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Posts Tagged ‘Steve James’

Thursday October 6th, 2016

Could Ava DuVernay’s ‘13th’ Be the First Documentary Nominated For Best Picture in Oscar History?

Ava DuVernay (Gregory Pace/Rex/Shutterstock)

Ava DuVernay (Gregory Pace/Rex/Shutterstock)

By: Carson Blackwelder
Managing Editor

It has never been done before, but does Ava DuVernay’s 13th—a documentary that postulates that, for black Americans, mass incarceration has replaced slavery—stand a chance at snagging a Best Picture nomination at the 89th Academy Awards?

The Selma-director’s Netflix original—which she also helped produce and co-wrote the screenplay for—opened the New York Film Festival with its world premiere, marking the first time a documentary has ever held that coveted spot in the festival’s 54-year history.

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Friday January 23rd, 2015

The Top 25 Oscar Documentary Snubs of the Past 30 Years

By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

After narrowing the Oscar documentary feature shortlist to five at the 87th Academy Award nominations Jan. 15, a number of notable exclusions were featured, particularly Al HicksKeep on Keepin’ On, which documents the mentorship and friendship of a jazz legend and a blind piano prodigy, and Steve JamesLife Itself, about the life and career of famed film critic Roger Ebert. (James is no stranger to snubs and the exclusion of his 1994 film Hoop Dreams led to rule reform within the documentary category.)  Both films hold 97 percent positive ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.

Some films surprised when they didn’t even land a spot on the shortlist, such as Red Army, which examines the rise and fall of the Soviet Union’s hockey team from the perspective of its coach. That film holds a 100 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

In light of these best documentary feature snubs, here are the top 25 shocking omissions by the Academy’s documentary branch over the past 30 years:

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Sunday February 26th, 2012

ANALYSIS: Can ‘The Artist’ Break the Indie Spirit Awards’ 25-Year-Old Oscar Curse?

The 27th annual Independent Spirit Awards, presented by Film Independent, were dished out this afternoon in a tent by the beach in sunny Santa Monica. Comedian Seth Rogen hosted the ceremony, which brings together the best and brightest of the indie film community, past and present, for an Oscar-weekend celebration of the struggle that is independent filmmaking. While the event is known for being lots of fun (how many other awards shows encourage day-drinking?), it is not known for its prowess at predicting the Oscars (voting for which closes before the Spirits are dished out anyway).

Indeed, only one of the winners of the Spirit Awards’ top prize, best feature, has ever won the best picture Oscar, and that was 25 years ago (Platoon, 1986), and only 11 of the 100 performances that it has rewarded with acting prizes — 26 in each of the two lead categories and 24 in each of the two supporting categories — were subsequently recognized with Oscars in their respective categories: Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, 2005) and Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart, 2009) for best actor; Geraldine Page (The Trip to Bountiful, 1984), Frances McDormand (Fargo, 1996), Hilary Swank (Boys Don’t Cry, 1999), Charlize Theron (Monster, 2003), and Natalie Portman (Black Swan, 2010) for best actress; Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine, 2006) for best supporting actor; and Dianne Wiest (Bullets Over Broadway, 1994), Penelope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona, 2008), and Mo’Nique (Precious, 2009) for best supporting actress.

Most pundits, however, believe that this trend will be broken at tomorrow’s 84th Academy Awards — at least as far as the best picture, best actor, and best supporting actor Oscar races are concerned.

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Thursday January 12th, 2012

Meryl Streep, “War Horse” and “The Descendants” in Today’s Oscar News

By Sean O’Connell

The awards race has kicked into high gear. The National Board of Review kicked things off. The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards extends the madness tonight. And we still have the Golden Globes (with host Ricky Gervais) and, of course, the Oscars on the horizon.

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Saturday November 26th, 2011

Signs of the Apocalypse From the 2011-12 Awards Season

 Some food for thought about the 2011-12 awards season to go along with your  Thanksgiving leftovers …

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Friday November 18th, 2011

Academy’s Doc Shortlist Includes — and Leaves Out — Plenty of Great Films (Analysis)

Each year when the Academy’s documentary branch screening committee announces its  shortlist of 15 films from which the five best documentary (feature) Oscar contenders will be  selected, as they did today, there are inevitably a few  omissions that leave doc buffs stunned. This year is no exception.

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Friday November 18th, 2011

Animated, Documentary and Foreign: 3 Key Oscar Categories Analyzed

This story first appeared in the Nov. 25 issue of The Hollywood  Reporter magazine.


1. The Adventures of Tintin The Steven Spielberg-Peter Jackson film has tremendous reviews, but will the Academy deem its motion-capture “animated” enough to qualify for the category?

2. Rango It opened way back in March, but solid reviews and nearly $250 million in worldwide box office have kept it in the thick of things ever since.

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