12 items from 2015
Today, in an effort to combine the past and the present, I wanted to take a look at how the winners in the big eight categories of this most recent Academy Awards ceremony compare to the all time best. To try and figure this out, I’m actually going with the lists of the top 25 in each category that I put out last year. It’s an interesting exercise, since it’s impossible to know which will and which won’t stand the test of time, but there’s a few educated guesses that can be made. For my money, a few of the performances will certainly be remembered for years to come. I don’t think it’s impossible for you to have forgotten already, but here are the big eight winners: Best Picture went to Birdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, Best Director went to Alejandro González Iñárritu »
- Joey Magidson
That’s it. It’s over. A winner has been crowned. Birdman joins the illustrious ranks of Best Picture winners like The Godfather, On the Waterfront, Titanic, and uh, Crash.
With Aljeandro Gonzalez Inarritu's backstage drama taking home the top prize, and claiming additional awards for Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Cinematography, only time will tell if it is remembered and revered the same way we now look back on The Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, and Annie Hall. Or, in time, will leave us scratching our heads like the aforementioned Crash, A Beautiful Mind, or Shakespeare in Love whose repeat value and hindsight show that there may have been more deserving winners in those years:Brokeback Mountain, Capote, Saving Private Ryan, Life is Beautiful, Gosford Park and Moulin Rouge all lost out in their respective years.
The Academy Awards have now awarded 87 Best Picture winners. »
- Rachel West
Part I: The Lawrence Bureau
T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935) ranks among the 20th Century’s oddest heroes. This short, smart, and mischievous British soldier helped organize the Arab Revolt against Turkey, a secondary front of the First World War. He became Emir Feisal’s trusted ally, painfully conscious that the Allies wouldn’t honor promises of independence. After the Paris Peace Conference, Lawrence retreated into the Royal Air Force and Tank Corps as a private soldier, T.E. Shaw.
Lawrence lived a curious double life, befriending both private soldiers and notables like Winston Churchill and George Bernard Shaw. He wrote memoirs and translated Homer while repairing boats and seaplanes. His intellect, warmth, and puckish humor masked internal torment – guilt for failing to secure Arab freedom, regret for two brothers killed in the war, shame over an incident where Turkish soldiers sexually assaulted him.
In his autobiography Seven Pillars of Wisdom, Lawrence »
- Christopher Saunders
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
Vin Diesel lets his Facebook fans choose who he stars alongside. The 'Fast and Furious' star has revealed that he chose to work with Jason Statham on the latest installment of the action film series after it was suggested by a number of his fans. Speaking on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he said: ''I listen to Facebook feedback. It's always been important to me. I feel like if Marlon Brando had a Facebook, there would have been an 'On The Waterfront 2'. ''When you're alone and you're reading the feedback, it hits you so if I go and I say, 'Who would you like to see me work with?' And I see the comments saying, 'Jason Statham, Jason Statham,' it's a good idea to listen. And now it is him.'' The film also features the late Paul Walker - who died »
The International Film Music Critics Association has revealed nominations for best in movie music from 2014, and prolific composers James Newton Howard ("The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," "Maleficent") and Alexandre Desplat ("Godzilla," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," "The Imitation Game," "The Monuments Men") led the way with seven and six nominations respectively. Film score of the year contenders include just two Best Original Score Oscar nominees: "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and Hans Zimmer's "Interstellar." "The Imitation Game" and Jóhann Jóhannsson's "Theory of Everything," however, were both nominated in the drama category. "Maleficent" landed the most nominations for a film with four, while DreamWorks Animation's "How to Train Your Dragon 2" picked up three (each of them another if you count composer of the year honors for Howard and John Powell respectively). Check out the full list of nominees below. Winners will be revealed on Feb. 19. And be sure »
- Kristopher Tapley
Often called the greatest actor of his generation, if not all 20th-century cinema, Marlon Brando was also one of the most enigmatic, unpredictable, even damaged of movie stars offscreen. That complexity is limned as well as a documentary possibly could manage in “Listen to Me Marlon,” which draws on an extraordinary estate archive of personal materials to let the man tell his story (and analyze) himself. Sure to hold surprises for even those obsessives who’ve absorbed every Brando performance and factoid, this fascinating, artful pastiche merits specialized theatrical release in addition to inevitable cable and rental sales.
The title comes from self-hypnosis tapes we hear that the late subject made for himself, one among umpteen strategies for finding some inner tranquility. While there’s plenty of evidence here that Brando was a “difficult” person, and frequently a disastrous influence on those who loved him, the thing that comes through »
- Dennis Harvey
Despite its title, A Most Violent Year is not about St. Louis in 2015 but about New York City in its most crime-ridden year of 1981. Oscar Isaac stars as ambitious Colombian immigrant Abel Morales, who began his career as a truck driver for a heating oil biz run by a mobster whose daughter Anna (Jessica Chastain) he eventually married. Abel took over ‘Standard Heating Oil’, and grew it quickly – but too quickly in the eyes of his competitors. As the movie opens, Abel and his attorney (Albert Brooks) are on the verge of a big move – borrowing a million and a half dollars to buy two oil tanks in a prime area of Queens. With 30 days to secure the cash needed to close the deal, it’s a risky investment, but if all goes according to Abel’s plan, he will eventually be able to store and move fuel on a larger scale. »
- Tom Stockman
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Listen to Me Marlon” are intimate and revealing, and one of them is also loud
Kurt Cobain and Marlon Brando, two cultural icons from vastly different eras and arenas, took center stage at the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, with the back-to-back world premiere of documentaries that drew heavily on words and footage from the rock and acting legends.
“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” and “Listen to Me Marlon” could scarcely be more different. The former is a blistering, raucous and unwieldy look at the Nirvana frontman, the latter an elegant meditation on the »
- Steve Pond
Exclusive: Documentary filmmaker Stevan Riley (Blue Blood, Fire In Babylon) got the chance of a lifetime when he was granted access to more than 200 hours of audio tapes Marlon Brando made during the course of his life, a personal archive of never-before-heard musings, acting studies, self-hypnosis and insights the enigmatic Oscar winner had hoped to turn into an autobiographical film before his death in 2004.
With the blessing of Brando’s estate and help from Searching For Sugar Man’s John Battsek (who produced alongside George Chignell and R.J. Cutler), Riley put Brando’s own intimate thoughts on Brando to film in Listen To Me Marlon, which premieres Saturday in competition at Sundance in the World Cinema Documentary program.
- Jen Yamato
Will “American Sniper’s” gargantuan box office make it a surprise favorite at the Oscars? The Clint Eastwood drama about Navy Seal Chris Kyle is peaking just days before voters are about to receive their ballots on Feb. 6. Over the long weekend, the Warner Bros. release made an estimated $105.3 million — already more than any of the other best picture nominees.
The Academy is often stubbornly immune to popular sentiment; “Avatar,” after all, lost to “The Hurt Locker” in 2010. And for that reason, I still think “Boyhood” is going to win best picture. It’s the frontrunner that’s picked up nearly every precursor award, and “Sniper” missed out on a crucial directing nomination for Eastwood. Only four films in Academy history (including 2012’s “Argo”) won picture without a director nomination.
- Ramin Setoodeh
The American Film Institute is probably best known for those lists of the 100 Greatest Movies of All Time (y'know... if it's an American production in some way). Well, every year they hold their own awards, because every group of people has to have awards. They recognize the ten best films (for this year, it's eleven due to a tie) and the ten best television programs of the year. There are not winners in these categories, but each one gets celebrated. On that front, I kind of like the AFI approach to awards. Along with the awards, AFI has put together this four and a half minute montage chronicling the last 120 years of film. Now, it would be ridiculous to cover every single year. Instead, they start with 1894's Strong Man and jump every ten years, showcasing films like Rear Window, The Godfather: Part II, Pulp Fiction, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind »
- Mike Shutt
12 items from 2015
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