Jason Reitman is back in the season this year with "Young Adult" after an impressive run with "Up in the Air" two years ago. I've been hearing for some time that the Diablo Cody-penned film is a bit of a departure for him, but the trailer, which recently dropped via Apple, is obviously playing up things like the "Juno" connection and comedic elements. Charlize Theron, from what I hear, is sure to be in the running for Best Actress, and Patton Oswalt is said to give a rather surprising performance that could pop up in the supporting actor conversation. "Heard," "is said to," let's just see the film already. Check out the trailer after the jump.
Cinematography is at the heart of the art of filmmaking. The camera's ab to capture real time situations distinguishes a cinematic effort from photography, literature, radio or stage. When done poorly, a film’s quality will inevitably suffer for all the attributes of the acting, writing and directing. When done well or brilliantly, a film’s quality is elevated immeasurably.
The Oscar in this category tends to award “pretty” films with luscious landscapes and other opportunities to highlight the photography. War films are also always a favorite. That said, in recent years, there has been somewhat of an expansion to more novel types of cinematography, perhaps the sort that complements visual effects to truly “wow” the audience. The category does tend to award Best Picture nominees disproportionately, at both the nomination and win stage.
I should note that while cinematographers frequently end up with their second, third or fourth nomination in any given year, there are always a couple of newcomers. Moreover, Robert Richardson and Roger Deakins are the only two active cinematographers who have more than five nominations (to my knowledge, anyway). So there is a tendency to spread the wealth in this group.
I've always followed the London Critics' Circle Awards with interest, and will be doing so even more than usual this year... not least because, as a new Circle member, I'll be voting in them for the first time.
Essentially the UK answer to the most prestigious US critics' awards, they're executed on a larger scale, with nominees in both general and British-only categories, and a full-scale awards-night bash. They can be relied upon to mix the expected favorites with a few cheeky wild cards: David Fincher and Apichatpong Weerasethakul rubbed shoulders in last's year's Best Director category, for example, while "A Prophet" beat "The Hurt Locker" to their top prize two years ago.
Though always interesting to monitor, their influence on the overall awards-season picture has hitherto been curbed by geographical distance as well as a late calendar date -- in February, where they tend to occur only days apart from the BAFTAs. (Earlier this year, for example, an upset Best Actress victory for Annette Bening got Oscar-watchers briefly excited about a potential tilt in the British vote, but it was too late to have much impact.)
For some reason a number of people are feeling iffy on the Oscar chances of George Clooney's "The Ides of March." The air of doubt started with a wave of reserved reactions at the Venice Film Festival, which was simply not the right venue to premiere the film. Thing picked up slightly at Toronto, but not much. And still, the kind of snotty critical reaction in some quarters is enough for many to pull their punches on the film's date with the Kodak.
Well, I say, "Nonsense." Ever since I saw the movie a few weeks ago I've been fairly certain it will be a big player with the Academy. I'd take it to the bank, even. It's a tight piece of work, easily digestible, featuring a stellar ensemble and coming from Hollywood's golden boy. AMPAS will eat it up. A SAG ensemble nomination is likely on the way. PGA, DGA, it all fits. But hey, you want to doubt it, don't let me stop you. And don't let Harvey Weinstein stop you, either.
It's amazing but understandable the impact Steve Jobs's passing has had across the web. Twitter was alight all night last night with remembrances and memes and just a general sense of somber reflection and appreciation. At one point all of the trending topics pertained to Jobs in some way.
Interesting to me, especially after digging in a bit yesterday on the impact Jobs has had on the film industry, is the outpouring of love and consideration from celebrities and filmmakers. I thought it would be worth it to collect a few, starting right at the top with Pixar honchos John Lasseter and Ed Catmull, who conveyed, via Facebook:
"Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply 'make it great.' He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time."
One of the stories in today's round-up is yesterday's news that Clint Eastwood is coming out of "retirement" as an actor to star in another film, "Trouble with the Curve." You may recall that the actor-turned-director said around the release of "Gran Torino" in 2008 that that film would bring his last performance. The hoopla around the announcement had many thinking he might finally win an acting Oscar, but, well, he wasn't even nominated. So maybe this is another stab.
In any case, it got me thinking about my favorite Eastwood performances over the years. Sure, he generally puts the same spin on every portrayal, but I've always been partial to his work in "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "Unforgiven" and "The Bridges of Madison County." You can't deny the iconic Man with No Name. He's wonderful in "Escape from Alcatraz" and, of course, "Dirty Harry," and even though I'm not a fan of "Million Dollar Baby," I've always thought he did excellent (Oscar-nominated) work there, too. Anyway, let's see what's going on in the Oscarweb today...
Last week, a good friend and a great critic, the Daily Telegraph’s Tim Robey, wrote a lovely valentine to “The Artist,” detailing at length the ample charms of the French silent-cinema homage, before musing hopefully on its awards-season future. It’s a piece quite unabashed in its gushing from a writer who has never been the easiest sell on presumed Oscar fodder (if anything, he dislikes “The King’s Speech” even more than I do), and indicative of how hard those won over by the film really do fall. I could make this an easy column to write by quoting multiple chunks of the piece, but you’d be better off reading it here.
I open with Tim’s piece not because the internet is short of glowing reviews of Michel Hazanavicius’s Cannes hit, but because he makes the best possible case (if not a prediction) for the film’s potential Oscar glory: chiefly, that the very unlikelihood of the film winning big is precisely what’s working in its favor.
Channelling the peerless Oscar analyst Mark Harris, he reminds us of the “who’da thunk it” theory that drove such against-the-odds victories as Sandra Bullock’s critically jeered Best Actress win (or, even, to insert my own example, the improbable Cinderella ascent of “Slumdog Millionaire”), whereby crowdpleasing achievements never expressly designed for the Academy become juggernauts precisely because they’re such counter-intuitive choices.
I literally posted that "Finding Nemo" item this afternoon just as the news hit that Steve Jobs had finally lost his battle with pancreatic cancer. Spooky, that. Jobs backed Pixar early on, going back to 1986 when he bought the company (then called The Graphics Group) from LucasFilm. After failing to really catch a headwind as a high-end graphics hardware developer, the company partnered with Walt Disney Pictures and the rest was history.
But that's just how Jobs brought us one of the most critically and financially successful film studios of all time. His legacy and his influence on the film industry stretches far beyond that and will be felt for years to come through the countless innovations he made in the world of computing, going all the way back to the development of the world's first personal computer in 1984. The iMac, iTunes, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad (which Francis Ford Coppola was using to edit his experimental film "Twixt" in real time at Comic-Con), the impact of these devices on the film business is considerable to say the least.
Simon Curtis's "My Week with Marilyn" is set to play the New York Film Festival later this week. I've been hearing this and that from those who have gotten a look. Nothing earth-shattering to report. One person told me Michelle Williams's performance as Marilyn Monroe was "the kind of that gets nominated but never wins," but the first trailer for the film certainly makes a considerable case for her. We'll have to see if there's a strong enough film built around it. For now, check out the trailer at Yahoo! Movies or watch an embed after the jump.
Yesterday Walt Disney Pictures announced the planned theatrical 3D release of a slew of their staples, including "Beauty and the Beast," "The Little Mermaid" and Pixar's "Finding Nemo" and "Monsters, Inc." The knee-jerk from most was the cynical notion that the success of "The Lion King 3D" caused this gluttonous cash grab, but the truth is, it was a cash grab long before people began lining up to relive the Elton John magic. These conversions were ordered and in the pipeline already.
I'm particularly interested in "Finding Nemo" in this equation, because that film and "The Little Mermaid" are the two from the list that don't have Blu-ray releases yet. I feel like I've been waiting forever to see an HD release for "Finding Nemo," for my money the best Pixar film, one of the top 10 films of the decade and potentially the most beautifully animated film of the genre. But I'm hoping the planned September 14, 2012 release of the 3D version doesn't mean the disc will drop a few weeks later (much like "The Lion King" did yesterday after a two-week theatrical engagement).