Tag Archive | "Michel Hazanavicius"

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OSCARS 2012: Know Your Nominees:Best Director

Posted on 24 February 2012 by William Gatevackes

In the days leading up to the 84th Academy Awards, FilmBuffOnline will be offering profiles on all the nominees in the major categories. Some may be well know, others might be new to you, but if you need a refresher on these talented nominees, here it is.

Michel Hazanavicius

Nominated for: directing that loving ode to Hollywood’s past, The Artist.

Other honors for this film:

Nominated, Best Director, Washington DC Film Critics Association.

Won, Best Director, New York Film Critics Circle.

Won, Best Director, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Nominated, Best Director-Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Won, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, 2012 Directors Guild Awards.

Won, David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction, 2012 BAFTA Awards.

Nominated, Best Director, 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Where you might know him from:

Hazanavicius is known in Europe for his work on the OSS 117 franchise.

History with Oscar:

This is Michel Hazanavicius’ first Oscar nomination, although he is also nominated this year for Best Writing, Original Screenplay and with Anne-Sophie Bion for Best Achievement in Film Editing.

Alexander Payne

Nominated for: directing George Clooney as a man trying to reconnect with his daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident in The Descendants.

Other honors for this film:

Nominated, Best Director, Washington DC Film Critics Association.

Won, Best Actor, National Board of Review.

Nominated, Best Director, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Nominated, Best Director-Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Nominated, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, 2012 Directors Guild Awards.

Nominated, Best Director, 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards.

Where you might know him from:

Payne also directed Sideways, About Schmidt, and Election.

History with Oscar:

Alexander Payne has been nominated for an Oscar three times in the past, winning once, and is nominated for another two awards this year–with Nat Faxon and Jim Rash for Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published and with Jim Burke and Jim Taylor for Best Motion Picture of the Year, both for The Descendants.

2000: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (with Jim Taylor), Election (Lost to John Irving, The Cider House Rules).

2005: Best Achievement in Directing, Sideways (lost to Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby).

2005: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (with Jim Taylor),  Sideways (Won).

Martin Scorsese

Nominated for: adapting “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” to the big screen in Hugo.

Other honors for this role:

Won, Best Director, Washington DC Film Critics Association.

Won, Best Director, National Board of Review.

Runner-Up, Best Director, 37th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Awards.

Won, Best Director, Boston Society of Film Critics.

Nominated, Best Director, 2012 Critics’ Choice Awards.

Won, Best Director-Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Nominated, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, 2012 Directors Guild Awards.

Nominated, David Lean Award for Achievement in Direction, 2012 BAFTA Awards.

Where you might know him from:

Scorsese is one of the honored and reknown directors in film today, with a resume that includes Raging Bull, Goodfellas, The Departed and many others.

History with Oscar:

Martin Scorcese has been nominated for an Oscar eight times in the past, winning once, and is nominated for another award this year–with Graham King for Best Motion Picture of the Year, Hugo.

1981: Best Director, Raging Bull (Lost to Robert Redford, Ordinary People).

1989: Best Director, The Last Temptation of Christ (Lost to Barry Levinson, Rain Man).

1991: Best Director, Goodfellas (Lost to Kevin Costner, Dances with Wolves).

1991: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (with Nicholas Pileggi), Goodfellas (Lost to Michael Blake, Dances with Wolves).

1994: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published (with Jay Cocks), The Age of Innocence (Lost to Steve Zaillian, Schindler’s List).

2003: Best Director, Gangs of New York (Lost to Roman Polanski, The Pianist).

2005: Best Achievement in Directing, The Aviator (lost to Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby).

2007: Best Achievement in Directing, The Departed (Won).

Woody Allen

Nominated for: directing a business trip to Paris that results in a trip through time in Midnight in Paris.

Other honors for this role:

Nominated, Best Director, Washington DC Film Critics Association.

Nominated, Best Director-Motion Picture, The 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

Nominated, Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures, 2012 Directors Guild Awards.

Where you might know him from:

Woody Allen has had a long and productive career both behind and in front of the cameras. Notable films include Annie Hall, Hannah and Her Sisters, and Match Point.

History with Oscar:

Woody Allen has been nominated for an Oscar an impressive twenty-one times in the past, winning three times, and is nominated for another award this year–Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Midnight in Paris.

1978: Best Director, Annie Hall (Won).

1978: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (with Marshall Brickman), Annie Hall (Won).

1978: Best Actor in a Leading Role, Annie Hall (Lost to Richard Dreyfuss, The Goodbye Girl).

1979: Best Director, Interiors (Lost to Michael Cimino, The Deer Hunter).

1979: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Interiors (Lost to Nancy Dowd, Waldo Salt, Robert C. Jones, Coming Home).

1980: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (with Marshall Brickman), Manhattan (Lost to Steve Tesich, Breaking Away).

1985: Best Director, Broadway Danny Rose (lost to Milos Foreman, Amadeus).

1985: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Broadway Danny Rose (lost to Robert Benton, Places in the Heart).

1986: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, The Purple Rose of Cairo (lost to Earl W. Wallace, William Kelley, Pamela Wallace, Witness).

1987: Best Director, Hannah and Her Sisters (Lost to Oliver Stone, Platoon).

1987: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen , Hannah and Her Sisters (Won).

1988: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen , Radio Days (Lost to John Patrick Shanley, Moonstruck).

1990: Best Director, Crimes and Misdemeanors (Lost to Oliver Stone, Born on the Fourth of July).

1990: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Crimes and Misdemeanors (Lost to Tom Schulman, Dead Poets Society).

1991: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Alice (Lost to Bruce Joel Rubin, Ghost).

1993: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Husbands and Wives (Lost to Neil Jordan, The Crying Game).

1995: Best Director, Bullets Over Broadway (Lost to Robert Zemeckis, Forrest Gump).

1995: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen (with Douglas McGrath), Bullets Over Broadway (Lost to Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary, Pulp Fiction).

1996: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen , Mighty Aphrodite(Lost to Christopher McQuarrie, The Usual Suspects).

1998: Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen , Deconstructing Harry (Lost to Matt Damon & Ben Affleck, Good Will Hunting).

2006: Best Writing, Original Screenplay, Match Point (lost to Paul Haggis & Robert Moresco, Crash).

Terrence Malick

Nominated for: directing the esoteric coming of age film, The Tree of Life.

Other honors for this film:

Won, Best Director, 37th Annual Los Angeles Film Critics Awards.

Won, Best Director, San Francisco Critics Circle Awards.

Where you might know him from:

Malick has directed films such as Badlands, The Thin Red Line, and The New World.

History with Oscar:

Terrence Malick has been nominated for an Oscar two times in the past.

1999: Best Director, A Thin Red Line (Lost to Steven Spielberg, Saving Private Ryan).

1999: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published, A Thin Red Line (Lost to Bill Condon, Gods and Monsters).

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Oscar 2012: BAFTAs Reaffirm The Favorites—With One Big Exception

Posted on 13 February 2012 by William Gatevackes

Last night, The British Academy of Television and Films Arts gave out their awards. Oscar favorite The Artist took home seven awards, including Picture, Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and Actor (Jean Dujardin). And Oscar favorites Octavia Spencer and Christopher Plummer took home awards for the Supporting categories for their work The Help and Beginners respectively.

These awards aren’t much of a surprise. However, the woman who won Best Actress might throw a spanner in the works of many an Oscar office pool–Meryl Streep took home the award for her role as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady. Viola Davis? Watch out!

It might be easy to write this win off (and her Golden Globe win as well) as the British (and, in the Golden Globe’s case, the international media) honoring Streep for her sterling portrayal of a person who was an iconic figure in European and British history. However, there are a lot of British members in the Academy and Streep holds a lot of respect within the organization. I think that makes it fair to say that the Best Actress Oscar has become a two person race.

Below is a list of the rest of the winners from last night:

Picture

The Artist

Actor

Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Actress

Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

Director

Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

Supporting actress

Octavia Spencer – The Help

Supporting actor

Christopher Plummer – Beginners

Animated film

Rango

Documentary

Senna

Outstanding British film

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Film not in the English language

The Skin I Live In

Outstanding debut

Tyrannosaur

Adapted screenplay

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan

Original screenplay

The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

Production design

Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

Cinematography

The Artist – Guillaume Schiffman

Makeup and hair

The Iron Lady – Mark Coulier, J. Roy Helland, Marese Langan

Costume design

The Artist – Mark Bridges

Editing

Senna – Gregers Sall and Chris King

Sound

Hugo – Philip Stockton, Eugene Gearty, Tom Fleischman, John Midgley

Original score

The Artist – Ludovic Bource

Rising star award

Adam Deacon

Academy fellowship

Martin Scorsese

Outstanding contribution to British cinema

John Hurt

Special visual effects

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Tim Burke, John Richardson, Greg Butler and David Vickery

Short animation

A Morning Stroll – Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

Short film

Pitch Black Heist – John Maclean and Geraldine O’Flynn

Via: Guardian

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THE ARTIST’s Michel Hazanavicius Wins DGA Award

Posted on 29 January 2012 by Rich Drees

Taking another step towards a potential Academy Awards win, The Artist‘s Michel Hazanavicius  took the the top prize at the Directors Guild Awards last night winning their Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film. Hazanavicius beat out nominees were Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, David Fincher and Alexander Payne for the award.

As a barometer for who will win an Oscar, a DGA winner has only not gone on to win the Academy Award six times, most recently in 2002 when Roman Polanski (The Pianist) beat out DGA honoree Rob Marshall (Chicago). Perhaps something to remember while filling out your Academy Award office pool.

The DGA’s award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary went to James Marsh for Project Nim.

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Oscar Nominations: Who Will Make The Cut?

Posted on 23 January 2012 by William Gatevackes

It’s that time of year again. Tomorrow, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will announce the nominees for the 84st Annual Academy Awards.

Every year there are snubs and surprises, thrills and controversies. There is no way of knowing who will be nominated, especially in a year when the Best Picture nominees could be 5 films, or ten films, or any number in between.  We here at FilmBuffOnLine, who believe the day nominations are announced should be a National holiday, are going to try and handicap the process for you.

We will try to tell you, in the most non-committal way possible, who we think are Almost Certain to get a nomination, who Definite May Be nominated, and whose nomination is a Outside Shot in the major categories (the four acting categories, Best Director, and Best Picture). We are trying to cover all bases, but don’t come to us if you lose money on your Oscar Nomination pool.

Best Actor:

Almost Certain:

George Clooney, The Descendants; Jean Dujardin, The Artist

Definite Maybe:

Michael Fassbender, Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method or Shame; Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar; Brad Pitt, Moneyball

Outside Shot:

Demián Bichir, A Better Life; Ryan Gosling, Crazy, Stupid Love, Drive, or The Ides of March; Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Clooney and Dujardin have won the most hardware this year, which not only make them a lock to be nominated, but also likely one of them will be taking home the award.

Fassbender has been great in a lot of films (listing X-Men: First Class was a bit of a joke, he’ll most likely get the nod for Shame, but I think he gave an Oscar worthy performance in that film) so he is practically a lock for a nomination. The next two are about 50/50 of getting in. The Academy seems to have something against DiCaprio, and his performance as J. Edgar Hoover while not horrible (he got a lot of nods for other awards for it), was not amazing enough to overcome that film’s lackluster performance critically or financially. Brad Pitt eked out a couple of wins along the way (most notably, the New York and Boston critics), and while Moneyball was well received, I don’t see it as 100% Oscar material.

If DiCaprio and Pitt don’t get nominated, there are worthy choices waiting to take a spot. Bichir was great in a small film with a limited release that opened over the summer. These all work against him, but he is deserving of a nod. Gosling, like Fassbender, was great in a lot of films this year, and has been nominated before, but none of the films he was in seem to pass Oscar muster. Oldman was flat out amazing in Tinker Tailor, but his subtle performance might be lost on Oscar voters.

Best Actress

Almost Certain:

Viola Davis, The Help;  Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady; Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin; Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

Definite Maybe:

Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs

Outside Shot:

Bérénice Bejo, The Artist; Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene; Charlize Theron, Young Adult

On paper, this seems to be the category that seems to have the least wiggle room. Davis, Streep, Close, Swinton and Williams are all in the type of roles that Oscar voters seem to trip over giving nominations to. But in every round of nominations, there are bound to be surprises, and this category is ripe for one.

Bejo and Olsen have the best chance of breaking in, in my opinion. But Bejo is getting pushed for Best Supporting Actress instead of Lead, even though she essentially had a lead role. Olsen got good notices in her role, but suffers from the same “too early/too small handicap” that Bichir has. Theron has received nods for Best Actress in the Golden Globes (where there are nominations for comedy and drama) and the Critic’ Choice Awards (where there are six nominees). She has an Oscar pedigree, but Young Adult could very well be seen as less than Oscar worthy.

Best Supporting Actor:

Almost Certain:

Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn; Christopher Plummer, Beginners

Definite Maybe:

Albert Brooks, Drive; Jonah Hill, Moneyball

Outside Shot:

Nick Nolte, Warrior; Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method; Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes or The Adventures of Tintin; Armie Hammer, J Edgar; Tom Hardy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Plummer has won the Golden Globe and Critic’s Choice award Supporting Actor, making him a lock for an  Oscar nomination, if not the actual award. Branagh has been consistently nominated for his apt portrayal of Laurence Olivier, so he could get the nod as well. Slightly less certain but highly possible are nomination of two actors best known for comedy, Brooks and Hill, for playing against type. After that, place your bets. Will Nolte’s “sports mentor” role make the grade? Will Mortensen’s change of pace role as Sigmund Freud catch the Academy’s attention? Will the Academy make a statement and move towards the future by giving Serkis the nod for his superior motion-capture work? Does the Academy like J Edgar more than the critics and the general public do, thereby swing the nod to Hammer? Will Hardy represent Tinker Tailor‘s stellar cast with a nomination? Will it be another cast member? Or will the film be ignored?

Best Supporting Actress

Almost Certain:

Octavia Spencer, The Help; Bérénice Bejo, The Artist

Definite Maybe:

Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids

Outside Shot:

Jessica Chastain, The Help or Take Shelter; Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs; Carey Mulligan, Shame; Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

What I said for Christopher Plummer above also applies to Spencer. The only chance Bejo doesn’t get nominated here is if she gets nominated for Best Actress. But that race is crowded so I think she’ll land here. She is deserving.

The only thing keeping me from making McCarthy almost certain is the Academy’s apparent hatred of the comedy. They do not like to give nominations from comedies, no matter how good the role or film is. This time, though, I think they’ll make an exception.

After that, pick two. Chastain and Woodley might have a slight advantage, but McTeer has a good chance and Mulligan could sneak in.

Best Director:

Almost Certain:

Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist; Martin Scorsese, Hugo

Definite Maybe:

Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris;  Alexander Payne, The Descendants

Outside Shot:

David Fincher, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life; Bennett Miller, Moneyball; Steven Spielberg, War Horse or The Adventures of Tintin; Tate Taylor, The Help

Hazanavicius is definitely most deserving and Scorsese won the Golden Globe, so they should both be nominated. After that, Payne is almost a lock, as is Allen, due to the number of nominations they received. After that, well, ot depends. Fincher got a Directors Guild nomination, Malick has been on a lot of west coast critics awards list, which might be a barometer of how the Academy will go. Miller might ride the surprising accolades Moneyball is getting this award season with a nomination. And months ago, it looked like it wouldn’t be a question if Spielberg would be nominated, but for which film. Now, here he is, a long shot for any nomination at all. Weird. And Taylor has to be consider taking into account the number of great performance that came from that film.

Best Picture:

Almost Certain:

The Artist; The Descendants

Definite Maybe:

Hugo; The Help ; Midnight in Paris

Outside Chance:

The Tree of Life; War Horse; Moneyball; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; The Adventures of Tintin; Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or just about any other film out there that has a miniscule amount of buzz.

Not having a definite number of nominees beforehand really plays havoc with the prognosticating business. I tried to pick out the five most likely films to get nominated, but with the possibility of five more, well, it could be any film of a certain stature.

So, what do you think? Am I on to something, or totally wrong? I guess we’ll find out tomorrow.

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Review: THE ARTIST

Posted on 01 January 2012 by William Gatevackes

Some films want to shock and repulse us. Some want to give us a cheap and disposable thrill. Some want us to admire the wit and savvy of the screenwriter and/or director. The Artist is a refreshing change from this, as all it wants to do is charm the pants off us. And if you have any soul whatsoever, you’ll end up leaving the theater sans pants.

Of course, it could be hard for cynics to take the first step into the theater, as the mechanics the film uses to produce charm are blatantly obvious. It is, after all, a mostly silent film shot in black and white, which lends itself to an anachronistic sense of twee. And the plot is only shades away from any A Star Is Born remake you could think of, a plot that is legally considered hackneyed by this point. But the film rises above this through imaginative directing, great acting and a powerful score.

The film centers on George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), a silent film superstar in the mold of a Douglas Fairbanks. He is at the top of the art form in 1927, starring in smash hit after smash hit, making him a superstar. A chance encounter with a fan by the name of Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) eventually leads her to a career as an extra in silent films. However, as the talkies come into favor, shoving the silent films to the wayside, we see a change in career trajectory for the two. The photogenic Peppy becomes a star in the world of sound motion pictures, and George finds that his star has come crashing down as the silent film quickly become extinct.

There are generations of moviegoers whose only experience with silent films is a clip here and there in a retrospective program. Few have seen a full length silent film, and only know the art form as an archaic memory of cinema past. Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius not only celebrates this part of Hollywood history but also shows how vibrant and full of life the genre could be. In an age where every film has at least once scene where a character goes into one big, info dump of a speech to let us know what’s going on, seeing a film that provides exposition only visually rocks the senses. Pictures tell the story here, and they tell it in a completely captivating way.

Hazanavicius is greatly aided in this mission by his lead actors, Dujardin has done most of his work in Europe and Bejo (who is the mother of two of Hazanavicius’ children) had a small part in A Knights Tale, so they might not be as well known to American audiences as the rest of the cast. But they are completely wonderful in their performances. Both actors are charismatic enough to have the audience rooting for them even when they shouldn’t and are skilled enough to portray their emotions using actions, not words. It is impossible to imagine any other actor or actress in these roles–they simply would not be up to snuff.

Hazanavicius also fills out the rest of the cast with notable English-speaking actors, whether they be underutilized performers with great talent (John Goodman, Malcolm McDowell, James Cromwell, Nina Siemaszko and Penelope Ann Miller) or familiar faces who are not household names as of yet but typically give solid performances (Missy Pyle, Beth Grant, Ken Davitan, Ed Lauter, Bill Fagerbakke and Joel Murray) each gives a great performance in smaller roles.

The score by Ludovic Bource should be considered a character in and of itself.  It has the melodramatic flair that you’d expect from a silent film score without ever dipping into the realm of self-parody. It is a perfect fit for the film and helps bring the film to life.

All of these aspects combine to turn what might be considered a rote and pedestrian plot into something special and magical. It might just be the most uplifting film ever to feature plot points concerning descents into alcoholism and attempted suicides. There is a lot of talk about this film picking up some hardware on Oscar night. That talk is pretty much right on the money. It is one of the best films I have seen in recent memory. See it if/when it comes to your town.

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