No one needs awards coverage this deep
Other contenders include 'Life of Pi,' 'Skyfall' and 'Flight'
This word is iconic in popular culture as something the director shouts to end the shooting of a scene. It even featured prominently in last year’s Best Picture winner.
But it's the film editors who truly "cut" our films down to what we actually see on screen. Deciding what leave in, what to leave out, how to convey the narrative and how to establish pace are just a few of the editor’s extraordinarily important roles.
The work of many other crafts artists, to say nothing of the actors, is finished when the shoot is done. Others, such as the composer, only begin when the shoot is over. The film editor, on the other hand, is there throughout, working with the director until the film is just right.
Also: The sound of 'Flight,' and the movies that made 'Argo'
From sketchy beginnings, The Weinstein Company has grown into a major Oscar player, ruling even the documentary race last year -- but one category they have yet to score in, unlike back in their Miramax days, is Best Foreign Language Film. This year, they're looking to change that with French crossover smash "The Intouchables," but they've also just extended their stake in the race by nabbing Norway's submission, "Kon-Tiki." I'll be seeing it myself soon, but even when its selection was announced, I figured this factual tale of explorer Thor Heyerdahl's 1947 expedition from South America to Polynesia on a wooden raft -- the most expensive film in Norwegian history -- would be something that could appeal to the Academy. The Weinsteins' attachment now confirms it as one to watch. True-life of Pi, anyone? [Variety]
The Best Actress race is only as weak as voters choose to make it
Earlier this week, I saw “Amour” for the second time, far removed from the hustle and fatigue of Cannes. My thoughts on the film settled on a return visit (and they'll be gathered soon in an overdue review), but this was one of them: if Emmanuelle Riva doesn't get a Best Actress nomination for her work here, the Academy's entire acting branch may as well turn in their cards.
It's not just that her performance as a refined, intelligent music teacher descending rapidly into undignified, inarticulate dementia after a sudden stroke is a marvel of thespian technique as well as emotional intuition. It's that it's the kind of showcase performance, with its self-evident degree of difficulty and devastating audience connection, that most Academy voters wouldn't hesitate to recognize if it came from within their ranks: if “Amour” were an equivalently acclaimed US indie and a revered veteran like, say, Gena Rowlands were in Riva's place, I'd wager the Best Actress race might already be over.
The proud father got to collaborate with his daughter on her biggest passion
Legendary documentarian Ken Burns wants to make sure the spotlight isn't too focused on him this time around. The fact is, the story of Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana Jr. and Kharey Wise -- the "Central Park Five," as they have come to be known -- had galvanized his daughter, Sarah, while she was in college. It was her passion, through school studies and a published book that spawned the film in the first place. The two serve as co-directors on the new film "The Central Park Five" along with Sarah's husband, David McMahon.
Also: Hollywood under Obama, and 'Skyfall' still storming Britain
Not much news out there that isn't focused on the vastly gratifying result of yesterday's election: well done, America. But to switch gears to movie matters, are you among those totally psyched for the new frame-rate technology set to be showcased in "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey?" Hard luck if you are, since it's been announced that just 450 theaters across the US will be screening the film in the 48-frames-per-second format -- a little over one-tenth of the likely screen count. Hardly a surprising turn of events after the largely tepid response to the 48fps footage screened at Comic-Con: while some advocates claimed to be seeing the future of cinema, many others found the future of cinema looked too much like hi-def TV for their liking. Will you be seeking it out in the new format? [LA Times]
Frequent collaborator Chris Newman will receive Career Ahievement award
Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme has been tapped by the Cinema Audio Society for special recognition this year. The helmer of such films as "The Silence of the Lambs," "Philadelphia" and "The Manchurian Candidate" remake will receive the organization's Filmmaker Award at the 49th annual celebration.
Yesterday's BIFA haul bodes well for multiple BAFTA nods
Beyond the smallish circle of UK-based critics and industry folk, yesterday's British Independent Film Awards didn't attract much attention -- which is hardly surprising, given what a quiet year it's been for British film. Heavily-nominated titles like "Berberian Sound Studio" and "Sightseers," excellent as they are, aren't of much interest to awards-watchers with an eye only on Oscar possibilities -- of which the BIFA list presented very few.
Crossover nominee "The Imposter" is certainly one to watch in the documentary Oscar race, especially given the new voting system's emphasis on higher-profile theatrical releases. But the nominee we seem likeliest to hear more of in major categories through the rest of season is also the one that took BIFA observers most by surprise: John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel."
Also: Budweiser wants out of 'Flight,' and the many film faces of Lincoln
Well, given what's going on out there, it'd seem inappropriate to lead with news of some minor precursor award announcement or random pre-release bumf for "The Hobbit" -- it's Election Day, and that weighs as heavily on Hollywood's mind as anyone else's. Variety Ted Johnson breaks down the implications for the film and entertainment industry of an Obama or a Romney victory, which could have a significant impact on issues ranging from piracy to censorship to same-sex marriage, and also examines the California propositions, some of them with starry cheerleaders, pertinent to showbiz folk. Good luck, America. Do the right thing. [Variety]
Could he break that 0-9 streak at the Oscars with some of his best work yet?
For a producer of such lush and exquisite work, cinematographer Roger Deakins is often a man of select words. Thoughtful, yes, but never of a mind to over-think it.
Responsible for some of the most stunning images on film in our age -- "Kundun," "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford," to barely scratch the surface -- he shook the landscape of his field a bit two years ago when he went digital for Andrew Niccol's "In Time." And this year he's back in the form with "Skyfall," the first James Bond installment to eschew celluloid for the progression of digital filmmaking.
"Right now I don’t see a reason to go back and shoot film," Deakins says. "And probably if I leave it much longer then I won’t have the opportunity, because it just won’t exist anyway."
Also: Haneke speaks reluctantly, and 'Wreck-It Ralph' for Best Pic?
The box-office headlines from the weekend have understandably been dominated by "Wreck-It Ralph," whose healthy opening gross (the highest ever for a Disney animated effort) helps its chances in a crowded Oscar race. But the runner-up on the chart, "Flight," made no less noteworthy a debut, taking just over $25m, despite a relatively modest release in 1884 theaters. That puts it roughly on pace with the last Denzel Washington starrer "Safe House," which took $40m from a wider release, though "Flight" has considerably more room to build. It's also considerably outpaced the $13m gross box office pundits predicted for the film, and nearly recouped its tidy $31m budget. Paramount distribution head Don Harris reckons the film's adult target market will be more in the mood for going to the movies once the presidential election and Hurricane Sandy are behind them. [Reuters]