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Countdown to Oscars

Posts Tagged ‘Star Wars’

Wednesday September 16th, 2015

Space May Be the New Frontier for Oscar Hopefuls

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

There has been a trend towards the stars in the past few years in Hollywood, and Oscar has finally begun to take notice. Films set in outerspace are no longer just the realm of niche science fiction, but rather have begun to get serious awards recognition.

The Martian, the new space epic from director Ridley Scott and star Matt Damon based on the novel by Andy Weir, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this past weekend and has high hopes for Oscar gold. Scott has been nominated for best director three times in his career (1991’s Thelma &Louise, 2000’s Gladiator, 2001’s Black Hawk Down) and hopes that his latest will finally earn him the statue.

Space-set films have been getting more respect as potential award season threats, with 2013’s Gravity earning a best director award for Alfonso Cuarón and a best picture nom. The trend is somewhat new, however, as a look back at years past show just how far the genre has come in terms of Oscar recognition.

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Friday January 23rd, 2015

Debbie Reynolds Reveals Another Family Connection to ‘Star Wars’

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

This story first appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Announcing Debbie Reynolds as this year’s recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award, SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard saluted her as “a tremendously talented performer with a diverse body of screen and stage work, live performances and several hit records.” But that’s something of an understatement. Reynolds, 82, has been performing since age 16, when she won the title of Miss Burbank. That led to a contract at Warner Bros., where she spent two years before she was scooped up by MGM, the mecca of musicals. On Jan. 22, Turner Classic Movies will salute her by airing five of her films, and Jan. 25, it’s a safe bet her fellow actors will rise to their feet to applaud her, and her longevity, at the SAG Awards.

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Tuesday February 25th, 2014

Scott Feinberg on His Career, the Oscars and the State of the Movies

By Mark Pinkert

* * *

For my final post of the Oscar season, I decided to interview Scott Feinberg, the preeminent Oscarologist and namesake of this website, to get some insights from him about his own career and influences, his experiences on the awards circuit this year and his impressions about the current state of the film industry. Below is the full transcript of our conversation. It’s long, but certainly worth a read.

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Monday December 16th, 2013

Best Original Score Winners in the 21st Century: Do they Influence The Best Picture Race?

By Mark Pinkert

When I began research for this post, I assumed there would be a noticeable correlation between Academy Award Best Picture winners and Best Original Score winners. A safe assumption, I thought, because of how important music is to cinema (have you ever watched a scene before music was added?). Music provides emotional thrust to a film. It creates suspense, amplifies poignant moments, and brings settings to life. Additionally, music can shape our memory of a given film. How many iconic movies—The Godfather (1972), Star Wars (1977), Jaws (1975), Psycho (1960)—have themes that we automatically recall as soon as the movie’s title comes up?

Yet in the thirteen Academy Awards since and including 2000, only three Best Picture winners also took home Best Original Score and of the eighty-five films that were nominated for Best Picture in this time period, only about one third of them were even nominated for Best Original Score.

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Monday December 3rd, 2012

The Confounding Connection Between The Box Office And The Oscars

By Joey Magidson
Film Contributor


As much as we all like to take a pure approach to movies and the awards season as a whole, looking at film only as an art form to be rewarded solely on its merit, the Oscars are a business. It’s mostly a matter of things being black and white. But we get shades of grey in the connection that exists (or maybe doesn’t) between the Oscars and the box office.

Long has been the contention that Oscars winners, especially Best Picture winners, need to be big moneymakers to actually take home the gold. Two out of the last three films crowned with the prize, though, have been among the very lowest grossers of all time. The Artist and The Hurt Locker beat out bigger bucks, with the latter especially noteworthy for triumphing over the highest grossing film of all time in Avatar.

While this could become the norm, it used to be a rarity (just look at how many people are still shocked that Annie Hall beat out Star Wars in 1978), and it’s currently cited as an example of how the tastes of the Academy and the mainstream public have never been less in sync. The Academy has even acknowledged its desire to cater to the average moviegoer’s likes through the expansion of Best Picture, albeit to mixed success. Is this necessarily a bad thing, and what does it mean for this year?

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Tuesday November 27th, 2012

‘Looper’ Director Rian Johnson Discusses Creative Process, Influences, Heightened Reality

By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist


They say the third time’s the charm, and that appears to be the case for writer-director Rian Johnson.

Looper, Johnson’s third and most ambitious feature , opened on Sept. 28 and quickly became one of the year’s most critically acclaimed and commercially successful releases. The story of a man (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) assigned to kill the 30-years-older version of himself (Bruce Willis) after time-travel is discovered, it’s a rare blockbuster that’s both creative and smart. It has thus earned Johnson comparisons to fellow filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and Darren Aronofsky.

Oh, and Looper is also immensely profitable: made on a mid-range budget of just $30 million, it grossed $66 million at the U.S. box-office and another $97 million abroad. How many other 2012 films can compete with those profit-margins?

Looper marks the second large collaboration between Johnson and star Gordon-Levitt, who worked together on Johnson’s first feature, the 2005 high school drama Brick, a $475,000 neo-noir that caught a lot of people’s attention after it played at Sundance and went on to gross over $3 million internationally. Gordon-Levitt also made a cameo in Johnson’s second film, The Brothers Bloom, a $20 million film that was rejected by critics and ignored by moviegoers upon its release in 2008.

I recently caught up with Johnson, of whom I am admittedly a big fan, over the telephone to discuss his life and career.

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Thursday November 15th, 2012

TV Rewind: ‘House of Cards’ Trailer Suggests Shake-Up, ‘Nashville’ Renewed, ‘Girls’ Going For Three

By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist



• The first trailer for Netflix’s original series House of Cards is online. Not to be overly dramatic, but its success could change TV as we know it.

• ABC’s new musical drama Nashville, staring Connie Britton and Hayden Panettiere, received a full season from the alphabet network.

• It looks as though HBO’s Girls will get a third season. The comedy’s second season premieres Jan. 13.

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Thursday March 8th, 2012

George Lucas Talks About Star Wars

By Josh Abraham

Sirius XM Radio today announced that it will broadcast an in-depth interview conducted by Senator Bill Bradley with award-winning filmmaker George Lucas—the legendary creator of the Star Wars Saga and Indiana Jones series and chairman of Lucasfilm, Ltd.—on a special edition of Senator Bradley’s SiriusXM show American Voices.

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Sunday January 22nd, 2012

“Red Tails” is an Entertaining History Lesson/B-Movie

By Scott Mendelson

The strongest aspect of director Anthony Hemingway and producer George Lucas’s Red Tails is that it lives in a somewhat Utopian film industry where African-American dramas aren’t all that big of a deal. The picture may have an unfair burden of proving the bankability of larger-budget ($58 million) genre fare revolving entirely around African Americans, but you don’t see that sweat onscreen. It treats itself not like a test case, or a passion project for one of the more financially successful independent filmmakers of our age, but merely a B-movie action drama that involves actors like Cuba Cooding Jr. Terrence Howard, and David Oyelowo. Red Tails may be (unfortunately) an anomaly, but those behind and in front of the camera treat this as if it were one of many minority-led historical dramas that open each month at the local multiplex.

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Thursday November 24th, 2011

The Hardest Oscar Category to Crack… Is Best Original Score?!

As most of us prepare to give thanks, some among us — particularly young and up-and-  coming film composers — are saying please, as in, “Please Academy, give us a chance!”

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