The Cabal of 2012: 19 Actors Who Have Been Secretly Running the Last Year in Movies

Editors’ note: This week we’re featuring two posts on the 84th Academy Awards. We had hoped to run them closer to the awards ceremony taking place earlier this year, but technical issues delayed the Blog’s launch until recently. Nevertheless, we think both posts have some interesting things to say about the last year or so in movies, so we’re running them now.

A bit of idle musing on last year’s Oscars a month before the triple crown of Venice, Toronto, and Telluride kicks off a new awards season. For those steeped in Oscars lore, the 84th Academy Awards were memorable for a few things:

• The Best Picture nomination for The Tree of Life, joining Grand Illusion and A Clockwork Orange as among the Academy’s most audacious picks
• The overdue nomination for Gary Oldman and the unlikely one for Melissa McCarthy
• The awards phenomenon that was The Artist: for being mostly silent, all black and white, the first French production to win Best Picture, and the first Best Picture winner about the film industry

However, what fascinated me the most about last year’s Academy Awards struck me last September while watching The Ides of March. At the time, I casually noted how funny it would be if Paul Giamatti, George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, and Philip Seymour Hoffman were all to wind up nominated—for other movies! Namely (and respectively) for Win Win, The Descendants, Drive, and Moneyball. Only one of these four gentlemen landed a nomination, but two of the other films did wind up with a nomination in January, and across all of last year’s movies a LOT of familiar faces popped up. Here are the actors I spotted in multiple Oscar-nominated films this year: Continue reading “The Cabal of 2012: 19 Actors Who Have Been Secretly Running the Last Year in Movies” »

Mutual Admiration Society

Editors’ note: This week we’re featuring two posts on the 84th Academy Awards. We had hoped to run them closer to the awards ceremony taking place earlier this year, but technical issues delayed the Blog’s launch until recently. Nevertheless, we think both posts have some interesting things to say about the last year or so in movies, so we’re running them now.

The Age of Freedom Fries is over, at least in Hollywood. The 84th Oscars ceremony served up more than a soupçon of cheek-kissing, from both sides of the Atlantic.

While the French-made Best Picture winner, The Artist, was a love letter to Old Hollywood (and the only major nominated film shot entirely in Los Angeles), the American-made co-top awards-getter, Hugo, proffered a valentine to the French pioneer of special effects, Georges Méliès. Baguetted in between was Woody Allen’s Best Original Screenplay for Midnight in Paris, whose Hollywood screenwriter’s romance with the City of Love derives as much from the American expatriate artist colony of the 1920s as from the allure of the present-day French capital.

More than nostalgia, or a fanciful rewriting of history, is at play here. A key to the phenomenon was voiced by Artist director Michel Hazanavicius, a Frenchman of Lithuanian Jewish extraction, whose acceptance speech concluded with three thank-yous—not to his mother, his agent, and Harvey Weinstein, but to Billy Wilder, Billy Wilder, and Billy Wilder. Continue reading “Mutual Admiration Society” »