16 items from 2014
An enlightening portrait of 12 adults from across the autistic spectrum that sheds some much needed light on a subculture that could do with some demystifying. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
April is Autism Awareness Month in the United States, but while autism is something that families and schools and pediatricians are dealing with at ever increasing rates, there isn’t much awareness of neuro-atypicalness in pop culture. Rain Man — now more than a quarter of a century old — is probably still the film that first comes to mind for “autism in pop culture,” though there have been a few recent films with protagonists whom we might suspect are on the autism spectrum, though it’s never mentioned: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, for two.
So documentarian William Davenport »
- MaryAnn Johanson
"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" has opened to solid reviews -- 69 on MetaCritic, 88% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes -- but as we've seen before superhero movies don't fare well at the Oscars. The most successful was "The Dark Knight" in 2008, but despite tremendous box office ($1 billion worldwide) and near-unanimous acclaim it was infamously snubbed for writing, directing, and Best Picture. -Break- The Marvel franchise -- including the "Thor," "Captain America," "Iron Man," and "Avengers" films -- hasn't matched "Dark Knight" for acclaim, but many of them nevertheless rival the Oscar contenders when it comes to critical support; consider that "The Winter Soldier" has actually matched or outscored Oscar nominees and winners like "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Help," "The Reader," "The Bli »
Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb...
Jenny McCartney writes, for The Telegraph, how this year’s Oscars could spell the start of a new Golden Age:
"The candidates for Best Picture – including 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, Philomena, American Hustle and Gravity – each offer something of uniquely memorable quality... I’m not alone in thinking this: in the Us, there is talk of a “golden age”. Michael De Luca, a producer on the Oscar-nominated film Captain Phillips, said: “There’s incredible work being done … Not to over-inflate it, but it looks like it could be another renaissance."
Read the full article here.
Her article digs into the finance of the films, and how only three of the contenders – Gravity, Nebraska and Captain Phillips - were wholly financed by the studio system. And, according to Charles Gant in Sight and Sound (and looking at the figures on Box »
- Gary Collinson
Is Alexandre Desplat the hardest-working man in Hollywood? If they were going to give an Oscar for that this weekend, he'd certainly be a contender, though as it is he's nominated instead in the real category of Best Score, for “Philomena.” In the last three years alone he has worked on that film, “The Monuments Men” (where he also had a small role), “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Rise of the Guardians,” “Rust and Bone,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “Argo,” “The Ides of March,” “Carnage,” “The King's Speech,” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” and more. And he shows no sign of slowing down, with scores in the pipeline for “Godzilla," Angelina Jolie's "Unbroken" and now also for “D,” Roman Polanski's new project. Desplat is Polanski's go-to music guy at present, having done “Carnage,” “The Ghost Writer” and even the documentary "Roman Polanski: A Film Memoir. »
- Ben Brock
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool! As in Best Costume Design -- the category with which its outcome so frequently goes hand-in-hand -- ornamental period pieces and extravagant fantasies tend to dominate the Best Production Design category. So it's nice that the Academy gave us a fairly varied field this year: period pieces may still make up the majority of the field, but one is of a recent vintage, while the others could hardly be more opposed in their approach to days of year. Meanwhile, neither the futuristic fantasy nor the hi-tech outer-space adventure are as excessively designed as you might expect from nominees in this race. Moreover, »
- Guy Lodge
One of the great things about this year's Oscars lineup is the fact that the Best Picture category is packed with excellent films crossing a diverse range of genres. Since the introduction of an expanded field there have been a few questionable inclusions (see: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Blind Side), but in 2014 it's fair to say there isn't a duffer in the bunch.
So competitive is the race for the coveted Best Picture Academy Award this year, it's even sparked some heated debate among Digital Spy staff as to which film is most deserving of the prize. With one person's ideal Best Picture winner totally different to another, we decided to throw them all together to make an argument for personal favourites...
Oscars 2014 poll: Who do you want to win?
I'm not usually a fan of Martin Scorsese movies. »
Lynn Harris, executive vp, production, is leaving Warner Bros. after more than a decade at the studio. Harris, who has been with Warner Bros. since 2004, will continue to consult on a few of her upcoming projects, including monster movie Godzilla, Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy Blended and the Wachowskis' next film, Jupiter Ascending, the studio announced Wednesday. In her role as executive vp, production, Harris has overseen the production of a slew of films, including Zodiac, Where the Wild Things Are, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Cloud Atlas, Magic Mike and Man of
- Rebecca Ford
Lynn Harris, Executive Vice President of Production at Warner Bros, is leaving the studio after more than a decade in that role.
Harris, 47, will continue to consult on a few of the studio’s forthcoming projects that she helped develop, including “Godzilla,” the Adam Sandler/Drew Barrymore comedy ”Blended” and the Wachowski sibling action/adventure picture”Jupiter Ascending.”
Reports have surfaced that Harris has had conflicts with Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production. Harris was also close to Jeff Robinov, the former studio topper, and that changes made after his departure have caused some tension.
“We, of course, support her decision to seek new challenges, and I personally know she will be as successful in her future endeavors as she has been during her tenure here at Warner Bros.,” Silverman wrote in a note to Warner Bros. staff.
- Alexandra Cheney
Trying to figure out the Academy’s reasoning for why they pick certain performances, tech aspects and films to honor is to court chaos. Just when you think a film like Saving Mr. Banks or Lee Daniels’ The Butler has a good shot at making the field, The Lone Ranger gets more nominations than both of those films combined.
The aforementioned scenario isn’t uncommon over the history of the Oscar as many films that have buzz are replaced by the next buzzy title and forgotten or just not even considered at the Oscars. This is what makes it all the more interesting when a badly reviewed movie manages to pick up a nomination. There are several films in contention this year, from Jackass presents Bad Grandpa to Pacific Rim.
Determining what’s a bad movie/performance/tech is an incredibly subjective process that varies from voter to voter. »
- Terence Johnson
Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: Feb. 25, 2014
Price: DVD $28.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $35.99, Blu-ray 3D Combo $44.95
The 2013 science fiction adventure film Gravity starring Sandra Bullock (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) and George Clooney (The Ides of March) has become one of the most honored films of the year, appearing on zillions of “Best of” lists and garnering 10 Academy Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture of the Year, Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Bullock, and Achievement in Directing for Alfonso Cuarón (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire).
Dr. Ryan Stone (Bullock) is a brilliant medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, with veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (Clooney) in command. But on a seemingly routine mission, disaster strikes. The shuttle is destroyed, leaving Stone and Kowalski completely alone in space—tethered to nothing but each other and spiraling out into the darkness. Losing any link to »
When you start to follow the Oscars more closely, the Academy Awards aren’t really that hard to predict. There are enough precursor awards such as The Golden Globes, the SAGs, the National Board of Review, the PGAs, the DGAs—-honestly, it’s hard to keep track of it all at a certain point. Over the course of awards season, buzz begins to build on a movie or a performance and it eventually culminates with an Oscar win that everybody saw coming.
But there are twenty-four categories, overall. With so many categories, there are bound to be a few nominations here and there that catch people completely off guard. Lately, the Academy has been known to thrown in a few curveballs. Last year, they gave Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour a lot more love than people expected. In 2011, they gave Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close a Best Picture nomination. »
- Ken Guidry
This week is the awards equivalent of the Polar Vortex: You’re not exactly sure what it means, you just know it’s intense.
After nearly five months of full-throttle campaigning, Thursday offers the moment of truth as AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth announce nominations for the 86th Academy Awards at 5:38 a.m. Pt.
Predictions? In a year full of rich films, there are only two sure things. First, a lot of great contenders are not going to be nominated, due to overcrowding this year. Second, there will be a few dark-horse inclusions. In the past, Academy voters have offered welcome surprises such as Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”), John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), and the films “The Blind Side” and “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” to cite just a few examples.
But Thursday’s unveiling is only part of a 10-day awards stretch that is »
- Tim Gray
It’s that most wonderful time of the year in which one group of people (journalists) try to figure out what another group of people (Academy members) think are the best films and performances of the year. Sure, we have the Guild nominees, critics awards, and general buzz but there’s only one thing that I can tell you for sure — one of the predictions below will be wrong. And yet we go out on that limb again every year.
12 Years a Slave
This category is a bit harder to predict than the last few years. We really only have three undeniable locks. Both Golden Globe winners — “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” — are in for sure and are likely the frontrunners to win the big prize. Alfonso Cuaron’s »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
It’s not often that Oscar nominations follow right on the heels of the Golden Globes, but here we are: We’re a day away from the 2013 Academy Award nominations. Have you already bought a “Get Well Soon” card to send to the crew of Fruitvale Station and Prisoners? Because they’ll be coming up with nothing on nomination day. Let the Hallmark healing begin.
Before the big announcement, let’s voice our last minute prayers: our biggest (and perhaps least probable) wishes for the 2013 Oscars. Pretend I’m saying all of this in the voice of Rayon from Dallas Buyers Club for maximum poignancy.
The nebulous number of Best Picture nominees ever year depresses me. What was wrong with five? We enjoyed five. Five! Like Spice Girls . With five, everything stood a chance. »
- Louis Virtel
By Mark Pinkert
At the ripe age of 79, Judi Dench could become the second oldest woman to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. She’s a likely nominee by way of Philomena (2013), a British comedy-drama in which Philomena Lee (Dench) pairs up with an out-of-work journalist, Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), to find the son she was forced to give up 50 years earlier. An Academy win would make Dench the second oldest Best Actress behind only Jessica Tandy, who won the award at the age of 80 as Mrs. Daisy Werthan in Driving Miss Daisy (1989), and only the third Best Actress to receive the award while over the age of 65 (Katharine Hepburn won for On Golden Pond (1981) when she was 74 years old).
Dench–known more for her icy, matriarchal roles–is illuminated and humorous in Philomena, and she handles this role with great dexterity. But while she’s an almost guaranteed Best Actress nom, »
- Mark Pinkert
The Best Picture Oscar nominees that failed to receive PGA nominations in the last four years — i.e. the relevant era — are "The Blind Side," "A Serious Man," "Winter's Bone," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Tree of Life" and "Amour." So there is hope yet for films like "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Lee Daniels' The Butler" and "Philomena" that absolutely have support within the Academy but missed out on recognition this morning. And also note, one of the films that missed with PGA over the last four years was a Coen brothers effort that manifested great passion within the Academy. »
- Kristopher Tapley
16 items from 2014
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