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Entries in Year in Review (113)

Monday
Dec092013

The AFI Lists. Useful or Redundant?

Earlier today we heard the AFI Lists for film and television. I immediately wondered what purpose they served. There are so many lists these days that are like spotlights on "CONSENSUS!" that the very act of publishing them feels redundant. With so many talking heads commenting on the Oscar race each year, both full time specialists and average reporters who become part time "experts" by virtue of, um, grist for the content mill, consensus is no longer an interesting thing to "find" or "capture" because it is so very inescapable.  AFI's list looks EXACTLY like an Oscar pundits chart, whereas in year's past they seemed to be about 70% Oscary 10% populist and 20% random. In fact, it looks the Gurus of Gold made it!

The AFI Top Ten (Motion Pictures)
12 YEARS A SLAVE
AMERICAN HUSTLE
CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
FRUITVALE STATION
GRAVITY
HER
INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS
NEBRASKA
SAVING MR. BANKS
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET 

In fact it's identitical to the current Gurus of Gold top ten chart but for one switcheroo: the pundit chart includes Lee Daniels' The Butler instead of Fruitvale Station. Interestingly enough, both Best Picture hopefuls come from the Weinstein Company who are our usual Oscar champs but seem to be struggling with traction this year. In fairness, The Butler was never expected to place during "critic's week" but if it doesn't perform well at SAG and the Globes in a couple of days, it's Oscar dreams will die.

This can only mean two things:

 

  1. The AFI committee this year is secretly composed of only BFCA members and they're aiming to exactly predict the Best Picture race.
  2. It's a weak year for British pictures in terms of American traction. Since the AFI only looks at American pictures, strong British Oscar contenders sometimes automatically make the AFI list more interesting because they have to look elsewhere to fill the top ten. The only exclusion that might not be worrying awards strategists today is the exclusion of Philomena (also from Weinstein Co!) which is directed by, written by and stars Brits... and therefore ineligible. 

 

The American Film Institute also releases a television list for some reason despite the name of their organization. That went like so...

The AFI Top Ten - Television
THE AMERICANS
BREAKING BAD
GAME OF THRONES
THE GOOD WIFE
HOUSE OF CARDS
MAD MEN
MASTERS OF SEX
ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK
SCANDAL
VEEP

And I think it's a (slightly) more interesting list in that it looks a little more like the AFI lists of yore in that it's partially awardsy but also kind of guilty pleasure buzz-sensitive. Or maybe it's just more interesting because people can actually enjoy these shows instead of the movie list which is (sigh) heavily titled towards movies that have just opened or haven't opened... just like the critics awards. It's still fairly Emmy correlative but there's no Homeland or Modern Family so that's something. I haven't had time to write about it but I am head over heels in love with / in lust for /  in awe of Masters of Sex, which is the single best show on television at the moment. It's so assured, so fresh, so perfectly cast... and weirdly gets better every single week. I really can't get over it. I look forward to each new episode like I haven't looked forward to any tv show's new episode in years. 

Saturday
Nov302013

November. It's a Wrap.

In Case You Missed Them... here are a dozen highlights from the month that was as we round the corner into the last leg of 2013 and sprint towards Oscar nominations.

My imaginary Actress Roundtable for THR. They need to mix it up a little for freshness. I've added Léa, Sandra and Margo.

Emma Thompson's Shoes... Nathaniel meets the actress over cocktails
Hollywood Actress Roundtable Oprah gushes over Lupita. Octavia and Amy listen. Julia and Emma steal the spotlight
Naomi Watts' Rough Year Paging Lacuna, Inc 
She's Finally Got It Angela Lansbury & Honorary Oscars
International Transgendered Day an Oscar Trivia List 
Critics Choice Young Actor/Actress Ballots who should be on them? 
Animated Features 2003 the 10th anniversary of a key Oscar shortlist
The Best Man Holiday opens big 

Frozen = Wicked is this the closest we're getting to the stage musical onscreen? 
Michelle Pfeiffer for American Horror Story? why she probably won't do it
Melissa McCarthy in The Heat her best line readings
Yes No Maybe So: Noah two of every what in Aronofsky's ark?
Julia Louis-Dreyfus the interview 

Coming in December
New releases American Hustle, August: Osage County and Wolf of Wall Street. Plus interviewpalooza with stars from Dallas Buyers Club, 12 Years a Slave. And, of course, YEAR IN REVIEW MADNESS

Sunday
Nov242013

Male Acting 2013: Lopsided Embarrasment of Riches

It's that time of year when we have to start taking stock of the year and prepping all that delicious Year in Review nonsense that goes on forever (aka 2 months at least). I can't help myself with the listing from December through January (and sometimes beyond). We already surveyed impossible ballot decisions when it comes to the women. So now it's time for the men. I thought about delaying this another week since the great remaining unseens for me are male-centric. I'll see Out of the Furnace, American Hustle and Wolf of Wall Street all within the next 8 days and will try and catch up with Rush, too... if only because, generally speaking, I adore Mr Daniel Brühl.  

We'll start with the weakest of the four acting quadrants both historically speaking and this year, too. Even in this meager list of 12 men I'm considering (before those last four key films) two of them are arguable leads...

SUPPORTING ACTOR - my longlist ballot
in no particular order

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Nov062013

Paging Lacuna, Inc. - Naomi Watts' 2013 is One She'd Rather Forget!

One of my favourite movie-going memories of 2013 was seeing the trailer for Adore play before a bemused sold out opening weekend audience at Blue Jasmine. Amongst the scattered laughs was one lady a row or two behind me who uttered to her companion, “What is Naomi Watts doing?” She, and the rest of us, are sadly still waiting for an answer. On the heels of that Oscar nomination for The Impossible, Watts has since appeared in two films that have literally been laughed off of cinema screens.

[Adore and Diana giggles after the jump...]

Click to read more ...

Friday
Nov012013

October. It's a Wrap

Two months left to go and we wrap 2013. I can't believe how close to the Oscar thick of it we are. Before we really dive in (I'm off to LA again real soon) a last look back at October. We spent a lot of time with horror films of course (tis the season) for those well received "Before Exorcist / After Exorcist" lists... but what else was hot this month? Here are 11 more of our favorite posts.

Greta Gerwig talked to us about Frances Ha's Gotham snubbing
12 Years of Horrors one of my favorite episodes ever of the Podcast
Tom Hanks as all ages training wheels for movie-star loving
Her premiered at NYFF and Jose shared a few thoughts 
The Fiennes Profile The Grand Budapest Hotel promos got us gawking at Ralph Fiennes again 

Cate Blanchett Glenn spent an evening with her
American Hustle who has what to prove? 
Crazy Possessed Ballerinas what do the movies have against toe shoes? 
Supporting Actress Smackdown '68 Ruth's witchy triumph 
Blue is the Warmest Color got many of you hot and bothered 

Most Comments:
"Remember when we didn't know who would star in Gravity?"


Coming in November
SO MUCH... Where to even begin? Thor: The Dark World, Julie Delpy Interview, The Vivien Leigh Centennial, The Book Thief, Supporting Actress Smackdown 2003 10th Anniversary, Interviews with the casts of Dallas Buyers Club and 12 Years a Slave, The AFI Festival, The Return of Judi Dench, two new musicals: Frozen and Black Nativity and lots more Oscar buzz.

Any Requests?

Monday
Sep302013

September. It's a Wrap

With September closing we're entering the final quarter, the last gasp of 2013! Before the leaves fall and Oscar madness hits (wait, it hasn't yet?), here's one last look back at a dozen Best of the Month posts in case you missed any of the awesomeness... which was mostly TIFF centered or 1980s retro.

Brie Larson Interview on Short Term 12, United States of Tara and Celebrity
Boogie Nights as Radio Show? What I learned/remembered about the classic film at TIFF
Nicole+Naomi JA hilariously imagines an evening in with the besties and best actresses 
Half Nelson's amazing classroom scenes - so many movies connect to these history lessons 
Agents of SHIELD the TV return of Joss Whedon... first impressions
Map to the Stars image doubles up on mysterious actressing 

Nicole Kidman is Indescructible  a collision with the paparazzi
'This Comment Thread Is Not Going to Be Ignored' I ♥ TFE readers. I really do.
Whither Pixar? Tim worries for the future of the once great production house 
Blonde Bombshells vs. Character Actors on the supporting actress race 
Meryl The Witch our first glimpse of Into the Woods 
FYC Ulysses ginger haters beware

Coming in October:
Dallas Buyers Club, ocean terror with Captain Phillips, a trip back to Gravity12 Years a Slave's Sarah Paulson & Alfre Woodard, a look back at the 1968 film year (any requests?) plus it's Supporting Actress contenders. And the greatest horror movies of all time via Team Experience!

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