The International Cinematographers Guild (ICG) held a celebratory luncheon at the ASC clubhouse today to showcase the winners of the 2013 Emerging Cinematographers Awards. Those honorees will have their work screened during a special ceremony at the DGA Theater on Sunday night. Friday, the guild took a few moments to honor four more experienced gentlemen for their contribution to the cinematic arts at the American Society of Cinematographers Clubhouse in Hollywood.
It's pistols at dawn in the HitFix critical fraternity today. Well, not really, but we can offer you two opposing reviews of Joseph Gordon-Levitt's directorial debut, the sex comedy "Don Jon." Reviewing out of Sundance (back when the film was called "Don Jon's Addiction"), I was less than impressed, complaining that the film "[settles] on a laddish archness that undermines the seriousness of the addiction in question." (I didn't warm to it on a second look, though Scarlett Johansson's firecracker performance as a feisty Jersey girl burned even brighter. As I wrote recently, a Best Supporting Actress campaign would not be undeserved.) Drew McWeeny, on the other hand, was wowed at South by Southwest, calling it "sharply written, sharply performed [and] one hell of a debut." Which one of us do you agree with, or do you fall somewhere in between? Share your thoughts when you've seen the film, and be sure to vote in the poll below.
Mark Harris has been pretty vocal in expressing his disdain for the Oscar buzz that emerged from the echo chamber that is the Toronto Film Festival. Instead, he claims that the awards race really started last week, when audiences were actually able to see two of the awards hopefuls that emerged from the fall festival circuit: Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" and Ron Howard's "Rush." (Of course, by that rationale, you may argue that the Oscar race runs all year round.) Anyway, while it's "Rush" that has enjoyed far more advance buzz, it's Holofcener's quiet indie, Harris argues, that emerged victorious in the real world, winning on the critical and commercial front. Will voters see it? "In the case of Rush, it's Hollywood that tells the world, 'This is an Academy movie'," he writes. "In the case of Enough Said, it's the world that has to tell Hollywood." [Grantland]
The Academy has made some changes to the voting system in the animated race -- Steve Pond examines the specifics. [The Wrap]
If you want a press release to land somewhat quietly, drop it at 10:00pm ET. And not that the news of "Foxcatcher" didn't cause plenty of commotion a few hours ago, but it was obviously a willful decision from Sony Classics to let the news out when they did. I've been in screenings all day and just now got back to my desk to assess all of this, but the news is this: Bennett Miller's latest is officially a 2014 release.
We say this on an almost annual basis, it seems, but the Best Original Song race is looking particularly lean this year -- so lean, in fact, that I can scarcely think of any possibilities, strong or otherwise, from the year's releases so far. (I know Lana Del Rey's "Young and Beautiful," from "The Great Gatsby," has a lot of advocates out there, but it seems the song won't be eligible.) But one interesting possibility, and one the film's publicists seem willing to push, comes from recent indie favorite "Short Term 12."
Denmark may have teased out the process somewhat by releasing a shortlist of potential submissions, but there was never much doubt over what film they'd ultimately choose to represent them in the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. And so it was confirmed today: Thomas Vinterberg's moral melodrama "The Hunt," which premiered at last year's Cannes Film Festival, is the Danish hopeful. And one with good reason to be hopeful, at that; I'm hardly alone in thinking we could be looking at our winner here.
I'll be attending the European Film Awards once more in December, and one of several good reasons to do so is that Catherine Deneuve will be in attendance. The French legend has been announced as the recipient of this year's EFA Lifetime Achievement Award. Hard to argue with that: from "Repulsion" to "Belle de Jour" to "Dancer in the Dark," Deneuve is an art house icon whose career spans multiple nations and generations. (No one else, after all, can claim to have worked with Bunuel, Polanski, Truffaut, von Trier and Ryan Murphy.) I've long argued that she should be near the top of the Academy's honorary Oscar list, not least since her lone Oscar nod (for "Indochine") hardly even represents a career high. Also receiving an honorary award at the ceremony will be Pedro Almodovar; shouldn't those two have collaborated by now? [EFA]
TORONTO - Kate Winslet is very pregnant. Chances are when you're reading this she's still very pregnant. Moreover, Winslet is so far along that we may not catch the Oscar winner on the awards circuit until very close to the December release of her new film "Labor Day." In fact, she may not be able to promote the film again until 2014. That obviously made a chance to chat with her at the Toronto International Film Festival a major priority.
Prolific documentary director Alex Gibney's career has accelerated to the point where you could be forgiven for losing track of what his latest project actually is. This year alone, the Oscar winner has brought us two topical, well-received docs: "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" premiered at Sundance and was released theatrically in May, while his study of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, "The Armstrong Lie," premiered at Venice earlier this month. It opens in early November.
Alfonso Cuarón is ready to move on from "Gravity." Four years of work on his space odyssey including preparation, digital pre-visualization, barrier-breaking technological advances and on-set innovation to achieve what is easily the most realistic depiction of space on film to date have taken their toll on the director and he's ready to pursue the next thing.
"I'm more than eager," Cuarón says. "I need it. It took so long that I have already processed the film. Even if I finished the last details before Venice, the whole film for me was very old news."
It speaks to Cuarón's philosophy as a filmmaker. For him, the joy of a movie is the experience of the work. The "aftertaste," as he calls it, is what he takes away. He watches his films once with an audience and he moves on quickly to the next thing. And that, by the way, is how "Gravity" started clicking to life.