This year's Best Actress race is full of Oscar veterans, but there are also a fair amount of up-and-coming indie hopefuls, outsider foreign film players and fresh faces to the awards scene looking for their first trip to the Dolby Theater.
“Brave” is a word sorely overused by critics when describing any actor taking on a somewhat sexualized character – especially when they take off their clothing in the process. If the sexuality in question is LGBT, so much the “braver,” apparently. It's a word, then, that you may have read applied a few times to Robin Weigert's terrific performance as a dissatisfied lesbian wife and mother in Stacie Passon's sharp, sensual debut feature “Concussion” – released last Friday on the Weinsteins' TWC-Radius label.
There's a reason why teaser trailers are called just that -- they tease our imaginations with suggested possibilities, but tend to withhold the full picture. The initial teaser for Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" did a great job in that regard -- intriguing in its choice of sound and image, it provided several conflicting hints of where the romantic fantasy could go tonally. Now, with a complete trailer revealing more of the film to us -- well, those of us who haven't yet seen the whole thing at the New York Film Festival -- it would appear that "Walter Mitty" is slightly more straightforward than it initially appeared to be.
Right up there with Roger Deakins, Mexican master Emmanuel Lubezki is surely among the cinematographers most due for Oscar recognition: he'll surely get his sixth Oscar nomination for "Gravity," and this looks increasingly likely to be the year he finally takes the gold. Today's must-read is a Vulture "master class" with Lubezki, in which he talks us through five dazzling shots from his career, focusing exclusively on his partnerships with Alfonso Cuaron and Terrence Malick, including this year's gorgeous twofer of "Gravity" and "To the Wonder." Take note, Academy. [Vulture]
While films like "Hugo" and "Lincoln" may have received their first looks at the annual New York Film Festival via "secret screenings" in recent years, attendees can probably stop holding their breath for another surprise at the on-going 51st annual.
After a film strikes a chord with moviegoers like "Gravity" did last weekend, it's easy to try and find analogies for it among previous Best Picture nominees or winners. One comparison that continues to be made is to James Cameron's 2009 game changer, "Avatar." Before we judge the merits of that argument, let's jog your brain and revisit some movie history, shall we?
Always wanted to hear Judi Dench break down the plot of "Big Momma's House" but never thought you'd see the day? Well friends, the wait is over.
Well, no sooner had I updated the category than the Academy announced the final, official slate of submissions for this year's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar -- and a bumper slate it is. Last year's race featured 71 films, then a record number; this year, that record has been broken by a significant margin, with 76 territories vying for the award.
Among them are a couple of nations entering the race for the first time, including Saudi Arabia (a favorite for a nomination, and possibly the win, with the feminist heartwarmer "Wadjda"), Moldova and Montenegro.
This weekend, 20th Century Fox arrived to the 2013 film awards season with a pair of hopefuls that couldn't be more different from the outside. Nevertheless, Brian Percival's "The Book Thief" and Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," both of which will be viewed as cloying in some circles, are made with an honesty that could stave off some of the cynicism and register. At the end of the day, though, neither is the slam dunk contender the studio may have hoped for a year after "Life of Pi."
There are, obviously, many reasons to look forward to Spike Jonze's "Her," which premieres at the New York Film Festival later this week -- beginning, of course, with the fact that it's a Spike Jonze movie, and his first since 2009's "Where the Wild Things Are" (much loved round these parts). But news of another major filmmaker's indirect input just makes the whole project that much more intriguing.