The subject of the doc 'Corman's World' reflects on his legacy and unmet goals
"Every year at the Academy Awards they give out a lifetime achievement award," actor Bruce Dern says in the new documentary "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel." "How they can not have gotten to Roger Corman by now is disgusting. And I don't know that they ever will because they say, 'Well, what are the great movies that he made?'"
That, of course, was an interview from a few years ago. Since then, the Academy has indeed toasted the life and times of Roger Corman, tapping him in 2009 for an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards, a designation many in the industry would agree was a long time coming.
Corman has produced nearly 400 films since 1954. Indeed, they might not register on the objective scale of "great movies," as Dern notes, but his legacy is undeniable. Corman has had a definitive hand in shaping the modern Hollywood landscape. He gave breaks to Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese and Ron Howard among countless others. He broke the greats of today into the business, and yet he has remained on the fringe, borderline obscure.
And could we see, of all things, 'The Artist' pop up?
When dialogue was originally introduced into films, Charlie Chaplin considered it a fad that wouldn’t last. Alas, we now know how wrong that was. But sound can not only enrich a film by its addition of dialogue. The use of sound can build mood and tell the story in ways that would not be possible if our films remained silent.
Formerly called simply "Best Sound," the category of Best Sound Mixing awards the individuals who: 1) mix together dialogue, music, sound effects and everything else we hear in the soundscape of a film (up to three re-recording mixers) and 2) capture the sound as it is being filmed (the production sound mixer). This distinguishes the category from Best Sound Editing, which awards the creation and integration of artificially created sounds.
The category has an affinity for blockbusters and war films. That said, musicals frequently show up here, too. Moreover, Best Picture contenders can surprisingly get caught up in a sweep (“The King’s Speech”’s nomination last year is a good example).
Also: Clooney would be shocked by 'Descendants' snub and Wasikowska hits the circuit
This has been the week from hell. But at least we're on the down-slope of it. And yesterday's quickly developing flurry of news has left plenty of pieces across the web in its wake. And to think, I was considering skipping Oscar Talk this week due to travel plans. Today's round-up is packed with stuff about that news, so strap in. And to kick things off, Nathaniel Rogers was actually at a lunch for "Martha Marcy May Marlene" in New York when the news hit. (There was a similar one here in Los Angeles but I had to skip it when the news started flying.) Rogers was seated with a trio of Academy members, so, naturally, he asked their thoughts on the situation. [Film Experience]
The @MuppetOscars campaign should at least warrant a mention on the show
Alright, so we all had our fun. With the news that Brian Grazer is coming on board to "save" the Oscars, one gets the feeling that the Academy is ready to just move along, swiftly. So I'm not betting on the most creative Oscarcast. Do your best and get the hell out of this year. That kind of thing.
So, no room to pay for and mobilize The Muppets to have a key role in things, no matter if all you really need is a chair with a hole in it. But earlier today, the @MuppetOscars Twitter account shot up by 6,000 followers (going from 700+ in the morning to over 6,700 as of 9pm PT), with "Muppets" trending at one point. The Facebook page blew up with "likes" and messages; 10,000 followers there. Members of the international audience even chimed in: "I'd actually watch it... at 4am!" Fan art. Etc.
The actress looks to stretch herself in the wake of 'An Education'
Carey Mulligan found herself propelled onto the world stage after she was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the sharp, witty and painfully young Jenny Mellor in 2009s “An Education.” Though doors began to open for the actress, she was disappointed to discover that most of them led to rooms of similar shapes and sizes. “A lot of people just wanted me to sort of do what I had already done,” she recalls. “Films that reminded me of that part weren't films that I was interested in.”
If there is such a thing as a safe and secure course in the development of an ingénue’s career anymore, then Mulligan has chosen not to follow that trajectory. The actress took one leading, and several supporting roles (the most high-profile of which was in Oliver Stone’s “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”) after “An Education” and then stopped working for a year.
When she returned it was in pursuit of projects that would move her beyond the limited scope of the classical leading lady and/or give her the opportunity to work with filmmakers that she found compelling. She began with director Nicolas Winding Refn’s urban fable/meditation on violence, “Drive.”
Academy Award-winning producer takes reins from Brett Ratner
Well, that was quick. Though when you're starting from scratch to mount a major television event in a little over three months, with host and star producer both off the project, taking your time isn't really an option.
So it is that hedgehog-haired mega-producer Brian Grazer -- an Academy Award winner himself for "A Beautiful Mind" a decade ago -- is joining Don Mischer to steer the 2011 Oscar show, taking over from the disgraced Brett Ratner.
It's always hard to predict what sensibility film folk will bring to live events like this, but Grazer seems a safe, if not particularly inventive, pair of hands for the job: probably a more sensible choice than Ratner ever was, though not someone you necessarily expect to give the show the radical overhaul it needs after two disastrous years.
When deserving acting contenders face formidable foes in their own co-stars
Last week, approximately one eon behind every other film writer on the beat, I finally saw “The Help.” As I’m sure many of you will agree, it’s not always easy seeing a film months after its supposed plus and minus points have long since been concretized by the critical majority, but I was pleased to find myself agreeing with everything that’s been said, even by the film’s detractors, about Viola Davis’s performance: graceful, intuitive, material-elevating, all that. If she has the Best Actress Oscar wrapped up (and even with the Streep Express still unseen, I’d wager that she has), I take no issue with that.
But over in the film’s Best Supporting Actress camp, things start coming a little unstuck. Octavia Spencer is a set-in-stone nominee—and in some pundits’ minds, the notional frontrunner—for her grandly sassy turn as the mouthy maid who redefines the term ‘just desserts.’ And to apply a favourite South Africanism: jawellnofine. Spencer’s a good time in the film, but she’s working several rungs below the astonishing Jessica Chastain, who may even outdo Davis in terms of enlivening and complicating a waxily written character: her guilelessly empathetic bubblehead is the film’s most interesting characterization, and the sharpest of Chastain’s 47-odd performances this year. She may well find her way to a nomination, particularly given the category’s predilection for dual nominees from a single film, but Spencer remains the sure thing – and there you have one of my first beefs of the awards season.
Screenwriter Nick Stoller weighs in with his thoughts on the notion
So I put the question out to you, both here and on Twitter: Who should host the Oscars now that Eddie Murphy has bowed out?
The replies include the usual wish-list picks (Neil Patrick Harris, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey) to preferred returning emcees (Hugh Jackman, Steve Martin, Jon Stewart) to interesting original picks (Albert Brooks, Amy Poehler, Craig Ferguson). And while those are all nice and make sense for various reasons, I think the best option is staring us right in the face.
I have to come clean. I was not aware of the online campaign to get The Muppets to host the Oscars (which obviously lost steam once Eddie Murphy was tapped) until this morning. You can read all about it @MuppetOscars and at Facebook. And here's the thing: BRILLIANT.
'Tower Heist' star bows out after controversy forced his creative partner's hand
Well. This is a mess.
I honestly hadn't expected Eddie Murphy to take his leave as Oscarcast host following the Brett Ratner dust-up, mainly because I imagined the Academy would have made sure he was still on board so as not to have two big stories to deal with. But it seems Murphy has indeed followed Ratner out the door after Ratner's controversial media appearances put him in a position with the Academy that left no choice but resignation.
"First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony," Murphy said via AMPAS press release. "I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."
The 'Dark Knight Rises' star gets the lifetime achievement treatment
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has tapped actor Morgan Freeman as the recipient of this year's Cecil B. DeMille Award, the organization's lifetime achievement prize. Recent honorees have included Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg and Warren Beatty.
Actress Amy Adams and filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar were on hand at a press conference this morning to make the announcement. No, they have no connection to Freeman. But you know the HFPA and their celebrity fixation.
Freeman has been nominated for a Golden Globe five times, for the same five performances that netted him Oscar attention, in fact: "Street Smart" in 1987, "Driving Miss Daisy" in 1989 (he won the Globe but lost the Oscar to Daniel Day-Lewis in "My Left Foot"), "The Shawshank Redemption" in 1994, "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004 (he lost the Globe to Clive Owen in "Closer" but won the Oscar) and "Invictus" in 2009.