed into the deep-end of this reccurrent theme. Both are true stories about men surviving the unsurvivable on ocean journeys. 

Iceland's Oscar entry The Deep comes from Baltasar Kormakur (of 101 Rejkvjavik, Hafid/The Sea, and Contraband fame). It's both poetically moody and crudely matter of fact somehow. It's steeped in the inky blackness you'd expect from an ocean story at night. (I'm so pleased my screener didn't work because I can't imagine being able to see it at all outside of the movie theater). Hell, even before we hit the water we're in Iceland at night so you can image the darkness. We follow a group of fishermen around as they drink and drink prior to their next voyage. The awful shipwreck occurs relatively early into the movie and for such a simple reason it's surprising that any fishermen live to die from old age. The drowning sequences were, for me, horrific in their calmness, like watching people casually negated as the darkness envelops them. The Deep unfortunately loses its frost-bitten footing  post-ocean trauma when there's a surprising amount of the movie left and we move into a sort of barely there invegistave procedura. But I appreciated The Deep for being very Icelandic (memories of volcanic eruption and a harsh life on the inky sea inform the drama throughout) and as a sort of shoestring non-magical-realist counterpoint to Life of Pi when a fat man begins to converse with a seagull, his only company.

Thor Heyerdhal (the real version) and Thor Heyerdahl (the movie version) played by Pål Sverre Valheim Hagen Norway's entry Kon-Tiki dramatizes the once very famous balsa wood raft ocean voyage of Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl. I say 'once' because two of my friends in their 20s that I spoke to about the movie had no idea who he was or that it was a true story. I knew the whole story from childhood since my parents had a thing for National Geographic magazines (we had a huge collection) and PBS documentaries -- I think I must have even seen Heyerdahl's self-mythologizing Oscar winning doc Kon-Tiki as a child at some point since the story was so familiar.

I sat down all excited to see the most expensive Norwegian movie ever made about one of the most famous Norwegians who ever lived about a story I knew and was immediately disappointed when everyone began speaking in English -- even in scenes set in Norway or between an entire cast of Norwegians (and one Swede). We definitely got off on the wrong foot this movie and I. As it turns out the filmmakers shot each scene twice, once in Norwegian and once in English and the version that's hitting Stateside theaters is, in fact, NOT the Oscar-competing film but it's English-language doppelganger. So most of us will never get to see the film that Oscar voters saw.

I came for a Norwegian adventure movie and got a strange hybrid film that seemed like a big budget Disney movie that had appropriated a foreign story. Maybe the acting was better in its native tongue? There was something about the coloring book simplistic character arcs and super accessible Movie-Movieness that made this very true story feel artificial, negating much of its power. As eye candy, though, the movie is really something, with the amazing beauty of both the Ocean and towheaded shirtless Norwegians exploited throughout. (And just like The Deep it makes an interesting counterpoint to Life of Pi . As in Ang Lee's picture there are scenes featuring bioluminscent marine biology, violent animal deaths, and mass flying fish suicides on a boat). C+

Friday
Dec212012

An Evening with Naomi Watts

Jose here to talk about Naomi Watts. She's having a great month. First, she won Best Actress nominations from both the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes for her work in The Impossible (opening today!). Then she got a hell of an endorsement from Reese Witherspoon who promised she'd "tap dance on Sunset Blvd." to get her an Oscar for this movie. If other people in Hollywood start feeling she's as good as Meryl in Sophie's Choice (Reese's words) Naomi's stars might be finally aligning for a statuette.


Earlier this week I attended a preview screening of The Impossible (hosted as part of 92Y's Reel Pieces series) which was preceded by a Q&A with Watts. She discussed working with green screens, working with boy wonder Tom Holland (nominated for Best Young Actor at the "Critics Choice" Awards) and spent a surprising amount of time discussing her work in Mulholland Dr. But, hey, a lot of us have been talking about that for years as well!

[Mulholland Dr, King Kong and The Impossible after the jump]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov052012

Free Association: "Sandy" & The Impossible

You may have noticed that The Impossible has been fading on my Oscar charts these past couple of months. I always thought it a chancy Oscar prospect. Though it's undeniably technically impressive -- I'm not sure I want to know what Naomi Watts had to go through to film the tsunami scenes -- and emotionally compelling if you can get past its blonde privileged whiteness in a Thailand-set disaster epic. But its profile also seems quite low for a potentially major player. Summit is either planning a mega-blitz at the tail end of the year (a risky strategy with several giants opening at Christmas) or they're too busy rubbing their hands together gleefully whilst awaiting those Breaking Dawn Part 2 dollars to remember that they have an inspirational drama to push!

But lately I've been wondering if Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath might turn people off of The Impossible. More... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
Sep142012

Chart Updates: Actors and Foreign Films

The Oscar chart updates were temporarily stalled by my thwarted Toronto plans so just fixin' things up now. Enjoy the updates while I jaunt off to Fire Island for a 24 hour getaway. I've just seen The Impossible -- more on that soon -- so I'm accidentally living a rather perverse combo: tsunami picture then beach getaway.  

As always predictions are for entertainment purposes only. They should never be interpreted as endorsements though occassionally deserve has something to do with it.

BEST ACTOR
The big story here is a common one. There are enough buzzing performances to fill out an entire Golden Globe nominee pool, 10-wide, which means there are twice as many contenders as Oscar voters will be able to choose. Am I crazy to wonder if even Daniel Day-Lewis is safe for Lincoln? The trailer does not impress.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Alan Arkin makes huge gains as he's singled out in many Argo reactions. Ewan McGregor's wounded father in The Impossible also rises though I have to wonder if this isn't wishful thinking. He's one of the world's best and most endearing screen actors but he never quite wins Oscar hearts. Still, nomination-less or not, come what may... we will love him, until our dying day.

Finally, add Kiki's new man Garrett Hedlund to your For Your Consideration fields for On The Road. He's the focal point of the film's considerable libido which might work against him (this is one of the most sexually-charged performances since, say, Jude Law in The Talented Mr Ripley) but they're campaigning him as supporting which will definitely work for him given his enormous amount of screen time.

Garrett Hedlund is "On the Road" with cinematography by Eric Gautier

VISUALSAURALS
Gains for TIFF buzzing Cloud Atlas, On the Road and The Impossible.

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM SUBMISSIONS
You can add Romania's Beyond the Hills which is from Cristian Mungui, the director of the magnificent 4 Weeks 3 Months and 2 Days (better luck this time!) and Portugal's Blood of My Blood to the list of submitted contenders. May the best five films win nominations.

CHART INDEX

Which buzzing fall film are you desperate to get your eyeballs on? I chose the beach over The Master (perverse I know given the rarity of P.T. Anderson pictures) but I'll get to that one Sunday...

Sunday
Sep092012

Catching Up: Oscar Buzz & Blunders, Festival Debuts & Misses

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

Fall Film Season is upon us. And with it the 0 to 60 Oscar buzz. Even if you're blessed enough to have the means to jetset from Telluride to Venice to Toronto to New York, chances are you can't keep up with it all. I know I haven't been able to while juggling other demands. Before I fly up to Toronto on Wednesday for the last heady days of TIFF, I should do my best to catch up on the buzz and update those dusty Oscar charts. They're not yet a month old but.... 0 to 60, you know. The movies are upon us!

BUT FIRST LET ME VENT...
So, they announced the winners of the honorary Oscars this week and as per usual, they've demonstrated their complete lack of respect for Actresses. There are so many fine actresses who never won Oscars who are still alive and yet year after year they ignore all of them to honor various men. I don't mean to take anything away from this year's talented recipients who all deserve a congratulatory round of applause (mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg, stuntman Hal Needham, documentarian D. A. Pennebaker, arts advocate George Stevens, Jr.) it's just that the pattern is obvious and concerning.

Worse yet, when AMPAS does honor a woman, it's someone without a rich acting background (Hi, Oprah Winfrey). By the time this year's Oscars have wrapped, for a twenty year stretch from 1993 through 2012, thirty-eight people will have been given honorary Oscars or Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Awards and there are only three women among them (Deborah Kerr, Lauren Bacall, Oprah Winfrey). Oscar has a very real problem with women so if living screen giants like Maureen O'Hara, Doris Day, Catherine Deneuve, Mia Farrow, Eleanor Parker, Angela Lansbury, Gena Rowlands and other classic actresses ever want an Honorary prize, they might want to look into sex change operations or at least a tuxedo rental. Exasperating!

Now on to movies people have talking about...

Click to read more ...