In 2012’s The Act of Killing, filmmaker Joshua Oppenheimer explored the mass genocide in Indonesia from 1965 to 1966, exposing the horrors of that regime. In this year’s The Look of Silence, Oppenheimer profiles Adi Rukun, a man born soon after the massacres, who confronts the perpetrators who killed his brother during that time.
We’re honored to share this interview with Oppenheimer and Rukun as they discuss the fears they faced to make this film. The Look of Silence is nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Read how the Indonesian government has reacted to the film.
The interview closes with a statement from Adi Rukun.
Awards Daily: OK, let’s get back to how you and Adi Rukun met.
Joshua Oppenheimer: In 2001, 2002, I was helping to teach a group of plantation workers on the same oil plantation where Adi’s family lived. I was teaching them how to make a film about how to organize a union in the aftermath of a military dictatorship under which unions were illegal.
It was a Belgian-owned company, where they made the women spray the pesticides and the herbicides because they said it was easy and the women didn’t have any protective clothing. Women in their forties were dying from liver failure. The workers had confronted the company to ask for protective clothing, and the company met those demands by hiring paramilitary to threaten and attack the workers who dropped their demand. They explained that there had been a mass killing in 1965 and their parents and grandparents had been killed by the same paramilitary. I realized what was killing these women was not just poison but also fear. Continue reading…
Despite the 11th hour notion that The Revenant is indeed the film to beat (and it might be), we are still left with a needling question: when each guild picks a different movie to win, which guild most reliably prevails for Best Picture?
First, let’s look at what The Revenant has against it, knowing what we know about what films normally win Best Picture:
- No SAG Ensemble award nomination (since the SAG Awards began, only Braveheart has won without this)
- No Screenplay nomination (Titanic is the most recent BP winner to win without this)
- No PGA win (so far, no film has lost PGA and then won the Oscar after both started using the preferential ballot in 2009)
- Late breaker (no film that have been released after October has won Best Pic since Million Dollar Baby)
- Oscar History (no filmmaker has directed Best Picture winners in consecutive years)
- Divisive (with 50 negative reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, The Revenant sits alongside films like Crash and A Beautiful Mind)
One of the interesting dynamics in this very competitive Oscar year is how two very strong, very tech-heavy films are each nominated in nearly every category. Mad Max: Fury Road is at a slight disadvantage with no acting nominations, to Revenant’s two. But the similarities between the two films are striking in what they say about the film industry overall, the movies going public, and the Oscar race.
If The Revenant is about the survival of man, or more specifically, the ultimate survival of the parasite that was white Europeans invading the Americas, Mad Max: Fury Road is about how those men fucked it all up and now it’s time for a woman to take charge, take the wheel, grab the rifle. and make humanity’s last stand. Tom Hardy stars in both. In The Revenant, he’s the villain, an opportunistic white man. In Fury Road, he’s Mad Max himself, restrained in chains and in need of a female to rescue him. But he’s the good guy, among too few good guys.
Jessica Chastain has launched her own production company, Freckle Films where she and Elise Siegel will serve as President. Freckle Films has entered into a first-look overhead deal with Maven Pictures, headed by Celine Rattray (“The Kids Are All Right”) and Trudie Styler (“Still Alice,” “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels”) along with Charlotte Ubben.
The LA Press Club awarded its first ever Veritas Award to Spotlight. The new award is judged by members of the LA Press club and is based equally upon fidelity of subject matter and artistic excellence and hopefully will become a longstanding tradition. The clear-cut winner for 2015, determined by a membership vote, is Spotlight written by Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy and directed by McCarthy. Bridge of Spies was voted runner-up.