Oscar History

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Entries in Wes Anderson (35)


Berlinale 2018: Isle of Dogs and more...

Seán McGovern reporting from the 68th Berlin International Film Festival.

There's a friendly kind of brusqueness to Berliners. They're very unbothered. But the barely-contained excitement of my first Berlinale is almost matched by the huge passion the Germans have for film culture. Ten days and dozens of stunning venues. I'm here mainly to see all the films up for the Teddy Award but it wouldn't be a film festival if I wasn't in at least three screenings a day.

Opening Film
Isle of Dogs (dir. Wes Anderson, United Kingdom/Germany)

At first it seems like a basic choice – A famed US director with a star studded cast.

But take a moment to appreciate that Isle of Dogs is a multi-format animation, in dual languages, and about a historic animosity between humans and dogs, set in Japan, in the future. It's is a gorgeous testament to the kind of storytelling animation is capable of...

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A Beautiful Trailer for "Isle of Dogs"

Chris here. I'm one of those oddball folks that considers Fantastic Mr. Fox as Wes Anderson's best film, so next year's Isle of Dogs has me very excited for the auteur to take another dive into the stop motion pool. And by the looks of the first trailer, Dogs will be very aligned to Fox's humor and visual aesthetic but with the added unexpected intrigue of its Japanese setting. The potential troublesome optics and use of language here gives me some pause, but we'll wait until the film arrives to access. Let's hope Anderson doesn't end up in the cinematic doghouse by delivering our worst fears here.

As you can tell from the poster, Anderson has assembled a massive cast even by his standards. Regular players like Edward Norton and Bill Murray are back, but can you believe this is his first collaboration with Scarlett Johansson and Greta Gerwig? Yoko Ono is also in the lineup if you aren't already fascinated enough.

But what a visual treat, even if it looks like it will be Anderson's most muted color palate. On the other hand: doesn't this trailer just remind you how thin this year's Best Animated Feature race is?


Wes Anderson Unleashes All-Star Cast for Isle of Dogs

Less than a month after releasing his holiday-themed short film for H&M, Wes Anderson has gifted us another charming video that takes place in cramped spaces with distinct color patterns. But this time, it's to announce the official title of his newest animated animal caper - it's Isle of Dogs and, like Fantastic Mr. Fox, it's shooting in England - as well as the laundry list of actors that will comprise his next sprawling ensemble. On top of previously announced cast members Bryan Cranston, Jeff Goldblum, and Edward Norton (who pops up in the announcement tape as comic relief), we knew to expect Anderson regulars such as Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel to make the cut but fresh names such as Yoko Ono, Courtney B. Vance, and Greta Gerwig are certainly cause for excitement. Hopefully the animated canines they voice will receive luckier fates than most dogs do in the Anderson cinematic universe.

The narrative of the film still remains a mystery but there's one golden opportunity that Anderson makes clear: by donating $10 to Martin Scorsese's Film Foundation through CrowdRise, you automatically enter into a contest to voice one of the pups in the picture. So if you've ever wanted to simultnaeously portray a tweed-decked terrier while supporting film preservation, now's your shot!



Adam Stockhausen: From a Budapest hotel to a "Bridge of Spies"

Adam Stockhausen won the Oscar on his first nomination for GRAND BUDAPEST HOTELEmmanuel Lubezki (who keeps winning prizes) isn't the only craft superstar repeating the Oscar rounds this year. Last year's winner for Production Design Adam Stockhausen (Grand Budapest Hotel), a 43 year old powerhouse who's amassed a very impressive resume in just a doesn't years, is back in the mix this season with the Cold War drama Bridge of Spies.

That Best Picture nominee is his first movie with Steven Spielberg but he's already worked with auteurs like Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) and Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom) on terrific projects, too. 

Here's our interview:

NATHANIEL: From Wes Anderson to Steven Spielberg! These auteurs seem very different. I imagine Wes Anderson making his own dioramas, and being like "Recreate this. Adam!". Whereas Spielberg, I don’t think of him in that 'this is what the set looks like' way at all!

ADAM STOCKHAUSEN: They have more similarities than you think. I don’t know if I want to get too deeply into what they do, because I’ll leave that for more esteemed people than myself, but I certainly see similarities. There are differences in the day to day: Wes pre plans shots and they’re carefully choreographed, Steven is slightly different in that the shots aren’t planned in advance, but the choreography is very similar. 

more after the jump...

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Q&A: Anderson's Playthings, Genius Toons, Scream Queens, and "Making Of" Dramas

Have you missed the Q&A series? I have so it's back. You asked questions so I chose two handfuls to answer. Let's just get right to it. 

Andrew: What actors would you like to see Wes Anderson work with in the future?

As you all know, directors who reuse actors delight our particular cinephilia. There's something that's wonderfully fantasy sandbox about it. Like you're inside that auteurs head when they're playing and these are their favorite toys. So I hope Anderson keeps reusing his regulars but especially I hope he reunites with Anjelica Huston (who seems to have been replaced by Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton). Three actors he's only used once were total surprise revelations within his diorama world: Gene Hackman & Gwyneth Paltrow (Royal Tenenbaums) and Ralph Fiennes (Grand Budapest Hotel) so more surprises like that would be welcome. Therefore I am naming eight actors that I either can totally picture within his worlds or can't picture at all: Donald Sutherland, Christina Ricci, Jake & Maggie Gyllenhaal (together!), Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Shannon, and finally Viggo Mortensen and Nicole Kidman simply because they're both impossible to imagine!

Lyn: In the last six months, what is the moment you've had in a cinema that has left you the most exhilarated / surprised / excited?

the answer and nine more questions after the jump...

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Wes Anderson Returns to Animation

Tim here, with exciting news for those of us who regard Fantastic Mr. Fox as a high water mark in the career of Wes Anderson. The Playlist reported on Friday that the director will be returning to the realm of stop-motion animals with his next feature, currently in pre-production. There are no plot details nor a title nor really anything, which I don't think should prevent us from going hog-wild with random speculation in comments. 

My guess: an exact replica of the Vietnam War play from Rushmore, only with fussy animal puppets.

We actually do know one thing: the film will be about dogs. Anderson, of course, is noted for his tendency to kill or otherwise abuse dogs in his movies: The Royal Tenenbaums, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Moonrise Kingdom all feature terrible things happening to their various pooches. It remains to be seen whether the new film represents his attempt to apologize to the noble species of Canis lupus familiaris, giving man's best friend a feature film to thrive and triumph. Or maybe it will just be his first movie in which every cast member dies at the end in a hideous Tarantinoesque bloodbath. But, y'know, set to Alexandre Desplat music.


Curio: Bad Dads in New York

Alexa here. Each year for the past 5 years, San Francisco-based Spoke Art has held a Wes Anderson-themed art show titled Bad Dads. I would be remiss not to mention that this year marks the first time the show will be held in New York.  The gallery described the move as a natural one:

Although Anderson's films take us everywhere from a fictional pre-war Europe to the far reaches of India and even out to sea, New York City is home to one of Anderson’s first real successes, The Royal Tenenbaums. His palpable connection to New York is only made stronger by the fact that he resides there as well, and as the exhibition enters its sixth consecutive year, it only makes sense to host it in such an exciting and diverse city.

More info on getting tickets and a preview of some of the work that will be on display after the jump

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Tim's Toons: Auteurs and animation

Tim here. This week brought us the roll-out of the Venice Film Festival lineup, including one animated film, and it's a biggie. Charlie Kaufman's sophomore directorial work and first project of any kind since 2008, Anomalisa, is also his first foray into animation: it's a stop-motion feature for adults, on the same topics of loneliness and frustration that Kaufman has mined for his whole career. In celebration of the Venice announcement, the studio released the first still image from the movie, from which it is possible to draw no conclusions whatsoever.

Kaufman is the latest in a recent trend of established filmmakers dipping their toes into the world of animation. So in his honor, I'd like to share this capsule history of some of his predecessors, who made the jump into a new medium to see what they could do outside of the confines of live-action.

Richard Linklater: Waking Life (2001) & A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Using a brand new form of computer-aided rotoscoping to paint over videotaped footage with bright, unreal colors and subdued realism alike, Waking Life took Linklater's established gift for capturing moments in the lives of a huge ensemble, and amped it up. Instead of the laid-back Austin of Slacker, the setting here is the human subconscious, where the director's characteristic musings on all the little moments that happen in the gaps between plot are transformed into surreal explosions of psychologically loaded imagery. It's a great marriage of form and content, which is less true of A Scanner Darkly, a Philip K. Dick adaptation that's much more consistent and sober in its style, save for a few reality-bending moments. Still, kudos to Linklater for recognizing that a thin veneer of digitally heightened reality would create a more receptive mood for the story's druggy weirdness.

Robert Zemeckis: The Polar Express (2004), Beowulf (2007) & A Christmas Carol (2009)

Now that Zemeckis's dream of a perpetual machine of motion-capture films has fizzled out and died- nope, I still can't bring myself to say anything nice about his trilogy of dead-eyed humanoids pantomiming great works of literature, or paying obeisance to their terrifying zombie Santa-god. But we must concede that the films fall squarely in line with Zemeckis's career-wide interest in using the newest tools available (in addition to mo-cap, The Polar Express was the first film in the present 3D era) to find fresh ways into classical storytelling. That technology wasn't up to his ambitions is lamentable, but we can at least defend the films' rich fantasy design and-

Oh God, no, that's still just completely hideous.

Wes Anderson: Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

The clearest precursor to Kaufman's new film, Anderson's translation of his shadow-box aesthetic into shaggy, '70s-style stop motion animation netted him a Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination and rejuvenated his career: his subsequent return to live action in Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel won him better reviews and box-office than he'd had for years. Still, there's nothing quite like seeing his world-building turned towards literal dioramas in which every square centimeter can be designed precisely to order. It's fussy as it gets, but perfectly matched to the intricacy of the caper narrative, and the arch tone with which Roald Dahl's children's classic is brought to life.

Zack Snyder: The Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
Copious, unnecessary slow-motion, a preposterous fetish for military grandeur, overblown and idiotic internal mythology, dialogue that strives for weightiness and lands in shallow pomposity. Look, just because somebody's an auteur, that doesn't mean they have to be good at it. But hey, the owls look nice.