8 items from 2015
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
The great Charles Laughton may not have been the prettiest of movie stars, but he had a presence that many matinee idols would have killed for (as the current retrospective running at Film Forum will attest). In an era in which glamor was everything, studio marketers may have struggled with how to present Laughton’s unconventional looks and his larger-than-life portrayals of larger-than-life characters (so many monsters, murderers, tyrants, or simply overbearing fathers) to the public. In most of the posters for his most famous film, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939), he is all but a silhouette, a spoiler alert to his monstrous transformation as Quasimodo. And in some posters for The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), the film for which he won his first Oscar, Henry is made to look more like the Hans Holbein »
- Adrian Curry
Actress Movita Castaneda — the second of Marlon Brando’s three wives, who appeared in such films as Mutiny on the Bounty opposite Clark Gable and Fort Apache with John Wayne — has died. She was believed to be 98. Castaneda died Thursday in a Los Angeles rehabilitation center after suffering a neck injury, a family friend told the Los Angeles Times. Castaneda played Tehani, a beautiful Tahitian who marries one of the insurgent sailors, in the 1935 version of Mutiny on the Bounty. The film was remade in 1962 with Brando, then Castaneda’s husband, playing the Gable role of Fletcher Christian. In
- Mike Barnes
By Anjelica Oswald
With the DGA Award in hand, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has become a frontrunner in the best director Oscar race for Birdman.
Only seven winners of the DGA Award have not won the best director Oscar in the 66 years that the Directors Guild of America has given the award. The most recent case was two years ago, when Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated for the best director Oscar for Argo, which won best picture.
No American has won for best director since 2011 and if Inarritu, who is from Mexico, takes the Oscar this year, the trend will continue. Inarritu could become the second Latin American director to win for best director, following Alfonso Cuaron’s win last year.
In the 86 years since the Academy Awards’ inception, 89 Oscars have been given for best director. Twenty-six awards (29 percent) went to non-American born directors.
At the first annual »
- Anjelica Oswald
Billy Wilder screenwriter-producer partner Charles Brackett remembered: Q&A with film historian Anthony Slide (photo: Charles Brackett ca. early 1940s) Six-time Academy Award winner Billy Wilder is a film legend. He's renowned for classics such as The Major and the Minor, Sunset Blvd., Some Like It Hot, and The Apartment. The fact that Wilder was not the sole creator of these movies is all but irrelevant to graduates from the Auteur School of Film History. Wilder directed, co-wrote, and at times produced his films. That should suffice. For auteurists, perhaps. But not for those interested in film history facts. That's why the Charles Brackett diaries offer such a refreshing glimpse into his and Billy Wilder's moviemaking process. Now, Charles who? Oscar winner Charles Brackett Charles Brackett (1892-1969) just happens to be the – largely forgotten – guy who co-created with Billy Wilder (and, at times, with a third screenwriting partner) classics »
- Andre Soares
By Anjelica Oswald
Birdman has claimed a number of principal awards this season, including the top awards from the Directors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild, and is one of the lead contenders in the best picture race.
The film has received nine nominations, including a supporting actor, supporting actress and leading actor nomination. Though the film probably won’t land Oscars in the supporting categories, Michael Keaton has situated himself as a frontrunner in the leading actor category, along with The Theory of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne.
Of the 86 films to win best picture, 36 (42 percent) won without procuring a single Oscar in the acting categories. Seven of those 36 won before the supporting acting categories were implemented at the ninth annual Academy Awards, and 11 of the 36 won without any acting nominations.
If Birdman wins for best picture but Keaton loses to Redmayne, Alejandro »
- Anjelica Oswald
British-born Bernard Telvin Williams, a producer of films including “A Clockwork Orange,” “Manhunter,” “What About Bob?,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Daredevil,” died of cancer in Lake Arrowhead, Calif., on January 4. He was 72.
Williams was associate producer not only on Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange,” but also on the director’s “Barry Lyndon.” Other producing credits include “The Bounty,” a reworking of “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson; the epic “Ragtime,” based on the E.L. Doctorow novel and directed by Milos Forman; Michael Mann’s “Manhunter,” the first Hannibel Lecter film; Bill Murray comedy “What About Bob?”; Frank Oz’s Michael Caine-Steve Martin vehicle “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”; the Steve Martin-Eddie Murphy comedy “Bowfinger”; and 2003 Ben Affleck superhero movie “Daredevil.”
His final credit came on the 2006 version of “Charlotte’s Web.”
Williams was also unit production manager on a number of the films that he produced. »
- Carmel Dagan
It’s December. And you know what that means? It means for every popcorn blockbuster, we get about three Oscar bait movies that are made solely to appease that body of somewhat stodgy Academy voters. Don’t get me wrong – a good portion of the Best Picture winners in history are still some of the greatest films ever made – “The Godfather” (Parts I and II), “Schindler’s List,” etc. But what about those historically good movies that got the nomination, but didn’t take home the prize? What about those popular movies that carried fan support, but lost out to a smaller, most of the time better, film? Well, here they are. This list focuses on those films that may or may not have been produced as Oscar bait, but earned the recognition of “Best Picture nominee,” only to walk away without the big prize. As usual, not in order of worst to best. »
- Joshua Gaul
8 items from 2015
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