The Great Gatsby looks set to dominate the third annual Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards next month (Jan14) after landing 14 nominations, including Best Film. Aussie director Baz Luhrmann's film failed to live up to expectations when it was released earlier this year (13), but it's still a favourite Down Under.
Luhrmann gets a Best Director nod for the adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald classic, while Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan have scored Best Actor and Best Actress nominations, and Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki and Isla Fisher all scooped mentions in the Best Supporting Actor and actress categories.
Also competing for double-figure awards is director Kim Mordaunt's Laotian-language drama The Rocket, which is Australia's official entry for the 2014 Best Foreign Language Oscar. It picked up 10 AACTA nominations, including a Best Actor nod for leading man Sitthiphon Disamoe.
Also up for the Best Film prize are Satellite Boy, Mystery Road and Dead Europe.
Meanwhile, Jane Campion's acclaimed mini-series Top of the Lake picked up 10 nominations in the TV prize categories.
The AACTA Awards will be handed out in Sydney on 28 January (14).
Baz Luhrmann's big budget re-imagining of The Great Gatsby looks set to dominate the upcoming Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Awards after scoring a massive 14 nominations. The movie version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan, was shot in Australia and now looks set to sweep the board at the country's most prestigious movie awards, after scoring nods in categories such as Best Film and Best Direction.
It also landed nods for DiCaprio, Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, while Isla Fisher and Elizabeth Debicki will go head-to-head for the Best Supporting Actress prize. The Great Gatsby also received nominations for costume, sound, editing, cinematography and musical score, among others.
Low-budget Australian movie The Rocket will be another big contender at the prizegiving after picking up 12 nominations, going up against The Great Gatsby in the Best Film category, along with Dead Europe, Mystery Road, Satellite Boy and The Turning.
The Rocket's child star, Sitthiphon Disamoe, will also face Hollywood heavyweight DiCaprio for the Best Lead Actor prize.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Sydney, Australia on 30 January (14).
This weekend, The Great Gatsby didn't quite overtake Tony Stark and his mechanical suit of wonder in Iron Man 3, but the literature-inspired flick did make quite a dent in the weekend box office. And that means many you flocked to the theater to see what Baz Luhrmann did with F. Scott Fitzgerald's beloved text and maybe, just maybe, the polarizing adaptation left you with a few burning questions. That's what we're here for. We've got the scoop on the history and production of Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby.
1. Those parties were breathtaking! Did Luhrmann actually throw extravagant parties and capture them on film?Well, sort of. At the junket for The Great Gatsby, Luhrmann explained how he acheived the "wild party feel" in the first party of the film at Tom (Joel Edgerton) and Myrtle's (Isla Fisher) love nest:
We wanted to go there, but we weren't quite sure how to ... and then I said, we've got 20 minutes left let's turn all the cameras on and just go for it ... and right in the middle of the jazz, I just turned up very loudly a track called 'NYMP,' which is a Jay-Z track which was mixed with jazz, and things took off and the cameras rolled for twenty minutes. And there's a moment, and you see it in the film, when a very expensive lamp smashes. And my first assistant said, 'Baz, Baz, we gotta shut it down.' Because by then it was crazy mayhem, of levels you can only imagine: it was clothes coming off and feather fights and flowers being thrown. And I remember I grabbed everyone and I said, 'Get in the bedroom' and they kept rolling and that's how it became known as the 'orgy scene.'
While he's probably joking about the orgy part, it does appear that the partying in the film was somewhat real. (Which sounds like this may have been the best job ever.)
2. Most of the song covers are pretty easy to identify, but who's the woman covering "Crazy in Love" in the flower scene at Nick's (Tobey Maguire) house?Emeli Sande is an English pop singer who's just beginning to acheive fame in the U.S. Her last album, Our Version of Events, was number one on the UK charts for seven straight weeks in 2012 and she performed at both the opening and closing ceremonies of the London Olympics. You may also recognize her voice from her single (which was also performed by Candice Glover on American Idol last week) "Next to Me."
3. They drive around like mad men with no knowledge of seat belt safety in this movie – didn't they have normal safety measures back then?As it turns out, they didn't. Some cars came with flimsy seatbelts, but there were no laws governing the use or inclusion of seatbelts in the design of motor vehicles. It wasn't until 1964 the seatbelts were made standard by law, and even then, the requirements only stated that cars needed belts in the front seat. It was a dangerous time to be a driver or even in the vacinity of cars – something poor Myrtle Wilson has to learn firsthand.
4. Is Tom Buchanan's racist book real? Did people in the '20s really think there was an actual war between the races?Almost. Tom's book, The Rise of the Colored Empires by some man named Goddard, is not actually a real book. However, the idea that black Americans were some foreign force seeking to take over the white man's hold on America was a real theory proclaimed in a similarly-named book by Theodore Stoddard in 1920. His book was called The Rising Tide of Color Against the White World Supremacy, so if anything, Fitzgerald's version was a much milder version of the truly hateful book from Stoddard.
5. Jordan Baker and George Wilson are scene stealers! Where do I know those actors from?Wilson is played by Jason Clarke, who you may recognize as a scene-stealer from other films like Zero Dark Thirty, in which he played an FBI agent who introduced Jessica Chastain's character to the underbelly of interrogation tactics, and the summer drama Lawless, in which he played a member of a free-wheeling bootlegging family that included Tom Hardy and Shia LeBeouf. He's certainly an actor to keep an eye on in upcoming films like Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
The actress who plays Baker, Elizabeth Debecki, is a rising star in Austrailia, but this is her first introduction to American audiences. However, her arresting performance as the lithe golfer is sure to make her a face to watch stateside as well.
6. Is the Valley of Ashes a real place in Queens, New York?It was. Though the that place no longer exists, it was a real area of Queens that has since become Flushing Meadows Park and was once known as the Coronoa Ash Dumps. The signature ashes were repurposed, at the request of Robert Moses (the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City), to create the base for the Van Wyck expressway, which runs alongside the park. Flushing Meadows park built for the 1939 Worlds Fair (and little beknownst to Moses, the opening title sequence of King Of Queens, and the closing sequence ofMen In Black).
7. Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) makes such a big deal about all those oranges and the juice presser. Was it really a sign of wealth to have a mountain of citrus fruit at your disposal?Not really. But man, does it look beautiful on the screen. In the early 1920s, it cost about $10 dollars for the "200 oranges" Gatsby boasts for his morning mimosa with Daisy (Carey Mulligan), and the modern day equivalent of that many citrus fruits is about $130 dollars. It's chump change for a millionaire, but while the notion that he had someone fresh pressing his OJ for him every day in record time on some fancy juicer was the real luxury, it certainly makes for a better image to have an avalanche of orange orbs.
8. Myrtle's dog might have been the cutest movie dog in the history of movie dogs. Seriously. How do I get one? What kind of dog is he?If you want a pup like Mrs. Wilson's gift of adultery, a grey schnauser puppy would do it.
9. How historically accurate are Daisy's clothes? That jewel-network of a dress at Gatsby's party seems a bit modern.The film's costume designer (and Luhrmann's wife) Catherine Martin has said she stayed true to the time period, but that Lurhmann had her open it up the to the Gatsby Era (between 1920 and 1927), rather than just the year the book was set in. In that way, she had a bit more freedom with her designs, she spoke to Fashionista.com about the details of the era:
But what you realize even by the early ’20s, just about any silhouette–from a bias cut, to a strapless, to a robe de style, had all been invented. One shouldered looks, beading, embroidering, harem pants, feathered skirts, halter necks, v-necks… all kinds of different silhouettes. We think of the ’20s as a shift, a beaded embroidered fringed shift. And in reality the silhouettes were incredibly varied and had all kinds of influences form folkloric to Arabic, Orientalism–every kind of influence that you can possibly imagine, including Egyptian by the time Tutankhamun’s tomb had been opened up.
So there you have it. What else about The Great Gatsby left you with a quizzical brow?
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan — for his adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's revered novel The Great Gatsby, director Baz Luhrmann recruited Hollywood's top talent. The star-lit casting fits the material, and Luhrmann's specific interpretation. His Gatsby is drunk on gimlets and glamour, embracing Fitzgerald's description of a "kaleidoscopic circus" and peppering it with the current faces of A-listers.
Elizabeth Debicki is an unknown here in the States and a rising star in her home country of Australia. When it came to casting Gatsby's elegant, wry, professional golfer Jordan Baker, Luhrmann deviated from the recognizable talent pool to to give Debicki a breakout role. Straight out of the Victorian College of Arts, Debicki was handpicked by Luhrmann, won over by her chemistry with Tobey Maguire. Luhrmann revealed his choice for Jordan Baker on his website in early 2011:
"It was a surprising result, but Elizabeth's grasp of the material and her chemical connectivity to Tobey Maguire, in addition to her striking, athletic appearance, had us in a place where we were fully confident and ready to take the leap of giving the role of Jordan Baker to what, I guess, people would term 'a discovery.' We are thrilled. As each role in Gatsby is cast, we seek, in the most dramatic way, to clarify each of Fitzgerald's characters, one against the other."
In an interview with The Australian, Debicki describes the whirlwind experience of being invited to the lavish party that is a Baz Luhrmann production. What started as a casual submission of a casting tape became the call of a lifetime. "That whole audition was one of the strangest experiences of my life," she explains. "I'd never been to L.A. before, it was like a crazy whirlwind — I got on a plane and then I was in LA, the sun was shining and I did this crazy audition and came home. Within five days it had all occurred, and I lost a day somewhere in between. Then Baz called me on a tea break in rehearsals and it was a very, very weird moment. You imagine you would react a certain way, like, 'That's wonderful' and you'd be very graceful, like in a Hollywood movie, but it wasn't like that at all. I don't remember saying anything remotely intelligent. I said something like, 'Are you serious?' but I said it quite a lot. He kept saying 'Yes' and then I thought I probably shouldn't ask him again in case he thinks twice."
Debicki comes from a family of dancers, having moved from Paris to Australia when she was five years old. Her diet as a kid was purely golden-era Hollywood films, the type of big screen song numbers that inform Luhrmann's Gatsby. The upbringing helped when it came to the role — although she tells Vanity Fair that doing the Charleston ain't easy. "The first time I did it I was absolutely wiped. Maybe in the 20s they were skinnier and had less body to throw around? I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a whole new trend of Charleston classes at the gym, instead of, like, pole dancing," she says.
Having just begun her career, Debicki is one of the few young stars without a turbulent past or dirt to be dug up. It's a bright future, one we see a glimpse of when she spars alongside Maguire and DiCaprio in The Great Gatsby. But as she tells Interview Magazine, "stardom" isn't really one of her goals when making the jump to Hollywood. "It doesn't really appeal to me very much. When I went to school, it was all very idealistic. It was all just about making art and making theater. When I did my first film, I was like, ‘Oh my god. Is this actually a job? 'Cause this is what I would like to do for pleasure.'"
Debicki simply wants great parts. Now that we've been introduced to her in Gatsby, we want the same thing for her.
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Gatsby may have believed in the green light, but in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby, every color in the spectrum is strewn across the screen to an orgastic degree. Like Project X for the gimlet-sipping crowd, Luhrmann takes F. Scott Fitzgerald's source material, douses it in modern music courtesy of soundtrack mastermind Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter, and shoots the melodrama with sweeping movements normally reserved for Lord of the Rings. Weary narrator Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) describes Gatsby's weekly festivities as a "kaleidoscopic carnival." Quite apt: Luhrmann's 3D spectacle goes from mesmerizing to dizzying in under 30 minutes.
Like Carraway, The Great Gatsby is eventually awoken to the "real" man behind the lavish production numbers. The movie changes course for the better when the brilliant Leonardo DiCaprio enters the picture. Like the plebs he greets, DiCaprio's Jay Gatsby takes the movie's breath away, forcing Luhrmann to put aside his song and dance infatuation for dazzling performances in the heightened world he's created. Luhrmann's script sticks closely to the required high school reading we all know and love: After settling into a modest West Egg, Long Island cottage for the summer, Carraway is courted by Gatsby for friendship. With the help of the reclusive gazillionaire, Carrway experiences life in the fast line. But Gatsby has ulterior motives. Five years prior, he fell desperately in love with Carraway's cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan). Now he needs Carraway to pull her out of East Egg long enough for Gatsby to convince her to leave her cheating, polo-playing husband Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton). Mesmerized by charm, Carraway reluctantly abides.
Maguire does a stand up job playing witness to Gatsby's upper crust destruction, but it's DiCaprio's show to steal. The actor finds new sides to his on-screen persona that outshine the glitz and glamour; in his first encounter with Daisy, Gatsby bumbles around Carraway's living room, hyperventilating and trembling in fear like a teenager on his first date. It's DiCaprio embracing physical comedy and low status — in complete contrast to what he does as the "Great Gatsby" who commands over parties and works shady business deals in the backrooms of New York City. Like the sporadic beauty of jazz, DiCaprio mixes Gatsby's moods into one enchanting character.
The supporting cast feels more like they're role playing in the Roaring '20s then digging into their literary counterparts — impaired partially by Luhrmann's insistence on voiceover and flashy execution — but there are standouts. Without material doing her an favors, Mulligan turns Daisy into a vicious romantic, her fragility exposed when Edgerton's Tom reacts violently to Gatsby intrusion. The Aussie actor finds plenty of moments to chew up with his boisterous, period-appropriate delivery. The mustache doesn't hurt the smarminess. In a small role, heralded Indian actor Amitabh Bachchan appears to push Gatsby's buttons and turn the film on its head. He makes more of an impression than two normally strong performers, Isla Fisher and Jason Clarke, who have little to do as Tom's mistress and her gas station-owning husband.
Luhrmann doesn't put style over substance, though Great Gatsby is off-balance. The first half nearly collapses under the weight of production value and DiCaprio's bravado isn't quite enough to carry the film to greatness. The stylized backdrop, New York by way of Life of Pi, fit the larger than life story. If it were precisely used rather than slathered over the screenplay, Luhrmann would have a year's best on his hands. Instead, The Great Gatsby straddles the line of disaster, manic in the vein of its protagonist's delusional escapades.
What do you think? Tell Matt Patches directly on Twitter @misterpatches and read more of his reviews on Rotten Tomatoes!
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After months and months of casting rumors and shake-ups, it seems that Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic tome The Great Gatsby has finally locked its roster up. The last piece in the talent puzzle was the role of Tom Buchanan, the wealthy Long Island aristocrat who feuds with Gatsby and cheats on his wife Daisy. Ben Affleck was most recently rumored to play him, but dropped out due to conflicts with his own film Argo. Now, Joel Edgerton, who finds himself in the running for nearly every high-profile film in development these days, has filled the void.
Deadline says that Luhrmann was thoroughly impressed with the Australian actor's audition and provides a quote from the filmmaker on why he hired him: "In casting Tom one had to find an actor who could credibly be (as Fitzgerald describes him) 'one of the most powerful ends that ever played football at New Haven,' had five-star acting chops and in the big dramatic showdown scenes between Gatsby and Tom, hold the screen against Leonardo DiCaprio, in the appropriate age group. Any wonder, it has been a long and thorough journey. The simple truth is that Joel came into our rehearsal space in New York and fulfilled all of the above criteria, and then some."
Sounds like Edgerton nailed the screen test, and if Luhrmann has that kind of confidence in the burgeoning star, I'm on board. As stated, Leonardo DiCaprio is playing the titular Gatsby, while his best friend Tobey Maguire will play narrator Nick Carraway. Carey Mulligan is Daisy, while Isla Fisher takes on the role of mistress Myrtle and Australian newcomer Elizabeth Debicki will play Jordan Baker, the golf pro who takes a liking to Nick. With a stellar cast and a grade A production team, this version of Gatsby is shaping up to be a glamorous throwback to Hollywood's Golden Age, and I couldn't be more ecstatic about it. Sure, the story has been adapted numerous times and was well done in most cases, but today's materialistic society could use a wake up call from these iconic characters.