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The Playlist

The 15 "Edgiest" Oscar Best Picture Nominees

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 19, 2014 3:39 PM
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  • 29 Comments
Edgy Best Picture oscar nominees
“Ugh, the Academy, so conservative” goes the cliché, as bloggers and pundits the movie world over take a moment to roll their eyes and sigh before diving back in to beaver away on one of a million pieces about this year’s nominations, the pros and cons, the good picks, the bad picks, the odds, the ends (hey, we’ve done a few ourselves with more on the way!) But while that knee-jerk stance is an easy one to adopt (and also comfortable—setting the speaker above the choices in question by virtue of the fact that they’re not challenging enough, not cinephile-y enough, too MOR, too bland), it doesn’t take account of those times when we’ve been surprised by the august body. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which does absolutely skew older-white-male in its demographics (as does the film industry, folks) has, on occasion given us pause—nominating a film which, in content or execution, might seem to be light years away from its wheelhouse: explicit in its treatment of sexuality, or extreme in its violence or just wholly different to our idea of an “Oscar movie.”

Michael Haneke's 'Amour' Dominates César Awards; 'Argo' Wins Best Foreign Film

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • February 23, 2013 3:18 PM
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  • 0 Comments
If you had told us a year ago that a Michael Haneke directed film about the death of an elderly woman would become a contender for Best Picture, Best Foreign Lanuage Film, Best Actress and Best Director at the Oscars, we would've said you were crazy. But the provocateur's difficult, but touching and human film has managed to resonate far and wide, and while France's César Awards have pretty much zero bearing on the Oscars, it's interesting to see that Haneke's work has been just as recognized.

Check Out Academy-Commissioned Illustrated Posters for The Oscars' Best Picture Nominees

  • By Charlie Schmidlin
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  • February 11, 2013 9:23 AM
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  • 4 Comments
With the BAFTAs now done and dusted -- and Ben Affleck seemingly one inch closer to a complete “Argo” victory -- the Oscars are next in line to focus everyone's attention on the films of 2012. The Academy should be pretty confident that people will indeed tune in, but this year they've nevertheless opted for a unique promotional campaign, one sitting right in line with the Mondo poster aesthetic.

The Oscar Best Picture Nominees By The Numbers

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • February 8, 2013 11:48 AM
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  • 11 Comments
We are a little over two weeks out from Oscar night, and today sees the opening of the second phase of voting. Right now, and over the next ten days, Academy members will be filling out ballots and deciding who's actually going to be taking home the statues on Sunday, February 24th.

'Amour' & 'Rust And Bone' Top London Critics' Circle Awards

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 20, 2013 3:50 PM
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  • 1 Comment
With the focus this weekend on Park City with the Sundance Film Festival now in full swing, it might be easy to forget we're still in the midst of the awards season. And even though we're nearing the finishing line, with the Golden Globes already handed out, and a few more major guild awards and the Indie Spirits to come before the Oscars are awarded, critics circles are still getting their two cents in. And the latest to hand down their verdict on the year in film of 2012 are from the U.K., with the London Critics' Circle Awards honoring their winners today. And a big favorite of the season made a considerable impression.

Oscar Nominations 2013: 'Lincoln,' 'Life Of Pi' & 'Silver Linings Playbook' Lead Academy Awards Field

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • January 10, 2013 8:51 AM
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  • 26 Comments
So here we are. The moment that basically every film fan (even if some are openly hostile to the idea) sees as their Superbowl; the announcement of the Academy Award nominations, for the 85th time, in this case. Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone took to the stage at 5.30 PST to deliver the news, after months of the usual feverish speculation. So how did things turn out?

'Amour' Wins Best Picture, Best Director & Best Actress From The National Society Of Film Critics

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • January 6, 2013 11:13 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The Oscar nominations are coming on Thursday morning, so that still leaves some time for critics groups to weigh in before the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences makes their announcement, and pretty much determines the movies that will be focus of conversation until Febraury 26th. But one movie most safely predict will be discussed, is Michael Haneke's "Amour."

Gabe Toro's Ten Best Films Of 2012

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • December 28, 2012 9:56 AM
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  • 28 Comments
A strong year, this 2012. Every genre had its share of riches, and we were spoiled by new films from Andersons Wes and Paul Thomas, further mythmaking from Quentin Tarantino and an inquisition into our currency from David Cronenberg. We saw the continued evolution of the careers of Jacques Audiard, Rian Johnson, Craig Zobel and Ira Sachs, while William Friedkin was revitalized, and, as if by accident, two more great films tumbled out of Steven Soderbergh’s pocket. By the time Steven Spielberg cranked out his finest film in almost two decades, we were awash in riches.

Review: Age & Illness Test Love In Michael Haneke's Unflinching 'Amour'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • December 22, 2012 9:19 AM
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  • 3 Comments
Michael Haneke makes it clear from the opening of the film exactly where he's going in "Amour." Kicking off with a literal bang, a team of police officers force open the door of a flat in France, and with masks over their mouths, they walk around the apartment, open the windows and finally find what they're looking for. A dead body, respectfully surrounded by flowers, lays in a bed. And in pure Haneke fashion, this is when he throws up the title card for "Amour," a movie that is, to put it simply, two hours of an elderly woman slowly dying.

What Are You Seeing This Weekend? 'This Is 40' & 'Jack Reacher' Are 'On The Road' At 'Zero Dark Thirty'

  • By Emma Bernstein
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  • December 21, 2012 5:21 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Well folks, today is the Mayan Apocalypse, the official end of the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar -- which doesn't sound so bad -- and, possibly, the world as we know it, which sounds pretty terrible. If we're all still here tomorrow (or tonight, for that matter), there is a delectable spread of filmic morsels on this weekend's menu. The latest Judd Apatow feature, Tom Cruise's new moody thriller, the first direct cinematic adaptation of Jack Kerouac's most famous work, and Kathryn Bigelow's second venture into modern warfare will grace the nation's silver screens, and we would encourage you to indulge where possible. So, toast the end of planet Earth while you tell us what you hope you'll be seeing in the comments section below. It probably wouldn't hurt to knock on wood or rub a rabbit's foot too. No, seriously: we really want to see "Gangster Squad" next year.

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