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Most Anticipated of 2014, or What We Talk About when we Talk About Oscar Predictions

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The blood is just about dried on this year’s Oscar race but throughout the web are predictions for next year’s race. Yes, already. Here’s the thing. It ain’t rocket science. Early Oscar predictions aren’t some kind of magic formula – so people who brag about those are just fooling themselves. The truth is, the Oscar race is an industry that supports another industry – the film industry.  There is a…

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Dear Kim Novak: I’m Sorry You Woke up to the Internet

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A friend of mine used to call life “a bucket of shit with the handles on the insides.” I’m going to appropriate that now to the internet, thanks in large part to the disease of accepted bullying that happens every second of every day here — our formerly dignified selves taking a backseat to the worst humanity has to offer. What Novak experienced the night of the Oscars is an…

86th Oscars, Backstage

The State of the Race: Can the Oscars Change Hollywood? (And Thank You)

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Now that the bright, beautiful Lupita Nyong’o has arrived, what will become of her fate in Hollywood? We all know the statistics. We know what kinds of movies mostly get made. I wonder if it’s too much to ask that one actress inspire the five white guys in suits to think a little differently about whom to cast in what kind of part? Can she, like Jennifer Lawrence, become so…

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The State of the Race: Hope is the Thing with Feathers

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“I find I’m so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it’s the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it…

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The State of the Race: On the Eve of Oscar Voting, Heroes vs “Heroes”

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“As you get older it is harder to have heroes, but it is sort of necessary.” ― Ernest Hemingway The theme of the 86th Oscars is Heroes. That might come to be regarded ironically when all is said and done on the evening of March 2. Two of the strongest films in the race aren’t about heroes at all, but rather “Heroes.” Remember in Citizen Kane when Charles Foster Kane…

TWELVE YEARS A SLAVE

Best Director: The Case for Steve McQueen

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[The Case For is an annual series - we're starting with Best Director  this is not an advertorial] Someone on Twitter asked me recently why I so strongly believed that Best Director needed to be tied to Best Picture.  After all, she argued, they really are two separate things. The producers receive the award for Best Picture and the director gets his/her own award. Who gets to take credit for…

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Fever Dream: the Collaboration of DiCaprio and Scorsese

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The Oscar race might be straining the Santa Barbara film festival past its breaking point. Wednesday night, the appearance of Oprah Winfrey nearly broke the festival and last night’s appearance of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and Martin Scorsese caused such a frenzy you’d think it was 1964. Strange things start to happen when big time celebrities mingle among us. One woman heckled Oprah that she’d stolen all of her “work.”…

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The State of the Race: Academy’s Choice Embrace the Future or Redefine the Past

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“Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” ― Barack Obama There are many ways to interpret the upcoming choice for Best Picture the Academy will be making. On the one hand, the future could be defined as the sound of many doors unlocking…

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Her, Captain Phillips, Stories We Tell win WGA Awards

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WRITERS GUILD AWARDS Best Original Screenplay Her, Written by Spike Jonze Best Adapted Screenplay Captain Phillips, Written by Billy Ray Best Documentary Screenplay Stories We Tell, Written by Sarah Polley Best New Series House of Cards Comedy Series Veep Drama Series Breaking Bad

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The State of the Race: Guilds Split Three Ways, Gravity has Edge

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For the first time since the Academy expanded the Best Picture race to more than 5 nominees, the industry seems divided between three strong films. The actors branch clearly loves David O. Russell’s American Hustle, giving it nominations in all four acting categories, plus the SAG ensemble win. The directors and the producers have put their might behind Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. Finally, 12 Years a Slave, the underdog in this…