The third night of the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival was highlighted by the presentation of the fest’s Outstanding Performer of the Year Award to Blue Jasmine‘s Cate Blanchett, the prohibitive favorite to take home the best actress Oscar on March 2. The elegant leading lady, who would have fit in beautifully during any age of cinema history, was previously honored at the fest in 2008, when she received its Modern Master Award. This go-around, her Q&A was moderated by Deadline’s affable awards columnist Pete Hammond and her award itself was presented to her by Rooney Mara, her admirer and costar on Terrence Malick‘s next film.
Posts Tagged ‘Woody Allen’
For Oscar buffs — read “Oscar geeks” — like me, one of the great thrills of each year’s Academy Awards nominations announcement is the opportunity to dig through the eight-plus decades of Oscar record books and investigate. There’s no way to truly compare the classics of yesteryear with the finest films of today, but in a weird way this allows us to do something like that — and, while that’s not particularly useful, it sure is a blast to do! So, without further ado, here are the fun factoids and shocking stats that I’ve come up with about the new crop of Oscar nominees.
By Mark Pinkert
If David O. Russell gets nominated for Best Director this year, he will have accomplished something that Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Francis Ford Coppola and many other great directors have not–that is, to earn three Best Director nominations in the span of only four years. In fact, only eleven other directors have been on comparable hot streaks in Academy Award history, and only one of those streaks (by Clint Eastwood) has occurred after 1960. (See below for reference.)
This is not a comparison of overall quality or career prolificity (not many can bout with Scorsese, Allen, Hitchcock and Coppola in those categories), but merely a tribute to Russell’s ultra-concentrated efforts in the past four years and a recognition of the difficulty of this feat. It’s also a relevant because it might shed some light on previous Oscar trends and on what we can expect at the 86th Oscars.
By Mark Pinkert
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This is the third article in a three-part series.
Though many Academy Award Best Picture nominees contain—or are predominantly about—sex and relationships, very few have been about sex issues in law and politics. In recent years there has been Milk (2008), the biopic of Harvey Milk, a California politician and gay rights activist, and otherwise not much else. Even in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the AIDS epidemic was a hot button issue, few films of this genre made it to the Best Picture ticket (remember, Philadelphia was snubbed from the category in 1993). Sexual issues topics, though, have been more popular within the documentary medium: there was Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt (1989), which won for Best Documentary, and which was the first AIDS-related film to win an Oscar, the The Times of Harvey Milk (1984), which also won Best Documentary, and How to Survive a Plague (2012), which was nominated for Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards earlier this year.
The Oscar race this year, though, does feature an important film about sex issues, Dallas Buyers Club (2013), which will likely make the Best Picture ticket and has a shot to win. Though the sociopolitical scope of this film is generally contained within the Dallas locale of Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) and his HIV-positive buyers club, the film is quite relevant today. Through the growth of Woodroof—a once outspoken homophobe turned sympathetic activist—we see the real dangers of sex-related stigmata in society.
By Joey Magidson
Each year, Oscar voters reward several previously unrecognized talents with their first Academy Award nominations. But they have a habit of filling many if not most of their 20 acting slots with people whom they have previously been nominated. (If you happen to have already won an Oscar? Well, then you are sitting even prettier.)
Why is this the case? That’s probably a question for a psychologist, although my own guess would be that voters are more inclined to check out the work of — and reward — work by quantities who are known and established than who are not.
Regardless, there are, as usual, plenty of previous nominees and winners — actors, actresses, directors, writers, and various behind-the-scenes talent — angling this year to be a part of the Oscar race once again. I have decided to highlight the 10 whom I believe have the best shot at scoring that desired recognition.
By Doreen Alexander Child
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Just a generation ago it would have been unimaginable, but the fact of the matter is this: since the arrival of premium cable and the rise of HBO about 30 years ago, television has provided quality entertainment on a more consistent basis than movies. This has never been more true than it is today, with the movies dominated by mindless remakes, sequels and adaptations, while TV offers the likes of not only HBO but also AMC, Showtime and now even streaming alternatives like Netflix, all of which proudly air original and edgy content of the sort that one used to find at the cineplex before the studios were swallowed by profit-obsessed conglomerates. Now, not only viewers look at TV differently — but so, too, do talent.
By Joey Magidson
If there’s one Oscar category where it’s safe to say there’s already a clear frontrunner at this point, it’s best actress. That race is currently looking mostly like a battle for second place, with Cate Blanchett sitting way out front for her role in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Should she end up holding on, it would make her a two-time Oscar winner. (She won nine years ago for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator.) This, however, would be her first best actress prize.
39 men and women have been honored with more than one acting Oscar. Of them, only 11 have won in both acting categories in which they were eligible — in other words, best actor and best supporting actor for men and best actress and best supporting actress for women. Blanchett would become only be the sixth man or woman to ever win first in a supporting category and then win again later in a leading category.
By Rachel Bennett
Television Editor & Columnist
It’s pilot season, which means your favorite out-of-work TV actors, actresses, creators and writers are getting a chance to return to the small screen once more.
Although we have yet to know what new series we’ll see next year, the networks have been busy selecting projects to consider for their schedules. So far, almost 100 scripts have been chosen, and audiences will only get to see a handful actually come to fruition.
Several are duds, but there are a few promising prospects that I hope network executives will keep around for the 2013-2014 season — even if it means they have to cancel old favorites to make room (just keep Parks and Recreation, OK, NBC?).
Check out my choices for the best prospective ABC and Fox pilots, and read my selections for NBC and CBS if you missed them yesterday:
By Joey Magidson
I’ve always had a soft spot for films that are directed by actors. In one of my recent pieces, I spoke about how the Academy looks at actors who direct. Now, I’ll be continuing my interest by focusing in on which of these multi-hyphenates are the best at what they do.
By and large, the films that actors make when they choose directorial projects have some sort of significance for them or at least play to their strengths, so disasters are few and far between. This makes it a lot of fun to celebrate the best of the bunch, since I’m able to draw from a larger pool than you normally can when looking at one particular type of filmmaker.
I take some comfort in knowing that most films directed by actors tend to be at least decent, if not better. I see almost 300 movies in a given year (in 2012 I saw 290 in total), so I undoubtedly see a lot of garbage to go along with the gems, but the flicks that actor-directors put out almost never turn out terrible.
By Joey Magidson
No matter how we talk about the Oscar race right now, the discussion is fed through the prism of both the Best Picture candidacy of Argo and the Best Director snub of Ben Affleck. Especially now that the Producers Guild crowned Argo with their top prize over the weekend and the Screen Actors Guild did the same just hours ago, all roads of discussion go through that flick and Affleck.
One angle that I haven’t really discussed much yet is the fact that Affleck is still primarily an actor transitioning to being a director as well. This is only his third film, and while he’s seen Oscar nominations for supporting roles in both of his films (Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone and Jeremy Renner for The Town), no wins have come for any of his directorial outings.
This time around, Argo was supposed to be the movie that got him over the hump. In one regard, it did, since the film is nominated for seven Academy Awards and is in serious contention to win at least three or four of them. Obviously, the one place it’s notoriously not competing in is the Best Director category. Affleck was looked at as perhaps the leader of the pack for much of the season, but he wound up out in the cold on nomination morning.
The snub begs the question of whether the Academy truly has the soft spot for films directed by actors that some presume exists. Did Argo get the love it did because of — or in spite of — the admiration voters had for Affleck’s efforts?