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'And the Oscar will go to' … who shall win the 2017 Academy Awards, and why

2 hours ago

Make room for Denzel Washington in the three-timer club and Emma Stone on the podium: our awards expert tells you where to put your money

Damien Chazelle’s heartbroken contemporary musical is unbeatable, with a record-equalling 14 nominations, a global box-office haul of more than £270m and a trophy cabinet already stacked with key precursor awards, from the New York Critics Circle to the Producers Guild of America to its whopping haul at the Golden Globes. The only question is how emphatically it’s going to sweep the Oscars. La La Land is so far in the lead, it’s hard to tell what’s even running second. Moonlight was shaping up as a spoiler, but has lost momentum to uplifting crowdpleaser Hidden Figures, the surprise victor at the Screen Actors Guild awards.

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- Guy Lodge

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'Ken Loach for kids': the minds behind My Life As a Courgette

3 hours ago

A boy who kills his alcoholic mum is the unlikely star of this Oscar-nominated family film. Its makers tell us about taking young audiences seriously and planning to ‘crush their little hearts’

Animations made outside of the Us rarely get a look-in come Oscar night, Aardman and Studio Ghibli being the only non-American studios to win since animation was given its own category in 2001. On top of that, a “family film” whose nine-year-old protagonist kills his mother might seem a tad dark for voters. And who could fancy the chances of any film, for any prize, when it has the name of a vegetable in its title?

That said, Ma Vie de Courgette, nominated as My Life As a Zucchini and described by its director as “Ken Loach for kids”, has already been breaking the mould. With a clutch of film festival prizes and a European film award, it happens »

- Demetrios Matheou

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David Stratton on bad reviews, director tantrums and watching a new film every day

8 hours ago

As the documentary about him, A Cinematic Life, screens in cinemas, the esteemed film critic reminisces about a life lived in front of the silver screen

Luke Buckmaster: As in your autobiography, I Peed on Fellini, the documentary David Stratton: A Cinematic Life reminisces on the time Geoffrey Wright – the director of Romper Stomper – hurled a glass of wine at you at a party. Do any other stories come to mind, about film-makers who reacted badly to what you’ve written or said?

David Stratton: When I was writing for Variety, way back in the mid-to-late 80s in Cannes, in the first week of the festival I’d been assigned to review an Icelandic film. Reviews in those days were sent off by telex or something, then they’d be printed in the weekly Variety in New York and shipped back to Cannes. So always, the reviews of the »

- Luke Buckmaster

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George Clooney: Trump is a 'Hollywood elitist', Bannon is a 'failed director'

10 hours ago

Clooney criticized the president, who still collects a substantial sum from prior film and TV roles, as part of the elite he regularly rails against

George Clooney has accused Donald Trump of being part of the Hollywood elite he has regularly criticized, adding that his chief strategist Steve Bannon is “a failed film writer and director.”

Related: The new culture war: how​ ​Hollywood took on​ ​Trump

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- Guardian staff

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Bafta Shorts 2017 review – a bright, broad-minded movie medley

13 hours ago

The shorts vying for this year’s award are a varied selection that tell stories of Europe’s migrant crisis, factories in China and Troubles-era Belfast

The Bafta tradition of giving a touring release to their nominated short films gets more interesting and more valuable by the year: the portmanteau film lives again. The 2017 anthology of live-action and animated shorts is a mixed bunch, inevitably, but there’s a lot to enjoy – and admire – in this non-parochial, globally minded selection. For me the most successful is Daniel Mulloy’s Home, a through-the-looking-glass journey into the issue of refugees, starring Jack O’Connell and Holliday Grainger. It’s a bold, simple idea, executed with commitment and ambition. Charlotte Regan’s Standby is a funny, clever study of two coppers that persuasively tells the story of a tender and protective friendship. Consumed is a documentary by Richard John Seymour about the Chinese »

- Peter Bradshaw

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Get Out review – white liberal racism is terrifying bogeyman in sharp horror

15 hours ago

Writer-director Jordan Peele masterfully combines incisive social commentary with genuine, seat-edge suspense in film exploring evils of American suburbia

There’s a great, often under-appreciated, history of social commentary within the horror genre. From John Carpenter’s politically charged They Live to Bryan Forbes’ haunting adaptation of The Stepford Wives, Ira Levin’s icy take on the male fear of second-wave feminism, scares and satire used to arrive simultaneously. But somewhere along the way, that tradition has been jump-shocked out of its seat, popcorn flying, and replaced with vapidity, an impatient teenage audience force-fed predictable thrills over a story that might provoke or inspire debate.

Related: Get Out: the horror film that shows it's scary to be a black man in America

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- Benjamin Lee

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Xavier Dolan: 'If I didn't make movies, I would be a very angry man'

18 hours ago

Child star. Model. Directing prodigy. The wildly talented Xavier Dolan opens up about drugs, fame, film and family

Québécois actor and film-maker Xavier Dolan is loved, and maybe even a little bit resented, as the young-adult prodigy of world cinema. Just 27 years old, he has directed no fewer than six highly successful feature films beginning with I Killed My Mother, made when he was 19. His naughty-cherub good looks have earned him a modelling contract with Louis Vuitton, and he also has a highly lucrative secret connection with Hollywood … of which more in a moment.

Related: Mommy review – outrageous and brilliant, a daytime soap from hell

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- Peter Bradshaw

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Martin Scorsese's The Irishman bought by Netflix

22 hours ago

Streaming giant take on project – starring Robert De Niro as mob hitman Frank Sheeran – after director’s film Silence underperforms

In its latest statement of film business intent, streaming giant Netflix has bought worldwide rights to Martin Scorsese’s upcoming The Irishman, which had been set up at Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures.

No figures have been announced on the value of the deal but according to a report in Indiewire, which industry sources later confirmed to Variety, Netflix has acquired the rights once held by Paramount in North America and Stx Entertainment in the rest of the world (for which the latter had paid $50m in 2016).

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- Andrew Pulver

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My favourite best picture Oscar winner: The Sting

22 hours ago

Continuing our series of Guardian writers’ picks of the great Academy Award winners, Andrew Pulver explains why the Paul Newman and Robert Redford caper is the most purely enjoyable film in Oscar history

No one, in all honesty, would go to the best picture Oscar list for a defining rundown of the best American cinema. Too many short-shelf life films get through the voting process and rise to the top: Crash? A Beautiful Mind? Really? Middling-to-decent tends to triumph. Actual dyed-in-the-wool classics are rare: The Deer Hunter and The Godfather, and possibly No Country for Old Men and Birdman, are among the only highlights of the past five decades.

Related: My favorite best picture Oscar winner: Unforgiven

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- Andrew Pulver

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Cult Japanese director Seijun Suzuki dies aged 93

23 hours ago

Film-maker who paired pop art visuals and yakuza hitmen in Tokyo Drifter leaves behind a singular, surreal body of work that gained international acclaim

Celebrated Japanese film director Seijun Suzuki, best known for cult 1960s yakuza films Tokyo Drifter and Branded to Kill, has died at the age of 93. Suzuki died on 13 February, with the cause given as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in a statement from Nikkatsu film studios.

Born in 1923, Suzuki served in Japan’s meteorological corps in the second world war, and then in 1948 joined the Shochiku studio as an assistant director. Despite spending his time there as “a melancholy drunk”, as he described it, he was hired by the newly reopened Nikkatsu in 1954, again as an assistant director. Two years later he graduated to the director’s chair with Victory Is Mine, a pop-song movie credited under his given name, Seitaro Suzuki.

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- Andrew Pulver

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Lindsay Lohan: 'I was racially profiled and asked to remove headscarf at Heathrow'

22 February 2017 2:17 AM, PST

The actor, who has been studying Islam, has said she was ‘freaked out’ by the request during an airport check

Lindsay Lohan, the actor best known for her roles in films such as Mean Girls, has said she was “racially profiled” at Heathrow airport recently.

Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Lohan, 30, said she was requested to remove her headscarf by security staff queuing for a flight to New York, having lately returned from Turkey.

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- Catherine Shoard

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Why Hell or High Water should win the best picture Oscar

22 February 2017 2:13 AM, PST

David Mackenzie’s cops and robbers thriller is a throwback to a golden age of Hollywood that reflects smartly on the current plight of post-industrial America

When the best picture nominations were announced on 24 January, most of the raised eyebrows were over who and what wasn’t there: no Martin Scorsese and Silence, no Tom Ford and Nocturnal Animals (both of which had been heavily tipped) – and no Deadpool either, which the Marvel devotees had been hoping would overturn the usual superhero shutout. It took a while to notice that the David Mackenzie-directed Hell or High Water had made the list instead; although, if we’re being honest, no one is talking it up for an actual victory. (All the bookies have it as 10th in a 10-horse race, 100-1 being the standard odds.)

It’s a shame that it’s the outsider because in another era, you could »

- Andrew Pulver

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End of empire: why Bollywood needs to grasp India's story

22 February 2017 12:59 AM, PST

Seven decades after independence, Indian cinema is still struggling to depict the Raj, leaving its screen depictions – from Gandhi to colonial racism – to be viewed almost solely through British eyes

In 1968, 20 years after Indian independence and partition, producer-director duo Peter Rogers and Gerald Thomas released Carry On Up the Khyber in British cinemas. It was a raunchy, imperialistic romp, set against the backdrop of the Raj – the British colonial rule in India that lasted till 1947.

Looking back, the Carry On humour hasn’t dated well. Not only is the sexist slap-and-tickle at odds with modern sensibilities but the film is awash with casual racism. Bernard Bresslaw and Kenneth Williams “brown-up” to play the not-so-hilariously named Bungdit Din and the Khasi of Khalabar, while Sidney James yak-yak-yaks away with his lustful eyes fixed on buxom Brits dressed in saris.

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- Joseph Walsh

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'They are heroes': Angelina Jolie honours survivors of sexual violence in Cambodia

21 February 2017 7:38 PM, PST

Actor says those now speaking up about forced marriages at Khmer Rouge tribunal will be supported

Angelina Jolie has paid tribute to the survivors of forced marriage under the Khmer Rouge and pledged to continue advocating on behalf of women and girls who suffer from sexualized violence in conflict.

Jolie has spent the past few days in Cambodia, where her new made-for-Netflix film, ‘First They killed My Father,’ premiered on Saturday night in Siem Reap’s Angkor Wat temple complex.

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- Lauren Crothers in Phnom Penh

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Cate Blanchett lip-synchs to You Don't Own Me at New York drag show – video

21 February 2017 4:59 PM, PST

At a benefit to end gun violence organised by the Newtown Action Alliance, Cate Blanchett took to the stage at New York’s historic Stonewall Inn wearing a sparkling gold bra, a blazer and glittering red lips – with her husband Andrew Upton among those in the crowd.

The Australian actor lip-synched to Dusty Springfield’s take on You Don’t Own Me, before returning to the stage for Margeaux Powell’s performance of Adele’s Hello, donning a pink ‘pussy hat’ – the knitted beanies that were prevalent throughout the Women’s March on Washington.

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- Guardian Australia

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Moonlight shines at UK box office as Lego Batman overshadows Fifty Shades

21 February 2017 10:02 AM, PST

Animated family favourite still top as Moonlight creeps in to join fellow Oscars hopeful Hidden Figures

Declining a slim 19% at the weekend, The Lego Batman Movie tops the UK box office chart with £4.44m, and £17.45m after 12 days of play. The half-term holiday saw steady daily business for the animation, and the film added a healthy £9.54m over the past seven days. More schools are on holiday this week, so robust business should continue.

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- Charles Gant

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Us cinemas to show Nineteen Eighty-Four in anti-Trump protest

21 February 2017 7:39 AM, PST

Coordinated screenings across North America set for 4 April to highlight Orwell’s portrait of a government ‘that manufactures facts’

Nearly 90 cinemas in the Us and Canada are planning to show the film adaptation of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, starring the late John Hurt, in protest at President Trump’s policies. The coordinated screenings will take place on 4 April, the date that the book’s central character Winston Smith writes on the first page of his illegal diary.

Related: Peter Bradshaw on John Hurt: 'A virtual folk memory of wisdom and style'

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- Andrew Pulver

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My favorite best picture Oscar winner: Unforgiven

21 February 2017 5:28 AM, PST

Clint Eastwood went back to the genre that made his name and deconstructed its tropes, making it current by incorporating the psychological impact of killing

The best picture race at the 1993 Oscars was one where many sides of 20th century machismo were examined – usually by groups of men shouting really loudly at each other. There was Scent of a Woman, where Al Pacino road tested his mid-90s “maximum volume” approach; Stephen Rea’s howls in the Crying Game; and Jack Nicholson’s bellows of pure testosterone in A Few Good Men. Merchant-Ivory’s rather more subtle Howard’s End featured mostly internal screams brought on by that most vexing of subjects: Edwardian class struggle. The winner, though, was a film in which toxic masculinity oozed out of the screen, delivered with a mix of muttering and barely raised voices.

Related: My favorite best picture Oscar winner: Midnight Cowboy

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- Lanre Bakare

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Why Hidden Figures should win the best picture Oscar

21 February 2017 1:19 AM, PST

Theodore Melfi’s feelgood biopic about three African-American women working for Nasa in the 1960s breaks boundaries with a knowing kick of its kitten heel

Traditionally the period drama sweeps the red carpet at the Academy Awards, training the best picture statuette in its sights with the aid of lavish costumes, detailed sets, a casual approach to factual accuracy and important historical figures stuttering or slaying evil kings. In 2017, however, it’s not easy to argue the case for this sort of crowd-pleaser when the rest of this year’s slate boasts largely gritty, groundbreaking and norm-challenging nominees. But Hidden Figures manages to both stay faithful to the genre’s most enjoyable elements while puncturing the boundaries with a knowing kick of its kitten heel.

Theodore Melfi’s biopic tells the previously untold story of Katherine G Johnson (Taraji P Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe »

- Kate Hutchinson

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How we made The Crying Game

20 February 2017 11:00 PM, PST

Miranda Richardson: ‘I got some flak off Ira sympathisers. They thought my portrayal of a terrorist was unflattering’

The last two films I’d directed in America had been bruising. If I couldn’t get The Crying Game made, I intended to give up directing and return to writing. The provocative nature of my script – which addressed the Troubles, race, sexuality and gender confusion – made it hard to finance, but I was thrilled to just be making something I believed in. The opening tracking shot of the fairground, from the bridge over the River Nanny in Laytown, had great personal resonance. I grew up in County Meath and spent much of my childhood playing beside that bridge. My father died while fishing underneath it.

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- Interviews by Jack Watkins

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