Oscars 2018: A Look At The Contenders In The Best Documentary Feature Race
In typical fashion, this year's Oscar race for Best Documentary Feature began at Sundance, with the festival yielding several standouts.
Winner of the U.S. documentary Grand Jury Award was Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles' Dina (The Orchard)–which follows autistic couple Dina Bruno and Scott Levin's wedding preparations. STEP (Fox Searchlight) received rave reviews for its upli ing story of a transformative dance troupe at a Baltimore girls' school, while Damon Davis and… Read
Oscars: Can Chris Cornell Make A Posthumous Impact On Best Song Race With ‘The Promise’?
EXCLUSIVE: Posthumous Oscars are rare, but Chris Cornell, who died in May at age 52, stands a chance of winning one, or at least being nominated, for his moving theme song from The Promise. The film is an epic-like love story from director Terry George that is set during the Armenian genocide and the last days of the Ottoman Empire. It opened in the spring through Open Road Films but is hoping to be remembered at least in this category on behalf of Cornell. Watch a video… Read
‘Cries From Syria’ Director On His Responsibility To Bring Syrian Civil War To The Screen
“This movie is a lot about kids. It's a younger generation that was born, and in their first steps, they're going into the war,” Oscar-nominated director Evgeny Afineevsky says, reflecting on his Syrian Civil War documentary Cries from Syria. “Their first toys are guns. It's amazing, their spirit, these kids. This was a huge inspiration for me, all these amazing kids whom you saw in the movie.”
Comprised of hundreds of hours of war footage taken by Syrian activists and… Read
Lois Smith On ‘Marjorie Prime’, A Life Lived On Stage And Screen And Her Limitless Hunger For New Roles
There was a time when actress Lois Smith fuzzed her age. Not out of vanity. After all, when the top of her dark hair turned shocking white, she kept it. "Nature just decided to gray me that way," says Smith. "I really liked the way it happened." Until then, the problem was she looked younger than her driver's license. At 22, Smith made her Broadway debut playing a 16-year-old drama queen. A few years later, while working out a skit on The Loretta Young Show, the director… Read
Oscars 2018: Pete Hammond Breaks Down The Winners And Losers Of The Fall Festivals
Last year at this time, strong and obvious Best Picture Oscar contenders had emerged from the so-called Fall trifecta of film festivals at Venice, Telluride and Toronto. Movies like La La Land and Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival all staked their claim to a spot with their debuts and key fest exposure. This has been the norm, actually, for the past several seasons, as the eventual Best Picture Oscar winner, at the very least, was generally first… Read
Luca Guadagnino And Cast On ‘Call Me By Your Name’ And The Alchemy Of Conjuring The Butterflies Of First Desire
Luca Guadagnino doesn't fall in love easily. "It was not about falling in love," he says of the ultimate decision he made to direct his new film, Call Me by Your Name. "I fell in love once in my life, and I have been with the same person since. So I give a great level of importance to the concept of falling in love."
Instead, perhaps, it was resignation that made him take the helm. Guadagnino had been attached to the adaptation of André Aciman's delirious summer romance… Read
‘Wonderstruck’ Composer Carter Burwell On The Challenge Of Crafting Wall-To-Wall Score & Music For The Deaf
One of the most prolific of Hollywood composers, prolific Oscar nominee Carter Burwell has three scores in contention this season. The films are Simon Curtis’ Winnie-the-Pooh drama Goodbye Christopher Robin, Martin McDonagh’s fiery Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck, each with a very distinct sound. In these scores, Burwell is able to mine the depths of human emotion and experience, conjuring up whimsy and tragedy, a Western anthem… Read
‘Last Men in Aleppo’ Director Firas Fayyad: Russian Disinformation Campaign Distorts Image Of Syrian White Helmets
Syria's brutal civil war does not lack for villains—President Bashar al-Assad, for example, who according to the UN, has blistered his people with chemical weapons. Or Russian President Vladimir Putin—many would argue—whose warplanes have obliterated countless Syrian civilians.
But the conflict has produced valiant figures too, none more so than the White Helmets—volunteer civil defense workers who rush in to try to save the missing and the injured after the relentless… Read
‘Downsizing’ Production Designer Stefania Cella On Contemplating What It Means To Be Five Inches Tall
While Downsizing‘s protagonist, Paul (Matt Damon), is shrunk down to five centimeters in height in the pursuit of a better life, Italian production designer Stefania Cella found herself creatively stretched on her first Alexander Payne-directed project. Employing forced perspective tricks and a complex interplay of cinematography, production design and visual effects, Payne’s latest satire is a departure from his traditional style, playing nonetheless as a human… Read
The Bart & Fleming Podcast: Allegations & Awards Season
The ghost of Harvey Weinstein hovers over the awards season. Agents and producers who came of age in the alpha male culture aren't sleeping well as last-minute casting changes are made, movies are cancelled and charges are exchanged and denied. Filmmakers are being put to the test, as with director Taylor Sheridan and the cast of Wind River, who fought to seize control of their film from The Weinstein Company. Oscars voters are having trouble focusing on the excellent… Read
‘Long Strange Trip’ Director: Childhood Trauma Drove Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia
The music documentary has become a bedrock of the nonfiction form, producing some of its most memorable films: 1967’s Dont Look Back, about Bob Dylan, 1970's Gimme Shelter about the Rolling Stones, and in just the past few years a couple of Oscar winners—20 Feet from Stardom, and Amy, Asif Kapadia's documentary on the late Amy Winehouse.
This year, no fewer than 14 music-themed documentaries have qualified for Oscar consideration, including ones on Lady Gaga, Whitney… Read
‘Breathe’ Composer Nitin Sawhney On The Pitfall Of Musical Sentimentality & Two Andy Serkis Collaborations
Working on longtime friend Andy Serkis’ The Jungle Book long before Breathe came to be, composer Nitin Sawhney ended up seeing that true-life drama hit theaters first. Based on the true story of producer Jonathan Cavendish’s parents, Robin and Diana, the film sees Robin (Andrew Garfield) struck down by polio in his late twenties, leaving him and his wife (Claire Foy) to manage his condition for the rest of his life.
Registering the trauma of such an abrupt illness, Breathe… Read