Ranking the categories

Posted by · 5:51 am · March 7th, 2010

Ah, Oscar lists — the gift that keeps giving. I’m not going to ape Kris’s impressive ranking of all the nominated features: we’d have the same #1, for starters, and we’re agreeing on far too many things these days. So here’s something else to play with. I’ve had a number of emails asking me how […]

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Terry Gilliam calls bullshit on the Oscars

Posted by · 3:46 pm · March 5th, 2010

As certain as carols on Christmas Eve, you can always rely on the pre-Oscar weekend to bring a surfeit of “why the Oscars don’t matter” pieces — all other angles on the race having been exhausted in the preceding months. Hey, I sort of did one myself yesterday. True to form, today we have David […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Costume Design

Posted by · 9:34 am · March 2nd, 2010

For three straight years the Academy Award for Best Costume Design has gone to a film that received no other Oscars. In each case, the films could be considered “period porn,” as it were, lavish productions with massive thread ensembles. “Most Costume Design” would be a more applicable moniker for the award, given how the […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Art Direction

Posted by · 10:41 am · February 15th, 2010

Over the weekend the Art Directors Guild handed out their awards in three categories: period, fantasy and contemporary.  And it’s a good thing they have the contemporary field since the Academy recognizing that kind of work is like Haley’s Comet. The Best Art Direction category recognizes both the production designer and the set decorator of […]

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Makeup bake-off leaves seven

Posted by · 4:40 pm · January 11th, 2010

Via AMPAS press release, the final group includes: “District 9” “Il Divo” “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” “The Road” “Star Trek” “The Young Victoria” Well, there was always one spot in flux for me here and most recently I was giving it to “Cirque du Freak” for […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: ‘Avatar’ leads, ‘Nine’ falls, more lists

Posted by · 6:53 pm · January 1st, 2010

There was no wrap last Friday, what with Christmas capping a dead calm news week. So here are the highlights of the last fortnight: • Off the Carpet returned from its Christmas vacation to survey the current state of the race — advantage “Avatar.” • The Long Shot considered the varying fortunes of the quartet […]

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Loose threads

Posted by · 5:53 pm · January 1st, 2010

On the technical side of things, is anyone as uninspired as I am by the apparent frontrunners for Best Costume Design? I bow to no one in my admiration for the genius of Sandy Powell, but the Easter egg-colored wardrobe of “The Young Victoria” is routine work by her high standards. That hasn’t stopped most […]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The crafts of ‘The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus’

Posted by · 6:14 pm · December 31st, 2009

Terry Gilliam’s “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” is the latest entry in the director’s long history of wondrous, fantastical worlds. The film might be best remembered as containing Heath Ledger’s final performance. But Gilliam’s rich imagination is also seen in the work of below-the-line craftspeople who brought his world alive with splendid visuals and a […]

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SUNDAY CENTS: Box office is a Festivus miracle!

Posted by · 2:18 pm · December 27th, 2009

*All historical figures cited are adjusted to today’s dollars. Holy shit. There’s no other way to describe the box office this weekend, which may well go down as the most attended three days on record. Nearly 35 million tickets were sold and three films grossed more than $50 million each. The number one movie for […]

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Best in show: the year in superlatives

Posted by · 4:29 pm · December 18th, 2009

Wrapping up my perspective on the year today, a personal list of superlatives, Oscar categories and other silly nonsense. Swing back around on Monday for the ultimate wrap-up, my list of the best films of the decade. Best Picture “A Serious Man” (Focus Features) Best Director Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, “A Serious Man” Best Actor […]

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12/18 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 8:52 am · December 18th, 2009

• Anne Thompson reports that there is no “official” costume designer on “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” so anyone holding out longshot hope for its Oscar chances in that field can go ahead and focus elsewhere. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Melena Ryzik gets Ivan Reitman to admit “The Hangover” would be on his top 10 list. [The […]

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If I had a ballot

Posted by · 12:04 pm · December 16th, 2009

Every year I like to keep track of personal favorites throughout the Academy’s designated categories (plus one of my own addition, Best Ensemble). At the end of the year, my “if I had a ballot” post is the result. Of course, for the most part, I follow Academy designations here. If something is ruled ineligible, […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Makeup — Volume II

Posted by · 4:58 pm · November 25th, 2009

Without any doubt, one of the most difficult Oscar categories to predict is Best Makeup. Like Best Visual Effects, the final three nominees are chosen from a previously announced shortlist of seven. Very frequently, films that would seem to be sure things fail to even make the bake-off. Even so, it is possible to gauge […]

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US ‘Parnassus’ poster

Posted by · 3:20 pm · November 9th, 2009

(Courtesy: /Film)

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TECH SUPPORT: Best Art Direction — Volume II

Posted by · 11:01 am · November 5th, 2009

When I first addressed the race for Best Art Direction in August, I spoke of how the branch tends to favor period pieces and fantasy films. Considering the research involved in the former and the often showy creativity on display in the latter, this is hardly surprising. That said, I often feel badly for exceptional […]

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OFF THE CARPET: Looking at the leading gentlemen

Posted by · 10:31 am · November 2nd, 2009

We’ve taken concentrated looks at the lead actress and supporting actress categories in recent weeks.  Now let’s turn our attention over to the fellas. Behind the Best Picture race, of course, the lead actor competition is perhaps the most hotly anticipated award of a given Oscar telecast.  Movie stars are born, Hollywood staples are rewarded […]

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Woman’s touch

Posted by · 5:37 am · October 15th, 2009

We’ve seen a lot of posters for “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” highlighting its starry male cast, and they’ve mostly left me cold. So is it a coincidence that this new design — which places relative newcomer Lily Cole in the spotlight — is the one that finally does it for me? Or am I […]

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Category shuffling gets complicated

Posted by · 7:31 pm · October 12th, 2009

It’s been interesting to note that many of the conversations concerning the Oscar race that I’ve had with people lately revolves around category placement for a number of the year’s contenders.  It was a topic Anne and I addressed directly in Friday’s Oscar Talk, in fact. There tends to be dueling ideologies on this, as […]

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