I'll be attending the European Film Awards once more in December, and one of several good reasons to do so is that Catherine Deneuve will be in attendance. The French legend has been announced as the recipient of this year's EFA Lifetime Achievement Award. Hard to argue with that: from "Repulsion" to "Belle de Jour" to "Dancer in the Dark," Deneuve is an art house icon whose career spans multiple nations and generations. (No one else, after all, can claim to have worked with Bunuel, Polanski, Truffaut, von Trier and Ryan Murphy.) I've long argued that she should be near the top of the Academy's honorary Oscar list, not least since her lone Oscar nod (for "Indochine") hardly even represents a career high. Also receiving an honorary award at the ceremony will be Pedro Almodovar; shouldn't those two have collaborated by now? [EFA]
Also: Ranking Ron Howard's oeuvre, and is this Lubezki's year?
Obviously that's not the case
TORONTO - Kate Winslet is very pregnant. Chances are when you're reading this she's still very pregnant. Moreover, Winslet is so far along that we may not catch the Oscar winner on the awards circuit until very close to the December release of her new film "Labor Day." In fact, she may not be able to promote the film again until 2014. That obviously made a chance to chat with her at the Toronto International Film Festival a major priority.
Laura Poitras and Geralyn Dreyfous will also be honored
Prolific documentary director Alex Gibney's career has accelerated to the point where you could be forgiven for losing track of what his latest project actually is. This year alone, the Oscar winner has brought us two topical, well-received docs: "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks" premiered at Sundance and was released theatrically in May, while his study of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, "The Armstrong Lie," premiered at Venice earlier this month. It opens in early November.
The filmmaker is eager to move on
Alfonso Cuarón is ready to move on from "Gravity." Four years of work on his space odyssey including preparation, digital pre-visualization, barrier-breaking technological advances and on-set innovation to achieve what is easily the most realistic depiction of space on film to date have taken their toll on the director and he's ready to pursue the next thing.
"I'm more than eager," Cuarón says. "I need it. It took so long that I have already processed the film. Even if I finished the last details before Venice, the whole film for me was very old news."
It speaks to Cuarón's philosophy as a filmmaker. For him, the joy of a movie is the experience of the work. The "aftertaste," as he calls it, is what he takes away. He watches his films once with an audience and he moves on quickly to the next thing. And that, by the way, is how "Gravity" started clicking to life.
Also: That wide-open Best Actor race, and the trouble with IMAX
As discussed in yesterday's Best Picture Contenders gallery, "Blue is the Warmest Color" is already a long shot for Oscar recognition, but it'll become a longer one still if some enterprising publicist doesn't save director Abdellatif Kechiche from himself. It's no secret by now that there was bad blood behind the scenes of the French erotic drama, and Lea Seydoux has already been candid about her disdain for the Algerian-born filmmaker. Now Kechiche has fired back, claiming he considered replacing Seydoux on set, and arguing that the fallout has "soiled" the film to such a degree that it shouldn't even be released. If this is some kind of warped publicity campaign, I'd rethink it. The film is done. It's great. Maybe just let some things go? [The Playlist]
Surveying this year's field of awards hopefuls
The Oscar season is howling to life in the wake of the Venice, Telluride and Toronto film festivals. NYFF is right around the corner and very soon it'll be October, "Gravity" (with "Captain Phillips" and "12 Years a Slave" right behind it) and we'll pretty much be off to the races. It's time, then, for our annual early plunge into this year's contenders, which we'll bring to you on a category-by-category basis over the next few weeks. We begin today with, what else? Best Picture.
The blockbuster merchant is the first producer to receive the award
It's been a time of mixed fortunes for Jerry Bruckheimer, the Hollywood super-producer ("Beverly Hills Cop," "Top Gun," "Black Hawk Down") whose surname is as distinctive a cinematic brand as that of any auteur. Not long after his overly expensive western "The Lone Ranger" took a beating (undeservedly so, in my opinion) from critics and ticket-buyers alike, it was announced that he and Walt Disney Pictures would be ending their once-lucrative deal. As Greg noted when reporting the news last week, it wasn't his first such flop -- is there still room for studio mega-producers in this day and age?
India surprises, while Agnieszka Holland represents for the Czech Republic
We’re in the home stretch of the submissions process for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. With one week to go until the official deadline, we currently have 52 entries – which, to use past years as a yardstick, means we probably have about three-quarters of the final field confirmed. Of course, it’s at this stage that you fall way behind if you turn your back for a day or two, so I’ve got a lot of submissions to catch up on.
But it won't qualify for this year's Best Animated Feature Film race
We'll be analyzing the incredibly lackluster Best Animated Feature Film field in due time. Pieces are still falling into place and the race for the win looks to be another Pixar vs. in-house Disney showdown. A press release landed today announcing what at first looked to be another potential player, but it turns out Academy rules will actually keep it from qualifying.
Also: Fantastic Fest winners, and has Michael Douglas been taken for granted?
By this point, it's common knowledge that the Academy's voting system for Best Foreign Language Film -- or Best Foreign Language Film Approved And Selected By A National Committee That Is Also Agreeable To The Widest Academy Demographic And Was Domestically Released Within The Eligibility Window -- is, to put it gently, somewhat flawed. Everyone has different ideas about how to fix it (including, to their credit, the Academy itself), but Toronto Film Festival director Cameron Bailey's are more sensible than most. I wholeheartedly echo his statement that the idea of this being a country-based competition in this era of global co-production is archaic. Also interesting: he argues that requiring contenders to have a US release date would encourage increased distribution of foreign fare. Good points all round. [Variety]