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Thompson on Hollywood

Open Up the Best Actress Oscar Race: Five Locks and Eight Must-See Performances

As usual, there are more viable men hustling after a Best Actor slot than women in contention for Best Actress. (My current predictions are here.) 'Twas ever thus, as the myopic film industry continues to chase the male demo and sequester "soft" relationship movies to the indie realm. Which means that many worthy films don't make it to the top of Academy voters' screener piles. How many film panels and Q & As have you seen with a row of men in suits and one woman in a frilly frock and impossibly high heels? Women in film are often a supporting afterthought.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • December 5, 2013 3:40 PM
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  • 9 Comments

Crafts Roundup: The Year of Immersive Sound in Survival Films

In the year of survival, sound has taken on supreme importance as an authentic, driving narrative force, and with the advent of Dolby Atmos, the theatrical experience has never been more immersive. "Gravity," "All Is Lost," "Captain Phillips," "Oblivion," "Rush," and "12 Years a Slave" are among the standouts in space, at sea, in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, on the dangerous Formula 1 track, and in physical/spiritual imprisonment.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • December 5, 2013 2:16 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Oscar Winner Lubezki Talks the Virtual Cinematography of 'Gravity,' How a Peter Gabriel Concert Helped Him Visualize the Film and More

With three out of the last four Oscars for cinematography going to hybrid movies, is it any wonder that Emmanuel ("Chivo") Lubezki won Best Cinematography for "Gravity" at the 2014 Oscars? Especially after Lubezki and his collaborators devised a brilliant new lighting system for simulating the physics of space in the game-changing and emotionally-gripping blockbuster.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 27, 2013 2:15 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Crafts Roundup: The Year of Cinematographers Capturing Turmoil On Screen

It's been a great year for cinematography, with such an emphasis on survival, turmoil and trying to find beauty or redemption within the suffering. The cinematographers of "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave," "Captain Phillips," "Nebraska," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "The Grandmaster," and "Rush" talk striking that cruel-beautiful visual balance, below.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 26, 2013 2:15 PM
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  • 3 Comments

Weekend Top Ten: 'Catching Fire' and 'Frozen' Take Off

One expected blockbuster, "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," easily matched expectations with a record gross for the season of $161 million, while the next tentpole up, Disney's animated "Frozen," took in nearly $270,000 on a single Los Angeles screen in advance of its national rollout next pre-holiday Wednesday.
  • By Tom Brueggemann
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  • November 24, 2013 1:12 PM
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  • 1 Comment

Crafts Roundup: A Survivor's Journey in Production Design

With the awards season upon us, we're launching a new column, "Crafts Roundup," which examines a different below-the-line category each week. As this particularly striking season is dominated by survival and/or reinvention (both fact-based and fantastical), we're starting off with production design and world building. Here are a few standouts so far:
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 21, 2013 11:36 AM
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  • 0 Comments

WATCH: 'Gravity' Short by Jonas Cuaron Is Eligible as Oscar Live-Action Short (VIDEO)

Last time I saw "Gravity" co-writer Jonas Cuaron, I asked him when we could see the short "Aningaaq" that he made to accompany his father Alfonso's film, which is kicking ass at the box office all over the world ($500 million and counting) and is one of two Oscar frontrunners so far. He said they were working on it. And so they were.
  • By Anne Thompson
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  • November 20, 2013 5:07 PM
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  • 5 Comments

Actors Talk Actors: Julia Roberts, Ralph Fiennes, Benicio Del Toro and More Discuss This Year's Oscar Contenders in Variety

In Variety's new SAG preview, 35 different actors discuss this year's likely Oscar contenders: Ralph Fiennes talks Chiwetel Ejiofor in "12 Years a Slave," Candice Bergen talks Sandra Bullock in "Gravity," Julia Roberts talks James Gandolfini in "Enough Said" and much more. Quote highlights below.
  • By Beth Hanna
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  • November 20, 2013 3:00 PM
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  • 0 Comments

Immersed in Movies: Designing Cinematic Jigsaw Puzzle and Game-Changer 'Gravity'

"Gravity" production designer Andrew Nicholson, who will be at the Art Directors Guild Wednesday night and at USC on Friday, discusses why the immersive, Oscar-contending blockbuster is a model for the future of hybrid movies.
  • By Bill Desowitz
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  • November 20, 2013 2:48 PM
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  • 0 Comments

As 'Gravity' and 'Captain Phillips' Hit and 'Fifth Estate' Bombs, Who's a Movie Star, Anyway? UPDATED

UPDATE: While Benedict Cumberbatch is still proving his stripes as a bankable star, PBS has scheduled the third season of "Sherlock" to premiere on January 19, slotted immediately after "Downton Abbey," which has its fourth season stateside premiere January 5. As the Hollywood Reporter puts it, PBS is doubling down on Brit drama.
  • By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
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  • October 23, 2013 12:03 PM
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  • 24 Comments

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