» Posts Tagged ‘oscars’
It’s far too easy to get caught up in the technological aspects of filmmaking, whether it be with new cameras, lenses, NLEs, or anything else. Focusing on gear is easy when something new comes out practically every day, but all of this technology is in place for the purpose of helping us tell better stories. What better way to remind ourselves of this than to see a great story made with what is widely considered to be “less than adequate” equipment? Such is the case with Searching for Sugar Man, the Academy Award winner for Best Feature Documentary at this year’s Oscars, part of which was shot on, as you might have already guessed, an iPhone. Check out the trailer for this fascinating film below: More »
Another year, another Oscars, but this one was very special to the indie community for one major reason: the documentary short Inocente made history as the first Kickstarter film to win an Academy Award. Hollywood might have just started noticing the crowdfunding platform recently, but independent films have benefitted greatly over the last few years, and Kickstarter has been involved in a number of festival and award-winning films — including a few Oscar nods. Also, if you missed it previously, embedded below is Paperman, which took home the best animated short film Academy Award, and the trailer for Curfew, shot on the RED ONE, which received the live action short film award. More »
It’s that time of year again, when Hollywood nominates the
films that ran the best Oscar campaigns best films from the previous year in a number of categories. Even just being nominated for an Academy Award is usually an honor for most of these filmmakers and actors, and many of them have been on the ballot a number of times. Probably the most interesting selection is Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, a true independent film not just in budget but in spirit, which was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and the youngest Best Actress nomination ever in Quvenzhané Wallis. What’s even more interesting is how many of these films were still shot on actual film, but how long will that last? More »
Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, has worked on a number of big Hollywood films, notably Fight Club, The Social Network, and more recently The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – which we’ve talked about here before because of its interesting post workflow. Besides feature films, Cronenweth has also shot and directed quite a few music videos and commercials – which is where his collaborator David Fincher also got his start. He shares insights about digital filmmaking and his working relationship with notoriously take-heavy Fincher in this four-part Oscar Q&A provided by Creatasphere. More »
I may seldom agree with the Academy on what constitutes a “Best Picture,” but congratulations to the AMPAS for putting on an inspired, nearly flawless and tone-perfect Oscars. Reverence plays well when the global economy is imploding.
On the other hand, I went into the telecast expecting to disagree with the vast majority of their awards, and that certainly held true. I merely want to give credit where credit is due, to the showrunners, who put together an entertaining and efficient presentation. Well done. Producing the Oscars is probably a fairly thankless job, because no matter what you do everyone will say it was too long. Which I suppose is why I felt the need to post here, to explicitly not complain. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.
A couple of years ago on this site I deemed Crash “one of the worst films I’ve seen in recent memory.” Shortly thereafter, the film went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. Affronted, I quoted an overwhelmingly negative review by LA Weekly critic Scott Foundas to back up my claim.
This year, after watching Atonement and harboring similar feelings about the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning period piece, I returned to the Internets in hopes of finding a review I could again quote, but a cursory review of Rotten Tomatoes produced no such satisfactorily negative text. Two quick pulls, however: The New York Times’ A.O. Scott called it “an almost classical example of how pointless, how diminishing, the transmutation of literature into film can be,” and The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane, in an assessment surprisingly free of vitriol, allowed that he “hardly believed a word of it.” However, Atonement currently has scores of 82 and 85 at Rotten Tomatoes and metacritic, respectively (which metacritic categorizes as “Universal Acclaim”). These are even higher marks than Crash’s; Atonement also took home the Best Drama Golden Globe, which has been a decent predictor of Oscar-winners. This scares me.
That said, I’m no critic, and I’ve no desire to become one–on some level I think film critic and filmmaker are mutually exclusive occupations–so it’s unlikely that I’ll elucidate my feelings about the film as well as a bona fide professional would. Nevertheless, my problems with Atonement stem from its cart-before-the-horse writing; sure, it has drama, beauty, twists, reveals, and all the things they teach you in screenwriting class, but none of the events feel justified by truth. The characters aren’t driving the story; the narrative is instead driven by the writer(s) wanting to get to a certain point, and coming up with totally implausible ways to get there. I say “writer(s)” because these complaints may be uniquely directed at screenwriter Christopher Hampton’s adaptation–or they may be equally valid criticisms of Ian McEwan’s source text. Not having read the book, and now harboring no desire to do so, I can’t say. But without getting into any spoilers, let me ask: have you ever written multiple version of a letter–say one was handwritten and one typed, so by appearance they are quite differentiated, even at a glance–and then proceeded to sign, fold, seal, and send the wrong one, with the right one sitting on your desk face-up (right next to your Cambridge scholarship)? What if one of the letters was a filthy joke you’d written for your eyes only (implausibly), and the other one was an apology you were sending to your true love–via the hand of a nosy 12 year-old girl? Perhaps not the time to haphazardly stuff an envelope with (apparently) your eyes closed. Well, that’s just what a certain character in Atonement does, setting off many of the tragic events to follow. If there’s anything to atone for in the film, it’s apparently Being A Dumbass.
This, along with several other occurrences in the film’s first act, left me with an overwhelming desire to walk out of the theater; instead, I subjected myself to the remainder, in order to write home that Atonement is nothing to write home about. Indeed, the film is a shoddily-constructed soap opera–finely crafted at times, but less believable than an episode of “As the World Turns” (or whichever daytime soap is the least plausible). If Atonement was a construction project, and director Joe Wright was the foreman on the effort, then he should be evaluated as having done a proficient job with the interior decoration, weatherproofing, HVAC, and plumbing; however, he built the whole house on a faulty foundation, made not of concrete but rather of shit.
If it wins the Oscar I’ll tell you how I really feel.