It's once again time for some Academy Advocacy ladies and gentlemen, and one of the final ones for the season! But rather than delivering the normal awards opinions and whatnot today, this one will be a little more personal as I'll be dictating what I think actually deserves to win in all of the major Oscar categories. I won't be limiting it to the official nominees either, so these picks will vary quite a bit from what voters are choosing this week. We all have our preferred candidates, and I'm no exception, so below you'll be seeing who and what I would have voted for, as opposed to the choices that Academy members made. In some cases, they're actual nominees, though in other cases, I've gone off the ballot. More below!
It's the annual cinephile challenge - trying to impress your friends by recalling all 85 of the Best Picture Oscar winners of past right as we get close to this year's Academy Awards. Can you do it? To help you on your quest, a new infographic has surfaced for 2014 profiling all 85 of the previous Best Picture winners as circular icons. It presents a particularly sleek look at each of the winners, making us think a bit differently about some of them. Perhaps some are the best way to identify the film. Whatever the case, it's a good way to get us in the Oscar mood as we near the big ceremony this weekend. There's even a look at 2013's noms.
Each year at the Sundance Film Festival, folks like myself try and pick out which, if any, of the movies making their debut in Park City could become Oscar contenders later in the year. In 2013, I attended the indie film festival so I can attest to the Oscar buzz starting for something like Fruitvale Station screened. Ironically, none of the movies from Sundance 2013 made the cut for Best Picture, but screenplay nominee Before Midnight premiered there along with four of the five Best Documentary Feature nominees. But maybe some films from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival could get Oscar love. The question is, which ones?
There's a theory of mine that's been in my head for a couple weeks now, and it's not going to be a popular one, but I also hope it doesn't come true. As much as many of my colleagues are looking to a potential shutout for American Hustle (though Jennifer Lawrence is looking pretty good for Best Supporting Actress), I think that 12 Years a Slave could be just as likely for that fate. Now, I'm not saying it should or that it will happen, but there's just as much of a chance for a 12 Years a Slave shutout as for American Hustle, so it's worth considering. Either one could join Captain Philiips, Nebraska, Philomena, and/or The Wolf of Wall Street as the Best Picture nominees that wind up going home empty-handed.
Last year, we saw some adorable kids reenact the 2013 Best Picture nominees like Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained and Lincoln. This year it's CineFix who rounded up some kids to act out scenes from this year's Best Picture nominees. Though the scenes are straight-up reeanactments, the kids are super cute and make it worthwhile, especially when they're wearing big fake wigs and beards. American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Her, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street and more get the kid adaptation treatment, and the way they fit 12 Years a Slave into the mix is just perfect.
Since Interstellar doesn't arrive until November this year, director Christopher Nolan isn't up for any Academy Awards for the ceremony coming up on March 2nd. However, that hasn't stopped him from accepting an Oscar this year. This past weekend, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences handed out their Scientific & Technical Awards, which honor those who make the real movie magic possible behind the camera. At the ceremony, Nolan accepted an Academy Award of Merit dedicated to "those who built and operated film laboratories, for over a century of service to the motion picture industry." Watch his speech!
During the vast majority of awards seasons, there's this dastardly little thing that goes on as the Oscar ceremony gets closer and closer. Almost without a fail, a major contender is hit with a smear campaign that seeks to damage or destroy their chances of taking home a prize. They're not always successful, but they always seek to make life harder for a frontrunner, or any contender really. Thankfully, this year there's a refreshing lack of sabotage. And having no shenanigans has made for the closest Best Picture race in recent memory. While we're still in this relatively innocent time, I wanted to bask in this smear-less season a bit.
Simply sublime. With the 2014 BAFTA Awards officially announced tonight, lead by 12 Years a Slave and Gravity, we can also reveal the artwork for the Best Film nominees, now a tradition for these awards. The artwork this year, printed as part of the BAFTA Awards brochure, is by British artist La Boca and features five distinct poster designs for this year's nominees: Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, which just won Best Film, David O. Russell's American Hustle, Paul Greengrass' Captain Phillips, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity and, as the fifth and final poster, Stephen Frears' Philomena. All must see - catch the art below.
Time to celebrate even more big wins for Gravity and 12 Years a Slave to follow up the Golden Globes. This weekend in London, the BAFTA (or British Academy of Film and Television Arts) held their annual show, the BAFTA Awards, honoring the finest in film and television from 2013. This year's set of winners focused mainly on three movies which took home most of the awards: Gravity winning Outstanding British Film (despite the obvious) plus Best Director, McQueen's 12 Years a Slave winning Best Film + Chiwetel for Best Actor (finally!), with American Hustle taking home a couple wins, too. Gravity also nabbed Best Score.
As another film festival comes to an end, it's time to celebrate and commemorate with the announcement of the awards. The 64th Berlin Film Festival just ended (my own mini recap here), and the winners were announced at the Closing Ceremony, including the winner of the coveted Golden Bear for Best Film. That top prize was given to a Chinese film titled Black Coal, Thin Ice, starring Liao Fan and directed by Diao Yinan. Among the winners were Richard Linklater, who picked up a prize for Best Director of Boyhood, as well as Wes Anderson's Grand Budapest Hotel winning the Grand Jury Silver Bear prize. More below.
We've already featured a great talk with Martin Scorsese from David Poland and his DP/30 interview series, and now another big part of The Wolf of Wall Street sits down for an interesting 30-minute chat. Jonah Hill has been on quite the promotional and awards season run for his Oscar nominated supporting performance in the controversial drama, and he indicates as much at the beginning of this interview. And then he dives into some interesting stories, including how Dustin Hoffman actually had a pivotal part in launching Hill's career as an actor, thanks to his son Jake Hoffman. The whole interview is great. Watch!
The 86th Academy Awards are coming on March 2nd (check out all the nominees right here), and we'll soon see Hollywood's finest gathering to honor each other for their achievements in film from 2013. Before then, some of the Oscar nominees will have their own celebration of sorts. For the first time ever, part of the Oscar Week events leading up to the awards themselves will include as Oscar Concert, featuring suites from each of the scores nominated for Best Original Score. In addition, each film will have their respective suites conducted by the composers nominated for creating them. That's going to be a great show.
We'll find out this weekend if The LEGO Movie is all the rage to win a second weekend at the box office against Valentine's Day fare like About Last Night and Winter's Tale, but in the meantime, how about we keep the LEGO fun going? This time Yahoo Movies has unveiled some awards season LEGO fun by recreating the movie posters for all nine of this year's nominees for Best Picture at the 86th Academy Awards (see all of the nominees right here). They're not remarkable creations since the posters have mostly just replaced the real actors on the posters with LEGO minifigures, but they're pretty damn cute. Look!
An editor who goes by the YouTube handle The Sleepy Skunk has become one of our go-to creators for year-end film retrospectives. We've posted his montages, or Movie Trailer Mash-Ups as he calls them, for both 2012 and 2013, and now he's put together a little piece as the 86th Academy Awards get closer. So in addition to reading Joey Magidson's Oscar predictions or his Academy Advocacy pieces on Spike Jonze's Her or Joel & Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis, you can watch this emotional video featuring clips from films nominated for the Oscars or the BAFTAS in the UK. You'll want to see them all again right away.