LIFE WITHOUT OSCAR: 1991 and 1992

Posted by · 4:48 pm · November 16th, 2010

Catch up with the idea behind this series here. 1991 was a banner year for the Academy bucking trends. Of course, “Silence of the Lambs” was the big winner, a first for the horror genre and the first time the winning film was available to own on home video before nominations came out. That it […]

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We all got it comin’

Posted by · 7:47 pm · August 22nd, 2010

What was the last truly immortal Best Picture winner?  Cases can be made for this or that throughout the years, but for my money, the last film to win the Academy’s top prize that is absolutely a film for the ages was Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven.” And you can get the Blu-ray on Amazon for less […]

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1976: the last hurrah of the American western

Posted by · 10:14 am · July 17th, 2009

The western was not yet dead in 1976 when  four high-profile installments were released to varying degrees of success. Four years later, of course, Michael Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate” would kill the genre for several years (and United Artists for longer), and though it has seen ups and downs in the years since, for the most […]

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SANTA BARBARA: Clint Eastwood hailed as a Modern Master

Posted by · 12:44 am · January 30th, 2009

So Clint Eastwood arrived in town tonight without all the pizazz you might have expected, as I reported from this evening’s Arlington Theatre event.  But inside the place was bananas.  Every single seat in the theater was filled, many of the locals vocalizing their shock on the way down the aisles.  “I’ve never seen it […]

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Lensers set to honor Jack Green’s lifetime achievement

Posted by · 6:00 am · September 27th, 2008

This report from Variety kind of got lost in the shuffle this week, but it seems the great Jack Green will be feted by the American Society of Cinematographers this year.  Here’s the story: Jack Green will receive the 2009 American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement award at the 23rd ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on […]

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More Eastwood…

Posted by · 2:00 am · August 14th, 2008

These must be hard times for anyone who doesn’t like Clint Eastwood, and I realise that we at In Contention aren’t doing much to reduce the saturation. But with two pictures coming up in the space of four months, and a massive retrospective at the BFI Southbank (formerly the National Film Theatre, for those of you who […]

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And often, the Academy gets it right…

Posted by · 10:53 am · July 30th, 2008

As much as I rant about some of the bizarre choices made by the Academy, let’s be fair…there are times when they are right on the money. The AMPAS allowed for an embracing of the New American cinema with their awards for Best Picture and Best Director for “Midnight Cowboy” in 1969, and only they […]

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THE LISTS: Top 20 movie endings of all time

Posted by · 3:56 am · July 14th, 2008

Alright, this was painstaking indeed. After The Times of London saw fit to rock out a list of the 20 best movie endings of all time last week, I thought I’d try my own hand at such a collective. There are some omissions that might surprise some folks (“Bonnie and Clyde,” “The Graduate,” “Carrie”). At […]

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Clint Eastwood: the unlikely Oscar favorite

Posted by · 4:19 am · July 12th, 2008

Had anyone said to me in the 1970s that Clint Eastwood would in time become one of the finest and most important American directors in modern cinema, I would have laughed — quite loudly — in their collective faces. The star of “Dirty Harry” and “Every Which But Loose?”  The guy who shares the screen with apes?  […]

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Best of the 90’s

Posted by · 7:43 am · July 4th, 2008

Time is the enemy of all films as it erodes what was once exciting and original. Truly great movies are able to withstand the test of time, but I wonder if enough time has passed to take a look back at the 1990s cinema and make some decisions. There was a major breakthrough in the decade with […]

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Clint Eastwood — anything he does grabs Oscar’s attention

Posted by · 8:13 am · May 5th, 2008

Let me begin with something very personal, something I prefer not to do in this column. Movies have not mattered much this past week, as my wife of 18 years, the love of my life was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. This Thursday we journey to Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto to allow the finest […]

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Actors winning Best Director — always deserved?

Posted by · 6:51 am · May 1st, 2008

Of course not. Quite often the Academy gets behind an actor for the simple reason they pulled of the film without screwing too much up. How else can one explain Mel Gibson’s win for “Braveheart” but failure to be nominated for his masterpiece “The Passion of the Christ” and “Apocalypto,” easily two of the finest […]

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