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Yes, Damien Chazelle’s ‘La La Land’ Really Will Win Director and Picture Oscars — Here’s Why

17 February 2017 2:17 PM, PST

Late in the Oscar season, at the moment when voters actually fill in their ballots (the deadline is February 21 at 5 pm), it all comes down to what movies they have actually seen. What did they love the most, and is freshest in their minds? Which film aligns with the zeitgeist, delivering the message that 6,000 voters want to send?

The five directing nominations tend to line up with the strongest Best Picture contenders, although snubbed director nominee Ben Affleck did win Best Picture win for “Argo.” However, that underdog story became a narrative in itself that drove “Argo” to the win.

This year, the narratives include the aftermath of#OscarsSoWhite and the election of Donald J. Trump. Which will stick?

Here’s how the Best Director and Best Picture races are shaking out.

La La Land” is the magical, romantic, modern-yet-retro musical about artistic passion created by wunderkind Damien Chazelle and his gifted collaborators, »


- Anne Thompson

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IndieWire’s Movie Podcast: Screen Talk (Episode 136) – Oscar News Isn’t the Only Big News This Week

17 February 2017 12:11 PM, PST

The Oscars are a week away and voting closes even sooner than that. But it’s hard to think about the mayhem of awards season when Donald Trump is giving press conferences. So for this week’s episode of Screen Talk, Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson start off by discussing how those headlines have taken over the media landscape, before turning back to the movies. They also debate whether or not “The Great Wall” is really that bad (but they both agree it’s not that good), then dig into the best animated short films category and look ahead to next week’s blitz to the finish line.

Listen to the full episode above.

Screen Talk is available on iTunes. You can subscribe here or via RSS. Share your feedback with Thompson and Kohn on Twitter or sound off in the comments. Browse previous installments here, review the show on »


- Indiewire Staff

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Broad Green Pictures Is Missing Release Dates and Angering Filmmakers. Here’s Why.

16 February 2017 4:13 PM, PST

It was baffling when distributor Broad Green Pictures pulled Lucy Walker’s “Untitled Buena Vista Social Club Documentary” from the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, the same day as its intended premiere, with a press release that said the “post production process has taken longer than expected.”

Nearly a month later, Broad Green has made no further comment on the film’s status, but its homepage still boasts that “Lucy Walker’s Buena Vista Social Club documentary will have it’s [sic] official world premiere at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival!”

That disconnect (and typo) could be a matter of sloppy site maintenance, but multiple IndieWire interviews with people familiar with Walker’s film and Broad Green suggest more complex issues dog the three-year-old would-be studio. (Walker declined to comment for this article; Broad Green executives didn’t respond to requests for comment.)

Read More: Lucy Walker’s Buena Vista Social Club Documentary Pulled From Sundance

Walker, »


- Anne Thompson and Graham Winfrey

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‘La La Land’: How to Shoot a Musical Number — Watch Exclusive Video

15 February 2017 2:58 PM, PST

Even after “Whiplash” turned him into a hot filmmaker, Damien Chazelle kept his eyes on his own goals. He maintained a monk-like focus and intensity, which was shared by his composer, collaborator, and chum, fellow Harvard grad Justin Hurwitz. Film student Chazelle got school credit for his thesis movie, black-and-white jazzy Nouvelle Vague musical homage “Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench” (2010, Variance Films), although music major Hurwitz did not.

Read More: 10 Musicals to Watch on Netflix If You Just Can’t Get Enough ‘La La Land

“It was a musical,” Chazelle told me, “the really low-budget, student laboratory for this. It had somewhat similar ideas about the genre, and at the time I was loving old Hollywood musicals, Fred and Ginger, and Gene Kelly, but also loving documentary film and trying to think of a way to make a realistic musical: combine a modern look at a city with the old musicals. »


- Anne Thompson

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‘Oj: Made in America’ Will Win the Best Documentary Oscar — Here’s Why

15 February 2017 8:30 AM, PST

As usual, the five nominees in the fiercely competitive Best Documentary Oscar category are comprised of high-profile hits and festival award-winners with the right combination of accessibility, artful filmmaking, and gravitas. However, this year’s race was marked by outside factors that included #OscarsSoWhite and the election of President Donald Trump. (Of note: Filmmakers of color directed four of the five nominated feature documentaries.)

Here’s how the documentary race shakes out:

O.J.: Made in America” (Ezra Edelman, Espn, May 20)

Scoring great reviews at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival was Ezra Edelman’s five-part movie “O.J.: Made in America,” an exhaustive, eye-opening examination of O.J. Simpson and race relations in Los Angeles from the ’60s through the Trial of the Century and beyond.

The movie swept through awards groups: it won three Cinema Eye Honors awards, took home the Ida for Best Feature, the Gotham, the National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, »


- Anne Thompson

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‘Moonlight’ Has 8 Oscar Nominations, But An Adapted Screenplay Win Is Almost Guaranteed

13 February 2017 7:06 AM, PST

Don’t abandon hope, “Moonlight” lovers.

On Sunday, the BAFTAs shut out “Moonlight,” which had four nominations. Among them, writer-director Barry Jenkins competed in the Original Screenplay category against eventual BAFTA winner Kenneth Lonergan (“Manchester By the Sea”). These two also compete at the Writers Guild. On Oscar night February 26th, when “Moonlight” has eight chances to win, it should take home at least one Oscar in another category, Best Adapted Screenplay.

The BAFTA for Adapted Screenplay went to Australian writer Luke Davies for “Lion.” But at Saturday’s USC Scripter Awards, which have accurately predicted the adapted category for the last six years, “Moonlight” beat “Lion.” On Oscar night, “Moonlight” should do that again.

Here’s how the Adapted Screenplay Oscar race shakes out.

Barry Jenkins and Tarell Alvin McCraney (“Moonlight”)

The Academy moved two scripts, “Moonlight” and “Loving,” from Original to Adapted. Technically, the play Jenkins adapted with McCraney, »


- Anne Thompson

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