When the shortlist of Best Foreign Language Film Oscar contenders was announced before Christmas, the dreams of 67 competing entrants were dashed in one fell swoop -- an unkind cut considering the effort that goes into mounting campaigns for many of them, with no time to spare. In an interesting piece, John Anderson looks at the ins and outs of these low-profile but high-effort campaigns, particularly through those of three films -- from Montenegro, Ecuador and Peru -- that missed the cut. Publicist Kathleen McInnis explains why it's worth the effort, even if you know you have no shot: "It’s also the time of year when Hollywood is paying attention to foreign film. Which means I can get my filmmaker in front of audiences who might otherwise never see his film, get him meetings with agents and managers because he was his country’s official selection. I can get him in front of people, not so much for this film, but to help other films.” [New York Times]
Also: The best movie costumes of 2013, and ranking Scorsese's filmography
From 'Taxi Driver' to 'Last Temptation' to 'Kundun,' it's always a threat
As we inch closer to the end of the year and one capped off by a trumped up "controversy" regarding Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street," maybe we should all take a moment to appreciate the fact that a 71-year-old artist can still rile us so.
Body of work honorees include Amy Adams and Benedict Cumberbatch
As the year ticks to a close, the Central Ohio Film Critics Association has collectively spoken up with its list of nominees, and "12 Years a Slave" led the way with nine mentions. "Her" was a few steps behind with seven. Actors recognized for superlative bodies of work in 2013 include Amy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jennifer Lawrence. Check out the full list of nominees below and remember to keep track of all the ups and downs of the season via The Circuit.
A great year in screen acting boils down to this
This has been an exceptional year for a certain breed of acting, I've found. There has been a wave of unaffected work, eschewing capital "A" acting for a certain lived-in thing that is rare enough as it is, let alone prevalent throughout a year's greatest performances.
I wanted to pay some tribute to that, and to a number of more outwardly vibrant portraits this year that also go toward making it an exemplary year. It has been said a few times that 2013 has been a great year for movies, but that quality is owed in no small part to the work we saw on the screen.
Sound mixers Skip Lievsay and Peter Kurland on bringing the sonic world of 'Inside Llewyn Davis' to life
Capturing live performances created a whole new set of challenges
Nearly three decades ago, two young Minnesotans named Joel and Ethan Coen went down to Texas to shoot a film called "Blood Simple." It was their first feature. And to use a cliché, "the rest is history." But they were not the only artists making their debuts on that film who would later go on to become staples in the American film industry. Actress Frances McDormand, sound designer Lee Orloff, cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld, composer Carter Burwell, sound editor Skip Lievsay and boom operator Peter Kurland also cut their teeth on "Blood Simple."
Lievsay, now sound re-recording mixer and supervising sound editor, and Kurland, now production sound mixer, have worked with the Coens on every feature film the siblings have made since then, the most recent of which, "Inside Llewyn Davis," is a sound showcase.
The film owes a debt to her late husand, director Michael Powell
Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — has received its own space in the last few days.
Also: Melissa McCarthy is 2013's most-rented star
There's been much talk about how this stands to be a banner year for black-themed film and black artists at the Oscars -- though how much does that reflect any kind of industry upswing? Not enough, writes John Horn: "A few weeks of feel-good inclusion can't alter the more troubling fact that opportunities for people of color remain scarce and that, for all of the Academy Award interest these directors and actors are receiving, Hollywood ultimately will judge their value using the only yardstick it believes matters: box-office performance." He goes on to list the hard facts and stats that need improving on the racial and gender front; not to kill the holiday mood, but a good read. [LA Times]
He wanted to instill a sense of honesty and fairness in Woody Grant
"Nebraska" star Bruce Dern has said the same thing all season when the conversation has inevitably turned to his personal history as an actor: "I knew if you wanted to be an actor, you had to do three things. You had to go to New York, you had to try to get into the Actors Studio, and you had to work for Mr. Kazan."
He pulled all that off and tomorrow he gets a bit of a homecoming as he and daughter Laura will be appearing on Bravo's "Inside the Actors Studio" with James Lipton. The episode will air at 7pm ET/PT.
Martin Scorsese's crazed trip finally hits theaters today
He kept us waiting, but it's finally heeeeeere: for a time, it seemed that Martin Scorsese's long, crazed trip through the stock-market hedonism of the 80s and early 90s might not manage a 2013 release at all, but it's now in theaters as the year's most deliciously inappropriate Christmas gift. It was such a late arrival that I still haven't got a bead on the critical consensus, though it already has a number of fiercely devoted admirers -- including HitFix's Drew McWeeny, while you can read Kris's early reaction here.
I'm still sorting out my feelings about it: it's certainly a frenzied blast of energy, and I was more stimulated than I was by Scorsese's last two films. At the same time, however, I wasn't left with much when the circus was over: its moral stance, such as it is, is laid out early on, leaving us jogging furiously in place for three hours. Largely the point, no doubt, but still. Anyway, we're curious to know how you land on this one: share your thoughts here, and vote in the poll below.
Thelma Schoonmaker recalls the heated controversy and moving testament of 'The Last Temptation of Christ'
'I started crying in dailies. That hardly ever happens.'
Talking with Thelma Schoonmaker recently, it became quickly apparent that I wasn't even going to scratch the surface of her career's work with Martin Scorsese in a single piece. I couldn't help but play the retrospective game with her, and while I of course didn't address all 19 feature collaborations, I was curious about six films in particular that I think represent a nice cross-section of their work together. Each of them — "Who's That Knocking At My Door," "Raging Bull," "The Last Temptation of Christ," "Goodfellas," "Bringing Out the Dead" and "The Departed" — will get its own space in the next few days.