Forget Best Supporting Actor — it’s time to honor Andy Serkis’ “Special Achievement”

Posted by · 11:14 am · August 4th, 2011

There has been a lot of talk this week about Andy Serkis’ stirring performance-capture portrayal of ape rebellion leader Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” In many quarters, writers are calling for consideration in the Best Supporting Actor category. It’s a song and dance Serkis and those of us who follow the […]

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THE LONG SHOT: It was always you

Posted by · 5:52 pm · February 3rd, 2011

“Let me get this straight. The one’s about a precocious computer geek who’s also a bit of an asshole.” “Yeah.” “And the other’s about King George VI.” “Yeah.” “And King George VI has a disability.” “Well, he has a stutter. I mean, it’s not crippling or anything — ” “But it’s an obstacle that needs […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 below-the-line elements of Fincher films

Posted by · 12:05 pm · October 5th, 2010

With “The Social Network” hitting theaters this weekend, audiences are reminded once again of director David Fincher’s skill and vision as a craftsman. The eight films he has assembled throughout an 18-year career in feature filmmaking have been dazzling showcases for below-the-line talent. As you know, we make an effort to keep the spotlight on […]

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Hope for Saldana

Posted by · 1:25 pm · January 4th, 2010

The closes to a breakthrough with motion capture, and/or animation being added to an actor’s performance would be Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most of the acting Pitt did was as the half-animated Button – barely recognizable and a performance that simply couldn’t have been gotten without aided technology. That shows […]

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Alexandre Desplat: Hollywood’s most prolific composer

Posted by · 10:09 am · November 17th, 2009

A quick glance at Alexandre Desplat’s 2009 resume reveals a whopping seven titles.  That’s pretty prolific for someone who offers up quality work each and every time out, rather than coasting on simplicity like a few other hard-working film music composers out there.  This weekend alone there are two films bearing Desplat’s musical signature — […]

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Desplat wins Composer of the Year award

Posted by · 6:02 pm · October 19th, 2009

You’d be hard pressed to disagree that Alexandre Desplat is pretty much at the top of the game in contemporary film scoring. In addition to his genius (“Birth” looks likely to remain my favorite score of the decade), his prolificity is awe-inspiring. This year alone sees the Frenchman’s name on seven features, running the gamut […]

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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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‘Button’ sparkles on Criterion Blu

Posted by · 12:03 pm · May 4th, 2009

The Criterion release of David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is a superlative piece of home entertainment to say the least, especially on Blu-ray.  Claudio Miranda’s photography was absolutely gorgeous as it was in cinemas, but being largely digital, the transition to high definition is seamless and probably belongs in the top tier […]

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Vote on the next Criterion Blu-ray release

Posted by · 9:23 am · May 4th, 2009

I’ve gone head-first into the tank for Blu-ray ever since I broke down and bought a player last year.  And despite a high retail tag in most quarters, Amazon.com remains the number one spot for finding the best deals. Criterion has slowly been putting together a rather varied slate of titles on Blu, from Wes […]

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Too much, too soon?

Posted by · 2:28 am · March 21st, 2009

I’m not as outraged as some are by the news that “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” is to be granted a Criterion Collection DVD release in May — as has been pointed out, if not one but two Michael Bay films have made the cut in the past, the label’s aesthetic standards are a […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Postmortem

Posted by · 11:03 am · February 27th, 2009

What can I say? It was a big night for “Slumdog Millionaire” at the 81st Annual Academy Awards on Sunday. While I do like the film a great deal, I found its dominance this awards season unnecessarily monotonous.  For instance, I preferred Thomas Newman’s work in both music categories this year, but I was nonetheless […]

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Andy Trudeau reviews the Oscar nominated scores for NPR

Posted by · 9:54 am · February 22nd, 2009

One of my favorite pre-Oscar specials is music critic Andy Trudeau’s analysis of the Oscar nominated original scores on NPR’s weekend edition.  He used to stretch the piece over two weekends and discuss the pieces with the show’s host, but this year he both waited until the last minute and did the piece as a […]

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Two more industry awards: MPSE and VES

Posted by · 9:17 am · February 22nd, 2009

We should link to these for closure, so “The Dark Knight,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “WALL-E” won big at the Motion Picture Sound Editors awards, while “Button” took four trophies from the Visual Effects Society.  “The Dark Knight” and “WALL-E” also won a few each.  Thanks to Awards Daily on […]

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You were right, I was wrong: Guy’s final predictions

Posted by · 1:24 pm · February 21st, 2009

(Expanded thoughts and reasonings on yesterday’s list of predictions.) It’s years like 2008 when I throw my hands up and admit (albeit with great reluctance) that my family and friends have been right for the last two decades. Carla, Tom, Kim, Auntie Mavis: I give up. I am insane to care as much as I […]

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Want to win cinematography? An art direction nod helps.

Posted by · 11:36 am · February 21st, 2009

I’m surprised I completely forgot about this little, some might say meaningless statistic, but with all the predictions for “Slumdog Millionaire” taking the cinematography win at tomorrow night’s Oscar ceremony, the Oscarweb seems to be in the same boat. You have to go back to 1999 and “American Beauty” to find a film that won […]

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Contributors’ picks

Posted by · 1:32 pm · February 20th, 2009

Well, this is it.  The big show is Sunday night and we’re pretty much out of things to discuss at this stage, no?  But I’ve gone ahead and wrangled up all of our contributors’ predictions in each category.  Trust who you must, but really, pray for a surprise.  Right? In the realm of “ballsy” calls, […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Taking a final stab

Posted by · 11:05 am · February 20th, 2009

Well, this is what it all boils down to.  I almost DON’T want to go on the record, but I kind of have to, right? Anyway, this is the first year I’ve actually seen every single nominated frame of film before the big night so these will either be the most educated guesses I’ve ever […]

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Who deserves it? Poll results!

Posted by · 7:09 am · February 20th, 2009

The readership of In Contention has spoken.  Here’s who you all think deserves to win across the 24 Oscar categories we polled you on.  A couple of these races were very close but we didn’t have time to revisit the couple of categories that were decided by less than 10 votes.  Anyway, it’ll be interesting […]

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