1970s memory piece is being released elsewhere as 'After May'
From "Irma Vep" to "Demonlover" to "Summer Hours," Olivier Assayas has been one of the world's most vital filmmakers for some time now, but it seems many only caught wise to his gifts two years ago with "Carlos," his galvanizing five-hour biopic of infamous 1970s political terrorist Carlos the Jackal. Thanks to its unusual release both in cinemas and as a TV miniseries, the film managed to win Assayas a slew of US critics' awards, a TV Golden Globe and even an Emmy nomination. (If that wasn't surreal enough, he lost to "Downton Abbey.")
It'll be interesting to see if the Frenchman's newly acquired admirers follow him to "Something in the Air," a softer, woozier, faintly autobiographical reflection on an equivalent period of 1970s radicalism to "Carlos." You may also know the film as "After May," a literal translation of the French title being used in other territories. It's also the one used in the first international trailer for the film, which we're pleased to premiere below -- by kind permission of Australian distributor Palace Films.
A shimmery ensemble piece casting its gaze upon a group of teenage activists variously finding their own place in the post-1968 countercultural war, it takes more cues from Assayas' 1994 breakthrough feature "Cold Water." IFC Films is releasing the film Stateside in 2013; Artificial Eye will be doing the honors in the UK.
The category gets a name change as a varied field takes shape
A couple of weeks ago, I commented on how Best Production Design is a welcome name change for the category previously known as Best Art Direction. It is not the only such change this year, as the award for Best Makeup is now finally called Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
For years, I have said that the hairstyling portion of this award has been neglected. Whether the sorts of films that get nominated will change remains an open question. But at the very least, this should highlight for the public that the category isn't all about prosthetics and foundation.
This remains a unique category in that there are only three nominees. Moreover, said nominees are chosen from a group of seven finalists that are announced in the weeks leading up to the nominations. Voters from the branch view bake-off reels on the work done in those seven films before choosing the nominees.
Also: Women vying for foreign Oscar, and Channing Tatum's first 2012 award
Was Abraham Lincoln secretly gay or bisexual? Playwright and "Lincoln" co-writer Tony Kushner believes there's ample reason to speculate that he may have been, but you won't find any such suggestions in Steven Spielberg's recently-released film. Why? Because matters of sexuality have no place in this particular strand from Honest Abe's political career, says Kushner. "I wanted to write about a very specific moment and I chose this moment and I don't feel that there was any evidence at this particular moment that Lincoln was having sex with anybody," he tells Tom O'Neil. "I don't say in my movie whether the Lincoln character was gay or straight. You can ask Daniel (Day-Lewis) what he was playing, but it did not seem to me a thing to make a movie about now." [Gold Derby]
40 composers, from Michael Giacchino to Cliff Martinez, were surveyed
Variety published a music-focused Eye on the Oscars special today, and it's packed with interesting nuggets, from spotlights on individual composers in the awards race this year -- including "The Master"'s Jonny Greenwood, "Anna Karenina"'s Dario Marianelli and everything's Alexandre Desplat -- to a piece on the recent reversal of rules in the Best Original Song category, hailed by many branch voters as a victory for common sense.
The headlining feature of the special, however -- if only because the movie world is powerless to resist a Top 10 list -- is a poll of 40 working composers on the greatest film scores of all time. Participants range from Oscar-winner Michael Giacchino ("Up") to Coen Brothers favorite Carter Burwell to Cliff Martinez ("Drive"), with the list compiled by asking each one to name his/her three favorite scores. It's too small a survey to qualify as anything more than a bit of fun, but the results are surprising and inevitable in equal measure.
Will that be the only award they win from the Producers' Guild this season?
I'm always slightly surprised when awards bodies choose to bestow a lifetime achievement honor upon a recipient already firmly in the running for a competitive prize that year. Something about it seems a tad gauche and redundant to me: why not single out a worthy candidate not already being feted throughout the season?
Still, it's a route the Producers' Guild of America has taken for the last few years with their highest career honor, the David O. Selznick Award Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures. Last year, Steven Spielberg was given the award on top of his Producer of the Year nomination for "War Horse," and his equivalent citation in the animated field for "The Adventures of Tintin." (He won the latter, to boot.) The year before, Scott Rudin received the Selznick Award, just as he was favored by many to take the PGA prize for "The Social Network." (As it turned out, he didn't.)
He knows exactly what he's going to eat when it's over
BEVERLY HILLS – I’d seen the pictures. I'd seen the news reports. I’d heard about Matthew McConaughey’s amazing weight loss for his role in the new independent film “The Dallas Buyer’s Club” from all aspects of social media. It was another thing, however, to shake the hand of a man that looked like he’d lost half of himself since we last talked just five months before.
Also: Phoenix makes amends, and the most deserving Best Actor no-hopers
GKIDS was scarcely a blip on the radar when, nearly three years ago, they scored a shock Best Animated Feature Oscar nod for the very first film they distributed, "The Secret of Kells." Last year, they announced themselves as a force to be reckoned with when they pushed two of their foreign toons into the race, at the expense of, among others, blockbuster "The Adventures of Tintin." This year, as they jostle with four exotic offerings in the Oscar hunt, Rebecca Keegan looks at the rapidly rising profile of a company determined to bring some independent spirit and cultural diversity to the US animation market. "We haven't needed a $3-million Oscar campaign," says chief Eric Beckman. "Animators in L.A. are following what's happening outside the country. We show them the films and they either win people's hearts or they don't." [LA Times]
Oscar winner talks about difficulty working with whales in captivity
BEVERLY HILLS - Marion Cotillard really wanted to work with Jacques Audiard. In fact, she was so committed to the director's follow up to his acclaimed drama "A Prophet" that she dropped her normal required prep time to make sure "Rust and Bone" fit into her schedule. The Oscar winner was already locked into shooting Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" for much of 2011, but then immediately transitioned to "Bone" when it was over. And, for Cotillard, taking away that chance to really research and study a role is a big, big deal.
As the actress seeks her third Oscar nod, we remember one that got away
In Contention readers are generally a hawk-eyed bunch, quick to leap in with corrections when Kris or I make an honest error or suffer an accidental brain-fade, particularly on matters of Oscar trivia -- collectively, you can make for an intimidatingly officious subeditor. So it's all the more surprising that, over the past week or so, I've been corrected by three separate readers on a point I had right in the first place: that with her allegedly fiery performance in "Lincoln," Sally Field is seeking her first Oscar nomination in 28 years, and her third overall.
In each case, a reader either commented or tweeted to politely remind me that Field actually received her third Oscar nomination back in 1994, as a supporting actress in Best Picture shoo-in "Forrest Gump." And in each case, as much as I appreciated the gesture, I had to reply that, not to put too fine a point on it, she wasn't.
Music Box Films is releasing the indie drama on December 14
"Any Day Now" is one of those films that's been creeping steadily along the festival circuit since the spring, quietly amassing critical goodwill and prizes. The Tribeca, Chicago, Seattle, Woodstock and Outfest festivals may not command much attention individually, but when a film manages to walk away with the Audience Award from all of them, it clearly has something going on.
Though I'd repeatedly heard the title on the fringes of various festival reports, I hadn't really clocked to what it is or what it's about -- not having had an opportunity to see it on my side of the pond -- until the film's newly released trailer landed in my inbox.