Park City has proved to be a launching pad for indie movies. “Precious,” “Winter’s Bone” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” (to name a few) all debuted at the festival and wound up racking up Oscar nominations. And on the heels of today’s Academy announcements, it turns out that this year’s crop of nominees is no different.
It was, at the time, the pinnacle of Amy Adams’ career.
By 2005, Adams had appeared in a handful of television shows (The West Wing, Smallville) and logged a minor role in Steven Spielberg’s CATCH ME IF YOU CAN. But her open-hearted performance as sweet and simple pregnant Southerner Ashley in Phil Morrison’s JUNEBUG put her on the map, establishing her as one of the brightest new stars in Hollywood. The buzz began with a Special Jury Prize at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, and continued as she won an Independent Spirit Award, multiple critics’ group nominations, a Critics’ Choice Award and an Oscar nomination.
This time last year, a little film called THE HELP hit theaters, and almost immediately the chatter started. Traditionally speaking, it seemed just a little early for Oscar buzz to begin — even in better times, August is a nadir-point in box office revenue, when studios are known to shed the clunker titles they still haven’t released before the “more serious” fall and holiday seasons kick in. Still, THE HELP, a delightful film based on a popular page-turner, got an extremely healthy helping of Oscar buzz right from the start, and it carried Octavia Spencer all the way down the red carpet and into the golden boy’s arms.
America’s ‘90s sweetheart, Julia Roberts is entering a sort of grand dame phase, which is interesting as she unexpectedly ages into character-actor territory.
Once the fresh-faced star of dramas and rom-coms—and the loveliest prostitute in ages in 1990’s PRETTY WOMAN—Roberts was an appealing ingénue with a smile that brightened any screen and a fascinating ability to laugh and cry at the same time. I always thought she was a good actress—not just a good movie star—and was beside myself when she won the Oscar for 2000’s ERIN BROCKOVICH, playing a fiery legal assistant with cleavage and chutzpah.
Sundance Film Festival selections shone brightly in a madcap Oscars weekend. From lead-up nominee luncheons, the Spirit Awards to Oscars night, the indie A-list was out in full force. Check out the photos.
Indie A-List photos
The movie industry’s biggest night went off with a bang on Sunday. With the Academy Awards ceremony to start and rollicking after-parties going late into the night, Hollywood was at their best and worst. Check out the photos.
Oscars: Best/Worst Dressed photos
Last year’s Academy Awards telecast awkwardly tried for laughs, but most critics felt the only real joke was that the show got on the air at all. Well, it’s a whole new year, with fresh chances for button pushing and laugh grabbing. And bravely returning for his ninth hosting gig, Billy Crystal is just the man who can save the extravaganza from having to add a laugh track.
Billy’s always been a regular riot—but just in case he needs a little help with his material, I’m here to provide a bunch of topically hilarious one-liners completely gratis, to guarantee that he uncovers comic gold rather than step in tragic ick. All I ask in return is a gift bag and five tickets to the after party. All right, four.
This year’s Oscar telecast (set for February 26) has been on a hopeful track ever since they announced that an actual comic was going to be the host.
But even Billy Crystal can only do so much. All the stuff around him needs to be spruced up pronto to ensure that the whole Oscar machine doesn’t become as obsolete as silent movies (except for THE ARTIST, of course).
And I know the answer.
For a lifeline, the producers need to venture into New York’s wildest nightclubs and learn some valuable lessons about how to put on a show.
Well, the Oscars got something right. Though they overlooked Sundance 2011’s other top doc HOW TO DIE IN OREGON, HELL AND BACK AGAIN is on this year’s shortlist.
Director Danfung Dennis documents the story of 25-year-old Nathan Harris, a Marine Corps sergeant who was severely injured in Afghanistan. The film follows his recovery and transition back to life back home in North Carolina. Cut jarringly with Dennis’s own footage from behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, HELL delivers a violent jolt back home. This winner of Sundance’s World Cinema Jury Prize and World Cinema Cinematography Award is still in theaters, so if you haven’t seen it yet, go now.
In a sign that the Academy is taking itself slightly less seriously or that it’s really out of touch with the zeitgeist, Eddie Murphy was announced as the host of the 84th annual Oscars, which ABC will broadcast on February 26. The New York Times argued that “Mr. Murphy’s agreement to host the show marks the Academy’s apparent return to a formula that worked well a decade ago, when masters of live comedy — Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg and Steve Martin among them — kept the crowd laughing as it watched often somber films…” It makes sense to select people who thrive onstage and are at their funniest commanding a live crowd, and it’s definitely a win-win for Eddie Murphy…
The season of grossout comedies and screechy animated romps is spewing to an end as we brace ourselves for the period when actual quality films might come out of the darkness. And these films know they’re quality.
In fact, the releases from now till December 31 have been aggressively devised to win Oscars and will be prestigiously rammed down our throats until someone votes for them!
The top choices:
* Ages ago, George Clooney went from TV star to Oscar bait, and his new one will hardly stop his pedigree parade from marching on. It’s The Ides of March, directed by Clooney (who costars with Ryan Gosling), and seeing as it examines dirty politics from the inside, it couldn’t be any more tawdrily topical. Opens October 7
* Leonardo DiCaprio gets a star role—and hopefully some nice gowns—as FBI head J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar. It doesn’t take an investigator to smell Oscar potential here. October 21
Browse through LIFE’s online archives of “Classic Oscar Photos” the 1970s and the 80s. From 1976 is the above red carpet photo of the always cool Jack Nicholson with Anjelica Huston. Nicholson won Best Actor for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST that year while proving that one can indeed pull off a beret and…
As we collectively come down from the Oscars, I am forced to reflect on the Franco-filled universe. I don’t want to reflect, believe me – but as you know, he’s EVERYWHERE. The New York Times this morning greeted me with a Franco cocktail. Entertainment Weekly Entertainer of the Year 2010? Check. Two oversaturation notifications on my husband’s Facebook page? (As in – check these out – it’s just too too too too too much. One of them, just to get you to click, is headlined “James Franco to Teach a Class About Himself.”) Check. And now, I am torturing myself even more … as I sit here and watch a screener of 127 HOURS. His arm just got stuck. Am I ready for all of this?
If you’re a fan of pop culture, art, photography, or fashion and you don’t have Terry Richardson’s frequently updated Tumblr bookmarked, then do yourself a favor and do so. Whether it’s the recent opening of Ed Ruscha’s new show at Gagosian in LA or chilling out backstage at the Oscars, the man, his glasses and…
Still from Debra Granik’s WINTER’S BONE. As the number of movie deals at Sundance continues to add up–there have been about 30 so far–and the indie film world rejoices that the hard times are over, there’s one film that’s been hovering in the ether in Park City. It’s crept up on blogs, and in conversation,…
About those Academy Award nominations announced this morning, Los Angeles Times film critic Kenneth Turan has noted a trend: If you add up the number of [Oscar] nominations [for films] from last year’s [Sundance Film] festival — 14 all told — it’s a more impressive total than the dozen for THE KING’S SPEECH. The two…
On February 27, the annual Academy Awards telecast will attempt to make millions of people interested in movies they didn’t care enough to see in the first place.
They’ll do so with glitz, celebrity drop-ins, gushy tributes, high fashion, and the wonderful sight of four people being devastated in each category.
As an inveterate Oscar watcher despite it all, I have some handy ideas for pepping up the show and grabbing way higher ratings than they ever imagined.
Here goes, for free:
*Serve booze. The Golden Globes are always more fun than the Oscars because the guests are flat-out drunk and not that self-conscious about the evening’s high-pressure antics. The Oscars should serve tray upon tray of ratings-making cocktails. It’s a recipe for absolute hilarity!
Paula Froelich kisses a giraffe in Kenya
Heh. So. I am trying to get a life. No. seriously. Quit my full time job at the New York Post on July 25, 2009 — otherwise known as “Independence Day” and yes, I played the Martina McBride song over and over as well as “Take This Job and Shove It” when I announced the news. So anyhoo. I have been enjoying life since then — went to Africa, Mexico, Sundance, LA several times, Oscars, you name it. But after a certain point in time, ennui starts to set in along with brain rot. And I will not Brain Rot! Unless, of course, it’s called for.
Joan and Melissa Rivers (Photo by Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic)
Post Oscar hangovers are never fun… Trust. I’ve been covering them for 10 years! But this year was different. Not so bad. Even though – let’s be honest, seven days into a nine day journey, you are ready to run for the hill. And by hills, I mean Appalachian, Eastern Hills. Except for the fact that I came back from Rainy LA to monsoon-y New York. I mean… Okay, okay. I got two good days of beautiful Spring weather before my boots were soaked and once again I had to forsake fashion for Tretorn rain galoshes.
2010 Oscars red carpet Were the Oscars a star-studded snoozefest? Who the hell was the woman in the mohawk? Or the mysterious white-haired hippie man? Read more here. SUNfiltered’s Bradford Shellhammer admires Molly Ringwald – all grown up and in purple. Photos! We’ve put together some of the highlights from the red carpet here in our…
Now that the self-love fest known as The Academy Awards is over many are rushing to Amazon, Netflix, and the local cinema to see the movies honored. I tried to see as many nominees as possible prior to the show, but I still have a few on my list to check out. But I might not have to go through all that work. These posters, and the rest of the collection seen here, definitely show truth in advertising. They made me laugh a little. Why can’t more movie poster get to the point?
James Cameron with his wife Suzy Amis on the red carpet before the Oscars
Maybe I’m just getting too old and cynical for the Oscars. Heh. When you see Joan Collins out every night, you do start to wonder – what the sam hell is going on? This post will be briefer than the lasts as, well, baby is hungover. Yes, I know. AGAIN. There does seem something so wrong about Oscar week in LA. The abundant narcissism and back slapping is fricking hilarious (“Good Job! That movie you made was awesome! Forget curing cancer – you are the best person alive! Especially because you are so rich and pretty!”).
I’d like to thank whoever had enough time to kill to stitch together this 1 minute clip of “thank yous” from Oscar acceptance speeches over the years. The Weinsteins got as many shout outs as God.
1) Starting the show with the 10 lead acting nominees having to take the stage and smile for the cameras. Doesn’t the rest of the evening torture them enough?
2) The clips for the 10, count ‘em 10, Best Picture nominees. Add them up and they were longer than some of the films themselves! Besides, way back in 1939, the 10 nominees were instant classics like Gone With The Wind, Stagecoach, and The Wizard of Oz. But this year? The Blind Side and District 9! Let’s go back to just five. No, make it three!
3) The way the cameras kept zooming in on the front runners right after they lost. When THE HURT LOCKER won Best Original Screenplay, they closed in on a shaken Quentin Tarantino. After PRECIOUS bagged Best Adapted Screenplay, they cut to a sweaty Jason Reitman. Even when AVATAR lost some sound award, they cut to Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington. This practice totally appealed to the sadist in me, but for the sake of others with some heart, let’s only watch people squirm before they lose from now on.
PRECIOUS stars Mariah Carey and Gabourey Sidibe, at the Independent Spirit Awards Wow. The last couple of days have been a BLUR… Friday were the Independent Spirit Awards – which rocked. For some reason the gods decided to bless me and my date, Estee Lauder Pres. John Demsey, and sit us front and center with…