Les Grossman is ready for his close-up

Posted by · 4:09 pm · June 9th, 2010

We knew it was coming.  Here’s the (knee-slapping) press release, in part: Paramount Pictures and MTV Films announced today that they are set to develop a movie around mega-producer Les Grossman. The announcement comes on the heels of Grossman’s groundbreaking and visionary production of the soon-to-be Emmy® award-winning 2010 MTV Movie Awards Sunday night. Tom […]

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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 Great Performances: 2003

Posted by · 9:14 am · December 4th, 2009

There is little doubt in my mind I am going to take some heat this week, so let’s kick it off right away with my belief that Sean Penn deserved his Best Actor Oscar for “Mystic River,” a performance of overwhelming ferocity and staggering emotional power. Yes, I too loved Bill Murray in “Lost in […]

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The Great Performances: 2002

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

2002 was probably one of the greatest years for performance excellence in film history, from leading actor right through all the supporting players. They could have easily nominated 10 actors in each of the four acting categories, and still missed some. Though Adrien Brody won the Oscar for “The Pianist,” which was a huge shock, […]

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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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The Great Performances: 1996

Posted by · 10:15 am · October 16th, 2009

1996 was an odd year, a year when the independent cinema dominated the weak product emerging out of Hollywood. I am going to confess right off the top of this article (as I have numerous times before) that I was not a fan of “The English Patient,” which for me remains one of the most […]

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On acting

Posted by · 10:11 am · October 2nd, 2009

What constitutes a great performance?  What makes it something that puts it head and shoulders above the rest?  What does an artist do to go to that level of art and achieve something that is both extraordinary and rare? Does the Academy, or rather the branch that nominates the actors, look as closely at performance […]

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9/4 Web Round-up

Posted by · 7:23 am · September 4th, 2009

• Steve Pond talks to AMPAS executive director Bruce Davis about the Oscars’ “crisis point.” [The Odds] • Redefining the cinema alien with “District 9.” [Daily Telegraph] • Spike Jonze and his latest gets close to 7,500 words in the Grey Lady. [New York Times]

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Great performers at their best

Posted by · 7:50 am · August 21st, 2009

After spending some time this summer watching some excellent films on DVD, I was inspired to write this piece about the great actors’ (living, with one exception) greatest performances. Narrowing it down to one each (brutal, believe me), I think have come up with a list of actors, young and old, that represents some of […]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 performances from Michael Mann films

Posted by · 11:24 am · June 30th, 2009

With the forthcoming release of Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” (review) dominating — quite impressively, I might add — the publicity circuit this week, all eyes are on Johnny Depp.  An Ulmer Scale X factor for this character study posing as a summer blockbuster, Depp’s performance is sure to draw champions and detractors alike for its […]

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Brilliant Cruise/Kimmel spot from last night

Posted by · 3:52 pm · February 23rd, 2009

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“It’s just us talking. It’s Oscar night.”

Posted by · 9:27 am · February 22nd, 2009

There’s always a healthy amount of irritation slung about during an Oscar season regarding the 6,000-strong body of men and women charged with choosing the year’s “best” in filmmaking accomplishment.  Some say the group is out of touch, others say voters aren’t educated enough in the arenas they choose to award.  For me, I’ve always […]

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Who almost starred in the season’s Oscar nominated films?

Posted by · 11:37 am · February 17th, 2009

The folks at notstarring.com have put together a list of the year’s Oscar contenders and the stars who turned down opportunities to star in them.  There is, of course, Nicolas Cage in “The Wrestler” and Russell Crowe in “Australia.”  Heath Ledger is also mentioned for the latter (somehow I didn’t know that). “The Curious Case […]

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12/28 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 5:37 am · December 28th, 2008

• Joe Morgenstern wraps up the year. [Wall Street Journal] • Michael Lerman on the most misunderstood films of 2008. [Spout Blog] • Jeffrey Wells tries to draw some parallels between the year’s Best Picture hopefuls and the presidential contenders of 2008. [Hollywood Elsewhere] • James Rocchi podcasts it up with yours truly on year-end […]

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That dude who wrote ‘The Usual Suspects’ makes the rounds

Posted by · 1:12 pm · December 27th, 2008

Alright, I’m only joshing Christopher McQuarrie with the “that dude” quip.  Count me in the “Usual Suspects” boat, a film I’ve been in the tank for ever since it sparked something in me 13 years ago (along with Michael Mann’s “Heat”).  Both movies played a serious part in forging the film lover before you. McQuarrie’s […]

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12/23 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 6:39 am · December 23rd, 2008

• Julian Sancton samples and gives some commentary on his top 11 film scores of the year. [Vanity Fair] • David Poland spends 30 minutes with “Nerakhoon” director Ellen Kuras. [The Hot Blog] • Tom O’Neil and Dave Karger fight over the Best Actress frontrunners. [Gold Derby] • Karger, meanwhile, spends some more time with […]

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12/13 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by · 6:11 am · December 13th, 2008

• How many Oscar Best Picture winners can you name in five minutes? [Jet Punk] • David Poland responds to “Gran Torino” raves with another slap in the face for Clint Eastwood and his film. [The Hot Blog] • Jeff Wells is a fan of “Good,” lost in the Oscar shuffle this year. [Hollywood Elsewhere] […]

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Globe cheers, jeers and predictions

Posted by · 6:56 pm · December 11th, 2008

As ever, this morning’s Golden Globe announcement provided a mixed bag of talking points, with some pleasantly zany curveballs at one end of the scale, and a couple of yawnsome autopilot nominees at the other. Like most awards bodies, they’re never going to get it completely right: for every inspired inclusion or omission there’s an […]

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