Less than a week away from the unveiling of the Academy Award nominations, a question near the top of many Oscar pundits' minds is whether or not "Skyfall" can actually crack a Best Picture nomination. What seemed a long shot just two months ago has since become a far less fanciful notion, as the 23rd official entry in the James Bond franchise has consolidated its strong reviews and gangbusters box office with a healthy precursor showing, most notably with the guilds.
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Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
As usual, the Oscar race for Best Cinematography presents an embarrassment of riches this year. Contending directors of photography have offered exemplary work, whether highlighting fantasy or history, focusing on land or water, displaying composed and gorgeous widescreen shots or gripping action and dynamic camera movement.
One film managed to do all of these things, and used two DPs to do it. I'm referring, of course, to “Cloud Atlas,” where John Toll and Frank Griebe collaborated with the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker on what is widely considered one of the most ambitious films of the year.
It's that time once again, boys and girls, for Dan, Liane and I get to camp out at the happiest place on earth: the Television Critics Association press tour!
Ang Lee could well miss the Best Director cut when the Oscar nominations are announced next week, but even if he does, the "Life of Pi" director is receiving plenty of appreciation from below-the-line branches. The Motion Picture Sound Editors will be feting him in February, and now the Visual Effects Society has followed suit: Lee will receive their Visionary Award, first presented last year to Christopher Nolan, at their awards ceremony next month. VES awards chair Jeff Okun says, "[Lee] pushed the envelope of creation of visual effects for telling a story. In our generation, only 'Star Wars' did that." It certainly won't be the only recognition "Life of Pi" receives from this particular guild. [Variety]
I am a big fan of today's news that Kevin Hart's new stand-up concert film "Let Me Explain" will be getting a theatrical release date, and especially the idea that Summit is aiming for a major summer weekend slot for the film.
It's not even because of Kevin Hart. As a stand-up, I think he's been very good at cultivating a certain voice and a certain character, and I think when he's on a roll, he is very good at riding a laugh and really milking the audience. He is a comedian who has paid his dues on the road, building a fanbase, and who has also been very smart about how he has handled the release of each of his stand-up specials and CDs so far.
What excites me most is the mere idea that any stand-up concert film in the year 2013 could go head to head with things like "Man Of Steel" and "Pacific Rim" and "Iron Man 3" for box-office real estate. A few years ago, I saw Louis CK's "Hilarious" at Sundance and pretty much tore something inside myself laughing at it. It remains one of the best theatrical stand-up experiences I've had, and I'm a fiend for this stuff.
Finally someone would like to shake things up a little bit again. The Central Ohio Film Critics Association has chosen Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" as the year's best film, and not only that, but given it five awards, including Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Score and Best Ensemble. Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for "Lincoln" while Jennifer Lawrence took Best Actress for "Silver Linings Playbook." Check out the full list of winners below and as always keep up with the season via The Circuit.
Final four! The end is in sight, and while I'm still shocked that Josh and his very questionable taste level are still in the game, I think this is a pretty strong group. Hopefully this challenge will inspire Uli to use a fabric that isn't white, Emilio to use a color that isn't blinding and Anthony Ryan not to make that same cut-out silhouette he likes so much. Given that they'll be dressing real women, this should separate the real designers from the people who'd rather be dressing coat hangers.
I am an original recipe first-generation fan of "Evil Dead." I liked the first film before there was a sequel, and by the time "Army Of Darkness" opened, I was already starting to struggle with the difference between the thing that first won me over and the thing that was now being made. In the end, each of the movies is so different that I view them almost like different riffs on the same theme and not direct sequels to one another.
The one thing that is consistent about all of the Raimi "Evil Dead" films is the presence of Bruce Campbell as Ash, and this is one of those cases where I would argue that the actor and the part are completely inseparable. The reason I think of Bruce Campbell as iconic is because of his work as Ash, and the reason Ash is so fascinating is because of what Bruce Campbell did while playing him. The way Raimi and Campbell tweaked the tone of the movies from "Evil Dead" to "Evil Dead 2" to "Army Of Darkness" is fascinating, and basically, the more mainstream the series became, the more they tipped the balance from horror to humor.
It's always an interesting moment for a filmmaker where they go from making their films in relative obscurity and then trying to get an audience to pay attention to having the audience's attention already and then trying to deal with scrutiny during production. It's the difference between being a huckster and managing hype. Some people manage it quite well, and others get positively freight-trained by the experience.
Which kind of person is Gareth Evans?
We'll find out this year. After all, when "The Raid" made its debut at the Toronto Film Festival, I'd wager less than half of the audience in the room had seen his first film, "Merantau." I was on a jury that gave "Merantau" an award at ActionFest, and when I wrote about that film, I remarked that what set Evans apart at first was his obvious attention to every aspect of the film and not just the action. He's not just a guy who can shoot a great stunt, although he certainly has an eye for that. He's also a guy who understands that the more connected we are to the characters onscreen, the more involved we'll be in any action scene that unfolds. It helps that he has found a group of action stars who also have real screen charisma, and in Iko Uwais, he may have found his very own movie star that he can work with over and over again.
Are you ready Seth MacFarlane? Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are ready to make the 70th Golden Globe Awards the funniest and most entertaining telecast of the year.
"My album is more done than yours...and I just started a week ago," says Angel Haze on her new track "One the Edge." And thus starts the flame-war between Haze and another upstart rapper Azealia Banks with battle bars.
The two artists erupted in a Twitter brawl today, starting with an apparent lob from Banks on rappers claiming to be from New York who aren't.
Some of the Tweet nastiness has been deleted, replaced with some half apologies and a lot of chest puffery. The next move was apparent: within hours, Haze had a pretty personal diss track up on Soundcloud.
Now, I'm not really interested in a Tweet fight, especially in this still-small world of female MCs that have a long race to run even after they're done trying to put each other down. Nicki and Kim did it. Was kinda gross, but it yielded some fun.
"On the Edge" is personal. It's practically psycho-sexual.