In Contention

Entries filed in: 'Off the Carpet'

OFF THE CARPET: The great, appreciated unknown

Posted by · 5:47 pm · September 19th, 2011

As we move out of the Toronto fray, Venice and Telluride already a memory, we look to the season ahead. The starting gun echo of those three early fall festivals is beginning to fade away, and with the dust settled or settling, it’s interesting to note the lack of an inarguable emerging player. In fact, […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Strong year for double-dippers

Posted by · 8:58 am · September 12th, 2011

We find ourselves right in the middle of the big Toronto press junket, er, film festival, where 200-plus films are landing, many of them as world premieres, and the landscape of this year’s Oscar race is really beginning to take shape. As I looked out at the various films in play this year, it suddenly […]

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OFF THE CARPET: And we’re off!

Posted by · 3:09 pm · September 6th, 2011

This morning’s interview with “Into the Abyss” director Werner Herzog represented my last Telluride communique (though I guess I was already home) from this year’s 38th annual festivities. Five days, 18 posts, nine movies and three interviews. It was a dense sprint to start the race, and now, with Venice still in-progress and Toronto set […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Fall fests look to boost early Oscar hopes

Posted by · 9:00 am · August 29th, 2011

On a warm Saturday afternoon in Telluride last year, I sat in the crowded Chuck Jones Cinema and felt the warmth in the room as Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” screened for its first audience of the year. Six months later, at the end of a road with plenty of twists and turns, the film’s […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Closing the book on summer 2011

Posted by · 8:38 am · August 22nd, 2011

The summer movie season has come to an end, and what an interesting season it was. We saw three billion-dollar grossers for the first time ever in one year, let alone one three-month spread (thank you, 3D). We saw a bit of a glass ceiling for comic book movies, proving nothing is a sure thing […]

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OFF THE CARPET: The year of The Beard?

Posted by · 12:15 pm · July 4th, 2011

It felt really good to duck out of the looking-ahead business after last year’s fairly contentious (both amongst the films and their supporters) Oscar season. I didn’t saddle up to the upcoming season until a few weeks ago, hammering out preparations for this column, and even this, most would tell you, is too early. But […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Sun came up

Posted by · 9:11 am · February 28th, 2011

Steven Spielberg couldn’t have put it more concisely during his presentation of the Best Picture category last night.  To paraphrase, he noted that whichever films did not happen to win Best Picture this year would join the ranks of numerous classics of the medium. Was it preemptive damage control?  I hope not.  Why be apologetic?  […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Heading into the home stretch

Posted by · 11:48 am · February 21st, 2011

I’m watching CNN’s report of the on-going situation in Libya as I write these comparably pointless words. The “real world” seems so unique, so foreign after having our head in the awards season clouds since September. Now, six months in, victory lane is a mere six days away. And man, it’s been a marathon. So […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Game over, man

Posted by · 9:54 am · January 31st, 2011

It’s not really a question anymore, is it? I submit that, quite possibly, it never was.  Unfortunately, the shrieking in some quarters this year, under cover of “fighting the good fight,” has led to a mocking at the very notion that any film other than the critics’ champion could win the Oscar for Best Picture.  […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Remember the movies (but maybe not these final predictions)

Posted by · 9:35 am · January 24th, 2011

Two weeks ago, one of our readers, KevinK, asked the following question for Oscar Talk: What do you think of the atmosphere that comes out of this late stage of the awards season?  I think the atmosphere is really toxic and really flies in the face of what we all care about in the first […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Written in ink

Posted by · 8:21 am · January 10th, 2011

I found it interesting over the weekend (and if you’re keyed into the ads on the site here and elsewhere, you noticed, too) that “The King’s Speech” finally decided to tap into the narrative that will serve it best in this year’s awards season. The “Find Your Voice” campaign notes, “Some movies you see.  Others […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Counting chickens

Posted by · 11:09 am · January 3rd, 2011

The critics have had their say.  “The Social Network” has enjoyed an impressive kudos haul throughout the month of December.  Game over, call it, throw in the towel, all other comers need not apply, “there is only one.” That’s the instinct.  But I embrace caution over haste (and I’m not on the advocacy bandwagon), so […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Macro/micro

Posted by · 11:25 am · December 20th, 2010

I decided to update the Contenders section this week by addressing things (mostly) as they seem to stand in the wake of the critics’ awards circuit of the last two weeks.  Save for this or that personal hunch (like buying into Guy’s shrewd proposition that the BAFTA contingent could help Lesley Manville over the hump, […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Time to flex

Posted by · 10:51 am · December 6th, 2010

All of the cards (save for the elusive James L. Brooks title “How Do You Know,” which few seem to be expecting much from at this stage — a commodity in Oscar season, actually) are on the table. The critics are beginning to speak up with their faves (likely to be “The Social Network” after […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Kicking the tires on the circuit

Posted by · 8:42 am · November 29th, 2010

On the precipice of December, the season feels at once stale and fresh. We’re in the post-Thanksgiving food coma paradox that hits every year. But things are going to start heating up real soon. The last two films out of the gate, “TRON Legacy” and “True Grit” (both ironically starring Jeff Bridges), have already started […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Giving thanks

Posted by · 9:41 am · November 22nd, 2010

As we move into turkey (or tofurkey, if that happens to be your speed) week 2010, it seems proper, if a tad bit obvious, to take a moment and give thanks. So in lieu of a proper analysis of the season’s progression this week, allow me to express my boundless, breathless appreciation for the following: […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Dolla billz, y’all!

Posted by · 10:15 am · November 8th, 2010

A reader comment got me thinking on box office and Oscar as the usual blockbuster and genre fare led the way in ticket sales this weekend.  It dawned on me that pickins might be extra slim when it comes to representing populist filmmaking in 2010’s Best Picture crop. Box office and finding room for ratings-friendly […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Leading men in the spotlight

Posted by · 10:14 am · October 25th, 2010

About a year ago I took to examining the 2009 Best Actor race.  The frontrunners for five slots seemed to be, in order, George Clooney, Colin Firth, Jeremy Renner, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Viggo Mortensen and Robert De Niro. A day later press members received their first invites to “Crazy Heart” screenings and were notified […]

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