Inside Movies and Pop Culture with Gregory Ellwood
Are there just two potential party crashers left?
Another week, another contender officially enters the fray for Best Picture. Last week, "Saving Mr. Banks" took its expected place among the top five contenders. This week, Martin Scorsese returns to the Oscar game for the fifth time this century with "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Think about that fact just one more time. Are we really surprised Marty's back in the game?
The controversial drama hits the US this Friday
Were British critics too sensitive about director Oliver Hirschbiegel's new drama "Diana"? The film, about a secret love affair between Princess Diana and heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, wasn't necessarily warmly received in the UK, but American audiences will get their chance to weigh in when it opens in limited release on Friday.
Change is good
It's time to open stretch our arms a little.
When HitFix brought In Contention into the family two years ago it was a sign that Awards Campaign, a blog I've been writing since the inception of the site almost five years ago, would soon take a back seat. Kris Tapley has turned In Contention into a top tier brand in regards to awards and prestige film coverage. My voice as a, cough, Oscar pundit was much better served posting in In Contention alongside Kris and the one and only Guy Lodge than separately in Awards Campaign. Where did that leave little old AC? Well, some things aren't meant to last.
Is he more popular than Hemsworth at this point?
LONDON — Can you remember the last time a villain in a movie franchise was significantly more popular than the hero? Truth be told, you have to go back to 1991 and "The Silence of the Lambs." Jodie Foster's FBI Agent Clarice Starling was our hero, but Anthony Hopkins' Hannibal Lecter was the break-out star (shoot, he was pretty much a cultural phenomenon). Flash forward 20 years and Chris Hemsworth has found himself in a similar situation playing a mighty Avenger in 2011's "Thor" and the global blockbuster "The Avengers." Thor has his fans, but it's his witty and devious brother Loki, played by Tom Hiddleston, that crackles on screen. Now a third film featuring the duo is hitting theaters and you won't be surprised to learn that Hiddleston is stealing scene after scene in "Thor: The Dark World."
Trying to avoid heartbreak in the Best Picture race
The awards were presented last night and many a celebrity came out for the show
It's really hard to hide the disdain this pundit has for the Hollywood Film Awards. There may be no less authentic awards ceremony during awards season. Honestly, it's pretty much pointless and just an exercise for potential nominees to practice their speeches and red carpet talking points. Damn you Kanye West for giving the event any sort of relevancy.
Tom Hanks could be on his way for Oscar no. 3
LONDON - "Saving Mr. Banks" closed the 2013 BFI London Film Festival Sunday night and, as expected, officially entered the 2014 Oscar race. When your movie tells the true story of the sparring relationship between the Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks, no less) and author P.L. Travers (Emma "where have you been this past decade" Thompson) over the making of "Mary Poppins," the Oscar bait signs are pretty obvious. Happily, and you can learn more in Guy Lodge's review, the film is actually pretty entertaining with some honest dramatic moments audiences won't expect. And yet, whether "Banks" will have a real impact on the Best Picture race might be too hard to gauge Stateside.
Oh, and a pretty good career move
WELLINGTON, NZ - Can you really go home again? Orlando Bloom is finding out as he returns to the world of Middle Earth in Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." Bloom reprises his role as the Elf with a bow, arrow and long luxurious blond hair, Legolas, that he originated in the Oscar-winning "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. And, frankly, it's not bad timing.
Things are getting tight
It may turn out to be the most competitive Best Picture race in years, but the showdown between co-frontrunners "Gravity" and "12 Years a Slave" to win it all may soon turn into a three-way race. Walt Disney Studios' "Saving Mr. Banks" will debut at the London Film Festival on Sunday as the Brits will be the first to chime in on the long-buzzed awards player. And, at this point, "Banks" may be the only remaining unseen contender who can make a real mark on the long marathon for the top prize.
An epic conversation on big elf ears and fighting for stunts
WELLINGTON, NZ - In May of 2012, Evangeline Lilly greeted a crew of American journalists on the set of "The Hobbit." Actually, in theory it was the set of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." After our visit that changed and it's still not clear what movie features the scene we saw Lilly appear in, but her Middle Earth debut was subsequently pushed to a new "second" film, "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug." That meant the world would have to wait another year to meet Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh's original character, played by Lilly, Tauriel.