Issuu on Google+

O S C A R S E AS O N 2 0 1 2 — 2 0 1 3

BEST PICTURE ACTOR/ ACTRESS

Surviving

the Season: Oscar Mantras From Nominees

Cinematographers Dissect Their Favorite Scenes

And Then There WERE

Nine:

Details on the Best Picture NomINEES

AWARDSLINE PRESENTS

MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS DeMILLE | SPIEGEL | Selznick | ZAENTZ | ZANUCK


MOST HONORED FILM OF THE YEAR

“LINCOLN

BELONGS TO THE AGES.

STEVEN SPIELBERG ’ S LANDMARK MOTION PICTURE ENRICHES THE AMERICAN CANON – FREEING THE GREAT EMANCIPATOR FROM HIS TINTYPE IMAGE AND EXPLORING THE WIT AND WISDOM THAT MADE THE MAN. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS IS INSTANTLY ICONIC , DEMONSTRATING AN IMMERSION INTO CHARACTER THAT IS AS HONEST AS IT IS IMMEDIATE. SALLY FIELD , TOMMY LEE JONES AND AN EXTRAORDINARY ACTING ENSEMBLE BREATHE HUMANITY INTO HISTORY , WHILE TONY KUSHNER ’ S BRILLIANT SCREENPLAY ILLUSTRATES THE POWER OF WORDS TO DAZZLE ABOVE THE MOST SPECIAL OF EFFECTS. FILM LEGENDS D.W. GRIFFITH AND JOHN FORD EACH DEPICTED THEIR VERSIONS OF AMERICA ’ S SIXTEENTH PRESIDENT , AND SPIELBERG ’ S NOW STANDS BESIDE THEM WITH THIS TELLING FOR OUR TIME – AND FOR ALL TIME.”

AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE

F O R G E N E R AT I O N S T O C O M E

02

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3


TABLE OF CONTENTS

OSCAR SEASON 2012—2013

E d i t or i a l Tea m

AWARDS | LINE EDITOR

Christy Grosz

AWARDS | LINE MANAGING EDITOR & CONTRIBUTOR

Anthony D’Alessandro

DEADLINE AWARDS COLUMNIST

Pete Hammond DEADLINE FILM EDITOR

Mike Fleming Jr. DEADLINE TV EDITOR

Nellie Andreeva DEADLINE EDITORS

Patrick Hipes Denise Petski Kinsey Lowe AWARDS| LINE CONTRIBUTORS

Paul Brownfield Diane Haithman Monica Corcoran Harel Ari Karpel Cari Lynn Thomas J. McLean David Mermelstein Craig Modderno Ray Richmond

04)

Wild Ride

Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond says anything goes in this topsy-turvy Oscar race.

Des i g n , P ro d u c t i on & Mar k e t i n g

The Best Picture Nominees

AWARDS| LINE CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Jason Farrell

GRAPHIC DESIGNER

Erik Denno

06)

07)

08)

By the Numbers

MARKETING CONSULTANT

Madelyn Hammond SR. DIRECTOR, ADVERTISING OPERATIONS

Cham Kim ADVERTISING OPERATIONS

06) Lincoln

09)

10)

11)

Jeff Vespa

09) Silver Linings Playbook 12) Django Unchained

Edward Ko Sam Berman AWARDS| LINE CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

07) LIFE OF PI

12)

13)

14)

08) Les Misérables 10) ARGO

11) Amour

13) Zero Dark Thirty

14) Beasts of the Southern Wild

16)

FOUNDER, CHAIRMAN & CEO

Jay Penske

06)

ARTISTIC PORTRAITS

The lead acting races represent the most fiercely fought in years.

EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT

Paul Woolnough SVP ENTERTAINMENT SALES

AWARDSLINE PRESENTS

Nic Paul

MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS

VP PARTNERSHIPS & PRODUCT

Craig Perreault VP FINANCE

Ken DelAlcazar

Featuring David O. Selznick, Cecil B. DeMille, Sam Spiegel, Richard D. Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck, and Saul Zaentz

GM ENTV/PMC STUDIOS

Michael Davis VP ENTERTAINMENT SALES

Shelby Haro SR. ENTERTAINMENT SALES DIRECTOR

Cathy Goepfert CONSUMER SALES DIRECTORS

24)

Words to Live By

26)

Short and Sweet

28)

Tune Full

30)

Deep Focus

Debbie Goldberg ENTERTAINMENT AND TECH SALES MANAGER

Carra Fenton ACCOUNT MANAGER

Tiffany Windju Lauren Stagg ADVERTISING INQUIRIES

Nic Paul 310-484-2517/npaul@pmc.com

IS THE PARENT COMPANY AND OWNER OF:

26)

Nominees discuss how they survive the tumult of Oscar season.

Academy rule changes and theatrical presentations are giving short-subject films a higher profile in the Oscar race.

A look at the quintet of original melodies vying for a best song Oscar.

Cinematographers break down their favorite scenes in the films for which they were nominated.

19)


Anything Goes By Pete Hammond

In a Wide-Open Race, This Year’s Oscar Ceremony Is Set to Deliver At Least a Few Surprises

04

With about a month to go, the stage is set for one of the strangest Oscar showdowns in memory. Certainly the season started with some clear favorites emerging, like Argo at Telluride, Silver Linings Playbook at Toronto, then Lincoln just after the election, followed by Life of Pi. I thought Paramount’s Flight also might emerge as a major best picture contender around this time, but when critics awards and early nominations for Globes and CCMAs started coming in, it was clear this was mainly just a play for Denzel Washington and John Gatins’ original screenplay. At Christmas time, we got Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained, and the hotly anticipated Les Misérables to complete our sevenpack of best picture contenders. What many weren’t anticipating was that two small indie films that made a splash earlier in the year were also going to come in. Beasts of the Southern Wild managed to hold on to all that momentum from its Sundance debut a year ago, and then Amour took Cannes by storm, winning the Palme d’Or and later travelling on the fall film circuit to Telluride and Toronto. That both were able to cash in that early 2012 awards goodwill and still make Oscar’s list was impressive, especially in the face of one of the most competitive and rich races for the ultimate prize in many years.

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

So what do we have? It’s as free-wheelin’ a race for Oscar as it can possibly be. Usually at this point, there are one or two strong contenders left in the hunt. Not this year. An argument can be made that, depending where the momentum shifts in the next month, it is almost anyone’s race, at least for best picture. But that also extends to some of the acting races (well, maybe not for you, Daniel Day-Lewis and Anne Hathaway) and even director, which has been turned on its head by the directors branch, who went their own way in snubbing DGA nominees Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, and Tom Hooper in favor of smaller films from Michael Haneke, Benh Zeitlin, and David O. Russell. At the very least, the directors have upended the race and made it a lot more interesting and less conventional. It is entirely conceivable that the guilds, which most closely reflect the Academy’s sensibilities, will further upend the race. In a year when so many movies are top quality and have their own unique constituencies supporting them, a split vote could produce some very nervous moments on Oscar night and some very unexpected results. Could a popular movie like Argo actually emerge as the best picture champ without winning any other Oscars? It’s

possible—not likely, but possible. Will the directing and picture categories split? Possible. Could Argo win DGA, Life of Pi win best director at the Oscars, and Lincoln take home best picture? Who knows? It is a year where anything, and I mean anything, can happen. And then there is the question of the earlier nominating period and online voting. The Academy assured me, perhaps because of all the publicity about snafus in the new voting system, that more members voted this time around than ever before. Will that continue through to the finals, especially now that there is a longer period, six weeks instead of four, between nominations and the Oscar show? Will the method of voting continue to be the story and could it affect the outcome in a razor-thin margin race like this one promises to be? It has indeed been a rollercoaster ride for Oscar in his 85th year, and I have a feeling he’s got a few more surprises in store for us before this is all over.

© A.M.P.A.S.


5

ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINATIONS

BEST PICTURE INCLUDING

BEST DIRECTOR BEST ACTRESS BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WINNER

BEST ACTRESS EMMANUELLE RIVA

National Society of Film Critics Los Angeles Film Critics Association Boston Society of Film Critics San Francisco Film Critics Circle

New York Film Critics Online European Film Awards

BEST ACTRESS EMMANUELLE RIVA “In the history of movies about love, ‘Amour’ shall last forever. Emmanuelle Riva, in the 53-year journey from ‘Hiroshima Mon Amour’ to ‘Amour,’ has lost none of her startling commitment to the craft. Riva’s channeling of a woman who has lost memory and emotion — lost what some would call her soul — is a thrilling, draining emotional insight.” -Mary Corliss, TIME MAGAZINE

“The best picture of the year. ‘Amour’ is a perfect storm of a motion picture. Emmanuelle Riva’s performance is a revelation.” -Kenneth Turan, LOS ANGELES TIMES

AMOUR A Film by MICHAEL HANEKE

WWW.SONYCLASSICSAWARDS.COM


9 1

The Nine

What the Academy says:

12 n om i n at i o n s Picture  Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg Directing

Steven Spielberg

Daniel Day-Lewis

Lead Actor

Supporting Actor

Tommy Lee Jones

Supporting Actress

Sally Field

Adapted Screenplay

Tony Kushner

Cinematography

Janusz Kaminski

Original Score

John Williams

Michael Kahn

Film Editing

Production Design Rick Carter, Jim Erickson Costume Design

Joanna Johnston

Sound Mixing Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, Ronald Judkins

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 162.7 M 3.3 M

06

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

Lincoln What Pete Hammond says:

What other awards say:

From the announcement that Steven Spielberg was going to direct Lincoln, this one had the hallmarks of a film that defines what the Oscars are all about. The fact that it was not an easy road for the iconic director and his screenwriter, Tony Kushner, only adds to the gravitas of the whole project. And with Daniel Day-Lewis scooping up best actor awards left and right— plus a sterling cast of supporting players led by nominees Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field—this one smells like a winner. With a leading 12 nominations, Lincoln is also in a good place statistically because usually it is a positive sign when a film lands the most nominations. In terms of ambition, scope, and achievement, Lincoln has been the one to beat all season long. Unfortunately, expected victories at some of the earlier awards shows, like the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Movie Awards, didn’t happen (although Bill Clinton’s ringing endorsement at the Globes couldn’t have hurt). Nevertheless, the guilds might bring it back full force. Or not. Still, if you had to design an Oscar movie from scratch, it would probably be this one.

1 best dramatic actor Golden Globe for Daniel Day-Lewis; 3 CCMA wins for actor, adapted screenplay, and score; 10 BAFTA noms, including film, lead actor, supporting actor, and supporting actress; 4 SAG noms (ensemble, actor, supporting actor, and actress); and other guild noms from the DGA, PGA, and WGA.

What the critics say: “This is politics as it is really played, yet few writers have found a way to make it as compelling as Kushner does here. That success owes in part to the extensive character-actor ensemble Spielberg and casting director Avy Kaufman have enlisted, repaying them with dramatic roles for not only Lincoln’s entire cabinet, but more than a dozen key allies and opponents of the 13th amendment.” —Peter Debruge, Variety

What the producer says: “What’s wonderful about Lincoln  is that it’s a reflection of the political process, and it’s not an attempt to show which political party is better, rather recognize the scene of the political process,” Kathleen Kennedy

says. “Nowadays, ‘politician’ has become a bad word, and politicians should be lauded because our political process works. You can see that the process is working. (In Lincoln), you recognize what the founding principles are behind this political process and how it defines us and how we get things done or shouldn’t get things done. That’s why politicians on either side, Democrats and Republicans, are going to see themselves in this—by talking to one another, stepping across the party lines and identifying what’s good for the country. That’s why they’re engaged in what this movie is about.”

What the filmmaker says: “I never saw it as a biopic. I sometimes refer to it as a Lincoln portrait, meaning that it was one painting out of many that could have been drawn over the years of the president’s life, but had I done the entire presidency, had I done his entire life, that would have qualified as a biopic. I don’t believe this is a biopic,” Spielberg explains.


A Look at the Track Record for Each Best Picture Nominee

1

2

3

4

5

6

By Pete Hammond

7

9

8

2

Christy Grosz, Anthony D’Alessandro, Paul Brownfield, Cari Lynn, and Thomas J. McLean contributed to this article. All boxoffice figures are as of Jan. 24.

Life of Pi What Pete Hammond says:

What other awards say:

Ang Lee’s ambitious adaptation of Yann Martel’s bestseller Life of Pi certainly seemed to resonate with the Academy. The book— an extraordinary story of a boy and a tiger fighting for survival while stranded at sea—was once thought unfilmable and went through several directors in the process until Lee finally cracked the code of how to bring to the screen. Even more impressive is the fact that none of the film’s 11 noms were for acting, making this, along with 2003’s big winner Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, the most nominated film to do it without the help of the actors branch. This triumph immediately took Pi from the outer fringes of leading contenders and put it in a position to really go for it. “Slow and steady” is how one Fox publicist put it, and, just for the technical achievement alone, it can’t be counted out of the running, although its best chances are in the below-the-line area and possibly for Lee.

9 BAFTA noms, including film, screenplay, and director; 2 CCMA wins for visual effects and cinematography; 1 Golden Globe for Mychael Danna’s score; plus guild nominations from DGA, PGA, and WGA.

What the critics say: “The movie does for water and the sea what Lawrence of Arabia did for sand and desert, and one thinks of what Alfred Hitchcock, who used 3D so imaginatively in his 1954 film of Dial M for Murder, might have done on his wartime Lifeboat had he been given such technical facilities.”

available to people if they want to read that into the material. These are all important things in the films that I want to make. This movie stoked all those things in strong terms.”

What the filmmaker says: “3D is very daunting. You cannot trust anything people tell you, because it could be wrong, because it’s so new,” Lee explains. “And the audience hasn’t had a relationship with that yet. There’s no regulation, there’s no set of mind to watch it yet. People think, ‘Ah, it’s like tricks.’ I think it’s time that people show respect to the medium as an artistic form.”

What the Academy says:

11 n om i n at i o n s Picture  Gil Netter, Ang Lee, David Womark Directing

Ang Lee

Adapted Screenplay

David Magee

Cinematography

Claudio Miranda

Tim Squyres

Film Editing

Sound Editing Eugene Gearty, Philip Stockton

Sound Mixing Ron Bartlett, Doug Hemphill, Drew Kunin

Visual Effects Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik De Boer, Donald Elliott

—Philip French, The Observer

What the producer says:

Original Score

“It’s in keeping with the kinds of movies that I personally am interested in making,” says Gil Netter. “Most of my movies are all positive, they hopefully are putting something good into the world, they’re about something, there is a spirituality

Mychael Danna

Original Song “Pi’s Lullaby,” music by Mychael Danna, lyrics by Bombay Jayashri

Production Design David Gropman, Anna Pinnock

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 1oo.6 M 398.8 M

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

Continued on next page...


3

Les Misérables

... from previous

What the Academy says:

8 n om i n at i o n s Picture  Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh

Lead Actor Hugh Jackman

Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway Production Design Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson Costume Design Paco Delgado

Sound Mixing Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Simon Hayes

Makeup & Hairstyling Lisa Westcott, Julie Dartnell

Original Song “Suddenly,” music by Claude-Michel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, Alain Boublil

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 132.8 M 150.5 M

08

D O M E S TI C

9

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

INT E R N ATI O N A L

What Pete Hammond says: Many thought this movie-musical adaptation of the long-running stage phenomenon would be the one to take it all based on the early ecstatic response to screenings over the Thanksgiving weekend and the fact that the cast sings live in the film. It is the kind of big-scale movie-musical that has won throughout Oscar history (though not in at least a decade), which added to the inevitability of a possible Les Mis triumph. But despite a nod from the DGA, the lack of a best director Oscar nomination for Tom Hooper and nothing from his native BAFTA dampened the film’s overall chances. Include the lack of a writing and editing nomination, and you have to go all the way back to 1931’s Grand Hotel to find a best picture winner that didn’t have at least one of those nominations. Its triumph at the Golden Globes certainly kept it in the race to fight another day, and its strong presence at PGA, SAG, and DGA was nothing to sneeze at, but a best picture win at this point has to be considered a long shot by conventional wisdom standards.

What other awards say: 3 Golden Globes for best musical/ comedy film, best musical/ comedy actor for Hugh Jackman,

and a supporting actress trophy for Anne Hathaway; 4 SAG noms for ensemble, actor, supporting actress, and stunt ensemble; 1 CCMA for Hathaway; 9 BAFTA noms, including best film, best British film, plus noms for Jackman and Hathaway; and guild recognition from the DGA and PGA.

What the critics say: “What helps make Les Misérables so vibrant and thrilling onscreen is Hooper’s daring decision to have his actors sing live. No mouthing the words to prerecorded songs. The actors wore earpieces to hear a piano give them tempo. A 70-piece orchestra was added later to bring out the beauty and thunder in the score, by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, and Herbert Kretzmer. The risk pays off. The singing isn’t slick. It sometimes sounds raw and roughed-up, which is all to the good. It sure as hell brings out the best in the actors.” —Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

What the producer says: “This was one of the hardest films we’ve done,” says Eric Fellner. “It’s a genre that’s challenging by its very nature— people aren’t used to going to see a musical in a movie theater.

Also, no one has ever done a live musical from beginning to end with no prerecorded music. We also had to make sure that in adapting Les Misérables, we didn’t alienate fans, and (in) having the original team, we were able to keep all the original DNA intact.”

What the filmmaker says: “There’s a moment where Jean Valjean achieves a kind of happiness where he sees that he’s done his only job in this life, which is to look after his girl, Cosette,” Hooper told Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Fleming Jr. “The moment offers us this feeling that one can transcend death, that there’s a way of coping with it that makes it meaningful. There’s a way of dealing with that moment that we’re all going to face and that will actually be a beautiful end. There’s something in that which is the secret as to why the musical’s been such a phenomenon. And we’re lucky that this film is tapping into that old-fashioned word, catharsis. It takes you to that place of suffering in your life, in your head, whether it’s the suffering of yourself, or the suffering of others, or suffering to come, and it has a way of processing it, so that you actually feel better about it by the end of the story.”

The Nine


4

Silver Linings Playbook What Pete Hammond says: Because it is a comedy, albeit one laced with drama, Silver Linings Playbook is at a disadvantage right out of the starting gate because comedies don’t traditionally win best picture Oscars. But this critically acclaimed story about two broken people who are trying to get their lives back together benefits from a passionate base of admirers, and that’s key in building a best picture campaign. Plus, it has the Oscar campaign know-how of the Weinstein Co., which has won the best picture Academy Award for two years running. And now it has achieved a landmark in Oscar nominations, becoming the first film since Warren Beatty’s 1981 film Reds to win nods for picture, screenplay, director (for David O. Russell who was overlooked by the DGA), and all four acting categories. Additionally, it even got an editing nomination, which every best picture winner has had since 1980. The pundits say it is an underdog, but the tea leaves are starting to say it could really happen.

What other awards say: 3 BAFTA noms, 4 CCMA wins for acting ensemble, best comedy, best actor in a comedy for Bradley Cooper, and best actress in a comedy for Jennifer

Lawrence; 1 best actress in a musical/comedy Golden Globe for Lawrence; 5 Spirit Award noms; 4 SAG Award noms, including ensemble; plus PGA and WGA noms.

What the critics say: “Lawrence and Cooper face off in the most convincing way, matching each other stride for crazed stride. It would spoil the fun to even hint at all what goes down between two people equally possessed by partners who are not coming back, but you can be sure it won’t be dull. That’s also true for Silver Linings Playbook as a whole. Russell’s gift for smart, honest, and unexpected dialogue and situations keeps you off-balance in an almost addictive way. He’s brought a reality to the world’s damaged, uncertain strivers that makes them next door to irresistible, and that can’t have been an easy thing to do.” —Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

What the producer says: “I don’t want to speak for (Russell), but he does say this all the time, that having had the experience on The Fighter in dealing with the creative core of that movie, he felt as though he could extend what he was

What the Academy says:

exploring in that film,” Donna Gigliotti explains. “He really does think about these two films as companion pieces. And you can see why he thinks that. They’re dealing with similar themes. So while it wasn’t easy—I don’t want to undersell this idea that it was like, ‘Oh, great, he made The Fighter. Fine, let him make Silver Linings’— there were a lot of issues going on in terms of how I got him the budget that he needed, putting together textiles in Philadelphia, shooting it on a schedule that made sense for the budget. After The Fighter, he wanted to go back to work; there were other projects out there. But I never doubted that this was the one that he was most attached to emotionally.”

8

n om i n at i o n s

Picture  Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen, Jonathan Gordon Directing

Lead Actor

Lead Actress

David O. Russell Bradley Cooper Jennifer Lawrence

Supporting Actor

Robert De Niro

Supporting Actress

Jacki Weaver

Film Editing Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers

Adapted Screenplay

David O. Russell

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 58.5 M 16.9 M

What the filmmaker says:

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

“I needed to work, I needed to write something and I needed to make a living,” Russell says. “And I also really, really responded to the material. So it was a matter of having the tone right. You had to not stop working on the tone all the way through the editing process. The key to the whole thing is to keep it real, is to keep the people’s emotions committed and real.”

Continued on next page...

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9


5

Argo

... from previous

What the Academy says:

7 n om i n at i o n s Picture  Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck, George Clooney Supporting Actor

Alan Arkin

William Goldenberg

Film Editing

Original Score

Alexandre Desplat

Sound Editing Erik Aadahl, Ethan Van der Ryn

Sound Mixing John T. Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, José Antonio García

Adapted Screenplay

Chris Terrio

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE

9 115.6 M 71.5 M

10

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

What Pete Hammond says:

What the critics say:

What the filmmaker says:

With its director Ben Affleck famously dissed by the directors branch, this extremely well-liked (if not loved) movie managed to land seven nominations overall, a good showing that keeps it in the race—and remember Affleck still got one of those noms as a producer of the film with Oscar veteran George Clooney and Grant Heslov. But can it become the first film since 1989’s Driving Miss Daisy to win best picture without a director nomination? Time will tell if it can and also if, oddly, it only wins best picture, considering the film is not really thought of as a frontrunner in any of the other six categories in which it is nominated. Now wouldn’t that be an Oscar twist for the ages?

“Mr. Affleck handles his own roles, on camera and behind it, with a noticeable lack of selfaggrandizement. He doesn’t show off with his direction or the performances, going for detail instead of bombast with eerie silences, traded glances, trembling gestures, and beaded sweat. (It’s a good guess that he’s committed the unnerving opening of Three Days of the Condor to memory.)”

“L.A. turned out to be our saving grace. Had we just stayed in Turkey, we would have been completely screwed because we couldn’t get any Farsi speakers,” Affleck says. “Then I was told there’s a huge population of Iranians here—they call it ‘Tehrangeles,’ and there are half a million Persians here. It was like realizing that you’re sitting on a gold mine. Not only that, but there’s this very robust theater tradition and acting history, and all these bilingual people. They really understood what you wanted in English, and they could do it well in Farsi. So we switched the airport scene (to L.A.), and we had 500 Persians in Ontario, CA, pretending to be stopping our houseguests from leaving Tehran. We had so much enthusiasm. For them it was like someone was telling their story. They knew the airport. They knew that the tile in the bathrooms was teal, to the point where I would go, ‘That’s good. We don’t need all that, we don’t have any scenes in the bathroom.’”

D O M E S TI C

INT E R N ATI O N A L

What other awards say: 7 BAFTA noms, 2 Golden Globe Awards for best director and best drama, 2 CCMA wins for best picture and director, 2 SAG Award noms for ensemble and supporting actor Alan Arkin, plus PGA, DGA, and WGA noms.

—Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

What the producer says: “We thought it would be a tricky film to market because it’s got an odd title, and it’s a very hard film to sell,” says Heslov. “On one hand, it’s a real nail-biter thriller, and on the other hand, there’s a lot of comedic moments. But it’s not a comedy. If you sell it as a comedy, people are going to be disappointed. So it was tricky, but I think the studio did a great job. We’re really happy with what they did with it.”

The Nine


6

Amour

What Pete Hammond says:

What other awards say:

One of the rare films to win both best picture and best foreign language film nominations (Z, The Emigrants, Life Is Beautiful, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were the others), Amour looks very strong with directing, writing, and lead actress bids as well. However, no foreign language movie has ever won best picture, and it is a long shot to think the Academy will award it both picture prizes since it is a foregone conclusion it wins in the foreign film category. An original screenplay win for writer-director Michael Haneke is probably most likely to be the only other Oscar category it could take, matching the feat of another film that starred Amour’s leading man, Jean-Louis Trintignant, when A Man and a Woman won both in 1966. But in a year with so many genuine contenders and the possibility of a widely split vote among as many as six films, could this one sneak in? It has a passionate fan base in the Academy, and anything is possible in this topsyturvy year.

Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner, 4 European Film Awards (best actor, actress, director, film), 1 Golden Globe win for foreign language film, 4 BAFTA noms, 1 CCMA win for best foreign language film, and an Indie Spirit nom for best international film.

What the critics say: “Considering Haneke’s confrontational past, this poignantly acted, uncommonly tender twohander makes a doubly powerful statement about man’s capacity for dignity and sensitivity when confronted with the inevitable cruelty of nature. Acquired by Sony Pictures Classics before Cannes, this autumnal heartbreaker should serve arthousegoers well—not for first dates, but for those who’ve long since lost count.” —Peter Debruge, Variety

What the producer says: “When I first met Michael Haneke, it was during the sound mixing of The Piano Teacher, and

What the Academy says:

he said to me, ‘Perhaps we can do something together?’ I said, ‘I’m not sure I can spend two years of my life with cruelty and blood!’ And he let out this big Austrian laugh,” exclaims Margaret Ménégoz who has worked with him since 2003’s Time of the Wolf. But did she have any sway in terms of convincing Haneke to take on more humane films like Amour? “I don’t think so,” says Ménégoz. “He decided that.”

5

n om i n at i o n s

Picture  credits to be determined Directing

Michael Haneke

Actress

Emmanuelle Riva

Original Screenplay

Michael Haneke

Foreign Language Film Michael Haneke (Austria)

What the filmmaker says: “I don’t think I made a film about aging or dying, but rather in my personal life, I was confronted with the case of someone who I loved very deeply, someone in my family who was suffering very deeply, and I had to look on helplessly at the suffering. That led me to think about making the film. I could just as easily have made a film about a 40-year-old couple who is coping with a child dying of cancer, but however tragic that story would have been, it would have remained an individual case, whereas old age is something all of us are going to have to cope with at some point,” Haneke explains.

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 1.2 M 13.1 M

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

Continued on next page...

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9


7

Django Unchained

... from previous

What the Academy says:

5 n om i n at i o n s Picture  Stacey Sher, Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone Supporting Actor

Christoph Waltz

Original Screenplay

Quentin Tarantino

Cinematography

Robert Richardson

Sound Editing

Wylie Stateman

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 140.7 M 48.4 M

12

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

9

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

What Pete Hammond says:

What the critics say:

Quentin Tarantino’s spaghettiwestern homage was a Christmas Day release and struggled just to meet its late-year release date. That means its five nominations including best picture are an impressive feat considering many members probably didn’t get a chance to see it because of the earlier voting schedule. It just shows the love for all things Tarantino, as this is the third film for which the director has seen a best picture nom. Although unlike Inglourious Basterds and Pulp Fiction, Tarantino didn’t earn a best director nomination this year. However, along with Michael Haneke for Amour, he’s a frontrunner for original screenplay for this wild and somewhat controversial mashup of cowboys and slaves. It has little chance to prevail as best picture, but because it’s now certified as Tarantino’s biggest boxoffice hit to date, that probably doesn’t matter.

“What Tarantino has is an appreciation for gut-level exploitation film appeal, combined with an artist’s desire to transform that gut element with something higher, better, more daring. His films challenge taboos in our society in the most direct possible way, and at the same time, add an element of parody or satire… The film is often beautiful to regard. Tarantino’s Southern plantations are flatlands in spring, cloud-covered, with groups of slaves standing as figures in a landscape.”

What other awards say: 2 Golden Globes for supporting actor Christoph Waltz and Tarantino’s screenplay, 1 CCMA win for original screenplay, 5 BAFTA noms, and a PGA nom.

—Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times

What the producer says: “When Quentin made Reservoir Dogs, he realized that some people didn’t know they were allowed to laugh. When he made Pulp Fiction, Quentin said he needed to let the audience in on the joke,” explains Stacey Sher. “That’s the reason why humor is a part of his work, because that’s how you can take the dramatic underpinnings of everything that he’s doing that are profound and emotional and that take you on the journey. There’s always romance in Quentin’s films, whether it’s unrequited like Mia

Wallace and Vincent Vega or even cartoony like Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in Pulp Fiction, and ultimately all of the stuff that has been subtexted in his movies, in these great love stories, is text in Django’s quest to find his Broomhilda. So he mixes these things. These are the colors in his tool kit. They’re sophisticated, they’re surprising and allow you to go on his journey that includes things that are rough.”

What the filmmaker says: “I was never stirred by how much I put the N-word in my script,” Tarantino said at this year’s Golden Globes. “If someone out there is saying I use it more in my movie than it was used in the Antebellum South, well, feel free to make that case. But no one is making that case. They’re saying I should lie, whitewash and massage (my script), and I don’t do that when it comes to my characters. I’m more concerned about the slavery in America: The drug laws that put more blacks in jail than they did in the ’70s, the prisoners that are traded back and forth between public and private prisons — that’s straight-up slavery.”

The Nine


Zero Dark Thirty What Pete Hammond says: When Zero Dark Thirty started the season off by winning one major critics award after another, it appeared that it could have unstoppable momentum all the way to the Academy Awards. After all, this film was the followup project for the Oscarwinning The Hurt Locker team of director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. And Sony Pictures had a strong release plan, opening it slowly, building awards and word of mouth, and then going wide the day after Oscar nominations. Unfortunately, controversy reared its ugly head with a trio of powerful U.S. senators and the acting head of the CIA all criticizing the film for its depiction of torture as a device used to ultimately capture and kill Osama bin Laden. The studio and the filmmakers were slow to respond and defend their film, although they eventually did come out swinging. Then the Academy’s director’s branch, as they did with Ben Affleck and Tom Hooper, surprisingly snubbed Bigelow, who was thought to be a certain nominee for her remarkable work. Although the film got five key nominations, its momentum from the critics awards slowed. Though star Jessica Chastain won at the

Globes and Critics Choice, and the boxoffice was extremely strong when it finally went wide, its inevitability as a major best picture threat seemed questionable. But it is a crazy year, and another chapter might still be written for Zero Dark Thirty, especially if voters feel big government is trying to roll over artists.

What other awards say: 5 BAFTA noms, 2 CCMAs for best actress Chastain and film editing, 1 Golden Globe win for Chastain, a SAG best actress nom for Chastain, as well as PGA, DGA, and WGA noms.

What the critics say: “Zero Dark Thirty is a puzzle that keeps changing and re-forming; we’re held by fleeting references, by the workings of Maya’s calculations. Bigelow and the cinematographer, Greig Fraser, make fluid but firm use of a handheld camera, without excessive agitation, so that you feel pitched into the middle of things but also see clearly what you need to see. A sequence in which a Jordanian who may provide access to bin Laden approaches an American military installation is drawn out to a level of almost unendurable suspense. Two unexpected bomb explosions throw you back in your seat; they have

a ferocious power that makes most movie explosions feel like a mere perturbation of digits.” —David Denby, The New Yorker

8 What the Academy says:

5

What the producer says:

n om i n at i o n s

Picture  Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow, Megan Ellison

“I didn’t want to play fast and loose with history,” says Boal, “and I wanted to track as closely as I could with what was known of the intelligence hunt and hopefully bring together all these disparate pieces of information. But you’re compressing 10 years into two hours, so that’s where all the normal things that movies do to compress time were things that I did, and you’re also trying to dramatize events to tell a story most effectively. That doesn’t mean the events aren’t true, it just means you’re making them as dramatic as you possibly can.”

Lead Actress

Original screenplay

Jessica Chastain Mark Boal

Film Editing William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor Sound Editing

Paul N.J. Ottosson

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 59.1 M 3.9 M

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

What the filmmaker says: “It’s not just the modern military genre (I’m attracted to), but also it’s the topicality that I find really riveting and galvanizing,” Bigelow says. “(Boal) was certainly reporting this story as it was unfolding, and there’s a kind of urgency and timeliness to that. And at the same time, I think we both felt a responsibility to tell it in a certain way, to tell it responsibly and to be faithful to the research.” Continued on next page...

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9


9

Beasts of the Southern Wild

... from previous

What the Academy says:

4 n om i n at i o n s Picture  Dan Janvey, Josh Penn, Michael Gottwald Directing

Benh Zeitlin

Quvenzhané Wallis

Lead Actress

Adapted Screenplay Lucy Alibar, Behn Zeitlin

What the public says:

$

BOXOFFICE 11.5 M N/A

14

D O M E S TI C INT E R N ATI O N A L

9 JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

What Pete Hammond says: This is definitely the little indie movie that could. Debuting only a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival where it won the Grand Jury Prize, few would have guessed that it would become such a major Oscar player just one year later with nominations for best picture, adapted screenplay, director, and lead actress for its 9-year-old star, Quvenzhané Wallis. It is clearly a Cinderella story for this unusual film and a feather in the cap for Sundance as well as Fox Searchlight, which picked up the film and ran with it. As the only best picture nominee to come from the first nine months of the year, it also stands out as the beneficiary of a passionate support base in the Academy. However, like last year’s Searchlight nominee, The Tree of Life, the love probably stops with the nomination, but it could triumph the day before at the Independent Spirit Awards.

What other awards say: 4 Cannes Film Festival awards (FIPRESCI Prize, Golden Camera, Prix Regards Jeune, and Ecumenical Jury), 2 Sundance Film Festival wins (cinematography,

Grand Jury Prize), 4 Indie Spirit noms, 1 CCMA win for Wallis as best young actor/actress, and 1 BAFTA nom for adapted screenplay.

What the critics say: “Played by Quvenzhané Wallis, an untrained sprite who holds the camera’s attention with a charismatic poise that might make grownup movie stars weep in envy, Hushpuppy is an American original, a rambunctious blend of individualism and fellow feeling. In other words, she is the inheritor of a proud literary and artistic tradition, following along a crooked path traveled by Huckleberry Finn, Scout Finch, Eloise (of the Plaza), Elliott (from E.T.), and other brave, wild, imaginary children. These young heroes allow us, vicariously, to assert our innocence and to accept our inevitable disillusionment when the world falls short of our ideals and expectations.” —A.O. Scott, The New York Times

made it with Cinereach, a nonprofit that is challenging the world with the movies they’re putting out. We went in saying, ‘We want to make a movie with a 6-year-old who’s never acted before and put her opposite someone who’s never acted before.’ And Cinereach said, ‘Yes, that’s the miracle of the movie,’ ” says Gottwald.

What the filmmaker says: “When we shot the last scene between Quvenzhané Wallis and Dwight Henry,” says Zeitlin, “when both actors had to cry— they were first-time actors, so they didn’t have years of training to know how to just switch on the waterworks, so we all had to work together at that moment to make it happen. And then I was crying, the cameraman was crying, the boom operator was crying, the producers were crying—we all put ourselves in the mindset of losing a parent, and when I got the take, it was that moment where I knew we had gotten the film.”

What the producer says: “The premise was a challenge from the get-go, and we weren’t backed by a major studio. We

The Nine

9


7

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS ®

INCLUDING

BEST PICTURE

GRANT HESLOV BEN AFFLECK GEORGE CLOONEY

WINNER

BEST PICTURE • BEST DIRECTOR DRAMA

BEN AFFLECK

GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS ®

WINNER

BEST PICTURE • BEST DIRECTOR CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

7

BAFTA AWARD NOMINATIONS I N C LU D I N G

BEST PICTURE

DGA

AWARD NOMINEE BEST DIRECTOR

“THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR. ★★★★ ARGO FEELS IMMEDIATE AND RELEVANT.” CHRISTY LEMIRE,

WGA

AWARD NOMINEE BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY CHRIS TERRIO

“SPELLBINDING, ★★★★ THE CRAFT IN THIS FILM IS RARE.” ONE OF THE MOST TAUT AND WELL-CONSTRUCTED THRILLERS IN YEARS.

ROGER EBERT,

“AFFLECK’S SEAMLESS DIRECTION

“ASTONISHING , FOREFRONT OF” INGENIOUSLY WRITTEN AND EXECUTED.” HOLLYWOOD FILMMAKERS. CATAPULTS HIM TO THE

A N N H O R N A D AY,

STEPHEN HOLDEN,

“PITCH-PERFECT 1 PERFORMANCES 2 3 4 5. BEN AFFLECK SHINES AS A FILMMAKER AND AN ACTOR.” CLAUDIA PUIG,

F O R

6

Y O U R

7

C O N S I D E R A T I O N

8 WWW.WARNERBROS2012.COM

9


Denzel Washington in Flight

Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook

Joaquin Phoenix in The Master

Super Troupers By Pete Hammond

Earning an Oscar Nom in the Actor and Actress Races Comes Down to Nuanced and Iconic Portrayals

16

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

In a race as tight as the one this year for best actress and particularly best actor, there were many deserving performances that might have made the cut in any other year but were overlooked because of intense competition. As far as lead acting categories go, this year is one of the most fiercely fought in recent Oscar history. So what was it about the 10 nominated performances in the top two acting categories that sealed the deal with Academy voters? Here’s a look at why they made it to the golden circle.


Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln

Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables

BEST ACTOR Bradley Cooper | Silver Linings Playbook Coming into the project just shortly before production began, Cooper proves a shrewd choice to play Pat Jr., a volatile man just released from an institution, in denial about his dead marriage, and just trying to put his life back together. Mark Wahlberg was cast in the part originally, but after he dropped out, Cooper got the role and ran with it. It’s a delicate balance of comedy and drama that Cooper must navigate, and he creates a wholly original and likable character, a neat trick considering Pat Jr. isn’t always sympathetic. Coming off popcorn movies like The Hangover and The A Team, Cooper finally shows his true acting chops, and his scenes opposite Robert De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence prove he is a talent to be reckoned with. Watching him and Lawrence go toe to toe in the dance competition is worth the price of admission alone. Seeing him try to explain his reaction to a Hemingway novel while his parents try to sleep might be the comic scene of the year. Daniel Day-Lewis | Lincoln If ever there were a match made in heaven between actor and role it has to be Day-Lewis channeling Abraham Lincoln at a key moment in his presidency. Many actors have tackled Lincoln before with great success, but the reason Day-Lewis is likely to become the first actor to win three best actor Oscar statuettes,

and the first to win for playing a president, is because he shows a complex, human side to the man we only thought we knew. His risk-taking acting choices— including creating a voice for Lincoln, which no other actor has dared attempt—make this more than just the usual standard biopic performance, one that definitely is not an impersonation but a full-bodied threedimensional Abe for the ages. Hugh Jackman | Les Misérables Audiences have been waiting a long time for triplethreat performer Jackman to get his first shot at a big movie-musical. If the man were in his prime in Hollywood’s golden age, when musicals were the norm, he probably would have made 10 or 20 of them. His extraordinary turn as Jean Valjean in this iconic musical, though, was worth the wait. It’s a role that required a 2 ½-octave range in which he had to sing live, a revolutionary idea for a movie-musical that has almost never been attempted onscreen. Jackman gets to the essence of the man with an emotional power he has rarely shown in his other roles. Jackman and Jean are an irresistible pairing, and if he can get past the Lincoln juggernaut, he could become the first actor since Rex Harrison in 1964 to win this prize for a full-on musical role. And how ironic it is that Harrison was the last actor in a major musical who himself attempted live singing on film? A good omen, perhaps? Joaquin Phoenix | The Master Almost from the moment The Master started screening, it seemed inevitable Phoenix would be among

the year’s best actor nominees, in spite of his early comments about disdain for the Oscar race itself. In a risky performance that recalls the best of Marlon Brando or Al Pacino, Phoenix nails it in a riveting turn as a man searching for answers in a post-World War II America. His scenes opposite Philip Seymour Hoffman as the cult leader trying to lure him in are about as electrifying as screen acting gets these days. However, the Paul Thomas Anderson movie itself has polarized audiences and received its only three nominations in the acting categories, which will make it hard for Phoenix to prevail in the end. If he does, that extraordinary one-on-one encounter with Hoffman at the movie’s end will be the reason. Denzel Washington | Flight As an alcoholic, drug-addicted airline pilot who has to summon every ounce of courage and skill he has to crash-land a plane while intoxicated, Washington has one of the stellar roles of his career. As Whip Whitaker, an enormously talented pilot but a man battling his own demons, Washington shows the dark side of an alcoholic that the screen has rarely seen. His character is so despicable and helpless that it makes it especially impressive that some audience members are even rooting for him to get away with it. Washington says he turned to YouTube to study what many drunks are like and incorporated that into his research. Whatever he did pays off in director Robert Zemeckis’ gritty adult drama that has earned this two-time Oscar winner his sixth nomination. Continued on next page...


Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty Emmanuelle Riva in Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis in Beasts of the Southern Wild

...from previous

Super Troupers

BEST ACTRESS Jessica Chastain | Zero Dark Thirty Nabbing what has the be the premiere, grittiest, gutsiest, take-no-prisoners female role of the year as a CIA agent who methodically tracks down Osama bin Laden’s hiding place, Chastain continues her remarkable rise to the top tier of film actors. Essaying a role about a woman who is not beholden to a man in any way, personally or professionally, Chastain dominates the film with an impressive mix of toughness, cunning, self-doubt, anger, and power. The moment in which she reveals she is the “motherf----r” who tracked down bin Laden is priceless, perhaps the most satisfying line of the year. After watching most of her recent films sit on the shelf until suddenly being released one after another last year and nabbing her first Oscar nom in the supporting cast of The Help, Chastain proves she is the real deal as a leading player in Zero Dark, with a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award already on her mantel with obviously more to come. Jennifer Lawrence | Silver Linings Playbook As Tiffany, a tough but endearing young widow who wears armor on the outside but is trying to put the pieces of her life back together with the help of Pat Jr. (Bradley Cooper), Lawrence at age 22 pretty much shocked the industry with an all-knowing and richly rewarding performance that can be compared to Shirley MacLaine’s Fran Kubelik in The Apartment or even Cher’s Oscar-winning turn in Moonstruck. Like

18

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

those actors, she walks the fine line between comedy and drama, delivering a flesh-and-blood, flawed human being we want to root for. In a role designed for an older actress, Lawrence proves she can probably do it all, and her best actress nomination for Winter’s Bone two years ago was definitely not a fluke. If there is a silver lining at all in this year’s Oscar race, it’s that Jennifer Lawrence is a keeper, one to watch for decades to come. Emmanuelle Riva | Amour At 85, she is the oldest best actress nominee ever, and in fact, turns 86 on Oscar day, Feb. 24. It would be a nice birthday gift to give this veteran French actress that statuette—and she could get it, even though the film is foreign and in French, and those aren’t usually easy things to overcome. As a wife finding her health failing and the end of her life nearing, Riva is heartbreaking but never drifting into sentiment as she deals with the nightmare of aging, leaving her husband, brilliantly played by Jean-Louis Trintignant, to care for her when all she wants is to keep her dignity as life fades away. It was easy to see that this star, previously best known for 1960’s Hiroshima Mon Amour (there’s that word again), would be nominated. Nearly every actor’s branch member I talked to mentioned her name first when I asked who their favorite was. The role—and the player—touched many in a story that hits very close to home. Quvenzhané Wallis | Beasts of the Southern Wild At just 9 years old, Wallis is the opposite of Emmanuelle Riva, the youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. And in truth, she was a total

Naomi Watts in The Impossible

nonprofessional 6-year-old when she tore up the screen as Hushpuppy, a determined girl who must face nature’s cruel ways while trying to keep her life together in the most primitive part of the Delta. It’s about as fierce and nuanced a performance you will see from an actress at any age, never mind a child. Kids are often taken for granted and overlooked in the big Oscar categories, with voters thinking the director might have used a bag of tricks to get the goods. This was a performance that simply couldn’t be ignored. Naomi Watts | The Impossible Playing the real-life survivor of the disastrous 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Watts had what she admits is the toughest, most daunting role of her career playing Maria Belon, who struggles to survive and bring her family back together after the waves hit their hotel and separate them. From a physical sense, there are few actresses who have ever had to endure more, and Watts spent the better part of a month being battered around in a water tank to demonstrate her character’s sheer will to live. But physical challenges aside, what makes Watts so effective here is also the essence of great screen acting. She plays it with her eyes, those soulful eyes that tell us so much about what she is going through and who she is. Watts is the sole nominee for this extraordinary film, so she might have an uphill climb, but if voters watch it, she could be the big surprise on Oscar night.


11

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS ®

INCLUDING

BEST PICTURE

BEST BEST ADAPTED DIRECTOR SCREENPLAY ANG LEE DAVID MAGEE

9

GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD ®

WINNER BEST ORIGINAL SCORE MYCHAEL DANNA

“A

BAFTA AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING

BEST PICTURE

BEST DIRECTOR ANG LEE

MASTERPIECE.” BETSY SHARKEY

DGA AWARD

WGA AWARD

ADG AWARD

ASC AWARD

BEST DIRECTOR ANG LEE

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT

NOMINEE

NOMINEE

NOMINEE

ACE EDDIE AWARD

VES AWARD

MPSE AWARD

EXCELLENCE IN EDITING

OUTSTANDING VISUAL EFFECTS

BEST SOUND EDITING

NOMINEE

NOMINEE

NOMINEE

NOMINEE

WINNER

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

WINNER

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARDS

©2013 Twentieth Century Fox


MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS

David O. Sel znick The 12th Academy Awards took place at the Ambassador Hotel on Feb. 29, 1940, honoring a year that produced some of the most enduring films in history. Not only did David O. Selznick’s Gone With the Wind earn a recordbreaking eight statuettes— including picture, director for Victor Fleming, and actress for Vivien Leigh—but other well-known classics enjoyed nominations, including Dark Victory, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, and The Wizard of Oz. Frank Capra was both a nominee and director of the show, having sold the rights to a documentary of the proceedings to Warner Bros. Bob Hope hosted for the first time, although the Los Angeles Times eliminated some of the suspense by printing the winners in its evening edition, which attendees could read on the way to the ceremony. Robert Donat earned a best actor award for Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

“Paramount executive Y. Frank Freeman was called upon to bestow the best picture award. Since there was no longer any question as to what was going to win, Freeman kidded, ‘The only reason I was called upon to give this honor is because I have a Southern accent.’ Handing Selznick the award, Freeman drawled, ‘I present this trophy to you, David Selznick. But David, I never saw so many soldiers as were used in Gone With the Wind. Believe me, if the Confederate Army had that many, we would have licked you damn Yankees.’”

Excerpt from Inside Oscar (Damien Bona, Ballantine

Books, 1996) detailing David O. Selznick’s best picture Oscar acceptance for Gone With the Wind, which went through two directors—George Cukor and Sam Wood— prior to Victor Fleming. © A.M.P.A.S.


MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS The 25th Academy Awards ceremony took place March 19, 1953, at the Pantages Theater. It was hosted by Bob Hope—his sixth time as emcee— and the ceremony aired on television for the very first time, despite the movie industry’s reticence to embrace the new medium. Although commercial TV had only been around for about five years, the Oscar telecast drew the largest audience to date. Gary Cooper won best actor for High Noon; Shirley Booth was best actress for Come Back, Little Sheba; and best director was John Ford for The Quiet Man.

20

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

Cecil B. DeMille

“On behalf of the thousands that it took to make The Greatest Show on Earth, I thank you for them. For the stars and the electricians, for the circus people, for their bravery. I thank you for all of them because I am only one little link in a chain that produced that picture. And I’m very happy for them. Thank you.”  ecil B. DeMille (with Katherine DeMille Quinn, left, and Gloria Grahame) accepting the 1952 C best picture Oscar for The Greatest Show on Earth. He earned the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award that same year. His only other statuette was an honorary Oscar in 1950.

© A.M.P.A.S.


MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS

Sam Spiegel

The 35th Academy Awards took place April 8, 1963, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, and Frank Sinatra had hosting duties for the first time. Lawrence of Arabia was the big winner of the night, taking home seven statuettes, including picture and director for David Lean. Best actor was Gregory Peck for To Kill a Mockingbird and best actress was Anne Bancroft for The Miracle Worker.

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is no magic formula for creating good pictures. They are made with the serious, concerted hard work by everyone connected in the making of them: The writer, the director, the technicians, the actors, thousands of employees off the picture during the making of it. In behalf of all of those who sweated months in the desert to create this picture, I deeply, sincerely thank the voters of the Academy and proudly accept this honor, proudly and humbly. Thank you.” S am Spiegel (with Olivia de Havilland) accepting the 1962 best picture Oscar for Lawrence of Arabia. He won two other Oscars, for 1954’s On the Waterfront and 1957’s Bridge on the River Kwai, plus earned the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1964. © A.M.P.A.S.


MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS The 62nd Academy Awards took place March 26, 1990, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Billy Crystal taking his maiden voyage as host. Longtime telecast producer Gil Cates held the reins behind the scenes for the first time, as well. The low-budget favorite Driving Miss Daisy earned a total of four Oscars, including best actress for Jessica Tandy and best picture. Daniel Day-Lewis took home best actor for My Left Foot, and directing honors went to Oliver Stone for Born on the Fourth of July. 22

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

Richard D. & Lili Fini Zanuck

“Thank you, Academy. We’re up here for really one very simple reason, and that’s the fact that Bruce Beresford is a brilliant director. It’s as simple as that.” [Ed. note: Beresford did not receive a directing nom that year]. R  ichard D. Zanuck accepting the 1989 best picture Oscar for Driving Miss Daisy. He earned one more Oscar in 1991, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award.

“I hope I’m as religious all the rest of the year as I’ve been the last two months. I would very much like to thank the Academy for honoring us and making my mama so proud. Thank you.”  ili Fini Zanuck accepting the 1989 best picture Oscar L for Driving Miss Daisy. © A.M.P.A.S.


MOMENTS IN OSCAR HISTORY, PART 1:

THE PRODUCERS

Saul Zaent z

The 69th Academy Awards took place March 24, 1997, at the Shrine Auditorium. Billy Crystal, by now a familiar face at the telecast, hosted for the fifth time. But the ceremony did have a first: No major studio took home any Oscars in the major categories. The picture and director prizes went to The English Patient; best actor was Geoffrey Rush for Shine; and best actress went to Frances McDormand for Fargo. All were independently produced features.

“I said my cup was full before, now it runneth over. I’d like to thank actors. I love actors. Producers are supposed to not be in love with them, but I love ’em. And I love writers and directors, too. And everyone who worked on the picture, for what they did in making the picture happen. When we were shut down, ran out of money, everyone stayed there in Italy, without pay. Then Harvey and Bob Weinstein came through and financed the picture—we had final cut, though.” S aul Zaentz accepting the 1996 best picture Oscar for The English Patient. At the same ceremony, he also earned the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. English Patient marked his third best picture win following 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and 1984’s Amadeus.

© A.M.P.A.S.


On the day of nominations, we asked the nominees about their mantras and takeaways, not only about surviving Oscar season, but their showbiz careers as well.

By Anthony D’Alessandro

The Tao of Oscar

Nominees Offer Axioms to Live by—or at Least Campaign With

“I think one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that you can’t get yourself so emotionally caught up and speculate what happens. What I love about this season is the people you meet in the process. There are many friends I’ve met in these awards cocktail environments, and this year, there’s so many wonderful movies and filmmakers. These are people I’ve come to look forward to seeing, and that’s the part I really enjoy.” —Kathleen Kennedy, producer of Lincoln, who has her eighth best picture nomination.

“Just stay humble. Don’t be precious. Keep your head down and keep working and try to keep it real and raw. Anything outside of that is overthinking it. Then you’re in the wrong place.” —Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell, who earns his first adapted screenplay nomination and second directing nomination after The Fighter.

“Enjoy as much as you can is my mantra during Oscar season. During the awards run of American Beauty, I met former Oscar winners who said that going through Oscar night was a complete blur to them. ‘I don’t remember a thing’ would have been the worst thing I could have imagined. I’m fortunate enough to have remembered.” —Silver Linings Playbook producer Bruce Cohen, a former best picture winner for American Beauty and nominee for Milk.

“My style is all shooting from the hip, living in the now. The first time (I was nominated), I had no clue what it actually meant. It was overwhelming, surreal. Now that I know, it’s a lot less stressful and more fun this time around.” —Director Mark Andrews, whose latest work, Brave, is nominated for best animated feature film. He was recognized in the animated shorts category for his 2005 Pixar short One Man Band.

24

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3


“Mantra? I have no mantra during Oscar season. I wish someone would tell me! I just hope they tell me where to walk and that I can still breathe in my dress and that the shoes aren’t too high or I have to ask, ‘I gotta wear those?’ (Awards season) is really falling down the rabbit hole. You’re a fool if you don’t go, ‘Wow!’ During the ’80s, we didn’t have all these Q&As or press. When it came time to buy my dress for Oscar night, I went to the store and bought one the day before. But that’s only because I’ve never been known for my glamour, but this time, it’s different.” —Lincoln best supporting actress nominee Sally Field, a two-time best actress Oscar winner for 1979’s Norma Rae and 1984’s Places in the Heart.

“Stay calm, stay cheerful, and keep your mind in gear. Last time at the Oscars, my husband watched me come down the red carpet and said that it took me an hour, and he counted that I spoke to 60 reporters. I’m always mindful not to be grumpy during interviews. It’s the grumpy one that always gets the attention. Do every interview as though it’s your first and you’re not getting overwhelmed with awe, fear or nerves.” —Silver Linings Playbook actress Jacki Weaver, who has her second best supporting actress nomination after 2010’s Animal Kingdom.

“At times this screenplay ruined my life decisions. I would be getting offers to direct a movie, and my wife would go silent and remind me that I have to make Flight. No one would make this movie with me, as it’s an R-rated drama and they’re not good for business. It took the passion of Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington to roll up their sleeves for 45 days and to waive their fees. And they invited me along for the ride. Bob let me be a true partner. It was a dream scenario. For all the stuff that didn’t go right, Flight knocked on my door.” —Flight screenwriter John Gatins on weathering the 12-year development of his first Oscar-nominated screenplay.

“(When you’re going through awards season), it really helps to love the film that you’re in. I’m lucky to have been recognized in two films (Zero Dark Thirty, The Help) that have been powerful for women. That’s something to talk about. And I love letting people see my passion for the work at the Q&As.” —Zero Dark Thirty actress Jessica Chastain, who earns her second Oscar nomination as Maya the CIA agent after her supporting turn as the southern belle Celia Foote in The Help.

“I’m a bit of an old cynic in my approach to awards season. We’ve been fortunate enough to have been doing this for a long time, so you just keep marching on. Just do your best. We’ve got five other films in editing that are coming out this year, so there are always many things to focus on.” —Les Misérables producer and Working Title cochair Eric Fellner whose production company is consistently in the awards conversation. Fellner has three best picture nominations for 1998’s Elizabeth, 2007’s Atonement, and 2008’s Frost/Nixon.

Cari Lynn contributed to this article.


Long Story Short

Rule Changes and a Theatrical Program Are Helping Short Films Find a Bigger Audience

Although

short films have been a part of the Oscars since 1931, the live-action, animation, and documentary shorts categories are getting more time in the spotlight than ever before. Voting on the winners in each category will be open to the entire Academy membership for the first time this year, and the Academy is sending DVDs of the nominees to every member—two changes that Jon Bloom, who chairs the short films and feature animation branch, says were important to the executive committee. “It is, for us, a bit of an experiment,” Bloom explains. “Everything within the Academy about the awards is a work in progress from the standpoint that we’re all always trying to make things better.” Nevertheless, it’s all about visibility when making voters and viewers take notice of these small yet powerful categories. And Bloom points to the theatrical and video-on-demand program, Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013, that DirecTV’s ShortsHD shortmovie channel began offering to consumers eight years ago as helping elevate the profile of short films. “The huge breakthrough was to think of the shorts as a collection, meaning being feature length and being available in a way that fits,” Bloom says of the program, which packages each category of film into a theatrical, iTunes, and VOD presentation. “By having the Academy’s seal of approval on a handful of shorts that are being touted as special, then having audiences respond to those, has been very gratifying for us.” It has also been a relatively successful venture for ShortsHD, its distribution partner Magnolia Films, and the nominated filmmakers. Theatrical receipts have increased 800% since the program’s 2005 debut, and 2012’s package ranked in the top 50 grossing independent releases, earning $1.7 million nationwide.

By CHRISTY GROSZ

“Last year, we made a 5% return on the release. We consider it marketing, rather than something we’re trying to make money on,” ShortsHD CEO Carter Pilcher says, adding that each nominated filmmaker receives a $5,000 flat-fee advance. “After we recover the costs of the release—we work very hard not to make them very expensive—we then do a 50/50 split on all the receipts.” (The documentary shorts are part of the doc branch, and four of the five nominees are owned by HBO, so ShortsHD pays a fee for the right to include them in the release.)

26

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

Making short films more accessible has increased Oscar submissions in the categories, as well. “The numbers are not staggering when you look at a Sundance that’s getting something like 7,500 shorts submitted to them,” Bloom says. “But this year, we had 120 live-action and 55 animated shorts. For us, that was a record number in those two categories. It’s partly the digital explosion that’s making tools and opportunities more plentiful and more affordable.” They’ve have also become an appealing alternative for international filmmakers looking for Academy validation, according to London-based Pilcher, who says this year’s rule changes are “one of the best things the Academy has done.” “We’re teaching them slowly that the other route to an Oscar for a national film is short film,” Pilcher says, adding that live-action and animation shorts Oscars are generally won by foreign filmmakers. “Countries find it very difficult to compete except in the foreignlanguage film category, but it’s an enormous political gunfight to decide which film of theirs will be the one to go to the Oscars.” Although the Oscars are watched less attentively east of France, anytime a local filmmaker gets a nomination, it’s cause for national celebration, says Pilcher, pointing to Belgian nominee Tom Van Avermaet, who directed the live-action Death of a Shadow. “They’re sending over TV crews. It has huge national interest suddenly. All of Belgium will be paying attention to this particular category,” Pilcher says. Receiving a nomination means a lot to filmmakers around the world, but a win can be career-changing, particularly for those who are already toiling in the trenches of Hollywood. For example, Chris Wedge’s 1999 win for Bunny made the industry take notice of the animation house he founded, Blue Sky, which ultimately partnered with Fox on the Ice Age movies. And Brave director Mark Andrews was nominated for his animated short One Man Band in 2006, no doubt raising his profile in Pixar. Whatever additional changes come to the categories, they will be about bringing attention to an artform that deserves to be seen. “In many ways, the shorts categories are the purest and most passionate of any of the Oscar categories because these are not big commercial projects. They’re labors of love,” Bloom explains. “We don’t think we’re pulling the train. We know that people are most interested in the features and in the glitzy stuff. But we’ve gained a tremendous amount of traction with the public in terms of excitement in the category, and not just from people who aspire to make a short and win an Oscar.”


Top row from left: Inocente, Kings Point, Mondays at Racine, Open Heart, Redemption Middle row: Death of a Shadow, Asad, Curfew, The Buzkashi Boys, Henry Bottom row: Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’, Paperman, Head Over Heels, Fresh Guacamole, Adam and Dog

Documentary

animation

LIVE ACTION

Inocente

Adam and Dog

Asad

Kings Point

Fresh Guacamole

Buzkashi Boys

Head Over Heels

Curfew

Nominees: Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine A 15-year-old homeless undocumented immigrant refuses to let her circumstances crush her dream of being an artist. Nominees: Sari Gilman and Jedd Wider Five seniors living in an American retirement resort grapple with themes of self-reliance, community, and aging.

Mondays at Racine

Nominees: Cynthia Wade and Robin Honan On the third Monday of every month, two sisters open their hair salon to women undergoing chemotherapy for free beauty services and camaraderie.

Open Heart

Nominees: Kief Davidson and Cori Shepherd Stern Eight Rwandan children take a long journey without their families to have heart-valve surgery to repair their rheumatic heart disease.

Redemption

Nominees: Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill A portrait of people called canners who survive in New York City by collecting bottles and cans and redeem them for cash.

Nominee: Minkyu Lee A story that explores the relationship between man and dog from the perspective of the canine who forms a bond with Adam in the Garden of Eden. Nominee: Adam Pesapane (PES) The avocado is a hand grenade and the lime is a golf ball in this stop-motion-animated two-minute demonstration on how to turn everyday objects into guacamole. Nominees: Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly A married couple live separate but parallel lives: She lives on the ceiling and he lives on the floor. When the husband tries to rekindle the spark, neither spouse can agree on how to fix their relationship.

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare

Nominee: David Silverman When Maggie gets dropped off at a new daycare and gets paired with the average kids, she spends the day trying to save a vulnerable cocoon from a classmate that likes to smash butterflies.

Paperman

Nominee: John Kahrs A chance meeting on the train platform leaves a lonely young man searching for the woman with whom he crossed paths.

Nominees: Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura An all-Somali-refugee cast brings to life the story of a boy who must choose between the life of a pirate and earning an honest living as a fisherman. Nominees: Sam French and Ariel Nasr Set against the backdrop of Afghanistan’s brutal game of horse polo, Buzkashi, this coming-of-age story follows two best friends as they progress to manhood in a wartorn country. Nominee: Shawn Christensen A man gets a call from his sister asking him to care for his 9-year-old niece.

Death of a Shadow

Nominees: Tom Van Avermaet and Ellen De Waele A soldier who died in World War I finds that a strange collector has imprisoned his shadow but gives him a new chance at life.

Henry

Nominee: Yan England A concert pianist’s life is thrown into disarray when the love of his life disappears.


In Perfect Harmony The Best Original Song Nominees at a Glance

By Anthony D’Alessandro

This year’s crop of contenders—a doc tune, a musical melody, a jazz ditty, and an Indian lullaby—are similar to the genres that the category has recognized in recent years.

“Before My Time” | Chasing Ice Music and lyrics by J. Ralph

Where it’s heard in the film: End credits Backstory: Looking to bring emotion to glacial meltdown, J. Ralph, who scored the Oscar-winning docs The Cove and Man on Wire, enlisted the breathy vocals of Scarlett Johansson and the touching high notes of violinist Joshua Bell. “As the song plays over the final sequence of the film,” Ralph says, “I wanted to create a transportive, hypnotic experience where the audience could absorb all they had seen, as if Scarlett is singing to each person individually. The song explores the dialogue between mankind and nature and the perception of time. In the end, no one is bigger than Mother Nature.” Odds: Given the Academy’s penchant for songs that earnestly jibe with a film’s sensibility, don’t count out “Before My Time” just because it’s tagged to the end of a documentary. Just six years ago, the Academy gave an Oscar to Melissa Etheridge’s call-to-action environmental song “I Need to Wake Up” from An Inconvenient Truth.

Pop-radio songs, which arguably have been sparse over the last 10 years with the exception of the Beyoncé-performed Dreamgirls song “Listen” and Eminem’s Oscar winner

“Lose Yourself ” from 8 Mile, marked their return this year with Adele’s James Bond ballad “Skyfall.” A glance at this year’s best song nominees:

I Didn’t Have You” from Monsters, Inc. It’s reminiscent of a Rat Pack standard, a genre MacFarlane knows best, having crooned such tunes on Family Guy and his big-band album Music Is Better Than Words.

romantic tone like other 007 ballads, the duo opted to reflect the film’s death and rebirth narrative in their song. And that homage to Monty Norman’s famous four-note Bond theme? Clearly intentional. Odds: Even though this is the first Bond song nomination in 31 years (the last being Bill Conti and Mick Leeson’s “For Your Eyes Only”), 007 ballads are typically bridesmaids, and the Academy has been deaf to Top 40 tunes. However, Adele’s bluesy alto and the song’s hypnotic melody are sublime.

“Pi’s Lullaby” | Life of Pi

Music by Mychael Danna; lyrics by Bombay Jayashri

Where it’s heard in the film: Opening credits Backstory: “Ang’s thought was to have the film start in this children’s paradise, in a zoo—the place where Pi sprang from. It’s beautiful, literally enclosed with these marvelous animals and a mother’s love. And the best way to get this across was with a lullaby. Jayashri’s an established south Indian classical singer, and if I was an Indian boy, I would like my mother to have her voice,” Danna says. Odds: Very good given the Academy’s embrace of worldmusic tunes such as “Jai Ho” from Slumdog Millionaire and “Al Otro Lado del Rio” from The Motorcycle Diaries, but Fox knows the types of niche tunes that sound sweet to voters’ ears: between 2007-09, the studio’s indie arm Fox Searchlight swept this category each year with songs from Once, Slumdog, and Crazy Heart.

“Everybody Needs a Best Friend” | Ted

Music by Walter Murphy; lyrics by Seth MacFarlane

Where it’s heard in the film: Opening credits Backstory: “I had always wanted to have a song upfront in a showy way (in Ted) and have lamented the recent trend of putting credits at the end of the movie,” MacFarlane says. “It seems like a little oldfashioned showmanship gets lost when that happens. Walter Murphy remains one of the few composers I know who can write a catchy melody and keep it new.” Odds: The chances of this song winning aren’t impossible. If anything, since 2000 voters have lauded adorable jazzy songs like Randy Newman’s Pixar twofister “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 and “If 28

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3

J. Ralph, songwriter of “Before My Time”

“Skyfall” | Skyfall

Music and lyrics by Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth

Where it’s heard in the film: Opening credits Backstory: Adele and her “Rolling in the Deep” song scribe Epworth spent months tweaking “Skyfall” in order to hit its dynamic gravity. Rather than go with a

“Suddenly” | Les Misérables

Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg; lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

Where it’s heard in the film: Jean Valjean rescues Fantine’s daughter Cosette from the Thenardiers. Backstory: Director Tom Hooper requested the song from the musical’s original lyricist and composers after reading the passage in Victor Hugo’s novel. “We called the song ‘Suddenly’ because Valjean suddenly discovers the world is not all bad, it’s not about revenge and hatred,” explains Boublil. Odds: A number of original tunes from Broadway big-screen adaptations have been recognized over the last decade, i.e. 2006 when three Dreamgirls songs made the category. However, the last one to win was 16 years ago: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “You Must Love Me” from Evita. Nonetheless, it’s always better to have the original songwriters on the case, which is what team Les Mis did correctly.


View Finders

This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Cinematographers Pinpoint Their Favorite Scenes

Anna Karenina

The Scene: In a single sweeping, shot Vronsky (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) leads Anna Karenina (Keira Knightley) on the dance floor at a high-society ball, with their electricity igniting movement from the other dancers. They connect in a moment of silence, and, for a moment, the auditorium is empty before the dancers return, bringing the star-struck couple back to reality.

Django Unchained

The Scene: A flashback, in which Django (Jamie Foxx) fails to convince the Brittle brothers not to whip his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington).

Life of Pi

The Scene: Young Pi (Gautam Belur) attends a spectacular candlelit ceremony with his Hindu mother as his older self narrates his and his family’s differing views on religion.

LINCOLN

The Scene: Having successfully passed the 13th amendment and ending the Civil War, Lincoln (Daniel Day-Lewis) is reminded he is due at the theater and walks down the halls of the White House toward a greenish window and the exit.

Skyfall

The Scene: James Bond (Daniel Craig) engages his target, a professional hit man (Ola Rapace), in a fight to the death in an under-construction skyscraper illuminated by a massive LED screen at night in Shanghai.

Seamus McGarvey

ROBERT RICHARDSON

Claudio Miranda

Janusz Kaminski

Roger Deakins

30

JA N UA RY 3 0, 2 0 1 3


In a year filled with remarkable imagery, the work of

The nominees bring broad experience to their films. Seamus McGarvey, nominated for shooting Anna Karenina with director Joe Wright, came to the project off

the summer blockbuster Avengers; Robert Richardson shot his fourth film with Quentin Tarantino with Django Unchained; Claudio Miranda went both digital and 3D to lens Life of Pi for Ang Lee; Janusz Kaminski made his 13th film with Steven Spielberg in shooting Lincoln; and Roger Deakins ventured into the world of James Bond with Skyfall.

AwardsLine asked the five nominees for Oscar’s Best Achievement in Cinematography to pick a key scene and break it down in detail. The choices, like the nominated films themselves, speak to the challenges inherent in the craft and its essential importance to making a movie.

Behind the Scene: “(Director) Joe (Wright) worked very closely with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui on the choreography of the scene, and the actors rehearsed it very much in advance to create a gestural language for this dance—one that wasn’t a classical waltz; it was fresh and modern and expressive. What we also explored with it was the idea of the photography shifting in its personality during the take, so we would migrate from a kind of an objective point of view to a subjective

one within the same shot, and that the camera would shift perspective within the shot and then back again. From a lighting point of view, it allowed me to experiment with lighting that I had never tried before— theatrical lighting within a movie setting. All those things make it gently distinctive in terms of the film. On the day of, we had a plan for how we would shoot it, and we spent quite a bit of time planning the shot and planning the choreography. I had a huge amount

of work to do in terms of programming the lighting changes because even as the camera is moving around in a circle, there are quite complex shifts in the lighting that I was controlling on a wireless pad, with which we were able to cue the lights live to preprogrammed settings. There were probably 30 or 40 cues in that one shot. But it has a simplicity. You don’t want to overwhelm the shot or the emotion of the shot with trickery.”

Behind the Scene: “The style is wildly different than the majority of sequences within Django Unchained. When Quentin talked to me of the scene, he asked that we shoot with two cameras, which is quite rare for us. He knew that an emotion and a spiritual space would be found once we began filming, and he wanted to capture that. Spiritual is an understatement. Shooting the scene was an act of enlightenment. Both Jamie and Kerry poured their hearts and their souls into the sequence. To watch the acting on set was extremely difficult for me, as it moved further and further away from acting or as I moved further and further from perceiving it as acting. When I was

photographing Jamie, I noticed clouds race across his eyes then mist raised as he fell to his knees begging, tears sliding down his cheeks. Kerry was tied tightly to a wooden frame, stripped of her clothes, and one of the Brittle brothers pulled back a whip and fiercely let go. Kerry lurched from the lashing. Her screams stopped everyone on the set. I began shooting within a state rarely achieved: A blind desire to capture this particular moment that was so very real that, in hindsight, I know was out of place for a feature film. Deeply provoked and touched by the acting, which appeared to disappear as we settled into the past. It was as if we were transported through time.

The setting, meaning the location, was on Evergreen Plantation, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Two-hundred-year-old live oaks covered the property. Beneath these stunning trees sat 20 or so slave quarters. Ironic to have such beauty atop such hideous history. We filmed amidst those slave quarters. Haunting. A vital slap of reality. What was extremely challenging was to maintain a vision for the scene when the events within the frame were as powerful as these were. Documentaries can mirror the moment described above. But I have experienced few in my career that rival.”

Behind the Scene: “It’s supposed to be big, with lots of light and spectacle. So I thought it would be really beautiful to try to fill this place with tons of candles. And I said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we could totally light the space with candles? How many would it be?’ And we were kind of walking around and measuring, and Ang (Lee) was talking like we should have

one for every square foot. That’s 50,000 candles! We had to have that lit for the whole night, so I think we ordered 120,000. I don’t think it still was enough, and we added more with CG. The story was a little bit more about the mother—this was her religion, and they were taking her to this place and she was very introspective at that moment. That was shot pretty

early on, just outside of Pondicherry. It was a scene about getting the kid. The kid was young and sometimes a little bit hard to get. We did know the beats. and we did go through those beats, and we wanted to be getting some angles on top—and we shot until the sun came up.”

Behind the Scene: “It’s not a difficult shot. I just like the metaphor of it, and that’s what makes it special. I chose that shot simply because it represents the metaphor of what is going to happen. This is the last time we are seeing him, except for his death bed. And I like that he’s going toward slightly greenish glass, which resembles the light on his death bed, which had a little bit of a greenish quality. He’s almost walking toward

an unknown future, which as we learn quickly, it’s death. One of the difficulties was to find the proper choreography between Mr. Slade, who was his servant, who was trying to remind the president about taking his gloves with him, and the pace and direction of the president walking toward that glass window. I think we had done several takes, because somehow we couldn’t get the coordination between the camera

and the actors’ movement. I also remember it was very dimly lit. It was probably not the brightest set that I’ve done in that particular movie. We wanted a bit of a silhouette of Lincoln going toward the exit of the White House. We all know what happens to him, and it’s a combination of sadness because he’s going to die but yet it’s not a completely depressed scene because he’s achieved so much.”

Behind the Scene: “It’s one we shot early on, and I felt I was taking a chance by suggesting or pushing for that kind of look, the big LED screens and light and the whole set just with those source lights that you see in the shot. Also the fact that we did it on stage as opposed to a location, which was the original intention. And I was quite pleased the way it turned out. When it’s one of the earlier scenes in a shoot, you feel a sense of relief that you’ve achieved something close

to what you had in your mind’s eye when you started. We spent a lot of time prepping. Obviously it was a big stage set, and there was a lot of very particular lighting that was built into the set. We spent actually weeks and weeks testing a few different big LED screens for the playbacks. And then we had to order a particular one we liked, which was a combination of being a fine pixel count and also being practical to do in the size we wanted, because it was about 60 by about 40 or 50

feet, I think. And we had to find one we could rent for the period we needed it and, in fact, it was available for only a small window of time, so we had to shoot the scene and then it had to be broken down and sent back before we had really cut the scene. It was a bit of a risk in it, really. But it was good being on stage at Pinewood because we were shooting there quite a bit, and I could go in at the end of the shoot day and look at the lighting and just gradually build it. ”

the Oscar-nominated cinematographers stands out as integral to the success of the movies they shot.

By Thomas J. McLean


2012-2013 AwardsLine Oscar Print Editions: Issue 08