REVIEW: “Wuthering Heights” (***1/2)

Posted by · 5:41 am · September 7th, 2011

Venice Film Festival British filmmaker Andrea Arnold would have been 16 years old when Kate Bush topped the UK pop charts with “Wuthering Heights,” a swirling art-rock ballad that stripped the Emily Brontë novel for which it is named down to a few key lines and narrative details, but evoked its grand-scale tragic romance in […]

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My dream Oscar ballot, part two

Posted by · 12:35 pm · January 23rd, 2011

Yesterday, I began my very far-fetched (and in some cases, frankly impossible) wishlist for Tuesday’s Oscar nominations with my favorite achievements in the technical categories. Today, I offer up my picks in the top races, and I don’t mind telling you things got pretty agonizing in some categories. “Why can’t I have 15 nominees for […]

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My dream Oscar ballot, part one

Posted by · 1:22 pm · January 22nd, 2011

For the past two years running, I’ve celebrated Oscar Nomination Eve by assembling my own ideal (and, usually, incredibly far-fetched) ballot, so here we go again. As well as a kind of last-ditch prayer to the Oscar gods, I also look on it as a salute to the worthy contenders who haven’t a hope in […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Picture

Posted by · 7:07 pm · January 19th, 2011

For the past eight weeks, I’ve been spotlighting nomination-worthy names,  in all major Ocar categories, from the first half of the US release calendar. Today, we close out the series with an alternative January-to-June Best Picture 10, though it comes a week after ballots closed — timing was never my strong suit. A look at […]

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‘White Material’ gets the Criterion treatment

Posted by · 12:36 pm · January 18th, 2011

When you’ve been doggedly championing a film for the better part of 18 months, as I have with Claire Denis’s “White Material,” you do start to feel weirdly parental. So I was oddly touched by the raft of emails and tweets I got from assorted readers to inform me that the film has been revealed […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Below-the-line standouts

Posted by · 11:45 am · January 11th, 2011

For the penultimate installment in our reflection on the most Oscar-worthy achievements from the largely forgotten first half of 2010’s release calendar, I’m backtracking away from the major categories to the place I should perhaps have started: the technical sphere. Had I thought to start this column 20-odd weeks in advance of nomination day, I […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Director

Posted by · 3:59 pm · January 4th, 2011

With precisely three weeks to go until Oscar nomination morning, we continue to flag up worthy work from 2010’s first half, much of it lost (or, indeed, never present) amid the crush of more recent awards contenders. You know the January-to-June drill by now: beyond that, we can get as far-fetched as we like. I […]

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NYT offers some pointers to the Academy

Posted by · 6:03 am · January 3rd, 2011

The New York Times has an annual tradition of getting its three top critics — Manohla Dargis, A.O. Scott and Stephen Holden — to craft ideal Oscar ballots, and the results this year point to more scattered affections than the critics’ award trail would have you believe. Interestingly, only one title features on all three […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Actress

Posted by · 12:40 pm · December 29th, 2010

The fifth column in our new seasonal series — if you haven’t got the drill by now, we’re rounding up the most Oscar-worthy work from the oft-overlooked first half of the year — wraps up the performance categories with by far the most competitive race of all. Conventional wisdom has it that Best Actress is […]

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What came after “the year of the woman?”

Posted by · 3:26 pm · December 27th, 2010

This time last year, we were still in the thick of a long-running “year of the woman” narrative, as female filmmakers enjoyed critical, festival and box-office success, plus an unprecedentedly high profile in the awards season –culminating in that history-making Best Director win for Kathryn Bigelow (as well as a Best Picture nod for Lone […]

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FIRST HALF FYC: Best Screenplay (Original and Adapted)

Posted by · 1:17 pm · December 14th, 2010

For the third episode in our new Oscar-season feature, we take a recess from the acting races and look instead to the screenplays that roped the actors in to begin with. If you’re new to the feature (or even if you aren’t), the game is simple: railing against awards voters’ usual bias towards late-year releases, […]

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12/14 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: critics’ awards scoop and outrage, the year in posters, Steinfeld’s ‘Grit’

Posted by · 8:19 am · December 14th, 2010

• Tim Appelo gets the inside scoop of yesterday’s NYFCC vote. [The Race] • David Poland, meanwhile, is outraged that critics so far, in their dwindling numbers, have failed to resonate by missing the fertile ground between obscure and obvious. [The Hot Blog] • Jenelle Riley sits down with “True Grit” young’un Hailee Steinfeld. [Backstage]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 44 — The top 10 films of 2010 (x2)

Posted by · 12:30 pm · December 10th, 2010

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Supporting Actor

Posted by · 5:18 pm · December 8th, 2010

Only two weeks into my new feature and I’m already a day late — apologies. My laptop (now cured, at least until its next mood swing) will graciously accept the blame. If you missed last week’s introductory instalment, the game is a simple one. In the run-up to nomination day, I’m picking five outstanding contenders […]

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FIRST-HALF FYC: Best Supporting Actress

Posted by · 12:46 pm · November 30th, 2010

It’s an Oscar complaint as unfailingly annual as telecast overlength and foreign-language category blunders: with the season so geared towards the glut of prestige titles released in the year’s final quarter, standout contenders from the mist-shrouded months of spring and the previous winter have to fight that much harder to be heard – that is, […]

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Fassbender’s 2011 gets busier with McQueen’s ‘Shame’

Posted by · 9:47 am · November 11th, 2010

I’m lousy at keeping track of pre-production news, so if you’d asked me an hour ago what British artist-turned-filmmaker Steve McQueen was tackling for his sophomore feature, I’d have answered, “Oh, I know — that Fela Kuti biopic starring Chiwetel Ejiofor.” And I’d have been wrong. The more clued-up folks at The Playlist report that […]

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Picking the best new lensers

Posted by · 8:44 am · August 24th, 2010

As you know, we at InContention are dedicated to spotlighting below-the-line talent, so this excellent cinematography-themed piece at The Playlist caught my eye — in it, Oli Lyttelton singles out five individuals that he feels are spearheading an exciting new generation of DPs, breaking down their past achievements and future promise in some detail. The […]

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Double vision

Posted by · 7:07 am · February 23rd, 2010

Thanks to Glenn at Stale Popcorn for pointing me to this Australian one-sheet for “Fish Tank,” which deservedly took the BAFTA on Sunday for Best British Film. The designer is Jeremy Saunders, also responsible for that extraordinary “Antichrist” poster last year … someone Stateside needs to snap this guy up.

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