Posts Tagged ‘Werner Herzog’
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.
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.
These, in my judgment, are the five awards-related stories from the past week that every self-respecting movie buff should know about…
- The Envelope: Reed Johnson nabs a rare interview with best actress hopeful Annette Bening, one of the two female leads in “The Kids Are All Right,” as well as Lisa Cholodenko, the film’s co-screenwriter/director. Cholodenko says that when it came to casting the part of Nic — “who in many ways is the film’s dramatic fulcrum, just as she is her family’s emotional anchor — mostly for the better, though not without the usual quotient of occasional slammed doors and raised voices” — she thought of only Bening. Fortunately, it turned out that a mutual-admiration existed between the two — Cholodenko thought of Bening because of one particularly special scene of hers from “American Beauty” (1999), and Bening always remembered enjoying Cholodenko’s earlier film “Laurel Canyon” (2002).
- 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik scans the newly-released slate of films that will play at January’s Sundance Film Festival, and points out some potential “critical darlings” for which we should probably keep an eye out. Among them are “Higher Ground,” the Oscar nominated actress Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut, and “Pariah,” a Bronx-set film that many are likening to last year’s Sundance breakout-hit “Precious.”
- The Odds: Steve Pond noted a little less than a month ago that director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and his new film “Biutiful,” which stars Javier Bardem, has a lot of friends in high places — and the list has only grown since Pond posted his piece. Werner Herzog moderated a DGA Q&A with Inarritu in Los Angeles; Robert Benton moderated a DGA Q&A with Inarritu in New York; Sean Penn, who was overheard telling Josh Brolin that the film is a “fucking masterpiece,” will be moderating a Q&A with Inarritu and Bardem this coming Sunday in Los Angeles; Michael Mann will be hosting a private screening of the film at CAA on December 10; and Alfonso Cuaron will be hosting a csreening in London on December 13. Others who have publicly stated their support of the film include Ben Affleck, Guillermo Del Toro, and Julian Schnabel.
- The Film Stage: Jordan Raup passes along a letter from “Adaptation” (2002) director Spike Jonze to online film critic Peter Sciretta in which he emphasizes how much he loves David O. Russell’s “The Fighter.” Jonze wrote, “Hey Peter — Spike here. I’m writing on behalf of my friend David Russell, regarding his new movie The Fighter. Did you get a chance to see it yet? How insanely great is Christian Bale? Can you do me a favor and post this 2 minute trailer called ‘Pressure’ on your site? The trailer that they put out originally makes the film feel a little generic and I just want to help David get the word out. I got to see it a few weeks ago, and I loved it, and if all you saw is the trailer that’s out, you might not know that it’s as interesting and strong as it is. Thanks for your help! Spike”
- The Contenders: Brad Brevet has, through a variety of means, gathered the scripts of 23 of this year’s top awards contenders and posted them on his site for anyone who would like to read them. His most recent acquisitions? “I Love You Phillip Morris” and “Winter’s Bone.”
Photo: Mia Waskinowska, Lisa Cholodenko, and Julianne Moore on the set of “The Kids Are All Right.” Credit: Columbia University.
- 60 Minutes: Lara Logan profiles the actor/producer Mark Wahlberg, who she says “has made a career of reinventing himself like no one else in show business,” just a few weeks before the release of “The Fighter,” a film that he produced and stars in as his childhood hero. He takes her back to Boston and opens up about his “reckless youth,” including an assault that he committed at the age of 16 that left a man blind and resulted in him serving 45 days in jail. That harrowing experience, he says, gave him the drive to make something more of his life — first as a rapper, then as a model, and now as an Oscar-nominated actor and producer who is on the brink of unveiling his “proudest achievement” yet.
- Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil claims that certain members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association “absolutely love” the recent blockbuster thriller “Red” and says that we should “expect it to bag noms for best comedy/musical picture, actor (Bruce Willis) and maybe even supporting actor (John Malkovich as a conspiracy-minded LSD tripper) and supporting actress (Helen Mirren as a machine-gun-toting Rambo).”
- New York Times: Brooks Barnes adds to the mounting expectations of “Tangled,” the 50th animated film from Disney, which reportedly cost $175 million to make and “will carry global marketing costs in excess of $100 million.” Disney’s chief creative officer John Lasseter, who has spent over three years working on the film since the 2006 Disney-Pixar merger left him in charge of the studio, tells Barnes: ““This film is as good as a Pixar film, but it’s classic Disney, and I love that: heart, humor, beauty, music, wonderment, the love story.”
- The Big Picture: Patrick Goldstein highlights one of the most glaring omissions from the recently released list of films eligible for this year’s best documentary feature Oscar: Werner Herzog’s visually stunning 3-D doc “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” He was previously snubbed five years ago for his critically-acclaimed doc “Grizzly Man” (2005), but was nominated three years ago for “Encounters at the End of the World” (2007).
- Awards Tracker: Susan King reports that best actress hopeful Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”) will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 2011 Vanguard Award following a career tribute on February 5. According to the festival, the award was created to annually recognize “an actor who has forged his/her own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.” Previous recipients have included Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christoph Waltz.
- Imageworks: As part of the no-holds-barred Oscar campaign for “Alice in Wonderland,” the special effects firm Sony Pictures Imageworks has invited select journalists to have tea with the visual effects and animation team responsible for the film, as well as to have “an individual opportunity to sit at an Avid at Sony Pictures Imageworks with one of our editors and a member of the visual effects and animation production team” for a demonstration of some of the work that went into the production of the film’s “nearly 2500 visual effects and animation shots.”
- Los Angeles Times: Mark Olsen profiles the 24-year-old writer/director/actress Lena Dunham, who has made a big impression with “Tiny Furniture,” her debut film, and is now being “courted by Hollywood.” As Dunham puts it, her story could be succinctly described as: “girl makes movie about being a loser and then gets un-loserly things to happen to her.”
- Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells confirms that director Steven Spielberg will indeed adapt a still-to-be-written Tony Kushner script about Abraham Lincoln into a feature film, and that the 16th president will be played not by the Irish actor Liam Neeson, who was the rumored frontrunner for the part, but rather by the British actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Cinephiles largely cheered the casting of the two time best actor Oscar winner (who traveled on Friday to Springfield, Illinois and received a tour of relevant historical sites from Lincoln historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.) The film is due out in 2012.
- The Film Experience: Nathaniel Rogers chats with the 37-year-old actress Juliette Lewis, who was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar nearly two decades ago for “Cape Fear” (1991) and is hoping to be nominated for it again for this year’s Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction.” She has only two brief scenes in the film, but, as Rogers writes, audiences can’t take their eyes of her when she’s on screen, and it seems likely that they will lead to other, more substantial acting roles for her in the near future.
Photo: Mark Wahlberg in “The Fighter.” Credit: Paramount.