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Film Review: ‘2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Documentary’

30 minutes ago

The Academy has a strange idea of “best” when it comes to documentary shorts. Rather than celebrating innovation and artistry in this particular category, the organization’s nonfiction branch nearly always gravitates toward the mini-movies (40 minutes or less) that tackle the Big Issues — which this year include the crisis in Syria, immigration woes in southern Europe, the uneasy question of euthanasia, and, of course, the Holocaust. Should future historians want to gauge where the Academy’s political sentiments lay any given year, they need only analyze this category, which might more accurately be called “most important documentary short.” For film fans catching up with the nominees in cinemas or on-demand at home, the program makes for a downbeat but illuminating 2½-hour marathon.

In what feels like an incredibly polished infomercial for Wqxr’s instrument drive, “Joe’s Violin” combines two Big Issues in one: Joseph Feingold is a charitable Holocaust »


- Peter Debruge

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Will ‘Get Out’ Make Blumhouse the Pixar of Horror Filmmakers?

56 minutes ago

Get Out,” the low-budget horror hit that dominated the weekend box office, proves that it pays to be fiscally prudent and creatively risky. The story of a black man who finds himself preyed upon by liberal white suburbanites is a “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” for our racially polarized time. It’s a film that uses scares as social commentary.

Writer and director Jordan Peele, previously best known for his work on Comedy Central’s “Key & Peele,” never expected a studio to greenlight his project. At a time of #blacklivesmatter and Trump, that kind of subversion just seemed too hot to handle.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Peele said that when he told producers that he had a cool pitch, he would always add, “The caveat is: No one will make this movie.’” Most studios would greet any non-superhero related proposal these days with a hard pass, »


- Brent Lang

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How to Watch the 2017 Oscars Online

1 hour ago

After a year of anticipation, the 89th Academy Awards are just a few hours away.

ABC will air the ceremony beginning at 5:30 p.m. Pt/8:30 p.m. Et, with Jimmy Kimmel serving as first-time host.

Cord-cutters will be able to watch the Oscars online via live stream, available on ABC Go or the ABC app. The ABC app works on iOS and Android devices, as well as Roku, Apple TV, and Fire TV. The live stream, however, is only available to those with a cable provider and login. The telecast is also available via Sling TV and Playstation Vue.

Related

Jimmy Kimmel on Hosting the Oscars, Donald Trump Jokes and if Hillary Clinton Will Show Up

As previously reported, Sofia Carson and Ben Lyons will be hosting “The Oscars: All Access,” a free live-streaming companion show with red-carpet highlights, backstage footage, and sneak peeks at the main event. »


- Variety Staff

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Storm Chasers Honor Bill Paxton with ‘Twister’ Tribute

1 hour ago

Storm chasers from around the globe paid tribute to “Twister” star Bill Paxton on Sunday after news broke that the actor had died following complications from heart surgery. He was 61.

Using their Spotter Network markers, hundreds of storm chasers and weather fanatics lined up to Paxton’s initials across the infamous ‘tornado alley’ in Kansas and Oklahoma in a heartfelt ode to the late actor.

Paxton starred in the 1996 disaster classic “Twister” in which he and Helen Hunt lead a team of lovable scientists on a dangerous mission to gather more information about the deadly cyclones. The movie went on to gross $241 million worldwide and became the second-highest-grossing movie of 1996 behind “Independence Day.”

Paxton went on to make the IMAX documentary “Tornado Alley” and often spoke about his fascination with the weather phenomena having grown up in nearby Texas.

Storm chasers and weather nerds are awesome. Tribute for Bill Paxton. »


- Variety Staff

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The Audacity of ‘Get Out’: A Racial Horror Film That Dares to Be a Real Movie

2 hours ago

In the last 30 years, has any movie form been debased and degraded more than the horror film? Most fans of the genre probably wouldn’t agree, but it always astonishes me the extent to which mainstream horror movies have become blood-soaked funhouse video-game rides full of lurching logic, driven by shocks and jolts and soundtrack gongs and the same old “Amityville”-meets-“Exorcist” devil-in-the-haunted-house tropes.

The first revelation of “Get Out,” Jordan Peele’s exquisitely creepy and fun African-American nightmare movie, is that while it does have its moments of extreme violence (your jaw will drop, your spine will shudder), it’s a classical piece of old-school moviemaking: a drama of pace and suspense and motifs and relationships and three-dimensional space and psychology. In telling the story of Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya), a black photographer in his mid-twenties who drives upstate with his white girlfriend, Rose Armitage (Allison Williams), to visit her parents, »


- Owen Gleiberman

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James Cameron Honors Bill Paxton: ‘The World is a Lesser Place’

2 hours ago

Director James Cameron honored Bill Paxton on Sunday, saying “the world is a lesser place” after the actor died this weekend at the age of 61.

“I’ve been reeling from this for the past half hour, trying to wrap my mind and heart around it,” Cameron said in an email to Vanity Fair. “Bill leaves such a void.”

Cameron and Paxton were frequent collaborators, working together on the likes of “Titanic,” “Aliens,” “True Lies,” and “The Terminator.” They also teamed on a music video for Paxton’s band Martini Ranch. The director said the two met 36 years ago on the set of a Roger Corman film.

Related

Bill Paxton’s Career in Photos

“He came in to work on set, and I slapped a paint brush in his hand and pointed to a wall, saying ‘Paint that!,” Cameron said in the statement. “We quickly recognized the creative spark in each other and became fast friends. »


- Brent Lang

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Meryl Streep Slams Karl Lagerfeld Over Oscars Dress Drama: He ‘Defamed Me’

2 hours ago

Meryl Streep is firing back at Karl Lagerfeld after the designer claimed that the decorated actress eschewed a Chanel dress in favor of one Streep would be paid to wear at Sunday night’s Academy Awards.

Issuing a statement to media outlets on Sunday morning, Steep said, “Karl Lagerfeld, a prominent designer, defamed me, my stylist, and the illustrious designer whose dress I chose to wear, in an important industry publication. That publication printed this defamation, unchecked. Subsequently, the story was picked up globally, and continues globally, to overwhelm my appearance at the Oscars, on the occasion of my record-breaking 20th nomination, and to eclipse this honor in the eyes of the media, my colleagues and the audience.”

On Friday, Wwd, owned by Penske Media Corporation, which also owns Variety, ran an article in which Chanel’s creative director Lagerfeld made disparaging remarks over Streep’s decision to not wear a Chanel design. »


- Alex Stedman

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Hollywood Reacts to Bill Paxton’s Death: ‘Heaven Just Got a Lot More Fun’

4 hours ago

News of actor Bill Paxton’s surprising death after heart surgery swept the entertainment industry on Oscar morning. The actor, who was 61, appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, including “Big Love,” “Aliens,” “Titanic” and “Twister.”

Gale Anne Hurd, who worked with him on films including “Aliens” and “The Terminator,” said “Heaven just got a lot more fun with you in residence.”

I always knew you were an angel, Bill. Heaven just got a lot more fun with you in residence. Love you always… #Rip #BillPaxton https://t.co/gVV2SskfYg

Gale Anne Hurd (@GunnerGale) February 26, 2017

Arnold Schwarzenegger said “he was best at being Bill.”

Bill Paxton could play any role, but he was best at being Bill – a great human being with a huge heart. My thoughts are with his family.

Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) February 26, 2017

Schwarzenegger later released a video reminiscing about working with Paxton, one his best friends, »


- Variety Staff

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Apple Will Win Oscar Within Five Years, Analyst Predicts

4 hours ago

And the winner is…Apple!?

That’s the long-term Oscar prediction from Gene Munster, a Wall Street analyst-turned-venture capitalist famous–or maybe infamous–for his great expectations for the tech giant.

Munster not only envisions Apple collecting a statuette or two in not-so-distant future, but massive spending on original content on par with what Amazon and Netflix are already committing.

“We think Apple will win an Oscar in the next five years,” Munster wrote Friday on a research note issued by his company, Loup Ventures. “That’s how long it will take for Apple to scale its original content spend from less than $200 million today to $5-7 billion.”

Munster explains that the rationale for Apple to get into the movie business is the need for exclusive original content to drive user engagement within its broader ecosystem and increase revenues to its business’s Services division, which contains iTunes and Apple Music. »


- Andrew Wallenstein

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Oscars: Showers May Dampen Academy Awards Red Carpet

5 hours ago

Along with accolades for “La La Land” and criticism of President Trump, Sunday’s 89th Academy Awards ceremony has another strong possibility  — it will probably be drizzling outside. Host Jimmy Kimmel will kick off the show at 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.

The National Weather Service is predicting showers with an 80% chance of precipitation and temperatures in the 50s in the afternoon. The chance of showers will decline to 40% in the evening. But gowns should remain dry — Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Dolby Theatre is tented to protect the walkway where nominees and other notables will be photographed heading into the biggest night of the year for movies.

The exuberant “La La Land,” starring Emma Stone as a struggling actress and Ryan Gosling as a jazz musician, received 14 nominations on Jan. 24, matching “All About Eve” and “Titanic” for the most in Oscar history. Set in an idealized Los Angeles, »


- Dave McNary

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Bill Paxton, ‘Titanic’ and ‘Big Love’ Star, Dies at 61

6 hours ago

Bill Paxton, the versatile actor who appeared in films including “Aliens” and “Titanic” and played a polygamist on HBO’s “Big Love,” has died from complications following heart surgery. He was 61.

A representative for his family released a statement asking for privacy and saying, “Bill’s passion for the arts was felt by all who knew him, and his warmth and tireless energy were undeniable.”

With a Texas twang and grizzled visage, Paxton often found himself playing military men and cowboys. He was closely associated with James Cameron, playing a punk leader in “The Terminator,” as well as an ill-fated technician in “Aliens,” a venal car dealer in “True Lies” and a treasure hunter in “Titanic.”

Paxton earned an Emmy nomination for the 2012 mini-series “Hatfields & McCoys,” and was starring as a morally ambiguous detective in the CBS series “Training Day” at the time of his death.

Related

Bill Paxton’s »


- Brent Lang and Pat Saperstein

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Box Office: Jordan Peele’s ‘Get Out’ Scores Monster $30.5 Million Opening

6 hours ago

Get Out,” a trenchant horror film about race relations, rode critical raves to a smashing box office debut. The low-budget film was the weekend’s top-grossing domestic release, earning $30.5 million, and propelling its director and writer Jordan Peele atop Hollywood’s A-list. The film, which centers on a black man who discovers that his girlfriend’s liberal, lily-white hometown is guarding a sinister secret, marks a departure for Peele, best-known for his work on the Comedy Central series “Key & Peele.” It proves he can handle scares, as well as laughs, supplying sly social commentary in both genres.

Get Out” also extends Blumhouse Productions’ hot hand. The film company scored earlier this year with “Split,” a thriller about a man with a personality disorder that racked up $130.8 million stateside on a $9 million budget. Universal distributed, marketed, and partnered on both movies.

“It’s entertaining, it’s thought-provoking, and it’s subversive, »


- Brent Lang

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Animation Maestro Hayao Miyazaki Back at Work on Feature (Reports)

16 hours ago

The Japanese media has reported a comment by veteran Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki that studio maestro Hayao Miyazaki is working on a new feature.

Suzuki spoke at an event in Los Angeles on Friday for the Michael Dudok de Wit Oscar-nominated animation “The Red Turtle,” on which Ghibli was a production partner. Suzuki said that Miyazaki is “hard at work” on the film, plunging in without a written script.

The 76-year-old Miyazaki officially announced his retirement in September of 2014, but when the studio became involved in the production of “The Red Turtle,” Suzuki noted, “He didn’t like it that someone else was making a film at Ghibli.” He started working on a proposal for a new feature that he presented to Suzuki last July. The film may be a longer version of “Boro the Caterpillar,” a CGI animated short that Miyazaki was making for screenings at the Ghibli museum in Tokyo, »


- Mark Schilling

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Spirit Awards: ‘Moonlight’ Dominates En Route to the Oscars

19 hours ago

Four of the last five Film Independent Spirit Award winners for best feature have gone on to secure the best picture Oscar. But that wasn’t always the status quo. Rather, it’s indicative of the Academy Awards’ slow evolution into something resembling the Spirits.

The last best feature Spirit winner to sit out the Oscars’ top race was “The Wrestler” in 2008, which was notably the last time the Academy’s best picture field was limited to five nominees. Since that shift, every Spirit champ has also been Oscar-nominated for best picture (some fudged in thanks to softly governed budgetary limitations).

Why? You have to go back to that very critical Academy decision eight years ago, expanding the best picture field first to 10 nominees, then to anywhere from five to 10 depending on how Byzantine math unfolds. It was a move meant to open the door to popular films, but instead »


- Kristopher Tapley

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‘Toni Erdmann’ Remake: Maren Ade Praises Jack Nicholson, Says She Will ‘Definitely Not Be Involved’

20 hours ago

After winning a Spirit Award for best international film, “Toni Erdmann” director Maren Ade stepped into the backstage press tent where the media was interested in asking her one question in particular: What does she think of the news that her film is set to be remade with Jack Nicholson touted to play a central role?

“It’s a bit funny because I always had the feeling that it was a movie that could be remade,” she said. “When we were shooting it was one of my favorite jokes to say, ‘It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect, it will be done better in the remake,'” Ade said.

Related

Spirit Awards: ‘Moonlight’ Wins Best Feature Film Award

When asked if she would be a part of the remake, Ade dismissed rumors that she would be involved.

“That was a wrong announcement maybe, or it was misunderstood, I will definitely not be involved, »


- Will Thorne

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Isabelle Who…ppert? A Beginner’s Guide to the Oscar-Nominated ‘Elle’ Actress

20 hours ago

“Isabelle who…?” It’s a question I’ve gotten more times than I’d care to count this Oscar season, as audiences discover the fearless star of Paul Verhoeven’s subversive French thriller “Elle” — who just added an Independent Spirit Award to the collection of accolades the role has earned. Still, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, if you count yourself among the cinephiles who are only now learning Mme Huppert’s name (pronounced “Hoo-pair”).

Just yesterday, the French film academy honored Huppert with her second César award — but even her compatriots are late to the party. She’s been nominated 16 times, but France takes the provocative — and extremely prolific — actress for granted. After all, she’s never not acting, whether it’s on stage (from “Medea” to “The Maids”) or screen (at a rate of two or three movies a year). When French audiences see “Elle,” in which »


- Peter Debruge

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Casey Affleck Slams Trump Administration’s ‘Abhorrent’ Policies in Spirit Awards Speech

21 hours ago

During what was a mostly apolitical ceremony — especially when compared with those of the awards season so far — Casey Affleck took his moment at the Spirit Awards podium to call out the Trump administrations’ “abhorrent” policies.

Affleck won best lead actor at the independent film awards on Saturday for his role in “Manchester by the Sea.”

After Affleck grabbed his trophy and gave initial thanks, he expressed some hesitation about saying anything political.

Related

Spirit Awards: ‘Moonlight’ Wins Best Feature Film Award

“Now I’m going to do something that I know I shouldn’t do,” he said, sounding trepidatious. “I should just whisper it in the bathroom, and I have whispered it to myself in the bathroom.”

Then he resolved, “But I feel like increasingly my kids don’t listen to me unless it’s something I say on TV.”

And, with that, Affleck took aim at the White »


- Seth Kelley

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Academy Rescinds Sound Mixing Oscar Nomination for Violation of Campaign Regulations

23 hours ago

The Academy announced on Saturday, the day before Oscar Sunday, that Greg P. Russell’s sound mixing nomination for “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” has been revoked for “violation of Academy campaign regulations.” Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth remain sound mixing nominees for the film.

“The decision was prompted by the discovery that Russell had called his fellow members of the Sound Branch during the nominations phase to make them aware of his work on the film, in direct violation of a campaign regulation that prohibits telephone lobbying,” the release said.

Related

Who Should Win the 2017 Oscars? How Variety’s Critics Would Vote

“The Board of Governors’ decision to rescind Mr. Russell’s nomination was made after careful consideration,” Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “The Academy takes very seriously the Oscars voting process and anything – no matter how well-intentioned – that may undermine the integrity of that process. »


- Seth Kelley

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Spirit Awards: ‘Moonlight’ Wins Best Feature Film Award

25 February 2017 1:46 PM, PST

Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” won the best feature award at the Spirit Awards on Saturday. The film dominated as it won six awards total including prizes for director and screenplay.

Moonlight” won the feature award over “American Honey,” “Chronic,” “Jackie” and “Manchester by the Sea.” The trophy went to producers Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Adele Romanski.

Casey Affleck won best actor for his role in “Manchester by the Sea” and Isabelle Huppert took the best actress trophy for her role in Paul Verhoeven’s thriller “Elle.”

Affleck blasted President Donald Trump without naming him in his acceptance, saying, “The policies of this administration are abhorrent and will not last.”

Related

Casey Affleck Slams Trump Administration’s ‘Abhorrent’ Policies in Spirit Awards Speech

Huppert gave strong support to the role of independent film, saying, “Good cinema is independent — it’s independence that makes art win.”

Moonlight’s” Joi McMillon »


- Dave McNary

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Oscar Pre-Parties 2017: Inside Alfre Woodard’s Sistahs Soiree, Chanel, Bulgari & More

25 February 2017 1:40 PM, PST

There is always a lot to celebrate during Oscar week, but many of this year’s special occasions toasted to something in particular: a historical year for Oscar nominations by the Academy. Diversity and inclusion was front and center for celebrations throughout the week, from Alfre Woodard’s Sistahs Soiree, to Common’s pre-Oscar dinner (pictured above), to African-American publications Ebony and Essence toasting to black Hollywood at their respective fetes. 

Women were also a part of the conversation. While the landmark moment for people of color was applauded, the ladies in the industry were still pushing for progress at the Women in Film’s annual cocktail reception, which sprinkled in motivational speeches from Brie Larson and Meryl Streep with the hors d’oeuvres.

Take a peek inside this year’s pre-Oscar celebratory gatherings below:

Related

The Ultimate Oscar Party Guide 2017

Oscar’s Sistahs Soiree:

Progress, not politics, was what »


- Variety Staff

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