Monday, September 30, 2013

Oscars and the power of friends

Lets talk about what the power of friends does for you if you are an Oscar contender. The voting for the Academy Awards is the high-brow version of a high school presidential campaign. If you are a member of the Academy and you have a chance to vote for someone you have worked for or with for twenty years then why wouldn't you?

Take the case of Julia Roberts and Javier Bardem in the 2010 Oscar season. After working together on Eat Pray Love and becoming fast friends, Julia Roberts told anyone who would listen that they needed to nominate Bardem for Best Actor at that year's Oscars for his brilliant performance in Mexico's Foreign Language entry (and eventual FL nominee) Biutiful. Getting a nomination for a foreign language performance is usually pretty difficult but he eventually got the nomination (Colin Firth for The King's Speech was always going to win). Javier's performance was outstanding and as a past winner he had a bit of an advantage, but he would not have received the spotlight of attention and press for the role that he did without the support of his friend Julia.

I have had this conversation with my brother Nic. We hope that isn't what they do, but you can kind of expect it can't you? The best Oscar campaign is a friendship group full of members. If I was an actor and Nic was an actor, if he was up for Best Actor potentially I could not honestly say that I would vote for Tom Hanks over my own brother. What kind of brother would I be?

Now, this is of course not founded on any evidence of course, it is merely opinion. I am not writing an expose of the Academy I am just pushing a little discussion. I think the Academy voting system is the fairest way to conduct the decision. The members of the Academy most likely aren't going to vote for someone to win an Oscar just so they show up to the awards ceremony i.e The Hollywood Foreign Press.

When trying to predict winners ask this my friends. Is the person good enough? Who do they know?

Leave a comment below, lets hear what you think.

A Birthday in Pictures - Marion Cotillard

Saturday, September 28, 2013

FlashBackFlash - Gone with the Wind

  • Nominated for 13 competitive Oscars; winning 8 - Best Picture, Director (Victor Fleming), Actress (Vivien Leigh), Adapted Screenplay (Sidney Howard), Supporting Actress (Hattie McDaniel), Color Cinematography, Film Editing and Art Direction.
  • William Cameron Menzies received a Special Award for "outstanding achievement in the use of color for the enhancement of dramatic mood in the production of Gone with the Wind"
  • Don Musgrave and Selznick International Pictures were awarded a Technical Achievement Award for "pioneering in the use of coordinated equipment in the production of Gone with the Wind"
  • Hattie McDaniel became the first African-American to win an Oscar. Despite this achievement, the United States still had a way to go and she was required (with her escort) to sit at a separate table, apart from other film folk in attendance.
  • Sidney Howard became the first person to win an Academy Award posthumously. He died during filming.
  • Origin of the best film quote of all time "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn."
  • The longest film to win Best Picture at 3 hours and 54 minutes.
  • First film completely in colour to win Best Picture.
  • Director Victor Fleming replaced George Cukor after he was fired shortly after filming began; coincidentally, Fleming also replaced Cukor as the director of The Wizard of Oz.
  • After 74 years, still holds the record for the most tickets sold worldwide; the only film to have sold over 200 million.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Lee Daniels' The Butler - Oscar Spotlight

The development of Lee Daniel's The Butler has been a dramatic one. After an MPAA claim made by Warner Bros. because of a silent film they made in 1916 called 'The Butler' the 2013 film was forced to change it's name to 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'. Petty as it may seem, that is copyright for you.

The weather in New Orleans during September of last year caused a delay in production pushing the cost to $30 million. The cume at the box office is at 107.6 million as of Thursday. When Columbia Pictures put the film into turnaround The Weinstein Company purachased the distribution rights. The development drama aside Lee Daniels' The Butler is creating some Oscar buzz.

Strongly tipped for a Best Picture Nomination, an outside chance for an Original Screenplay nom for Danny Strong and the running favorite for the Best Supporting Actress statue for Oprah Winfrey 'Lee Daniels' The Butler has pushed past the drama and made itself an Oscar contender.

Lee Daniels' The Butler is out now in the US and is released in Australia on October 31st.

Box Office Update USA

This is a list of the top 5 films playing in US cinemas at the moment

1. Prisoners: 27.6 million
2. Insidious Chapter 2: 62.7 million
3. The Family: 28 million
4. Lee Daniels The Butler: 107.8 million
5. We're the Millers: 139.5 million

Thursday, September 26, 2013

HBO renews 'Boardwalk Empire'

HBO has announced earlier today that it has renewed the smash hit Drama 'Boardwalk Empire' for a fifth season. HBO is home to some of the best one hour dramas on television, you can read more about the importance of the format here.

The series has won 17 Emmy awards out of 40 nominations including a Best Supporting Actor win for Bobby Cannavale this year.

Boardwalk Empire has been a successful series for HBO but has recently dropped off in viewership when up against Breaking Bad and the record breaking ratings it brings to the time slot.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Breaking Bad breaks record.

Even whilst competing against the Emmy's on Sunday night AMC's Breaking Bad scored a series high 6.6 million viewers. The AMC production won Best Drama series on Sunday at the Emmy Awards which also drew in a high number of viewers. The Emmy's rated higher than they have in over 8 years. 

Breaking Bad broke the record it had set the week before when it raked in a huge 6.4 million viewers. This past Sunday, out of the 6.6 million who tuned in 4.5 million were in the key 18-49 demographic. Can anyone say Ad revenue?

Breaking Bad has it's season finale this coming Sunday and will likely post even bigger numbers in the penultimate episode of one of the greater drama series' of the past decade. 

A Birthday in Pictures - Anthony Mackie

Sunday, September 22, 2013

65th Primetime Emmy Awards Main Category Winners!

Breaking Bad

Modern Family

Behind the Candelabra

The Colbert Report

full list after the jump!

Emmys Lead Comedy Statues Get it Right

Julia Louis-Dreyfus has taken the Emmy for Lead Actress in a Comedy series at the 65th Emmy Awards happening right now. She is the first actress to win three Emmy's for three different roles. The first was Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Seinfeld and the second came for The New Adventures of Old Christine which was for Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.

Louis-Dreyfus was nominated for an Emmy every single year Seinfeld was on the air. An Emmy frequent she won today's award for her role on Veep.

The Lead Actor in a Comedy Series award went to Jim Parsons for playing the charismatic and pleasurably awkward Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory. This is Parsons third Emmy win out of five nominations. He has won for the same role all three times. The show was not nominated for any Emmy's during its first season but since then have produced numerous winners and nominees. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Emmy Predictions - What Do We Think?

I watch more TV than the any normal person should and I do love a lot of it. I love how cinematic (and therefore better) television has become in the last 10 years or so. I am in no way a prediction expert but we all love giving it a try, don't we? I'm only looking at the main categories today and feel free to tell us what you think. Lets get started!


Nominees: Breaking Bad, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, Homeland, House of Cards, Mad Men.
Should Win: Well there's the "declining quality" shows (Downton, Homeland, Mad Men), there's the "fanboy crazed" shows (GoT, Breaking Bad) and that only leaves one. House of Cards is a stellar show with all the right things going for it. It probably won't, but I hope it wins.
Will Win: I think it's a toss up between last years champ (Homeland) and what people are calling the years best show, that also coincidentally is the only show that aired during the voting (Breaking Bad). I'm going with my gut and betting on the latter.


Nominees: 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Girls, Louie, Modern Family, Veep.
Should Win: I'm at a complete deadlock in my mind between Girls and Louie. They are both such great shows with such strong leads and compelling storytelling. If I had to choose one, I would go with Louie just because it is "funnier" but in terms of overall quality I would abstain.
Will Win: I get the distinct feeling the Modern Family overrated reign of terror is over. There are a few people that still love it, but the quality difference between S1 and S4 is obvious. In terms of this year, I'm hearing whispers that The Big Bang Theory will finally be rewarded for years of consistent quality, while I wouldn't be surprised at all if 30 Rock gets a nice sendoff.


Nominees: American Horror Story: Asylum, Behind the Candelabra, The Bible, Phil Spector, Political Animals, Top of the Lake.
Should Win: I can't go past American Horror Story: Asylum. Jessica Lange leads an ensemble cast that has not been matched on television this year and the epic nature of the story and twist after twist... ohhh. I'm getting too excited.
Will Win: While I can't get past AHS, the Academy doesn't seem to be able to get past Behind the Candelabra. It's won 8 already. Done and done.

Lead acting categories after the jump!

One Hour Drama as Masterpiece

The in fashion art form has changed over centuries of cultural evolution. Paintings and poetry, literature and the black and white film. The television was always cast aside. Remove your television from your house. It will dim your mind and square your eyes. Replace that 50 inch flat screen with a Da Vinci print and you will be better for it. 

This logic will likely make you an expert on every aspect of that print. Spend 4 hours watching that painting a day and you will either become an art buff and surround your home with more or you will do what I would do in the generation of screens, and throw the painting in the trash and go and buy a 60 inch flat screen. 

Television had been underrated as an art form for years. Quality shows started to explode into the forefront of intellectual culture in the 1980's and 90's. The one hour drama is the format in the spotlight. Without it the Emmy's on Sunday would be missing out on the most intriguing programming we have ever seen.

Among the honoured on Sunday will be the late James Gandolfini. He is credited by many as the creator of the 'difficult man'. He is so morally absent as Tony Soprano in his senseless and violent and criminal tendencies that you should hate him. But you don't, you don't hate him because his portrayal of Tony was not one sided, he showed the human side of a criminal mastermind. He showed the emotional depth that creates a more than three dimensional idea of the person on screen. The Soprano's was the first truly great one hour drama. It ushered in the era in which we currently reside. We are surrounded by superb one hour dramas like Mad Men, Dexter, Breaking Bad, Homeland, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones and plenty of others.We are surrounded by Don Draper, Dexter Morgan, Walter White, Carrie Mathison, Nucky Thompson and who ever Game of Thrones want to let live long enough to gain notoriety. Carrie Mathison is played by Claire Danes, she is taking control quickly as a powerful force in one hour television. Bucking the stereotype of the male lead in dramatised television and creating her own archetype, the difficult woman.

These characters are the new classic, the new wave dramatists, archetypical difficult men. Soprano was the first truly great one. Before you watch the Emmy's on Sunday you should consider this. Of all the shows I love, how many of them are true masterpieces? The one hour drama is the artistic masterpiece of the time. Never has television been as good as it is now. Appreciate the time period in which we are in. Enjoy the Emmys.

Friday, September 20, 2013

A Birthday in Pictures - Sophia Loren

Film Review - Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine
Written by: Woody Allen
Directed by: Woody Allen
Gravier Productions

Studies of the anxious are not rare territory for Woody Allen. Blue Jasmine follows Cate Blanchett as Jasmine and her difficulty regaining her substantiality and stability after a separation from her wealthy husband (Alec Baldwin). Jasmine retreats to San Francisco to move in with her semi-estranged sister Ginger who is exquisitely portrayed by Sally Hawkins. Supported by an array of men with questionable intentions Jasmine half heartedly tries to find a new life whilst a sense of entitlement leads her to expect good things to happen with little or no effort.

Family and relationships are at the forefront underlined by Jasmine's fragile mental state. The performances by Hawkins and Blanchett are amplified by the support from the likes of Louis C.K., Bobby Canavale and Peter Sarsgaard. The three aforementioned males are overshadowed though by a punishingly strong performance by Blanchett and an exquisite display by Hawkins. Blanchett brings a strength in her portrayal of weakness that is not only mesmerising but somehow internally changing. I left the cinema feeling a little sadder for Jasmine and in light of her lasting effect on my emotions I had to catch myself before entering the real world again.

Woody Allen is a master of the intricate emotional lives humans can lead and an expert of contorting the 'it's a small world' scenario into a film that screams out the name of Allen's least favourite man, Oscar. The dialogue is sharp and fast and the emotional response so real that you feel as if the setting was your home and the characters were you. The dialogue disappears at the perfect moments and the players on screen lose sight of what to say as you yourself gasp. 

With all of the drama and emotion that the film brings it also doesn't miss a chance to make you laugh and it is a welcome relief from the shock and awe experienced throughout. Sarsgaard plays a bit of a prop, his role may have been over-cast. Allen makes you believe everything will look up just as he forces you to look down.

Blue Jasmine is a minimalist in terms of complication, Allen shows his master level knowledge of the english language and the human condition. Close up forceful shots of Jasmine in full breakdown coupled with hilarious fall-off-your-chair scenes in grocery stores make Blue Jasmine another master work by one of the most decorated writers of all time. Take time out of your week and invest something in Blue Jasmine.

5 stars

Thursday, September 19, 2013

We're baaaaaaaack!

Hello! Welcome to Film Movie Pictures! 

My name is Nic Meyers and I ran this blog for 2 years a while back. Now we are relaunching with a brand new design and a brand new contributor! My brother-from-the-same-mother Adam Meyers is joining us to maximize the content and perspective and we are ALWAYS on the look out for new contributors to join the team.

A lot of my favourite series' will be returning, like "FlashBackFlash" (a brief look at an Oscar-esque film from history) and my personal favourite "A Birthday in Pictures" which is basically just a collection of the most beautiful photos I can find of a famous face on their special day. We will also feature reviews, Oscar Talk and random photos of Viola Davis. 

Here's one:

Stay tuned for more!