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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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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‘Life During Wartime’ trailer and poster

Posted by · 2:07 am · March 31st, 2010

Todd Solondz’s loose, recast sequel to “Happiness” was, for me, one of the pleasant surprises of last autumn’s festival circuit — more focused and astringently funny than his last two features, it’s also about as humane a work as the now middle-aged enfant terrible is capable of conceiving. Fans of all actors in the formidable […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Looking at the leading ladies

Posted by · 9:24 am · October 5th, 2009

Now is the time when everyone begins assessing the race at its beginnings, and the gist I’m getting is that no one really knows what to write about.  Stabs at analysis end up being responses to other takes or rehashed arguments, and nothing really insightful is being brought to the table. And let’s face it.  […]

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9/16 Web Round-up

Posted by · 7:00 am · September 16th, 2009

• Keanu Reeves on Patrick Swayze: “He was a beautiful person, an artist.” [People] • Peter Bart salutes John Calley for landing an honorary Oscar but highlights the producer’s roller coaster career. [BF Deal Memo] • Peter Knegt talks to the beautiful Anna Kendrick about butterflies going into the “Up in the Air” shoot. [indieWIRE]

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Thoughts on the Venice winners

Posted by · 5:51 pm · September 12th, 2009

Okay, so I was mainly off the mark. When it comes to guessing festival awards, I usually am. But at the same time, few of the selections revealed tonight by Ang Lee’s jury at the closing ceremony of the Venice Film Festival really surprise me. It was clear that Samuel Maoz’s “Lebanon” would walk away […]

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‘Lebanon’ wins Venice’s Golden Lion

Posted by · 1:01 pm · September 12th, 2009

Guy will comment further on these winners later, but for now, just the facts: INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION JURY Golden Lion: “Lebanon” (Samuel Maoz) Silver Lion (Best Director): “Women Without Men” (Shirin Neshat) Grand Jury Prize: “Soul Kitchen” (Fatih Akin) Best Actor: Colin Firth, “A Single Man” Best Actress: Ksenia Rappoport, “The Double Hour” Marcello Mastroianni Prize […]

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VENICE: Who will take the gold … and who should

Posted by · 5:46 am · September 12th, 2009

And so it comes to this. Ten days of blazing sunshine, free-flowing Prosecco, occasionally “Brazil”-style administration and – oh, right – a few films too, will come to a head tonight as Ang Lee and his merry band of jurors will name the supposed best of the fest. I’ve written before about the near-futility of […]

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9/11 Web Round-up

Posted by · 7:41 am · September 11th, 2009

• If you’re dismissing the Oscar potential of “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” Gregory Ellwood says, “Not so fast.” [Awards Campaign] • Meryl Streep on why Hollywood’s men don’t trust women. [The Times] • Betsy Sharkey sits down with “Precious” director Lee Daniels. [The Envelope]

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Man down in Venice

Posted by · 9:52 am · September 9th, 2009

Whether due to general festival raggedness or some iffy shrimp, I’ve been decidedly under the weather today, and a day spent in a darkened movie theater was not the obvious solution. So I’m writing to you from a quiet cafe on a canalside terrace near the Biennale site, where a combination of sunshine and pistachio […]

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Michael K. Williams coming out in 2009?

Posted by · 12:46 am · September 6th, 2009

Something struck me while watching Todd Solondz’s “Life During Wartime” earlier this morning.  Actor Michael K. Williams is having a coming out moment this year with powerful supporting performances both here and in John Hillcoat’s “The Road.” Fans of HBO’s “The Wire” are no stranger to Williams, who dazzled viewers for five seasons as stick-up […]

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Previewing the 34th annual Toronto fest

Posted by · 7:25 am · September 4th, 2009

In less than a week I will kiss my wife and kids goodbye and head into Toronto, about 50 miles away, for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. Twelve years ago my wife and I found it makes no sense for me to attend the festival for 16 to 18 hours and then try to […]

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Disconnected Venice

Posted by · 3:42 am · September 4th, 2009

I had every intention last night of bringing you a report on a couple more films, but packed-out screenings and overlapping screening schedules put paid to that idea. Moreover, filing material online is proving something of a challenge, as the festival’s wi-fi access works in fits and starts, while my hotel has helpfully decided to […]

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VENICE: ‘The Road,’ ‘Life During Wartime,’ ‘Great Directors’

Posted by · 7:27 am · September 3rd, 2009

Sorry to duck out there for the whole morning — a combination of wireless misbehavior and delayed screenings has played havoc with my planned writing time. As a festival, Venice has multiple charms, but smooth organization is not among them. This morning’s glitch-bedeviled  screening of Todd Solondz’s “Life During Wartime” is a case in point: […]

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Prepping for Telluride

Posted by · 4:38 pm · September 2nd, 2009

Tomorrow morning I’m on a plane at 10:30 to the mountains of Colorado and the 36th annual Telluride Film Festival. This will be my first trek to the fest, which has always been, by many accounts, the most coveted detour of the fall festival season.  They keep it small.  The vibe is meant to be […]

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Touchdown in Venice

Posted by · 8:57 am · September 2nd, 2009

Greetings from the cavernous, marble-clad press room of the Venice Film Festival. After a more-frenzied-than-average day’s travelling (thanks to a domino set of transport delays resulting in the kind of mad airport dash usually reserved for rom-com heroes only), I have arrived in Venice in more or less one piece — and if ever a […]

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The five Venice titles I’m most curious to see

Posted by · 7:20 pm · September 1st, 2009

At the crack of dawn, I board a flight to Italy — so this time tomorrow, if all goes well, I’ll be writing to you from the water-riven city of Venice after having attended a festival screening of John Hillcoat’s “The Road.” It’s both my first visit to the city and my first taste of […]

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