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March 4, 2014 | By John Horn
Was it ultimately a race about race? The best picture Oscar is meant to honor the year's greatest achievement in film, and "12 Years a Slave" had no shortage of supporters before winning the top honor Sunday. But for all the film's artistry, the undercurrent of many "12 Years a Slave" conversations hinged on race and how Hollywood has for decades given short shrift to one of the most inglorious chapters in the nation's history. The film's distributor anchored its awards campaign around the line "It's time," easily interpreted as an attempt to exhort members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences into voting for the movie because it was the right thing to do. FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2014  |  Complete list of winners The film's director, British filmmaker Steve McQueen, said repeatedly during the long awards season that Hollywood appeared more comfortable making Holocaust movies than slavery stories.
March 3, 2014 | By John Horn
In the end, Oscar voters couldn't truly avert their gaze from "12 Years a Slave. " Even though many Oscar voters found filmmaker Steve McQueen's searing chronicle of enslavement almost too harrowing to watch, "12 Years a Slave" prevailed Sunday to win the best picture trophy in one of the closest contests in modern Academy Awards history. In a ceremony in which the space thriller "Gravity" collected a leading seven statuettes - including the first directing Oscar won by a Mexican-born filmmaker - the biggest honor went to the true-life account of the kidnapping and auctioning of Solomon Northup, a New York freeman bartered as a Louisiana cotton picker.
March 2, 2014 | By Steven Zeitchik
Even in the to-and-fro over the best-picture race between "12 Years A Slave" and "Gravity" -- a din that has uncharacteristically grown louder in the five days since Oscar voting closed -- there's been almost no talk of another issue. Namely, what if the Steve McQueen slavery drama takes best picture but little else? What if the film, nominated for nine Oscars, wins just two other statuettes (supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o and adapted screenplay for John Ridley -- pretty much the best-case scenario given the field)
March 1, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
Growing up, Christopher Navarro used to listen to himself talking on a hand-me-down Kmart cassette tape recorder, then re-record his voice until he had perfected the audio clip. Now 38, the Northern California native channels his childhood pastime in his career as an automatic dialogue replacement mixer, meaning he re-records dialogue by actors in a sound studio during post-production. Though his name won't be read among the official Oscar nominees this Sunday, the ADR mixer for Audio Head and the Formosa Group has his work in four of the nine best picture contenders: "Gravity," "12 Years a Slave," "Her" and "The Wolf of Wall Street.
March 1, 2014 | By Christine Mai-Duc
Monorom Neth sat in the tiny Long Beach movie theater, gripped by the emotionally wrenching scenes unfolding on the screen. There were scenes depicting executions, starvation and forced labor - a haunting reminder of Neth's own life under Cambodia's Khmer Rouge and its notorious leader, Pol Pot. When a young girl in the film cried out for her parents before dying of starvation, Neth saw the face of his older brother, who died from malnutrition while...
February 27, 2014 | By Elizabeth Becker
Being nominated for an Oscar is always a big deal, lifting someone's career or a movie's fortunes at the box office. In Cambodia, an Oscar nomination is proving to be a big deal for an entire nation, crystallizing how important reviving the arts has been for a country devastated by decades of war, genocide and corruption. One of the movies nominated for best foreign film this year is "The Missing Picture," by Cambodia's master filmmaker Rithy Panh. His movie tells the story of the unspeakable horrors perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge and its leader, Pol Pot, who turned Cambodia into a mass labor camp.
February 26, 2014 | By Glenn Whipp
Oscar balloting ended Tuesday, which means two things: (1) Academy members no longer have to feel guilty about not watching that "12 Years a Slave" screener, and (2) it's time to gather The Envelope's Buzzmeter panelists together for one last powwow before the show Sunday. Here, in the first of two installments, Entertainment Weekly's Anthony Breznican, Fandango's Dave Karger, Anne Thompson from Thompson on Hollywood, the Los Angeles Times' Betsy Sharkey and Glenn Whipp, and Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil call the close best-picture race, debate whether an "American Hustle" shutout is in the cards and offer their choices for the season's most overhyped story.
February 26, 2014 | By David Horsey
This year's nine Academy Award nominees for best picture are exceptional films that envelope audiences with great acting, unusual story lines and distinctive cinematography. But who among us can say they have been so captivated by a great movie that no errant thought has strayed into their mind? I have seen all nine (which may be more than most members of the academy can claim) and do not have a favorite. Each in this group of movies has such an individual look and voice that weighing one against another is like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges.
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