In praise of the modern movie soundtrack

Posted by · 7:41 am · August 5th, 2011

I generally try to ignore film opinion pieces I think are fundamentally misguided — à chacun son goût and all that, plus the fact that fighting one mind is generally more trouble than it’s worth — but Ben Walsh’s idle article in The Independent today on the supposed demise of the movie soundtrack does such […]

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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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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part two

Posted by · 8:40 am · February 25th, 2011

Yesterday we began our final look at the 10 crafts categories.  Check out part one here.  Today, the conclusion.  Meanwhile, you can find my final predictions in all categories here. Best Music (Original Score) Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, despite their atypical approach to film music composition, are very much contenders in this race. Having […]

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‘Dragon,’ ‘King’s Speech,’ ‘TRON’ win with film music critics

Posted by · 1:25 pm · February 24th, 2011

Check out the full list of winners at The Circuit.

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Desplat leads International Film Music Critics nods

Posted by · 10:18 am · February 11th, 2011

Alexandre Desplat has enjoyed a brilliant career in U.S. features as of late (on the back of immense talent, naturally).  2010 was a grand year for the composer as he, once again, balanced scoring duties on a number of notable films. Today, the final announcement from the critics awards circuit has landed in the form […]

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OSCAR GUIDE: Best Sound Editing

Posted by · 9:57 am · February 11th, 2011

A few years back the sound branch did away with the bake-off process of determining its nominees for Best Sound Editing and the field was expanded to five. The visual effects branch followed suit this year and, maybe some day, the makeup branch will do the same. The sound branch is unique in that it […]

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TECH SUPPORT: Analyzing the nominees

Posted by · 11:53 am · January 28th, 2011

So the 83rd Annual Academy Award nominations were finally announced this week, and I did fairly well in handicapping the nominees. Outside of Best Sound Mixing, I never missed more than one nominee in a category. Unfortunately, there were no categories where I scored 100% (apart from Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay). Oh well. […]

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Oscar nominations: the good, the good and the good

Posted by · 11:22 am · January 25th, 2011

Even when they aren’t being read out with gale-force enthusiasm by Mo’Nique, the Oscar nominations tend to attack you with breathless speed that you need at least half an hour to decide how you feel about them at all. As usual, this morning’s announcement found me bouncing from one split-second reaction to another: Yay! No! […]

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‘King’s Speech’ leads the pack with 12 Oscar nominations

Posted by · 6:22 am · January 25th, 2011

On the face of it, the nominees for the 83rd annual Academy Awards seemed fairly unremarkable. Aside from the deafening nature of not hearing Christopher Nolan’s name in the line-up for Best Director (the only true shock of the major categories), everything seemed to be within the expected parameters (even Javier Bardem sliding in, which […]

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CONTEST: T-shirt giveaway!

Posted by · 9:03 am · January 24th, 2011

Alright, we have our last contest of the year.  But it’ll have a quick turnaround, so don’t snooze if you’re interested. First, the prize.  We have T-shirts for “Animal Kingdom” (you remember the one), “TRON Legacy,” “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Tangled” up for grabs.  And the contest will be predictions-based. This weekend I […]

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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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TECH SUPPORT: Final analysis, part one

Posted by · 8:57 am · January 20th, 2011

It seems hard to believe that it’s been more than six months since I wrote this year’s introductory Tech Support column ( a dissection of the art direction race). Much has changed since then, naturally, as we are less than a week away from the big day when we find out the nominees for the […]

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In praise of Reznor/Ross

Posted by · 8:44 am · January 19th, 2011

This year’s Best Original Score race really has me at a loss.  I freely admit that I have no idea what will happen there.  Some days I think we’ll get a small surprise like Alexandre Desplat sliding in for his best work this year in “The Ghost Writer,” others I think we could just get […]

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WEEKLY WRAP: Guilds galore and season fatigue

Posted by · 7:13 pm · January 14th, 2011

• The Directors’ Guild of America presented few surprises in their award nominations, though some raised eyebrows at “True Grit”‘s omission. (Their documentary nods didn’t move the needle either.) • The American Cinema Editors’ nods matched those of the directors; the American Society of Cinematographers didn’t deviate much from the formula either. • This week’s […]

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1/14 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Weinstein on the “Oscar movie,” HFPA sued, more bad ‘Social’ breath

Posted by · 5:46 am · January 14th, 2011

• Former Golden Globes publicist Michael Russell sues the HFPA two days before its biggest night leveling a boatload of accusations. [The Wrap] • Harvey Weinstein himself admits that the stereotype of the classic “Oscar movie” is probably gone. [The Carpetbagger] • Still beating David Fincher up over “The Social Network”‘s bad breath. [Slate]

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TECH SUPPORT INTERVIEW: The wizardry of ‘TRON Legacy’

Posted by · 8:48 am · January 13th, 2011

It’s somewhat intriguing to note how far the visual effects side of filmmaking has come in the last three decades.  When “TRON” was released in 1982, it’s FX wizardry was disqualified from Academy Award consideration.  The reason: the use of computer technology to achieve its look and environment was deemed, believe it or not, “cheating.” […]

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‘Shutter Island,’ ‘Social Network’ surprise with Cinema Audio Society, ‘TRON’ snubbed

Posted by · 5:30 am · January 6th, 2011

The immediately striking thing about this year’s slate of nominees from the Cinema Audio Society (which honors sound mixing) is the appearance of “Shutter Island.” This is the film’s second below-the-line guild citation in as many days (following an Art Directors Guild nomination yesterday). If it had managed a PGA nomination earlier this week, I’d […]

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‘Scott Pilgrim,’ ‘Hereafter’ make visual effects bake-off

Posted by · 4:19 pm · January 5th, 2011

As we await the USC Scripter finalists (which should drop any minute), I should pass along the Academy’s bake-off finalists in the Best Visual Effects category. Last month the field was narrowed down to 15 titles. Today, seven titles remain, from which five nominees will be selected in a bake-off (which is an odd extra […]

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