No one needs awards coverage this deep
Both the toon titan and the indie distrib have full plates this season
A scene from "The Rabbi's Cat," newly aquired by GKIDS
UPDATE (6/6): Well, GKIDS just announced another acquisition, this one with an expressly intended Oscar qualification release noted: "From Up on Poppy Hill." Add that one to the fire.
EARLIER: I'm asked daily at this point so I guess I'll just say, yes, predictions are coming. By the end of the month.
One of the things I start doing around this time of year, in preparation for that package, is suss out the animated feature category as best I can. Things change often with this field as we're always focused on the magic number of qualifying contenders necessary for five nominees (16), and even that can offer surprises as this film or that fails to submit paperwork, or this or that pops up as a sudden fringe possibility.
Last year there were three such possibilities, all of them from scrappy indie GKIDS. The distributor landed its first (surprise) nomination in the field back in 2009 for "The Secret of Kells" and muscled in with two showings last year for "A Cat in Paris" and "Chico & Rita." This year, once again, GKIDS has a few options.
You know, day-glo, En Vogue, 'Can't we all just get along?,' etc.
Arnold Schwarzenegger accepting an award at the first annual MTV Movie Awards in 1992
So the MTV Movie Awards are tonight. I don't think I've said or typed that phrase in years. I think there was a time when these awards had a slightly transgressive place in the world. But that time came and went, likely faster than I remember.
I'm talking about a time when films like "Menace II Society" and "Se7en" could win awards for Best Movie and still seem to be a vote from the youth. Maybe it's the movies that changed. Maybe things like that stopped appealing to an audience fed a steady diet of "Harry Potter" and "Twilight." But it would be rather difficult to imagine Quentin Tarantino today offering of his "Pulp Fiction" win in 1994, "Pop quiz, hot shot. You go to awards shows all year long. You keep losing to 'Forrest Gump.' What do you do? You go to the MTV Movie Awards." Though props for the "Speed" reference, sir.
But rather than get hung up on such things, I thought I'd use tonight's 21st annual show as an opportunity to go back in time, to June 10, 1992, and a look at the first annual MTV Movie Awards.
The new spin on the fairytale hits theaters today
Chris Hemsworth and Kristen Stewart in "Snow White and the Huntsman"
Credit: Universal Pictures
I've been out of town for about a week and a half so I've missed the screenings for "Show White and the Huntsman," which opens today. A friend at Fox told me some time ago that Charlize Theron gives "one of the great Al Pacino performances of the 1990s," which is hilarious to me. Alas, I don't have an opinion yet. We talked to costume designer Colleen Atwood about her work on the film, though, and even dedicated a list to her greatest work. No surprise that the design elements seem to be getting most, if not all, of the praise, but we'd love to hear what you think. So give us your thoughts in the comments section below if/when you get around to seeing the film.
Two summer screening series mark increasing outreach for AMPAS
A scene from "Spartacus," screening at The Last 70mm Film Festival this summer
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
We would probably be a bit remiss around these parts if we didn't bring up two summer screening series the Academy is launching this year: "Oscars Outdoors" and "The Last 70mm Film Festival."
The former was initiated at the organizations new outdoor facility in Hollywood with an exclusive screening of "Field of Dreams" on May 19. Highlights of the upcoming schedule, which kicks off June 15 with an already-sold-out screening of "Casablanca," include "The Goonies," "Shane," "The Dark Crystal," "North by Northwest" and "Back to the Future." The idea is to screen classic and contemporary adult gems on Fridays and family-friendly fare on Saturdays.
Meanwhile, a press release issued today promoting the latter program asserted that "as theaters increasingly move towards digital projection, there has never been a better time to celebrate these vibrant, clear 70mm prints." That program kicks off on July 9 with a screening of "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World."
Festivities kick off on August 29
Michael Mann all smiles at last year's Venice International Film Festival in support of daughter Ami Canaan Mann's "Texas Killing Fields"
Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan
Michael Mann hasn't been in the director's seat since 2009's "Public Enemies," save for his involvement in HBO's short-lived series "Luck." He's a guy with a stack of potential projects lined up, but it seems he'll take a little bit of a break from the fray to head up the jury of the 69th annual Venice Film Festival later this year.
Newly installed artistic director Alberto Barbera made the recommendation to the fest's board of governors, chaired by Paolo Baratta, and they jumped at the opportunity. It will be the first time Mann has ever chaired a jury, interestingly enough. What of this year's eventual line-up will spark for the man behind such modern classics as "The Last of the Mohicans," "Heat" and "The Insider?" Better yet, what can we expect to see at the fest?
Earlier this week Barbera dropped a few clues as to what we might see at the Lido this year. In remarks to Italian journalists, as reported by Eric Lyman at The Hollywood Reporter, Barbera mentioned Brian De Palma ("Passion"), Terrence Malick ("To the Wonder") and Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master") as possibilities, as well as Italian talents Silvio Soldini ("The Commander and the Stork"), Marco Bellocchio ("Dormant Beauty") and Gabriele Salvatores ("Siberian Education").
With 'Dark Shadows' in theaters and 'Snow White and the Huntsman' on the way, we survey the costumer's best threads
Charlize Theron in "Snow White and the Huntsman"
Credit: Universal Pictures
"As a designer, you have to solve a lot of problems. Even though people are wearing clothes that are supposed to look beautiful, they'll have to do all kinds of things." So says leading Hollywood costume designer Colleen Atwood, and she knows whereof she speaks: among the many things her overachieving clothes have done over the years, they've won her three Academy Awards, three BAFTAs and an unmatched six Costume Designers' Guild Awards. Whatever the problem facing a designer may be, she appears to have solved it. And we get to see her in action in two of this summer's releases: Tim Burton's "Dark Shadows" and Rupert Sanders's "Snow White and the Huntsman," for which Kris interviewed her a couple of weeks ago.
Even at their most lavishly decorative -- the busily printed, crinoline-molded Red Queen ensembles in "Alice in Wonderland," for example, or the copious ruffles and bows of "Little Women" -- Atwood's costumes are almost always active, moving, doing.
Other awards for Matteo Garrone, Ken Loach and Carlos Reygadas
Michael Haneke poses with his Palme d'Or as "Amour" star Emmanuelle Riva looks on.
Credit: AP Photo
So, it was the favorite all along. Michael Haneke's "Amour" looked, on paper, the film to beat before this year's Cannes Film Festival started. The rapturous critical reception that greeted its unveiling solidified its position as the frontrunner. Only concerns like "too obvious" and "he already has one" prevented some pundits (myself included) from predicting it for the Palme d'Or, and we were clearly overthinking matters.
Tonight, Nanni Moretti's jury handed Haneke the Palme, making him the seventh filmmaker to win the award twice -- and only the second to win for consecutive films. Between the predictability of the decision and the director's existing laurels, there's a temptation to complain that the jury has made a safe choice here, an anticlimactically conservative one. (And not just with the Palme: all five of the Competition filmmakers rewarded by the jury tonight have won at Cannes before. It's a members' club, all right.) The ideal way to ward off such petty feeling, however, would be to take an immediate second look at "Amour" -- to remind oneself of its immaculacy of construction, its delicacy of performance, its simple strength of feeling.
Un Certain Regard, FIPRESCI and Ecumenical Jury prizes have been announced
Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of Southern Wild."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
We're only a few hours away from hearing what Nanni Moretti and his motley crew of jurors have decided is the best of the Cannes Film Festival, but in the meantime, a slew of smaller awards announcements have dropped -- some more surprising than others.
The most significant of these are the selections of the FIPRESCI jury, a rotating panel of international film journalists whose awards effectively represent the critics' choice of the festival lineup. As such, their Competition pick tends to fall in line with the established festival buzz that has, by and large, been created by critics. (Sometimes, however, they surprise: "On Tour" wasn't a critical darling of the fest two years ago, but took the prize anyway.) Rarely, however, do they tap the eventual Palme d'Or winner: they last time they did so was with "The White Ribbon" in 2009, while last year's FIPRESCI pick, "Le Havre," received nothing from the festival jury.
Three years on, could it come down to Haneke vs. Audiard again?
Marion Cotillard in "Rust and Bone."
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
Right, we're almost there. All 22 Competition films have been screened, the crowds are starting to thin out and France's rosé reserves are in urgent need of refilling. In less than 24 hours, the 65th Cannes Film Festival will be but a beautiful/punishing/hazy memory, but before we can get to the post-mortems and dissections of what standard of fest it was -- my snap verdict: not as good as last year, but contrary to what some doom-sayers will tell you, attending Cannes still beats coal-mining -- there's the small matter of the awards to get through. I say it every year: predicting the jury's choices is an entirely foolhardy business. Something else I do every year? Predict the jury's choices.
Are we headed for a repeat of 2009's Cannes ceremony, where Jacques Audiard and Michael Haneke fought it out for the top prizes? The relative thinness of this year's Competition suggests that might be the case, with most pundits favoring the happy-go-lucky Austrian to come out on top once more. After the jump, check out my best guesses for which way Nanni Moretti's posse will lean tomorrow, as well as which films and individuals would get my vote.
Affecting, conventional coming-of-age tale closes out the Cannes competition
Tye Sheridan, Matthew McConaughey and Jacob Lofland in "Mud."
Credit: Everest Entertainment
CANNES - A funny thing happened during this morning’s introductory press screening of “Mud” – a snafu that would make an already nervous filmmaker clutch his forehead and represents an unusual malfunction in the well-oiled machine of the Cannes Film Festival.
A little over midway through the screening of Arkansas writer-director Jeff Nichols’ third feature, the digitally projected image was suddenly buried under a gaudy griddle of fluorescent green lines, before shots began to overlap and the sound veered out of sync. Swiftly corrected and rewound, the technical error didn’t harm anyone’s enjoyment of what turned out to be a robustly applauded Competition closer, but it did oddly highlight what had been bothering me about this enjoyable, evocative slice of contemporary American classicism: it was the only truly unanticipated moment of the film thus far.