Another day, another "open letter." Closed letters are under-appreciated, as are, you know, articles. Still, Martin Scorsese's open letter to his daughter Francesca -- effectively an excuse for him to wax lyrical about the current (and future) state of film -- is coming from a good place, and a welcome corrective to all those "cinema is dead" thinkpieces that surface on an annual basis: "I don’t want to repeat what has been said and written by so many others before me, about all the changes in the business, and I’m heartened by the exceptions to the overall trend in moviemaking – Wes Anderson, Richard Linklater, David Fincher, Alexander Payne, the Coen Brothers, James Gray and Paul Thomas Anderson are all managing to get pictures made, and Paul not only got The Master made in 70mm, he even got it shown that way in a few cities. Anyone who cares about cinema should be thankful." [Espresso]
As I said in my predictions piece yesterday, "Gravity" was always likely to find a strong core of support in the BAFTA membership, given the involvement of heavyweight British producer David Heyman, extensive below-the-line contributions from British artists and the fact that much of it was shot at Pinewood and Shepperton Studios. Still, I didn't anticipate them embracing Alfonso Cuarón's film this much. Not only does "Gravity" lead all contenders with 11 nominations, but BAFTA effectively claimed it as their own, handing it a Best British Film nomination that pushed it ahead of "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" in the final tally.
Things were close at the top, but thanks to a Best British Film nod that I didn't see coming, "Gravity" leads this year's BAFTA nominations with 11 bids. "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle" are close on its heels with 10, as is "Captain Phillips" with nine. Surprising omissions, however, include "Dallas Buyers Club" -- absent from all categories. Full list below; more analysis to come shortly.
NEW YORK - I'm somewhat torn as to whether to communicate just how awkward my interview with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams was for Spike Jonze's masterful "Her" last month. Our video editing team did a wonderful job of making it seem less so, but let's just say that Mr. Phoenix lived up to his well deserved reputation. It's one reason you hear a lot more from the wonderfully charming Ms. Adams in the interview embedded at the top of the post than the movie's leading man. Granted, we were able to discuss a bit about Jonze's vision of a future Los Angeles and the changes to the project through production, but it certainly wasn't what I'd hoped for when I walked in the interview room. Certainly not for a film that ended up at no. 9 on my top ten list of 2013.
The Vancouver Film Critics Circle has hopped on the "12 Years a Slave"/Alfonso Cuarón bandwagon, but I'm mostly interested in that Best Actor win for Oscar Isaac. After the guy couldn't get arrested on the circuit, he's finally landed a couple of wins, first from the National Society of Film Critics over the weekend and today with the Vancouver crowd. "Inside Llewyn Davis" also won the group's screenplay prize. Check out the nominees here, the full list of winners below, and remember to keep track of it all via The Circuit.
How many more states do we have to go? Oklahoma is the latest to weigh in with their favorites, and they've picked Spike Jonze's "Her" as their film of the year, also handing it Best Original Screenplay. "12 Years a Slave" took Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Best Adapted Screenplay, but beyond that, the love was generously spread around, with "American Hustle," "Dallas Buyers Club," "Gravity," "Blue Jasmine" and "The Hunt" among the other winners. Matthew McConaughey, meanwhile, received a Body of Work award for three performances, while "August: Osage County" received a Worst of 2013 "prize." Full list after the jump, and everything else at The Circuit.
For Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, the goal of three unique films — 1995's "Before Sunrise," 2004's "Before Sunset" and 2013's "Before Midnight" — that have followed the lives of Celine and Jesse, a pair of love-struck individuals, has been to make viewers feel like they know them. These are people trying to be understood, and the idea is "to get in on their communication," as Linklater puts it. The films have aimed to depict Celine and Jesse as fully as they can, and the result has been one of the most singular on-going cinematic experiences in the modern canon.
Bright and early tomorrow morning -- or just as you're about to go to bed, depending on where you are -- the British Academy of Film & Television Arts will announce their annual film nominations. And predicting those has got slightly less easy in the last two years, since BAFTA brass revised their voting system and ditched those telltale pre-nomination longlists.
Last night's New York Film Critics' Circle awards dinner have already made industry headlines for the wrong reasons -- Armond White's regrettable outburst was already covered in this morning's roundup -- which has thus far obscured talk of the awards themselves. Which is doubly unfortunate, since it would appear that there were a number of valuable takeaways from that side of the evening -- and none more so than Harry Belafonte's eloquent address to Steve McQueen.