It’s beginning to look like our Best Picture frontrunner, Steve McQueen’s 12 years a Slave, is indeed picking up major steam.
While it’s true that the audience award doesn’t always equal Best Picture, like last year’s Silver Linings Playbook. 12 Years still has to face the major critics’ reviews, potential controversies, and box office. But. But.
Our review is here.
The Cecil B. DeMille award is only an honor if you believe in awards, which Woody Allen does not. It was reported today that he will be the recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille award, and I guess this means he’s going to show up and receive it.
Certainly he is a worthy recipient of any honor anyone wants to give him.
Previous winners from the Hollywood Reporter’s story:
Jodie Foster (2013), Morgan Freeman, (2012), Robert De Niro (2011), Martin Scorsese(2010), Steven Spielberg (2009), Warren Beatty (2007),Anthony Hopkins (2006), Robin Williams (2005),Michael Douglas (2004), Gene Hackman (2003),Harrison Ford (2002), Al Pacino (2001) and BarbraStreisand (2000).
As the festival winds down and my days are counted here at TIFF some movies are starting to stick with me more than others. Today was a quieter day and I had time to finally reflect on some of the stuff I have seen the past 5 days. Two films in particular seem to not be getting out of my head, those films are “12 Years A Slave” and “Prisoners”. Both have been getting Oscar buzz over here and I am actually quite surprised the latter hasn’t been mentioned as much by Sasha. Every person I talk to here says its chances come awards season are high. Directed by Denis Villenueve “Prisoners” is an ambitious, sprawling, fascinating and -yes- flawed 158 minute movie about a missing children’s case. Jake Gyllenhall and Hugh Jackman deserve recognition for the best work of their careers, so does Villenueve for his impressive direction.
A colleague of mine took issue with my early estimations of how the Best Picture line-up was settling in. My list looked like this:
1) 12 Years a Slave
3) Captain Phillips
5) The Butler
6) Inside Llewyn Davis
7) Dallas Buyers Club
8) Labor Day
9) Fruitvale Station
10) All is Lost*
It was a rough sketch of the race, as I saw it, heading into the next phase. The New York Film Fest, AFI Fest and the Oscar race as we now know it to be: a clusterfuck, a mad scramble, a battle of voices naming the year’s best.
The central theme of many of 2013’s best and most important films is survival – in both literal and metaphoric ways. 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips, All is Lost, and Dallas Buyers Club are all about a protagonist’s literal struggle to survive. While other films dip more figuratively into survival. In Before Midnight, the marriage must survive. In The Butler, survival depends on taking a job that goes nowhere to support a family’s survival, and in Inside Llewyn Davis the dream of success struggles to survive amid the unbearable pull of futility. In Nebraska, a son is trying to help preserve the memories of his aging father who is quickly losing them. In Labor Day, it’s love itself that strives to stay alive.
In the heart-stopping frames of 12 Years a Slave, a free man played by Chiwetel Ejiofor is thrust into bondage. He can’t be freed from the color of his skin and the financial opportunity he represents to criminals is too tempting for them to resist. We follow Solomon Northup as he is bought and sold, and then must learn to live as a slave to somehow escape and return to his family. In the film he says “I don’t want to survive. I want to live.” That sums up the theme of Gravity, too. Sandra Bullock’s Ryan Stone’s desire to live isn’t just to keep herself alive so she can come back to earth and wait to die. Her desire isn’t to survive. She wants to LIVE.
One of the joys of being in Toronto is bumping into people you really admire so much. Seeing Chiwetel Ejiofor sneaking into a quick afternoon screening and of course bumping into Harvey Weinstein, hiding his nerves, right before the first press screening of “August:Osage County”.
The critics were in town too, I caught a glimpse of the New York Post’s Lou Lumenick quite a few times, Newsweek’s David Ansen lining up for the new Miyazaki and caught up with Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly on what’s been the best of the fest so far – we both agreed “12 Years A Slave” and “Gravity” by a landslide.
If you haven’t already entered the contest to win a year’s subscription to Warner Archive, you can leave a comment in any of the Scorsese posts over at Kumbaya to enter. You can also make comments on the other posts because your name will only count once.
Today’s question: how many times has Scorsese lost Best Director to an actor turned director. Answer here.
We are brought up in America to trust voices of authority, especially if they’re wearing a doctor’s coat and have big important government agencies like the FDA behind them. We are taught to trust the medical industry because of course they have our best interests at heart. Our for-profit industry is supposedly the best in the world because it costs the most. That’s what the Republicans keep telling us, anyway, to weasel out of universal health care. The Dallas Buyers Club, a new film by Jean-Marc Vallee, shows what can happen when that system fails.
Dallas Buyers Club tells the story of a redneck homophobe, Ron Woodruff, who contracts HIV presumably from a prostitute. He doesn’t find out about it until he ends up in the ER for something unrelated. He resists the diagnosis because that’s something only “f—-” get. The coke, sex and alcoholic addicted Woodruff is told he has very little options except to wait around until the government does long term studies for AZT’s effectiveness. Oh, and he has around 30 days to live.