No one needs awards coverage this deep
'Frankenweenie,' 'Rust & Bone,' 'The Hunt' among the festival's hits so far
Matthias Schoenaerts, Marion Cotillard and Jacques Audiard hit the red carpet for tonight's gala screening of "Rust and Bone."
Credit: AP Photo/Miles Willis
LONDON - At no other festival I've attended is the faintly absurd bubble we film critics live in made more apparent than the BFI London Film Festival -- a buffet far more concerned with serving the public the best world cinema has to offer, whether or not another festival got to it first, than with providing media outlets with grabby exclusives and world premieres.
For me and many of my colleagues, a Cannes-premiered film like "Rust and Bone" is already old news, despite not having officially opened yet; for London cineastes in the real world, tonight's gala screening, with Marion Cotillard in attendance, is an eagerly anticipated event. That is as it should be: one of the things I love about my hometown festival is that it re-sparks thoughts and conversations about such films in a much more lively public context.
The song was written by composer Alexandre Desplat and screenwriter David Lindsay-Abaire
Credit: Paramount Pictures
The Best Original Song race is starting to fill out. We've added a few more to our contenders page in recent days, including tracks from "Celeste & Jesse Forever" and "West of Memphis," but today comes the news that DreamWorks Animation's "Rise of the Guardians" will feature a tune from acclaimed soprano Renée Fleming
The studio steers clear of Hathaway's 'Les Misérables' campaign
Anne Hathaway in "The Dark Knight Rises"
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
One of the things we've been looking to get confirmation on regarding Warner Bros. Pictures' Oscar campaigns this year is just where Tom Hanks and Halle Berry would be pushed for Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis' "Cloud Atlas." Lead seemed to be the obvious call (both are the movie stars and have the most screen time across the various stories in which they appear and the characters they play), but it's always possible something like this puts everyone up for supporting.
It turns out the two will indeed go lead for the film. I suppose you can consider them contenders in our Best Actor and Best Actress galleries, then. The real surprise from the studio, however, is the decision to place "The Dark Knight Rises" star Anne Hathaway in the lead actress category as opposed to supporting. Is that indicative of a serious rallying or simply a smart decision to get out of the way of another film?
Her brilliant take on the Emily Brontë classic opens in Los Angeles today
A scene from Andrea Arnold's "Wuthering Heights."
Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories
In an era of filmmaking where producers and moneymen seem shyer than ever of original screenplays, hungry for the built-in audience of a known quantity, “This again?” is a question we seem to find ourselves asking on a weekly basis. That may most frequently be in response to high-concept Hollywood franchises and superhero movies, but it's no less applicable to the classic literary adaptation. This autumn alone has brought us new versions of oft-filmed chestnuts in “Anna Karenina” and “Great Expectations,” with Baz Luhrmann's “The Great Gatsby” narrowly scuttling out of the fray; each one invites a fresh round of comparisons, with varying assertions of redundancy or reinvention.
It's all the more impressive, then, that British director Andrea Arnold's pared-back, wind-whipped and wholly remarkable adaptation of Emily Brontë's “Wuthering Heights” – which itself premiered only months after Cary Fukunaga's fresh take on another standard from the Brontë family canon, “Jane Eyre” – feels both very new and very necessary indeed. If Arnold's film, already on release in New York and opening today in Los Angeles, feels to some extent like the first true version of this dog-eared Yorkshire romance, that could be because it's the first film to realize that the story of farmgirl Cathy and founding Heathcliff's unfettered, ultimately damaging passion isn't really a romance at all.
Ben Affleck's Iran hostage thriller opens today
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
I've been high on Ben Affleck's "Argo" since way back at Telluride over a month ago. It is, I feel, the current Best Picture frontrunner. We've sussed out its zeitgeist potential, talked to Affleck, Alan Arkin and Bryan Cranston and pretty much covered all bases on the way to release, which is finally here. So if you make it out to see the film this weekend (and you should), hustle on back here and tell us what you thought. It's time for a wider audience to chime in. And feel free to rate the film via the tool above.
Also: Small films looking to stand out this season
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: Remembering Harris Savides, and 'Argo' is fighting fit
Credit: AP Photo/Jeff Christensen
With a stacked -- and rather rewarding -- slate of films on my plate yesterday, I didn't get to see Harvey Weinstein's keynote speech at the London Film Festival. But no matter: Screen helpfully provides a transcript. It would appear that preservation and piracy were the two chief issues on his mind: he laid into Hollywood film execs for their limited knowledge of their film heritage ("I began to wonder if any of them had even heard of John Ford") and celebrated the French for their hard line on illegal content-sharing, which he claims has bolstered the local film industry, allowing them to finance such grown-up hits as -- and here come two wholly impartial examples -- "The Artist" and "The Intouchables." [Screen Daily]
DP frequently collaborated with Gus Van Sant, David Fincher and Noah Baumbach
Harris Savides on the set of Noah Baumbach's "Greenberg"
Credit: Focus Features
Talk about having a ton of bricks dropped on your head. I hadn't heard that cinematographer Harris Savides had been ill, certainly hadn't known that he was on the ropes, but he has apparently passed away at the far-too-young age of 55. I don't know the cause of death but I know this one's a big blow to the industry.
Savides most often collaborated with filmmaker Gus Van Sant. He shot films like "Finding Forrester," "Gerry," "Elephant," "Last Days" and "Milk" for the director. But he also worked with David Fincher from time to time ("The Game," "Zodiac"), as well as Noah Baumbach ("Margot at the Wedding," "Greenberg"). His final work will be seen in Sofia Coppola's "The Bling Ring," which releases next year.
Savides always brought a delicate touch to his work. There was no blatant thumbprint because that wasn't his style. Yet the work was by no means anonymous. Quite the opposite, in fact, and the aesthetic Van Sant developed in his "Death Trilogy" ("Elephant," "Gerry" and "Last Days") is very much owed to Savides's work.
The actress makes a big stride in the Sundance fave
Mary Elizabeth Winstead in "Smashed"
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
NEW YORK -- Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been developing quite the career for herself in the commercial sector. Parts in "Final Destination 3," "Black Christmas," "Grindhouse," "Live Free or Die Hard," "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" and "The Thing" have been a slow build for the actress, right up to this summer's "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter." But while she's always showed a spark that promised more, it didn't really hit full bloom until James Ponsoldt's "Smashed" premiered at Sundance back in January.
And indeed, the Sundance experience meant a great deal to Winstead, who grew up in Salt Lake City and always saw the fest as something of an El Dorado. "Sundance was always a big goal of mine, since I was a kid," she says. "It was always like this thing that was so close but I could never find my way into actually being a part of it. It was pretty emotional. Yeah, I think I broke down several times when I was there so it meant a lot."
The list was narrowed down from 31 eligible entries
"Mondays at Racine" is one of the shortlisted docs.
Credit: Cynthia Wade Productions
Can we already be at this point? It may be in one of the least-heralded categories, but the Oscar shortlisting process has officially begun: this morning, the Academy announced a shortlist of eight semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Short award, drawn from 31 eligible entries. That'll be it for this particular race, of course, until the five nominees are revealed with all the rest on January 10 -- while a feature doc shortlist will be announced later this month.. So, here's its brief moment with the spotlight to itself.
The shortlisted titles include: "Mondays at Racine," a look at a Long Island hair salon that caters to cancer patients; "The Education of Mohammad Hussein," about an American Muslim community's struggle with an anti-Islamic priest; "Inocente," a study of a teenaged artist who has been homeless for six years; "Kings Point," about a Florida retirement community; "Open Heart," about Rwandan children undergoing high-risk surgery in Sudan; "Paraiso," about immigrant Mexican window-washers in Chicago; and "The Perfect Fit," a silent portrait of five women colliding in a vintage clothing store.