In Contention

Nolan’s Batman trilogy as a single poster

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 10:35 pm · July 17th, 2011

Just had to pass this along. Kind of dig it. Courtesy David Chen:

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Who would get your write-in votes?

Posted by Guy Lodge · 4:11 pm · February 26th, 2011

Here’s an easy one for serious Oscar trivia geeks: what’s unusual about Hal Mohr’s 1935 Best Cinematography win for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream?” I offer no prize, but pat yourself on the back if you knew that Mohr was the first and only person to win an Oscar on write-in votes — or in other [...]

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SANTA BARBARA: Nolan crowned as Modern Master

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 12:41 am · January 31st, 2011

“He no longer challenges our ideas about film,” actor Leonardo DiCaprio said of Christopher Nolan tonight, before presenting him with the Modern Master Award.  “He has helped define them.” It was a great bow on a fine evening meant to celebrate the director’s work over the last decade.  The Modern Master designation is Santa Barbara’s [...]

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OFF THE CARPET: Dolla billz, y’all!

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 10:15 am · November 8th, 2010

A reader comment got me thinking on box office and Oscar as the usual blockbuster and genre fare led the way in ticket sales this weekend.  It dawned on me that pickins might be extra slim when it comes to representing populist filmmaking in 2010′s Best Picture crop. Box office and finding room for ratings-friendly [...]

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Tom Hardy cast in Nolan’s next Batman film

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 10:53 am · October 13th, 2010

I kind of don’t like calling it “Batman 3,” but in any case, Mike Fleming is reporting at Deadline that Tom Hardy, star of Christopher Nolan’s “Inception,” has been cast in a “lead role” in the sequel to 2008′s “The Dark Knight.” Naturally, “insiders are keeping the role secret and won’t even say if he’s [...]

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‘Inception’: the dream is (too) real

Posted by Guy Lodge · 4:21 pm · July 15th, 2010

It seems almost mandatory to begin any discussion of “Inception” with an acknowledgement of its scale of ambition – both aesthetic and intellectual – not least when set against the sights of most other $200 million summer studio pictures. So yes, let’s acknowledge it. Christopher Nolan’s latest is an uncommonly heady and intricate tentpole blockbuster, [...]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 performances in Christopher Nolan films

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 10:25 am · July 13th, 2010

The word of the day Friday will most certainly be “Inception,” as casually interested movie-goers and anxious fanboys alike line up to take in Christopher Nolan’s latest effort. Now, I have suggested in this space that the film’s ensemble is an organic one, alive and driven.  And that the performances are separately less than their [...]

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So, is ‘Inception’ a go for Oscar?

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 5:08 pm · July 5th, 2010

Now that the review embargo walls have crashed on “Inception” (though most of what’s out there is web-based media as we’ll wait a while for print reactions), I guess it’s fair to dive into the awards implications of the film.  I preferred to stay away from that kind of talk in my review. The first [...]

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1/22 Oscarweb Round-up

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 9:46 am · January 22nd, 2010

• Nikki Finke says Oscarcast producers may be secretly considering a third host. [Deadline Hollywood Daily] • Julian Sancton talks to the brilliant (and all but forgotten this season) Anthony Mackie. [Little Gold Men] • Davis Guggenheim’s education crisis documentary “Waiting for Superman” is Sundance’s first pick-up. [The Wrap]

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THE LONG SHOT: Four to the floor

Posted by Guy Lodge · 4:13 pm · December 30th, 2009

“It might as well rain until September,” wrote Carole King in her jaunty 1960s ditty of that title, an ode to summertime breakup blues that may as well have been composed for the autumnally-activated awards season. Swap September for December, and you have an apt description of the approach many studios and Oscar-watchers alike take [...]

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THE LISTS: Top 10 movie-related moments of 2009

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 12:38 pm · December 29th, 2009

As the year (and decade) slowly winds down, I thought it would be a pretty good time to revive our long-slumbering Lists feature here at In Contention.  And what better way to do so and salute the year at hand than to lay out the most significant movie-related moments of 2009? The American Film Institute [...]

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THE LONG SHOT: Popular mechanics

Posted by Guy Lodge · 6:19 pm · November 25th, 2009

“My God, they’ve thrown in everything but the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” Quoted by writer Anthony Holden in his gossipy history “The Oscars,” this was one publicist’s dismayed response to the 1990 Academy Award nominations, which included such unusual concessions to popular (as opposed to critical) opinion as a Best Picture nomination for “Ghost” and [...]

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AMPAS chief Sherak promises “more fun” Oscars

Posted by Guy Lodge · 6:00 am · November 15th, 2009

As a former Fox chairman with a background in marketing, it’s unsurprising that Tom Sherak, who recently replaced Sid Ganis as president of the Academy, wants to bring a more populist approach to the Oscars. In this LA Times interview, he makes it clear that the primary objective of the move to 10 Best Picture [...]

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‘Basterds’ gets dolled up for Oscar as Tarantino receives Santa Barbara’s Kirk Douglas Award

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 11:09 am · October 24th, 2009

There was a moment last season where I gave up going against the grain on the notion that “The Dark Knight” would be nominated for Best Picture.  I was called a fool, I was told I wasn’t with the program, I was told certain milestones related to the film would not be overlooked, etc.  I [...]

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9/11 Web Round-up

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 7:41 am · September 11th, 2009

• If you’re dismissing the Oscar potential of “The Men Who Stare at Goats,” Gregory Ellwood says, “Not so fast.” [Awards Campaign] • Meryl Streep on why Hollywood’s men don’t trust women. [The Times] • Betsy Sharkey sits down with “Precious” director Lee Daniels. [The Envelope]

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Searching for Oscar meaning in IMDb’s top 15 of the millennium

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 8:02 am · August 19th, 2009

Over at IMDb there is a new feature called “The Power of Film” (lofty title, that), which has listed out the top 15 films of the millennium as voted on by IMDB users, i.e., fans, the public, regular folks. The IMDb top 250 is an ever-changing mish-mash of high-,middle- and low-brow entertainment that always makes [...]

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In praise of model and practical effects work in ‘Moon’

Posted by Kristopher Tapley · 9:25 am · August 17th, 2009

The success of Neill Blomkamp’s “District 9,” (thoughts) and hopefully (eventually), Duncan Jones’s “Moon” (review) has fed into what I’ve been consistently calling a banner year for sci-fi cinema in 2009.  That is, of course, assuming “Avatar” does come along and lay a giant egg in December. One of the galvanizing aspects to, well, two [...]

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TECH SUPPORT: Kicking the tires on a new season

Posted by Gerard Kennedy · 11:52 am · July 11th, 2009

Today marks the beginning of a fourth year of Tech Support here at In Contention. Over the past four years, we’ve sought to bring the otherwise under-reported crafts categories and crafts artists the attention they seldom receive, despite their enormous contributions to the art of cinema. This year, we plan on looking at nine of [...]

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Filed in: Tech Support