No one needs awards coverage this deep
Spielberg's faithful composer aims for a 46th Oscar nod
Jamie Bell and Andy Serkis in "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn"
Credit: Paramount Pictures
As you know from my review, Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" delivered the goods at yesterday's first international press screening -- while one or two broadsheet critics have been sniffy about the mo-cap technology, it's fair to say the outlook is bright for a film that Paramount was cautious about promoting. Though the film perhaps faces more cultural hurdles across the pond, I'm confident the US reception will be equally healthy ahead of its December opening.
All of which makes "Tintin" an intriguing wild card in terms of its awards potential. We don't know yet where the Academy's animation branch will land on the film, or how grudgingly they might treat it even if it is ruled eligible for the animated feature Oscar. And its proximity to Spielberg's "War Horse" on the US release calendar raises interesting questions: previously positioned as the appetizer to the live-action epic, what if the animated film is better received? Will they find themselves duelling for a spot in certain technical categories, or could there be room for both? Could "Tintin" even be -- gasp -- the Best Picture nominee nobody saw coming?
Silent-film homage takes prizes at both Chicago and Hamptons fests
Olivia Colman in "Tyrannosaur," for which she won Best Actress at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Credit: Strand Releasing
In case you hadn't yet got the message that people love "The Artist," the French-made Oscar hopeful got further festival valentines over the weekend, taking prizes at both the Chicago and Hamptons International Film Festivals -- the Audience Award in the latter case, and the Founder's Award in the Windy City. (Apparently, that goes to the film across all categories that best captures the spirit of the Chicago fest. Now you know.)
We've discussed before how Michel Hazanavicius's film is the type of novel crowdpleaser that tends to win scads of audience awards without even trying, building the platform for a healthy awards run outside the quarantined festival zone. (If I was surprised it didn't take the equivalent prize at Toronto, I'm even more so after watching Nadine Labaki's "Where Do We Go Now?" yesterday -- but that's another conversation.) This pair of wins may be small potatoes in themselves, but they're just further fuel for the fire of an inevitable Oscar big-hitter. The film, incidentally, has its UK premiere at the London Film Festival tomorrow, and could well add to its trophy cabinet there.
Other contenders include Shailene Woodley, Judi Dench and Keira Knightley
Shailene Woodley gets a nice opportunity to mix comedy with drama in "The Descendants."
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Four weeks of digging in on the acting races draws to a close today with the supporting actresses. Four weeks because there hasn't been a lot to talk about, unless you want to draw dubious parallels between, say, "Moneyball" and the zeitgeist or hear for the hundredth time how "The Artist" is winning over festival audiences (and quickly becoming the most over-hyped film of the season).
So let's see what we're working with. Three performances that seem formidable and have actually been seen seems like a novel place to start.
In "The Help," Octavia Spencer gets a mixture of heart-string tuggery and comic relief. She claimed an early spot in the category when the film opened in August, claimed three straight weekends at the top of the box office and shot up the list of Best Picture hopefuls. However, I'm wondering lately whether she'll be joined by a co-star.
Cast and crew recall their experience in our exclusive featurette
Elizabeth Olsen (left) and Sarah Paulson in "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Fox Searchlight's "Martha Marcy May Marlene" opens in limited release later this week. The film is one of unraveling mystery, immaculately crafted and precisely performed. It's a rousing debut accomplishment for filmmaker Sean Durkin and one that could sustain the long march from Sundance (where the film premiered in January) to Oscar night.
It's certainly deserving in areas like Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing, but I think it's best chances are for Best Actress (the brilliant Elizabeth Olsen) and Best Original Screenplay. But I imagine Durkin and Olsen, at the very least, will be receiving breakthrough notices all season.
Fox Searchlight has given us an exclusive featurette that takes you behind the scenes of the making of the film. Interviews with Durkin, Olsen, actors John Hawkes, Hugh Dancy, Sarah Paulson and more are included. Click on through to have a look.
Also: Zachary Quinto comes out with purpose and Robert Downey Jr. asks for forgiveness for Mel Gibson
Pam Grier in 1997's "Jackie Brown"
Credit: Universal Pictures
It's been nice lately to see the "Jackie Brown" gang, mainly Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Forster, make the press rounds this month on the occasion of the film's Blu-ray release. That was such an interesting awards season for that film. Grier and Jackson received the lion's share of precursor notices, the former getting a SAG nomination while both landed Golden Globe nods. After only a few tips of the hat, and none of them substantial, it was Forster who got the Oscar bid. Very cool. Devin Faraci recently sat down with Grier. [Badass Digest]
Spielberg bounces back with high-energy foray into motion capture
Jamie Bell in "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn."
Credit: Paramount Pictures
You'd have been forgiven for thinking that Steven Spielberg had lost his fun gene after he last gifted our cinema screens, a distant-seeming three years ago, with the dismal "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull": a soulless, haphazardly crafted piece of directorial brand-whoring, in which Harrison Ford's eyes appeared deader than those of any mo-cap mannequin.
Tardily reviving a beloved franchise that seemed to have reached generational closure in its third installment was always a dubious move -- but it acquires full-blown redundancy with the arrival of "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn," a springy, souped-up entertainment whose ample boy's-own pleasures hew far closer to the original Indiana Jones template than that dim 2008 sequel.
Of course, the Tintin-Indy parallel is neither original nor accidental: Spielberg was allegedly first drawn to Belgian author-artist Hergé’s classic boy-adventurer comics 30 years ago, after some critics made the comparison in reviews of “Raiders of the Lost Ark”; he’s held the film rights to the series, on and off, since 1983, himself visualizing the films as “Indiana Jones for kids.”
Pretty, wispy indie romance doesn't match the Sundance hype
Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin in "Like Crazy."
Credit: Paramount Pictures
LONDON - When you stop to think about it, “like crazy” is a curiously cautious modifier to weld to any expression of devotion, placing as it does the safe distance of simile between love and madness, where many would describe those two states as sequential. If only on a semantic level, loving someone like crazy isn’t quite the same as being crazy in love; it’s less reckless, more self-aware, less… well, crazy.
I very much doubt this was on writer-director Drake Doremus’s mind, nor should it have been, when he titled his Sundance-laurelled romantic drama “Like Crazy.” But the distinction seems apt for a film whose two young, geographically separated protagonists seemingly spend several years acting out a love story, as opposed to actually living one.
As winsome college students Jacob (Anton Yelchin) and Anna (Felicity Jones) find their romance repeatedly arrested by real life—native Londoner Anna’s US visa expires, forcing protracted across-the-pond negotiations that culminate in a premature marriage—distance swiftly becomes its defining characteristic. As the relationship itself takes a backseat to its reparation, the harried lovers must consistently chase and recreate their initial feelings for each other.
Patton Oswalt first of 'surprise' cast to be announced
The Brat Pack from John Hughes's "The Breakfast Club"
Credit: Universal Pictures
I'm really bummed I'll be out of town next Thursday, October 20, because the live read of John Hughes's "The Breakfast Club" script, directed by Jason Reitman as a part of Film Independent's LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) film series. Reitman is serving as the first guest artist for the inaugural program.
Reitman announced via Twitter that Patton Oswalt will read the part of Brian Johnson, portrayed by Anthony Michael Hall in Hughes's 1985 original film. The rest of the "surprise cast" will be unveiled by Reitman throughout the week. I'm privy to a few of them, but I'll say no more. It promises to be a very Reitman-esque event, I'll just put it that way.
"The Breakfast Club" is easily one of my favorite films of all time. I've always been drawn to its insight and melodrama with equal measure. I used to own a ratty VHS copy of the film and I'd watch it a couple of times a month. I still consider it to be something of a minor masterpiece. Relive the magic with the trailer below.
Festival director Roger Durling calls the moment the 'highlight' of his tenure
Michael Douglas walks the red carpet in Santa Barbara with wife Catherine Zeta-Jones just before accepting the 2011 Kirk Douglas Award.
Credit: AP Photo/Phil Klein
SANTA BARBARA - It was a lovely evening on the beach last night as the Biltmore Four Seasons of Santa Barbara and the Santa Barbara Film Festival played host to an evening in honor of actor Michael Douglas. Douglas was on hand for the sixth annual presentation of the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film.
"In my opinion, this event tonight is the pinnacle of the Santa Barbara Film Festival's 27 years," festival director Roger Durling said before introducing Kirk Douglas to present the award. "It's definitely the highlight of my tenure."
The elder Douglas gave a truly wonderful speech, sharp as a tack, funny, charming, just wonderful. "I was walking down Sunset Boulevard and a young lady ran up to me all out of breath," he recalled. "She was beautiful. She looked up to me with lovely eyes. I reached back to grab a pen to give her an autograph and she looked up to me and said, 'Michael Douglas's father!'"
Also: Carey Mulligan's Oscar chances and selling 'The Artist' to audiences
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.
Anne is back from the New York Film Festival today, where she saw a handful of films, including two key premieres. That dominates the bulk of today's podcast so let's take a look at what's on the docket today...