April 17, 2014

Tag Archives: academy award

The Matrix: The Top 25 (Best Film Editing)

Continuing onward with this weekly series I’m doing here on the site, we’re talking about the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories out there for us to talk about. Aside from the short categories and likely something a bit harder to rank like Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing as I’ve mentioned before, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks, including of course the big eight categories, two of which have already received this particular treatment. I’m also potentially going to do one that doesn’t actually exist (a fictitious Best Ensemble category), but that’s just an idea I’m currently toying with. We’ll see about that one, but for now, we’ll stick to reality and the categories currently endorsed by the Academy.
Today I’ll be knocking off one more of the technical categories, with this one being the somewhat unsexy but still essential Best Film Editing field. Depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing rather specifically or just giving a more broad overview of the winners. Like I’ve been saying over the past few weeks, in all honesty, you really just want to see the end result list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next couple paragraphs…
This time around, I’m again just going with the overview route. Film Editing is another type of category where you sort of know it’s good by seeing it in the films themselves. There are a few different types of editing that the Academy has honored, though sometimes they can fall into the trap of going for “most” instead of best, if that makes sense. For example, you can see in certain winners that the editing is smooth and you’re almost not meant to notice it all, while other winners want to constantly impress you with their flashy approach to editing. I’m not particularly partial to either one, basically just going for what fits the movies best. Sometimes I don’t want to notice the editing at all in the flick, and sometimes I want it to be front and center. It all just depends.
I’ll discuss my top ten a bit now before getting to the list itself. The winner that I think is the best ever happens to be [...]

Theory of Everything given release date

Working Title’s romantic drama Theory of Everything starring Eddie Redmayne as theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has been given a Nov. 7 exclusive engagements domestic release date by Focus Features, CEO Peter Schlessel announced today.
Academy Award winner James Marsh (Man on Wire) helms the film, which explores the excitement of the 1960s for Hawking as he studies at Cambridge University. At the dawn of his brilliant life’s work, Hawking falls passionately in love with arts student Jane Wilde and their relationship leads him through personal and scientific challenges and breakthroughs.
The film is inspired by Wilde’s memoir, Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen with the screenplay written by Anthony McCarten, who is the producer on the film with Lisa Bruce (producer of Working Title’s Mary and Martha) and Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner.
Redmayne (Les Misérables) will play opposite Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) in the lead roles.
The cast of Theory of Everything also includes two-time Academy Award nominee Emily Watson and David Thewlis (Harry Potter). The creative team includes cinematographer Benoît Delhomme (Lawless), production designer John Paul Kelly (About Time), costume designer Steven Noble (Under the Skin), and film editor Jinx Godfrey (marking her seventh feature with Marsh).
Mr. Schlessel commented, “This extraordinary love story between one of the greatest minds of our time, Stephen Hawking, and his first wife Jane is profoundly moving and inspirational, with heart and humor.”
Focus Features’ successful collaborations with Working Title Films have included such hits as The World’s End, Pride & Prejudice, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; and the Academy Award-winning Anna Karenina and Atonement.
Working Title Films, co-chaired by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner since 1992, is one of the world’s leading film production companies. Founded in 1983, Working Title has made over 100 films that have grossed more than $6 billion worldwide. Its films have won 10 Academy Awards, 35 BAFTA Awards, and prizes at the Cannes and Berlin International Film Festivals.
Focus Features (www.focusfeatures.com) makes, acquires, and releases movies from rising and established talent and filmmakers. The company is moving forward with a diverse slate of films, with most being wide releases appealing to a range of moviegoers. Staying true to the company’s roots, the slate will also include several specialty films each year.
Currently in release from Focus Features is the subversive comedy Bad Words, directed by and starring Jason Bateman. In addition to Theory of Everything, upcoming Focus films [...]

An Early Glimpse at some Advance Oscar Predictions

Now that we’re officially a quarter of the way through 2014, I figured I’d debut my year in advance Academy Award predictions. These are actually the ones that I came up with back in March the night of the Oscars, so they’re not the most up to date, but they’re a good starting point for the season. I’m also excluding winners this time out, just so we can start slowly. Depending on how the season progresses, these can evolve into weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly posts, so for now we’ll play it by ear. I’m always keen to share predictions though, so it’s safe to say that this won’t be an infrequent series.
Basically, I see this season as one that could really favor Tim Burton’s Big Eyes, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, David Fincher’s Gone Girl, Jason Reitman’s Men, Women, & Children, and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. If I had to pick way too early frontrunners, Foxcatcher and Unbroken would be the two. They seem to have potential for across the board appeal, and that’s something an early contender always wants to have in its corner. Nobody knows anything at this point, but if you had a gun to your head, those two are the ones that seem safest to back right now.
Other titles you should keep in mind are Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, Josh Boone’s The Fault in Our Stars, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice, and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, just to name a few. The vast majority of contenders are sight unseen right now though, so everything is purely speculation, and will be well until the fall. We’ll know some more soon, but all won’t be revealed for many months. That’s part of the fun of all this though, at least for me. I love seeing how it all unfolds and tracking how my predictions evolve/if any of my long shots wind up coming to fruition. It’s all educated guesswork, but I pride myself on being a decent prognosticator, so I try to keep track of it all. You’ll all get to be the judge throughout 2014, and this isn’t a bad place to begin. My final predictions rarely resemble these initial ones, but it could be fun to compare those as well too…later on, of course.
Below you can find my aforementioned initial set of predictions for the big eight categories at the Oscars. Next time I’ll do all of the categories and give [...]

Oscars: The Top 25 (Best Cinematography)

HOLLYWOOD NEWS NETWORK: Another new weekly series I’m going to be doing surrounds the top 25 Oscar winners in just about all of the categories. Aside from the shorts and something like Best Sound Mixing, I’ll be hitting them all, including of course the big eight categories. For starters though, I figured I’d go with one of the most highly regarded of the technical categories…Best Cinematography. Depending on the category, I may discuss the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just sort of give a broad overview of the winners, but for now, I’ll keep it simple. Honestly though, you all mostly want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there. Just be patient over the next few paragraphs…
There are few categories more overtly artistic than this one, though the category has undergone some major changes over the decades. Up until 1967, the category was mostly split between black and white and color (though before 1936 there was only one award, since almost every movie was in black and white), so there were two Oscars given out before then, which gives you more winners than usual to sift through. Also of late, the trend has moved to rewarding 3D productions. In fact, only 3D works have won over the last few years, though time will tell if that’s what continues in the years going forward.
Among the black and white winners, the best in my book include Boris Kaufman for On the Waterfront and Robert Krasker for The Third Man, to name just a few. As for the 3D winners, the best so far is probably our most recent winner Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity, though that’s going to be an evolving group in the years to come, so we’ll see how that holds up in a decade or so. For now though, Lubezki is on top in that regard.
My personal favorite bit of Oscar winning cinematography to date has got to be Janusz Kamiński’s work on Schindler’s List, though I’d also put Kamiński’s work in Saving Private Ryan up pretty high to, so I think we can figure out who my favorite winner is here (though Conrad Hall gives him a run for his money with two top notch winners cited by yours truly on the list to come as well) . Honestly, a lot of my favorites are bits of cinematography that either were nominated [...]

Oscars®: Thinking Out Loud: Random Movie Musings

I’m trying something new here today…namely, just sort of thinking out loud about a few different topics, hence the title. Some of these musings might turn into full blown articles down the line, but for now, this is basically a look at what’s swimming around in my head. Everything will be more or less Oscar related, but it’ll all tie into movies, that much I’m sure of. For now, I’ll present things just as a series of bullet point paragraphs, but we’ll see how it evolves over the course of the weeks to come. I’m aiming to do this every Saturday, but again, we’ll see how everything goes from here. This first installment is very much just an experiment.
-Am I the only one who’s not interested in trying to make a feud between 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen and the film’s writer John Ridley? Yes, there might have been some hard feelings for a time over whether McQueen was going to be able to get a co-writing credit for the film, but does it really matter if Ridley overtly thanks him in his acceptance speeches, or vice-versa? It’s possible that I just put less stock in manufactured controversy than most, but I really don’t see what the fuss is about this. In the end, they both have Oscars and are Academy Award winners (plus their movie won Best Picture), so shouldn’t that be the trump card in this situation?
-We’re almost a week removed from the Oscar telecast, but does anyone else feel like the awards season is still going on? Maybe it’s just my brain still packed with winner possibilities, but there have been moments this week where I’ve found myself still considering the chances of upsets in certain categories. Perhaps I’m just retroactively trying to figure out exactly what went down on Sunday, but this doesn’t usually happen to me, so it’s all the more noticeable.
-Is it just me or are movies slowly getting better during the months of January, February, and March? I know that March has been steadily turning into a summer month over the past few years, but January and February have long been little more than dumping grounds. The former still has plenty of expanding Academy Award nominees to fill up multiplexes, but some interesting independent titles are popping up, while the latter month is nowhere near as porous as I remember it [...]

Oscars: Get to know the Best Supporting Actress race

Best Supporting Actress
Nominees: Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts for August: Osage County, and June Squibb for Nebraska
Notable precursor wins: Lawrence wins BAFTA and Golden Globe Awards, while Nyong’o wins Broadcast Film Critics and Screen Actors Guild Awards
Current frontrunner: Jennifer Lawrence (by a hair)
Next in line: Lupita Nyong’o (super close behind)
Dark horse: June Squibb (way behind)
Wrapping up my “Get to know” series, we now have the final piece of the puzzle as we focus today on the Best Supporting Actress race. As you can see in the vital statistics above, the gentlemen making up this category are Sally Hawkins for Blue Jasmine, Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle, Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years a Slave, Julia Roberts for August: Osage County, and June Squibb for Nebraska. Two of these ladies are way out in front, with predictions split between them. One’s got to emerge victorious though, so which one will it be?
From the very first of the precursors, it’s been a back and forth between Lawrence and Nyong’o. They’ve split the important precursors evenly, while both also picked up critics group attention in a big way. They’re all but tied, which means that something’s gotta give. Will Academy voters go full steam ahead in making Lawrence their new Oscar darling or will they crown Nyong’o instead, embracing a new face? It could go either way folks, though the late momentum has ever so slightly favored Lawrence.
Now then, one of them has to win, right? By a slim majority, my colleagues seem to be predicting Nyong’o, but my gut feeling is that Lawrence pulls it out in the end. An absolute shock would have Squibb sneaking in at the last minute, but I wouldn’t count on that. A Nyong’o win wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but I’m seeing a Lawrence victory at this current juncture. We’ll know for a sure in just a few days though…
That’s it for these categories, so stay tuned for the Academy Awards on Sunday night to see what actually happens!

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Philomena”

Directed by: Stephen Frears
Written by: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
Main cast members: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Peter Hermann, and Sean Mahon
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 4
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Actress (Dench), Best Adapted Screenplay (Coogan and Pope), and Best Original Score
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Adapted Screenplay at the BAFTA Awards and Best Screenplay at the Venice Film Festival last year
Chances at winning Best Picture: Rather slim, though there’s supposedly a late surge going on to at least give it a long shot chance at a huge upset
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s potentially going to be shut out, though Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score are certainly in play
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, HER, and Nebraska
Philomena is the eighth (and second to last) film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that realistically has to look at the nomination itself as the only surefire reward it can count on here. Yes, co-writer/co-star Steve Coogan and his partner Jeff Pope could swoop in and steal Best Adapted Screenplay (while Best Original Score is an open field), but Judi Dench is way behind in Best Actress, so there’s nothing for this movie to hang its hat on. Still, it’s a crowd pleaser for the most part, and that’s always a dangerous contender in Best Picture, so be aware of that.
Working in Philomena’s favor is the Harvey Weinstein factor. Weinstein and his brother Bob have had some tremendous success running The Weinstein Company, especially when it comes to getting their films recognized. They pulled a bit of a rabbit out of their hats getting a Best Picture nominee for this flick and since then have been working overtime to make the case that this movie deserves to win. While Best Picture is a hard sell, they can certainly make the argument that the film should be recognized somewhere, which is why Best Adapted Screenplay is in play. If enough of the older and female voters (which is where the campaign is focused) are taken with this flick, I suppose anything is possible, considering how it’s made so many moves late in the game.
If you’re looking for something that’s not in this film’s favor, it’s the fact that it has the fewest nominations [...]

Oscars’ Billion Viewer Envelope

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
“And the envelope, please….”
It is one of Hollywood’s most iconic phrases, uttered by presenters at the Academy Awards each year and followed by another equally famous quote: “And the Oscar goes to….”
But throughout much of Oscar’s history whenever the pinprick moment arrived when a celebrity presenter would open the envelope and announce the winning nominee, there was nothing special about the envelope itself as opposed to the golden statuette that the winners would clutch while thanking whomever on live TV.
That is, until Marc Friedland decided that the Oscar envelope needed to be its own icon.
The L.A. stationer had an idea: design a classy-looking envelope, that was easy to open and that would provide a treasured keepsake to the winners along with the glittering golden statuette that they clutched in their hands in triumph.
Friedland, owner of Marc Friedland Couture Communications, persuaded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to have him design an envelope that would not only look elegant to the 1 billion global TV viewers but also be constructed in such a way that celebrity presenters wouldn’t struggle opening the envelopes to the groans and laughter of audiences.
“When I started thinking about this, I wanted something that would be timeless, involving the glamour of Hollywood, but not a period piece. But also something that transcended fashion and trends,” Friedland, 54, told HollywoodNews. “We had to design something that looks great and performs well, too. Like the quintessential Hollywood actress who has to look good on screen but also be talented.”
On Sunday, March 2, the Academy Awards will again be featuring Friedland-designed envelopes. This will mark the fourth year that Friedland’s envelopes will be in use.
And, since there are two dozen categories, Friedland noted, only the presenters and winners will be seen touching the envelopes, making the moment even more special.
Each envelope is handcrafted out of four different papers using 10 different processes, he explains.
The outside of each envelope is made of metallic-gold paper stock with subtle repeats of the Oscar statuettes.
Inside the envelope, the creators note, is a heavyweight ecru card featuring deco gold foil and is accented with a gold-leaf embossed Oscar statuette along with the phrase, “And the Oscar goes to…” The winner’s name is printed in charcoal ink and is mounted onto a matching red lacquer hand-wrapped frame. The back of the card introduces a new feature, indicating the specific [...]

Can the Oscars save CNN?

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
It seems that everybody is benefiting from the Oscar season…film festivals, awards shows, broadcast and cable TV networks, entertainment magazines and websites.
So, can the Oscars save ratings starved CNN?
The cable news channel has seen its ratings languishing for some time now.
As Mediate recently reported, “On Valentine’s Day Friday night, CNN’s evening slate of shows had a disastrous night, failing to rate above 66K viewers in the key 25-54 demo from 5-10 p.m. ET. The network was in 4th place across the board during those hours with Anderson Cooper 360 and Piers Morgan Live both at 66K in the demo. Erin Burnett OutFront at 7 p.m. drew just 49K in the demo.”
We’re not saying one is related to the other, but on Wednesday, CNN announced it was kicking off a number of Oscar-related telecasts leading up to the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 2.
On Thursday at 10 p.m. ET, Krista Smith, senior west coast editor of Vanity Fair and a CNN contributor, will host CNN Spotlight: And the Nominees Are? The hour-long show will feature Smith’s interviews with Oscar nominees Amy Adams, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o and Jonah Hill.
Among the revelations Smith unearths:
“Amy Adams reveals that when she signed on to work with David O. Russell again for American Hustle, they didn’t have a script until like a week before,” a press release touting the show states.
The release goes on: “…Jared Leto tells Smith that he stayed in the Dallas Buyers Club character Rayon while filming: ‘I was walking through Whole Foods and I got looks from people and it was a real look of condemnation, of judgment, of disgust. And that was powerful to get to understand. Because I’m sure Rayon and the Rayons of the world get that look all the time—and have to deal with that in a much more real way than I did.”
On Thursday, Feb. 27, at 9 p.m. ET, the cable network will telecast CNN: And the Oscar Goes To? a two-hour special from Turner Classic Movies featuring great moments from 85 years of Academy Awards ceremonies, including never before seen behind-the-scenes ceremony footage from the archives of Hollywood Newsreel.
From Feb. 27 to March 2, CNN will “air live reports, interviews and take an inside at all the big events in and around the industry’s crowning event. From the rolling out of the red carpet to the behind-the-scenes stories [...]

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Her”

“Her”
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Written by: Spike Jonze
Main cast members: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara, and Portia Doubleday
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 5
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Original Screenplay (Jonze), Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild of America Awards, Won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globe Awards, and Won Best Film/Best Director from the National Board of Review
Chances at winning Best Picture: It’d be an absolute shock if it managed to win Best Picture, so it’s slim to none here
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s the frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay, while it’s not impossible for any of its tech nominations to turn into upset wins.
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
Her is the six film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that has to consider the nomination itself to be the real reward, at least in this category. That being said, the nod (along with all of its noms overall) is really something to admire. Such a singular and unique movie being nominated for more than a token Oscar or two is a nice change of pace for the Academy. Especially considering that it scored not just a Best Picture citation but a Best Original Screenplay as well, there are voters here who are very fond of this film, and that pleases me to no end. Regardless of anything else, it’s nothing like any other nominee this year, or really in history I’d argue, so kudos to Spike Jonze and company for such fine work. He may not be a serious Best Picture contender, but Jonze is likely to win the Original Screenplay Oscar, so the flick isn’t too likely to go home empty handed regardless.
Working in Her’s favor is just how different and romantic it is. The film has connected with so many people, arguably in a way that no other nominee has been able to do. Members of the Academy were taken by this movie in more than one way, honoring not just the film itself and it’s writing, but the production design and musical components as well. Multiple tech nominations are a sure sign of widespread support. Without it, you have no chance at [...]

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