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Posts Tagged ‘Oscars & Awards’

The Oscar for Cinematography is not a beauty contest, it isn’t about how pretty a film looks, it is about how well it is lit and photographed, in the same vein, the best director Oscar doesn’t go to the best film, that’s what the best film category is for! While, the Best picture Oscar is really the sum total of all the awards, the acting, the music, the photograph, the script, the direction and all the other elements that make up a film, the best director Oscar, is based purely on the process of directing. It is worth remembering that although the winners are selected by the Academy membership as a whole, the nominations are made by the academy’s directing branch. In other words, the nominations come from the directors and their contemporaries.

Michael Haneke Benh Zeitlin Ang Lee Steven Spielberg David O Russell

This years nominations are: Michael Haneke – Amour, Benh Zeitlin – Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ang Lee -Life of Pi, Steven Spielberg – Lincoln David O. Russell -Silver Linings Playbook. I am yet to see Lincoln and Amour so will reserve judgment on the strength of the category but have selected five directors I would have liked to have seen nominated:

Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
Wes Anderson – Moonrise Kingdom
Ben Affleck – Argo
Sam Mendes – Skyfall
Christopher Nolan – The Dark Knight Rises

Each of them has crafted a fantastic movie that would have been run of the mill in lesser hands if they even existed. All would have been worthy winners.

Kathryn Bigelow Wes Anderson Ben Affleck Sam Mendes Christopher Nolan

Should Steven Spielberg win it will put him the elite company of : William Wyler and Frank Capra with three best director Oscars and just one behind John Ford with four. Ang Lee has picked up one win and one other nomination in the category previously (Brokeback Mountain and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon respectively), David O. Russell has been nominated before (The Fighter), it is Michael Haneke’s first nomination. Not only is it Benh Zeitlin’s first nomination, it is his first feature.

Whoever loses, or indeed those who weren’t nominated, it is worth remembering they are in good company, despite thirteen nominations between them Alfred Hitchcock (5), Federico Fellini (4) and Stanley Kubrick (4) didn’t win a single best director Oscar.Alfred Hitchcock Federico Fellini Stanley Kubrick

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Is the Best Foreign Language Oscar outdated in this era of multinational productions? The current setup is certainly a mess and needs redefining or revamping. As it stands for a film to be eligible it has to be predominately not in the English language, so far so good, but then it gets complicated. Rather than the academy picking the best five films of the year not in the English language, each country nominates one film as their selection. This is the broken down into a long list, then a shortlist before five nominations are selected. Unlike other categories, to be eligible a movie does not have to be screened in America during the prescribed dates. Instead it has to be screened in its own country. The downside to this is that if the film is subsequently screened in America it will not be eligible for Oscar contention (if it meets the criteria it is eligible in all categories in the year it is submitted as a foreign film). There is also a difference in the voting process. “Screeners” are not used, instead the four nominated films are screened in a cinema (with English subtitles, never dubbed) and any academy member wishing to vote must attend. This reduces the chances of the people voting without seeing the films as most likely happens in other categories.

Last years winner: Asghar FarhadI for A Separation

Last years winner: Asghar FarhadI for A Separation

As of 2006 the films no longer have to be in the official language of the submitting country. This is goods thing in one respect as under the old system for example a Welsh film in the Welsh language or and Australian film in Aboriginal language would have been ineligible as they are both from countries where the official language is English. It does however create a loophole that became evident in 2010. The was a certain amount of disagreement and unrest as to if Michael Haneke’s The White Ribbon would be submitted as a German or and Austrian film. It was eventually decided it was German and received a nomination as the German entry. A look at the academy website would suggest this has been outlawed: Rule Thirteen (Special Rules for the Foreign Language Film Award), section II (eligibility), subsection E states: “The submitting country must certify that creative control of the motion picture was largely in the hands of citizens or residents of that country”. I’m not convinced all this years nominations are that clearly rooted in the submitting nations:

The Canadian movie (War Witch) is set is Sub-Saharan Africa and is in a mixture of French and Lingala.

The Austrian entry (Amour) is made by a German director (Michael Haneke again!) with French, German and Austrian money and has a French cast speaking French and English.

The Danish film (A Royal Affair) is a Danish, Swedish, Czech co production.

The Chilean (No) entry is a co production between Chile, France and the USA.

And the Norwegian entry (Kon-Tiki) is a British, Norwegian and Danish co production.Best Foreign Language Oscar 2013

All this United nations of filmmaking doesn’t have any impact on if the film is any good and doesn’t detract from the fact that the movie is (mostly) not in the English language, but it seems a little silly that a film set in France, in the French language and with a German director is deemed to be Austrian.

There are a few ways around it including replacing the category with one simply for films not in the English language and taking the national ownership away from it. This in itself creates a different problem, without the support of the foreign comities (often the countries own Academy’s) will the Oscars get a suitably diverse spread of movies? There is also the possibility of dropping the category completely, there are films strong enough to make the crossover to the main categories such as Three Colours: Red, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Pan’s Labyrinth, Amelie and this years Amour. There is an argument that without the Best Foreign Language Oscar, more foreign language movies could break through and even win in the major categories.

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No rants, no opinions on what should win, just predictions: 

Best Motion Picture of the Year: The Artist

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role: Jean Dujardin for The Artist

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role: Meryl Streep for The Iron Lady

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Christopher Plummer for Beginners

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Octavia Spencer for The Help

Best Achievement in Directing: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist

Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen: Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash for The Descendants

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year: Chico & Rita

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year: A Separation

Best Achievement in Cinematography: The Artist

Best Achievement in Editing: Hugo

Best Achievement in Art Direction: The Artist

Best Achievement in Costume Design: The Artist

Best Achievement in Makeup: The Iron Lady

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score: Ludovic Bource for The Artist

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song: Man or Muppet by Bret McKenzie for The Muppets

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing: Hugo

Best Achievement in Sound Editing: Hugo

Best Achievement in Visual Effects: Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White, Daniel Barrett for Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Best Documentary, Features: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky for Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory

I haven’t seen anything in the other categories so no predictions. They are:

Best Documentary, Short Subjects

Best Short Film, Animated

Best Short Film, Live Action

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There has been much debate for the reasons and merits of having ten nominees in the best picture category. Having any number between five and ten makes a certain sense in the event there are no more than five suitable movies. The selection of nine when many worthy movies have been overlooked does however seem bizarre. Here are the nominated movies ranked in order of my preference (*denotes unranked as I haven’t seen the film):

The Artist
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
The Descendants
Moneyball
The Tree of Life
The Help
War Horse
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close*

Had there been ten nominations which would be the tenth selection? Here are my suggestions, many of which would be ranked above the nominated films:

Drive
The Guard
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
We Need to Talk About Kevin
The Skin I live in
Shame

Which would you chosen as the tenth nomination?

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Three years to the day after my first ever post (incidentally about the upcoming Oscars) I am here to announce the 1st Annual Groovers Movie Awards. No nominations, just winners. Ten categories, most of which are the same or similar to those in other awards. The award itself named the “Dom” is modelled after a Dom Pérignon bottle (you need to watch Fandango to understand the relevance) and will remain virtual unless Moët want to step in as a sponsor me.

Best Movie:

The Artist: A virtually silent black and white movie with a 1.37:1 aspect ratio about the end of the silent movie era doesn’t sound very exciting. The result is totally stunning, charming and funny. The overwhelming favourite for the pest picture Oscar. 

Best Director:

Martin Scorsese for Hugo: Martin Scorsese’s love letter to cinema is a stunning film beautifully made and even achieving the seemingly impossible task of making 3D work. 

Best Actress:

Tilda Swinton for We Need to Talk About Kevin: Missing out to Meryl Streep at the BAFTAs and completely overlooked by the Oscars, Tilda Swinton was my only contender for best actress.

Best Actor:

Brendan Gleeson for The Guard: Missing out to Jean Dujardin for The Artist in Golden Globes and pretty much overlooked by other awards, Brendan Gleeson reminded us what a great actor he is.

Best Screenplay:

Lynne Ramsay & Rory Kinnear for We Need to Talk About Kevin: Notable not only for how well written it is, but for what a tough job it must have been given the unusual structure of the source novel.

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Skin I live in: Winner of the BAFTA for Best Film Not in the English Language but not submitted for the equivalent Oscar (Spain chose to submit the as yet not released in the UK, Black Bread) sees Auteur Pedro Almodóvar at his bizarre best.

Best Documentary:

Senna: Not only the best documentary of the year, but the best documentary I have seen in many years.

Best Looking Movie:

Melancholia: An amalgam of many awards including Cinematography, Production Design and Art Direction. Melancholia wins the award for being the most beautiful looking movie of the year.

Movie Stars of the year:

Best actor and actress awards age given for the for individual outstanding performances but the movie star of the year award is given for an outstanding performances in multiple films in a year:

Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Tree of Life, The Debt, Take Shelter)

Michael Fassbender (Shame, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre)

Fandango Award:

Fandango was writer/director Kevin Reynolds debut (and best) feature, and the first notable movie for star Kevin Costner. It gives its name to this award for the best breakout filmmakers of the year. The award is shared between two movies that interestingly were both co-written by their director and star:

Nick Damici and Jim Mickle for Stake Land

Mike Cahill and Brit Marling for Another Earth

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