On the one hand, it's totally unseemly and self-serving to put one's own article at the top of the daily roundup. On the other hand -- well, there is no other hand, but I'm doing it anyway. With "Skyfall" hitting UK screens on Friday, I donned my Guardian columnist hat to look into at the film's layered, long-haul promotional campaign, which combines stripped-down marketing materials -- posters focusing chiefly on the 007 brand, scarcely mentioning the A-list names involved -- with a relentless assault of brand placements and tie-ins, ranging from Heineken to Tom Ford to the Queen. (You tell me she isn't a brand.) The approach has box office pundits expecting the biggest-ever global gross for a Bond effort -- will it pay off with audiences? [The Guardian]
The International Documentary Association Awards may be commonly labelled a precursor in the doc Oscar race, though that's not strictly the case -- as an independent-minded group, they frequently follow a very different path to the Academy's documentary branch. Last year, for example, their top prizewinner "Nostalgia for the Light" didn't crack the Academy's longlist, while eventual Oscar winner "Undefeated" wasn't tapped by the IDA. Would that more race saw this kind of divergence of opinion.
All of which is to say that the IDA's nominations, announced this morning, aren't any kind of harbinger of Oscar glory, though some high-profile films made the cut in their top category, including "Searching for Sugar Man" (which caught Kris' fancy in the summer) "Queen of Versailles" and "Central Park Five" (which I reviewed out of the LFF last week).
After a number of years partnered with VH1 for its annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, the first televised film awards show of the season, the Broadcast Film Critics Association has announced that the 18th annual telecast will be broadcast on The CW network.
Also included in the announcement is the now-official date of January 10, 2013 for the show, which, yes, is the same day as the Oscar nominations. So there ought to be some interesting, awkward heartbreak on the red carpet for the inevitable BFCA nominees who were shafted by the Academy. This is the first time the awards are being held after the Oscar nominations announcement.
If you forget the current Oscar race for a minute, and cast your mind all the way back to the start of this year, you may recall that Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias nabbed what rather surprisingly turned out to be the only below-the-line nomination for "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."
He inevitably lost to Ludovic Bource for "The Artist," but I wasn't the only one who thought his moody, jazz-infused score for the British spy thriller deserved the win -- and not only because his tonally contrasting, predictably unnominated work on Pedro Almodovar's "The Skin I Live In" was equally strong.
Months later, Iglesias has received his due, winning Composer of the Year for both films (plus French thriller "The Monk") at the World Soundtrack Awards, presented this weekend at the Ghent International Film Festival in Belgium.
"Paranormal Activity 4" may have topped the box office this weekend, but the story of the chart remains "Argo" -- which, by dipping just 15% to take $16.6 million, posted the strongest ever hold for a live-action film on a non-holiday weekend. Warner Bros. are said to be confident the film will reach at least $90 million domestically, which is a pretty extraordinary projection these days for a film about grown-ups in which nobody wears a cape. All of which underlines the immediate reaction I had upon finally seeing the film for myself last week: combining that strong populist appeal with old-fashioned craftsmanship, rousing political history and Hollywood insider lore, it's unequivocally the one to beat for Best Picture. [Variety]
"Lincoln" director Steven Spielberg was featured tonight on CBS' "60 Minutes" tonight, and the segment pretty much put the guy on the couch, digging into his family life and history in order to find a defining thread connecting all of his legendary films.
The thing they settle on is a portfolio about the outsider, with Spielberg noting everything from his long-time denial of his Judaism to a 15-year time of estrangement from a father he finally reconciled with nearly 20 years ago. They also get his parents to sit down and discuss the impact Spielberg's early life has had on him and the impressions left, etc., but keep coming back to a sense of shattered ties ultimately informing a lot of his work over the years, right up to and including his latest.
"I saw a paternal father figure, someone who was stubbornly committed to his ideals," he said of Abraham Lincoln, played by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film. "He was living with two agendas, both of which had to do with healing: to abolish slavery/end the war, but he also had his personal life, and I think there's darkness there."
LONDON - I mentioned last week that Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone," five months after a more divided Cannes reception, seemed to be playing well at the BFI London Film Festival. With civilians and critics alike, it was perhaps the title I heard most often in conversations about what festival titles had stood out, or indeed which ones they planned to see -- egged on, perhaps, by the ubiquitous billboards for the film plastered around the British capital. Meanwhile, it earned extra, inadvertent media exposure as the site of the festival's most tabloid-friendly incident: at its gala premiere, two patrons were ejected from the cinema for getting more than a little frisky during the film. Adjust the inevitable "thrust" and "boner" puns to taste.
More officially, however, its status as the film of the festival was sealed at last night's festival awards ceremony, where a jury led by David Hare handed it the Star of London for Best Film over 11 other shortlisted titles. London has become a happy hunting ground for Audiard: in 2009, his film "A Prophet" took the inaugural Star, a prize that has since been handed to "How I Ended This Summer," "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and now "Rust & Bone." Four years in, and they have yet to make a dud choice.
LONDON - Whole vats of column ink (or the invisible online equivalent) have been spent by industry observers on the refuge Hollywood has recently sought in the humble fairytale. Whether on Red Riding Hood or the giant-slaying Jack, blockbuster millions are being lavished on reconfiguring a familiar storytelling universe that was once largely the domain of animators.
But if it's been easy to connect this increased taste for pumped-up tradition to financially fragile US studios seeking comfort in the ultimate known quantities, we might now have to amend that copy a bit: “Blancanieves” a lush, lively new Sevillian spin on “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” that carries Spain's hopes in this year's Oscar race, takes the trend to the international arthouse. “Snow White,” of course, currently leads the charge in fairytale revisionism, having already yielded two contrasting English-language adaptations this year: Tarsem's larkish, cupcake-colored delight “Mirror Mirror” and Rupert Sanders' older-skewing and considerably dourer Gothic take “Snow White and the Huntsman.”
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Chances are Seth MacFarlane's hosting gig will remain the biggest win for "Ted" at February's Oscar ceremony, but the raunchy teddy-bear comedy had its own taste of awards glory at the Hollywood Reporter Key Art Awards, which recognize the industry's top achievements in movie marketing, "Ted" won the night's top award, for best overall campaign. Top of the trailer heap, meanwhile, was "Shame," which took gold in the audio-visual category for its striking red-band "Subway" trailer. Other films recognized included "The Dark Knight Rises," "Martha Marcy May Marlene," "Prometheus" (though not for Most Over-Marketed Film of the Year, surprisingly enough) and the upcoming "Man of Steel." [THR]