The fact is the work someone like costume designer Deborah Cook does on a film like "The Boxtrolls" should be afforded the same respect during the Oscar season as what, say, Colleen Atwood does on "Into the Woods." Or what another legend like Milena Canonero conjures on "The Grand Budapest Hotel." The disciplines are one and the same, to say nothing of the fact that the level of detail on Laika's latest is as eye-popping as ever. Yet the season often relegates everything done on a stop-motion film to the realm of "animation" and leaves it at that.
"A Most Violent Year" is currently the dollar bid on "Price Is Right." Set for release at the tail end of December, A24 positioned J.C. Chandor's "All Is Lost" follow-up as the last awards contender of the year. But don't think the film will be hustling behind the competition: American Film Institute announced today that "A Most Violent Year" would have its World Premiere on Thursday, Nov. 6, as the Opening Night Gala of AFI Fest 2014, giving it nearly two months to slow boil that buzz.
Heads up everyone: Oscar Isaac's last day shooting "Star Wars: Episode VII" is this Friday, Sept. 26. The cast has another few weeks of filming, but Isaac is taking a well deserved four day vacation before moving on to his next project, David Simon's HBO mini-series "Show Me A Hero." Somewhere during that production Isaac will fit in press and, likely, some awards season events for his December thriller "A Most Violent Year." So anyone who was afraid Hollywood wouldn't find ways to utilize the "Inside Llewyn Davis" star needn't have worried. At this exact moment, however, Isaac is taking a few hours after a long day of shooting "Episode VII" to discuss a film he's quite proud of, Hossein Amini's "The Two Faces of January."
Writer-director Damien Chazelle is already at the top of the world with his musical drama "Whiplash" earning rave reviews from all its festival stops. Now he's headed straight for the moon.
The 25-year-old, Montreal-based filmmaker Xavier Dolan premiered his fifth feature, "Mommy," at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. Enough high praise from the fest circuit (and a Cannes Jury Prize) prompted Canada to pick the film for its Foreign Oscar submission — an honor Dolan earned five years ago for his debut "I Killed My Mother." If an unaccomplished feeling isn't weighing you down too hard (I can barely type), the first trailer for "Mommy" has arrived in anticipation of its Oscar-qualifying run.
In his Cannes Film Festival review of "Maps to the Stars," our own Drew McWeeny praised actress Julianne Moore for being "the one person in the film that truly gets the tone right." David Cronenberg's Hollywood satire isn't earning much love on the critical front for its lucid attack on the movie business, but it sounds like Moore, as a neurotic actress chasing a theoretically life-changing role, cuts through it with her usual contemplative bravado. As Drew puts it, she plays it "like a person walking a tightrope over a yawning pit of psychosis, her every emotion bubbling up and threatening to knock her off."
BEVERLY HILLS — I absolutely love talking to Sir Ben Kingsley. He has a cadence, a swagger, a rhythm of speech that I find easy to tap into, understand, and bounce off of, like a surfer off waves. His passion for his craft is always on the surface. He delights in its specificity. And with "The Boxtrolls," he has carved out another memorable piece of work in one of cinema's most laureled filmographies.
Though 'Mad Men' comes to an end in April 2015, it's only the beginning for Elisabeth Moss. After successfully transitioning from child actress to respected thespian with her work on "West Wing," her layered, assertive performance as Peggy Olson has turned her into an in-demand, dramatic commodity.
Hayao Miyazaki's 2002 fantasy film "Spirited Away" is the only Best Animated Feature winner to be produced outside the English-speaking world. In fairness to the voters who still haven't bestowed Sylvain Chomet with an Oscar, there haven't been that many opportunities for outsiders to power through — the Academy only cemented the category for its 2002 ceremony (making Miyazaki's the only traditionally animated film to ever win the award too). So while the Oscars may not reflect the artistic legacy of Studio Ghibli — currently on a "brief pause" as it figures out how to be a money-making operation without recently retired, Walt Disney-like leader — the company arrives to the 2015 race with a major contender: "Tale of Princess Kaguya."
If Mark Gordon's name isn't familiar, his filmography will be. The producer's diverse 20-year includes "The To Do List," "Rampart," "Source Code," "The Day After Tomorrow," "Wonder Boys," "A Simple Plan," and "Speed." He earned an Oscar nomination in 1999 for "Saving Private Ryan." His upcoming films include Aaron Sorkin's Steve Jobs biopic and Todd Phillips' upcoming comedy "Arms and The Dudes" starring Shia LaBeouf and Jesse Eisenberg. And today, the Producers Guild of America announced that Gordon would be honored with a lifetime achievement award — for his contributions to television.