Oscar History

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Apr 13 2017

Josh Brolin Nicks Role of Cable in "Deadpool 2"

by Daniel Crooke

After ages of anticipation,Marvel Cinematic Universe fans' long international nightmare is over:Deadpool 2has finally cast the coveted role of Cable,the central villain for the sequel.

In one of the more noteworthy examples of franchise double duty since Swedish soap star Maud Adams seduced audiences in two separate James Bond outings (OctopussyandLive and Let Die,for those keeping score at home) Josh Brolin – Thanos,Destroyer of Realms,himself – has landed his second role as a Marvel baddie in the upcoming sequel to the surprise 2015 superhero hit.Beating out Michael Shannon and David Harbour to clinch the part,Brolin now has the distinction of not only playing the MCU's preeminent bad guy,but the antihero's enemy in theDeadpooloffshoot as well;while they share a foundational mythology,theDeadpoolfilms belong to Marvel Entertainment and not the Disney-owned Marvel Studios.

AsDeadpoolstar Ryan Reynolds put it…

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Feb 18 2015

Let's Talk Costume Design

Manuelhere to talk costume design,one of my favorite Oscar categories.Today's detour into this category comes courtesy ofthis very cool "Oscar by the numbers"infographic MTV came up withwhich makes the bold statement that "Zero"is "the number of oscar nominations for women behind the scenes."I'm sure they were hoping to point out the absence of women like Gillian Flynn (in Adapted Screenplay) and Ava Duvernay (in Directing) but isn't it horribly misleading?You don't have to go far to see Oprah Winfrey & Dede Gardner (Selma),Cathleen Sutherland (Boyhood) and Helen Estabrook (Whiplash) nominated in the Best Picture category,but you're mostly also ignoring the women nominated in Production Design,Make up and Hairstyling and,of course,Costume Design.Aren't these women working "behind the scenes"?This last category is to my mathematically challenged mind (and I'd have to double check the shorts categories to be sure),the only one outside of the actress nominations where we see an overabundance of female nominees.

And so,I wanted to highlight the work of the five costume designers nominated this year.If there's one thing to be said about the increasingly PR-driven world of Oscar campaigning is the careful attention to the crafts categories as showcases for those working "below the line"as one would say.And so here are sketches (with accompanying links of where to read more about these designers and their work)from the five nominated films...

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Jan 08 2015

27th USC Scripter Nominees Turn the Page

Books,books,nothing but books.
Pages,letters,paragraphs and sentences,
Adjectives and syllables and
Consonants and adverbs-!

I said alright,
But it wasn't quite,
Cause he wasn't nominated
For a Scripter last night.

Glennhere,and whileInto the Woodsdid not receive a nomination today from the USC Scripter organization,I just have the prologue stuck in my brain.Still.It will not leave,how about you?

The Scripters award both a film's screenwriter and the writer of the original work.They used to only be open to adaptations of novels,which meant - much like the WGA - certain films were not allowed to be nominated.In recent years I believe they have started to allow comic book adaptations and short films expanded to feature length (likeDistrict 9);they've never nominated a stage musical or play adaptation so I'm not even sure if they're eligible.The rules seem kind of vague.Like most organisations that started before the modern award season made for homogenised lineups,the group have some curious wins in their early years including in its first year a film that didn't even get any Oscar nominations (84 Charing Cross Road).

In 1997 they expanded to include nominees and since then have always been quite a respectable award to win (last year's nominations forWhat Maisie KnewandThe Spectacular Nowwere particularly welcome).They still do not allow for foreign language films,but...well,baby steps,I guess.Last year's winner was12 Years a Slavefor John Ridley and Solomon Northup,but what do you think will take the prize this year?The hiking woman,the British code-breaker,the gone girl,the physisist's wife,or the stoned investigator?

    Author: Gillian Flynn;Screenwriter: Gillian Flynn
    Author: Andrew Hodges;Screenwriter: Graham Moore
    Author: Thomas Pynchon;Screenwriter: Paul Thomas Anderson
    Author: Jane Hawking;Screenwriter: Anthony McCarten
  • WILD
    Author: Cheryl Strayed;Screenwriter Nick Hornsby

These are the exact same five films thatNathaniel is predicting,although we're not entirely sure what methods this group use to find their nominees.Are they consideringFoxcatcher,for instance,which uses a novel as its jumping off point?Presumably they didn't buy into the "Whiplashis adapted"from just the other day,either.And after they nominatedIron Manin the past,one must assume thatGuardians of the Galaxywasn't that far off.I must say,doesn'tWildfeel like it could drop out of the Oscar lineup at any moment?Apart from Reese it hasn't caught on with awards,which can mean odd films with pockets of feverish love can surprise like anAmerican Sniper(although with WGA that would hardly be a surprise anymore) orGuardians of the Galaxyor,gosh,maybe evenInto the Woods?Maybe somebody knows the stats better than I,but how often do films only get actress and screenplay nominations?WasFrozen Riverthe last one?Hmmm...food for thought?

Jan 02 2015

The Editor's Guild Chooses...

The ACE "Eddie"nominations have been announced and though you can't glean everything from the American Cinema Editors guild's choices -- Oscar has only five nominees for best film editing and the Eddies have 17 divvied up into four separate subcategories of features -- some reveals are happening.

The first reveal is that the editors have only just begun to watch the movies of 2014 since almost every serious awards hopeful that just came out is accounted for (save,oddly,Selma&A Most Violent Year).Yes,evenInto the WoodsandInherent Vice,which are two of the surprises.On the dramaticAmerican SniperandNightcrawlerare the surprises.The latter in particular really seems to be gathering momentum in these final weeks making my Gyllenhaalactor prediction,which I so worried was wishful thinking,feel like a safer than expected call.


Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic)
"American Sniper"(Joel Cox,ACE & Gary Roach,ACE)
"Boyhood"(Sandra Adair,ACE)
"Gone Girl"(Kirk Baxter,ACE)
"The Imitation Game"(William Goldenberg,ACE)
"Nightcrawler"(John Gilroy,ACE)
"Whiplash"(Tom Cross,ACE)

One might includeGone Girlamong the surprises,given that it's on the Best Picture bubble,except to note that whoever is editing for David Fincher has a good chance of collecting trophies.That's how it works and not undeservedly;his films are always gripping and tight even when they're long and a lot of that has to do with the editing rhthyms.Of these nominees I think the safest for Oscar nods are Boyhood,The Imitation GameandWhiplash.

More nominees and commentaryafter the jump...

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Dec 21 2014

FYC: Josh Brolin in "Inherent Vice"for Best Supporting Actor

And so we come to the end of our individually chosenFYCs.Amir,our team coordinator,is off for a month long holiday (!) which leaves myself,Nathaniel,your immortal but ever running-late host to wrap things up.To recap: we asked each team member to write up a personal favorite longshot* from one specific category.Here's the final entry in the series,a performance I really love in a film I really don't.

Why highlight a film I don't care for?Because it's important to remember during all-or-nothing awards season that each individual element of a film is different than the big picture and ought to be treated as such for the purposes of awardage.

Which brings us to...

See,it wasn't just the eternal sunshine of California or the vast vistas of desert land and salt water.It wasn't even really the hazy hash-filled air that P.T.Anderson's troupe was breathing.But I was parched and hungry the whole time I was watchingInherent Vice.I needed a fresh water oasis in the salty Pynchonian desert and Josh Brolin came to my rescue as "Bigfoot".Repeatedly.Fortunately he was also hungry,orally fixated you might say,and an eager lunch companion.

Like many characters in the film he's introduced with wonderfully descriptive prose that one assumes is lifted from the novel for voiceover.Brolin's introduction is in glorious widescreen longshot.The V.O.:

Like a bad luck planet in today's horoscope,here's the ol' hippie-hating mad dog himself in the flesh,Lieutenant Detective Christian F."Big Foot"Bjornsen,SAG member,John Wayne walk,flat top,of Flintstone proportions,and that little evil shit twinkle in his eyes that says 'civil rights violations'"

Brolin just owns this,presenting as a black & white Western rectangle stiffly inserting itself into the movie's otherwise geometrically ragged and fringed array of colorful people.Of course you can'tseean evil shit twinkle in someone's eyes in long or medium shot but you can hear it in their voice.

Congratulations hippie scum!Welcome to a world of inconvenience"

Immediately we move to Bigfoot's office where the detective taunts Doc Sportello with carefully chosen words and obscene self-lubricated hand gestures;he's always shoving things into his mouth: frozen bananas,fingers,diner food.Brolin's line readings aren't just well delivered but perfectly balanced and heaped,as if he's collecting the best syllables on a fork,whichever wons have the most condescending flavor.The actor captures how natural all of this comes to Bigfoot now,that its both performative for Doc and completely innate in Bigfoot's character (we instantly register that the performance is now the reality after numerous pre-movie variations of these same conversations between the two detectives) since he's even doing the same things when he's out of view on the phone or half lost in his own strictly business thoughts when he's eating.

BigFoot's buzzkill nature would be suffocating if Brolin didn't find so many ways to play the notes.And though Bigfoot is mean to stand in opposition to the movie's other characters,he'd be totally at odds with the movie's loose hippie daze tone if he also weren't so damn funny.There are a great many people who thinkInherent Viceis a good time movie in and of itself.Whether or not that proves to be your experience know this: it's a far greater party every single time Josh Brolin shows up to crash it.

Motto pankēki!"

*I selected Brolin beforehis BFCA nominationso perhaps he's not quite as improbable as expected in a low key supporting actor competition,so I'm crossing my fingers...or licking them in Bigfoot's honor.


Each LongshotFYCs In Case You Missed Any
Actor,Locke|Actress,Belle|Supp.Actress,Gone Girl|Supp.Actor,Inherent Vice
Picture,Obvious Child|Adapted Screenplay,A Most Wanted Man
Sound Mixing,Grand Budapest Hotel|Costume,The Boxtrolls

Short-Lived Longshot FYCs = Academy Thought Otherwise
Makeup,Only Lovers Left Alive(eliminated)|FX,Under the Skin(eliminated)
Screenplay,The Babadook(ineligible)|Score,The Immigrant(eliminated)

Dec 21 2014

Box Office: The Battle of the Holiday Releases Part 1

Manuelhere reporting for box office duty.While news about the Sony hack dominated headlines,the domestic box office was slowly showing signs of life after a rather muted start to december (Exodus: Gods and Kingsanyone?).Thankfully (for studios,critics would clearly disagree) the crop of new films offered some needed entertainment and seem poised to offer some successes as the holidays approach this coming week.

Peter Jackson's sixth (sixth!!) entry in the Tolkien saga easily won the weekend (having opened on Wednesday),proving that,yes,audiences will visit Middle Earth#OneLastTime.New family-friendly filmsNight at the Museum: Secret of the TombandAnniecame in second and third respectively while in the lower-rung of the Top 10 (and hovering right below it),specialty releases and Oscar-bound films performed rather well.I for one,am happy to see Reese Witherspoon (who we justPosterized) and Cheryl Strayed'sWildat #6.It's a great film which has,for reasons that feel both expected and frustrating,not been making enough of a dent in the "Best of"/Oscar conversations (after the McConnaissance and the Reesurgence,might Jean-Marc Vallée ratify the Gyllenhaalism we're all experiencing withDemolition,out next year?Who should he take on next?)

01BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES$56.2NEW (cum.$90.6)Five Beautiful Armies
04EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS$8(cum.$38.9)Michael's Review
05MOCKINGJAY PT 1$7.7(cum.$289.2)Michael's Review
06WILD$4.1(cum.$7.2)Nathaniel's Review,Laura Dern Interview
07TOP FIVE$3.5(cum.$12.4)Nathaniel's Thoughts
08BIG HERO 6$3.5(cum.$190.4)Tim's Review/Nathaniel's Take
09THE PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR$3.5(cum.$64.1)Tim's Review
10P.K.$3.5 NEW

11INTERSTELLAR$2.6(cum.$171.4)Michael's Review,Podcast
12HORRIBLE BOSSES$2.1(cum.$47.7)
13THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING$1.59(cum.$19.8)Review,podcast
14FOXCATCHER$0.95(cum.$4.4)Review,Michael's Take,podcast

That #10 entry is for the Bollywood filmP.K.which made headlines a couple of weeks back withits NSFW-ish poster of leading man Aamir Khan.Needless to say,it's doing great business in India where it was also released this weekend.You'll also note that the male-skewing Oscar favorites continue to expand (or hold on,in the case ofBirdman) as they rack up critical and industry citations.Indeed,The Imitation Game's #16 placement is impressive considering it is only in 79 screens,by far amassing the greatest haul for a film in under 100 screens.

PLATFORM (Under 100 screens)
01IMITATION GAME$0.8979 locations (cum.$3.19)Review,Glenn's take,Podcast
02INHERENT VICE$0.1475 locations (cum.$0.6)Conversation
03MR TURNER$0.1095 locations NEWReview,Press conference
04THE BABADOOK$0.08979 locations (cum.$0.466)Interview
05CITIZENFOUR$0.05852 locations (cum.$2.04)Podcast

Both at five locations,PTA'sInherent Viceand Mike Leigh'sMr Turnerposted strong numbers.This gives them both a needed boost (andVicethe distinction of posting the biggest per screen average two weeks in a row,though losing half of its audience.Guess them PTA fans rushed to see it last week?)

What did you see this weekend?