No one needs awards coverage this deep
The dark horse awards contender counts his latest film as a turning point
Jake Gyllenhaal at the LA premiere of "End of Watch"
Credit: AP Photo/Todd Williamson
NEW YORK -- I'm running a little late as I make it over to the Laura Pels Theater on 46th Street. When I get there, a tiny crowd surrounds Jake Gyllenhaal, bearded and maned for his performance in the off-Broadway play "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet." He's almost unrecognizable, which goes a long way toward explaining why the crowd is tiny. He's gracious, all smiles, answering questions.
Later, backstage at the theater, he recalls what it was about the piece that made him finally break his long hiatus from the stage. Written by Nick Payne, the George Devine Award-winning play features Gyllenhaal (in his New York theater debut) as Terry, a loafer uncle to an affection-starved, overweight teenage girl. It's a quartet piece but Gyllenhaal shines, largely because of his character's idiosyncratic nature. That nature was founded in the play's dialogue, which Gyllenhaal says was like trying to unlock a Rubik's Cube.
The young actor already has a wealth of collaborations behind him
Ang Lee and Jake Gyllenhaal on the set of "Brokeback Mountain"
Credit: Focus Features
One of the striking things you note immediately about Jake Gyllenhaal's portfolio of work is the caliber of filmmakers he's worked with. As a supplement to our feature interview with the star of the off-Broadway production "If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet" and the screen's "End of Watch," we asked Gyllenhaal if he could recall what he's taken from the experience of working with a handful of these esteemed craftsmen -- three of whom feature in the Oscar race this year.
Also: The Gothams and Spirits speak up for indies and a survey of the doc features
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
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.
Also: The playwrights in the writing race, and dressing 'Hitchcock'
Credit: Touchstone Pictures
We may still be in the early stages, but one of the clear narratives of this awards season has been in place for some time now: after several straight years of independent productions ruling the roost, studio fare looks set to dominate this year's Oscars, with "Argo," "Lincoln," "Life of Pi" and (we presume) "Les Mis" all riding a wave of mainstream prestige combined with multiplex appeal. Pamela McClintock examines the situation and wonders if, after recent triumphs for limited performers like "The Artist" and "The Hurt Locker," this could be the year box office once more becomes a Best Picture prerequisite, and "event pics for adults" once more become a recognized Hollywood commodity. [Hollywood Reporter]
Will star wattage win out in the category as it has in the past?
Bryce Dallas Howard's "when you find me"
Credit: Freestyle Picture Company
The Academy has announced that 11 films will advance in the race for Best Live Action Short Film at the 85th annual Academy Awards. A tie in the balloting resulted in 11 films as opposed to the usual 10. The press release notes that 125 films had originally qualified in the category.
Check out the full list of films below.
'Life of Pi,' 'Cloud Atlas' and a trio of superhero movies all make the grade
"Cloud Atlas" is one of the 10 films left in the hunt for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
What's that sweet smell of vanilla wafting in from the kitchen? Yep, it's bakeoff time already. Earlier today, the Academy announced the shortlist of 10 films still in the race for the Best Visual Effects Oscar. On January 3, the visual effects branch members will gather to view 10-minute excerpts from the shortlisted films before voting on the final five nominees.
None of the inclusions is as surprising as one particular omission. For its jaw-dropping re-creation of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, I had thought Juan Antonio Bayona's "The Impossible" a sure thing for a nomination, let alone a shortlist spot. However, despite nominating "Hereafter" in 2010 for a far less impressive tsunami sequence, the voters felt differently: the Spanish production failed to make a list dominated by expensive Hollywood product.
An intimate discussion focused on his seven-year journey with the Caped Crusader
Christopher Nolan on the set of "The Dark Knight Rises"
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
NEW YORK -- "The Dark Knight Rises" director Christopher Nolan stopped by the Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater Wednesday night for one of the Film Society's "An Evening with…" events. Scott Foundas moderated the discussion, which didn't focus on Nolan's full career, but rather, his experience with the character of Batman across a trilogy of films that has changed the landscape of blockbuster filmmaking and, indeed, the awards race itself.
Other contenders include 'Lincoln,' 'Les Misérables' and 'The Master'
Mads Mikkelsen and Alicia Vikander in "A Royal Affair"
Credit: Magnolia Pictures
Oscar night is known for its glamor. “Who are you wearing” becomes a popular question to ask nominees as they make their way down the red carpet. But on screen, clothes do more than make actors look good. They certainly do that, but they also tell us something about the characters who wear them. They reveal things, telling the story visually like every other element of a production.
More than any other category, period pieces tend to dominate here. In many years, all five titles could have been classified as period. While there is usually room for one or occasionally even two fantasy nominees, such titles are not as welcome here as in, say, Best Production Design. Moreover, contemporary films tend to be cited no more than a few times a decade. Indeed, no such film was nominated between 1994 and 2006! Within this realm of “period,” clothes which are foreign and/or exotic are especially welcome, as is royalty.
Also: Matthew Vaughn to (possibly) direct 'Star Wars', and early 'Hobbit' reax
Ben Affleck on the cover of next month's Entertainment Weekly.
After "Les Mis" premiered last week, a lot of pundits -- including our own Kris Tapley -- installed the film as the Best Picture frontrunner, but I'm not so keen to jump the "Argo" ship. The potential Oscar narrative for Ben Affleck is an attractive one for his Academy peers, and he's sure to receive a lot of honors and accolades over the next few weeks -- beginning with the handy publicity boost of Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year title. I'd have bet on Jennifer Lawrence taking that one, but this is a reminder of just how well-regarded Affleck is in showbiz circles: "Argo" producer George Clooney, naturally, leads the cheers in the magazine's tribute to him. Lawrence is also featured in the issue, of course, alongside Anne Hathaway, Seth MacFarlane and Channing Tatum, all of whom have enjoyed similarly bang-up years. [EW]
The two-time Oscar winner is the 34th recipient of the Guild's top honor
Milos Forman with Woody Harrelson and Courtney Love on the set of "The People Vs. Larry Flynt."
Credit: Columbia Pictures
There's something to be said for not handing out lifetime achievement awards on an annual basis: when someone gets one, it's because a voting body genuinely thinks an artist's career merits the effort that goes such a tribute, and not just because they have a space to fill and that person's number has come up.
The Directors' Guild of America has been particularly stingy with their own top honor of late: the last recipient was Norman Jewison in 2010, and that came four years after the previous presentation, to Clint Eastwood. This year, the DGA has decided it's in a generous mood again, and the beneficiary is a worthy one: 80-year-old Czech-born master Milos Forman.