Tag Archives: Oscars

Films vs. Movies #109: It’s the Oscars!

James and Jim celebrate all that is dependable and familiar (and really, really long) about Oscar night.

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Docutopia: Searching for Surprises in this Year’s Oscar-Nominated Short Docs

For most people, the Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject is best known as the hardest category to predict in Oscar pools. But for documentary filmmakers, it is much more, functioning not only as a crucial career stepping-stone but also as a career-sustaining achievement, allowing veteran directors to stay active, relevant, and present new material. For these reasons, the films nominated for best short doc merit more attention than cursory Oscar-night handicapping.

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Docutopia: Eight New Year’s Wishes for Documentary Film

As we move into the New Year, here are 8 things Docutopia would like to see change or take place in 2014. They’re not exactly resolutions, which customarily veer toward personal vows to lose weight or exercise more (though some docs could stand to be shorter). Rather, consider this a wish list for 2014: aspirations for creative and commercial excellence for documentary film.

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Docutopia: It’s The Act of Killing vs. 20 Feet From Stardom in the 2013 Doc Awards Showdown

This year’s new rules for the Academy Award for Best Documentary will drastically change the voting process, favoring more recognizable and popular titles. During the process of whittling down this year’s 149 eligible docs to the final five nominees, time-stressed documentary branch members may only watch and therefore nominate the most recognizable of titles. As HBO’s Sheila Nevins told Variety, “The underdog is not going to make any noise. Only the ones that are most known will be seen.”

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Films vs. Movies #57: A Night at the Oscars

Drinking about the Academy Awards.

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Viva Mabuse! #26: Grouchland

The Oscars are an iconic paradigm of our culture: closely watched and vetted public rituals that manifestly mean nothing, just like football games, reality shows, press conferences, weekly box office statistics, political campaign speeches, Thomas Friedman’s New York Times editorials, and Lena Dunham. We should be deeply ashamed of our professed commitment to all of the above, in a manner and to a degree we needn’t necessarily be ashamed of, say, our idle homicidal fantasies or bizarre sexual preferences or … Read More

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On the Couch: Oscar Contenders

I’d like to take a step back from the aggressive glamour of Oscar season and examine these Best Films of The Year (according to one particular group of people) from a specialist’s point of view. These films have issues, y’all. For those of us who have hustled out to see them, we’ve been exposed to a whole host of disorders. Not to worry, though—for every Best Picture nominee there is a sure-fire antidote.

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Here & Now & Then: 1940

The upping of the number of best picture nominees to ten in 2009 has only resulted in a greater volume of forgettable titles slipping through the cracks. This seems to be the case as well for Oscar years before 1944, when there were generally ten nominees. What’s most fascinating is not that these films are largely forgotten, but that at one point they meant something to large numbers of people, and are now basically lost to time.

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Films vs. Movies #51: Hooray For Hollywood

Jim and James swapping Oscar picks: What could go wrong with that?

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