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Countdown to Oscars

Posts Tagged ‘Amir Bar-Lev’

Monday December 6th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/6/10

  • The Hollywood Reporter: Stephen Galloway interviews Michael Douglas, a best actor hopeful for “Solitary Man” and a best supporting actor hopeful for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” about his rollercoaster of a year. The 66-year-old, “looking surprisingly well” and “nothing whatsoever like the haggard figure that graces the National Enquirer and its kin,” tells him, “After all the adversity I’ve had this year with my health and my son’s incarceration, my ex-wife and the lawsuit — to be able to sit here and talk to you, I’m so happy.”
  • New York Times: Dennis Lim chats for 45 minutes with Christian Bale, a best supporting actor hopeful for “The Fighter,” during which Bale restates his aversion to interviews. “There’s only one reason to talk about a movie ahead of time, and that’s to let people know it’s coming out,” Bale says. “I want people to go see movies that I make. If I knew they’d go see them anyway, if I knew that I’d keep working, I’d never do another interview in my life.” Upon being asked about awards campaigning, Bale adds, “I’ll campaign for the movie, but I won’t campaign for myself.”
  • Inside Movies: Adam Markovitz shares a letter that Rooney Mara, a best supporting actress hopeful for “The Social Network,” sent to Entertainment Weekly from the Stockholm, Sweden set of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In it, the 25-year-old up-and-comer pokes poking fun at the tendency of David Fincher, her director in both of the aforementioned films, to demand dozens of takes from his actors. “It’s -9 degrees Celsius. 37 takes down, only about 42 more to go,” she writes. “Every time he says, ‘Okay, last one,’ I fall for it. Every. Single. Time. If only I could get this damn shrug right, then maybe I could go inside and my nipple ring would have time to thaw out.”
  • Deadline Hollywood: Nikki Finke confirms that The Weinstein Co. has moved the theatrical release date of John Wells’s “The Company Men” from December 10 to January 21, apparently due to December’s overcrowded lineup of big releases. Finke notes, however, that the studio still plans on giving the film an Oscar-qualifying run, meaning that it will play for one week at one theater in New York and one theater in Los Angeles before the end of the year.
  • Celebuzz: Jamie Patricof, one of the producers of “Blue Valentine,” posts a picture of the full-page ad that The Weinstein Co. took out in last Friday’s Los Angeles Times on behalf of the film in advance of the MPAA’s decision on whether or not to reduce its rating of the film from NC-17 to R. The ad reads: “Before the MPAA makes their decision, MAKE YOURS.”

Photo: Michael Douglas in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Friday September 3rd, 2010

SPIKE IN SPORTS-RELATED CONTENDERS

A year after “The Blind Side” and “Invictus,” there is another, even larger crop of awards hopefuls that all focus on what we might broadly describe as “the sporting life”:

  • “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, trailer) — Danny Boyle follows up his Oscar winning “Slumdog Millionaire” with the true story of Aron Ralston (played by James Franco), an avid mountain climber who took a canyoneering trip that changed his life forever.
  • “Boxing Gym” (Zipporah, 10/22, trailer) — Frederick Wiseman, the veteran doc filmmaker, turns his lens on a boxing gym in Austin, Texas and the eclectic group of people who patronize it, all driven by the common goal of achieving their personal best.
  • “The Fighter” (Paramount, 12/10, no trailer yet) — David O. Russell directs the moving story of Boston-bred boxer “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his half-brother (Christian Bale), who battled with drug addiction while training him for his fights.
  • “Racing Dreams” (Hannover House, 5/21, trailer) — Oscar nominee Marshall Curry follows three adolescents, each charismatic and talented go-kart drivers, in this doc about the year that will determine whether or not they have a chance at making it to the big-time.
  • “Secretariat” (Disney, 10/8, trailer) — Randall Wallace adapts William Nack‘s acclaimed book about Secretariat’s remarkable run to the Triple Crown into a feature film that stars Diane Lane as the horse’s owner and John Malkovich as its trainer.
  • “The Tillman Story” (The Weinstein Company, 8/20, trailer) — In this doc, Amir Bar-Lev presents the true story of the life and death of Pat Tillman, who gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract to serve in Iraq, and about whom many untruths have been told.

How does the Academy typically respond to sports-related films? Here’s a rundown of the many that have scored nominations and wins over the years…

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Sunday August 29th, 2010

2010: THE YEAR OF THE DOCUMENTARY

Since I first started covering the annual awards seasons a decade ago, one of the most striking trends I have observed has been a marked uptick in the quantity and quality of documentary features. Each November, the Academy’s documentary branch selects 15 for a shortlist from which they ultimately pick five nominees. This year, I don’t know how they’re going to do it — Fall hasn’t even arrived yet and there are already way more than 15 worthy candidates. Frankly, I don’t think it would be going out on a huge limb to declare 2010 the strongest — or, at the very least, the deepest — year yet in the history of documentary filmmaking.

Here’s a bit of commentary on each of the docs that are registering strongest on my radar at the moment…

Now in Theaters

  • “The Tillman Story” (The Weinstein Company, 8/20, trailer) — Amir Bar-Lev (“My Kid Could Paint That”) tells the true story of the man who gave up a multi-million dollar NFL contract to join the U.S. Army; who was killed in Iraq in 2004; whose “heroic” death the Bush Administration tried to use to increase public support for the war; but whose family — most of whom granted interviews for the film — ultimately discovered that the true manner in which he had been killed had been buried as part of a cover-up that led directly to the highest reaches of the military and government.
  • “A Film Unfinished” (Oscilloscope, 8/18, trailer) — The object of recents raves in Entertainment Weekly and the New York Times, Yael Hersonski‘s doc deconstructs “Das Ghetto,” a Nazi propaganda film of Jewish life in the Warsaw Ghetto that was shot in 1942, and which for 40 years was considered to be unmanipulated footage until another reel was discovered and exposes it as anything but that. The most powerful part of this multi-faceted effort to set the record straight: testimony from five Holocaust survivors who lived in the ghetto, as well as one of the cameramen who filmed it.

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