Oscar History

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Entries in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (20)


Reader Spotlight: Tony T

In our ongoing 'get to know The Film Experience community' project, here's another Reader Spotlight. This time we're talking to Tony who grew up overseas and now lives in Texas. He sent me the nicest note once about the site that really cheered me up on a down day.

What's your first movie memory?

TONY: I spent my entire childhood watching Disney movies. It was literally everything I did when I wasn't in school. They were mostly dubbed in French so it was a little bit of a revelation to rediscover them in English when I grew up. But my very first movie memory that I can recall semi-vividly is watching The Beauty and the Beast with my cousins. I was so captivated that I had to move to a different row in the movie theatre to sit away from my cousins because they were distracting me so much. 

I love it. A well behaved moviegoer from the start! When did you start reading The Film Experience?

TONY: When Nathaniel was drunk on Moulin Rouge! I must have found the site by trying to read everything related to the movie. That movie was and still is a dizzying experience. I was hooked on "Film Bitch" at the time. Checked the website every day. I was in Lebanon at the time. No one around me knew what I was talking about which made it all the better!

Three favorite actresses?

I have a very open mind about actresses. Almost any actress can win my heart with the right role. Nicole Kidman is my absolute favorite, though. Ironically my first memory of her is Batman Forever. I thought she was the perfect woman! Moulin Rouge! came and sealed the deal. I can't think of anyone else who combines the same amount of talent, style and courage. The choices she makes are quite admirable even when they don't pay off and auteurs are lucky to have her. Isabelle Huppert is another favorite of mine. Such a powerful presence. Her words always manage to cut through the screen. Third is probably Cate Blanchett. I miss her! 

Take one Oscar away. Regift it.

I think the oscars are like a time capsule. It's always fun to go back and contemplate what the Academy chose to reward in a given year and for what reason. And for that I usually don't talk about stolen oscars. But if forced to choose I would take away The King's Speech's oscar and give it to The Social Network. I thought that was a bit embarassing. I mean the latter was clearly clearly the superior movie by any standard.

If you were in charge of Hollywood for a year...

I would greenlight all the cold political thrillers. Think Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Cerebral well acted well designed movies with great stories are my favorites. Also international movies. Like Babel but better. 

Have you ever broken up with someone because of their taste in movies?

I don't know if I've broken up with someone because of their taste of movies yet but I definitely can see that happening! It's okay not to be a huge movie fan but it's not okay to be a huge fan of the wrong movies! I kid I kid BUT I can't promise that I won't secretly judge someone who declares The Life of David Gale one of their favorite movies (true story). 

previous spotlights


Curio: Oscar Unsheets, Part II

Alexa here.  In the weeks up to the Oscars I'm celebrating all the wonderful unsheets (a.k.a. fan-created poster art) inspired by the nominated films that are populating the web. (See last week's post for my favorites from the acting categories). But I can't help but mention that the nominations let me down hard this year: my top three films were Melancholia, Drive, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and save for a long overdue nomination for Gary Oldman, there was nary a nomination in sight.  So with my poutyness in mind, here are a handful of posters for films that were, at least from my perspective, robbed.    

Melancholia by drMIERZWIAK.Melancholia by Olaf Łyczba.Click for Tinker Tailor and Drive...

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Oscar Symposium Day 3: Farewells and Futures

On Day 1 of the symposium we partied with the Best Picture field and considered Star Vehicles. On Day 2 we discussed movies that are hopelessly in love with themselves (to good and bad effect), the forever contentious Lead vs Support debate, the invisible arts of editing and screenwriting. We pick up there. Nathaniel was admitting he wasn't entirely comfortable falling for Margaret.... 

Nader & Simin: A SeparationNATHANIEL:  I've scraped my knees up on cold hard pavement. I too was caught up in #TeamMargaret excitement. I love it when critics remember that part of their job is to advocate for buried treasure rather than merely rubber stamping the critical darlings over and over again (Did Michelle Williams really need to hog the majority of critics awards for My Week With Marilyn, which is straight down the middle awards bait? They didn't see anything off the golden path that was worthy of praise?). But when I finally saw Margaret, I left somewhat dejected. There's a lot to love. But there is also just an awful lot. It plays, to me, like a series of brilliant pieces that haven't quite been shaped to fit the genius-level mosaic they're intended for. Or maybe I was just thrown by the length and those phone calls to daddy. Lonergan is a brilliant writer but a brilliant actor not so much.

And maybe I was still just high on A Separation (my choice for Best of the Year) which illuminates a bit of the same ground in terms of personal actions creating ripples that we can't possibly grasp the full reach of. And they both show us how flawed people (i.e. all of us) can get tangled up in very difficult moral, social, religious, political and ethical webs they probably helped spin.

KURT: I'm glad you brought up that comparison between A Separation and Margaret, because it's definitely something I was thinking about while watching the latter (in between all the reveling in how Lisa initiates an allegorical, post-9/11 war that's ultimately futile and only reaps money for people who don't deserve it). Though vastly different in structure (one drum-tight, one manic and sprawling), these two scripts hold a lot of similarities, and are, in my opinion, at the tip-top of the year's best.

I'm also glad that Mark brought up Margin Call and Tinker Tailor in the same thought bubble because I found myself linking those two in my head a lot as well. Both films are essentially corporate dramas with power players coping with crisis, and both teem with a kind of impenetrable language you really have to crack. I hail from the team that doesn't really buy all the "Speak to Me Like a Golden Retriever" crap, because A) I don't believe those folks would actually expositionally coddle each other, or need coddling, in that way, and B), as mentioned, the movie keeps promising through dialogue that it's clearing things up, when it's really just thickening its fog of jargon. I do believe Chandor took a highly commendable crack at presenting this world, and I don't know if I've seen anyone do it better in terms of writing (Oliver Stone certainly didn't), but there's a lot of pretense about those scenes that irks me. (I prefer his small details, like the gross arrogance the company shows by firing Tucci's head risk manager, and little shots like the one of Demi and Simon Baker in the elevator with the cleaning lady.)

...and we've reentered MI6 where we began!

As for Tinker Tailor, there isn't a lick of coddling, just a glimpse into a radically rarefied world, filled with so much code talk, names and lingo it's like Tolkien does MI6.

Symposium Wraps with Bridesmaids, eye candy and film futures after the jump.

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Oscar Symposium Day 1: Tinker Tailor Party Guys

Welcome to the Annual TFE Oscar Symposium! The Film Experience is proud to introduce the following guests (in alpha order): Ali Arikan chief film critic for Dipnot TVNick Davis Assistant Professor of English and Gender Studies at Northwestern University and the brilliant mind behind Nick's Flick Picks;  Mark Harris author of the instant classic "Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of New Hollywood" and Oscarmetrics columnist at Grantland; Kurt Osenlund Managing Editor at Slant Magazine's The House Next Door. And I'm Nathaniel Rogers, of course, your host here at The Film Experience. We started our conversation on Sunday night and here it is for you.  

NATHANIEL: Gentlemen. If I had access to the Windsor font I'd list us all in alpha order in white lettering on the same black title card Woody Allen style so that there won't be any tragic Corey Stoll business where the Screen Actor's Guild leaves one of us out when our inevitable Best Ensemble nomination arrives. Instead, as per Nick's suggestion, we're all pictured in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy's conference room. That indelible orange soundproof wall! How did this movie miss an Art Direction nomination?

Despite this visual trapping, I don't for one moment want anyone reading to picture us all as "gray little men" in uncomfortable stuffy suits, withholding. (I am generally too exuberant for secrets and would make a terrible spy.) Though I love Alberto Iglesias compositions for that movie, I'll readily admit that the score inside my head this very moment is more John Williams. Before the opening credits are even over, that man will hit you with the climax, and I'm excited to begin.

Feel free to change the setting at any time (the magic of cinema) but we begin at Tinker Tailor's sad little Christmas party (Don't ask me to explain why MI6 is hosting this party to which it was not invited). All the Best Pictures just walked in. Let's mingle. Who will you avoid? Who do you trust implicitly? Where do you see tension brewing. I think it only looks like Midnight in Paris is friendly with The Artist and Hugo. He secretly judges them for trusting so fully in their own nostalgia.

MARK HARRIS: I'm enjoying this party--who doesn't love wide lapels, long sideburns and ugly plastic eyeglass frames? As for who I'd avoid: The Artist, because I'm pretty sure it'd come up to me, lick my face, hump my leg, do a little dance at my feet, and instantly want to be best friends. Too much too soon--stop being so ingratiating and let me get some punch! I think I'd go seek out The Tree of Life--the cool movie glowering in the corner that nobody's talking to because it never gets invited to parties like this.

And I would be very cautious about eating those little tarts that Octavia Spencer is passing around on a silver tray.

ALI ARIKAN: I've just been talking to "Midnight in paris," who makes for a splendid company.  That guy's full of pithy anecdotes about literary figures of yore.

Well, let's stay at that Christmas party at the Circus.  My favourite scene of the year is set there, when a spook dressed as Father Christmas and sporting a Lenin mask, leads the troops in a rendition of the Soviet National Anthem as Smiley discovers his wife's infidelity.  That's one of the two times where Smiley lets his emotions out (the other being his angry "What are you, then, Bill?" at the end of the film), and we can see how devastated he is.  Oldman's nomination was well deserved. But that film was robbed on so many fronts.  Art direction, as you mention, as well as direction and a supporting nod for Tom Hardy, who is magnificent.  

KURT OSENLUND: Being in any sized room with Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is, in my opinion, too close. Moneyball and I are already flashing each other von Sydow-style hand signals. 'Is this guy bothering you?' 'YES.' We meet on the dancefloor, and tap a bit with Jean Dujardin, before heading to see what Smiley is staring at out the window. Is that...Harvey Weinstein? Smooching with Oscar voters?

More including The Artist, critical wars, Moneyball, Songs, and elevating your film...

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Farewell Oscar Hopeful! (Snubs That Hurt Us)

Last night at 4 AM this was the only image my brain would settle on...

I don't normally spend time in the middle of the night thinking of Fassbender lying naked in bed (Shush!). It's just that I had the worst insomnia I'd had in months. As I stared down at this still image in my state of delirious sleep deprivation I'm reasonably certain that he stared back, his eyes shifting just a little. He must have seen a mirror image of his vacant orbs and haunted zombie expressionless. Only with less handsomeness.

Brandon's addiction was sex and mine is the Oscars but either way we are powerless against our disease. Perhaps it was all the Oscar Morn Excitement catching up to me? Fassy's frozen image reminded me that I forgot to offer my condolescences to the Oscar Forgotten yesterday. Some people and cinematic contributions you'd be really happy to spend another 32 days celebrating but the time has come to say goodbye. [sniffle]

Farewell Oscar Hopeful. Better Luck Next Time
8 Snubs/Omissions That Hurt The Most

08 Melancholia Best Anything
Given that mad Dane Lars von Trier's sole nomination is in songwriting (find a more hilarious Oscar statistic, I dare you!) we never suspected that this would be an Oscar film. But the tiny scattered awards crumbs for his dreamy apocalyptic depression metaphor, arguably his best film in a decade, allowed us to pretend in a feverish bipolar sort of way that miracles would occur and it would wake up as the nomination leader. No, not really. But it's a shame that that masterful Cinematography and Kirsten Dunst's spooky narcoleptic bride won so little traction.

Click for 7 more

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The Lady of the Link

Off Oscar. Should You Need a Break
Boy Culture attends Madonna's royal premiere here in NYC for W.E.  
David Bordwell "a guide to the perplexed" for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy 
Stale Popcorn We need to talk about "Katniss". Good question: What is it with archery these days? 
THR Two Beauty and the Beast related projects coming. Because in Hollywood there always must be double dipping on the limited idea pool. 

Okay. Back to Oscar. Stop Slacking!
Tom and Lorenzo on Jennifer Lawrence's unfortunate morning as the nominee announcer.
Ultra Culture on the best typography among the Best Pic Nominees. Love this.
Towleroad "Hot Movie Moment" from one of my favorite Best Pictures Wings (1927) the first one!
Indiewire The Oscars are moving to electronic voting in 2013. Cue: thousands of articles about whether or not This. Changes. Things. Oscarologists are so excitable.

In Contention looks at the Art Direction category
Examiner plays an "Oscar Replacement" game for the nominations 
Carpetbagger on Glenn Close and her makeup and wig team for Albert Nobbs 
MNPP A rarity: JA sounding off on the Oscars. Yay. He's one of the only blogging voices we love that have virtually no interest in them. (No interest in the Oscars? I know. I know. Difficult to comprehend.)   

Finally... a sad goodbye to British actor Nicol Williamson (1936-2012), my very first "Merlin" (though I've lost track of how many actors I've seen as the sorcerer since).

Mirren and Williamson owning Excalibur (1981)

Daily MUBI has the roundups of obits for the Excalibur (1981) actor. My most vivid memories of that film, aside from the Lancelot nudity (gasp) was the Merlin/Morgana Le Fay rapport. I was way too young to know that Helen Mirren and Williamson had... history.