February 27, 2012 |
The movie of the fewest words spoke the loudest at the Oscars this year. On an evening suffused with nostalgia, "The Artist," a nearly wordless, black-and-white romance celebrating Hollywood's formative era, won five Academy Awards, including best picture, on Sunday night. The French production also took home directing honors for Michel Hazanavicius, the lead actor award for Jean Dujardin and trophies for costume design and score. Producer Thomas Langmann dedicated his best picture Oscar to his filmmaker father, who died in 2009.
February 26, 2012 |
Momentous choices accompanied by a ukulele; life-altering decisions made in a Hawaiian shirt, Bermuda shorts and a day-old beard. Simple, honest, real life, right now. Our humanity beautifully rendered in a world where nothing is black and white. That is "The Descendants," the latest and best entry in filmmaker Alexander Payne's remarkable oeuvre . It has the edgy insight, tangy humor and compassionate eye that have come to characterize his films, "Sideways," "About Schmidt" and "Election" among them.
February 2, 2012 |
Originally, Michel Hazanavicius admits, "The Artist" wasn't supposed to have a Hollywood happy ending. Au contraire. When the French writer-director first conceived his black-and-white tribute to the silent film, he was influenced by the sinister stylings of German Expressionist masters including F.W. Murnau and Robert Wiene. One early screenplay proposal set "The Artist" in Berlin and drew a parallel between the rise of the sound era and the Nazis' brutal ascent. It ended with its protagonist committing suicide.
February 2, 2012 |
Everybody has them — waiters, bus drivers, lawyers: a bad day. For a filmmaker with a hundred-strong crew in the wings and millions of dollars on the line, the stakes can be considerably higher when things go off the rails. In this edited excerpt from the third annual Envelope Directors' Roundtable, the filmmakers behind some of this season's most talked about movies — Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March")
February 1, 2012 |
As a front-runner to win top honors in the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony, "The Artist" is a rarity. Not only is it in black and white, almost entirely silent and a French director's take on old Hollywood, it is the only movie among the nine best picture nominees filmed entirely in Los Angeles. The 1960s civil rights drama "The Help," another potential favorite for best picture, was shot in Mississippi; "The Descendants," starring George Clooney, was filmed in Hawaii; and Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," a whimsical tale about the early days of cinema, was produced mainly on a soundstage in the United Kingdom.
January 22, 2012 |
They have worked in diverse disciplines -- acting, screenwriting, theater, television, exploitation films -- were born in three countries and have made radically dissimilar movies. But there's a lot more that unifies the five filmmakers who recently came together at the Los Angeles Times for the third annual Envelope Directors' Roundtable. For one thing, their movies are being hailed for standing among this year's Oscar contenders: Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," Alexander Payne's "The Descendants," Michel Hazanavicius' "The Artist," Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" and George Clooney's "The Ides of March.