‘Interstellar’ Looks to Join a Short List of Space-Related Films to Garner Best Picture Oscar Noms ... Comedic Foreign Language Films Rarely Receive Oscar Nominations ... IDA Nominations: Doc Community Gets Behind ‘Citizenfour,’ ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (Analysis) ... Jessica Chastain’s Incredible Rise ... Oscar Contender and New Marvel Superhero Chadwick Boseman on His Journey to Stardom ... ‘Mr. Turner’ Could Lead Timothy Spall to An Oscar Nomination ... Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ May Not Be the Awards Juggernaut Everyone Expected ... Few Women-Centric Films Have Garnered Best Picture Nominations ...
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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Ferguson’

Thursday February 3rd, 2011

“DEEP VOTE” ON “ILLUSIONIST,” “INSIDE JOB,” “DRAGON,” “HARRY”

Deep Vote,” an Oscar winning screenwriter and a member of the Academy, will write this column — exclusively for ScottFeinberg.com — every week until the Academy Awards in order to help to peel back the curtain on the Oscar voting process. (His identity must be protected in order to spare him from repercussions for disclosing the aforementioned information.)

Thus far, he has shared his thoughts in column one about his general preferences; column two about “Solitary Man” (Anchor Bay Films, 5/21, R, trailer) and Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions, 6/11, R, trailer); column three about Alice in Wonderland” (Disney, 3/5, PG, trailer), Mother and Child” (Sony Pictures Classics, 5/7, R, trailer), and Toy Story 3” (Disney, 6/18, G, trailer); column four about Get Low” (Sony Pictures Classics, 7/30, PG-13, trailer), “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features, 7/9, R, trailer), and “The Social Network” (Columbia, 10/1, PG-13, trailer); column five about “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, R, trailer), “Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions, 12/17, R, trailer), and “Shutter Island” (Paramount, 2/19, R, trailer); column six about Inception” (Warner Brothers, 7/16, PG-13, trailer), “Made in Dagenham” (Sony Pictures Classics, 11/19, R, trailer), and “Somewhere” (Focus Features, 12/22, R, trailer); column seven about Another Year” (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/29, PG-13, trailer), “Fair Game” (Summit, 11/5, PG-13, trailer), and “Rabbit Hole” (Lionsgate, 12/17, PG-13, trailer); column eight about Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company, 12/29, R, trailer), “The Fighter” (Paramount, 12/10, R, trailer), and “True Grit” (Paramount, 12/22, PG-13, trailer); column nine about The Ghost Writer” (Summit, 2/19, PG-13, trailer), The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company, 11/26, R, trailer), and “The Town” (Warner Brothers, 9/17, R, trailer); column ten about Black Swan” (Fox Searchlight, 12/3, R, trailer), “Conviction” (Fox Searchlight, 10/15, R, trailer), and “I Am Love” (Magnolia, 6/18, R, trailer); column eleven about his nomination ballots; column twelve about All Good Things” (Magnolia, 12/3, R, trailer), “Animal Kingdom” (Sony Pictures Classics, 8/13, R, trailer), and “The Way Back” (Newmarket, 12/29, PG-13, trailer); and column thirteen about Barney’s Version” (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/3, R, trailer), “Love and Other Drugs” (20th Century Fox, 11/24, R, trailer), and “Tangled” (Disney, 11/24, PG, trailer).

This week, he assesses four more films: “The Illusionist” (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/25, PG, trailer), “Inside Job” (Sony Pictures Classics, 10/8, PG-13, trailer), “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (Warner Brothers, 11/19, PG-13, trailer), and “How to Train Your Dragon” (DreamWorks Animation, 3/26, PG, trailer).

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Thursday January 13th, 2011

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 1/13/11

  • The Hollywood Reporter: Alex Ben Block reports that the Publicists Guild of America has announced the nominees for its 48th annual Maxwell Weinberg Showmanship Award, which honors “the creativity and enterprise that entertainment publicists apply to attract the largest possible audiences for program they represent,” according to awards committee chairman Henri Bollinger. The nominees for the award in the film category (there is also one for television) are “Despicable Me” (Universal), “Inception” (Warner Brothers), “The Social Network” (Columbia), “Toy Story 3” (Disney), “Waiting for ‘Superman’” (Paramount), and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” (20th Century Fox). The winner will be announced at a luncheon on February 25. (I’d like to offer my congratulations to all of the nominees.)
  • New York Post: Claire Atkinson claims that sources have told her that Sony has spent $55 million to promote “The Social Network” — a film that is being distributed by its subsidiary Columbia Pictures, for which it has grossed $199.8 million worldwide, thus far — including a staggering $5 million on its awards campaign. (“A typical Oscar campaign costs between $2 million and $3 million,” she writes.) These costs reportedly cover everything from “the usual pre-Oscar nomination ads in Hollywood trade magazines to the unusual move of re-releasing the film in 603 theaters this past weekend ahead of its DVD debut.” It is believed that Sony is spending so much money on this effort because Columbia hasn’t produced a best picture Oscar winner in the 21 years since Sony purchased it in 1989; its last winner was “The Last Emperor” (1987) 23 years ago.
  • Boston Globe: Mark Shanahan learns that Alice Ward, the 80-year-old mother/former manager of the professional boxers Micky Ward and Dicky Eklund (as well as their seven sisters) who is portrayed by Melissa Leo in the recently-release film “The Fighter,” is “fighting for her own life in a Boston hospital” right now. According to Shanahan, Ward “went into cardiac arrest Wednesday and stopped breathing for more than 30 minutes… [and] was eventually placed on life support… [remarkably, however, she] regained consciousness and is now able to speak.”
  • The Wrap: Steve Pond describes the Academy’s foreign language category as one that is “full of scandal and controversy” and “snubs and surprises,” all despite years of “taking dramatic, sometimes unprecedented steps to deal with those controversies.” Pond writes that producer Mark Johnson, a member of the Academy’s board of governors who has overseen the category for a decade, has implemented changes which “have resulted in the creation of a unique three-step nominating process that puts the final decision in the hands of a carefully-chosen committee that in recent years has included actors Ryan Gosling and Keanu Reeves, directors Jonathan Demme and Nora Ephron, writer Dustin Lance Black, composer Harry Gregson-Williams, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and cinematographer Wally Pfister, among many others.” But, Pond ponders, “by turning the major decision over to his hand-picked committee, has Johnson cut regular voters out of the process and taken too much power for himself? Or has the result — better, smarter nominations in the estimation of many — justified the tinkering?”
  • W Magazine: Lynn Hirschberg snags “an exclusive first look from the set of the year’s most anticipated film,” the English-language adaptation of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” The film’s director, David Fincher, and star, Rooney Mara, previously collaborated on “The Social Network.” Fincher tells Hirschberg, “On ‘Social Network,’ I didn’t really agree with the critics’ praise. It interested me that ‘Social Network’ was about friendships that dissolved through this thing that promised friendships, but I didn’t think we were ripping the lid off anything. The movie is true to a time and a kind of person, but I was never trying to turn a mirror on a generation… ‘Social Network’ is not earth-shattering.”

Photo: Daisy in “Waiting for ‘Superman.'” Credit: Paramount.

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.

Monday October 25th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/25/10

  • Collider: Jeff Ames comments on a report from an Australian Web site that Warner Brothers “has expressed interest in a sequel” to Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” which was released domestically this summer and has earned nearly $811 million internationally. Ames writes, “Nolan clearly enjoyed the experience of making the film and has recently stated plans to develop a video game based on the concept,” but “there really isn’t a logical way to further explore the world” portrayed in the film aside from a prequel — especially after Sir Michael Caine’s spoiler-slip on BBC Radio last month — so it will all depend on Nolan’s personal level of interest.
  • Cinematical: Chris Campbell reviews the history of celebrity narration of documentaries, a phenomenon that he says “has been around since the early days of sound cinema.” Originally, the primary candidate was seen as one who had a “deep and/or distinguished speech easily associated with either the ‘voice of god’ concept of omniscient narration or a kind of informed, journalistic quality.” More recently, however, filmmakers have turned to “subject-appropriate” talent. Matt Damon, for instance, was recruited to narrate “Inside Job” not only because he has a familar voice and character, but because is also “known to have political concerns in an intelligent way,” according to director Charles Ferguson.
  • The Wrap: Steve Pond explains the rules that determine the number of nominees in the best animated feature category — “it requires 16 qualifying films in order to reach a five-film ballot; any less would result in the nominations of only three, as it has in seven out of the nine years of its existence” — and confirms that the Japanese anime film “Summer Warswill be among the 2010 qualifiers, bringing the year’s total to 14, thus far. He notes that there are “enough question marks remaining to conceivably put the 16-film mark within reach,” but with the November 1 paperwork-deadline fast approaching, the number will probably stay at three. (The most likely nominees: “Toy Story 3,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” and “Tangled.”)
  • New York Times: Michael Cieply discusses the long history of American movies that “have helped get the country in gear when the solution to a crisis depends at least in part on new resolve and a boost to the spirits,” but mourns the fact that present-day filmmakers have been comparably slow to offer the same sort of cinematic salve. “They have been quick enough to spot Wall Street gone awry,” he writes, but “have offered little in the way of solace for Main Street… mostly, Hollywood has offered escape into fantasies.” He singles out John Wells’s upcoming “The Company Men” as an exception, noting that the film celebrates “a resilience in the American character.”
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells fears that Anne Hathaway may be denied a best actress nod for “Love and Other Drugs” because of “one of the oldest award-season prejudices” — namely, a strong distaste for romantic-comedies and people who are a part of them. Jeff scans the blogosphere and finds that “awards handicappers aren’t biting” — he cites Scott as one of just two who currently have her listed as a serious contender — but the truth is that many prognosticators simply haven’t yet seen her film.
  • Thompson on Hollywood: Anne Thompson questions the awards potential of Tyler Perry’s “For Colored Girls,” an adaptation of a hit Broadway play that boasts an all-star cast of black women. “If you’re serious about an Oscar campaign,” she writes, “you don’t hesitate to show your movie.” Thus far, the film has only been screened for Hollywood’s trade papers, Variety and The Hollywood Reporter — both of which trashed it in their reviews — leading Thompson to believe that Lionsgate’s awards campaign for the film may just be the studio’s way of “making nice to a favorite house director” who has made them a ton of money over the years.
  • New York Times: Dexter Filkins reports that Joao Silva, 44, one of the four original members of “The Bang Bang Club” — a group of war-zone photographers chronicled in an upcoming film of that same name — and one of only two still alive, was severely wounded on Saturday after stepping on a land mine in southern Afghanistan, where he was on assignment for the Times. (Meanwhile, Greg Marinovich, the club’s only other surviving member, pays tribute to “my best friend and soul brother” in a post on his Web site.)
  • Awards Daily: Sasha Stone observes that latest sort of “clever marketing” that some studios are doing on behalf of their awards hopefuls is creating Web sites that use a memorable quotes from a film as a URL and iconic images from it as a welcome page  — for instance, Columbia’s for “The Social Network” (http://www.youknowwhatscool.com/) and Fox Searchlight’s for “Black Swan” (http://www.ijustwanttobeperfect.com/). As Stone notes, it’s “a fairly low-tech way of [potentially] getting the film and its themes to go viral.”
  • Moviefone: Erik Childress scans the list of best actor contenders and concludes that Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”), James Franco (“127 Hours”), and Robert Duvall (“Get Low”) are all “locks.” He then makes his way through the numerous options for the category’s other two slots, before arriving at the realization that all of his efforts might prove irrelevant if Paramount decides to campaign for Christian Bale (who is really Mark Wahlberg’s co-lead in “The Fighter”) in the best actor — rather than best supporting actor — category.
  • Political Ticker…: Former spy Valerie Plame Wilson and former ambassador Joseph Wilson, the married couple who are portrayed by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn in Doug Liman’s “Fair Game,” stopped by CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Friday for a lengthy segment with host Wolf Blitzer to promote the film.
  • New York Magazine: Kevin Gray sits down with Valerie Plame Wilson, the former spy, and Naomi Watts, the actress who portrays her in “Fair Game.” His objective was ostensibly to interview the two women, who have become friends, but they wind up largely chatting with each other about similar challenges that they have faced in their careers, marriages, dealing with the media, and more.
  • The Film Experience: Nathaniel Rogers marks the 93rd birthday of 1941 best actress Oscar winner Joan Fontaine (“Suspicion”) by listing the 50 oldest living Oscar nominees, noting, “We want the following to know that their past accomplishments are acknowledged by new generations.” (Scott tells me has interviewed 11 of them for his in-progress book about old movies for young people, including the oldest, 100-year-old 1936 and 1937 best actress Oscar winner Luise Rainer (“The Great Ziegfeld” and “The Good Earth,” respectively).
Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Christopher Nolan on the set of “Inception.” Credit: Warner Brothers.

Wednesday September 22nd, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 9/22/10

Photo: Mel Gibson on the set of “The Beaver.” Credit: Photo Agency.

Thursday September 9th, 2010

COULD THIS DOCUMENTARY BE THE ONE?

Over the past decade the Academy has invalidated years of statistical data accumulated by Oscar nerds like myself by rewarding several of its best picture statuettes to films of the sort that it had previously snubbed throughout its long history: “Chicago” (2002), a musical; “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), a sci-fi fantasy; “Crash” (2005), an indie film picked up at a festival; “The Departed” (2006), a gangster flick; “No Country for Old Men” (2007), a violent crime-thriller; “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), a foreign-language film with subtitles; and “The Hurt Locker” (2009), a box-office dud directed by a woman and championed by critics. “Up” (2009) didn’t win, but it, too, made some history, becoming only the second animated film to earn a nod for best picture (albeit in a year in which the category had been re-expanded from five to 10 slots). As I see it, only one prominent sort of film hasn’t yet received a nomination for best picture, let alone a win, and that is a documentary.

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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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