Oscar History

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Soundtracking:Southland Tales

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Entries in Amy (9)

Sep 25 2018

Doc Corner: 'Bad Reputation' and 'Matangi / Maya / M.I.A.'

ByGlenn Dunks

Biographical documentaries about dead musicians often fall into two camps: the reverential and the tragic.Films that focus too much on the latter likeAmyorWhitneypale in comparison to something like Liz Garbus'What Happened Miss Simone?,a film that knew that to understand your subject's tragedy you first have to understand the many facets of the artist in question.

This week,however,we get two biographical documentaries about important and influential musicians who are still (thankfully) very much with us,but which nonetheless tell their subjects' stories in wildly different ways.Bad Reputationis clearly the more traditional of the pair,a fairly standard bio-doc that charts the life and career of Joan Jett,whileMatangi / Maya / more a work of artistic Jenga that roams and rummages through its subject's life with the anarchistic spirit of her music.

What strikes me as interesting about both films is how Joan Jett and Mathangi [sic] "Maya"Arulpragasam (aka M.I.A.) directly instruct the narrative of ‘their' films...

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Jan 24 2016

"The Big Short"takes PGA

Adam McKay'sThe Big Shortgot a big boost in the Oscar race last night by winning big at the PGA.This is an important win for the film considering that this Best Picture race is more slippery than we've seen in the past few years.You have to go back almost a decade toLittle Miss Sunshineto find a PGA winner that didn't align with Oscar (though Oscar winner12 Years a Slaveshared a tie withGravity).

This win also poses another setback forSpotlight,which is really going to need to win that SAG Ensemble prize this coming Saturday to stay in the game.The Revenant,while it may still be rocking the box office,also missed an opportunity here to claim its post as frontrunner after its hefty nomination tally and Globes success.Any chancesMad Maxy: Fury Roadhad are probably now cooked,but George Miller is still viable as a Best Director winner,especially if he takes the DGA prize.

Inside OutandAmygained more distance from their respective competition.Both won PGA's Animated and Documentary prizes and are unlikely to be deafeated on Oscar night.The big television winners wereTransparent,Game of Thrones,andFargo.

Jan 15 2016

A24 Joins the Oscar Crowd

Chrishere to celebrate our favorite indie distributor.A24 has been steadily been building their reputation since launching about 3 years ago,and yesterday they finally landed their first Oscar nominations.They've previously housed longshot candidates likeSpring BreakersandA Most Violent Year,but this year saw three of their films break through:Room,Ex Machina,andAmy.

A24 started 2015 proving that they could compete with the larger indie outfits by delivering at the box office.Ex Machinawas a surprise hit and became their highest grosser,withAmyand Noah Baumbach'sWhile We're Youngalso breaking out.Roomcould pass all of them with the help of its four major nominations andThe Witchlooks primed to be late-winter mini-hit,as well.

The nominations feel richly earned,given that they've fostered worthy candidates likeUnder the Skin,The Spectacular Now,andA Most Violent Yearthat eluded the awards race.Their "Consider This Sh*t"campaign for James Franco's bonkers performance inSpring Breakersmay not have paid off,but they are now firmly in the Oscar fray.

They've been playing their seven nominations very modestly,true to their understated form showcased in theDavid Ehrlich profile on them(essential reading if you haven't read already).Hopefully they're enjoying the Oscar news with a well-deservedEx Machinadance party.Cheers!

Jan 06 2016

Watching the Documentary Finalists: Part 1 - Other People's Lives

Glennhere looking at each of the 15 films on the Academy's documentary finalists which,five of which will be shortlisted for nominations on January 14th

The documentary finalist list announced last month does us a small bit of good.While it was sad to see such excellent feats of non-fictionfilmmakingasThe Pearl Button,In Jackson Heights,SherpaandStray Dog(to name just a few) removed from contention,reducing the astronomically long submission list of 124 down to a more manageable 15 titles does help us out dramatically in being able to not only get a grasp on the category for 2015,but also to give us a sample of what the Academy's doc branch thought of the documentaries of any given year beyond the five eventual nominees.This year's finalist list has its regular faces,but wasn't entirely devoid of surprises and many of the year's best films found a spot despite some egregious choices thrown in.Each of the three posts in this series are divided into vague groups – (Pt 1) movies dedicated to other peoples' lives,(Pt 2) movies about the world on the political edge,and (Pt 3) movies about confrontations.

Activists,actors and musicians after the jump...

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Nov 30 2015

BluRay/DVD: Get high with Kristen & Jesse

Since we haven't done one of these in awhile here is what is new or newish on DVD and BluRay as you try to catch up for your personal year-in-review mania.

American Ultra- Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg headline this pot-smoking action comedy.Which begs the question...

Amy- Glenn recently wondered aloud aboutthe ethics of posthumous privacy invasionsbut that hasn't stopped audience and critics from rallying around this one.
Cooties-It only took this horror comedy two years sinceits Sundance premiereto show up for home entertainment.
Goodnight Mommy-Jose interviewedthe directors of this Austrian horror film,one of the most unusual Oscar submissions for 2015.It's done well at the arthouse,breaking the increasingly difficult 1 million mark
Grace of Monaco- what a long and tortured ride this biopic starring Nicole Kidman has had,huh?We've been covering it for 3 years!A year and a half since its Cannes debut and one cable premiere later and only now is it on DVD?
The Man From U.N.C.L.E.-This franchise hopeful adaptation of the spy TV series wasa pleasant summer surprisefeaturing Guy Ritchie's best work in ages,heaps of style,and a disgustingly beautiful cast.
Meru- An Oscar seeking documentary abou t
Mississippi Grind- Ryan Reynolds & Ben Mendlesohn are pool sharks

Mistress America- The latest divisive comedy from Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig.I didn't like it muchbut Jason loved it.As stated,divisive.
Outlander S1- Somehow I fell off this series afterthat super hot super costumed Wedding episode.Should I tune back in?
Ricki & The Flash-in which Meryl Streep does some of her best and most relaxed work in ages as an aging unsuccessful rocker ...naturally there was little audience reaction and no Oscar buzz as a result!They like to see her sweat for it.Anyway...Iliked it.How about you?
Shaun the Sheep- It shall remain a mystery why this hilarious & sweet Aardman animation effort didn't get US families into theaters to see it (it earned three times as much abroad) considering the absolute garbage parents will take their kids to.The new question iswill it be Oscar nominatedgiven the strangely low number of qualifying filmsAPP亚博娱乐 ?
Stanford Prison Experiment-This ensemble indie (filled with a ton of promising young male actors) about the infamous titular study didn't really catch on but years from now people might look back on it as a "look how many stars are in this!"petri dish.

Nov 27 2015

Amy,Marlon,Janis and Kurt's Documentaries Raise Ethical Questions

Glennhere.As the world of documentary filmmaking grows and grows,biography docs are among the most popular and easiest to sell.This pre-sold name-brand familiarity makes them more desirable to financiers,producers,directors,distributors,exhibitors,festivals,and ultimately audiences.It's hardly surprising that of the Academy's124-strong long-list(to be narrowed to 15 any day now) at least 20 cover the life of a famous person in the public eye.And if you want to stretch the parameters to include institutions such as National Lampoon,Saturday Night Live,Tower Records,The Black Panthers,The Bolshoi Theatre etc,the number balloons.They are also among the highest profile submissions,too,with names like Nina Simone,Evel Kenievel and Chris Farley simply standing out more than geo-politics,homophobia in the Middle East,or Cambodian rock and roll.

This sub-category of documentary were once considered more frivolous and less serious,but have recently begun to win Oscar attention with titles such asExit through the Gift Shop,Man on Wire,and even Wim Wenders'PinaandSalt of the Earth.As a result,ethical questions about this kind of documentary filmmaking are rising up.I know it doesn't sound sexy,but bear with me for Amy Winehouse,Marlon Brando,and other luminariesafter the jump....

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