The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards are out. But while Denzel Washington is laughing for having fooled the Academy into thinking Flight is an Oscar-worthy movie, Anne Hathaway is crying into her celebratory mimosa, and Kathryn Bigelow is trying hard not to cry for a completely different reason, we are scratching our heads. Thursday morning's announcement has left us with myriad ponderables. Here are 10 burning questions that have us yelling, "We want answers!" and running to Google faster than a cheetah on a treadmill.
The Best Supporting Actor category has a reputation for being dominated by Hollywood's veteran gentlemen. But, before this year, has there ever been an acting category filled with actors who already have an Oscar in their trophy case?
Nope. This would be the first time. Christoph Waltz won for Inglorious Basterds in 2010, Philip Seymour Hoffman for Capote in 2006, Robert De Niro for The Godfather: Part II (1975) and Raging Bull (1981), Alan Arkin for Little Miss Sunshine in 2007, Tommy Lee Jones for The Fugitive in 1994.
This could be the third Oscar for Robert De Niro and Daniel Day-Lewis. Who else has three? And who has the most wins?
Actors Ingrid Bergman, Jack Nicholson, Meryl Streep, and Walter Brennan all have three Oscars. But Katherine Hepburn beats them all with four Best Actress wins. Competitors in non-acting categories, however, rake in even more awards. Composer Alan Menken has eight, costume designer Edith Head has eight, visual effects supervisor Dennis Muren has nine, and Walt Disney has the distinction of winning the most Academy Awards — he has 22.
In addition to his hosting duties, Seth MacFarlane was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Original Song category. Is this the first time a host has also been up for an award?
Nope! Just two years ago, James Franco co-hosted with Anne Hathaway while he was also nominated for Best Actor for 127 Hours. And before Franco, six other hosts played dual roles on the big night: Frank Capra (1938), Bob Hope (1952), David Niven (1958), Michael Caine (1972), Walter Matthau (1975), and Paul Hogan (1986). Capra, Hope, and Niven also walked away with trophies their respective years.
Austrian tear-jerker Amour has five chances to take home a trophy this year. How many times has the same movie been nominated for Best Picture as well as Best Foreign Language Film? And has the same movie ever won the Oscar in both categories?
There have only been nine foreign language films nominated for Best Picture: Grand Illusion, 1938; Z, 1969; The Emigrants, 1972; Cries and Whispers, 1973; Il Postino, 1995; Life Is Beautiful, 1998; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, 2000; Letters from Iwo Jima, 2006; and Amour, 2012. Of those movies Z, Life Is Beautiful, and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon won Best Foreign Language Film rather than Best Picture. The Emigrants is the only film to lose both. Grand Illusion was nominated before Best Foreign Language Film was created, Letters from Iwo Jima was ineligible because it was an American production, and Cries and Whispers and Il Postino were not nominated. No movie has ever won both categories.
Silver Linings Playbook has nominations in the five biggest categories (Best Picture, Director, Actress, Actor, Screenwriting). Has a film ever swept all five?
In Oscar history there have been three films to sweep the major acting categories as well as take directing, screenwriting, and Best Picture awards: It Happened One Night (1934), One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), and The Silence of the Lambs (1991).
While Argo and Zero Dark Thirty are considered frontrunners for the Best Picture win, their directors (Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow, respectively) weren't nominated for Best Director. Is it rare for a film to take home Best Picture and not Best Director?
In a word, yes. Of the 85 films that have been awarded Best Picture, 65 of them have also taken home the award for Best Director. And in only three instances have the directors of Best Picture-winning films not been nominated themselves — Wings (1928), Grand Hotel (1932), and Driving Miss Daisy (1989).
Eiko Ishioka, who passed away this year, is nominated for Best Achievement in Costume Design for her work on Mirror, Mirror. How many Oscars have been awarded posthumously?
There have been 15 posthumous awards won in the competitive categories out of 73 nominations for people who were also in the "In Memoriam" reel that year. The most recent winner was Heath Ledger in 2008 for Best Supporting Actor in The Dark Knight. Composer Howard Ashman has the most posthumous nominations (he has four). Art director William A. Horning has the most wins: he won two awards in two consecutive years, for Gigi in 1958 and Ben-Hur in 1959. In 1959 he was also nominated for art direction of North by Northwest. That's one busy corpse! In Ishioka's Best Costume Design category there have been four posthumous nominations (three for the same person) and zero wins.
Lincoln, which has so far raked in over $145 million at the box office, is the only Best Picture contender this year you could really call a "blockbuster." What was the lowest grossing film to ever take the Best Picture category?
The lowest grossing Best Picture winner was The Hurt Locker in 2010, which only grossed $50 million. Four of this year's nine Best Picture nominees have currently grossed even less than that. Silver Linings Playbook has only made $35 million, Beasts of the Southern Wild has only made $11 million, Zero Dark Thirty has only made $5 million, and Amour $340,798. That makes The Hurt Locker look like Titanic.
Is Quvenzhane Wallis the youngest person to be nominated for an Oscar? And who's the oldest?
Nine-year-old Wallis is not the youngest person ever to be nominated; that distinction belongs to Kramer vs. Kramer's Justin Henry, who was eight at the time of his nomination. Wallis is also tied with Skippy's Jackie Cooper. Wallis is, however, the youngest actress to ever be nominated in the Best Actress category, beating out former youngster Keisha Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider). If she wins, Wallis will be the youngest person to ever win an Oscar. On the flip side, Amour's Emmanuella Riva is, at 85-years-old, the oldest woman to be nominated for Best Actress. And she is the second oldest person to ever be nominated for an acting Oscar — Gloira Stuart, who was 87 when she was nominated for Titanic, holds that title.
Quvenzhane Wallis was nominated for her first-ever film. Has an actor or director ever won the award for his or her debut project?
This happens a lot more often than you would think — 23 times, to be precise. Five actresses have won the Best Actress Oscar for their debut films: Shirley Booth, Come Back, Little Sheba (1952); Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday (1953); Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins (1964); Barbra Streisand, Funny Girl (1968); Marlee Matlin, Children of a Lesser God (1986).
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Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.
The sensuously striking Jude Law has been named "Sexiest Man of the Year" by People magazine--a statement few would disagree with.
"What's he all about?" People asks in its latest issue, in a reference to Law's latest, Alfie. "Supernatural good looks, supersize talent--and so nice, he might just kiss you if you have the nerve to ask."
That is, if this British heartthrob was single. The 31-year-old actor divorced Sadie Frost, his wife of almost six years, in September of last year and is currently dating his Alfie co-star Sienna Miller. Law recently told The Associated Press he is nothing like the womanizing character he portrays in his new romantic comedy.
"I grew up, I suppose, always looking for commitment and looking for a relationship, and that's why I got married so young," Law told the AP. "And I'm in another relationship now. So that just seems to be my pattern."
Law, who was raised in South London, has come a long way since starring in the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat more than 15 years ago. In fact, some are speculating the blonde It-guy is on the brink of becoming overexposed, with no less than six movies in theaters this fall.
His starring roll began in August with the sci-fi thriller Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow and hasn't shown any signs of slowing down. He has since been seen in I (Heart) Huckabees and Alfie and will make appearances in the upcoming drama-romance Closer, the family feature Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.
Nonetheless, there's no arguing that Law is the hot commodity du jour. Naomi Watts, who starred with Law in Huckabees, describes Law as "the most beautiful man who ever walked the Earth."
And Watts isn't Law's only co-star singing his praises. His Alfie co-stars Nia Long, Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei even admitted to all but drooling over the hunky thesp in Hollywood.com's own video interviews. But hey, don't take our word for it--check out our interview video with Law and his costars, and see for yourself why he's the sexiest man alive.
Tom Cruise and Steven Spielberg (who just finished shooting Minority Report, set for June release), are set to team up again for Ghost Soldiers, a World War II film about the Japanese prison camp survivors of the Bataan Death March, Variety reports. The film will be based upon the bestselling book by the same name and will be produced by Cruise's company, C/W Prods.
Julia Roberts' production company, Shoelace Prods., is teaming up with Revolution Studios to create the CBS drama Queens Supreme (no, not a Taco Bell burrito for royalty). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will take a behind-the-scenes look at the trial court system in New York.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese, who worked together in the upcoming film Gangs of New York, will team up again for a film about legendary movie mogul Howard Hughes. According to Variety, Jim Carrey and Christopher Nolan (Memento) are also said to be working on a separate Hughes project.
Gene Hackman's absence from recent award shows like the AFI and the Golden Globes is due to his new purchase: an island! Variety reports the land is off the Washington coast, but the actor has been in the Caribbean shopping for a boat. Maybe being the "Royal" of The Royal Tenenbaums will prompt him to pick up a scepter for his new kingdom.
The appropriately named Jennifer Love Hewitt will star in Fox's new comedy My Romance that her own LoveSpell Prods. is co-producing, according the Hollywood Reporter. The show is about an artist who gives up on love, only to realize love ends up finding her. (Makes you wonder what the show would be about if Hewitt's name had "Forest" or "Frankfurter" in it.)
Speaking of names, Rosie O' Donnell ought to change hers to "Accident Prone." People reports the comedian told Rosie show guest Kate Winslet that she "may have broken a toe" after falling down several steps of her 112-step home Wednesday night.
The words "canceled" or "terminated" seem interchangeable, don't they? Not according to Mariah Carey's attorneys, who claim they're ready to sue record giant EMI for using the "T" word instead of the agreed-upon "C" word when they publicly announced their $28 million contract break from Carey. The BBC reports EMI is ready to counter-sue, if necessary.
The 66-year-old singer Loretta Lynn will soon be Dr. Loretta Lynn, according to The Associated Press. The University of Kentucky will bestow the honorary doctorate in arts to Lynn at the Society for American Music's 28th annual meeting March 6-10 on the university's Lexington campus.
Conan O'Brien's Late Night contract with NBC expires in Sept., and Fox is up for the chase. PageSix.com reports Fox could offer O'Brien substantially more than the reported $2 million a year paycheck he gets now from NBC. Negotiations have yet to be finalized.
Rapper Jay-Z and R&B star R. Kelly have collaborated for The Best of Both Worlds, a CD set to hit shelves March 26, the AP reports. Both artists are Grammy winners and multi-platinum artists.
Antonio Banderas will star in the Broadway revival of Nine, a 1982 musical based on Federico Fellini's film 8 1/2, Variety reports. The show will open in Jan. 2003, with David Leveaux directing.
Liza Minnelli begins her European tour beginning April 2, according to the AP, after she weds 55-year-old producer David Gest on March 16. The wedding will be Minnelli's fourth and Gest's first.
Rocker Stuart Adamson of Big Country reportedly had a blood alcohol content of 0.279, three times the legal limit, when he was found hanged in Hawaii in December, according to Reuters. The Honolulu Medical Examiner's office ruled the death a suicide.
Actress Rebecca Gayheart has settled a wrongful death lawsuit out of court, People reports. When the actress struck and killed a 9-year-old boy last year with her car, she was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to produce a safe-driving video.
The car driven by actor Michael Keaton in Batman Returns will be up for bid in Los Angeles, the BBC reports, in a massive automobile auction. Other cars on the auction block include billionaire Howard Hughes' 1954 Chrysler New Yorker--equipped with a germ filtration unit--a 1948 Delahaye Cabriolet once owned by Elton John and a car used in HBO's hit series The Sopranos. The auction will take place at the Petersen Automobile Museum on June 15-16.