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by Ben Travers

29 Jan 2013

There’s always been a dicey relationship between the Academy’s voting members, its governing body, and the network that airs the ceremony. The former is focused on doing its job—picking the best picture of each year. The latter wants ratings and needs popular films to be nominated to get them. The governing body coordinates between the two, trying to please both.

The mid to late aughts was perhaps the most trying period between the groups. A scourge of unpopular nominees forced the Academy to make one of its most controversial rule changes. In 2005, none of the nominees surpassed $100 million at the box office. 2006 and 2007 only featured one each, and 2008 had two—but no Dark Knight.

by Jose Solis

28 Jan 2013

A lot has been said about the fact that in 2012—more than any other year before it—the number of submissions for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar defied expectations. A total of 71 films were submitted by countries ranging from Albania to Venezuela. Countries like Kenya entered their movies into the competition for the first time. But before nominations were even announced the race had come down to two movies: Amour and The Intouchables.

One is the Palme d’Or winning-crowning jewel in the career of one of the most respected auteurs in the world, the other is France’s biggest moneymaker of all time. One is a harsh look at old age, often cruel, never dishonest; the other, is a buddy movie that appropriates Hollywood values like white guilt filtered by a lovable “magical Negro” and “based on a true story” conventions. One was directed by the man who first broke into the scene by making a movie about a soulless boy who murders a girl, the other is a feel good hit backed by The Weinstein Company.

by Joe Vallese

25 Jan 2013

I know, I know. Ranting about, reflecting on, and rationalizing this year’s Oscar nomination snubs is so last week. But as I ponder the selections in the acting categories, it occurs to me that this year, perhaps more so than any in the recent past, the Academy’s choices all seem particularly slanted toward the straightforward: fine actors delivering dialogue well, if not especially inhabiting or transforming the material. In a year filled with top Hollywood talent—and a few critical darlings—delivering full-bodied, immersive performances in rather unorthodox roles, it’s hard to not be disappointed that the Academy didn’t take more risks in compiling their shortlists.

by Jose Solis

22 Jan 2013

What do Michael Haneke and Jean Renoir have in common (besides their deeply humanistic, but vastly different approaches to portraying life you mean?)? They both have directed foreign language films that went on to receive a Best Picture Academy Award nomination. In 1938, Renoir’s La Grande Illusion was nominated for the big Hollywood prize, becoming the first movie not in the English language to receive this honor. The WWI-set masterpiece lost to a now mostly forgotten Frank Capra comedy and curiously wasn’t nominated for anything other than Best Picture, meanwhile in 2012, Haneke’s Amour, a devastating take on old age, went on to receive a total of five nominations including one for lead actress Emmanuelle Riva.

by Ben Travers

21 Jan 2013

I think I find myself in the minority of all issues Ben Affleck. First, I was a fan of the actor. Yes, from Good Will Hunting on I enjoyed Affleck the Actor in such films as Armageddon, Dogma, The Sum of All Fears, and even the much maligned Jersey Girl.

I joined the consensus for a few years when he broke through as a director. Gone Baby Gone, his first effort, is based on my favorite novel and is now one of my favorite films. The Town is incredibly entertaining and is oft-quoted around my home (“I’m putting this whole town in my reahview.”).

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

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