Admittedly, any statistic in this business can be unique if you make it specific enough, but David Fincher's maiden Emmy nomination this morning -- Best Directing of a Drama Series for the pilot episode of Netflix's "House of Cards" -- brought him to a unique awards milestone. He's now the first person to have been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards... and the MTV Video Music Awards.
So the 2013 Emmy nominees were announced this morning. Poor Kate Mara had engine trouble (her plane, not her) in New Mexico and so Emmys host Neil Patrick Harris filled in at the last minute to announce the lucky names alongside "Breaking Bad" star Aaron Paul.
Looking over the nominees, yeah, okay, right, that's expected, oh that show's still on?, etc., etc. I rarely find much to get excited about in an Emmy announcement, I mean. I had all my hopes on Rob Lowe's facelift getting a supporting actor nomination for "Behind the Candelabra" and somehow they spring for the window dressing of Scott Bakula. Huh?
My favorite notices, however, came for HBO's "Veep," my favorite comedy show on television right now. Last year it got a handful of looks including, naturally, leading lady Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but this year Tony Hale and (this next part is so awesome) Anna Chlumsky got to tag along in the supporting ranks and that's just awesome.
The Venice Film Festival may be celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, but there's a separate, smaller milestone contained within it: the tenth birthday of the independent Venice Days sidebar. Founded in 2004 by an association of Italian filmmakers to showcase offbeat independent work outside the main festival selection, Venice Days is effectively the festival's equivalent of the Directors' Fortnight at Cannes, and while it doesn't get as much publicity, a number of significant films have premiered there over the past decade.
A couple of weeks ago, the news landed that this year's vastly acclaimed Palme d'Or winner, Abdellatif Kechiche's romantic drama "Blue is the Warmest Color," is ineligible to be the French entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar race. The simple reason: its domestic release date falls nine days after the submission deadline, making it eligible for consideration in the category next year, but not this time round.
I recently caught up with Alex Gibney's terrific documentary "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," a no-nonsense study of Julian Assange's rise and fall that plays, for all our familiarity with the elements at hand, very much as a thriller. Still, the material was bound to make for a narrative film sooner or later, and sooner it is: Bill Condon's "The Fifth Estate" opens on October 18, presumably after premiering on the fall festival circuit. Now the first trailer for the film has landed, and it looks to be glossy, smart mainstream entertainment.
Wong Kar-Wai's long-awaited, long-delayed martial arts epic "The Grandmaster" looked to be the dream opening film at this year's Berlin Film Festival, but it received a slightly rude awakening when it finally premiered. I was far from the only critic to voice my disappointment with the film, which bore the scars of work that had been labored over a little too long -- though it still offered sporadic thrills and ravishing beauty aplenty.
The cast of Christopher Nolan's upcoming "Insterstellar" is, well, stellar. There are a handful of amazing ensembles out there these days, from "12 Years a Slave" to "Out of the Furnace," but this one is just jam-packed with prestige, movie stardom and just about anything you'd want out of a cast. And now we can add John Lithgow to the ever-expanding list.
Comic-Con is on the way but I'm skipping out on San Diego entirely this year for various reasons -- none of them unfortunate. Meanwhile, James Mangold's "The Wolverine," one of at least 10 comic book adaptations hitting screens this year, is right around the corner.
The new film will be Hugh Jackman's sixth as the mutant Logan/Wolverine after "X-Men" (2000), "X2" (2003), "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006), "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" (2009) and "X-Men: First Class" (2011). Not only that, but next year's "X-Men: Days of Future Past" will bring him into the rare air of a seventh portrayal, and as he told HitFix's Drew McWeeny in a recent interview, the actor is "not ready to give him up just yet."
All of this got me thinking: Who else has played a character seven times?
I'm pretty well stoked for Neill Blomkamp's "Elysium," which looks to put a bow on the summer spectacle season next month. And with Comic-Con around the corner, I'm reminded of that first screening of "District 9" four years ago and how much of a knock-out the experience was. I'm still shocked it managed to navigate the season and end up with Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations. It's such an anomaly to me for that, even in an expanded Best Picture scenario.
Will "Elysium" be so fortunate? Time will tell. Starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, it certainly has more A-list talent on board to get AMPAS members to take notice. Or it could just be another fantastic entry in sci-fi cinema, which has of late become mired in the same high-gloss franchise-mongering that manages to ruin just about everything. And that would be fine, too.
Over at Wired, Mark Yarm has cranked out a wonderful profile of Blomkamp in advance of the film's release. It's a thorough consideration of the young filmmaker, tracing his relationship with actor Sharlto Copley, his eventual partnership with Peter Jackson and the failed "Halo" project, the complete opposite mentality that went into "District 9" and "Elysium"'s likely place in a socio-political conversation. What caught my eye, though, was the involvement of futurist designer Syd Mead in the project. Sue me, I wasn't aware.