No one needs awards coverage this deep
Also: 'Skin I Live In' talent makes the rounds and Weinsteins shift 'Marilyn' release
Czech foreign film entry "Alois Nebel" could help widen the animated feature field to 16 contenders.
You snooze you lose. I've been meaning to make note of Czech foreign film entry "Alois Nebel" for some time, as it is also an animated film that could figure into the animated feature race. Well Steve Pond has confirmed that the film will be submitted in both categories, though there is still the question of whether the film will be deemed eligible or not due to the use of roto-scoping. If it is, it could help push the number of eligible contenders to 16, which would yield a slate of five nominees this year. [The Odds]
Let's see what else is going on in the Oscarweb today...
London Film Festival opens with a misfire from Fernando Meirelles
Jude Law and Rachel Weisz in "360."
Credit: BBC Films
LONDON - There are precious few good screenplays that begin with the words, "A wise man once said...". There are fewer still that use this introductory wisdom to undermine their entire metaphorical throughline. Peter Morgan's script for "360," a vacuous theoretical spin on "La Ronde" with a parade of loveless characters seemingly linked only by the same globe-trotting interior designer, falls into neither of these elite categories.
Certainly, alarm bells start ringing when the aforementioned line is completed with the instruction, “If there’s a fork in the road, take it” – an epiphany of which “360” is sufficiently proud that it gets repeated at the film’s close. (It’s about circles, you see.) Quite aside from the fact that Morgan and director Fernando Meirelles seem to have their definitions of wise men and fridge magnets confused on this occasion, the fork-in-the-road analogy is a jarring one with which to frame what otherwise purports to be a story of cyclical connectedness—in which sexuality, in particular, is revealed to have concentric consequences, though few of them particularly drastic, for its geographically scattered ensemble players. Can a circular road—such as Vienna’s Ringstraße, none-too-subtly namechecked in the film’s token Schnitzler-tapping Austrian strand—also fork?
The 30-year labor of love makes its way to theaters this fall
Glenn Close stars in Rodrigo Garcia's "Albert Nobbs"
Credit: Roadside Attractions/Liddell Entertainment
The word on Rodrigo Garcia's "Albert Nobbs" started at Telluride a little over a month ago. At the time I noted that Glenn Close's 30-year labor of love "never really breaks free of its stage roots," but that the actress was fantastic in the titular role. I also spoke with her about her long journey with the material at the fest. I expect the acting branch -- should they see the film, which is always difficult with smaller films this time of year -- will respond well to her work, but beyond that, it'll be a dicey play for other elements to work Oscar magic, I think.
Check out the new trailer via Yahoo! Movies below.
Offer up your burning queries
Alright, you know the drill. Rifle off your need-to-knows and Anne and I will address as many as we can in Friday's podcast. Make 'em good!
Also: Underdog actresses and Steve Jobs's impact on film
Steve McQueen (left) directs Michael Fassbender on the set of 2008's "Hunger."
Credit: IFC Films
Yesterday's news that Michael Fassbender will be hooking up with Steve McQueen for a third shot on goal (after "Hunger" and "Shame") has me excited at the beginnings of a beautiful partnership. Fassbender as Pitt or De Niro to McQueen's Fincher or Scorsese? I think we all respond to successful collaborations and these two are already off to a brilliant start. There's no doubt in my mind they have a lot of magic left in them and perhaps haven't even begun to show us anything. The new film is called "Twelve Years a Slave" and little is known about it as of now, but I'm already pumped. [Variety]
Let's see what else is going on in the Oscarweb today...
Festival kicks off tomorrow with Fernando Meirelles's '360'
Carey Mulligan in Steve McQueen's "Shame," one of the already-seen highlights of the BFI London Film Festival.
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Tomorrow marks the beginning of my final date in the 2012 festival calendar -- and for a change, I don't have to spend the night before hunting for my passport. As both my hometown festival and the first one to grant me press accreditation, the BFI London Film Festival is obviously close to my heart. For several years before I gained the absurd privilege of access to Cannes, Venice and Berlin, the LFF was where, for two happy weeks, I'd annually gorge on the arthouse fare I'd frustratedly only read about for months.
Combining thorough cherry-picking of previous festival hits with less exposed pockets of world and British cinema into a broad programme of over 300 shorts and features, with a handful of world premieres and archive gems to make up the balance, it's as comprehensively curated a public-oriented festival as exists on the circuit -- even critics who have already seen many of the programme highlights at other festivals have ample room to make fresh discoveries.
The maestro's work has dazzled from '2001: A Space Odyssey' to 'The Tree of Life'
A sample of Douglas Trumbull's work in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life"
Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures
The work of Douglas Trumbull on the legacy of visual effects in film is unmistakable, going all the way back to his work on "2001: A Space Odyssey." He had a hand in such groundbreaking films as "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" and "Blade Runner" and also bridged the gap, becoming a director in his own right with films like "Silent Running" and "Brainstorm."
This year Trumbull's work is on full display in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life," which features a 20-odd minute analog effects sequence depicting the beginnings of the universe. He could well be recognized by his peers in the visual effects branch of the Academy for his work, and a tip of the hat by the Visual Effects Society is a good start.
The organization has tapped Trumbull as the recipient of this year's Georges Méliès Award, which honors individuals who have "pioneered a significant and lasting contribution to the art and/or science of the visual effects industry by way of artistry, innovation and groundbreaking work," according to the press release.
Oscar-winning screenwriter on his distant kinship with Apple CEO
Steve Jobs reportedly wanted Aaron Sorkin to write a script for Pixar.
Credit: AP Photo/Paul Sakuma
If I haven't said anything here (or anywhere else, for that matter) about the passing of Steve Jobs, it's because it seems redundant to add thoughts when others are doing so with much more personal specificity -- about the only thing to be gained from this sad loss has been the outpouring of personal testaments to his culture-changing work, both from those who knew him and those who didn't.
Or those who fall somewhere in between, as in this oddly touching tribute in Newsweek from star screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, a longtime Mac evangelist who cultivated a semi-friendship with Jobs purely by phone -- initiated by the Apple CEO himself. It's not difficult to see how these two quick-witted, hardworking peddlers of American ideals might have found common ground; neither is it surprising to hear that Jobs was a fan of Sorkin's snappy, contemporary writing.
Paddy Considine makes an unflinching directorial debut
Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan both won Sundance awards for their performances in Paddy Considine's "Tyrannosaur."
Credit: Strand Releasing
It's been a little over a year since Peter Mullan, that marvelously granitic Scottish actor and filmmaker, hit the festival circuit with "Neds," a vivid, punishing and sadly underseen semi-memoir of working-class adolescence arrested, in which he plays a version of his own brutal, alcoholic father.
It's a film containing what for most artists would count as several years' worth of channelled psychic pain, so it's rather distressing to contemplate the brevity of the breather Mullan must have taken between that project and his role in "Tyrannosaur," a moving, comfort-free study of personal abuse in its manifold forms.
Certain actors' faces are designed for suffering; Mullan's, it seems, more so than most. It's scarcely surprising that it'd be selected to front the feature directing debut of an actor whose hangdog mug has weathered its own share of troubles on camera: Paddy Considine, a frayed English everyman whose unassuming screen persona has nonetheless done little to prepare us for the crimson assault course of physical and verbal violence in "Tyrannosaur."
With 'Blackthorn' in theaters, an excuse to assess the genre
Warren Beatty stars in Robert Altman's "McCabe & Mrs. Miller"
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
The release of Mateo Gil's "Blackthorn" last week gave me reason enough to write up a piece I've been meaning to get around to for a while now, and one a number of readers have asked about for a good long while: my list of the best westerns ever made.
Once upon a time I was considering cranking out a list of 50, right around the release of last year's "True Grit," but that quickly became a fool's errand and I abandoned it. If you want something that dense (and a list quite singular and worth debating, I must say), I'd suggest you dig into Time Out London's massive collective published on the occasion of Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff" hitting theaters earlier this year.
As I set out to chart the list, I knew a couple of things. I knew what would have a firm grip on the top spot. I knew a few contenders that were likely to situate themselves throughout, but I wasn't all that sure how my perspective on this or that entry would have changed over the years. So I sat down and re-watched a great many.