15 items from 2015
Alejandro G. Inarritu was as unabashedly frank backstage at Sunday night’s Academy Awards as his movie “Birdman,” about a washed-up superhero-movie actor attempting to reinvent himself on Broadway, was unapologetically bold.
When asked about the apprehension in conceiving of such a daring cinematic undertaking, the writer-director declared, “Fear is the condom of life; it doesn’t allow you to enjoy things.” As the crowd exploded in laughter, he added, “I did it without, and this was the result; it was real. It was making love.”
It was that raw, unconventional nature of “Birdman”— the magical realism of star Michael Keaton moving objects with his mind, floating three feet off his dressing-room floor in a lotus position and flying through New York City — that helped Inarritu’s movie nab four Oscars for best director, picture, original screenplay and cinematography.
Guido Vitti for Variety
Less than 15 hours since talking the stage to accept his honors, »
- Jenelle Riley
Taking home four Oscars out of its nine nominations, including Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay and Cinematography, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman was the big winner at this year’s Academy Awards. Premiering last August at the Venice Film Festival (where it left with trio of minor awards), cinematography has long been the awards season lock for the film (winning Lubezki a BAFTA), and it’s picked up a pair of Golden Globes (Screenplay and Actor) and a host of critic’s choice awards. Box office has also been profitable, opening last October in limited release before expanding nationwide Mid-November to successful box office results—its Best Picture win will most likely edge it over or close to the one hundred million mark.
- Nicholas Bell
Linklater and “Boyhood” had been regarded as the awards-season front-runners until recent weeks.. The unique nature of “Birdman,” with its long takes and intensity, has elevated the status of the latter.
Inarritu directed “Birdman” to be shown as a single shot with production taking place in 23 days in New York City during the spring of 2013 with a budget of $16.5 million.
The Oscar win for Inarritu comes two weeks after he took the DGA trophy – one of the top indicators of Oscar sentiment with all but seven of the DGA winners since 1948 going on to take the Best Director Oscar. Fellow Meixcan »
- Dave McNary
Up until last year’s “Birdman,” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu was mostly known for making gritty, dour dramas with sprawling ensembles. Though the Best Picture nominee does have its own introspective moments, most of the runtime is filled with a dizzying madcap energy that makes the Inarritu of “Amores Perros” seem lightyears away from the Oscar frontrunner of today. With this year’s Academy Awards only days away, it’s time to take a look back at the filmography of the Oscar nominee. Thanks to our pals over at Press Play, there’s a short video essay from Steven Thomas being floated around that tracks the Mexican director from his debut feature-length film 15 years ago to last year’s triumphant (CG-assisted) one-take wonder. Watch Thomas’ “Focus” below and pick up “Birdman” on DVD or Blu-ray starting today. »
- Cain Rodriguez
It has not been an easy week. At the start of the week, we had our editorial meeting here at HitFix, as we do every Monday, to talk about both the week ahead and longer-term projects as well. For fairly obvious reasons, there was a fair amount of talk about Valentine's Day content, and I mentioned a few different ideas that I might write about, including one that I'll end up publishing at some point about Steve Martin. But even as I pitched a few ideas, I found myself uncomfortable with the entire idea of writing about romantic films right now. Honestly, I was hoping to spend this week with my head down and then just sail right through this weekend without writing about love at all, because for the first time in my adult life, I am no longer sure what I think about it. After all, I was with my wife for 14 years. »
- Drew McWeeny
Throughout this week, the Landmark Theatre in Los Angeles presents a career-spanning retrospective of the films of Oscar-nominated "Birdman" director Alejandro González Iñárritu. Last night, the Landmark screened his breakout debut and 2001 Foreign Oscar nominee "Amores Perros," the first in his series of three sprawling, gritty crime epics about disparate, lethally entwined souls. This means you can also catch screenings of his moving brain-teaser "21 Grams" and exhausting Best Picture nominee "Babel," as well as Iñárritu's 2010 departure "Biutiful" starring an Oscar-nominated Javier Bardem. Watch Exclusive Interview: Why Alejandro González Iñárritu Took Risks on "Birdman" On Saturday, February 7, the day of the Directors Guild Awards, DGA-nominee Iñárritu and his trusty Oscar shoo-in Dp Emmanuel Lubezki (who also lensed Terrence »
- Ryan Lattanzio
Alejandro González Iñárritu has certainly not allowed success to make him complacent. The Mexican filmmaker, who rose to prominence following 2000's Amores Perros, is at the peak of his popularity at the moment. His film, the Michael Keaton-starrer Birdman, is currently lighting up the awards circuit. In that film, he employed an extremely sophisticated and technological style of visual storytelling that made the entire movie feel like it was shot all in one continuous take. For his next film, Iñárritu continues to push his storytelling limits.
What visual flare is he going to bring this time around? According to a recent first-look the director offered Entertainment Weekly, the production can only shoot a few hours a day because they're filming using only natural light, »
- Mario-Francisco Robles
With Birdman still reveling in Oscar nominations, director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is already hard at work on his next film, The Revenant. This is the film that may have caused Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy to drop out of Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs biopic and Suicide Squad, respectively. Lest you think that Inarritu is returning to the same contemporary dramas he was known for before Birdman like Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel, think again. The Revenant, based on a true story, is »
- Alex Maidy
The Sundance Institute today announced that it will present Alejandro González Iñárritu with its Vanguard Leadership Award at the fifth annual Sundance Institute benefit on June 2, 2015 in Los Angeles. Iñárritu is the first Mexican director to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He is also the first Mexican-born director to have won the Prix de la Mise en Scene, the Best Director award at Cannes in 2006 for "Babel." He has produced three films that appeared at the Sundance Film Festival: "Nine Lives," "Mother & Child" and "Rudo y Cursi." "Amores Perros" is featured in the Sundance Collection at UCLA, an independent film preservation program that was established in 1997. "The current health and vibrancy of independent film is best reflected in the stories from filmmakers who continue to push and break »
- Casey Cipriani
"Birdman" Oscar contender and DGA-nominated director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu will receive the Vanguard Leadership Award at the fifth annual Sundance Institute benefit on June 2, 2015 in Los Angeles. Iñárritu will be honored for the independent spirit of his films including "Amores Perros" (2000), "21 Grams" (2003), "Babel" (2006), "Biutiful" (2010) and "Birdman" (2014). He is the first Mexican director to have been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director (for "Babel") and by the Directors Guild of America for Best Director. He also won the Prix de la mise en scene (best director) at Cannes in 2006. (Our video interview with him is here.) Previous recipients of the Vanguard Leadership Award include philanthropist and former Institute Trustee George Gund, journalist and film critic Roger Ebert and actress and arts advocate Glenn Close. In addition to the »
- Ryan Lattanzio
The DGA nominee and director of Birdman will receive the Vanguard Leadership Award at the fifth annual Sundance Institute benefit on June 2 in Los Angeles.
Iñárritu will be honoured for “the originality and independent spirit of his films”, which include Amores Perros, 21 Grams, Babel, Biutiful and Birdman.
“The current health and vibrancy of independent film is best reflected in the stories from film-makers who continue to push and break boundaries,” said Sundance Institute executive director Keri Putnam.
“Alejandro G Iñárritu is among the most creative and innovative film-makers working today and the boldness, humanity and audacity of his films will inspire generations to come.”
Iñárritu said: “It comes as a great honour to receive this award from an organisation whose mission, spirit and objectives are noble and have a profound effect on many filmmakers around the world.”
The La-based Mexican film-maker will be the fourth recipient of the Vanguard Leadership Award after philanthropist and former Institute Trustee »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
“Babel” and “The Strain” actress Adriana Barazza will star in USA’s drama pilot “Queen of the South,” the network announced Tuesday.
She joins previously announced stars Alice Braga and Justina Machado in the show, which follows Teresa Mendoza (Braga) as she tries to escape to the United States from the Mexican drug cartel that murdered her boyfriend, and in the process positions herself to take over control of the cartel. The pilot is based on Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s bestselling novel “La Reina De Sur.”
Barazza will play Camilla, the ex-wife of a drug lord now establishing her own empire in the U.S. who initially becomes a mother figure to Teresa before their relationship becomes a deadly battle of wills. Barazza, who received Academy Award, Golden Globe and SAG nominations for her supporting role in “Babel,” has also appeared in “Amores Perros,” “Thor” and “Drag Me to Hell,” she »
- Kevin Noonan
Alejandro González Iñárritu is a happy man. Since "Birdman" earned raves on the festival circuit, it's doing well at the box office, too. He laughed as he shot the film for the first time in his life, he says, describing the process as "a joy. Michael Keaton got naked spiritually and physically." When the filmmaker turned 50, his examination of his life and psyche led him to collaborate with a team of writers on this sharp show business comedy that skewers the current Hollywood obsession with superheroes as it reveals the psychological pitfalls of the creative process. This is something Iñárritu knows something about, as he followed up his breakout "Amores Perros" with a series of tough English-language dramas ("Babel," "21 Grams") as well as Spanish "Biutiful," which garnered an Oscar nomination for Javier Bardem. Now he's already prepping his next movie set to start »
- Anne Thompson
By Anjelica Oswald
The nine foreign-language films shortlisted by the Academy hail from three continents: South America, Europe and Africa. From South America, Argentina’s Wild Tales and Venezuela’s The Liberator made the list. From Africa, Mauritania’s Timbuktu did as well. From Europe, Estonia’s Tangerines, Georgia’s Corn Island, the Netherlands’ Accused, Poland’s Ida, Russia’s Leviathan and Sweden’s Force Majeure all made the top nine.
This year could mark the first Oscar nomination for Estonia, Georgia, Mauritania (whose film was the country’s first Oscar-submitted film) and Venezuela. Argentina, the Netherlands, Poland and Sweden have each received two Oscar nominations in the past 14 years. Of those four countries, Argentina is the only one to win an Oscar, which it did in 2010 for The Secret in Their Eyes. If Russia lands a nomination, it will be the country’s second in the 21st century. »
- Anjelica Oswald
The former Batman actor is ideally cast as a faded star once famed for his superhero roles
Sometimes a film’s success very much depends on having the right actor in the lead, especially if the film is essentially about that actor. You can’t imagine Being John Malkovich working if Spike Jonze hadn’t persuaded Mr M to take the bait; yes, there are other elegantly eccentric leading men, but Being Jeremy Irons? Being Julian Sands? Hardly the same. Similarly, backstage comedy Birdman – about a faded Hollywood actor once famous for a superhero role – touches a nerve partly because it stars Michael Keaton, whose career declined steadily after Batman Returns (1992). Of course, director Alejandro González Iñárritu might have considered Keaton’s successor in the Batcape, Val Kilmer, but you can’t imagine him being nearly as good; as for the next incumbent of Wayne Manor, George Clooney, playing a shop-soiled also-ran, »
- Jonathan Romney
15 items from 2015
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