A Century of Film
Sound

Sound in film debuted in 1927.  It managed to come into being at the same time that the Oscars did, which helps bring a demarcation point between early film (The Silent Era) and the rest of film history.  Sound would become an important feature to films because it added a whole new dimension of the kind of story you could tell, not just with the dialogue, but with sound effects as well.  Especially with Musicals, sound would really change how a story could be told. (more…)

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A Century of Film

Sound Editing

It’s hard to know precisely what to think of Sound Editing, partially because of its strange awards history.  The Academy has a long history of awarding Best Sound (which will be the next category, up before too long) but made no distinction other than “Best Sound”.  In 1963, they branched out a bit and added a second award for Best Sound Effects, an award that is generally considered to be the same as today’s Sound Editing award.

Yet, the Academy was slow on the ball there.  The Motion Picture Sound Editors began their own award way, way back in 1953, at a point where the only existing guild awards were those for the two major guilds that had been such a part of union battles for so long and had formed their own awards, in part, to lash out at the academy (the directors and screenwriters).  This is the only guild award that actually pre-dates an equivalent award at the Academy and did so by a decade. (more…)

A Century of Film

Supporting Actor

Film has always relied on supporting performances but awards groups haven’t always recognized them right away.  It wasn’t until the 9th Academy Awards that the first supporting awards were given out.  Likewise, the BAFTAs would go through their first 20 awards without the category and no critics group would give such an award until 1957.  But eventually, of course, all the awards groups followed through and today it’s one way of celebrating great character actors although it has also been a chance for big stars to win their Oscar at last.  Supporting performances can be a role that runs through the whole film (like the way the Academy nominated Gene Hackman for I Never Sang for My Father or Al Pacino for The Godfather) or for a performance that dominates the film in spite of only being in a few scenes (like Orson Welles in The Third Man). (more…)

Richard Taylor has fun with one of his Oscar winning creations.

A Century of Film
Makeup

Makeup has long been a part of film.  It was a key part of films back in the Silent Era with people like Lon Chaney doing their own makeup work.  Yet, somehow, it took until the 37th Academy Awards before they though it was worth rewarding and another 17 years before they decided it should be a permanent competitive award.  Is it a coincidence that the BAFTAs followed suit just a year later?  There is more on the various awards listed below.  But I should note that the Academy of Science-Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films (the Saturn Awards) started giving out their own Makeup Award in 1973, long before the other groups, so kudos to them even if I don’t track their awards. (more…)

Congrats to the single best collection of five performances ever nominated for Best Actress.

The record didn’t get tied this year, but it was close.  And for the first time in 13 years, I have actually seen all the Best Picture nominees already, even if I only predicted eight of the nine (see the end here). (more…)

This is not the new series promised a couple of posts ago.  Instead, this is the stuff that usually goes into my Best Picture post – an ongoing reaction to how things are looking, although I will probably add in more notes related to other awards as well.  I am posting this for a few reasons.  The first is that the death of the hard drive has lead to me being really swamped as I struggle to rewrite 19 reviews for my Best Adapted Screenplay posts and that is making it hard to get things done.  The second is that a lot of the things I notice about the awards as they are handed out during the season aren’t things you read elsewhere because other writers are under deadlines and I am not and they don’t have my spreadsheets; to that end I would like a forum to introduce these connections as they are happening rather than months later.  The third is that it gives a place on the blog for people to leave comments about current awards season news without needing to comment on the latest blog post, no matter the relevance (reminder that on weekdays, I can’t approve comments while at work, so don’t panic if your comment doesn’t show up right away).

This will not replace the Oscar notes and trivia I do the morning of the nominations (23 January), though I will link to it when it happens.  Anytime I add something in this post I will make it “sticky” so that it goes up to the top of the page.  But that won’t make it re-post or put it on V’s Facebook again.  I will continue to do this at least through the first few days after the Oscars on 4 March.  So, any day that awards are handed out by critics groups or guild nominations (or Globes, BAFTA, etc) are announced, there is a good chance I will add to this post.  I will start with the first couple of days worth that I had from working on the eventual Best Picture post, based on the first two critics groups.  Oh, and by the way, I haven’t actually seen Dunkirk yet, but given my love for Nolan’s films, I feel comfortable putting that FYC ad there (actually, I’ve seen it now (6 Dec) and it will take something amazing in The Post, The Shape of Water or Call Me By Your Name to keep Dunkirk from winning the Nighthawk).  But I get no revenue from it or from anything ever on this site.

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Best traffic jam ever.

My Top 20:

  1. La La Land
  2. Arrival
  3. The Handmaiden
  4. Manchester by the Sea
  5. Moonlight
  6. Silence
  7. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  9. Zootopia
  10. Moana
  11. Finding Dory
  12. The Salesman
  13. Nocturnal Animals
  14. Fences
  15. Hell or High Water
  16. Julieta
  17. Kubo and the Two Strings
  18. A Monster Calls
  19. 20th Century Women
  20. Sing Street

note:  All 20 films are ****.  There were several high ***.5 films that I wish could have made the list – Captain America: Civil War, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Hail Caesar! and Passengers were among my considered choices.  There are only a handful of films that earned any award nominations that I haven’t seen yet (I Daniel Blake, Certain Woman, Allied, Your Name, King’s Choice) so I don’t think this list will be changing (depending on Your Name, perhaps), unlike the last several years, when this list was written more closely after the Oscars. (more…)