In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
I accidentally neglected to mention the Hollywood Film Awards in yesterday's roundup. There may be much skepticism in the blogosphere as to their credibility, but like it or not, they are an awards show at the start of the season -- and we can expect to see a lot more of certain honorees in the months to come. Of course, the winners had all been announced beforehand: "Silver Linings Playbook" was a favorite of theirs, taking directing honors for David O. Russell, while Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro were named actor and supporting actor of the year, respectively. Others winners included Marion Cotillard, Amy Adams and Quvenzhané Wallis -- but by the time "Django Unchained" wins for its screenplay, when no one's yet had a chance to see how the script works on film, you get why they're not taken too seriously. As usual, Scott Feinberg is the go-to man on this subject. [The Race]
After the memorable ending of last night’s “Parks and Recreation” (which I reviewed here), I emailed co-creator Mike Schur a few questions about why they chose to do it, and what it means for the show going forward.
Perfect world, we could sit down over the refreshment of our choice and we could talk about Conan. Specifically, we could talk about "Conan The Barbarian," the 1982 film that Universal released, directed by John Milius and written by Milius and Oliver Stone. That film was one of the things that made Arnold Schwarzenegger a viable movie star. Before that, he was known for a few quirky appearances in film like "Stay Hungry," his charismatic appearance in "Pumping Iron," and his bodybuilding triumphs. But "Conan The Barbarian" changed things for him, and its reputation has grown over time.
I've loved the film since opening weekend, and I love running into a hardcore fan of the film. You know you've found a kindred soul when you can ask, "What is good in life?" and someone answers without hesitation, "To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women." And based on the story that Deadline reported earlier this afternoon, Chris Morgan may be one of those people.
With the November 1 eligibility due date looming around the corner, it's time to really dig in on the Best Animated Feature Film category. Currently there are 16 titles assumed eligible for the award, which has been dished out at the annual Oscars for 11 years now. And that 12-year history has shown an interesting progression for the category.
The rise of GKIDS in the indie sector has shaken this race up a bit as of late, seemingly giving animators the artistic alternatives that they don't always get out of the commercial lot. The dirty little secret about the animated feature category is that it was, long before the Best Picture category's facelift, the first real step the Academy made toward allowing space for commercial films and therefore providing general audiences a better sense of accessibility to the annual Oscarcast.
But over time the category has naturally evolved, all the way up until just last year, when the studios were up against it as Pixar was shut out after winning the award four years in a row, two indie titles faced off against two traditional animation house films (from the same studio, in fact) and the win went to an in-house gem that came from a non-animator filmmaker who made his name in live action.
It's another all-star season, and we get a new host in Carolyn Murphy (let's face it, Angela Lindvall was no Heidi Klum), a lot of prizes and a bunch of designers who, if this episode is any indication, are oddly well-behaved. But I'm sure that won't last long. I mean, Wendy Pepper, Josh McKinley and Ivy Higa are in da house. Blood will be drawn!
Though I had initially thought Elena's transition into vampiredom would be pretty easy -- she knows the right people, for crying out loud -- I'm beginning to have my doubts. The girl who spent so much time in previous seasons either being depressed or guilty or suffering over some fresh nightmare now has a new lease on life (or unlife, I guess) and it's not going so well. Vampires feel everything more strongly than mere mortals do -- and it was only a matter of time before all the big, bad feelings Elena was supressing came bubbling to the surface like black goo in the LaBrea Tar Pits. This week, Elena gets to do battle with her anger, which she was too nice to get out of her system back when it could have been neatly handled with a visit to the local gun rage or a good jog. No, now Elena has bloodlust and a taste for murder to deal with, and it's just a whole lot messier.
It's been a strange day in the "X-Men" movie universe.
Obviously, fandom is freaking out over Matthew Vaughn leaving "X-Men: Days Of Future Past," and I plan to take a deeper look at the post-Rothman world of Fox superhero movies in the days ahead. For now, though, I'm fascinated by a comment that Empire ran today as part of their exclusive visit to the set of "The Wolverine," James Mangold's take on the mutant that has been played since 2000 by Hugh Jackman.
At this point, I would not be shocked to learn that people are confused by the timelines and continuities of the "X-Men" series. After all, there's the trilogy of films based on the Bryan Singer take on the characters, there's the "Wolverine" solo film, and there's last year's "X-Men: First Class," which appeared to overtly contradict several things in the already established movies. I'm not sure I quite understand how they're supposed to connect on a story level if we're meant to accept that they all take place in one movie universe.
I have to say this is looking a little bit more like "Die Hard" now.
I still think it's just plain weird to have built a franchise around John McClane, but I get the reason that most fans want more of something they like. McClane's great in the first film for two totally different reasons. First, he's great because he's a normal person who has to figure out how to stay alive and save his wife against armed, organized overwhelming odds, and that resourcefulness and fortitude make him heroic. Second, he's great because he knows exactly how to mouth off in a way that makes Hans Gruber mental, and that is just plain fun to watch.
That sense of "wrong place, wrong time" is a big part of that first film, and it's one of the things that makes McClane a real hero. He's not doing a specific job he's being paid to do. He just ended up in a position to be the one person who can disrupt this thing that's happening, and so he does it. The idea of him being trapped inside the building with the thieves was definitely one of the things that was most vigorously imitated by others, enough that you could pitch a movie as "'Die Hard' in a fill-in-the-blank" game of "Mad Libs" for years afterwards, but I don't think the contained space is what people who go see "Die Hard" sequels want.
M83's video for "Steve McQueen" deals with a lot of the same themes the lyrics to the song do: there's something hopeful and mysterious springing forth from us, at times, when the secret unlocking of our greatest desires feel, for once, within reach.
The clip thusly features a kid, a wrangler of magic around some unknown plot involving his toy animals and an unorthodox use of the garden sprinkler. It's colorful and unknowable, with animations from Spike Jonze collabo Sylvain Derosne, under the direction of Derosne and Balthazar Auxietre.
It came about as part of a video contest (in partnership with Genero.tv), with the directors describing their depiction of the “power of childhood, an eagerness for life, and the kind of paradoxical energy you have when you grow up.”
I'm confused by it, but I like it.
"Steve McQueen" is the next single from M83's "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" from last year. It will be out with multiple remixes starting on Nov. 27. M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez is also releasing a 12" for Record Store Day's Black Friday edition, with four remixes of that track, on Nov. 23.