The International Film Music Critics Association has revealed nominations for best in movie music from 2014, and prolific composers James Newton Howard ("The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," "Maleficent") and Alexandre Desplat ("Godzilla," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Imitation Game," "The Monuments Men") led the way with seven and six nominations respectively.
The news that Amy Pascal will step down as chairwoman of Sony Pictures is not shocking. In fact, it was expected.* This is how Hollywood works. You spend years running a studio or acting as president of production and then something goes wrong and you segue to a “producing” deal. That’s the way it’s been for almost 30 years and that’s the way it will be for the foreseeable future. Surviving any controversy, even one outside of your own control, is simply impossible.
The Oscar race for Best Visual Effects is sort of interesting this year. Many would call it a done deal for "Interstellar," the most "prestigious" film of the nominees, more represented in other categories than the rest, etc. But there are others still who contend that "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is due a little love for amazing strides made in the realm of performance capture. And then there's "Guardians of the Galaxy," lurking as a possibility both here and potentially in Best Makeup and Hairstyling for those looking to venture out.
Surprisingly or not so surprisingly, there are a number of intriguing films screening at the Berlin Film Festival this year. Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups" with Christian Bale, Natalie Portman and Cate Blanchett will drop there along with Wim Wenders' "Everything Will Be Fine" (James Franco), Werner Herzog's "Queen of the Desert" (Nicole Kidman and James Franco again), Anton Corbijn's "Life" (Dane DeHaan, Robert Pattinson), Simon Curtis' "Woman in Gold" (Ryan Reynolds, Helen Mirren), Andrew Haigh's "45 Years," Isabel Coixet's "Nobody Wants The Night" and even, yes, Kenneth Branagh's "Cinderella" are on most cinephiles' radars.
Stumbling across that list of best-edited films yesterday had me assuming that there might be other nuggets like that out there, and sure enough, there is American Cinematographer's poll of the American Society of Cinematographers membership for the best-shot films ever, which I do recall hearing about at the time. But they did things a little differently.
One can only wonder if an Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep is more or less automatic these days. She has the all-time record with 19 tips of the Academy's hat to date, and she has an intriguing role coming up in Jonathan Demme's "Ricki and the Flash" that will surely bring her at least into the conversation yet again.
The Academy has begun rolling out presenter announcements for the upcoming 87th Oscars (which I suddenly can't believe are less than three weeks away). Kicking things off is the requisite note that last year's acting winners — Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto and Lupita Nyong'o — will be on hand to present to this year's crop of acting award recipients.
What's in a name? Put Jean-Luc Godard on a 3D art film and you have "Goodbye to Language," one of the most overrated films I've ever seen come out of a festival (seriously, don't get me started on that one). Throw Ryan Gosling on "Lost River" and you have critics calling it a disaster before the first frame. What would have happened if the credits of these two 2014 Cannes Film Festival selections had been flipped? Or, what if each movie had been made by unknown filmmakers? Let's be frank, shall we? The reaction would have been much, much different.
A random bit of researching on a Tuesday night led me to something I didn't know existed: The Motion Picture Editors Guild's list of the 75 best-edited films of all time. It was a feature in part celebrating the Guild's 75th anniversary in 2012. Is this news to anyone else? I confess to having missed it entirely. Naturally, I had to dig in.
Just when you thought you couldn't handle another word of commentary about "Birdman," "Boyhood," or "Selma," some adorable children come along and make the Oscar race fun again.