Every year Turner Classic Movies gets home audiences in an Oscar state of mind with its annual "31 Days of Oscar" showcase. Held every February, it's a month-long celebration of Oscar-winning films leading up to the annual Academy Awards ceremony, and this year, the showcase will kick off with the premiere of a brand new documentary about the awards' 85 years of history. It's called, what else… "Oscar."
What a difference a week makes...
This time seven days ago we were telling you about a delayed "Wolf of Wall Street" from Martin Scorsese (tipping off trades to sniff it out on their end and write a version without crediting the original story, natch). Within days, "Foxcatcher" would take its leave, joining "Grace of Monaco" on that score. The season, as it always does, is changing shape.
The deadline for Best Foreign Language Film submissions is now one day away. We're still waiting one some countries (including China), and there are usually a couple of post-deadline stragglers, but it's fair to say the field -- which now numbers 65 films -- is close to complete.And it's a field that just got even more competitive with a flurry of high-profile entries over the weekend, including a couple of Cannes award winners.
Chief among them is Iran's selection. Having won its first Oscar two years ago with Asghar Farhadi's "A Separation," and boycotted last year's competition for political reasons, the country has returned to the race -- and to Farhadi -- by submitting the director's French-Italian production "The Past."
Oscar talk is not something you'd expect to surface much at the Zurich Film Festival, but when Harvey Weinstein is giving a masterclass there, it inevitably comes up. Wendy Mitchell reports from the event, where the master awards campaigner declared this year's Oscar race "the most competitive season I've ever seen," explained the delayed release of "Grace of Monaco" -- it's not ready, he wants it to play festivals and it could be "bigger than 'My Week With Marilyn'" -- and revisited the 15-year-old controversy of "Shakespeare in Love"'s five Oscar-awarded producers. He also gave a shout-out to his favorite non-Weinstein films of the season so far: "12 Years a Slave," obviously, but also "Prisoners." [Screen Daily]
NEW YORK (AP) — When Justin Timberlake couldn't attend Sunday's concert celebrating the music of the new Coen Brothers movie, "Inside Llewyn Davis," master of ceremonies John Goodman told the crowd Timberlake's understudy would perform instead.
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."