This morning's 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations were, as expected, dominated by Steve McQueen's "12 Years A Slave," but the nominating committees did spread the love around more than most pundits would have expected. Many awards players earned one or two expected nominations only to be overlooked in key categories you would have expected a nod in. As HitFix's own Kris Tapley noted in his Spirits analysis, there may just be too many fantastic movies to go around this season, independently or studio produced.
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CULVER CITY, Calif. — A few weeks ago we ran an interview with the Coen Bros. about their latest film, "Inside Llewyn Davis." I put it up in a Q&A format rather than the usual prose kind of thing because the back and forth was so interesting to me. And for a pragmatic pair whose answers almost have more power in the context of the question, it made a lot of sense.
As I sat down to write up a lunch interview with star (and recent Spirit Award nominee) Oscar Isaac, it became apparent to me that it would benefit just as much from that treatment. The discussion has a natural flow and Isaac is so thoughtful in all of his responses that it would seem wrong to pick and choose the quotes that work best for a piece about the themes and character-building that went into the film.
Which brings me to another point about why a simple Q&A made a lot of sense. Just like the Coens, Isaac — as you'll plainly see in his answers — isn't too caught up in affectation and applying meaning to art. The existence of the thing is the thing. So the conversation, then, is the conversation. No fluffy piece built around choice excerpts. Just an hour-long chat about nostalgia, the life of a nomad, the impact of artists on community, music as an outlet, the inspiration of Buster Keaton and the danger of an actor's personality becoming bigger than the work itself.
Happy Tuesday, boys and girls, and welcome to the very first installment of the Firewall & Iceberg show, video-style!
On this week's inaugural edition, Dan and I introduce the basic format before moving on to advance discussion of "Tremé" and spoiler discussion of the "Boardwalk Empire" finale, sandwiched around a segment where we grade the broadcast networks on how they've done so far this fall. We also announced that, going forward, you can send us questions — for both the video and audio shows — to email@example.com, though you're certainly welcome to do it the old way if you prefer.
The video show will also be part of the same RSS feed, and therefore iTunes feed, as the audio podcast (which will be back tomorrow with an all-"Breaking Bad" discussion featuring a very special guest). And every episode of the video show, and the podcast, will be archived here.
We hope you like it. And as with the audio show, we will strive to keep getting better at this.
If you're already feeling like a post-Thanksgiving lump on Friday, you may want to watch "Untold Stories of the ER" (Discovery Fit & Health, 10:00 p.m. ET). No, it won't help you digest that wad of food that's probably still sitting uncomfortably in your stomach, but you can at least comfort yourself in knowing that you aren't sitting in an ER where people like the guy in this exclusive clip might be running around.
A man is kidnapped and forced to spend 20 years in isolation, in captivity, controlled but not harmed. He is finally allowed to escape and then he is given a single question to answer: who kidnapped him, and why?
It's an almost irresistible set-up for a film, and when Chan-wook Park adapted it as the middle part of his "Vengeance" trilogy, it was a perfect match of filmmaker and material. There is a fury to the film that is still somewhat terrifying when you see it, and Park delivers each new twist to the narrative like he's holding a knife that's already buried deep between two ribs, like he is enjoying each twist, knowing exactly what damage he's doing. While much of Spike Lee's best work is driven by a simmering anger, it's a very different kind, and his new version of "Oldboy" feels like someone stranded by material rather than someone liberated by it.
The former Robin Hood will play an on-call doctor.
So, this year's list of nominees for the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced. How did things shake out? Well, Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" led the way with seven nominations, but Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" wasn't far behind with six.
The nominees for Best Feature were "All is Lost," "Frances Ha," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska" and "12 Years a Slave." My first instinct was to cry foul that Richard Linklater's glorious "Before Midnight" didn't slip in and only managed nods for screenplay and female lead, but as someone put it to me on Twitter, perhaps that just goes to show the quality of work across the independent spectrum this year. There is only so much room.
The nominees for the 29th annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have been announced. Check out the full list below.
Winners will be revealed at the annual pre-Oscar Santa Monica ceremony on Saturday, March 1, 2014.
Joel and Ethan Coen's "Inside Llewyn Davis" has held a steady course since a Cannes bow, and going into the awards season, it looks to be as strong as ever. One person who could be recognized for his work in the film is John Goodman as the actor gets a whole vignette of sorts to himself in the film. And he makes the most of it, as he always does.