Roger Ebert’s top 10 list(s)

Posted by · 7:37 pm · December 19th, 2009

Roger Ebert has been alive like never before in his work as of late.  So I’ve been greatly anticipating his views on the year’s best. Unfortunately, he’s divided his list into mainstream and independent films, so it’s a top 20, and neither in any order. Maybe keeping things simple like that and not so authoritative […]

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THE LONG SHOT: The more you know

Posted by · 5:57 pm · December 2nd, 2009

Here’s something I’ll bet a lot of you wouldn’t have guessed: once upon a time, when my pants were short and my South African accent heavy, I was a very good Oscar pundit. I won every pool going. I beat the lame TV critics’ guesses and laughed in their televised faces. When that got old, […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Mind your language

Posted by · 3:38 pm · October 28th, 2009

You might not be aware of it, but the competition is already formally under way in Oscar’s most perennially problematic category, Best Foreign Language Film. For almost two weeks now, official Academy screenings of the longlisted contenders in the race have been in progress, and will continue through January, until all 65 titles have been […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: ‘Invictus,’ ‘Bones’ and a billion remakes

Posted by · 2:11 am · June 7th, 2009

Slipped my mind to do this on Friday, but better late… • We broke the news that Clint Eastwood’s upcoming Mandela film finally has a title: “Invictus.” (And if you’re wondering what it means, we explain that too.) • And with that, much “Invictus” talk ensued, as we learned that Eastwood directed the film at […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 Best Foreign Language Film winners

Posted by · 1:13 pm · June 2nd, 2009

It is with a notable silence that Yojiro Takita’s “Departures” – best known to many of you as that film that beat “Waltz With Bashir” to the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar – slipped onto U.S. screens last week. Of course, there are various reasons for the lack of hoop-la surrounding its release. The film […]

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‘Departures’ trailer debuts

Posted by · 11:28 am · April 9th, 2009

Remember “Departures,” that little Japanese film that everyone (almost everyone) expected to be an also-ran for the foreign language film Oscar last year?  Well the film is finally going to see a domestic limited release on May 29.  The new trailer has premiered over at Apple.  Here’s an embed: “[‘Departures’] deals with death in a […]

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More than one ‘right’ choice

Posted by · 10:47 am · February 27th, 2009

In the largely good-natured responses to a largely good-natured Oscar ceremony, only one result has been greeted with any real rancour from critics or pundits –- the “upset” (anticipated by some clever folks at the eleventh hour) in the Best Foreign Language Film category. But as much sympathy as one feels for the disappointed team […]

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A private function

Posted by · 9:08 am · February 23rd, 2009

When all is said and done, it wasn’t an awards season that deserved a fireworks finish, so perhaps last night’s muted, largely tasteful, faintly insular ceremony was an appropriate summation. It ran smoothly enough, with a handful of novel distractions and a uniformly generous, empathetic spirit running through the night’s speeches –- but I’d be […]

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More on ‘Departures’ and a potential foreign upset

Posted by · 4:35 pm · February 21st, 2009

UPDATE: Well, it seems Tom has pulled the post down.  Perhaps, as commenter Josh notes, he got his info a bit twisted.  I’ll leave this here for now but check Josh’s explanation of the process.  The waters were muddied there for a bit. EARLIER: Tom O’Neil writes the following over at Gold Derby: A few […]

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Going with ‘Departures’

Posted by · 11:09 am · February 21st, 2009

I said yesterday that if I got cold feet on any of my predictions I would let you know, and less than 24 hours later, I’ve decided to take the dive on “Departures.” A lot of foreign film committee members really responded to this film, and it’s easy to see why.  It is “the kind […]

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Could ‘Departures’ upset ‘Waltz with Bashir’ in the foreign language film category?

Posted by · 10:09 am · February 20th, 2009

Now that I’ve finally seen Japanese foreign film contender “Departures,” the last of the year’s nominees that had yet to cross my path, I thought it a good idea to go ahead and toss up a final look at the foreign language film category.  Over the last few weeks I’ve dived into the short film […]

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Is ‘The Class’ in a position to upset ‘Bashir?’

Posted by · 6:34 pm · February 12th, 2009

(UPDATE: I see Dave Karger is placing his money on “The Class” too. Interesting.) Yesterday, Kris took a look at the Best Documentary Feature category, and wondered whether the winner there is quite the foregone conclusion that most people think. Supporting his argument was the category’s unusual rule that voters have to have seen all […]

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Foreign film shortlist revealed, ‘Gomorrah’ snubbed

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 13th, 2009

This is the most vile of all Academy committees.  They prove their disdain for truly great cinema year in and year out (let’s not forget last year’s snubs of “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” and “Persepolis” early on), and they’ve done it again this year, skewering Matteo Garrone’s blistering “Gomorrah,” leaving it for […]

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Still nobody knows anything

Posted by · 6:23 pm · November 7th, 2008

At least, that’s the message I get from Pete Hammond’s latest column, in which he somewhat half-heartedly claims that the Best Picture frontrunners at this stage are “WALL-E,” “The Dark Knight” and “Changeling.” In that order, apparently — with “Slumdog Millionaire” creeping up behind. I realize Hammond has access to more Academy members than I […]

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Sweden and Germany loom large in Oscar race

Posted by · 3:21 pm · September 16th, 2008

As anyone who follows the arcane workings of the Best Foreign Language Film award knows, there is no such thing as a sure thing in the category. However, it’s fair to say that Sweden and Germany have emerged as strong contenders in the race after both countries selected high-profile films as their official entries. Unsurprisingly, […]

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