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Entries in Oscars (16) (332)

Tuesday
May232017

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "Moonlight"

by Nathaniel R

Little and Juan framed by nature

A truth: No matter how much you love a movie on first viewing, what makes it become a classic, a masterpiece even, is less predictable. That's in how it endures and oft times whether it can keep giving you new information. Aging, even for non-living things like a movie which is already "complete," before it begins that process, is tricky. But after a handful of screenings of Moonlight over the past nine months, it's quite obvious that the film (not to mention its surprise Best Picture win) will age spectacularly well. A prediction: We're just barely getting to know its marvel.

The Hit Me With Your Best Shot series initially started as an idea to honor Cinematography but film is so collaborative and complex that that's not how it turned out. It's ended up being more of a mise-en-scène appreciation ... sometimes the images that grab you are lighting based, other times it's the perfect marriage of a sound and picture, and then there are performances so indelible that they even become the primary iconic visual. Because Moonlight is rich in all of its moving parts, I opted to just look at the first act (for now). And I did something I never do: I watched it with the sound turned off... 

Click to read more ...

Friday
May192017

Thomas Vinterberg returns with "The Commune"

This review originally ran in September 2016 from the Toronto International Film Festival. With the film finally in theaters in select cities starting today (and available to rent on Amazon), we didn't want you to miss it...

Thomas Vinterberg first came to fame with the Dogme 95 masterpiece The Celebration (1998) which was an international success reaping Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Foreign Film. Oscar famously snubbed it during their long stretch of controversial years in the 90s and 00s where they regularly ignored major critical darlings eventually prompting reforms to the selection process in the late Aughts. Vinterberg was eventually nominated with another international success The Hunt (2012) and after his English language sleeper success Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) it's safe to say he's on quite a roll currently. 

For years people had suggested to Vinterberg that he make a film about commune life since he had grown up in one as a child in the 70s...

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Monday
May082017

The Furniture: The Salesman Crafts His Own Stage

"The Furniture" is our weekly series on Production Design. You can click on the images to see them in magnified detail. Here's Daniel Walber...

Asghar Farhadi's Oscar winning The Salesman begins with a set. The opening credits appear over the quiet stage of a small Tehran theater, nearly ready to debut a new production of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. We see the bed before the actors who will lie in it, neon lights illuminated for an empty house. It is a quite literal setting of the stage before the drama begins.

It’s not a play adaptation, but it often feels like one. There are few locations and the cast is small. And, as in many play adaptations, the production design does a lot of heavy lifting...

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Friday
Apr142017

Three Fittings: Fantastic Beasts' Odd Costume Win

New Series! Three Fittings celebrates costume design in the movies. The number is necessary self-restraint for we love the art of costuming too much.

By Nathaniel R

Dear reader, I didn't think I'd ever need to see Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them (2016). I thought, solid reasoning given the golden trajectory of most franchises, that Oscar would want to move on after a year of regular craft nominations for the series. I thought, surely they'd never hand one of them an actual Oscar if they hadn't done so by now. But in the interest of completism, after Colleen Atwood's generous fourth statue for costuming this particular movie and its bluray release, I caught up. 

I was both impressed and utterly perplexed by what I found.

While Atwood does unusually understated work (for her), there are far fewer costumes than you might expect (approximately one per man, two per woman). Sussing out why they voted for this confident minimalism within a fantasy over more traditional costume perfection in Jackie, the primary color bliss of then-frontrunner La La Land, the erotic glamour of Allied, and the flouncy Most-ness of Florence, proves nearly impossible.

Nevertheless, here are three key looks to discuss:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Apr042017

Doc Corner: Is 'Five Came Back' Netflix's Oscar Moment?

by Glenn Dunks

It can sometimes feel like we’ve seen WWII from so many perspectives that there can’t possibly be new ways to convey the weight of its tragedy. That Five Came Back, a new three-part mini-docu-series on Netflix, manages to succeed at doing this is just one of its many virtues. Adapted from Mark Harris’ book of the same name by Harris himself and directed by Laurent Bouzereau, this is a three-hour documentary about the work of five of Hollywood’s biggest directorial names of the 1930s who enlisted to support the American war effort the only way that they knew how: through film, and the personal battles they fought in order to do so.

They were Frank Capra, John Huston, George Stevens, William Wyler and John Ford – the latter of whom gets the biggest laugh labelling documentaries in the 1930s as “silly things that rich kooks made” – each of whom left behind successful careers without the promise of anything when they came back.

If they came back at all. The series charts their early efforts before America’s entering the war after Pearl Harbour in 1941 before digging more deeply in the works that they produced from the front lines on the ground and in the skies....

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Thursday
Mar022017

89th Academy Awards. That's a Wrap

Another Oscar season wraps up. It's all over but the memories and the future debates. Here is a complete guide to our coverage in case you missed any of these pieces...

• New Facts & Trivia Interesting developments
• Twist Ending & The Winners List Surreal but fascinating
• Jimmy Kimmel  How'd he do as host?
• Emma Stone ♥︎s Moonlight In the press room
• 
Pic / Director Split Is this the new normal? 

Moonlight's Missing Speech What we lost in the snafu
Oscar Packages they really biffed the craft presentations this year!
• 
Viola's Speech Great or too much?
• Best Oscar Tweets Fun 140 character reactions
• Oscar Stage Design They're obsessed with art deco

• Warren vs Faye Reader poll - VOTE
• Only one "Woke" at a time - Oscar = always problematic
• Faces in the Crowd  So much variety in the surprise looks
• 5 Most Handsome Men Chris, Riz, Mahershala, Ryan, Dev
• Kevin O'Connell Wins! It only took 21 nominations

• 13 Fav Photos Celebrity beauty & randomness
Random Leftovers Screengrab thoughts
10 Best Gowns from our fashion guru Jose 
Podcast The Season Finale 
The Oscar Charts in all categories 

and yet another set to add to our imaginary doll collection

AND OSCAR WINNER INTERVIEWS

• Asghar Farhadi merging theater and film for The Salesman
• Krystof Deak preps for a big career with the little Sing
• Robert Legato putting exotic animals out of business with The Jungle Book
• Rich Moore on the global resonance of Zootopia 

UP NEXT
Don't go away! We're more creative off season when we don't have so many golden statue deadlines. Pleaes like us on Facebook, sign up for a newsletter (it'll start going out weekly in March), and consider being a patron saint so that we can keep doing this.

Coming in March, the 1963 Supporting Actress Smackdown, Michelle Pfeiffer and the costumes of Scarface, Logan and King Kong and Belle and Gaston all return to the movies (so much nostalgia at the multiplex), thoughts on Big Little Lies, Jake Gyllenhaal in Life, and the 50th anniversary of Thoroughly Modern Millie... "Rasberries!". And on April 1st, new predictions for the 2017 Oscars (yes, the 2017 Oscars. Don't get it twisted like the rest of the internet)

Thursday
Mar022017

Random Leftover Thoughts from Oscar Night...

by Nathaniel R

Yes, I'm trying to stave off the annual Post Oscar Depression. It's a real thing even if the medical community doesn't yet recognize it. So herewith some random final screengrabs from Oscar night and accompanying thoughts on topics we haven't totally covered yet over the past 3 days of Oscar reactions, recapping, post-mortem. (I promise we'll quit with Oscar 2016 by tonight and move on to other topics for those of you who've already moved on)

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Wednesday
Mar012017

Red Carpet: Best Dressed Women at the Oscars

Here's Jose with best looks from the 2016 Academy Awards...

And on Oscar Sunday Meryl said "let there be fashion", and then there was fashion.

The 2010's should not only be remembered for being the decade in which the greatest living actress earned her record-breaking 20th nomination, but also as the decade when she found a red carpet style that fit her iconoclastic image as both the Grand Dame of American cinema and someone who wants the world to think she "woke up like dis". In 2017 she even had her very first fashion feud (paging Ryan Murphy) when she had a PR battle with couture supervillain Karl Lagerfeld over a Chanel dress that was to be worn by no one (perhaps we will see Nicole wear it at Cannes someday?) In the end Meryl showed up in a statement-making Elie Saab couture creation in deep regal blue that combined pants with a ballgown, perhaps a nod to Hillary and the ultimate dig at T**** who believes there is only one way for women to "dress at work"? 

PS: She also forgave Karl.

Following in Meryl's magnanimity this year I present you my favorite looks from the Oscar red carpet unranked... 

Click to read more ...