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Film Bitch Awards: Diva and Sexpot Nominations

1 hour ago

I'm working on the character page portion of the awards. Today write-ups for the Diva and Sexpot of the year with nominees from Magic Mike Xxl, Saint Laurent, Spy and more. Hero & Villain categories coming shortly.

Bear in mind that I don't let characters cross over into more than one category lest they dominate too many categories so, for instance, you won't see Lysistrata from Chi-Raq under Best Diva, though she is one because she fits the Sexpot category to a T (and A). She owns it. And she's not giving it away. "No Peace. No Pussy." 

The film doesn't work at all if you don't see how badly Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon), her gang leader boyfriend, wants that "nappy pouch". Teyonah Parris is on in this movie and it's so hard to believe it's the same actress that played quiet confident Dawn in Mad Men, just trying to earn her »

- NATHANIEL R

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Posterized: The Coen Brothers

7 hours ago

Hail, Caesar!, opening in theaters nationwide today, marks the 17th feature film from the highly decorated and much cinephile-obsessed over sibling auteurs Joel Coen and Ethan Coen.  Joel is the elder by 3 years and after he worked as an assistant on Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead, the brothers made their first feature, Blood Simple (1984) which caused a mini sensation at festivals and the arthouse. From there on out they slowly became more mainstream directors in the best way possible: they brought the mainstream to them rather than changing their genre-hopping singular ways. Thirty-two years later they're now a showbiz institution with four Oscars and actual big hits on their resume. 

Their seventeenth feature is only their second movie about movies. The first was the rather discomfiting Barton Fink (1991) which won the Palme d'Or at Cannes. Will Hail, Caesar! age as well? How many of their films have you seen? 

all »

- NATHANIEL R

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Michael B Jordan is the Big Winner at the Image Awards

8 hours ago

Michael B Jordan was top dog at the Annual NAACP Image Awards taking both Outstanding Actor and Entertainer of the Year prizes for his work in Creed, which obviously should have netted him an Oscar nominations (we honored him here). Creed was a big player, too, taking Writing and Directing and Supporting Actress (Phylicia Rashad) prizes only to lose the Outstanding Motion Picture prize to Straight Outta Compton

In other curious developments Idris Elba, fresh off a SAG win, lost the Supporting Actor prize to O'Shea Jackson Jr for Compton. As a reminder of the strange nominee list, of the central trio in Compton only Jason Mitchell (who played Easy E) was snubbed, despite being the actor who received the strongest reviews within the film. 

The image awards, now in their 47th year, are kind of an all purpose awards show for black artists so they also honor literature, music, »

- NATHANIEL R

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Oscar Screenplays Quotability Index

23 hours ago

Manuel here. In a lot of people’s minds, a great screenplay requires at least one quotable line. Look no further than the poster for the 2006 awards which celebrated great lines from Academy Award winning films. Lines like "Rosebud", "Show me the money!" and "I coulda been a contender" — or more recently, "You know what's cooler than a million dollars?" and "Argofuckyourself" — immediately remind you of the film's in question, functioning as helpful shorthand. A good line is sometimes all you need. And so, since we know Tfe readers love themselves a list, we had to rank the 10 films nominated for screenplay categories in order of quotability:

10. Ex Machina

Is there such a thing as "visually" quotable? Because that's certainly the case here.

9. Bridge of Spies 

The one truly iconic catchphrase in these screenplays but otherwise, not much else, no?

8. Brooklyn

News of that TV spinoff means more vintage banter! »

- Manuel Betancourt

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Official Oldie Olivia de Havilland!

5 February 2016 2:00 PM, PST

David here with a bit of golden Hollywood news you may have missed and definitely need to know about.

Two-time Best Actress winner and third-oldest Oscar nominee still living, Olivia de Havilland is understandably rarely seen in public. So we must send our precious thanks to satirical British magazine The Oldie, who honoured Olivia in their annual awards as one of their 'Oldies of the Year' and managed to elicit both a photograph, signed letter and a recorded thank you from the star, which was played at their ceremony this Tuesday and can be heard over on the BBC website.

The Illustration she's holding is by Gary Smith who has been featured on the site before.

In the letter, she made note of her early withdrawl from public life:

I must admit that I have not had much time recently to reflect on what it means to be old. I »

- Dave

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Interview: Carter Burwell on Composing "Carol" and "Hail, Caesar!"

5 February 2016 10:16 AM, PST

Carter Burwell gives great soundtrack. The proof is all around us. His scores are everywhere right now, in movie theaters with Charlie Kaufman's Anomalisa and the Coen brothers Hail, Caesar! and in the Oscar mix; his work on Carol brought him his long long overdue first nomination for Best Original Score.

The 60 year-old composer started his music career in the punk scene but after that fateful first collaboration with the the Coens on Blood Simple (1984) he quickly become a film regular. He's composed every Coen brothers score since then with the exception of Inside Llewyn Davis. They aren't the only filmmakers who steadily rely on his gift. He's worked frequently for Bill Condon, Michael Caton-Jones, Spike Jonze, John Lee Hancock, and Todd Haynes among others.

I asked him how he keeps his work fresh with so many projects and how he approached the recent challenges of the "ridiculous" comedy of Hail, »

- NATHANIEL R

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Colette vs. Mary Magdalene

5 February 2016 8:39 AM, PST

Here's Murtada speculating very early on the 2017 Oscar race.

There’s usually a real life person in the best actress lineup. It’s not as prevalent as it is in best actor - 4 this year. But we do have Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence). Last year there were Jane Hawking (Felicity Jones) and Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon). Recently we got everyone from Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) to Marilyn Monroe (Michelle Williams) and Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard) and most famously The Queen (Helen Mirren) and her 80s nemesis Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep). Now we have two more possible candidates for the 2017 Oscar race as two interesting biopics were announced this week with two actresses well known to the Academy. French writer Colette (to be played by Keira Knightley) and Jesus disciple Mary Magdalene (Rooney Mara). 

Colette in 1920s

Colette is the more intriguing figure, at least to this non-believer. Born in 1873 she was a journalist, »

- Murtada Elfadl

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"Brooklyn" Bounces to TV

5 February 2016 7:00 AM, PST

The big screen to TV spinoff window keeps getting smaller, now with an adaptation truly worth fawning over. Brooklyn producers Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey are bringing a spinoff of the Best Picture nominee to the BBC.

As if that wasn't enticing enough, the series is to center around house matron Mrs. Keogh with star Julie Walters set to reprise her role. We're well on the record about adoring those boarding house scenes, from the charmingly tart to the emotionally resonant. If the show can be as inspired as everything we got from the time spent under Mrs. Keogh's roof, we're in for something special indeed.

The concept of the show itself leaves much to obsess over as details develop on this one. Will any of the original ensemble members be returning along with Walters? Has Dolores found any chill? Who is *ahem* trustworthy enough to inherit the basement room from Eilis? »

- Chris Feil

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Birthday Beauty Break: Charlotte & Jennifer & Barbara & Laura

4 February 2016 9:24 PM, PST

February 5th is a big day for Actress birthdays. Two of this year's Oscar nominees are celebrating birthdays today! How about that? Charlotte Rampling, Best Actress nominee, is 70 today and Jennifer Jason Leigh, Best Supporting Actress nominee, is 54. And to round out the 1-time nominee party, it's also Barbara Hershey's special day. She's 67.  Finally, since  The Lovely Laura Linney, turning 52, is one of our most beloved actresses we can't leave her out if we're talking Oscar love.  

Happy Birthday Oscar Beauties!

After the jump, I've selected 7 of their most important performances each (excluding current roles) and, to make it more fun, they're in chronological order so you can see how the careers overlap. Sound off on these beauties in the comments.

»

- NATHANIEL R

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Let My People Link

4 February 2016 5:09 PM, PST

The Daily Beast the Coen Bros on diversity vs the Oscars. But they don't take kindly to complaints about Hail, Caesar!'s whiteness

Decider Joe Reid ranks the top 50 performances in Coen Bros movies. Much to argue with but also to agree with. The #1 is indisputable.

i09 Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey) signed as the male lead of X-Men spinoff tv series Legion who may or may not be insane

Variety Jake Gyllenhaal's Boston Marathon bombing movie is a go  

Decider "Let My People F***" amusing piece on the conservative sexual morality of the Duplass Brothers filmography 

IndieWire Viggo Mortensen's new film Captain Fantastic, which sounds intriguing, will open on July 8th. It co-stars Frank Langella, Kathryn Hahn, and George Mackay (who played the young photographer in Pride)

Theater Mania Mark Rylance, fresh off his Oscar nomination, returns to the New York stage with Nice Fish (and possibly Farinelli »

- NATHANIEL R

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New Poster & Trailer: Jake Gyllenhaal in "Demolition"

4 February 2016 1:23 PM, PST

A rather simple deconstruction concept for this poster but it works. You can't really go wrong with that face.

You may recall I was wild about Jake Gyllenhaal's performance when this played at Tiff in September, if less wild about the film surrounding it. It's now scheduled to open on April 8th.

The real question is how many more great star turns does this man have to give before The Academy gives it up for him? He hasn't even been able to snag a second nomination despite running circles around other Best Actor nominated performances. 

Here's the new trailer which is a fairly accurate representation of the movie without being excessively spoilery. His wife dies at the very beginning of the movie which is the catalyst for the plot as you can see...

Are you a Yes No or Maybe So? I suspect it depends on how much of a Gyllenhaalic you are. »

- NATHANIEL R

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Interview: Alicia Vikander on Modern Girls, Talking Robots, and Scandinavian Celebrity

4 February 2016 9:00 AM, PST

Vikander at the SAG Awards where she won Best Supporting ActressWhen I sat down with Alicia Vikander to discuss her career she was full of surprises, and not just in the way she answered questions. She approached in what looked like the simplest black dress, nothing special at all, until she turned around and the dress had an elaborately elegant back with a trailing bow. She promptly plopped down in a chair, opened a small bag of chips, and began munching away. She's a vision, alright, but the vision kept shifting: Unadorned Beauty, Glamorous Star, Girl Next Door

This hard to pin down picture shouldn't come as a surprise. In the short time we've been watching her she's been equally believable as a sly robot, a conflicted Danish queen, a debutate Russian aristocrat, a bohemian artist whose world is turned upside down, and a British writer during wartime.

But she's been so ubiquitous this year, »

- NATHANIEL R

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"To enter the mind of a killer she must challenge the mind of a madman."

4 February 2016 7:00 AM, PST

Oh...um... If this door should fall down or, ha ha, anything else, this is the number for our Baltimore field office. 

I love Clarice Starling's little 'I mean... what could happen?' nervous chuckle just before she slides under that fateful "Your Self Storage" facility door, don't you?

Remember when we tag-teamed Alfred Hitchcock's Rebecca? We're doing the same for Jonathan Demme's thriller classic Silence of the Lambs (1991) for its 25th anniversary next week. Be here Monday through Friday at 12:30 Pm Est next week for each continuing chapter of the retrospective!

For maximum pleasure, if we may use such a word for this macabre event, rewatch 1991's Best Picture with us and join the conversation! »

- NATHANIEL R

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Links: Secret Talents, Visual Effects, Best Girlfriends

3 February 2016 8:30 PM, PST

Salon Why Rooney Mara can't win for Carol. Interesting piece on what really matters in Supporting Actress (Hint: Best Actor)

McN David Poland looks at the writers branch and how the new Academy rules might affect them

Gurus of Gold interesting to see where the volatility is in the new charts: Best Picture and Best Director contain all the (seeming) drama 

Towleroad Jonathan Groff interviewed by Kevin Sessums talks sex scenes in the Looking movie, filming wrapped, and his Sutton Foster obsession 

 

Av Club The Flash will officially crossover with Supergirl despite different networks

Variety on the new warp speed market for television shows 

The Film Stage first clips and new images from Jeff Nichols's Midnight Special. I'm not watching them because I want to be surprised 

Variety Jessica Chastain still looking for her Oscar movie, in talks for Woman Walks Ahead, about a 19th century woman who advised »

- NATHANIEL R

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Q&A Pt 2: Comic Winners? Revisiting Characters? Oscar Darlings of 2026?

3 February 2016 2:30 PM, PST

Yesterday we got all the Leonardo DiCaprio questions out of the way so now on to other Reader Questions. Let's jump right in. Here's eleven questions from readers. You asked. I'm answering.

Eurocheese: What's your favorite comedy to win Best Picture?

Nathaniel: Toss up between It Happened One Night (1934) and Tootsie (198---Damnit. Tootsie is >>>>>>>>>>>>>> Gandhi)

Chris James: Sylvester Stallone now holds the record for the longest time between Oscar nominations for the same character (39 years between 1976 nomination and 2015 nomination). Which nominated roles would you love to see a sequel of 39 years after their original film with the same actor reprising the role? Is there some from the past year or are there any characters this year you would love to check in with 39 years down the road?

Nathaniel: What a cool question! Unfortunately a lot of these characters might not be alive in 40 years... so we'll have to stick »

- NATHANIEL R

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HBO’s Lgbt History: The Case Against 8 (2014)

3 February 2016 12:00 PM, PST

Manuel is working his way through all the Lgbt-themed HBO productions.

Last week we talked about the thrilling and necessary anger fueling Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart, something not even Ryan Murphy’s at times clumsy direction could quell. From that we turn to what might be the limpest most inessential HBO Lgbt film I have encountered in this entire series (sorry, The Out List, you had a good run): Ben Cotner and Ryan White’s The Case Against 8.

There’s a fascinating, informative, and entertaining doc to be made about the circuitous road to overturning California’s same-sex marriage ban, but Cotner and White’s film isn’t it »

- Manuel Betancourt

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Interview: 'Rams' Director Grímur Hákonarson on Working with Sheep and Icelandic Idiosyncrasy

3 February 2016 9:30 AM, PST

In Grímur Hákonarson’s darkly funny Rams, two brothers who haven’t spoken in decades must unite forces to save their legacy when the government demands all their livestock must be slaughtered to contain a disease. Hidden behind long beards and stubbornness, Gummi (Sigurður Sigurjónsson) and Kiddi (Theodór Júlíusson) take on the impossible task of trying to outsmart the government, making for a fascinating allegory about the things we lose in the name of progress. After premiering at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize in the Un Certain Regard category, Rams went on to being chosen as Iceland’s Foreign Language Oscar submission. As the film opens in the Us, I got a chance to sit down with Hákonarson who spoke about how his childhood shaped the film, how Cannes changed his life, and shared interesting trivia about sheep.

Jose: Your parents used to send you »

- Jose

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Action Sequences: Man vs Bear, Max vs Furiosa.

3 February 2016 7:07 AM, PST

The Film Bitch Awards "extra" categories have commenced. We've already discussed Ensembles, Breakthrough, and Casting and now we hit Action Sequences. These are sometimes hard to define as with the much celebrated fourth installment of Mad Max which could be described in its entirety as "chase sequence" but I've tried to break it down a bit for these purposes. Given the choreography, wonder and passion happening on Fury Road the bar was high and even hugely entertaining fight sequences that I thought would be easy placements for the category like the "Hulkbuster" fight in The Avengers: Age of Ultron or technical wows like Johnson vs. Sporino in Creed (all in one continuous shot!) were edged out.

Films with standard action setpieces, whatever their other strengths, like the two biggest blockbusters of the year (The Force Awakens and Jurassic World) or films with inventive brief moments that didn't quite transcend their »

- NATHANIEL R

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Judy by the Numbers: "Got a New Pair of Shoes"

3 February 2016 5:00 AM, PST

Anne Marie is tracking Judy Garland's career through musical numbers...

Though nobody guessed it when she was cast, Judy Garland’s fifth movie would be the first in a series starring the most famous child actor team in Hollywood history. Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry, a Freddie Bartholomew vehicle sadly missing its intended star, saw the first team up of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Though both played supporting parts, their onscreen chemistry is clear. These kids were a hit!

The Movie: Thoroughbreds Don’t Cry (MGM 1937)

The Songwriter: Arthur Freed (music and lyrics)

The Players: Ronald Sinclair, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, directed by Alfred E. Green

The Story: This bizarre little musical number perfectly encapsulates what would become the Mickey and Judy dynamic. Mickey is busy working at a project – in this case, trying to take Ronald Sinclair’s pants off (just in case you needed your daily dose of unintended homoerotic subtext). Meanwhile, »

- Anne Marie

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Q&A Part 1: Leo's World.

2 February 2016 3:00 PM, PST

Dear Readers, Last week I asked for more reader questions but since three of them at least were about Leonardo DiCaprio let's get them all out of the way as an appetizer to the main Q&A post. Ready... here we go.

Lady Edith: Now that you have experienced the "Jonas blizzard" so recently how do you feel about giving "The Revenant" Oscars? [More]

»

- NATHANIEL R

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