Tonight’s presentation of the Spirit Awards, followed tomorrow night, of course, by the Oscars, finally brings the curtain down on another months-long awards season. Yesterday, Glenn Kenny went into his kitchen, threw on some Stones, started making gravy and got to thinking about the 89 films that have won the Best Picture Oscar so far. As one does. And he’s drawn up a list, ranking the bunch from bottom to top. Have fun.
Buzzfeed‘s Kate Aurthur has done more or less the same thing, putting All About Eve (1950) in her #1 slot and Gigi (1958) at the very bottom, which has sent Farran Nehme, who “loves Gigi,” running to its defense.
“Do a straw poll on the greatest years for Best Picture, sift through the answers, and you’ll get a lot of two-horse races,” notes the Telegraph‘s Tim Robey: “All About Eve v Sunset Boulevard (1950) or No Country for Old Men v There Will Be Blood (2007) or Annie Hall v Star Wars (1977). But to be regarded as a truly classic vintage, a year needs strength across the whole field, with no makeweight contenders, no filler and no embarrassments.” So he presents his “pick of the five best rosters ever.”
Last night in Paris, Guillaume Gallienne’s autobiographical comedy Me, Myself and Her won Best Picture, Best Actor, Adapted Screenplay, Editing and Debut Feature at the César Awards. Best Director’s gone to Roman Polanski for Venus in Fur and, as Guy Lodge notes at In Contention, Blue is the Warmest Color “took one solitary award: Best Female Newcomer for breakout star Adele Exarchopoulos.” For more on the way France goes about selecting and presenting awards, see the New Yorker‘s Richard Brody.
“More than any recent Hollywood film, Gravity presents the body as mere operational device, a cursor, an avatar who performs a set of actions,” writes Mal Ahern at the New Inquiry. “It is workflow cinema.”
New York. A Swanberg Sampler of six films screens this weekend at the Museum of the Moving Image, so Miriam Bale catches up with him for Moving Image Source. Joe‘s “hoping as I’m continuing to make movies that they’re an ongoing reflection of the things important to me and the people that are close to me. And that are also little snapshots and documents of a generation growing up.”
MoMA’s series Vienna Unveiled: A City in Cinema is on through April 20 and for Nick Pinkerton, writing for Artforum, “there are few cities to which cinema owes as much as it owes Vienna. It was either the birthplace of or a vital creative incubator to a passel of important filmmakers. Fritz Lang and Otto Preminger both grew up there, as did a Jewish hat-maker’s son, Erich Oswald Stroheim, who became an aristocrat sometime around Ellis Island, just as Jonas Sternberg became Josef von. The more democratic Samuel Wilder, who’d once covered the crime beat for newspaper Die Stunde, assimilated simply as ‘Billy.'”
Newcastle upon Tyne. The month-long AV Festival opens today and there’ll be a special focus on Wang Bing with three UK premieres (Crude Oil, West of the Tracks and Man with No Name) and two regional premieres (The Ditch and Coal Money). In a piece for Sight & Sound, Adam Nayman notes that West of the Tracks runs 551 minutes. Its “mother-lode-sized running time is indivisible from its impact. Judiciously separated into three alliteratively titled installments—Rust, Remnants and Rails—Wang’s film was shot over two years in the factory town of Tiexi (a district of Shenyang), straddling the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st and catching China in a moment of extreme and excruciating transition.”
By the way, if you’ll be at the AV Festival, pick up a copy of the second issue of Beyond the Green Door, a nice little print zine featuring this time around work from Michael Pattison and Neil Young.
Vienna. Tonight’s “tribute to Lou Reed at the Austrian Film Museum (on the eve of what would have been his 72nd birthday) takes moving images as a point of departure, acknowledging that the film medium was always a component of his creative process and public image. The moderated 4-hour program will present a rich selection of works (and clips) from the mid-1960s to the present.”
IN THE WORKS
“Writer Bret Easton Ellis and director Rob Zombie have teamed with Alcon Television to develop a project for Fox that will revisit the people and events connected to the Manson Family murder spree in August 1969,” reports Cynthia Littleton for Variety.