Carey Mulligan: “I was always jealous of the ingenues”

Posted by · 8:53 am · October 4th, 2009

This NYT chat with “An Education” star Carey Mulligan is weeks old, but for some reason I hadn’t seen it before. I love the conversational looseness of these Screen Test videos: topics on the menu include the demise of the one-liner, dressing as a hooker for “Public Enemies,” and her earliest movie memory of “The […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Cinematography — Volume II

Posted by · 3:07 pm · October 1st, 2009

Almost three months ago, I described how our cinematographers bring movies to life, by lensing the director’s vision, the actors’ performances, the production designer’s and the writer’s mood, just to begin. In the absence of these talented individuals, there would truly be no cinema. Like most people, this is my favorite of the Oscar crafts […]

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9/29 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 7:50 am · September 29th, 2009

• Arguing that “Public Enemies” looks “cheap” due to HD nearly three months after release. [The Huffington Post] • Dave Karger wonders if a bona fide left-field Best Picture nominee is in the cards in a 10-nominee paradigm. [Oscar Watch] • Getting the 70s bush right for “A Serious Man” (Amy Landecker officially rocks). [Vulture]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Mixing — Volume I

Posted by · 9:45 am · August 27th, 2009

A few weeks ago I analyzed the Best Sound Editing category, which awards the creation and integration of artificially created sound effects.  Today, we look at sound mixing – the overall composition of all the elements of a movie’s soundscape into a singular soundtrack. The re-recording mixers, who do this work during post-production, are rewarded […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Art Direction — Volume I

Posted by · 12:30 pm · August 20th, 2009

Sets and props can create a time period, an era or simply the feel of a scene.  And the individuals involved in this process are awarded by the Academy in the category of Best Art Direction. Ironically, the art director of a film is not recognized here. Rather, the production designer – the art department […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Film Editing — Volume I

Posted by · 10:02 am · August 13th, 2009

Best Achievement in Film Editing.  It’s a difficult phrase to define.  To a large extent, excellence in film editing can be editing which blends into the film, allowing the director’s vision, screenwriter’s story and actors’ performances to shine without interference.  But equally, a film that stands out as a showcase for flashy but motivated construction […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Costume Design — Volume I

Posted by · 11:51 am · July 30th, 2009

Movie stars are often given much attention for the fashion that they sport off-screen. Seldom does the on-screen attire garner as much publicity. Nevertheless, the Academy Award for Best Costume Design recognizes those talented men and women who design the threads actors wear on screen. Not only does this work add to the elegance and […]

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‘Green Zone’ also pushed to 2010

Posted by · 10:22 pm · July 28th, 2009

This Universal announcement isn’t as unexpected as the last one, since it’s been somewhat in the air for a while now, but Chad reminds us that Paul Greengrass’s “Green Zone” has landed a March 2010 release date, taking it out of this year’s Oscar race and leaving the studio with two summer hopefuls: Michael Mann’s […]

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The long haul

Posted by · 12:56 pm · July 27th, 2009

ScreenDaily editor Mike Goodridge raises a topic that has provoked more than a few grumbles this season: the inordinate length of some of Hollywood’s biggest summer releases. I’m not someone who automatically whines whenever a film pushes the 150-minute mark. Some films warrant that heft, and it’s not always directly related to the scale of […]

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Goldenthal on scoring ‘Tempest,’ ‘Enemies’

Posted by · 10:54 am · July 23rd, 2009

Lauded composer Elliot Goldenthal doesn’t deign to work all that much in film these days — the lure of stage and opera work is great, particularly when he gets Pulitzer recognition for it — and when he does, it’s not always in projects worthy of his gifts. (Anyone want to hazard a guess why he […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Sound Editing — Volume I

Posted by · 7:55 am · July 23rd, 2009

Zoom. Smash. Bang. Grunt. Zap. Splash. Screech. A single sound effect can capture a character, emotion or setting. And creating such sounds is no easy task, requiring creativity, ingenuity and constant communication with the other filmmakers to best capture the feel of a film. The manifestation of these aural components — as well as their […]

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Another look at ‘Enemies’

Posted by · 3:00 pm · July 22nd, 2009

I must say, while I’m still struggling to see the use of The Auteurs as a social networking site, it’s a smashing source of film writing. The range and intelligence of discourse there is a joy to read, and is rapidly making the site a daily essential. A case in point is today’s superb three-headed […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Cinematography – Volume I

Posted by · 12:31 pm · July 16th, 2009

LIGHTS…CAMERA…you were probably waiting for the word “action,” no? Action is, after all, what many individuals go to a film to see. But the “lights” and the “camera” in this classic phrase bring a film beyond a book or a radio show…and capture the “action.” The individuals who paint the images of cinema with light […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: One fine gay

Posted by · 11:19 pm · July 12th, 2009

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars. Sacha Baron Cohen’s full frontal assault on audiences took the top spot at the box office this weekend with an estimated $30.4 million from 2,756 screens. Considering that “Borat” made $29 million from 837 screens in its debut and then $31 million from 2,566 in its […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Kicking the tires on a new season

Posted by · 11:52 am · July 11th, 2009

Today marks the beginning of a fourth year of Tech Support here at In Contention. Over the past four years, we’ve sought to bring the otherwise under-reported crafts categories and crafts artists the attention they seldom receive, despite their enormous contributions to the art of cinema. This year, we plan on looking at nine of […]

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Small victories

Posted by · 2:28 pm · July 7th, 2009

As “Transformers” hangs on by a hair to the the top spot for another week Stateside, there’s at least some minor consolation for the film’s detractors (and Michael Mann champions) in the weekend figures for the UK box office, where it wasn’t even a contest for the win: Title Weekend Takings Total to Date 1. […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 first-half releases that deserved better

Posted by · 10:58 am · July 7th, 2009

Around this time last year, we did a mid-year stocktake of sorts, wherein the site’s various contributors named the best (and worst) of what the cinematic year had presented thus far. You may have noticed that we haven’t offered up a similar piece for 2009. Time constraints may have had something to do with it, […]

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Celebration of amorality?

Posted by · 3:28 pm · July 6th, 2009

Amid the mixed critical reaction to “Public Enemies,” I’ve been surprised at how few critics have responded to the film’s contemporary resonances: the dialogue (intentional or otherwise) between the film’s portrait of the Great Depression and the bleak economic landscape of the present day. One reader recently (and rather astutely) noted the film’s general lack […]

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