The story of the weekend, as you may have heard by now, is that Spike Jonze's "Her" went down a storm at the NYFF this weekend. Critics (including HitFix's Drew McWeeny) are nuts for the oddball techno-romance. Can all that critical love translate into Academy attention, as it did with Jonze's first two features? Steve Pond belives so, declaring the film a likely bet for Best Picture and Best Original SCreenplay nominations, though he thinks acting nominations will require some adventurousness from the actors' branch -- particularly if Scarlett Johansson is to be the first actor ever nominated for a voice-only performance. [The Wrap]
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'Phillips' is a gripping tale of modern pirates, but another 2013 release did it better
Paul Greengrass' tense true-life hostage thriller opens today
We don't have to wait until the holiday season for the Oscar movies to start flowing thick and fast -- while "Gravity" is still hogging the conversation and burning up the box office, a different kind of white-knuckle survival story land in theaters today. I'll be writing more about Paul Greengrass' "Captain Phillips" later today, but having caught up with it earlier this week at the opening night of the London Film Festival, I was pleased to find the awards talk mostly justified. This is technically immaculate filmmaking, smart and tight and clean as can be: I certainly didn't feel 134 minutes passing. It boasts some of Tom Hanks' finest work, with a career-topping final scene that should clinch one of several Oscar nominations for the film, though I'll be rooting for livewire newcomer Barkhad Abdi to crack a nod too.
We're curious, however, to know what you think: is the hype justified? Is it an Oscar contender? And if you've seen the markedly similar Danish film "A Hijacking" from earlier this year, which one came out on top? Tell us in the comments, and be sure to vote in the poll below.
Also: 'Gravity' backlash, and where 'Blue Jasmine' is competing at the Globes
Mark Harris' latest Oscar column is, as usual, a good read. The first half of it deals with the already much-discussed Oscar prospects of "Gravity," but things get really interesting when he turns to the Best Actress race, which is in danger of becoming only the second acting category ever to consist wholly of past Oscar winners. (The first, of course, was last year's Supporting Actor lineup.) And that, Harris writes, is "deplorable": "I don't know what's most dispiriting, the strong suggestion the Best Actress field lacks a deep bench, the comparative paucity of opportunities for actresses that a non-deep bench implies, or the assumption that Academy voters are disinclined to look beyond people they already know can give a nice speech." Of course, it doesn't have to be this way. Delpy, Gerwig, Exarchopoulos, Garcia: think outside the box, Academy. [Grantland]
Probably a good way to sell one of the season's last unseen Oscar players
George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" will be among the last of the season's potential Oscar candidates to reveal itself -- skipping the festival circuit, the film will open in the US on the prime holiday-season date of December 18. And while we have little else to go on right now, the project certainly doesn't lack for kerb appeal: a high-gloss Second World War adventure with an all-star cast including Clooney, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Jean Dujardin, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Hugh Bonneville and Bob Balaban.
How breaking down various aural elements enhanced the immersive quality of the film
In a film such as Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity," which takes place in orbit and embraces the reality that "in space, no one can hear you scream" -- or anything else, for that matter -- music was always going to have an expanded role in the experience. The director was very determined from the outset that, like so many other elements in the film, the score would need to serve the immersive ends he was aiming toward. It was always going to be sort of moving around the audience in the theater, making you feel as though you were part of the action taking place on screen.
'Kill Your Darlings' star has had a busy two years
Let's be frank. Daniel Radcliffe made enough money starring in eight "Harry Potter" films to never have to work a day in his life gain. And, even at 25, that's an intriguing proposition. Instead, like his co-star Emma Watson, Radcliffe has been working his butt off.
Which three won't make the nomination cut?
The Academy has announced this year's field of contending documentary short subject films for the 86th annual Academy Awards. The crop has been trimmed down to eight, from which five nominees will be chosen.
Other hopefuls in the category include 'Captain Phillips' and '12 Years a Slave'
"Lights. Camera. Action." This phrase is admittedly somewhat of a cliché, but it is iconic because it captures the feel of making a movie. Interesting that two of the three commands are directed to a film’s camera department. Without a camera, there is no cinema. Cinematography is essential, and when done well, from lighting to camera placement and movement to capturing the mood, there is no purer way to bring the director’s vision to screen.
Can the indifferently reviewed biopic regain any awards momentum?