It was a series of circumstances that led to Roman Coppola's working relationship with director Wes Anderson. Filmmaker Kit Carson first introduced the two after being involved with Anderson's short film (and soon-to-be feature) "Bottle Rocket." Coppola really liked the film but doesn't recall whether there was necessarily any spark of a future collaboration in there. It was just the beginnings of an aesthetic appreciation.
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For professional pundits and armchair awards geeks alike, the short film categories can be the most fun to handicap -- since there's little basis on which to size up the race beyond the films themselves, and even then, it can hard to guess what Academy voters will see in them. For every year that the winner seems patently obvious, there's another in which the voters surprise with something out of left field. And getting a look at the nominees before the ceremony is no longer the rare advantage it once was: Magnolia Pictures and Shorts International released this year's live-action and animated short nominees on February 1.
Though last year's winner in the category, Irish writer-director Terry George, was an established name in feature film circles, this category is traditionally the domain of up-and-comers, with a number of past champions progressing to bigger things: Andrea Arnold ("Fish Tank"), Martin McDonagh ("In Bruges"), David Frankel ("The Devil Wears Prada") and current DGA president Taylor Hackford all made significant breakthroughs with a win here. Whether any of this year's finalists will progress to their ranks is, like everything about this category, anyone's guess.
The nominees are...
Sometimes I feel like it would be helpful for the International Film Music Critics Association to release its list of nominees prior to the Oscar nominations. There is no real "precursor" to help understand what the music branch might be thinking. Then again, as evidenced by this year's slate, maybe they wouldn't be that helpful at all. A critics group's choices are bound to differ from a group of composers' choices, and so it has this year.
Four films led the way with three nods each: "Cloud Atlas," "The Impossible," "Life of Pi" and "Lincoln." Only the last two, of course, managed Oscar nominations. But Alexandre Desplat also had a great showing, nominated for film composer of the year and receiving individual notices for work on "Moonrise Kingdom," "Rise of the Guardians" and "Zero Dark Thirty." He was Oscar-nominated for "Argo" and also cranked out music for "Rust and Bone." I imagine he'll be right back in the thick of it next year with "The Monuments Men."
Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be announced on February 21. And as always, you know, The Circuit.
We’ve really come a long way since Cole Porter wrote “a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking” for “Anything Goes.”
Now we live in a world where CBS has to send out an official memo to any talent —presenters and performers— appearing on air during the 55th Annual Grammy Awards telecast on Feb. 10.
[More after the jump...]
Focus Features is very much in he LAIKA business now, and after the success of "Coraline" and "ParaNorman," the two are teaming up again on "The Boxtrolls."
The film, which began production today and is set for an October 17, 2014 release, will be another stop-motion/CG hybrid 3D endeavor directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable. It's based on Alan Snow's best-selling fantasy adventure novel "Here Be Monsters" and will feature actors Ben Kingsley, Toni Collette, Elle Fanning and Isaac Hempstead-Wright on the voice cast, among others.
“The Avengers" was a pet project of Marvel Studios for years. After planting characters in solo films for half-a-decade, the superstar extravaganza hit the big screen last summer. Despite much risk, it was a rapturous success. Last month, the film earned a well-deserved nomination for Best Visual Effects and I recently spoke with Jeff White, visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light and Magic and one of the four artists who shared that nomination, as well as Victoria Alonso, Executive Vice-President of Marvel and executive producer of the film, about crafting the film and the visual effects.
It almost seems inevitable.
First, you've got that moment when a comic performer breaks through giving a performance in a supporting role in someone else's film, and everyone goes crazy about how good they are and then next thing you know, scripts that have been sitting around in development get hastily rewritten and that supporting part that was created for Jim Carrey is suddenly just right for this person, and this film that was just sort of stalled out is suddenly a priority because that's the reward for that breakthrough moment, even though nine times out of ten, that reward ends up being sort of terrible.
It is a perfect example of how the best intentions, and the most logical business practices, can still result in a flat-out terrible movie. Right now, we're about to see what happened because of every single review that pointed out how funny Melissa McCarthy was in "Bridesmaids." When I visited the set for that film, it was obvious immediately that whatever McCarthy was doing, she wasn't doing it halfway. She was very funny in conversation, but she was also very clear about how much work she'd done to help figure out the character she was playing. And by the time the work-in-progress screening at SXSW finished, it was obvious that she had pretty much wrestled "Bridesmaids" to the floor and beaten it senseless.
"Argo" may have taken a decisive lead in the Best Picture race with its slew of guild wins, but with two weeks of voting left, "Lincoln" isn't going to go away quietly -- indeed, the year's most nominated film seems to be renewing its media presence, most notably with an extensive interview piece in the New York Times, in which Steven Spielberg and many of his below-the-line collaborators, including nominees Janusz Kaminski, John Williams, Michael Kahn, Rick Carter and Joanna Johnston, weigh in on the challenges and rewards of making the film. This emphasis on team effort should cast the film in a positive light to voters, as does Spielberg's explanation of what separates the film from his other work: “I’ve never made a film where this was going to succeed or fail based on the writing and based on the performances ... Maybe this is the quietest directing I’ve done in my life.” [New York Times]
The good news is that this week, the chefs get off the cruise ship and get to cook on solid ground. I never love challenges that make working in a crappy or weird kitchen a major obstacle to overcome. Weird ingredients? Fine. But I don't want to see people forced to cook with one hand tied behind their back or no hands, just feet or whatever the heck. Let these people make great food. The good news is that, in Alaska, with its great, fresh fish, they may be able to do just that.
At this point, I will only be treating it as news when JJ Abrams is not attached in some way to a new film in development. It will be easier for all involved, I believe.
One of the first things I did when I got home from dropping the kids off at school this morning was hopped on Kotaku to watch them live-blog an event at the D.I.C.E. Summit where JJ Abrams was onstage with Valve's Gabe Newell, and while it seemed at first like it was an discussion of the ways that games and movies approach narrative differently, it also ended up being an announcement of a partnership that should surprise no one at this point since it is evidently impossible to get a science-fiction project made without Abrams being involved.
Valve has been a very strong company in terms of creating IP that seems like it is ripe for further exploitation. There are plenty of video game fans, myself included, who would love for Valve to make a "Half-Life 3" sometime this decade, and I'd be as excited for that as I would be for any movie that might get announced.
A review of tonight's "The Americans" coming up just as soon as I do something horribly masculine with reindeers and wood chopping...