LIFE WITHOUT OSCAR: 2005 and 2006

Posted by · 3:11 pm · January 5th, 2011

Catch up with the idea behind this series here. We all remember Jack Nicholson’s raised eyebrows as he said the word, “Crash” at the end of the 2005 ceremony. What has to be, objectively, one of the biggest surprises of the last twenty years in the Best Picture category is, subjectively, one of the worst […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Follow the leader

Posted by · 3:56 pm · December 16th, 2010

[Updated Oscar predictions here.] Hey, have you heard of this movie called “The Social Network?” You should probably check it out. It’s about Facebook and stuff and it’s supposed to be really good. So good, in fact, that it’s managed to tame the single most argumentative species in the animal kigdom, The Lesser Spotted Film […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 NC-17 rated films

Posted by · 6:10 pm · October 12th, 2010

Amid the recent kerfuffle over the Motion Picture Association of America’s curious decision to slap Derek Cianfrance’s sensitive marital drama (and Oscar hopeful) “Blue Valentine” with a commercially inhibiting NC-17 certificate, I failed to note that the MPAA’s most drastic rating celebrated rather a significant anniversary last week. October 5 made it 20 years since […]

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Looking back on Oscar’s Old Left leanings

Posted by · 4:59 pm · October 11th, 2010

Its installments come all too infrequently these days, but Best Pictures From The Outside In — a collaborative project between The Film Experience’s Nathaniel Rogers and his learned pals — is one of the best sources of Oscar discussion and analysis on the web. That’s not only because it provides ample opportunity for kvetching over […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Bait, switch

Posted by · 8:39 pm · September 29th, 2010

Whether you choose to believe them or not – and speaking for myself, I don’t quite – the media powers that be have currently reduced the 2010 Best Picture race to just two titles: “The Social Network” and “The King’s Speech.” That’s entirely (and hopefully, lest things get too dull too soon) subject to change […]

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Check the figures

Posted by · 5:27 pm · December 17th, 2009

A few things puzzled me about this Variety piece in which Iain Blair takes on a familiar chestnut of a topic: the box-office divide between public favorites and Oscar contenders. The first is that he considers the “disparity between art and commerce” to be “accelerating” — a curious argument to make at a time when […]

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Why now?

Posted by · 2:10 pm · December 7th, 2009

The progression of “The Blind Side” from sleeper success to bona fide box-office phenomenon has cemented Sandra Bullock’s place in the Best Actress discussion. I don’t know if she’ll actually get a nomination — at this early stage, I’m guessing not — but in a tight race for the fifth spot, she’s currently one of […]

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One-man anti-‘Precious’ campaign

Posted by · 4:15 pm · November 10th, 2009

Wow, and I thought I didn’t get on with “Precious.” Jeffrey Wells has drawn attention to the concerted efforts of one Anthony Smith, a 29 year-old African-American working in film acquisition, to derail the “Precious” express. Smith has written an open letter decrying the film’s alleged use of racial and social stereotypes as both “dangerous” […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Critical condition

Posted by · 1:25 pm · November 4th, 2009

Ahead of its U.S. release this week, there is a wave of mild surprise in the blogosphere over the fact that “Precious,” the film deemed by some (yours truly included) to be the present Best Picture frontrunner, is currently sitting on a lowly Metacritic score of 57. Fitting neatly with the largely media-fabricated talk of […]

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You said it, not me

Posted by · 4:26 pm · April 20th, 2009

So, what does Paul Haggis have to say about the recent revelation that “Crash” (not the 1996 Cronenberg film, surprisingly enough) has remained the most rented film on Netflix since September 2005? “I have no idea why anyone went to see the movie in the first place, let alone rent it.” Truer words, etc, etc. […]

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Define ‘upset’

Posted by · 5:11 pm · February 5th, 2009

Let’s get this straight: an upset and an injustice are two very different things. When a nominee that isn’t widely expected to win beats one that is, that’s an upset. When a highly deserving underdog loses to a less deserving favourite, that’s an injustice. The latter arguably happens more frequently in Oscar history than the […]

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The new millennium Oscars?

Posted by · 9:53 am · January 18th, 2009

Looking back over the previous Oscar winners for Best Picture since 2000, the start of a new century (and a new millennium), I find myself wondering sometimes what the hell the Academy was thinking.  It’s no secret I disagree with the Academy a lot, but I can also admit that when they get it right, […]

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Will BAFTA stick by their own?

Posted by · 7:15 am · November 16th, 2008

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the BAFTA Awards. On the one hand, they can be far more daring and playful in their choices than the American Academy — this is an organisation, after all, that has handed their Best Film award to such enduring works as “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” […]

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INTERVIEW: Dennis Hopper

Posted by · 10:39 am · November 6th, 2008

The voice on other end of the line sounds nothing like the many wild and somewhat insane characters Dennis Hopper has portrayed throughout his career, which now spans more than 50 years. This is a man who has walked with James Dean (his mentor), John Wayne (who affectionately labeled him a “pinko”) and Francis Ford […]

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Remembering cinema’s Bush years

Posted by · 5:20 pm · November 3rd, 2008

As the world prepares to bid farewell to George W. Bush following tomorrow’s election, I came across an apt article in the new edition of Sight and Sound, in which critic Michael Atkinson evaluates how the Bush presidency affected American film, and how the period might be interpreted by future film historians. As always with […]

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EW’s Oscar revote

Posted by · 12:43 pm · October 6th, 2008

The editors at Entertainment Weekly hope to turn back the hands of time…

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What does early (and excessive) Oscar hype do to a film’s chances?

Posted by · 3:31 pm · September 20th, 2008

In 1996, a fall movie preview of Entertainment Weekly arrived in my mailbox, the cast of “The Crucible” staring back at me on the cover, making clear to me this was going to be THE film of the fall. There were rumors floating within the industry that the film, based on the Arthur Miller play, […]

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“You can’t look away”

Posted by · 3:27 am · September 12th, 2008

I know there are a lot of “Crash” haters out there — I’m one of them. (Apologies to Kris — I know you’re a fan, and I respect that.) So it will either please or dismay you to learn that there is a longer, less well-acted and seemingly even more overwrought alternative to Paul Haggis’ […]

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