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Countdown to Oscars

Posts Tagged ‘Sofia Coppola’

Sunday February 19th, 2012

Oscar-Nominated ‘Midnight in Paris’ Art Director Anne Seibel on Reviving the Past (Audio)

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anne Seibel, a French production designer whose creative talents and ability to speak English have made her “the go-to girl” for Hollywood productions that shoot in France — her credits include Steven Spielberg’s Munich (2005), Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette (2006), Clint Eastwood’s Hereafter (2010) — and whose work on one, Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, has now earned her a trip to the Oscars on Feb. 26 as a nominee for the best art direction Oscar. (I encourage you to check out the audio of our full conversation at the top of this post.)

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Sunday October 23rd, 2011

Elle Fanning on Stepping Out of Dakota’s Shadow, into the ‘Spotlight’ (Audio Interview)

Few families have produced a child who has found consistent work in Hollywood. Fewer still have produced a child who has made it big in the business.

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Thursday January 6th, 2011

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 1/6/11

  • Entertainment Weekly: Dave Karger speaks with Julia Roberts after a special screening of “Biutiful” at CAA that she hosted for industry insiders to help call attention to the performance of her “Eat Pray Love” co-star Javier Bardem. (Robert Forster, Kyle MacLachlan, and Bardem’s pregnant wife Penelope Cruz were among the attendees.) Roberts explains, “I think the movie hasn’t gotten the exposure. You don’t know where it is. It’s like this hidden little jewel… I just have a great appreciation for what he went through to show us all this.”
  • Deadline Hollywood: Mike Fleming interviews producer-extraordinaire Scott Rudin, who this week became the first producer to receive PGA Award nominations for two features in the same year (for “The Social Network” and “True Grit”), and who will also be receiving the David O. Selznick Achievement Award at the PGA Awards ceremony. Rudin credits his “great [producing] partners on both” and emphasizes that while “the Oscar stuff is fantastic, rewarding and in some ways exciting… it’s not why you do it. You do it because you want to hold your own work to a standard of excellence.” He also notes that while he was heavily involved with the pre-production of both films (he worked closely with the screenwriters, for instance, while they formulated their scripts), he stayed out of the way of the directors during the filmmaking process itself.
  • Awards Tracker: Tom O’Neil advises those who believe that “True Grit” is now the best picture favorite just because it has done well at the box-office ($91.5 million and counting) to “hold your horses.” He submits that “financial success isn’t as important as it used to be to Oscar victory,” citing the fact the best picture Oscar winner went to films that earned at least $100 million domestically 75% of the time between 1986 and 2005, but that 60% of those since have gone to films that did not, including “Crash” ($54 million), “No Country for Old Men” ($74 million), and “The Hurt Locker” ($14 million, or $746 million less than it’s fellow nominee “Avatar”).
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells passes along an andorsement of the work of the cinematographer Hoyt Van Hoytema on “The Fighter” from legendary cinematographer Michael Chapman, who lensed perhaps the greatest boxing movie of all-time, “Raging Bull” (1980), among other classics. Chapman writes, “The movie struck me as doing the basic thing that cinematography does when it’s done well, which is to present a three-dimensional stage in which the actors can move.”
  • The Carpetbagger: Larry Rother mourns the fact that the French film “Carlos,” one of the most critically-beloved movies of 2010, is ineligible for Oscar consideration in any category this year “because of a quirk in the rules set by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.” The film “was initially broadcast on French television before it was packaged and sold abroad for distribution, in two different versions, one long and one short, as a feature film,” which constitutes a violation of an Academy rule that states, “Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category.”
  • Vulture: Jordana Horn asks Quentin Tarantino why he omitted Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” — the film to which the Venice Film Festival jury, over which he presided, awarded the Golden Lion back in September — from his year-end top 20 film list. “I’m a little embarrassed by it, actually,” Tarantino says, explaining, “It was never meant to be a dig against ‘Somewhere,’ or Sofia. I simply didn’t consider any of the films I’d seen in Venice for the list.” I put them in a separate box — I was on official duty at that time, not seeing the films theatrically, independently… Now I wish I’d put it on there — I didn’t think anyone would pay attention.” He adds, “I’d have put it in my top 10.”

Photo: Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts. Credit: Entertainment Weekly.

Monday January 3rd, 2011

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 1/3/11

  • New York Times: Michael Cieply observes that “Prozac was brand-new” and “the Soviets were in Afghanistan” the last time a film from Columbia Pictures won the best picture Oscar, and Bill Clinton was in the White House the last time one of its films was even in th erunning for it. (For the record, the winning film was “The Last Emperor,” a 1987 epic that bagged nine Academy Awards, including the big one, early in 1988, and the nominated film was “Sense and Sensibility,” a 1995 period piece that lost the top prize to “Braveheart” in 1996.) What makes this a particularly “bothersome Oscar drought” is the fact that (a) it has endured ever since the Sony Corporation bought the studio for $3.4 billion in 1989, and (b) all of the studio’s “major competitors, and many of the smaller ones,” have won at least one during that time span. This freak streak will come to an end on February 27, though, if “The Social Network” is annointed by the Academy, as it is increasingly expected to be.
  • The Guardian: Kate Kellaway chats about “The King’s Speech” with its director Tom Hooper and lead actor Colin Firth, and Hooper “points out the greatest irony” to her, namely, “Colin Firth is one of the best raconteurs and most engaging conversationalists I know… playing a man who cannot speak.” Meanwhile, notes upon being asked if the film exagerrated King George VI ’s stammer, Firth notes, “We don’t have recordings of what he was like before he met Lionel Logue. But we do have accounts of his Wembley speech, which sound very painful.” The actor also reveals, “My sister is a voice therapist, and has written a thesis on voice and identity and how closely connected they are. I struggled with minor voice problems in my 20s. I developed an injury on a vocal cord. It produced a node and I had it chopped off. This impeded the way I spoke. It had a huge effect. I remember the therapist saying: ‘People don’t appreciate how much distress can be caused by vocal limitations, particularly by someone who has got a big mouth.'”
  • Entertainment Weekly: Dave Karger ponders the possibility that Academy members will reject Paramount’s best supporting actress push for Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year-old newcomer who appears in — and dominates — virtually every scene of “True Grit,” and instead nominate her in the best actress category. The Academy previously disregarded a studio’s supporting push and awarded a lead nomination to Kate Winslet for “The Reader” (2008) two years ago and, perhaps more relevantly, to 13-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes for “Whale Rider” (2003) seven years ago. Karger believes that they will “quite possibly” do the same for Steinfeld, since there are only four “sure things” in the best actress field, but also fears that her votes could “be so evenly divided between best actress and best supporting actress that she’ll end up getting nominated for neither” and suggests that “maybe her fans in the Academy should write her name in both categories just to be safe.”
  • New York Post: An unattributed report states that “Black Swan” best supporting actress hopeful Mila Kunis has broken up with former child star Macaulay Culkin, her boyfriend of seven years. “A source said the couple split some time ago but has kept it low-key while Kunis promotes the movie,” the report says, while Kunis’s rep adds, “The split was amicable and they remain close friends.” Nevertheless, the news is sure to prompt discussion of the fabled “Oscar curse,” which allegedly causes people who are in the running for — or, even more frequently, who win — Oscars to split with their significant others around the same time.

Photo: Pete Postlethwaite in “The Town.” Credit: Warner Brothers.

Tuesday December 28th, 2010

INTERVIEW: STEPHEN DORFF GETS HIS LIFE AND CAREER BACK ON TRACK

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend about 90 minutes — 45 of them recorded — at New York’s Bowery hotel with the actor Stephen Dorff, 37, who is earning the best reviews of his career for his performance as a movie star in quiet crisis at Hollywood’s fabled Chateau Marmont hotel in Sofia Coppola’s meditative film “Somewhere” (Focus Features, 12/22, R, trailer). Dorff and I had planned to chat in the lobby, but when the hotel staff blocked me from filming him there he graciously invited me up to his room to have a couple of beers and shoot it there. Suffice it to say that it was more than a little surreal to walk in and find a scene very much like the one his character inhabits throughout Coppola’s picture — sans stripper poles, sadly.

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Monday December 13th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/13/10

  • Wall Street Journal: Roger Ebert writes — less than a week after the MPAA overturned the NC-17 rating that it had initially bestowed upon “Blue Valentine” for a sex scene — that “The MPAA should have changed its standards long ago, taking into account the context and tone of a movie instead of holding fast to rigid checklists.” He notes, “In the 42 years since Jack Valenti proudly unveiled his new [MPAA] ratings system, our national standards of taste have changed. Some might say they’ve become more vulgar, others might say more relaxed, but grade school students now talk like truck drivers did in 1970… The rise of cable TV, home video and the Internet also means that many American children have pragmatic knowledge of what the human body looks like unclothed and what it can do while in that state. This may be unfortunate, but it is a fact.” He suggests, “Only three categories are needed: “G,” for young audiences, “T” for teenagers, and “A” for adults. These categories would be not be keyed to specific content but would reflect the board’s considered advice about a film’s gestalt and intended audience… It’s time to admit we’ve lost our innocence.”
  • Showbiz411: Roger Friedman reports that Sofia Coppola features seven members of the “notoriously unprofessional” Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation, the organization which determines the winners of the Golden Globe Awards, in her new film “Somewhere.” (They make cameos as journalists asking foolish questions of a movie star during a film press conference.) Friedman believes that this is an “unethical and laughable” conflict of interest, whether or not they were compensated, which remains unclear. The HFPA will announce this year’s Golden Globe nominations tomorrow morning.
  • New York Times Magazine: Frank Bruni explores the impressive resume of 12-year-old best supporting actress hopeful Elle Fanning (“Somewhere”), who already has “more than 15 movies behind her and a few prominent, career-accelerating roles straight ahead.” Elle, the younger sister of the 16-year-old actress Dakota Fanning, already has friends in high places: former child star Jodie Foster saw her in “Phoebe in Wonderland” (2008) and says, “I was blown away by that performance — blown away. She should have been nominated for an Oscar. I think Elle Fanning is just so amazing.”
  • New York Times: Carlo Rotella profiles Charles Portis, the author from Arkansas “who politely declines to promote himself or his work,” and whose 1968 work “True Grit” — which Rotella calls “the great comic Western novel” — inspired this year’s Ethan Coen and Joel Coen film of the same title. According to Rotella, “Portis’s characters have a self-conscious manner, a homespun formality of speech, that comes from the effort to inhabit grandiose roles: lone avenger on a quest; nefarious outlaw; besieged moral exemplar. If that sounds like a description of Cormac McCarthy’s characters, the great difference is that Portis finds comedy in the aspiration to heroism, and his characters are forever plagued by a suspicion of their own ridiculousness.”
  • National Public Radio: Bob Mondello analyzes “The Company Men,” a film which stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones as white-collar workers who lose their jobs as a result of the recent economic downturn. Mondello correctly notes that people usually try “to get away from real-world concerns” when they go to the movies, and that “Up in the Air” “plumbed this same well” last awards season, but he feels that this one is worth a look nonetheless. “Yes, the film’s a little didactic as it lays out the issues,” he writes, “But when it comes to the emotional state of those being laid off, of their families and even of those doing the laying off, it gets things right enough to make audiences squirm.”

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in “Inception.” Credit: Warner Brothers.

Sunday December 12th, 2010

INTERVIEW: KIRSTEN DUNST, YOUNG VETERAN, GETTING BEST REVIEWS YET

On Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend a half-hour with the actress Kirsten Dunst, who is receiving the best reviews of her career — and even best supporting actress Oscar buzz — for her performance as a woman in a troubled marriage who disappears under mysterious circumstances in Andrew Jarecki’s crime-thriller “All Good Things” (Magnolia, 12/3, R, trailer). (The film was inspired by the true story of a woman named Kathie Durst who has been missing since 1982.)

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Sunday December 12th, 2010

“DEEP VOTE” ON “INCEPTION,” “MADE IN DAGENHAM,” AND “SOMEWHERE”

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. He will help to peel back the curtain on the Oscar voting process by sharing his thoughts about the films he sees and, ultimately, his nomination and final ballots, as well. 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 Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions, 6/11, R, trailer) and Solitary Man” (Anchor Bay Films, 5/21, R, trailer); column three about Alice in Wonderland” (Disney, 3/5, PG, trailer), “Toy Story 3” (Disney, 6/18, G, trailer), and “Mother and Child” (Sony Pictures Classics, 5/7, R, 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); and 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).

This week, he assesses three more awards hopefuls: “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)…

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Wednesday December 8th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/8/10

  • Hitfix: Greg Ellwood and Daniel Fienberg extensively preview the upcoming Golden Globe nominations, and observe that “Hollywood’s filmmakers decided to go pretty serious this year,”  meaning that many acclaimed serious films will inevitably be snubbed in the drama categories, while the musical/comedy categories will offer “one of the weakest fields in years.” Other reported buzz: “the word is the HFPA loveThe Fighter’”; “the HFPA would love to reward [Ben] Affleck” [with a best director nod for “The Town“] best actress hopeful Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”) “was never able to have the all important HFPA press conference” and might therefore be in trouble; and the HFPA refused to allow Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit“) to compete in the best supporting actress category, so if she shows up anywhere it will be in lead, and that’s not likely.
  • The Carpetbagger: Brooks Barnes wonders how, in full-page ads running in various newspapers, “The Social Network” can claim to be “The Best-Reviewed Movie of the Year” while “Toy Story 3” simultaneously claims to be “The Best Reviewed Film of the Year.” The answer? The top two sites that aggregate film reviews, Metacritic.com (“seen by some producers as the more serious aggregator site because it evaluates not only movies but video games and television”) and RottenTomatoes.com (“the most entrenched review-aggregation site [that] focuses exclusively on movies”), have come up with different numbers.
  • The Race: Tim Appelo catches up Leonardo DiCaprio, a best actor hopeful this year for both “Inception” and “Shutter Island,” and asks the actor what he makes of all of the recognition that the films have recently received (including major honors from the National Board of Review, as well as a slew of Golden Satellite nominations). The 36-year-old, who is already a veteran when it comes to playing the awards season game, simply smiled and told him, “At this time of the year, I just leave it in the hands of the gods.”
  • New York Times: Janelle Brown spotlights Hollywood’s legendary Chateau Marmont hotel, a hangout for stars (and would-be stars) that, thanks to a featured role in Sofia Coppola’s upcoming drama “Somewhere,” is now “enjoying the peak of its own celebrity.” As Brown overheard one visitor saying, “It’s always such good people-watching here. You just have to remember not to stare.”
  • Movieline: Mike Ryan sits down with best actor hopeful Jesse Eisenberg (“The Social Network”) to discuss his whirlwind year. Ryan asks him about reading his own press (“I don’t read any press about myself. Oh, that sounds pretentious. I just mean it always ends up making me feel bad.), awards season campaigning (“The last two months I’ve been traveling and I just constantly feel like I don’t know what I’m doing and like I’m shilling myself”), and what a best actor nomination would mean to him (“I feel it’s such a bigger machine that has so little to do with me. It’s hard to think of myself in it.”).
  • In Contention: Kris Tapley talks with best supporting actor hopeful Ed Harris about “The Way Back,” the film that reunited him with director Peter Weir, with whom he previously worked on “The Truman Show” (1998) en route to an earlier nod in that same category. In the new film, Harris plays an American prisoner-of-war who, with an eclectic group of other prisoners, escapes from a Siberian gulag and sets out on a brutal 4,000 mile trek through Southern Siberia and Mongolia.

Photo: “Toy Story 3.” Credit: Disney.

Monday November 15th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/15/10

  • AMPAS: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences shares over 20 clips taken from its second annual Governor’s Ball, which took place on Saturday night. Among them are acceptance speeches from Irving G. Thalberg Award recipient Francis Ford Coppola (as well as toasts to him from director Kathryn Bigelow; director Roman Coppola, Francis’ son; actor Robert De Niro; and director George Lucas) and two of this year’s three honorary Oscar recipients, silent film historian Kevin Brownlow (toasted by actor James Karen; producer Lindsay Doran; and actor Kevin Spacey) and veteran actor Eli Wallach (toasted by actor Josh Brolin; actress Anne Jackson, Wallach’s wife; singer Tony Bennett; De Niro, again; and actor/director Clint Eastwood). Jean-Luc Godard, the night’s other honoree, elected not to attend the event (but was still toasted by cinematographer Haskell Wexler; film editor Mark Goldblatt; producer Mark Johnson; documentary filmmaker Lynn Littman; composer Charles Fox; writer/director Phil Alden Robinson; and actor Vincent Cassel).
  • Thompson on Hollywood: Anne Thompson recounts the scene at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre on Sunday afternoon when moviegoers attending a retrospective of the four films on which director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio have collaborated — including, most recently, this year’s “Shutter Island,” which Paramount hopes will land a best picture nomination like the other three — were treated to a Q&A with the two A-listers. (Both were beamed in via satellite from overseas cities, Scorsese from London where he is shooting a film and DiCaprio from Tel Aviv where he is celebrating his 36th birthday with his Israeli girlfriend and her family.) Scorsese said that his favorite film with DiCaprio was “The Aviator” (2004)
  • Awards Tracker: Tom O’Neil thinks that Melissa Leo (“The Fighter”) has “got a choke hold on Oscar’s supporting-actress bout,” noting that “we haven’t seen this much ’tude expressed in a loud, working-class twang since Marisa Tomei pulled off an upset win” for “My Cousin Vinny” (1992). O’Neil supports this fascinating comparison by listing even more parallels: “Both roles are over-the-top, demanding shrews who can’t 1.) stop whining, 2.) take ‘no’ for an answer, or 3.) keep their faces out of everybody else’s. They’re defiant dees-and-dems gals from blue-collar environs who wobble in high heels, wear their hair too big and their skimpy clothes too tight. Yeah, Tomei’s role is comedic, but, really — let’s be honest — so is Leo’s.”
  • People: Reagan Alexander speaks with “Black Swan” stars Natalie Portman, a best actress contender, and Mila Kunis, a best supporting actress contender, about the intense training they undertook in order to convincingly portray professional ballet dancers. “I started a year ahead of time,” Portman tells him, “and by the end I was doing eight hours a day.” Kunis, meanwhile, says she “lost 20 pounds” as a result of her regimen, at the end of which she “looked like Gollum from ‘Lord of the Rings’… everything was just protruding.” Kunis also shot down reports that she and Portman sought “liquid courage” before filming their lesbian sex scene: “There was no tequila! Not sure where that rumor came from, but it’s false. I don’t think we could have done that scene if we were intoxicated.”
  • Vanity Fair: Krista Smith profiles 12-year-old actress Elle Fanning, the precocious younger sister of Dakota Fanning, whose career “takes a giant step forward this month” with the release of Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” a film in which she plays the daughter of a famous Hollywood figure with whom she winds up hanging out at the Chateau Marmont hotel. Fanning essentially serves as a surrogate for Coppola herself, who often tagged along with her father, the director Francis Ford Coppola, when she was a kid.
  • The Hollywood Reporter: Jay A. Fernandez posts the new red-band trailer for “Love and Other Drugs,” the sexy new romantic-dramedy that finds “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) lovers Jake Gyllenhaal, a best actor contender, and Anne Hathaway, a best actress contender, back in the sack together again. The trailer, which is “for restricted audiences only” (and requires a prospective viewer to insert his or her birthdate in order to try to ensure that those are the only people who see it), is, as Fernandez puts it, “full of naughty words with hard ‘k’ sounds and visual jokes about just plain being hard.”

Photo: Eli Wallach, Francis Ford Coppola, and Kevin Brownlow at the 2nd annual Governors Awards. Credit: AMPAS.