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

DIRECTOR/ SCREENPLAY ISSUE

PeTe HaMMonD’S Final

OsCaR NiGHT PReDiCTiONs

CeReMONY

PRevieW ProDUCerS ZADAN & MERON on

WHaT’S in STore

ONliNe vOTiNG THe aCaDeMy’S roCky eXPeriMenT

aWaRDsliNe PreSenTS

MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe| DiReCTORs | | | CAPRA WYLER WILDER BEATTY POLLACK


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ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS ®

BEST PICTURE GRANT HESLOV

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

CHRIS TERRIO

ALAN ARKIN

BEN AFFLECK

BEST FILM EDITING

WILLIAM GOLDENBERG,

A.C.E.

GEORGE CLOONEY

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE ALEXANDRE DESPLAT

BEST SOUND EDITING ERIK AADAHL

BEST SOUND MIXING PRODUCTION SOUND MIXER

JOSE ANTONIO GARCIA

“THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR.

RE-RECORDING MIXERS

JOHN REITZ GREGG RUDLOFF

ARGO FEELS IMMEDIATE AND RELEVANT.

A SEAMLESS BLEND OF DRAMA AND BREATHTAKING SUSPENSE.” CHRISTY LEMIRE,

WINNER

BEST PICTURE PRODUCERS GUILD AWARDS GOLDEN GLOBE® AWARDS CRITICS’ CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS

WINNER

WINNER

BEST ENSEMBLE

WGA

BEST DIRECTOR

SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS®

AWARD NOMINEE

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS GOLDEN GLOBE® AWARDS CRITICS’ CRITICS CHOICE AWARDS

CHRIS TERRIO

IT’S THE BEST FILM OF THE YEAR BECAUSE IT IS ABOVE ALL ELSE – A MOVIE – PURE, STRONG AND SOUND.– ROGER EBERT IT’S SERIOUS AND SUBSTANTIVE, INGENIOUSLY WRITTEN AND EXECUTED. IT’S SUPERBLY CRAFTED AND DARKLY FUNNY WITH PITCH-PERFECT PERFORMANCES.

– ANN HORNADAY

– CLAUDIA PUIG

IT GETS EVERY CINEMATIC DETAIL RIGHT. IT NABS YOU AT THE START AND NEVER MAKES A WRONG MOVE.

– JOE NEUMAIER

ARGO HAS IT ALL.

– JOE MORGENSTERN

THE BEST REVIEWED FILM OF THE YEAR ON OVER F O R

150

Y O U R

TOP 10 LISTS

C O N S I D E R AT I O N

WWW.WARNERBROS2012.COM

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OSCAR SEASON 2012—2013

EDITORIAL TEAM

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

TaBle OF CONTeNTs 50)

DESIGN, PRODUCTION & MARKETING

aWaRDs| liNe CReaTive DiReCTOR

Jason Farrell

36) 06)

GeTTiNG THe vOTe

08)

eDuCaTeD Guesses

12)

CaPTaiN’s QuaRTeRs

20)

eNviRONMeNTal FaCTORs

GRaPHiC DesiGNeR

Erik Denno MaRKeTiNG CONsulTaNT

Madelyn Hammond sR. DiReCTOR, aDveRTisiNG OPeRaTiONs

Cham Kim

08)

aDveRTisiNG OPeRaTiONs

Edward Ko Sam Berman

48)

aWaRDs| liNe CONTRiBuTiNG PHOTOGRaPHeR

26) 27)

Jeff Vespa

DIRECTOR/ SCREENPLAY ISSUE

The Academy’s online-voting experiment got off to a rocky start.

Deadline’s Pete Hammond gives his last-minute predictions about who is likely to take home a trophy on Oscar night.

The five nominated directors reveal the scenes that were the stormiest during production.

Attention to detail and fastidious research link the nominees for production design.

ON WiTH THe sHOW

Craig Zadan and Neil Meron say they’ve been planning the big night since they first got the Oscar-producing gig in August.

aWaRDsliNe PreSenTS

MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe DiReCTORs

FOuNDeR, CHaiRMaN & CeO

Jay Penske

Featuring Frank Capra, William Wyler, Billy Wilder, Warren Beatty, and Sydney Pollack

eXeCuTive viCe PResiDeNT

Paul Woolnough svP eNTeRTaiNMeNT sales

Nic Paul vP PaRTNeRsHiPs & PRODuCT

Craig Perreault vP FiNaNCe

Ken DelAlcazar GM eNTv/PMC sTuDiOs

44)

Michael Davis vP eNTeRTaiNMeNT sales

Shelby Haro

32)

MaKiNG MaGiC

34)

NOTes OF THe seasON

36)

MasTeR eDiTORs

40)

ReaDiNG BeTWeeN THe liNes

44)

ORiGiNal DiN

48)

FasHiON aBle

50)

HisTORY RePeaTs

sR. eNTeRTaiNMeNT sales DiReCTOR

Cathy Goepfert CONsuMeR sales DiReCTORs

Debbie Goldberg

32)

eNTeRTaiNMeNT aND TeCH sales MaNaGeR

26)

Carra Fenton aCCOuNT MaNaGeR

Tiffany Windju Lauren Stagg aDveRTisiNG iNQuiRies

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

40)

IS THE PARENT COMPANY AND OWNER OF:

40)

Visual effects have transcended genres to become a seamless part of the plot.

The original score race has four composers who have never won, plus a veteran who has five Oscars.

Film editors discuss the critical cutting choices they made in pivotal scenes.

Adapting a book for the screen requires a steady hand.

The nominated scribes talk about what their original screenplays required.

The red carpet often precedes the catwalk when it comes to making a sartorial splash.

The race for the Academy Award 50 years ago looks surprisingly similar to this year.


glaad award nominee

THE YEAR’S MOST HONORED

WINNER

CHICAGO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

WINNER

ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE ®

DALLAS-FT. WORTH FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

WINNER

ONLINE FILM CRITICS

WINNER

LAS VEGAS FILM CRITICS SOCIETY

WINNER

DENVER FILM CRITICS SOCIETY

WINNER

ALLIANCE OF WOMEN FILM JOURNALISTS

WINNER

SAN DIEGO FILM CRITICS SOCIETY

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To meet the artists and experience an interactive video, interviews, slideshows and more, go


ACHIEVEMENT IN ANIMATED ARTISTRY

WINNER

SAN FRANCISCO FILM CRITICS CIRCLE

WINNER

SOUTHEASTERN FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

WINNER

BOSTON ONLINE FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

WINNER

UTAH FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

WINNER

TORONTO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

There’s nothing wrong with being scared Norman, so long as you don’t let it change who you are.

WINNER

VILLAGE VOICE FILM CRITICS POLL

WINNER

CENTRAL OHIO FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

WINNER WASHINGTON DC AREA FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION

look at the artistry behind “ParaNorman,” with to: www.focusguilds2012.com/pnbooklet

WASHINGTON DC AREA FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION


POll POsiTiON BY PeTe HaMMOND

The Academy’s First Foray Into Online Voting Hasn’t Been Without Some Nail-Biting Moments This year the big question hasn’t been exactly who Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members are going to vote for, it has been instead whether they can figure out how to vote at all. With the advent of online voting for the first time in Academy history, the path during the nomination balloting hasn’t been a smooth one for many voters. Some found that the Academy’s security steps, necessary to avoid hackers, have also kept voters out, forcing them to make repeated attempts at getting their ballot completed. Although all the guilds and other voting groups have moved full force into the world of online voting, the Academy went through a slow, methodical process before finally settling on Everyone Counts, a company known for working with the U.S. government in a similar capacity. Unlike most industry groups, the Academy is a prime target for infiltration by cyber terrorists who would like nothing more than to gain access to vote totals and embarrass the high-profile Oscar process, which in 85 years has never been compromised. But keeping voting hacker-proof caused its own set of issues, when in November the Academy had to extend its registration period after member complaints. After that, AMPAS also backed down and agreed to send an old-fashioned paper ballot to any member who had paid their dues but hadn’t bothered or didn’t know how to register for online voting. All along, the Academy offered paper ballots as an alternative but initially had required a one-time registration for those as well—something longtime members used to getting ballots in the mail automatically didn’t realize.

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F E B R UA RY 1 3 , 2 0 1 3

Many voters said they were able to vote online with no problems, but a large and very vocal group complained that they were locked out of the system and had to spend valuable time trying to vote over the course of two or three days. Although the Academy sent out repeated email reminders, provided a ’round-the-clock phone number for member support, and set up kiosks in the lobby of its Beverly Hills headquarters, some members experienced great frustration. However, as president Hawk Koch told me on the morning of the Oscar nominations, the turnout was still the largest the Academy had seen for nominations in several years. But he also said nothing was perfect on a first try. And before final voting began on Feb. 8 (ballots are due back on Feb. 19), the Academy sent members a detailed—some might say too complex—guidebook on how to accomplish online voting. The Academy also sent out emails offering the option of a paper ballot to anyone who wants one. From my admittedly nonscientific sample survey, a lot of members took them up on the offer by the deadline of Feb. 1. For those determined to enter the brave new world of electronic Oscar voting, the Academy told them they will need four things: 1) A voter identification number; 2) A voting password (not to be confused with their member password and one that must contain a mix of letters, numbers, and a special character); 3) A security code; and 4) A telephone where voters will receive their special code by text after entering their VIN and password.

The Academy’s E Voter Guide then takes the voter step by step into how to actually cast their ballot once they have successfully logged into the system in the first place. Some members told me it took them two or three tries after getting locked out for a 24-hour period to actually finish the task during nominations. If you try a password too many times, and it doesn’t work, you have to call the Academy support line to get a new one. Certainly Academy officials, who took great care before embarking on this new adventure for Oscar, are hoping this will get easier with time. It took the Screen Actors Guild seven years before they were comfortable that it was running smoothly enough to eliminate paper ballots. The Academy is dealing with a membership that might not be so tech savvy. But for an organization that is such a tempting target for hackers, it is not an easy task, and the option of paper ballots will probably be around for a long time. “Please tell them, just send me a paper ballot. I’m begging,” one Oscar-nominated longtime member told me.

‘‘

The bottom line is, if you want to vote, you will be able to vote. “What I can say is, we will not jeopardize the integrity of the Oscar ballot. We will make sure that everybody can vote,” Koch told me.

Please Tell THeM, JusT seND Me a PaPeR BallOT. i’M BeGGiNG.


ACADEMY AWARD® NOMINEE

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WES ANDERSON & ROMAN COPPOLA

SPIRIT AWARD NOMINEE

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WES ANDERSON & ROMAN COPPOLA

WRITERS GUILD NOMINEE

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

WES ANDERSON & ROMAN COPPOLA

WHAT KIND OF ” BIRD ARE YOU?

—Sam Shakusky

I was consciously trying to capture a sensation, which is that emotion of when you’re a 12-year-old and you fall in love.” “

WES ANDERSON

Directed by Wes Anderson Written by Wes Anderson & Roman Coppola

To experience the illustrated screenplay for this year’s most original motion picture, go to focusguilds2012.com/mrkscript


THe HOMe

sTReTCH The Oscar Ceremony Is Poised to Offer Several Twists and Turns For Awards Watchers

argo

Can’t we just end all this suspense about winners or losers and call it one massive tie this year? The 2012 crop of Oscar nominees, and films in general, is so impressively dense with quality it seems a shame the Academy has to pick just one winner in each category. But that’s the name of the game we play this time of year, and with ballots going out just as I had to turn this piece in, it is still a fluid situation as to just what the final results will be. With so many movies spread across many categories that are genuine contenders, a split vote resulting in some surprising twists and turns is possible, even though the various guild awards give a strong clue about industry sentiment. If the past is any indication, I am aware some readers might take these predictions as gospel and bet the farm on it in their Oscar pools, so I offer a disclaimer before we begin. I am not responsible for any monetary loss you might incur, nor do I expect 10% of any winnings. I am just trying to read the winds of Oscar after several months of analyzing every tea leaf. Here is where I have a hunch it stands, but try to check back for the online edition of this piece for any last-minute updates or changes. I anticipate I will be talking to many voters right up until the big night and reserve the right to tweak.

BY PeTe HaMMOND

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BesT PiCTuRe All season long, this has been about as wide open a race, and as competitive a field of contenders, as we have seen in many years. With nine nominees, the same number as last year, it has taken a while to figure out a surefire winner. But with key awards from the PGA, DGA, and SAG, in addition to best picture honors at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Movie Awards, Argo has clearly emerged as the frontrunner, a remarkable turn of events considering its director, Ben Affleck, was snubbed by the Academy’s directing branch Jan. 10. Oh, what a difference a few weeks makes. The big question is, can the Warner Bros. juggernaut maintain momentum and win Oscar’s top prize, even without that directing nomination? If so, it would be only the second film to win without a directing nom, following Driving Miss Daisy’s feat at the 1990 ceremony. With the best picture category holding the strongest possibility for success among Argo’s seven nominations, could it actually win here and nowhere else? Not likely, but it’s possible, especially in a year in which I think the Academy will be spreading the wealth. Lincoln, with a leading 12 nominations (a good, if not always correct, indicator), Silver Linings Playbook, and Life of Pi are probably still in the mix here as well but…. THe WiNNeR: Argo THe COMPeTiTiON: Amour, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Zero Dark Thirty

BesT aCTOR This is Daniel Day-Lewis’ to lose at this point. Playing such a well-known biographical figure is, of course, a big plus. But Day-Lewis brought a lot to the table and remains the guy to beat in an impossibly fine field of contenders. Day-Lewis’ biggest drawback is that he has already won this prize twice, and a third would be unprecedented for lead actors in Oscar history. Also no actor has ever won an Oscar for playing a U.S. president, another potential first. The Academy might want to reward equally deserving newcomers to the category like Hugh Jackman or Bradley

Cooper instead, but judging from the pile of precursor awards Day-Lewis has already won, it looks like you can bet a very large pile of $5 bills that he will make Oscar history with honest Abe. THe WiNNeR: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln THe COMPeTiTiON: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables; Joaquin Phoenix, The Master; Denzel Washington, Flight

BesT aCTRess I got this one wrong last year when Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) beat Viola Davis (The Help), and this is another tough one. The race for lead actress is hotly competitive, with both Silver Linings Playbook’s Jennifer Lawrence and Zero Dark Thirty’s Jessica Chastain claiming other early awards and also impressing with strong performances. Plus, never underestimate the so-called “babe factor” (thanks to the Academy’s dominant male membership) that this category often, but not always, favors. And a win here for either one could be a chance to give either of their movies an important award, while shutting them out elsewhere. The real wild card in this race is 85-yearold Emmanuelle Riva, whose performance in the foreign language film Amour has been widely praised and admired, particularly by her fellow actors, who comprise the Academy’s largest voting block. As the oldest best actress nominee ever (she actually turns 86 on Oscar Sunday), she could trigger a sentimental factor and a feeling that the others will have another shot someday. SAG champ Lawrence probably has the edge and is where the smart money’s going, but a split in this very fluid category could provide one of the evening’s most interesting stories. So going out on a limb…. THe WiNNeR: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour THe COMPeTiTiON: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Naomi Watts, The Impossible


Emmanuelle Riva in amour

Robert De Niro in Silver linings Playbook

Anne Hathaway in les Misérables

BesT suPPORTiNG aCTOR

BesT DiReCTOR

In a category of five former Oscar winners (a first indeed), I could actually see five different, and logical, results. Christoph Waltz took the Golden Globe, Philip Seymour Hoffman was the Critics Choice, and Tommy Lee Jones won at SAG. Alan Arkin is playing an industry insider in the enormously popular Argo, and the Weinstein Co. has been effectively reminding everyone Robert De Niro hasn’t won an Oscar in 32 years or even been nominated in 21 years. He’s coming up on the outside as Silver Linings Playbook has become a sizable hit. Truly, toss a coin here. There’s no true frontrunner, and a logical route to victory is possible for each one of these veterans.

With the quirky director’s branch going out of their way to snub DGA nominees Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper, and DGA winner Ben Affleck, we know for sure we can’t count on the usual spot-on correlation between the DGA winner and the eventual victor in this category. Affleck actually would have been my prediction to win here, but, alas, he’s not even nominated, which means voters might very well be splitting their vote for director and picture this year—certainly not unheard of in recent years but increasingly rare. As directors of the two films with the most nominations, Steven Spielberg for Lincoln and Ang Lee for Life of Pi, are the likely frontrunners, with Silver Linings Playbook’s David O. Russell coming up on the outside. If initial frontrunner Lincoln has been eclipsed in the best picture race, this is the place voters could come to kneel at the Spielberg-ian altar. Or not. Lee’s triumph in even managing to bring the “unfilmable” Pi to the screen just screams “directing,” and that could play very well here.

THe WiNNeR: Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook THe COMPeTiTiON: Alan Arkin, Argo; Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

BesT suPPORTiNG aCTRess Like the best actor race, this one has a clear frontrunner in Les Misérables’ Fantine, Anne Hathaway. Having won just about every precursor award including SAG, it looks like this year Hathaway will make it to Oscar’s stage without hosting the show. A video parody of her moving performance singing the signature, “I Dreamed a Dream” went viral but shouldn’t stand in her way. If any of the other contenders have a shot, it’s definitely Lincoln’s Mary Todd, Sally Field. We know Oscar likes her—they really, really like her (she’s won twice)—but it appears to be Hathaway’s year in the winner’s circle. THe WiNNeR: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables THe COMPeTiTiON: Amy Adams, The Master; Sally Field, Lincoln; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Jacki Weaver, Silver Linings Playbook

life of Pi director Ang Lee

THe WiNNeR: Ang Lee, Life of Pi THe COMPeTiTiON: Michael Haneke, Amour; Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Steven Spielberg, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

BesT aDaPTeD sCReeNPlaY This is a very tough category with several worthy entries, all best picture nominees. Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning playwright Tony Kushner’s herculean efforts in finding the right tone and approach to Lincoln are well chronicled, and he has the solid endorsement of Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of the book Team of Rivals from which he drew a lot of source material. He is the frontrunner, even if Argo takes picture over his film. On the other hand, Chris Terrio’s meticulous, and tricky, work on Argo is impres-

Daniel Day-Lewis in lincoln

sive, and voters might want to reward the film’s script, especially if they are voting it best picture. That is usually how it works, but this is a weird year. David O. Russell’s funny and moving adaptation of Silver Linings is another strong possibility, but the real battle here is likely Lincoln versus Argo, and it actually could go either way. Take a shot. THe WiNNeR: Chris Terrio, Argo THe COMPeTiTiON: Benh Zeitlin and Lucy Alibar, Beasts of the Southern Wild; David Magee, Life of Pi; Tony Kushner, Lincoln; David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook

BesT ORiGiNal sCReeNPlaY This is another category that seems widely split with no obvious frontrunner. But the three likeliest contenders would appear to be Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, and Amour, considering all three are also best picture nominees, and that would indicate more widespread support among the entire Academy, which gets to vote in the finals. Both Quentin Tarantino’s Django and Mark Boal’s Zero Dark Thirty have been hit by controversy over their respective elements of treatment of slaves and use of torture, giving both of those former winners in this category more of an uphill climb to overcome negative publicity. That leaves an opening for the widely admired Amour, which could become the first to win both best foreign language film and original screenplay since Claude Lelouch’s 1966 film A Man and a Woman, a movie that, like Amour, also happened to star the great Jean-Louis Trintignant. THe WiNNeR: Michael Haneke, Amour THe COMPeTiTiON: Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained; John Gatins, Flight; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, Moonrise Kingdom; Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty

Continued on next page...


THe HOMe sTReTCH ...from previous

anna karenina

Wreck-it ralph

THe OTHeR CaTeGORies: BesT FOReiGN laNGuaGe FilM

BesT PRODuCTiON DesiGN

BesT FilM eDiTiNG

A strong group of movies, but the other four nominees have the misfortune of being named in a year that also includes Amour, which despite being a French film is actually the Austrian entry because of the nationality of its director, Michael Haneke. Winner of the Palme d’Or and just about every precursor prize this year, as well as being only the fifth film in Oscar history in this category also to be up for best picture, it would appear to be unbeatable here. But if any category has offered surprises in recent years, it is this one.

If there were a production more beautifully designed this year than Anna Karenina, I am not sure what it is, but reaction overall to the movie was mixed, meaning large-scale best picture nominees Les Misérables, Life of Pi, or Lincoln might sneak past it, but which one?

This is sometimes a category where voters go their own way, such as last year when non-best picture nominee The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo shocked the frontrunners here and won its one and only Oscar in a bit of a surprise. This year, all five nominees are also up for picture, so it should follow more closely to tradition. Because of its technical challenges, Life of Pi’s chances cannot be discounted, but this seems a place also to honor Argo for its tricky dance with tone and pace, although its editor William Goldenberg is competing with himself for Zero Dark Thirty. Still….

THe WiNNeR: Amour (Austria) THe COMPeTiTiON: Kon-Tiki (Norway), No (Chile), A Royal Affair (Denmark), War Witch (Canada)

BesT aNiMaTeD FeaTuRe Tim Burton, whose Frankenweenie was a critical hit but a boxoffice disappointment, is overdue for Oscar recognition, and this one might be his most personal film yet. However, there are two other stopmotion entries in the category, including the acclaimed ParaNorman, which has been campaigned heavily, and the highly underrated and hilarious Aardman ’toon The Pirates, which by comparison has been well hidden by Sony. Two other Disney entries—Pixar’s Brave, which won the Golden Globe, and Disney Animation’s Wreck-It-Ralph, which triumphed at the PGA and Annies—could help split the studio vote with Frankenweenie, but I doubt it. THe WiNNeR: Wreck-It-Ralph THe COMPeTiTiON: Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, The Pirates! Band of Misfits

BesT DOCuMeNTaRY FeaTuRe A deserving group of nominees dealing with heavyweight topics are likely to lose to a fascinating and very human musical documentary about the resurrection of a singer long given up for dead who finally finds fame in the most unlikely of ways. THe WiNNeR: Searching for Sugar Man THe COMPeTiTiON: 5 Broken Cameras, The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague, The Invisible War

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Searching for Sugar Man

F E B R UA RY 1 3 , 2 0 1 3

THe WiNNeR: Anna Karenina (production design: Sarah Greenwood; set decoration: Katie Spencer) THe COMPeTiTiON: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (production design: Dan Hennah, set decoration: Ra Vincent and Simon Bright); Les Misérables (production design: Eve Stewart, set decoration: Anna Lynch-Robinson); Life of Pi (production design: David Gropman, set decoration: Anna Pinnock); Lincoln (production design: Rick Carter, set decoration: Jim Erickson)

BesT CiNeMaTOGRaPHY Life of Pi is considered a masterful technical achievement, and one of its chief attributes is Claudio Miranda’s stunning cinematography, which blends the CGI world with the real and makes it all a cohesive whole. THe WiNNeR: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda THe COMPeTiTiON: Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina; Robert Richardson, Django Unchained; Janusz Kaminski, Lincoln; Roger Deakins, Skyfall

BesT COsTuMe DesiGN Two of the nominees here really scream costume design and deliver on all fronts: Mirror Mirror from the late Eiko Ishioka and Snow White and the Huntsman from frequent winner Colleen Atwood. There are also two more high-profile best picture nominees in the mix—Lincoln and Les Misérables—but this category often marches to the beat of its own drum, and this year the stunning work from Jacqueline Durran for Anna Karenina will likely stand above the rest when voters sit down to assess these contenders. THe WiNNeR: Anna Karenina, Jacqueline Durran THe COMPeTiTiON: Les Misérables, Paco Delgado; Lincoln, Joanna Johnston; Mirror Mirror, Eiko Ishioka; Snow White and the Huntsman, Colleen Atwood

THe WiNNeR: Argo, William Goldenberg THe COMPeTiTiON: Life of Pi, Tim Squyres; Lincoln, Michael Kahn; Silver Linings Playbook, Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers; Zero Dark Thirty, Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg

BesT MaKeuP aND HaiRsTYliNG This one’s almost a tossup, but Peter Jackson’s return to Middle Earth probably has an advantage just because of the very nature of the film—unless voters want to reward the changing looks of Jean Valjean and Fantine in Les Mis. THe WiNNeR: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Peter Swords King, Rick Findlater, and Tami Lane THe COMPeTiTiON: Hitchcock, Howard Berger, Peter Montagna, and Martin Samuel; Les Misérables, Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell

BesT ORiGiNal MusiC sCORe Of course Lincoln’s John Williams is a perennial nominee and winner already of five Oscars, while Skyfall’s 11-time nominee Thomas Newman is still looking for his first. But I have a feeling it’s between the masterful mix of Middle Eastern strains and orchestral score that Alexandre Desplat pulled off in Argo versus first-time nominee Mychael Danna, who earned a nom for his elegant and stirring score in Life of Pi, as well as an original song nom. THe WiNNeR: Life of Pi, Mychael Danna THe COMPeTiTiON: Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli; Argo, Alexandre Desplat; Lincoln, John Williams; Skyfall, Thomas Newman


open Heart

BesT sONG Oscar host Seth MacFarlane cowrote one of the nominated songs, the sprightly tune from Ted, and it has a shot because it is the type of upbeat melody that has won here in recent years. If a Muppet can win last year, why not a stuffed bear? The one and only original song in Les Mis, “Suddenly” isn’t all that memorable compared to the rest of the score. We’re going with the frontrunner and Golden Globe winner, Skyfall, which should make Adele the latest pop star to successfully infiltrate this category. It also would be the first-ever James Bond song to actually win, appropriate in 007’s 50th year, don’t you think? THe WiNNeR: “Skyfall” from Skyfall, Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth THe COMPeTiTiON: “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice, music and lyrics by J. Ralph; “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” from Ted, music by Walter Murphy, lyrics by Seth MacFarlane; “Pi’s Lullaby” from Life of Pi, music by Mychael Danna, lyrics by Bombay Jayashri; “Suddenly” from Les Misérables, music by ClaudeMichel Schönberg, lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer and Alain Boublil

BesT sOuND eDiTiNG The sound categories are rarely completely understood by the membership at large that gets to vote in all categories, but again, the technical achievement and challenges of Life of Pi probably prevail over a worthy field that could include another bow to James Bond but probably won’t. THe WiNNeR: Life of Pi, Eugene Gearty and Philip Stockton THe COMPeTiTiON: Argo, Erik Aadahl and Ethan Van der Ryn; Django Unchained, Wylie Stateman; Skyfall, Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers; Zero Dark Thirty, Paul N. J. Ottosson

BesT aNiMaTeD sHORT FilM THe WiNNeR: Les Misérables, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, and Simon Hayes THe COMPeTiTiON: Argo, John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, and Jose Antonio Garcia; Life of Pi, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill, and Drew Kunin; Lincoln, Andy Nelson, Gary Rydstrom, and Ronald Judkins; Skyfall, Scott Millan, Greg P. Russell, and Stuart Wilson

BesT visual eFFeCTs This one’s a runaway. The biggest sure thing on the ballot. Even at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon when the name first came up, there was a big whoop and applause from the voter-heavy audience. And it ran over the competition at the VES awards, too. THe WiNNeR: Life of Pi, Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott THe COMPeTiTiON: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, and R. Christopher White; Marvel’s The Avengers, Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, and Dan Sudick; Prometheus, Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, and Martin Hill; Snow White and the Huntsman, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould, and Michael Dawson

BesT DOCuMeNTaRY sHORT suBJeCT As usual, this category has a strong list of heavyweight topics, but it’s likely between Mondays at Racine, a touching film about a beauty shop that opens its doors once a week to cancer patients, and Open Heart, about a group of Rwandan children being flown to the only free medical center in Africa for treatment of heart disease. In a year that features more than one contender dealing with the pain and problems of aging, Kings Point might also have a shot.

BesT sOuND MiXiNG

THe WiNNeR: Open Heart

Life of Pi might very well take the sound category, but here musicals often triumph, and what greater sound mixing achievement was there this year than blending nearly unprecedented live singing with other sound elements in Les Mis? Among other things, they had to bring an entire orchestra in during post to match the songs.

THe COMPeTiTiON: Inocente, Kings Point, Mondays at Racine, Redemption

This is a very rich category, and for the first time, DVD screeners of the contenders here and in liveaction short (as well as feature docs) were sent to the entire membership, rather than allowing voting only at special screenings where all five noms are shown. With a Simpsons ’toon from Fox, as well as a Disney Animation Studios title in the mix, those studios with large numbers of Academy voters could have the advantage, especially if those studios’ Academy members stay loyal to their home team. That could put others here—such as the charming and remarkably accomplished British student stopmotion animated entry Head Over Heels, about a longtime married couple who have grown apart literally and figuratively—at a disadvantage. And Disney’s Paperman is equally wonderful giving it frontrunner status, as it also played theatrically earlier in the year. However, Goliath doesn’t always beat David so…. THe WiNNeR: Head Over Heels THe COMPeTiTiON: Adam and Dog, Fresh Guacamole, Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare, Paperman

BesT live aCTiON sHORT FilM A generally intriguing group of films, most with a strong international flavor, provide great showcases for some potentially major new directors. Particularly cinematic are Death of a Shadow, Asad, and Afghanistan’s remarkably fine and memorable entry, Buzkashi Boys. THe WiNNeR: Buzkashi Boys THe COMPeTiTiON: Asad, Curfew, Death of a Shadow, Henry


The Five Nominated Directors on the Challenges of Bringing Their Ideas to Fruition

From left: Michael Haneke with actors Emmanuelle Riva and Jean-Louis Trintignant

BY DaviD MeRMelsTeiN

MiCHael HaNeKe | aMoUr

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OsCaR PeDiGRee: He has two nominations this year for screenwriting and direction. Previously, 2009’s The White Ribbon received two noms for best foreign language film and cinematography. BiRDs aND DeaTH: “The pigeon. You can’t direct a pigeon. At most, you can entice it to move it a certain way by placing corn on the ground. But even then, it won’t obey your instructions. Of course I’m joking when I say that. The most difficult scene in the film is the one in which (Georges) suffocates (his wife). The scene is preceded by a 10-minute monologue. And JeanLouis Trintignant had a broken wrist at that time, so we had to shoot around that. And Emmanuelle Riva was concerned about her safety physically. So it was difficult for everyone

involved,” says the Amour director. NO sHaMe: When directing Emmanuelle Riva’s nude shower scene in which she is assisted by a healthcare worker, Haneke explains: “As a director, it wasn’t difficult for me. It was far more uncomfortable for her. But it was clear from the beginning that it was necessary to shoot this scene—to capture the fragility of her situation. My job as a director was to make sure I didn’t betray her, that she wasn’t shown critically or depicted in an unpleasant light, but just to show what people in such situations have to go through.”


QUEST

Ang Lee (left) with actor Suraj Sharma

BY Paul BROWNFielD

aNG lee | liFe oF Pi OsCaR PeDiGRee: In addition to best picture and directing nominations this year, Ang Lee won a 2005 best directing Oscar for Brokeback Mountain. He was nominated in the directing and best picture categories for 2000’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won best foreign language film. His 1995 film Sense and Sensibility rallied seven Oscar noms, including best picture, and a win for Emma Thompson’s adapted screenplay of Jane Austen’s novel, but Lee was overlooked in the directing category. In addition, Lee’s 1993 films The Wedding Banquet and 1994’s Eat Drink Man Woman were the Taiwanese submissions during their respective years and nominated in the best foreign language film category. POWeR OF PeRsuasiON: “Tom Rothman at Fox pitched (it to) me as a family movie,” Lee recalls. “I asked, ‘Why do you want to spend this kind of money?’ Because I’ve been in this business long enough to know that’s probably not going to be true. Tom said, ‘It’s a family movie.’ I said, ‘What do you mean a family movie?’ He said, ‘What happened to you when you first read the book?’ I said, ‘Oh, yeah, I introduced it to my wife and my family.” sOlviNG PI: “I started to get hooked on, ‘How do you crack this thing? How do you examine illusion within illusion?’ We all know movies are based on illusions—the image, the emotional ride—but how do you do that while you’re examining the power of storytelling? Once I started to think about

the solution, I got hooked. And I thought of 3D maybe adding another dimension. The whole thing could open up; what doesn’t make sense could make sense. And I thought of the older Pi telling stories, so I have the first person going through the story while the third person is examining it, but they’re the same person.” lONG DaYs siNKs sHiP: “The most challenging scene to direct and produce was the freighter sinking sequence. What was involved was the ocean, rain, lightning, and wind. We weren’t out at sea; we were in a wave tank that we created in Taiwan. We spent 78 days on that scene. It was a two-year preparation, so it was a big undertaking,” Lee told AwardsLine at the PGA Awards. HaRNessiNG visuals: “With new media (3D), nobody really can give you advice. People who have done it will tell you what it’s about. It will turn out most of that is not true. I took lessons, I took advice. But next year, people will look at this film and say, ‘Oh, he should have done something different.’ This is that new to us. It hasn’t been established in the audience’s mind. There are things like conversion points, you can make adjustments later, but how you frame it, how you separate the camera, the volume of depth, you have to decide on the set. You’re doing something you don’t know, how that depth works with the lens. You just don’t know, you’re guessing. That’s the scary thing.”

Continued on next page...


Q UE S T

David O. Russell (center) on set

BY aNTHONY D’alessaNDRO

DaviD O. Russell | Silver liningS Playbook OsCaR PeDiGRee: He has two nominations this year for directing and best adapted screenplay. He was previously nominated for directing 2010’s The Fighter. PaT JR. COMes HOMe: “The first scene where Pat Jr. faces his dad was challenging because that establishes the entire tone of the picture. I directed it many different ways. Because Bradley (Cooper) had to create that character, we tried him more bipolar and less bipolar, with more Asperger traits and less, being more explosive with his father and more loving. We were finding that balance. We were also establishing the whole setup of the movie, because the mother is taking Pat Jr. out early, the father is a bookmaker, which is something I did in the adaptation. I chose to follow the 2008 season and locked into that, as it availed us of a lot of interesting information that I heard from Philadelphia Eagles fans, such as (wide receiver) DeSean Jackson. From that, we have Pat Jr. wearing his jersey. DeSean spiking the ball on the one-yard line is literally a metaphor for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, which symbolizes the Eagles’ struggle and symbolizes Pat Jr.’s struggle. I made

Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) a bookmaker because the economy collapsed in 2008. In the book, one doesn’t really know exactly what he did. I imagined he was a DHL Express manager of a hub, and he retired and lost his pension, which happened to a lot of people. His obsession in the book with bookmaking is just an obsession, but in the movie, it’s an obsession that goes to the economic livelihood of the house. So in that opening scene, establishing the tone and characters was extremely important.” TiFFaNY MaKes HeR GRaND eNTRaNCe: “The scene where Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) comes in the house for the first time was also crucial in getting the emotional content to land hard. We collide the agendas. We invented the best friend, Randy, who is the nemesis who bets against Pat Sr. The nemesis’ role is important as he loves the wife and always thinks she’s beautiful. It also creates the world of the neighborhood. I loved that all the characters travel by foot. Nobody gets in the car unless Pat Jr. goes to therapy. They even walk to the dance.”

Continued on next page...

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Q UES T

Steven Spielberg (center) on set

BY MiKe FleMiNG JR.

sTeveN sPielBeRG | linColn OsCaR PeDiGRee: Eight picture nominations, one win for 1993’s Schindler’s List. Seven directing nominations, two wins for Schindler and 1998’s Saving Private Ryan. Spielberg also has a 1986 Irving G. Thalberg Memorial award. iNTiMaTe seTTiNG: “The difference between Lincoln and Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan is that the last two films take place outside,” Spielberg says. “Lincoln is within the intimacy of a set in actual, practical locations. So every room was like a library. It was quiet, there was not a lot of room to work. We didn’t want to tear down walls and suddenly have the actors see the entire crew and monitors just glaring at us from 20 yards away. So even the sets that Rick Carter built—he built a good deal of sets for this—did not have wild ceilings or wild walls. With Schindler’s List, I wanted actors to step out of character, step off the set, to return to reality as often as possible. It was different on Lincoln. It’s a beautiful literary piece.” NO DRaMa iN THe Civil WaR: “The first screenplay draft I showed to Daniel Day-Lewis (in 2001-02) was also not a biopic. It was more like a Civil War drama. It was the story of the last three years of the Civil War, and it involved seven huge battles. Lincoln was prosecuting the war, first through Gen. McClellan and then Gen. Grant. But it was much more of a Saving Private Ryan, set between 1863 and 1865. And it quickly wore thin on me and became clear that it was not the story I wanted to tell. It took Tony (Kushner) and I a long time figuring out what part of Lincoln’s life would be able to give audiences an appreciation and understanding of his humanity, to take him off his alabaster pedestal and Mt. Rushmore to be able 16

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to understand that he was someone that could and should be related to. And that was not doable with the Civil War in his way. James McPherson, the great Civil War historian, once said that the Civil War is so vast that even a gigantic figure like Abraham Lincoln could get lost in it. And McPherson was absolutely right; Lincoln got lost in my first attempt to tell the story of the Civil War through his eyes, and I jettisoned that project within a year.” lONG sTORY sHORT: “This was going to be a story of his last three years, but the script was 550 pages long. For me, the most compelling part of that screenplay was a 65-page section which was the struggle to pass the 13th amendment that abolished slavery. Tony and I found that the more real estate of Lincoln’s life we covered, the more it diminished him as someone who understood politics, personalities, and political theater. And it took us away from his family. It took us away from the deep cold depths he would find himself in that some people thought was his form of depression. It took us away from that because it covered too much territory. The Emancipation Proclamation and the struggle to find the right time to announce it, the Gettysburg Address—there were so many bullet points in Lincoln’s life that actually the more that we spread over 550 pages, the more superficial his character felt. Once we focused everything on two great issues, the passing of the 13th amendment and ending the Civil War, everything got a lot more concentrated and a lot more focused.” Continued on next page...


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ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS INCLUDING ®

BEST PICTURE

Produced by GIL NETTER • ANG LEE • DAVID WOMARK


Q UE S T

Benh Zeitlin (left) with actress Quvenzhané Wallis

BY DiaNe HaiTHMaN

BeNH ZeiTliN | beaSTS oF THe SoUTHern WilD OsCaR PeDiGRee: Beasts marks Zeitlin’s first nominations in the directing and best adapted screenplay categories. THe BeasTs OF THe BP Oil sPill: “A lot of our sets were on the wrong side of the barriers that they put up to block the oil, so we actually had to be in negotiations with BP to get a lot of our sets,” Zeitlin says. “There were incredibly difficult hoops to jump through, but they were looking so bad in the media they were actually uncharacteristically, I would say, willing to cooperate. Actually, it was amazing that we managed to get back there. Anything for good PR at that time, they were going to do. We used that to our advantage.” CasTiNG WiTHOuT PReCONCePTiONs: “It’s part of the idea of (my film company) Core 13, to not just write something and fill in the blanks, it’s about trying to work on these ideas and concepts and work on trying to find the essence of the character, to

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search for that essence in somebody. When you are looking for something in that way, you can find it in unexpected places. We wanted to stay open to what we might find out in the world. We definitely had written the character as a girl—we wanted it to be a girl and focused on casting girls—but within that, we looked at a tremendous variety of people. If you see a brave little boy, you think it might work, but obviously we found a pretty great little girl. We were rehearsing at the bakery in the mornings so that Dwight Henry could get his work done. That was key to his taking the role—he had turned it down several times. On set, we tried to make sure that it felt like a game for Quvenzhané Wallis at all times. We tried to shelter her from the panic of a film set. We always tried to maintain energy on the set that a 5-year-old would want to be part of.”


“THE GENIUS OF LIN CO LN , AS W E AL L HAV E S AID, IS THAT I T ’ S N OT AN EPIC OR A BIO-PIC B U T A CHARG E D ACCO U N T O F O N E MON T H I N T H E PRESIDENT ’ S LIFE… A MO V IE S O RICH IN L AN G U AG E AN D CO N F R ON TAT I ON , ELOQUENCE AND INSU LT. THE N ARRATIV E B RIL L IAN CE O F MAK IN G T H E M OVI E ABOUT A SPECIFIC POL ITICAL P RO CE S S IN O N E MO N TH O F L IN C OLN ’ S LI F E… DRIVES FORWARD , L IK E AN Y F IN E D RAMATIC J U G G E RNA U T.”

DAVID DENBY, THE NEW YORKER

H I S S T O RY I S O U R S T O RY


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ANNA KARENINA

BY DiaNe HaiTHMaN

P R O D U C T I O N

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The Anna Karenina design team had to switch gears fast when director Joe Wright decided to set Anna’s oppressive high-society world inside a theater instead of shooting on location in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Money talked; location shooting would have blasted the film’s modest $31 million budget. Production designers had only 12 weeks to create interior and exterior “locations” that could exist within the confines of a theater set. In this stylized approach, the movie audience is aware of the theater, but the movie characters are not. The walls around Anna become literal, not figurative. “A Rubik’s Cube is often how we described this film: You’d twist it and then, suddenly, you’d twist it again, and it would just fall apart in your mind,” says production designer Sarah Greenwood. “You’re not just making pretty pictures here; you are telling a very big story.” Greenwood and set decorator Katie Spencer talk about putting together the puzzle of the living room set for the Moscow home of Oblonsky, Anna’s brother. F E B R UA RY 1 3 , 2 0 1 3

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This scale model of the Oblonsky house stands inside the larger Oblonsky living room set, which in turn stands inside the larger theater set. Designers liken the layers of interiors (and meaning) to Russian nesting dolls. Keira Knightley’s Anna and the children look like giants trapped inside the ornate small-scale house. Although she is visiting her brother’s family in Moscow, Anna, from St. Petersburg, still appears caged the way she is in her own austere home and loveless marriage.

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Greenwood and Spencer designed this colorful, richly textured interior to contrast Anna’s life in St. Petersburg with her brother’s life in Moscow. Greenwood says that during this period, Moscow borrowed from the exotic Eastern style of the Ottoman Empire and was “rejoicing in its Russian-ness,” whereas design was more spare and Western in St. Petersburg. The chaotic scatter of pillows, musical instruments, and children’s toys also highlights the difference between the earthy, boisterous Oblonsky home and the passionless lifestyle of the Karenina family.

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This little theater-in-a-box is a child’s toy, but also represents a scale model of the larger theater set. Inside the small theater, the stage is set for The Nutcracker ballet (a detail audiences might never notice, but that became a fun project for art department assistant Martha Parker). Another insider’s treat: The little blocks on the ministage are a miniature version of the medium-sized alphabet blocks Levin uses to

propose to Kitty in a later scene. Completing the trio: On this set, up high and to the right, are several alphabet blocks in a larger size.

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The designers call this gold chair and footstool “transition pieces” from the living room set to the theater’s backstage area, represented by the empty picture frames and painted flats stacked behind and alongside the chair. Light streams into the theater through a window piled with snow. In the movie, this prop-shop area is the theater’s basement, but the actual set was built on the same level as the rest of the theater spaces. The chair is draped with a 100-year-old real leopard skin rented for the production (law would prevent the use of a new fur from an endangered species). In late 19th-century Moscow, Spencer observes, there was no such thing as too much opulence, or too much gold leaf.

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The doll fits into the story, but also pays homage to director Joe Wright’s upbringing. The English director’s parents founded Little Angel Theater, a puppet theater in Islington. “The doll she’s holding is a puppet, and that little puppet was made by Joe Wright’s mother,” says Spencer. “Keira (as Anna) also uses the puppet when she talks about when she was first married and how she believed in love.”


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THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

N O T E S Production designer Dan Hennah—nominated for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with set decorators Ra Vincent and Simon Bright—says that this set for hobbit Bilbo Baggins’ comfy parlor is one of few that did not require a CGI extension to accommodate both fantasy elements and the movie’s large band of characters, who tend to appear together in many scenes. And even the simplest of sets required finetuning to meet the demands of 3D. By phone from New Zealand, Hennah talked about this scene in which Bilbo (Martin Freeman) talks with Dwalin (Graham McTavish) as the dwarf slurps his way through Bilbo’s carefully hoarded food supply.

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Design Teams Pull Back the Curtain on this Season’s Contenders

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Bilbo’s parlor had to be built twice: Once in “hobbit scale” and once in a .76 “wizard scale” for Gandalf (Ian McKellen), so Gandalf would appear to be too tall for his surroundings, whereas for the hobbits it would be, as Goldilocks might have observed, “just right.” Hennah says the less dramatic difference in size between hobbits and dwarves was taken care of by casting: Most actors portraying dwarves are taller than Freeman.

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Hobbits hate adventure, so Bilbo’s home is full of things that make him feel safe: A warm teapot, a full larder, his favorite books. “This is 60 years before The Lord of the Rings, when he was sort of an old guy who had accumulated a lot of stuff and was sort of untidy; this was more (for) a casual, homely bachelor,” Hennah says. For The Hobbit, Hennah’s team took advantage of the fact that New Zealand can boast more traditional craftspeople than a Renaissance Fair. “We had potters and glass blowers and pipe makers and book binders. New Zealand is a great place for alternative lifestyles, and that often translates into making something that you can sell,” he explains. The designers created their own fantasy era rooted in 17th-century England, but “once you make up the rules, you have to stick with them or you break the spell,” Hennah says.

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That’s no rubber fish that Dwalin is noshing on: It’s the real deal, caught by one of the prop dressers who’d been out just that morning trying his

luck in the local bay. “There were probably quite a few real fish, we were cooking them up” to use on set, Hennah says. Since dead fish are like houseguests (best if they don’t stay around too long), the crew kept plenty of ice on hand to keep them fresh.

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Often books on sets have authentic bindings but blank pages. But Bilbo, Hennah says, “is sort of a learned chap” who loves to read, so his books can’t hide on the shelf. Plus he’s writing his own book, There and Back Again, using a quill pen. A calligrapher with quill expertise was called in to create the book pages. And the calligrapher worked overtime on a document used in another scene at Bilbo’s home, when he reads over the alarming contract he must sign before accompanying the dwarves on their dangerous quest to reclaim Lonely Mountain from the dragon.

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The Hobbit was shot in 3D using a high-speed 48 frames per second (normal 2D speed is 24 fps). Some film critics thought the images created by the high-speed process were too sharp, making The Hobbit look more like a videogame than a feature film. Critical taste aside, Hennah says that extra clarity required more careful attention to items in the background or middle ground that would have appeared out of focus in regular 2D. Plus, 3D tends to desaturate colors, so everything had to be made in brighter colors than it appears.


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LES MISÉRABLES

P R O D U C T I O N The set for an empty street—easy, right? Not when you’re working on the movie version of the hit stage musical Les Misérables for director Tom Hooper (2010’s Academy Award winner for The King’s Speech). Production designer Eve Stewart says Hooper was such a stickler for authenticity in re-creating 1832 Paris that, for the first few days, “there was an awful lot of horse poo about—real horse poo.” To avoid a rebellion on the part of cast and crew, real horse droppings were quickly replaced with fakes. By phone from London, Stewart talked about this and other challenges in creating just the right look for Rue de la Chanvrerie as described in Victor Hugo’s classic novel.

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Buildings in 1832 Paris, the year of the June Rebellion depicted in the film, “were still very medieval, not like the Paris you see now,” says Stewart, who was able to find historic newspaper pictures to use as guides. Tall buildings lined streets so narrow that people could throw furniture out upper windows and quickly create a barricade. These buildings, constructed at London’s Pinewood Studios, are 40 to 50 feet high. “It was actually cheaper to build them that height than to do it by computer,” Stewart says. More modern Parisian streets were made wider, says Stewart, so revolutionaries could no longer block passage “with a couple of armchairs.”

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The buildings are not only tall, they lean and sag in all directions. “What was really difficult for me was to persuade the usual perfectionist carpenters and plasterers to make everything crooked,” Stewart explains. “It was really important to have all the buildings look like exhausted, tired, stricken members of the community.” Stewart used mostly salvage wood and old doors to help create the downtrodden look.

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The cobblestone street is wet after a summer storm, the backdrop for the dying Éponine’s big song, “A Little Fall of Rain.” Because songs were performed live, the roofs of buildings were carpeted to mute the “raindrops” falling from water machines hanging from grids on the studio ceiling. In fact,

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Stewart says, many design details, including horses’ hooves, carriage wheels, and beads, had to be “made rubbery” or coated to avoid clops, clacks, and clinks during live musical performances.

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This sign for an ophthalmologist’s shop has a literal meaning as well as a symbolic one. Circa 1832, “making spectacles was quite a big business in Paris, especially in the backstreets. It was described in Hugo’s novel, so I was keen to get it in,” Stewart says. The eye also plays into an attempt to introduce a subtle religious motif throughout the film: “Quite often you’ll see a little cross, the eye of the Lord, individual bits and pieces to show the greater spirit of the Lord.”

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Other signs of the times: As described in Hugo’s novel, Parisian streets were teeming with businesses that promoted their wares by hanging posters and graphics and even painting directly on plaster walls. As in the case of the sagging buildings, Stewart wanted a naturalistic imperfection, so she hired an 80-year-old English sign writer, Graham Prentice, to do the lettering, rather than a scenic artist. “I was very keen to get slightly wonky sign-writing,” Stewart says. “He’d walk around in his old Parisian overalls. It was part of the joy of that set. It was a little community. Carpenters and painters would take pride in their own buildings: ‘Ours was better.’ ”


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N O T E S It was, in the words of production designer David Gropman, “a very large endeavor for a very short moment.” For Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, designers created a faithful reproduction of the real-life Piscine Molitor in Paris in the 1950s. The set did not get much screen time, but Gropman says Lee insisted that the pool be fully rendered as an important key to the story. Pi was named after the swimming pool (full name Piscine Molitor Patel). Besides explaining Pi’s odd moniker, Gropman says Lee wanted to explain Pi’s ability to master the water and his alarming companion at sea, an adult Bengal tiger. Pi’s father survived polio as a young boy so he could not swim, but “he was happy to see his son be able to, not realizing it would one day save his life,” Gropman says.

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The scene begins with a closeup of the Piscine Molitor sign. As a youth, Pi adopts the nickname to avoid having fellow students call him “Pissing” instead of Piscine.

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At first, filmmakers considered renovating the real Piscine Molitor, once a world-famous attraction but now a piece of derelict architecture occasionally used for fashion shows and special events. But prohibitive costs led to creating a pool set to exact dimensions on the tarmac of an airport in Taiwan that the production crew had turned into studios and soundstages. A portion of the pool was dug 5 feet deep and filled with water so actors could actually take a dip.

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On the right side of the frame, the design team constructed an actual replica of the three stories of dressing rooms that flank the real Piscine Molitor. On the left, the matching bank of dressing rooms is a CGI extension. On both sides, the people and their beach umbrellas are real.

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LIFE OF PI

While designers took pains to replicate the exact dimensions and design of the pool, dressing rooms, and decks, all bets were off when it came to the skyline, a fantasy Paris featuring landmarks including the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame (neither are visible from the real Piscine Molitor). “We took tremendous

liberties with that skyline,” the designer says with a laugh, adding that they wanted the look of a picture postcard.

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Color plays a significant role in the film’s design. Blue, white, and orange dominate, both in this scene and later scenes of Pi and his tiger companion lost at sea. “I knew that blue—between the ocean, the pool, and the sky—was going to be a very strong color,” Gropman says. “The interior of a lifeboat is orange so it can be spotted from far away—not to mention having a Bengal tiger, who is a very orange fellow himself. The hard white you see in the Piscine Molitor is echoed in the outside of the lifeboat.” An aqua shade popular in the 1950s colors the beach umbrellas and turns up in the elegant swimwear along with coordinating pastel yellows, greens, and pinks.

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What role did the 3D play for the designers? Gropman says Lee insisted that he and his supervising art director attend a master class in the technique. Lee did very little in the way of 3D tricks, that is, having objects suddenly pop out of the screen— rather, he asked Gropman to use the 3D perspective to create an illusion akin to the depth of a theater stage. “It’s a 3D approach, but borrowed from a much older tradition,” Gropman says. The pool structure is “very much a frame with four walls, the first one being the proscenium, where the balcony is.”


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LINCOLN

P R O D U C T I O N Veteran set decorator Jim Erickson, nominated with production designer Rick Carter for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, has a thing about authenticity. He once hunted down a collector of vintage candy wrappers to find just the right wrapper to reproduce for the movie Love Field (well, almost: He wanted a 1964 Butterfinger from Texas, but settled for a 1964 model found in Arkansas). Erickson took pleasure in creating authentic White House interiors because Lincoln was the first U.S. president whose life was well documented in photographs. Erickson talked to AwardsLine about the detailed work that went into re-creating Lincoln’s office.

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Lincoln was shot in Virginia using many reallife historic sites, but the Lincoln office was recreated on a set using photos as the guide. “We scaled off the pattern of the wallpaper and had it all designed and silk-screened. We worked up a pattern that was as close as we could actually get without having a real piece of it in front of us,” Erickson says. Erickson was able to find Carter & Company, a Richmond

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business with a staff of four that provides wallpaper for museums and historic homes and could do reproductions at a reasonable price. “Silkscreen is how they did wallpaper back then. It can create metallics and glazes a computer can’t do. The computer can give you images, but not the texture.”

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During her White House tenure, Laura Bush remodeled what is known as the Lincoln Bedroom “but was really his office,” Erickson explains. The First Lady had hired an East Coast design firm to weave an authentic carpet. “We just contacted them, and they made us a carpet. (Mrs. Bush) had used her own color scheme, and it was very tasteful, but we wanted to get back to the original.”

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Erickson is often displeased with the lighting in period films because it’s anachronistically bright. So when cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (also nominated) arrived for his first meeting, Erickson, who had acquired a vintage gas light fixture, set it up and lit it in a dark room. “And I said, ‘Janusz, this is how much light a gas light gave back then.’ I like to think I influenced him in some way. He did a brilliant job.” The gas line for the lamp on Lincoln’s meeting table goes up to attach to a chandelier outside the frame of the image.

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Even if the audience can’t see the details, all maps and documents are meticulous copies of the originals. While the average viewer might not notice when it’s done right, Erickson says, when something is not accurate, it jumps out like a neon light. Plus, the actors need authenticity to get into character. “When I first started out in film, prop people were famous for putting in gag props. That is so disrespectful to the actor to do that, it just indicates that you don’t take their work seriously. Even the minutes for these meetings people had that were in their portfolios were the actual minutes, because these minutes were documented so well.”

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Erickson says he cringed at the idea of buying period antique furniture, expecting it to be too expensive. He figured reproductions would have to suffice. Instead, “I did really well because there was an antique auction every week in Richmond— Wednesday, I think—and it was like a prop house for me. Also this Victorian furniture is very out of fashion right now, so it was ridiculously cheap. I’d go there every week and buy a truckload.”

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Erickson can’t take credit for the iconic stovepipe hat—talk to the costume department. But, he says, “I think all of us who are nominated should wear them to the Oscars.”


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a CuRReNT

eveNT Oscar Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Are Looking to Uphold Tradition and Modernize the Telecast BY PeTe HaMMOND

Craig Zadan (left) and Neil Meron

Oscar telecast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron know their stuff when it comes to putting on a show. With huge musical successes in movies (Chicago, Hairspray, Footloose), TV (The Music Man, Cinderella), and Broadway (Promises Promises, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying), they have the chops to pull off the film industry’s biggest night of the year, though it has sometimes proved a pitfall for other producers. It can be challenging when the Academy mandates that valuable airtime goes to all 24 categories, including sound mixers, makeup and hairstylists, and producers of documentary short subjects, to name a few. But that doesn’t faze this veteran producing pair who say they started assembling the show’s elements from the day they got the job in late August. “We certainly are going to be celebrating the nominees and winners like a regular Oscar show, but they are fitting into the design of the show that we’ve created, so there’s going to be an enormous amount of entertainment,” Zadan says, pointing to the 50 years of James Bond tribute they have announced, which won’t be a reunion of the actors who played 007 despite rampant media speculation. “It’s something else, something very unique and very exciting but no, we’re not getting the Bonds together.” Among other entertainment spots planned is a tribute to the movie musicals of the past decade, including this year’s best picture contender Les Misérables, Dreamgirls (I hear with Jennifer Hudson performing), and the producers’ own best picture champ, Chicago. And singing on an Oscar show for the first time in 36 years will be Barbra Streisand. My bet is she’ll sing “The Way We Were” in honor of its late composer Marvin Hamlisch, though the producers are not offering specifics on that one. Both producers say they’re eagerly anticipating seeing first-time host Seth MacFarlane take the stage. “He has great charm. He embodies kind of a post-millennium host in that tradition of Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and Billy Crystal. He is the next step in terms of making the show current,” Meron says about the reason why the Family Guy and Ted creator got the job.

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In fact, MacFarlane’s oversized teddy bear Ted has already confirmed an appearance on the telecast alongside his costar Mark Wahlberg. In addition to being a first-time host, MacFarlane is a firsttime nominee as cowriter of Ted’s main title song, “Everybody Needs a Best Friend.” Norah Jones will sing it on the show, as the producers have also decided to bring back the tradition of having all five nominated tunes sung live. Among them, pop superstar Adele will be singing the hit nominee “Skyfall” and performing on television for the first time since she swept the Grammys a year ago.

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(PasT) PRODuCeRs OF THe sHOW ReallY TOOK CHaNCes aND sHOOK THiNGs uP all THROuGH THe COuRse OF OsCaR HisTORY.

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nominations announcement with Emma Stone were decidedly mixed. Some Academy members thought he went too far with his jokes, others thought it wasn’t appropriate to mock nominees just as they were becoming known for the first time. “It’s a ruthless bit of scrutiny you’re under, so I’m not going to think about that. I’m just worrying about making it as funny as it can be and as fun as it can be,” MacFarlane said shortly after the nomination announcement. For Zadan and Meron, however, it’s all about putting on the best show possible. In preparation, Meron says he watched 40 previous Oscar telecasts. He has great respect for the producers and what they tried to do. “What I learned is that (past) producers of the show really took chances and shook things up all through the course of Oscar history,” he explains. “It really is a great tradition to be a part of.”

Don Mischer, 15-time Emmy winner and a producer of the Oscars for the past two years, is returning to direct. “If you can put entertainment around the awards and maintain the dignity of the Academy, or put some humor and a little bit of irreverence around it, you can make it more entertaining, and it makes for a better show. I think (Zadan and Meron) are really on track to do that,” Mischer says. Academy president Hawk Koch, who hired the producing pair, says they have gotten rid of a lot of what he calls “shoe leather.” “We are going to present all the categories, but between Craig and Neil and I, we have found a way to move it along,” he says. There’s added pressure this year because of the wellreviewed performance of Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, which help push ratings up 24% compared to last year. The Academy certainly does not want to come up short in comparisons with that NBC show. As for MacFarlane, he has a good attitude even though reviews of his “performance” hosting the Academy

2013 Oscar host Seth MacFarlane

© A.M.P.A.S.


MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe DiReCTORs

Frank Capra The 11th Academy Awards took place Feb. 23, 1939, in downtown Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel. Although no specific emcee steered the ship, the evening began with a rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and Basil Rathbone introduced Frank Capra as president of the Academy. Just days before, Capra had threatened to resign and boycott the ceremony in an effort to get the studios to recognize the Screen Directors Guild. He ended up prevailing over Motion Picture Producers Association president Joe Schenck—going so far as to follow him to Santa Anita Racetrack after Schenck missed a scheduled meeting. Capra’s film You Can’t Take It With You won picture and directing prizes; Spencer Tracy (Boys Town) and Bette Davis (Jezebel) won lead acting prizes; and supporting honors went to Walter Brennan for Kentucky and Fay Bainter for Jezebel.

“My third Oscar for best directing left me so stunned, I remember little of my ‘thank you’ mumblings. The rest of the program was a blur. But when Jimmy Roosevelt opened the best picture envelope and broke the suspense with, “And the best picture of the year is You Can’t Take It With You!”, my poor numbed brain tailspinned into total amnesia. “The crazy events of the past week: Chasing Joe Schenck to the racetrack; the strike vote, my resignation and boycott of the Academy; the lastminute producers’ agreement that called them off, that put the Directors Guild in business; the whole wonderful Academy Banquet that climaxed in my third best director and my second best picture Oscars—these were the events that simply reaffirmed a lifelong belief: Everything that happens to me happens for the best. Frank Capra on his Oscar wins, from his 1971 autobiography The Name Above the Title. His previous wins were for 1934’s It Happened One Night and 1936’s Mr. Deeds Goes to Town. © A.M.P.A.S.


MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe DiReCTORs

William Wyler The 32nd Academy Awards took place April 4, 1960, at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood and was hosted by Bob Hope. MGM’s Ben-Hur won 11 of the 12 Oscars for which it was nominated, including picture and director for William Wyler, lead actor for Charlton Heston, and supporting actor for Hugh Griffith. It was the second year in a row that the Culver City studio took home best picture after previously winning for Gigi, and Ben-Hur broke the record of most Oscars in a single evening. Lead actress honors went to Simone Signoret—the first actress to win for a foreign film—for Room at the Top, while the supporting Oscar was awarded to Shelley Winters for The Diary of Anne Frank.

“My deepest appreciation to Sam Zimbalist and Joe Vogel for their confidence, and to my fellow members of the Academy for this [raising the Oscar]. Thank you.” William Wyler (left, with John Wayne) earned his third career Oscar for directing Ben-Hur. His previous directing wins were for 1942’s Mrs. Miniver and 1946’s The Best Years of Our Lives. © A.M.P.A.S.

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MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe DiReCTORs The 33rd Academy Awards took place April 17, 1961, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, with the ever-present Bob Hope serving as emcee. It was the first time the show had taken place outside of Los Angeles or Hollywood in three decades. The ceremony also marked the beginning of ABC’s half-century association with the Oscars, with ABC winning broadcast rights to the show. Billy Wilder won picture and director Oscars for The Apartment, though neither of his nominated actors, Shirley MacLaine nor Jack Lemmon, earned trophies. Best actor was Burt Lancaster, and supporting actress was Shirley Jones, both for Elmer Gantry; lead actress went to Elizabeth Taylor for Butterfield 8; and supporting actor was Peter Ustinov for Spartacus.

Bill y Wilder

“Thank you so much, you lovely discerning people. Thank you.” Billy Wilder accepting his directing trophy for The Apartment, which earned a total of five Oscars that night. Wilder also won the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1987 at the 60th Academy Awards. © A.M.P.A.S.


MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe DiReCTORs

Warren Beatty

The 54th Academy Awards were held March 29, 1982, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, hosted by Johnny Carson, who had held the reins since 1979. The two major prizes were split, with Chariots of Fire earning best picture and Warren Beatty winning for directing Reds, a film that some thought would win both awards. Henry Fonda won best actor for On Golden Pond, though he was too frail to attend the ceremony; Katharine Hepburn won her fourth Oscar for her lead in the same film; John Gielgud won a supporting trophy for Arthur; and Maureen Stapleton won for her supporting role in Reds. After thanking two other nominees, Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, in his acceptance speech, Beatty turned his attention to the studio executives who greenlit his film.

“I do want to name Mr. Barry Diller who runs Paramount, Mr. Dick Zimbert who’s been very kind to me, Mr. Frank Mancuso, and Mr. Charles Bluhdorn who runs Gulf + Western and God knows what else. And I want to say to you gentlemen that no matter how much we might have liked to have strangled each other from time to time, I think that your decision, taken in the great capitalistic tower of Gulf + Western, to finance a 3½-hour romance which attempts to reveal for the first time just something of the beginnings of American socialism and American communism, reflects credit not only upon you, I think it reflects credit upon Hollywood and the movie business wherever that is. And I think that it reflects more particular credit on the freedom of expression that we have in our American society and the lack of censorship that we have from the government or the people who put up the money. Thanks.” Warren Beatty accepting his directing trophy for Reds. He also took home the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award in 1999.

© A.M.P.A.S.

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MoMenTS in oSCar HiSTory, PART 3:

THe DiReCTORs

Sydney Pollack

The 58th Academy Awards took place March 24, 1986, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, with Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, and Robin Williams serving as hosts. Sydney Pollack’s Out of Africa won seven Oscars out of 11 total nominations, a virtual sweep, although neither of its nominated leads—Meryl Streep nor Robert Redford—won for their roles. Lead actor honors went to William Hurt for The Kiss of the Spider Woman, and lead actress was Geraldine Page for The Trip to Bountiful. Don Ameche earned the supporting actor Oscar for Cocoon, while Anjelica Huston took home a supporting actress trophy for Prizzi’s Honor.

“Thank you very much. Frank Price made this film possible. He had the courage when it mattered the most and was easy to say no. I knew it was impossible to get a screenplay from this material, so I didn’t try; Kurt Luedtke didn’t know it was impossible and so he did it. David Rayfiel kept us honest. Meryl, Bob, Klaus, and Malick brought those characters to life and made an incredible world. All of us being helped all the time by Terry Clegg who kept us going. I had a team of editors who locked themselves in a room with me seven days a week, 12 hours a day and behaved as though nothing else in the world existed. John Barry made it all sing. Karen

Blixen lived that life and turned it into art and taught a generation a new way to write prose. My wife, Claire, gave me more encouragement than I have any right to have, put up with more, was more tolerant. I’m indebted to all of them. I can’t leave this podium without saying, I could not have made this film without Meryl Streep. She is astounding personally, professionally, in all ways, and I can’t thank her enough. Thank you.” Sydney Pollack accepting his directing Oscar for Out of Africa, for which he won a second producing trophy that same evening when the film was named best picture.

© A.M.P.A.S.


OuT OF BOuNDs Visual Effects Are Transcending the Action and Sci-Fi Genres, Becoming a Seamless Part of Storytelling This year’s nominees show how visual effects have spread from summer blockbusters to genres as diverse as superheroes, different flavors of fantasy, more traditional sci-fi territory, and even the art-house film. For each nominee, there’s a moment that makes it worthy of an Oscar nomination. Here, the visualeffects supervisors on the nominated films break down the key challenges and talk about the sequence that clinched the nomination.

BY THOMas J. McleaN 32

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THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

LIFE OF PI

THe NOMiNees: Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton, R. Christopher White

THe NOMiNees: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott

NO. OF visual-eFFeCTs sHOTs: 2,176

NO. OF visual-eFFeCTs sHOTs: 690

TeCH BReaKTHROuGH: The complexity and number of techniques used to create the digital creatures. “It’s a combination of lots of things to get a creature to that point,” says Letteri. “It’s muscles, it’s skin, it’s facial capture, it’s performance capture.” All those things had to come together to bring to convincing life six leading digital characters with dialogue.

TeCH BReaKTHROuGH: Two of the major visual elements were done mostly with digital effects: The water and the tiger. “It was just pushing the bar for the realism of the tiger and the other animals involved, trying to blend water from a tank into CG water in stereo was a challenge,” says Westenhofer.

DeFiNiNG THe aesTHeTiC: “We were grounded in the Middle Earth we had established for The Lord of the Rings,” says Letteri. “For the landscapes and the environments, we wanted to extend that Tolkienesque feeling, borrowing from what we had on the previous film, trying to keep the same look for Rivendell, for example, but kind of expanding it. Same thing with Gollum—we were trying to keep his same look, but bring him into a new dimension of what we could do 10 years on.” BiGGesT CHalleNGe: The quantity of digital characters. “You’ve got dialogue, you’ve got personalities, you’ve got unique looks,” says Letteri. “You’ve got to have everything working: You’ve got to have the fur working, the eyes, the skin, the muscles, the performances—not only the capture but the animation side.” THe CliNCHeR: The confrontation between Martin Freeman’s Bilbo and Gollum, played via motion capture by Andy Serkis. “We all had a bit of nervousness going into creating (Gollum) because we had done him 10 years ago, and we spent so much time in the last 10 years really trying to delve into what makes a performance resonate with an audience,” says Letteri. “You’ve got here a nine-minute dialogue scene with a real character and a digital character, and it’s watchable in a way that keeps you engaged the whole way through.”

DeFiNiNG THe aesTHeTiC: Westenhofer describes the look of the effects as “hyper-dreamlike reality.” “It’s a story being told by Pi, so there’s an element of his recollection and the human’s ability to exaggerate when they recollect,” he says. “That allows for a bit of stylization in the amount of color and detail.” BiGGesT CHalleNGe: It’s a toss-up between the water and the animals. “Fourteen percent of the animals were real and the rest were digital, and we often cut back to back between them, so it forced our hand to make the matches as perfect as possible,” says Westenhofer. “Everything from the moment they set sail to when he lands on the beach, it’s a boy on a boat in front of a blue screen.” THe CliNCHeR: A shot where Pi pulls the tiger’s head into his lap and pets it. “We shot him on the boat in a gimbal, and he pulls a blue sock into his lap and he pets the blue sock. And we replaced that with our digital tiger, fitting in the animation to what he did. In stereo, it had to be perfectly precise to line up with everything, and then we had to animate the hair to respond to his hand as it moves back and forth.”


MARVEL’S THE AVENGERS

PROMETHEUS

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

THe NOMiNees: Janek Sirrs, Jeff White, Guy Williams, Dan Sudick

THe NOMiNees: Richard Stammers, Trevor Wood, Charley Henley, Martin Hill

THe NOMiNees: Cedric Nicolas-Troyan, Philip Brennan, Neil Corbould, Michael Dawson

NO. OF visual-eFFeCTs sHOTs: About 2,200

NO. OF visual-eFFeCTs sHOTs: 1,284

NO. OF visual-eFFeCTs sHOTs: About 1,400

TeCH BReaKTHROuGH: The Hulk. “We leveraged on previous digital characters we had done, but really had to rebuild and improve the way our characters move, making it incredibly accurate in terms of the way the skeleton under his skin drives his muscles, which then drives his skin,” says White.

TeCH BReaKTHROuGH: The specific look director Ridley Scott wanted for the alien creatures required redeveloping some commonly used tools. “We had to do a lot of work to really develop our subsurface scatter lighting technique to get that deep translucency that matched the prosthetics we were using live on set,” says Stammers.

TeCH BReaKTHROuGH: The extensive use of macrophotography in CG visual effects. “It’s very tricky to do macrophotography in a full CG shot, especially when you look at an animal or something close up like that, close up on the eye,” says Nicolas-Troyan. “That’s something that people don’t really realize when they see the movie, but if you pay attention you see there’s a lot of macro shots.”

DeFiNiNG THe aesTHeTiC: Invisible was the watchword from director Joss Whedon, a point defined by the final battle in New York City that was shot almost entirely elsewhere. “Even though very little of the movie is shot in New York City—some is Cleveland, where we did simpler set extensions, and then a significant portion was shot on a green-screen stage in New Mexico— those are things where we didn’t want the audience to even know there are visual effects,” says White. BiGGesT CHalleNGe: The Hulk. “There’s a deep ravine to cross there, where it doesn’t look good for quite a long time, and it takes an incredible amount of artistry by the artists working on the shots to make it what it ultimately became,” says White. THe CliNCHeR: The climactic battle in New York. White says ILM spent about eight weeks shooting some 2,000 virtual background spheres—extremely highresolution photographs—from streets and rooftops that were projected onto geography of the city as the basis for the digital city. To this was added the digital aliens and plates of the actors shot, as well as the details required to sell the scene as a full-on battle. “As we put our shots together of, say, Captain America talking to Black Widow, we really wanted to push it toward this feeling of being in the center of a battle. So in every shot we added additional smoke and dust and little embers going through the scene, just trying to really capture that feel of being in the middle of a disaster.”

DeFiNiNG THe aesTHeTiC: The look of the alien landscape of LV-223 defined the look of the whole film and was something Scott was quite passionate about. “What we ended up with is this montage of two landscapes that he really liked. And then beyond that, we added additional mountains and sky that was very full of fast-moving clouds, and so you get a sense of constantly fast-moving layers of clouds and bad weather, (then) we could paint the landscape with fast-moving patches of sunlight.” BiGGesT CHalleNGe: Stammers says the production only had three days to shoot all the references needed at Wadi Rum, Jordan, requiring an incredibly detailed plan. “We planned it out based on our Google Earth map of the location to the point where, for every take that we needed to shoot, we had a helicopter plan of altitude and GPS start and end point, so that we could go to each of the specific points and film the elements we needed in order to map out the terrain and texture it.” THe CliNCHeR: Everything came together in the shot of the Prometheus landing on LV-223. “We spent somewhere in the region of 300 or 400 days just on the texture work alone, just to get the level of detail we needed to sell the scale of it,” says Stammers. “All the elements come together in that one shot that we see throughout the rest of the film as well.”

DeFiNiNG THe aesTHeTiC: Director Rupert Sanders set a distinct tone that required all the visual effects to be based in reality but juxtaposed with unusual situations or actions. “Everything is based on things that exist in the world,” says Nicolas-Troyan. “They might not be in the same place in the world, so we put them all together in this one spot, but they all do exist.” BiGGesT CHalleNGe: Finding a way to make eight actors appear as dwarves on schedule and on budget. “We were always going to pick the right technique and the most efficient technique for the shot,” says Brennan. “That goes all the way from old-school in-camera tricks to using risers to vary the heights of people, working with prosthetics and costumes to make people appear a little bit different, all the way up to very complex effects like head and face replacements.” THe CliNCHeR: The pursuit through the Enchanted Forest, which encompassed all the techniques used in the movie. “Something like 70 percent or 80 percent of the animals that we created for the movie are in that scene, and they are everywhere,” says NicolasTroyan. “There’s birds, plants, and then within those scenes you have the dwarves, so we had to use pretty much all our techniques for the dwarves.”


GilDeD sTRaiNs From left: John Williams, Alexandre Desplat, Mychael Danna, Thomas Newman, Dario Marianelli

BY DaviD MeRMelsTeiN

The Best Score Category Is Dominated by One Five-Time Oscar Winner: John Williams

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Leaving artistic issues aside, you could—at first glance—say that the competition for best original score isn’t a fair fight this year. Three of the nominees—Mychael Danna (Life of Pi), Alexandre Desplat (Argo), and Thomas Newman (Skyfall)—have never won an Oscar, and one of them (Danna) is enjoying his first nomination. Dario Marianelli won once before, but his nom for Anna Karenina is only his third. So who’s the heavyweight in the ring? None other than John Williams (Lincoln), who has won five Oscars for original score, as well as one for adapted score.

So where does that leave us this time around? A case can be made for the lately hyper-prolific Desplat, who also wrote the scores to this year’s best picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty and original screenplay nominee Moonrise Kingdom. And the talk of Argo walking off with the best picture statuette could add some kick. But two years ago, Desplat was up for The King’s Speech, which landed the big prize even as he emerged empty handed. Indeed, in the past dozen years, only three films have secured both the best picture Oscar and the prize for best score.

Williams is basking in his 39th nomination for original score. His first was for The Reivers (1969), starring Steve McQueen. His closest competitor within this group is Newman, who is savoring his ninth nom since 1994, when he earned two—for Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption. Desplat is suiting up for his fifth round since 2006, when The Queen first brought him close to Oscar gold.

Still, the Academy has shown a fondness for novel instrumentation. Slumdog Millionaire took the award four years ago, and the year before that, Marianelli won for Atonement, in which he ingeniously incorporated a typewriter into his music. For his part, Desplat seamlessly weaves into the Argo score a mix of Middle Eastern instruments—including the ney, oud, kemenche, and ethnic percussion.

Though virtually omnipresent on the Oscar ballot from 1990 to 2005, Williams has been less visible since the 2006 film year, though this year marks the second in a row in which he’s back on the ballot— and last year, he was there twice: For The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse. As for this bunch going mano a mano, Williams was absent the first year Newman was nommed, but since then—in 1999, 2002, and 2004— neither won when the other was also in competition. And the same was true the one year, 2005, that Williams and Marianelli previously duked it out—the younger composer’s first time in the ring. Newman and Desplat have also sparred before—in 2006, the latter’s Oscar debut, and 2008—with neither emerging victorious.

Newman, an heir to Hollywood’s most storied filmscore dynasty, has the most noms without a win in this quintet, so accrued good will could be a factor in his favor. But Skyfall is the latest entry in the James Bond franchise, and some of the film’s most memorable cues were written by others—including John Barry, a four-time score winner who was never even nominated for his Bond music.

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Given the Academy’s penchant for sentimentality and tradition, some might write off the idea that a firsttime nominee—in this case Danna, also nommed for best song—could win, but Oscar history suggests otherwise. For the past two years, the statuette for score has gone to an Oscar debutant—Ludovic

Bource (The Artist) last year and Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (The Social Network) the year before. In fact, from 2000 on, seven of the 12 winners had never been nominated before their first victory. Yet Marianelli offers formidable competition with his endlessly inventive score to what could have been a very tired subject, Anna Karenina. Without ever sounding forced, his music to Anna is consistently, often surprisingly, catchy—something the Academy seems to favor given recent winners like Bource for The Artist, Michael Giacchino for Up (2009), and A.R. Rahman for Slumdog Millionaire (2008). That leaves Williams, now 81, the grand old man of Hollywood film scoring. He hasn’t won an Oscar since Schindler’s List (1993), which could bode well for him a la Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady. (Oscar loves a comeback.) And his score for Lincoln is topdrawer—anthemic, comfortable, and ideally suited to the subject. But Williams has been amply recognized already for his contributions to cinema, and unless the Academy intends to send a valedictory message, it might choose to spread the love. That’s certainly been the pattern in recent years. Once a far more predictable category, best score’s days as a bellwether seem a thing of the past. But that’s no bad thing, because the Oscars need upsets, too.

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BesT sCORe’s DaYs as a BellWeTHeR seeM a THiNG OF THe PasT.


universalpicturesawards.com

Š 2012 UNIVERSAL STUDIOS


ARGO

CuTTiNG

CReW Nominated Film Editors Reveal the Pivotal Scenes That Made Their Films Click

The film editing race is both diverse and expected. All five nominated films are also up for best picture, and the individual editors range from three-time Oscar winner Michael Kahn to several firsttime nominees and one nominee, William Goldenberg, nominated for work on two separate films. We talked with the nominated editors and asked them to run through a key scene from their films—one that was crucial to making the picture work, either from a tone perspective or a more technical one. The results were as diverse as the nominated films themselves.

BY THOMas J. McleaN

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WilliaM GOlDeNBeRG | argo Goldenberg says Argo’s incongruous quality was epitomized in an often bizarre sequence that cuts from the elaborate table-read of the fake screenplay at the Beverly Hills Hotel to the houseguests trying to entertain themselves in their long isolation to Iranian forces frightening hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran with a mock execution. “When I read the script, I thought this was a scene where if we can make this work tonally, the movie will work,” says Goldenberg. “Because it’s all these different tones colliding together, and if all these expositions can work as a scene, then I think what we’re trying to do with the movie will be successful.” Starting with actual news footage from the era, Goldenberg built the sequence slowly as each segment was shot. “The first cut of it was really strong, and Ben (Affleck) really liked it. But then we had too much of the mock assassination and maybe too much newsreel footage. Then we had too much of the houseguests. And it’s a process of over weeks and weeks and weeks of honing and finetuning and shaping and trying to make sure that the story points we wanted to highlight were being highlighted and that it was clear that this is a mock execution.”

Unlike most films, their luxury was time in the schedule for reflection. “(Affleck) has an editing room at his house, and we don’t live that far from each other so I was able to go up there on Sundays when it was a little calmer. We were able to sit calmly and look through the footage, and it was more about what direction the movie was going and how it would inform the next week’s work,” says Goldenberg, who says he finished editing the film in June. “I think it was helpful for him. I think it was helpful for me obviously to get reactions. You’re always nervous as an editor about how a director’s going to react to your cut footage initially.”

TiM sQuYRes | liFe oF Pi Keeping the story moving was a challenge on Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, which was shot with extensive visual effects for the tiger and in stereoscopic 3D. The film focused on simplicity in its storytelling, with fewer than 1,000 shots in its two-hour running time. Squyres says the scene in which Pi, played by Suraj Sharma, tries to train the tiger with a stick in order to ensure his own survival was tough. “The tricky thing with a scene like that, it’s really all about the content of the scene itself,” says Squyres. “I’m basically cutting from Pi to the tiger to Pi to the tiger. There’s a couple places where I kind of go out to a wide shot, but essentially, there’s not much I can do editorially to ramp up the scene.


Complicating that is that one of the performers—the tiger—was a mixture of shots of more than one real tiger and a CG tiger. The scene was prevized in a general way, and Squyres says he consulted on set with Lee more than on any of their other films to ensure they got what they needed. “There were a number of little beats of action that we dropped,” he says. “We kept modifying it and tightening it, and we at one point did decide we were stretching things a bit much. It went through a bunch of changes, but that’s editing.”

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LIFE OF PI “So in order for the scene to be riveting, interesting, exciting, and important,” Squyres continues, “I have to pace it, and I have to go with the best moments from Suraj’s performance, because he’s doing a combination of things: He’s trying to look strong and confident, but at the same time as an actor he’s trying to show underneath that he’s terrified.”

MiCHael KaHN | linColn Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln is, like the famous president at the story’s core, a deliberate creature. The movie alternately gets intimate with the 16th president, and pulls back to give the broader view of the man and his achievements. Few sequences in the film exemplify editor Michael Kahn’s contributions to the movie as a scene in which Lincoln visits a military hospital in the company of his son, Robert. The establishing shots show the pair riding up to the hospital sitting opposite each other in silence in a horse-drawn carriage, cutting closer as Robert tells his father that seeing the injured soldiers will not alter his plan to enlist. Undeterred and unsurprised, Lincoln leaves his son in the carriage while he enters the hospital. Cutting back to Robert, who sits alone outside, a covered wheelbarrow pushed by two soldiers draws his attention. Curious, Robert gets out of the carriage and looks down to see the wheelbarrow has left a bloody trail. He follows and watches the soldiers unveil the severed human limbs in the wheelbarrow and dump it into a large pit with others. Kahn then cuts in close on Robert, who despite his bravery is rattled, and turns back in the cold winter sunshine.

Kahn then goes in tight on Robert’s hands, as he fumbles an attempt to roll a cigarette, tears forming in his eyes as he tosses aside the rolling papers and tobacco in frustration. When Lincoln asks him what’s wrong, he towers over the crouching Robert, the camera alternately showing Lincoln as a towering figure whose shadow crosses that of his son and as a man looking down and offering a way to help. Robert stands to make his argument, and Kahn cuts to a wider shot of the men. Kahn then goes in tighter and alternates more quickly from Robert to Lincoln as the argument heats up, with Lincoln’s slap across his son’s cheek coming as both a surprise and the deliberate act of a man who knows what he’s doing. Lincoln immediately tries to comfort his son, who pushes him away as Kahn cuts to a wide shot, while Robert storms away from his father and declares his intention to enlist in the military no matter what. Lincoln takes the news solemnly, turning away from the crowds on the street and looking downward, muttering to himself.

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CuTTiNG CReW

ZERO DARK THIRTY

SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK JaY CassiDY & CRisPiN sTRuTHeRs Silver liningS Playbook Director David O. Russell sees editing as a continuation of the writing process, with an excellent example being how a specific music choice shaped a key sequence in which Pat Jr., played by Bradley Cooper, returns home after meeting Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) and manically tears the house apart looking for his wedding video, ultimately ending up in a physical altercation with his father, played by Robert De Niro. “A lot of it was driven by the music,” says Cassidy. “The first versions of the scene were done where— and this would make sense from a story point of view—he would hear the trigger music in his head, the Stevie Wonder song that had triggered him in the doctor’s office. So it made sense to build the scene that way, and we could never get that to work.” The breakthrough came when Russell suggested they try cutting it using the Led Zeppelin song “What Is and What Should Never Be.” “It’s Led Zeppelin—you can’t cut the music, it’s sacrosanct,” says Struthers. “And then we looked at the themes again, and we looked at the cuts and did everything to just shape it to the manic nature of the song, which seemed to fit perfectly with Bradley’s mood at the time.” “Once we had done that, it unified the whole idea of the night,” says Cassidy. “It wasn’t several scenes in a row, it was this one explosion which then had some

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ring out, which is basically Bob (De Niro) going next door chasing the neighborhood kid with the camera.” Helping out the process was Russell’s working methods, which involve keeping cameras rolling for multiple resets with the actors. “In the dailies of these 20-minute takes, we can kind of see the evolution of this scene,” says Struthers. “You can see the amazing performances he gets out of these actors, the rhythms they get into. But we can also see how David and the cameraman are getting into rhythm, too, and how they’re figuring it out as they go along.”

DYlaN TiCHeNOR & WilliaM GOlDeNBeRG Zero Dark THirTy The sheer volume of footage shot for Zero Dark Thirty required director Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal to bring on Goldenberg to shape the movie about the decade-long hunt for 9/11 terrorist attack leader Osama bin Laden. No section of the movie was less formed than a key middle sequence following the mechanics of the hunt, as the CIA seeks out the phone number to al Qaeda courier Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti’s mother and use it to locate first Ahmed and then the compound where bin Laden himself is staying. “It could have derailed the movie, and I think it turned into a really strong section,” says Tichenor. “There are sections of it that count for two to three

minutes of screen time, but there were three days of dailies—three long days of dailies, just to see it all and figuring what went in and what went out.” Making sure each shot had a point and communicated clearly the plot was another trick. “There was a lot of discussion about how much of that story we needed to tell, and if we needed to show if he had a cell phone at all,” says Tichenor. “One day we condensed it down to shorter than it is in the movie. We thought we had unlocked it, we had figured out a way to really shorthand the story and make it exciting. And as I looked at it and looked at it, I thought, ‘Uh oh, it doesn’t make sense.’ ” “In the unraveling of it, we found a midway point that was where the movie ended up in structure. In a weird way, we had to take a giant step backward to take a step forward. It was that misstep that led us to the key to unlock the sequence,” Tichenor says. “One part of that sequence that Dylan and I won a major battle with (was) the sequence (that) begins with Daniel, Jason Clarke’s character, (getting) a phone number for Abu Ahmed. And the next section starts with this trap and trade section where you get a rough idea of the overwhelming scope of finding people and finding these phone numbers and the global scale of it. That was never in the script. Dylan and I both felt strongly we needed to see something happen, we needed to see somebody in a big server room, we needed to see the process a bit,” says Goldenberg.


ACADEMY AWARD NOMINEE - BEST ANIMATED FEATURE ®

WINNER

BEST PROD. DESIGN • BEST EDITORIAL

GOLDEN GLOBE ® HFPA

ANNIE AWARD

WINNER

4WINNER

VISUAL EFFECTS SOCIETY

®

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

INCLUD ING

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

PRODUCERS GUILD AWARD

BRITISH ACADEMY OF FILM AND TELEVISION ARTS

CRITICS’ CHOICE AWARD

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

N O M I N AT I O N

N O M I N AT I O N

MPSE GOLDEN REEL

ACE EDDIE AWARD

CINEMA AUDIO SOCIETY

BEST SOUND FX EDITING

BEST FILM EDITING

BEST SOUND MIXING

N O M I N AT I O N

N O M I N AT I O N

N O M I N AT I O N


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FROM THe sOuRCe Translating a Book to Film Can Mean Plot Changes Both Big and Small

It's matt a whitPAT SR. a li er? Thate lie, w ttle h ’ lie. s no bigat’s tha deal t . So Ther it’s TIFF e’s no o ANY ther way. You brea know, wPAT SR. his d crumbse gotta life l with so that eave a t out ruin he can lrail of ing No. it. ive it. I don'tDOLORES appr ove. You can' t do Well when , you kPAT SR. her you calnow, I d w coul here he led her idn’t a of t d ambus was r and y pprove I’m hat, buth him. Iunning, ou told doin g th you did didn’t so she is a nywa it anywapprove y. T We’r hat’ ay, so e s it ther gonnaTIFFANY . e. tell him Nikk i’ll b e You (to DolPAT SR. gott o a be res) part o f it. We h T ave to dIFFANY o it . Aren ’t y DOLOR ou n ervoES us t o be Yeah lyin . A li TIFFANY g? the t tle best bit. . EXT. But it’s SOLA TANO for HOUS PAT E/FR AS H ONT E RE PORC ADS H THE EVEN LETT ING ER. 4 “...b(readinPgAT u ) t sign s... if it wa PAT .” s me THE REACTS. read ing lett LETTER. HE LOOK the er, S OV H E J not Nikk UST FIGUER HIS S i. HOUL RED D SOME THIN ER. HE T G OU T: T URNS, LO iffa ny w OKING AT rote the

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DaviD O. Russell | Silver liningS Playbook A book’s narrative has all the time in the world to lay out its plot points, but what was key for David O. Russell in adapting Matthew Quick’s novel Silver Linings Playbook was “creating a dramatic engine in the screenplay that propels the story into third act.” One of his key changes from book to script revolved around Pat Jr.’s discovery that his ex-wife Nikki never wrote him a letter—a gesture that he initially perceives as an opportunity to makeup. In the screenplay, Pat Jr. deduces on his own that Tiffany wrote the Nikki letter, while in the novel, Tiffany makes the big reveal to him. Russell deconstructs his reasons for making the change:

person who has lived in an institution for four years. God bless those people, but I don’t know them. I know from my own life, the one we portrayed was my son. I wanted to talk about that guy who is the whole motivation for this picture. He has a manner about him in the book that is different. I decided (along with Bradley Cooper) that he was a lucid guy who, like many bipolar people, when they’re not on their medication, they distort things and go into unrealistic expectations.”

2 “Pat Jr. learns about Tiffany writing the Nikki

letters very late in the book. Tiffany hasn’t exchanged the letter yet. She holds it out until after the dance. So it was a big structural decision in the film to make the dance the climax of the movie and to make the letters the currency of their relationship and the barter at the heart of their intimacy.”

3 “The curtain opens on the third act where

Tiffany and the parents are plotting to lie to Pat Jr. while he figures out on the porch the truth behind Nikki’s letter. You have to build

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your pressure into the canister of the movie. Not only is Pat Jr. getting the news that Nikki isn’t available, but he’s also realizing he’s been lied to. That’s humiliating to him. The shame can alone trigger a bipolar episode. In fact, he’s created the conditions where people have to tiptoe around him.”

1 “In the book, he’s a completely delusional

4

“It all makes sense, the secrecy of the dance and the letters. There are so many people trying to help and supervise people like Pat Jr., that the dignity of their privacy and the dignity of them making decisions without telling anyone becomes extremely valuable to them. In fact, it’s the most important human dignity. So that was a decision we made—for Pat Jr. to figure out for himself (that Tiffany wrote the letters). He doesn’t tell anyone—not the audience or the characters—what he’s going to do. It’s a moment that he turns a corner and starts to own his own life.” —Anthony D’Alessandro


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life of Pi

Chris Terrio (right) with Ben Affleck

DaviD MaGee | liFe oF Pi In the novel Life of Pi, there is a scene in which Pi’s father illustrates to his boys that animals are dangerous by feeding a live goat to one of the tigers in the family zoo. Though that sequence did not make it into his adaptation, Magee says it became the inspiration for how to pinpoint a key moment in the film’s early dramatic structure—namely, the first time Pi meets Richard Parker, the tiger with whom he will later be adrift at sea. “It’s handled very differently in the book and used to different effect, and it goes to the heart of what we were trying to accomplish in the adaptation,” Magee says. “In the book, a different tiger is fed the goat. It’s an incident that Pi recalls from his childhood, where the father takes the two boys in, and just to remind them how dangerous animals are, he demonstrates by feeding a goat to a tiger. And then he goes on in a somewhat comical scene to explain why every animal is dangerous in some way or the other, going from the tiger to the antelope who could spear you with his horns, to the turtle that snaps at you, and he works all the way down to a guinea pig. Pi thinks the guinea pig is a problem, too, and (the father) says, ‘No, the guinea pig is fine.’ So it’s meant as a comical scene and a reflection more on how animals are not adapted to life with humans. One of the challenges that we had

in adapting the story was finding an evolution to Pi’s character, so that he was not just an infant traveling out on the waters with a tiger, having faith in God and having no reason to question why all of this was happening to him. It works beautifully for the novel because he could reflect on all sorts of aspects of spirituality in a bunch of episodes. But we needed to create an emotional narrative for that journey. And so very early on, Ang (Lee) and I talked about the possibility of turning this scene into the moment of his disillusionment as a child, the moment where he sees through some of the mythologies of childhood.” —Paul Brownfield

CHRis TeRRiO | argo Chris Terrio had a trove of primary and secondary material to consult in writing the screenplay for Argo, most notably the memoir Master of Disguise, by former CIA agent Tony Mendez, and Joshuah Bearman’s 2007 article in Wired magazine based on declassified documents about the remarkable clandestine Iran hostage-rescue caper. But this hardly gave Terrio a blueprint for a screenplay that deftly blends Hollywood satire with a historical international crisis. Terrio says his biggest fear was that the Hollywood scenes of the Argo screenplay would slide the movie too far into show-business farce.

However, a passage in Mendez’s book gave him license to go there in one case. “In Tony’s book,” Terrio says, “there’s a passage in it where Tony’s describing being with (makeup artist) John Chambers and figuring out that they’re going to call the fake movie Argo. And then it describes how that title both comes from a joke— which literally was a joke that Chambers and Tony used to make, which is the ‘Ah, go fuck yourself ’ joke— but also that it has these mythological connotations to it, which Chambers and Mendez were aware of and chose. I feel that somewhere in that passage is the root of the tone of the film, which in some sense was a harder thing to get at than the particular narrative.” In getting to that narrative, Terrio arrived at the idea of creating a staged reading of Argo for the Hollywood press. “You have all these people sitting around in these ridiculous costumes and yet you have the great mythological intonations of, ‘Our world has changed.’ It’s a nudge and a wink, but there’s also something earnestly mythological about it. Plus, you have the slightly spitballing point of view of Chambers and Tony and Lester Siegel in the room watching this, and you’re trying to evoke the geopolitical world that they’re operating in, plus the human drama of both the houseguests and the hostages.” —Paul Brownfield

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FROM THe sOuRCe

beasts of the Southern Wild

linclon

luCY aliBaR & BeNH ZeiTliN beaSTS oF THe SoUTHern WilD Playwright Alibar and first-time director Zeitlin call it the Elysian Fields scene—the moment in the third act of the screenplay when Hushpuppy leaves behind Wink, her dying father, and seeks out her mother, whom she believes works on a kind of floating stripper barge in the Gulf. Juicy and Delicious, the one-act play on which Beasts is based, was not set in the Bathtub of the Louisiana bayou but the rural South (in the play the character Hushpuppy is a boy). “What happened in the play,” Zeitlin says, “was that Hushpuppy sort of wandered into the road and hitched a ride from this mythical truck driver that was driving down the highway, and he brought her to this diner and this woman, who wasn’t supposed to be the mother at all and just kind of gave a cooking lesson.” The cook carried over in the movie, in just as big a way. “As we worked on the adaptation, people would look at the script and say, ‘Where is the logical plot justification for Hushpuppy to leave her father who’s the center of this story and go to a place that we’ve never heard of before in the script and have this bizarre experience?’ ” Zeitlin says. “That doesn’t really fit into what you think of as your instigating moment of the third act, or whatever you hear in screenplay school. But one of the things that I loved so much about Lucy’s play is that it never operated on a narrative plot logic, it operated on an emotional logic.”

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In the play, Alibar wanted the emotional possibility that the cook could be Hushpuppy’s mother. “If it wasn’t, I wanted Hushpuppy to be hoping that it was,” she says. “I think the dialogue was pretty similar, if not exactly the same. Benh and I went back and forth a lot with the tough love aspect of it.” “That monologue is actually a really good example of how the text from the play was revised into the movie because I remember very specifically me and Lucy taking that speech to (actress Jovan Hathaway) and working with her on reshaping the language to fit her accent,” Zeitlin says. “In the end there is a collaboration between me, Lucy, and Jovan, sort of revising this speech that the waitress made in the play. It’s more Jovan, it’s more Louisiana, but the ideas in it and the substance of it are very much the same.” —Paul Brownfield

TONY KusHNeR | linColn Early in the process of what would become his screenplay Lincoln, Kushner came to a scene on page 716 in Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. It was a description of Lincoln riding across a battlefield, the gory, horrific ravages of war at his feet. “I got to that scene,” Kushner says, “and I wrote in my notebook and then emailed Steven: ‘This has to be in the movie.’ ” Lincoln’s grim ride is followed by his conference with Gen. Ulysses S. Grant on the piazza of a house in Petersberg. Kushner found no historical record of

their conversation, “so I felt like that’s kind of cool. I can have them talk about what I’d liked them to have talked about, as long as I can defend what they say to one another, and I think I can.” As such, Kushner chose to leave Lincoln puzzling over what he had just seen on the battlefield while in a quieter place. “Lincoln saw a couple of battles outside of Washington, but they were fairly small skirmishes,” Kushner says. “He saw this one battle that was unfolding that was kind of a charge by (Confederate Gen.) Jubal Early’s troops in July of 1864 that was repelled. He went to meet Grant in Petersburg the morning after this really ugly battle, which was the end of Lee’s 10-month siege. He rode across the battlefield, which was strewn with bodies, and it was the first time he’d ever seen the immediate aftermath of a battle with nothing really cleaned up. And the description by one of the men that accompanied him, of Lincoln sort of visibly aging on the horse as he rode across the battlefield, moved me enormously.” The scene also gets to the heart of the sacrifices necessary to maintain the union. “One of the paradoxes of Abraham Lincoln,” Kushner says, “was that he was not a guy who took war lightly. And Grant, whom he trusted as he trusted no one else, developed a new kind of warfare that was incredibly bloody and horrible, and it is what what won the war, but at a human cost that no one had ever seen before. Lincoln suffered this very deeply, and I felt like this was a great moment to show that.” —Paul Brownfield


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TYPE RI RI aMOuR Auteurs wouldn’t be auteurs if they weren’t enigmatic, especially when it comes to deconstructing details of their oeuvre. “Let the film speak for itself ” is often the motto, and for Amour director and screenwriter Michael Haneke, that’s not too far from his own credo. However, he’s not completely inaccessible when responding to the audience’s fervor for his work. “It’s very difficult for me to say, it was so long ago, I can’t remember,” Haneke told AwardsLine when asked if there were one particularly challenging scene to write for Amour. “Generally, when it comes to screenwriting, I can say that if it’s flowing, you enjoy it. If not, it’s far less pleasant. But there’s always ambivalence—the struggle to put something there on a blank page when there was nothing there before. If it’s successful, you’re happy; if not, you’re depressed.” In writing the story of 80-year-old husband Georges who contends with his dying wife Anne’s debilitated state, Haneke was spurred by a beloved aunt’s long and painful battle with a degenerative condition. For the director, the story of the elderly couple’s struggle was a universal tragedy versus a tragic drama “about a 40-yearold couple who is coping with a child dying of cancer.” In researching the script, Haneke met extensively with medical specialists who work with stroke victims. His only note to Emmanuelle Riva in terms of preparing for the role was to undergo speech-therapy sessions for stroke patients. Riva initially read for the part of Anne, but Haneke had Jean-Louis Trintignant in mind for the role of Georges and wouldn’t have made Amour if the actor weren’t available.

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“I like writing for actors who I know and respect, and I know I can get results,” says Haneke, who has admired Trintignant’s work since he was a teenager. In regards to Isabelle Huppert, another Haneke vet from such films as The Piano Teacher and Time of the Wolf, the director praises her talents. “She is like a Stradivarius violin, on which you can play Bach, Mozart, or Brahms, and it will always sound good.”

DJaNGO uNCHaiNeD

Setting the film in one apartment “was always the choice,” says the director. “When you get older, when you have ill health, your life is reduced to the four walls that you are living in. But beyond that, there was also the challenge of dealing with a theme of this gravity. For that, I went back to the classical use of time, space, and action.” Though asked by his aunt to assist with her death, a request Haneke denied, the director-scribe asserts that there’s nothing in Amour that he cribbed from real life. In particular, the film’s tragic ending. “That’s the kind of question I never answer on principle,” says Haneke in regards to interpreting Amour’s conclusion. “I respect my films, and I am trying to force the spectator with these scenes to find their own answers and their own interpretation of what they see on screen. If I were to provide interpretation, I could be wrong and robbing you of your imagination.” Spoken like a true auteur. —Anthony D’Alessandro, David Mermelstein

FliGHT


IGHT IGHT

Original Screenplay Nominees Reveal Their Most Challenging Scenes

Just as Quentin Tarantino casts extensively for the right actor who’ll recite his dialogue properly, he is equally exacting when it comes to the punch and snap of his comedy scenes. And if there’s one takeaway moment that helps ease the ultraviolent intensity in his revisionist western Django Unchained, it’s the lynchmob scene where a gaggle of hooded Klansmen, led by plantation owner Big Daddy (Don Johnson), plot their attack against bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and Django (Jamie Foxx), who have offed slave handlers the Brittle brothers. “The comedy rhythm is very specific and an actor needs to say this word and this word for a punchline to work or for the tone to work, but I have perfect actors,” Tarantino explains.

In Flight, screenwriter John Gatins had to figure out how his main character, pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), would first cross paths with the heroin addict Nicole, played by Kelly Reilly. Flight is a story about an alcoholic hitting rock bottom inside the protective shell of an act of daring heroism: The crash-landing of a commercial flight. But Gatins says he wanted “a little bit of a two-handed narrative in the first half of the movie.” Enter Nicole, a junkie on her own descent. Gatins set their random meeting in the stairwell of a hospital. He did not, however, expect a third character to insert himself into the scene—a young cancer patient, played by James Badge Dale, who, finding Whip and Nicole smoking in the stairwell, asks to bum a cigarette and becomes “thematically a guy who comes and talks about the random

It’s a classic western comedy moment, rivaling the campfire sequence in Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles: The dim-witted Klansmen debate about wearing hoods or not, because the person who made them didn’t cut the eye holes in the right places. For Tarantino, watching Birth of a Nation after his Django Klansman scene is all the more hilarious because the reality probably was that those actors couldn’t see a thing.

Despite any outrage that Django has triggered in the African-American media, in particular Spike Lee’s ire, the film was recognized by the NAACP Image Awards with best supporting acting wins for Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson, as well as a best picture nomination and acting nod for Jamie Foxx. Yet from what Tarantino has observed at screenings, it’s his bag scene that’s a clincher.

“I’m positive it’s half the reason why Amy (Pascal) wanted to be involved in the movie because she felt that the bag scene was so funny,” Tarantino says. “It’s actually terrifying to write something that funny on the page. If I write something that funny on the page and count on Jamie (Foxx) and Sam (L. Jackson) to say it, then I have no worries. But I had to spread that scene out between six people, and they all had to deliver.”

“You get a cathartic laugh from audiences, especially black audiences, because they start giggling uncontrollably as that scene builds in its absurdity,” says the director. “The tone of the laughter is: ‘We were scared of these idiots?’ ”

nature of life and events that have to do with, what do you believe?”

as a character. “There was a part of me that thought at times that he wouldn’t survive the movie or even the script cut, but I kind of fell immediately in love with him. I mean, I know he was a bit of the Oracle at Delphi, but I loved that about him, too. It was one of those things where it’s like, ‘Well, he can just say whatever he wants.’ Everyone has interesting reactions to that scene, which is another thing that made me very grateful that I decided to leave it in the script, and when (director Robert) Zemeckis and I sat down, it was one of the first things he wanted to talk about. He said, ‘It’s the framework of the whole movie. It’s important, it’s pivotal.’ ”

“Had I sat to really try to outline the entire movie, I never would have said, ‘Oh, scene 17 is going to be in a stairwell, and a cancer patient is going to walk in and talk for six pages and then leave, and we’re never going to see him again.’ But given the nature by which I wrote this movie, with letting the story unfold a little bit, and even though it was a little bit unwieldy at times—it was long and I had to do a lot of cutting and circling back and everything else—that cancer patient was one of those happy accidents of living in the world of (Whip’s) mind and what he might encounter once he was there,” Gatins explains.

—Anthony D’Alessandro

—Paul Brownfield

Yet even though the character simply called Gaunt Young Man helped solidify the scene, Gatins wasn’t necessarily sure the man would ever be fully realized

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TYPE RIGHT RIGHT On the lam from their parents and the authorities, two 12-year-old lovers enlist the aid of a high-ranking official in the Khaki Scouts to marry them quickly and help them escape the forces that would return them to adolescence. Roman Coppola, who cowrote Moonrise Kingdom with director Wes Anderson, is quite fond of the scene that stars his cousin, Jason Schwartzman. Schwartzman is Uncle Ben, the aforementioned high-ranking official in the Khaki Scouts. Paid off to help the young Scout Sam and his child-bride-to-be Suzy escape, he tells the boy: “There’s a cold-water crabber moored off Broken Rock, the skipper owes me an IOU, we’ll see if he can take you on as a clawcracker. Won’t be an easy life, but it’s better than shock therapy.” “He can’t legally wed them, but he has a certain status due to being this high-level scout,” Coppola says. “And his language and the way he speaks has a distinctive manner that has to do with his position.”

MOONRise KiNGDOM

Within Uncle Ben’s blizzard of words and comic alliteration—“cold-water crabber,” “claw-cracker”— is the surface tone of Moonrise Kingdom, in which characters have their own verbal coding: Deadpan and heavily formalized speech is part of the engine of a comedy about adolescence.

The scene calls for our CIA agent heroine Maya (Jessica Chastain) to explode at her boss in Pakistan, station chief Joseph Bradley, over the prioritizing of resources in the near-decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden. “It’s the day after the attempted bombing in New York City” in 2010, screenwriter Mark Boal explains. “We’ve watched (Maya) evolve and devolve from a relatively innocent young officer in the course of seven years to this obsessively driven, committed hunter.” Stoic for much of the film, Maya finally sheds her emotional armor. “It’s scripted in a way that allowed Jessica to uncork a powerful emotional moment. So it works on an emotional level, and she has the opportunity to really flex her acting muscles and show the strain that she’s been holding beneath this veneer of professionalism. But it also works on a political level, because it shows the resource allocation was so important to the story, and that the CIA was constantly torn between the trade-off between trying to prevent an attack and trying to achieve the longer-term goal of finding and killing bin Laden. We know from history that different administrations placed different priority on that trade-off.”

ZeRO DaRK THiRTY

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The hunt for bin Laden, by then, has also led to the death of Maya’s close colleague Jessica (Jennifer Ehle), killed in a suicide bombing on a U.S. base in Khost,

“The choice of words relate to the character’s function,” Coppola says. “For example, there’s the police officer, and the parents of Suzy are some type of lawyers. Often in their conversations, they use legal turns of phrase.” Uncle Ben talks fast, in keeping with his function in the story—to conduct a quickie, unofficial wedding and get our two young lovers off the island. Schwartzman, with little time to waste, speaks his lines in what Coppola calls “a wonderful kind of ’40s, Ben Hecht-ian kind of way, in this urgent blast of dialogue.” “When some dialogue comes out so quickly, it takes a moment to catch up to it, so it’s a scene I enjoy watching again and again,” Coppola continues. “The writing of it, and seeing Wes manifest that through his work as a director—and the actors, of course—it’s really one of the more touching scenes for me. These two young lovers are committed to each other, and they want to be married. They’re willing to be on the lam and live in a chaotic way, due to this true love. The sentiment is rather deep and sincere, and yet it has a very playful way that it’s presented.” —Paul Brownfield

Afghanistan. “We think of the CIA as just this faceless organization, but it’s susceptible to all the same personal pettiness of any big corporation or any big high school,” Boal says. “And over the years she’s lost friends and put up with enormous frustration. And then she finally screams at her boss.” Although the government remains a big bureaucracy, Boal says he also wanted to show how close CIA agents become in this type of work. “The team that found and killed bin Laden is a pretty small team,” he says. “And they all, or most of them, knew each other. It was a very personal undertaking. There’s so much death all around on this story. You have all the deaths in 9/11 and then subsequent deaths in Iraq on both sides and the civilians, and Afghanistan, you have the horrors in the black sites and everything. But in addition to that, you have the deaths among the CIA. There was a real historic, personal connection between Maya and the character that’s represented as being killed in Khost. There’s a scene in the film where they’re texting each other right before. They were friends. That sort of friend-mentor relationship in the film I didn’t pull out of my ass—that’s real. It just shows how personal this all was for them.” —Paul Brownfield


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Hailee Steinfeld in Prada

Anne Hathaway in Giambattista Valli

MONiCa CORCORaN HaRel

CaTWalK TO ReD CaRPeT

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If all roads once led to Rome, then most fashion runways now merge into the red carpet. For the past decade or so, celebrity stylists have cherry-picked the fashion runways for the very best frocks for their A-list clients on awards nights. In essence, you would first see a gown on Kate Moss and then on Cate Blanchett. But more recently, the trend is for actresses to show up to the Golden Globes or Oscars in ready-to-wear or one-of-a-kind couture gowns that haven’t yet debuted at fashion week or the European shows. In many instances, the red carpet is the new runway. Case in point: The one-shoulder black-and-white column gown that Claire Danes’ wore to the SAG Awards came from Givenchy’s pre-fall 2013 collection. “In an effort to trump other celebs, it’s become about wearing something that hasn’t even been seen on the runway yet,” says Cameron Silver, a fashion expert known for his serrated wit and the author of the new style encyclopedia, Decades: A Century of Fashion. “The system is so out of control.”

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By system, Silver means the big, greasy machine in which actresses and designers make exclusivity deals. Though no star or stylist will speak on the record about such dalliances, it’s been suggested that anywhere from $50,000 to $100,000 can come sewn into the hem of a red-carpet gown worn by a nominated actress. On a less cynical note, however, stylists can’t be blamed for calling first dibs on spectacular gowns that they preview. “The advantage to using dresses that haven’t been shown yet is that no one else has seen them,” says the powerful Hollywood stylist Elizabeth Stewart, whose clients include fashion risktakers Blanchett and Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain. “There’s a better chance of a good dress not having been snapped up.” Wearing the right dress can be the first business flirtation between an actress and designer, too. A bit like a wink across the room. In 2011, 14-year-old Hailee Steinfeld was nominated for an Oscar for True Grit. Seizing a style moment, she wore a striking fuchsia-, tangerine-, and black-striped Prada dress with a flounced hem from the spring collection to the SAG

Awards that year. The chic choice paid off. Within two months, Steinfeld became the new face of Miu Miu, Prada’s edgier little-sister label. Steinfeld was just spotted front row at the Chanel couture show in Paris, so stay tuned. Jewelers, of course, must deliver never-before-seen sparklers too. Many stylists plunder the archives of a house like Cartier or Van Cleef & Arpels for statement pieces with heritage and vintage caché. “Finding the new unseen look and style in a piece of jewelry is also in top demand,” says Beverly Hills jeweler Martin Katz, who outfitted Jodie Foster, Sally Field, and Helen Hunt with lush diamond bracelets and bold earrings at this year’s Globes. “When I come up with unusual rings or bracelets that have not been seen on the red carpet before, stylists grab them immediately.” If anyone can be held semi-responsible for all this pushing and shoving, it’s Nicole Kidman. Back at the Academy Awards in 1997, she hit the red carpet in an exotic chartreuse haute couture gown by John


Jennifer Lawrence in Dior

CHiC CONveRsiONs Unlike runway models, very few actresses top out at 5’11” and wear a size 2. Not to mention the fact that many shy away from necklines that plunge to the waist and skirts that slit to their derrieres. Here are a few essential tweaks that often happen before a runway frock meets the red-carpet paparazzi: aDD sPaRKle: Designers don’t festoon their models with a gazillion dollars worth of diamonds.

With Designer Gowns Debuting on the Red Carpet, Awards Season Is Starting to Feel a Lot Like Fashion Week

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Galliano for Dior. (A facsimile of the dress had been spotted just a month earlier at the Paris show and the designer worked to customize it for Kidman.) No doubt, every other actress on the carpet that night later learned to pronounce “haute couture” with just the right French flourish.

iN aN eFFORT TO TRuMP OTHeR CeleBs, iT’s BeCOMe aBOuT WeaRiNG sOMeTHiNG THaT HasN’T eveN BeeN seeN ON THe RuNWaY YeT.

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And just as wearing never-before-seen runway dresses has become de rigueur, über stylist-turned-designer Rachel Zoe has upended the buffet once again. She put longtime client Anne Hathaway in a snowwhite Chanel couture gown from 2009 at this year’s Globes. What? A 3-year-old dress? “Just because a

dress was seen on the runway a couple of years ago but didn’t have its moment doesn’t mean that it’s out of fashion,” says Silver. In fact, if anything, it shows that a resourceful stylist can gild a forgotten gown like anyone else would lacquer an old credenza. Zoe also put Hathaway in a black spring 2013 Giambattista Valli couture gown for the SAG Awards this year. Catherine Kallon, who founded the popular website Red Carpet Fashion Awards in 2007, has been visually comparing runway looks and their red-carpet translations for over five years. She sniffs at any criticism about petite Hollywood actresses being swallowed by dresses designed for statuesque woman with tiny ribcages. “For the most part, I think runway dresses translate better on the red carpet,” she says. “Just look at Lucy Liu in her Carolina Herrera gown at the Golden Globes for further proof. She owned the floral ball gown.” Actually, she borrowed that gown and it was pre-fall 2013.

(all images Getty)

DiTCH THe avaNT-GaRDe eDGe: A feathered mask or leather opera gloves would certainly freak out the Mormons in Utah. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wore a black Saint-Laurent Spring 2013 gown to this year’s Golden Globes, but eschewed the black fedora worn with it on the runway. seCuRe THe aNaTOMiCal BauBles: Models can jiggle like women’s-libbers circa 1970. Actresses rely on tape and nipple covers to keep it G-rated. lOse THe CRaZY sHOes: The runways are notorious for showstopping, blister-inducing footwear. When Halle Berry wore Atelier Versace from fall 2012 to this year’s Globes, she bypassed the platform bondage boots seen on the runway for demure nude pumps. sMile, alReaDY: A runway model would rather bloat two sizes than show teeth to the photographers. Every actress—except Tilda Swinton, of course—knows that her megawatt grin on the red carpet warms up even the most cutting edge of couture gowns. —Monica Corcoran Harel


50 YEARS AGO Below: lawrence of arabia (© A.M.P.A.S.)

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1962 Oscar Race

(Which Looks Surprisingly Similar to This Year)

Many have said 2012 has been the most remarkable year for movies in the Oscar race in a very long time. The dense list of quality contenders makes for quite a race, and it’s somewhat reminiscent of another legendary year for cinema a half-century ago. The year 1962 was an embarrassment of riches, and in many ways, just an embarrassment for the Academy. Yes, they did include the year’s two best films, To Kill a Mockingbird and (eventual winner) Lawrence of Arabia, in the best picture lineup and both have endured as certified classics. Both were worthy. But then the Academy padded out the remaining three spots with popular studio offerings like The Longest Day, The Music Man, and most egregiously, the bloated Marlon Brando remake of Mutiny on the Bounty. OK, these films might have been decent entertainment, but were they the best the Academy could do 50 years ago? Hardly.

Opposite page, clockwise from top left: To kill a Mockingbird, The longest Day, Days of Wine and roses, Mutiny on the bounty (all images Getty)

BY PeTe HaMMOND

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A Look Back at the

Just consider the films that didn’t make the cut: Blake Edwards’ Days of Wine and Roses; John Frankenheimer’s The Manchurian Candidate, Birdman of Alcatraz, and All Fall Down; Arthur Penn’s The Miracle Worker; Robert Aldrich’s What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?; Otto Preminger’s Advise & Consent; Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita; John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance; David Miller’s Lonely Are the Brave—and this is just a partial list! Was it because all these films were in black and white? Well, so were Mockingbird and Longest Day, so that doesn’t explain it. Were they too challenging when compared to the populist films that made the cut instead? The point is, we are still seeing, experiencing, and talking about most of the best picture also-rans today. They have stood the test of time, a feat perhaps greater than ever being nominated for a best picture Oscar. It is interesting to note that, just as the Academy has done this year in failing to nominate the directors of


best picture nominees Argo, Les Misérables, and Zero Dark Thirty, the Academy’s directors branch of 1962 was just as prickly and contrarian in ignoring the directors of three best picture nominees (Longest Day, Mutiny, and Music Man) in favor of smaller entries like David and Lisa, The Miracle Worker, and the foreign language Italian film Divorce Italian Style, which like this year’s Austrian/French Amour also nabbed nominations for acting and writing, winning for the latter just as Amour could do. The directors of those best picture alsorans were every bit as worthy of the nomination they didn’t get (Frankenheimer’s three 1962 classics should have gotten him a nod just based on volume alone). Some things never change. And, quite frankly, considering the advanced age of some Academy members, many of the same people are still doing the voting. The year 1962 was also when James Bond was introduced to the movies in Dr. No starring Sean Connery, still one of the best of the Bonds, yet it didn’t merit a single nomination back then. In fact, Bond has been consistently ignored throughout the past 50 years, with just a handful of technical nominations and awards. A half-century from the time Bond was

introduced, it seemed like it was all going to change this year with Skyfall, which was poised to become the first Bond ever to earn a best picture nom. It didn’t happen, just like it didn’t happen 50 years ago. At least the Academy has been guilted into a special tribute to recognize this most successful—and brilliant—of all movie franchises. Beyond best picture, which did at least go to a very deserving winner in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, the acting races across the board were gut-wrenching cliffhangers. I can’t recall the four categories to ever be so competitive as they were that year. For best actor, try to choose among Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockingbird, Peter O’Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses, Marcello Mastroianni in Divorce Italian Style, and Burt Lancaster in Birdman of Alcatraz. If it weren’t for Peck’s iconic Atticus Finch, which deservedly won, certainly O’Toole would have triumphed the first time out for his glorious T.E. Lawrence instead of going zero for eight and becoming Oscar’s most losing actor (thank God they finally gave him an honorary award).

Best actress was an imposing quintet with Bette Davis in a shocking comeback role, Lee Remick as a drunk, Geraldine Page as a fading film star, Katharine Hepburn doing Eugene O’Neill, and the winner, Anne Bancroft, training the blind Helen Keller. Pre-Oscar bets from Hollywood experts were on each and every one to prevail. There were duo Oscar upsets in the supporting races, too. Virtually everyone thought Lawrence’s Omar Sharif would win, but he was upstaged by a career nod to Sweet Bird of Youth’s Ed Begley. And in supporting actress, it was Angela Lansbury as Laurence Harvey’s conspiratorial and chilling mother in The Manchurian Candidate who was seen as a sure thing, only to be passed over for 16-yearold Patty Duke as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. It was the criminally overlooked Lansbury’s to lose—and she did, never getting another shot. Oscar fans are still smarting, though Duke’s performance still holds up. Sometimes Oscar races leave lasting scars. It’s about what could have been. And in a year as good as 2012 was, will we still be arguing the outcome 50 years from now just like we still do about ’62?

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CONsiDeRiNG THe aDvaNCeD aGe OF sOMe aCaDeMY MeMBeRs MaNY OF THe saMe PeOPle aRe sTill DOiNG THe vOTiNG.


Writers of America, West Congratulates Our 2013 Writers Guild Awards Nominees and Honorees


2012-2013 AwardsLine Oscar Print Editions: Issue 10