The duo will present nine awards on February 9
Jeff Nichols's best film to date is primed for its North American debut
I caught Jeff Nichols's "Mud" yesterday in advance of its North American bow at Sundance next week and was bowled over. Over the moon. Full tilt in love with this movie, but I'll get into that during the festival.
Today, Roadside Attractions has released the first trailer for the film via Yahoo! Movies, which builds on its thriller aspects well enough but really isn't the most honest representation of what the film is. But that's fine. This will get people into the theater.
Check out the trailer above and stay tuned this week for further thoughts on the film and an interview with Nichols about his finest achievement to date. "Mud" opens in limited release April 26.
Also: Picturehouse rises from the ashes, and why the 'Skyfall' score should win
Kathryn Bigelow has long made it clear that she's not a filmmaker who particularly likes to speak for her own work, preferring to let her films do that on her own. She maintained that taciturnity through the early stages of the torture debate around "Zero Dark Thirty," but evidently felt it's escalated to a point where a lengthier response is warranted. Writing a guest column in the LA Times, the Oscar-winning director states: "I do wonder if some of the sentiments alternately expressed about the film might be more appropriately directed at those who instituted and ordered these U.S. policies, as opposed to a motion picture that brings the story to the screen. Those of us who work in the arts know that depiction is not endorsement ... On a practical and political level, it does seem illogical to me to make a case against torture by ignoring or denying the role it played in U.S. counter-terrorism policy and practices." [LA Times]
Plus, the only nominations you'll see this season for 'Resident Evil: Retribution'
Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee "War Witch" could, I think, have been a real contender for the win in another year; the African-set child soldier drama delivers an emotional punch that's hard to argue with. As it is, it'll likely remain nobly content with the nomination, but it stands to dominate at its local answer to the Oscars, the Canadian Screen Awards. With 12 nominations, the film leads the field for the inaugural awards, which have assimilated the formerly separate Genie and Gemini Awards.
First look at the new dramatic competition entry
The 2013 Sundance Film Festival is only days away and, as usual, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air for the industry after weeks of award season campaigning and holiday blockbusters. On the outset, this year's slate of U.S. dramatic competition films and premieres appear friendlier than usual to mainstream audiences. A number of the dramatic competition films have more recognizable than previous years stars such as "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" (Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck), "Afternoon Delight" (Kathryn Hahn, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch), "Austenland" (Keri Russell), "Kill Your Darlings" (Daniel Radcliffe, Michael C. Hall), "Fruitvale" (Octavia Spencer, Chad Michael Murray), "The Lifeguard" (Kristen Bell) and "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes."
Also: The genius of Jodie Foster's speech, and the oldest living Oscar nominees
The word "snub" is one we all abuse on occasion -- I prefer "not nominated," since it doesn't imply active antagonism -- and I've seen it used a lot lately about Leonardo DiCaprio. It doesn't seem justified in his case either, given that the Academy evidently has a lot of respect for someone they've nominated three times, but it's true that he does boast more near-misses than most working actors today. Daniel Montgomery, meanwhile, notices an interesting anomaly: he's starred as a lead in six Best Picture nominees -- usually a decent route to Oscar attention -- but has only been nominated for one of them. Of course, "Django Unchained," in which he came up against unfortunate internal competition, is the latest example of this odd phenomenon. [Gold Derby]
Doris Kearns Goodwin, Tony Mendez and Yann Martel get their own awards notice
The USC Scripter Awards is celebrating its silver anniversary this year. And in this 25th year, the USC Libraries' set of nominees is reflective of a very competitive year as, for the first time ever, a tie resulted in six nominees as opposed to the usual five.
'Searching for Sugar Man' looks strong as ever
The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has offered up its list of nominees for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary Filmmaking, and it's a nice slice of vindication for a pair of Oscar snubees.
Ben Affleck's sturdy drama still has an angle on this race
The last 100 hours or so in Hollywood has been intriguing, to say the least. The Oscar nominations on Thursday sent a series of shockwaves throughout the industry and were marvelously reflective of a tightly contended, stellar year of filmmaking. And of course, two names have been on everyone's lips since the Thursday morning bombshell: Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow.
First and foremost, I don't think it's an "embarrassment" that they were left off the list of Best Director nominees. That word has been thrown around a lot this weekend but I think it's a facile direction to go. Let's be honest. Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin and, though I don't like the film, David O. Russell (it is, after all, a genre rarely recognized, certainly for direction) is a strong, fascinating slate of nominees. And it would appear the two who scooted Affleck and Bigelow out of the mix were Haneke and Zeitlin. So let's look at that.
'Argo' picks up another major prize en route to the Oscars
It was all smiles at the Warner Bros./In Style party Sunday night as team "Argo" had grabbed yet another one-two Best Picture/Best Director punch after the film's director Ben Affleck was unceremoniously snubbed from the Oscars' Best Director line-up late last week. The film is hitting rare air and hopes are high with the studio that they can still pull off some magic at the Academy Awards, despite the "stats.
For his part, Affleck felt vindicated. He confided that after Thursday morning he wondered how much people really liked the movie, if it was a sign of something. But after the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and the Golden Globes, he has an extra spring in his step. And as an observer, I love this moment for him. But I'll get into that more in a column tomorrow.