1/6 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Roberts stumps for Bardem, ‘Valentine’ as class commentary, Affleck’s ‘Town’ inspirations

Posted by · 5:10 am · January 6th, 2011

• Julia Roberts’s Oscar plea for”Biutiful” star Javier Bardem. [Inside Movies] • Patrick Goldstein on “Blue Valentine” as a meditation on the class divide. [The Big Picture] • Ben Affleck on “The Friends of Eddie Coyle,” “Amores Perros,” “Breaking Away” and “Heat” as inspirations for “The Town.” [The Envelope]

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FRIDAY FORECAST: Nerdgasm!

Posted by · 4:37 pm · August 13th, 2010

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars. If you are a nerd, this is the weekend for you. It doesn’t matter if you’re an action movie nerd, video game nerd or self-help nerd, Hollywood has you covered. All in all, it’s an abnormally stacked August weekend with three films that all have breakout […]

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Filed in: Box Office · Friday Forecast

Can we ‘Eat’ yet?

Posted by · 12:49 pm · August 9th, 2010

For a major star vehicle, directed by the current ruler of prime-time television, that is only four days away from release, shouldn’t the profile of “Eat Pray Love” be a little higher right now? I admit I’m on the wrong side of the Atlantic; perhaps American streets, magazines and airwaves are flooded with promotional material […]

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PAGE TO SCREEN: “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

Posted by · 1:31 pm · June 9th, 2010

(Apologies for the delay in posting this column. Page to Screen will return to its regular Tuesday spot next week.) Chick-lit, the unflatteringly named brand of light confessional writing intended to universalize the problems of modern professional women, has been a beast of a publishing phenomenon since the near-simultaneous arrival on the scene of Helen […]

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Know your limits, get an Oscar

Posted by · 1:48 pm · January 4th, 2010

Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri has written a nice piece on the circumstances that have led to Sandra Bullock becoming the year’s unlikeliest Oscar contender, citing Bullock’s 2009 achievements as a “primer” for comic actors seeking serious Oscar consideration. And the key, it seems, is not taking the word “serious” too much to heart. Last month, I […]

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The Great Performances: 2004

Posted by · 6:35 pm · December 11th, 2009

In Alexander Payne’s “Sideways,” Paul Giamatti gave the best performance by an actor in 2004, so said the New York Film Critics Circle, and how right they were.  So why, why, why was the actor denied an Oscar nomination?  Granted, it was a strong year, but his work was at the top of that heap […]

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THE LONG SHOT: Popular mechanics

Posted by · 6:19 pm · November 25th, 2009

“My God, they’ve thrown in everything but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Quoted by writer Anthony Holden in his gossipy history “The Oscars,” this was one publicist’s dismayed response to the 1990 Academy Award nominations, which included such unusual concessions to popular (as opposed to critical) opinion as a Best Picture nomination for “Ghost” and […]

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The Great Performances: 2000

Posted by · 7:14 pm · November 13th, 2009

Michael Douglas was robbed. The already Oscar-christened actor gave a career-best performance in 2000 in Curtis Hanson’s “Wonder Boys,” but he got no love from the Academy. Worse, his performance was easily among the five best of the year and won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Actor prize. That having been said, I […]

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The Great Performances: 1999

Posted by · 9:18 pm · November 7th, 2009

1999 was a strange year.  And it’s hard to believe a full decade has slipped past since.  There were some great award-winning performances, to be sure, but there seemed to be just as many not nominated that certainly should have been. Ten years later, I remain stunned that Reese Witherspoon was not nominated for her […]

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Passing prettiness

Posted by · 4:04 pm · June 7th, 2009

As I’ve mentioned before, David Thomson’s trademark star profiles can exert a kind of car-crash fascination these days, the result of a once invaluable critic giving in to his shallowest impulses. Flashes of insight still show through on occasion, but the navel-gazing (and often inappropriate fawning) of his pieces can be hard to take. One […]

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Older and wiser

Posted by · 1:22 pm · March 27th, 2009

Hope Davis’s recent complaint about the issue of Hollywood ageism, prompted by being offered characters well over her actual age, seems to have struck a bit of a chord this week. The Guardian’s discussion of the matter was also recently picked up on in the New York Times, while Cinematical contributed to the discussion by […]

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Nice to be wrong: actresses who changed my mind

Posted by · 7:47 am · December 20th, 2008

Having been a film critic for more than a quarter of a century now (my God) and a film junkie for more than 40 years, I have never gotten over the joy of surprise when an actor or actress comes out of left field with a performance of such brilliance it eliminates every single bad […]

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Something for spring

Posted by · 5:49 pm · November 26th, 2008

Ever get taken completely unawares by a film’s existence? It’s no doubt my own oversight, but before happening upon this trailer, I had never heard of “Duplicity.” (In my defence, who would remember that title?) Kind of surprising considering it reteams “Closer” co-stars Clive Owen and Julia Roberts, and comes from the hand of recent […]

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Lead actress contenders also join interesting group

Posted by · 5:36 pm · May 7th, 2008

As the piece on actors managed to spark some interest and debate, of course I have to explore the women. Though I am studying just the last 20 years, the Best Actress Oscar has often left some of the greatest performances as mere nominees, or in some cases not even that. Katherine Hepburn, though nominated […]

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The LA Times points and laughs at poor bastards

Posted by · 9:37 pm · April 22nd, 2008

It looks like LA Times is still beating that Oscar drum for the old media sect. This week, Susan King writes up the lackluster career choices that followed a number of Academy wins throughout the years. Here’s a look: Just because you win an Oscar doesn’t mean that every subsequent film you make will be […]

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