Oscar History

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Soundtracking:Southland Tales

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Lulu Wang(The Farewell)
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Entries in Gone Girl (45)

Dec 08 2014

Beauty vs Beast: All The Cool Girls

Jason fromMNPPhere,saying tis the time for a round of "Beauty vs Beast"once more.This week we're finally tackling one of this year's biggest movies,David Fincher'sGone Girl- financially it's the biggest hit of its director's career,and critically,well a lot of people loved it and are hoping to see it figure prominently in the upcoming awards races.(I am not one of those people;I reviewed it at NYFFsaying "a lot of what makes Amy into 'Amazing Amy,' what makes her particularly spectacular on the page,is the deeply darkly funny specificity of her voice,unpeeling like an onion,and that falls away from the movie just when I needed it most.") Anyway there's a good chance Rosamund Pike will be nominated for her performance as Amazing Amy,and it'll probably show up in some other categories as well.And if there's a bigger He Said She Said movie of 2014 I certainly missed it,so let's see who we side with!

I might have gone a little vague there in the Cons maybe...?The Pros were easy to be spoiler-free on,but listing these two's Cons without giving away too much of the game,that defeated me.If y'all have seen the movie you've certainly got your own laundry list of them,so tell us all about it in the comments.

PREVIOUSLYLast week wetackled the sisters ofBlue Jasminefor Woody Allen's birthday,and even though Sally put up a helluva fight,as with the Oscars we couldn't help ourselves from lavishing our love on the showier gal.亚博主页The Great Cate makes one more successful trek to the podium!SaidJakey:

"Jasmine,because when my life falls apart,I also wonder why I can't just get a Stoli with lemon."

Dec 03 2014

Team FYC: Carrie Coon for Best Supporting Actress

Editor's Note: We're featuring individually chosen FYC's for various longshots in the Oscar race.We'll never repeat a film or a category so we hope you enjoy the variety of picks.And if you're lucky enough to be an AMPAS,HFPA,SAG,Critics Group voter,take note!Here'sMargareton Gone Girl.

David Fincher'sGone Girlhas been praised,and deservedly so,for excellence in casting its leads.Certainly Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck are immensely successful in their chilling game of spousal one-upmanship,both turning in career-best performances.But looking a little further down the call sheet,some of the best work is being done by arguably the least known in the cast.Carrie Coon,Chicago-based stage actress and recent Tony nominee (for playing Honey in the revival ofWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?),made her film debut inGone Girl,but blends in so seamlessly you'd never guess.

Carrie Coon plays Margo Dunne,twin sister of Ben Affleck's Nick.Frank,wry,and loyal to a fault,she quickly becomes the heart of the movie as the central couple reveal themselves to be less and less reliable.Margo functions effectively as an audience stand-in,but she's much more than that.Coon's lived-in,effortless rapport with Affleck creates a believable and affectionate sibling relationship that emphasizes the ambiguity,and keeps Nick from being too easy a villain.Her pointed observations and bluntness are a steady source of humor,welcome in Fincher's grim universe,and essential in keeping the movie from tipping too far into the unpleasant.Not even the source novel's pickiest devotees could find anything wanting in her performance.She's perfect.

Carrie Coon's Margo Dunne has neither the narrative heft of near co-leads like Rene Russo inNightcrawleror Jessica Chastain inA Most Violent Year,nor the scene-grabbing outre of Tilda Swinton inSnowpiercer,but her contributions toGone Girlare no less potent.She makes everyone with whom she shares a scene better,and she makes the movie as a whole better;it's a true supporting performance.

Previously in Team FYC
Visual FX,Under the Skin
Cinematography,The Homesman

Nov 23 2014

Top Box Office Hits of 2014 - Outside the Franchises!

Amir here,reporting to box office duty.For those of us not living under a rock for the past four years,the success ofThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay,Part 1this weekend comes as no surprise.Let's skip right over it then,although it's probably worth noting that its haul was significantly less than its predecessors.In order to restore some sanity in the midst of this sequel-dominated explotionapalooza,we'll take a break from regular box office reporting to look at the year's top ten non-franchise,non-CGI-driven,non-animated box office champs of the year thus far:

#1 Drama of 2014: GONE GIRL

ThatTop Ten
01GONE GIRL$156.8 and risingJason's review,podcast
03RIDE ALONG$134.9
06NON-STOP$92.1Amir's Review
10FURYabout to climb overLet's Be Copsfor this spotReview

#1 Comedy of 2014: NEIGHBORS

Debatable.Non-Franchise but Still Heavily CG.If You'd like to mentally include any of them
-INTERSTELLAR$120.6 and risingMichael's Review


On average,this top ten list is on the same level of quality as the actual top ten but what is depressing is thatincreasingly it is becoming impossible for original films to perform as well as commodities that the public already recognizes.Currently the highest ranking wholly original film among this year's biggest grossers isNeighborsat 15th.While sequels and adaptations can be traced all the back to the silent era,the box office snoozefest wasn't always thus.Even at the turn of the century,the top ten list featured,quite unbelievably,the following films:Cast Away,Gladiator,What Women Want,Meet the ParentsandWhat Lies Beneath,followed by the likes ofErin Brokovich,TrafficandCrouching TigerHidden Dragon.

Since then,the studio system has gone through a complete metamorphosis,on several levels that are both too long and too frustrating to write about in this weekly column,but I think we all lost something as our stars gradually turned from people into effects and the average age of those the films are marketed to decreased without control.

Anyway,speaking ofHidden Dragon,here are the year's best selling foreign hits so far:

#1 Subtitled Film of 2014: CANTINFLAS

Top Subtitled Pictures of 2014 Thus Far
01CATINFLAS$6.3(Mexico via Lionsgate) -Oscar Submission
02THE LUNCHBOX$4.2(India via Sony Pictures Classics)
03IDA$3.7(Poland via Music Box Films) -Oscar Submission,Loved it
04THE RAID 2$2.6(Indonesia/USA via  Sony Pictures Classics)
05THE ADMIRAL: ROARING CURRENTS$2.5(South Korea via CJ Entertainment)
06BANG BANG$2.5(India via FIP)
07KICK$2.4(India via UTV)
082 STATES$2.2(India via UTV)
09GLORIA$2.1(Chile via Roadside Attractions) -Oscar Submission last year,Loved it
10JAI HO$1.2(via Eros)

As always,Indian films dominate the list,though with the exception ofThe Lunchbox,most of them failed to gain traction outside the target demographic of the Indian community.France has had an unusally bad year,but it's heartwarming to see a film as chilly and uninviting asIdahas done such impressive business.Meanwhile,the best foreign release of the year,Force Majeure,is inching its way toward the million dollar mark.So far it has grossed $429k.

What have you watched this weekend?And how many of these selective top ten hits have you seen?

Nov 19 2014

FYC for SAG: "Outstanding Ensemble"

SAG ballots go out today (and Globe and BFCA ballots in a week or two) so it's FYC season again.SAG's most unique categories are "Stunt Ensemble"-- may we adamantly remind them that the fight scenes inCaptain America: Winter Soldierare better than the ones inGuardians of the Galaxyeven if the latter film is more popular and beloved--and the one we tend to obsess on"Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture""

Unfortunately,the older the SAG Awards become the less adventurous their nominations.Rarely do we see the surprise Off-Best Picture nominee as in years past likeHustle & FloworThe Birdcageor what not.We'd love it if their randomly selected nominating committee werenotthinking about the Oscars when they went a-balloting.亚博主页We know,for example,thatBoyhood,Selma,Theory of Everything,Birdman,FoxcatcherandThe Imitation Gamehave an advantage do their strong assumed place inthe Best Picture racebut if you really think about it (which you always should if you have a ballot) arehalf of those movies all that impressive in terms ofgroupacting?They're impressive in other ways,don't misunderstand.But you can nominate individual performers for prizes so why waste an ensemble spot on the same people!?

The Film Experience would like to make 3 suggestions off the expected path for those voting this year.亚博主页These are films with impressive large ensembles that are very in sync with each other as well as the film's tone

For SAG's consideration...

Jason Clarke does a fantastic atypically peaceful hero job leading the fine human cast but though they're at odds with the apes,their performances mesh extraordinarily well.Keep in mind that they were acting with people dressed up in funny performance capture suits.And the performances those suits captured are special,too!

Though this one is focused on a marriage like the more likely nomineeTheory of Everything,the supporting cast has a lot to do and many of them really pop from the TV hosts (Sela Ward & Missi Pyle) to all the family members (Carrie Coon),cops (Kim Dickens) and lawyers (Tyler Perry).SAG could and probably will do a lot worse than selecting this film.

A loveable underdog but in past years when they latched on to movies as small asThe Station Agent,they knew how to throw an adorable indie curveball.And,like,Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,this one basically has two opposing sets of actors,at odds,but mixing more superbly than you thought oil and water or,rather,coal miners and urban gays,ever could.

Films that derive their full strength from the symbiotic contributions or a large diverse talented cast list rather than an acting triump MVP or two (usually leads) ...aren't these the type of films that ought to be considered for "Outstanding Cast"honors?

Nov 18 2014

Quick Impressions: "Nervous Intern"in Gone Girl

New Series!In "Quick Impressions"we will be looking at the working actor in key movie scenes.Consider it a celebration of SAG card-holders everywhere and free advice for casting directors.Have you ever noticed how many people it takes to populate each film's world?So many showbiz dreams wander around on every film set and are embedded in each frame of your favorite movies,sometimes front and center but off to the side and in the background,too.

Today,we're talking to actor/dancerBrett Leighwho has appeared in two David Fincher movies,The Social Network(2010) andGone Girl(2014) the latter of which isstillin the top fivebox officesix weeks into its release and now the year's biggest hit outside of all those CG franchises.

NATHANIEL: Tell us about your scene inGone Girl!

BRETT LEIGH: It's towards the beginning when Nick Dunne asks Amy to marry him.I play one of the reporters at the table.  They cut the scene down but kept my line in there along with the girl sitting next to me.

NATHANIEL:  I love that scene because it feel so performative,as if Nick & Amy are essentially acting out a traditional love story moment for the press.How was the experienceandwhyare you billed as "Nervous Intern"?

BRETT: In scripts,as a general rule,you don't ‘name' characters if they aren't plot changing or show up for several pages or scenes.So when you have one liners,or help move the scene along as a character for a page or two,writers will just call them what they are:  i.e. ‘Courtier', ‘Mail carrier', ‘Nervous Intern'.I have no idea why I was called ‘Nervous Intern'.I don't seem to be nervous OR an intern.[Laughs] The other people were called like,'Fashionista','Above-it-all-Journalist'.I think it was Gillian Flynn's way of staying away from just  ‘Journalist 1,2,3,4'.

I do remember the scene work and was quite pleasantly surprised at how serious Ben Affleck is on set - very good actor,very focused.And Rosamund Pike was top notch every single take.We weren't given the full script,but in taping you could definitely tell Rosamund and Ben knew where they were in the story and where their characters were going.Of course with David Fincher at the helm it's quite impossible NOT to know where your character is and where they are going.

You're also inThe Social Network!

I play the frat guy hazing Andrew Garfield in the snow.It's about 2 minutes and I have the majority of the lines.

Did you fantasize about further terrorizing him as a supervillain when he got the Spider-Man part?

[Laughs] No,but I would really like to be in a comic-come-to-life movie.

Getting thatSocial Networkpart must have been amazing

I was coming back from overseas playing Riff/Action in the International Tour ofWest Side Story.

Brett Leigh,center with bandana in the international tour of West Side StoryMy favorite musical !

I got a call for an audition and I was like "They're making a movie about Facebook?".  It sounded kind of ‘TV movie' to me.  It all happened kind of fast.  I was called in about four times for this scene.After getting the role I found out more about who was directing and writing.  Thats when my mind was blown.David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin?!  I couldn't believe I got the role over other Hollywood hopefuls and the timing worked out so well just getting back from a major theatre tour.

I come from a theatre and ballet background so to transition into film with such an amazing director has been awesome.I feel like I have been in the corps de ballet for two Fincher films.

I hope you get a third and that we see you in a film musical some day!

Thanks for your attention dear readers.You can follow Brett Leigh on Twitter@BrettLeigh.He is also a Director/Writer and recently completed this short film "American Day".It's funny and sad simultaneously.Check it out...

COMING SOON: You tell us.Do you like this series idea?
Do you ever think about actors way down the cast list that might be one lucky break away from larger roles?

Nov 11 2014

Tuesday Top Ten: Fictional Pop Culture of 2014

Manuelhere bringing a fun list to enjoy the fictional pop culture 2014 has brought us.

I have to admit it;I like my pop culture like I like my ouroboros - constantly eating itself.That is to say,I'm a sucker for meta-fictional drama and particularly enjoy when films,books and TV shows create their own pop cultural world to satirize,comment on and critique (it won't surprise you that two of my favorite movies,All About EveandAll About My Mother,are twinned images of one another).We're weeks away from end-of-year Top 10s,but I figured we could begin early by I celebrating the fictional pop culture landscape of 2014.

The criteria?I looked for fictional pop culturalthingsin the films and TV shows from this past year that I wish were real and we've definitely had plenty to choose from.There was reality TV showBlack Face/White PlacefromDear White People,"The King in Yellow"(a fictional play embedded in the eponymous novel that featured so prominently inTrue Detective),the30 Rock-esqueHammy Beartrilogy from Chris Rock's upcomingTop Five,SNL's amazing-lookingThe Beygency,not to mentionInside Amy Schumer's spot-on Sorkinean parodyThe Foodroom.These are,of course,all runners-up to the 10 I've chosen to make up our list.Incomprehensible algebraic equations were designed to rank them all,though I'm eager to hear what I inadvertently missed and/or placed too high.


10."Everything is Awesome!!!"fromThe LEGO Movie
You could say the entire film is a pop cultural kaleidoscope as it is both creating a universe dependent on our own pop culture (Wonder Woman!Gandalf!C3PO!) yet populated entirely by beings unaware of it.Unsurprisingly then,this ear worm of a conformist anthem (written by The Lonely Island,they of "D**ck in a Box"fame) was as ubiquitous in the film as it was in everyone's minds after watching the film.To assure us of its own pop cultural caché,the song was recorded by,implausibly enough,Tegan and Sara!Shoutout to the wonderfully plausible CBS-like sitcom "Where are my pants?"which fits oh so well in this perfectly mundane yet quirky LEGO World.

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