Oscars: The Playlist Guide To The Live-Action, Animated & Documentary Short Nominees
By Oliver Lyttelton
We don't know about you, but until the last few years, whenever it came time to make our picks for Oscar pools/wagers, there's always one section of the awards that so often comes down to luck -- the short films. In the years since shorts stopped playing widely before features, it became harder and harder for the layman to actually watch nominees, and even harder to predict what would actually win.
But these days, things are better. Many of the films make their way online in advance of Oscar night, or are shown at special screenings around the world. But if you haven't managed to catch the films in time for next Sunday's awards, no fear, because we have. So, whether you're an Academy member wondering what to put on your ballot, or someone looking for the edge in your annual office Oscar pool, check our our verdicts on the films, and their chances of winning, below. And if you have seen the films concerned, let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Interview: Rich Moore on His Long Journey With "Wreck-It Ralph"
By Nathaniel R.
The Animated Feature Oscar race has been unusually competitive this year. In the final week of voting (ballots are due tomorrow) FYC ads and toys were still showing up in the mail. Which to play with first: Brave bow and arrows, Frankenweenie stuffed animal, or Wreck-It Ralph hands? That is the question. When I spoke with Rich Moore, a long time animation force who made his theatrical directing debut with Wreck-It Ralph, a few weeks back he was very contemplative. Awards season has been a "surreal" experience especially nomination morning.
Moore never quite equated his own story with that of Wreck-It Ralph's but I couldn't help projecting and connecting the dots when he told his story. There was a sturdy sweetness to it, not unlike Ralph's own, as he repeatedly expressed loyalty and gratitude for each of his past projects and opportunities. After graduating from CalArts in the late 80s he went to work for 70s animation legend Ralph Bakshi on The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse -- which might not seem like a prime gig to us in retrospect but back then it was. "Those days there were not a lot of jobs for young animators," he explained.
Tim Burton reflects on ‘Frankenweenie’ box office, plots his next step
By Gina McIntyre
It was only Wednesday, but sitting at a small table in the restaurant at the Chateau Marmont, Tim Burton looked a little defeated by the week, and not simply because of the sling supporting his arm. A fall in London in December fractured his shoulder — a nasty injury that he said will likely limit his range of motion for about a year — but it was a recent bout of Hollywood glad-handing that had the filmmaker most excited to return to his home in England.
Two days earlier, Burton had attended the Oscar nominees luncheon – his most recent film, “Frankenweenie,” is up for the Academy Award in the animated feature category. That evening, he’d appeared at the American Cinematheque for a screening of the movie, a black-and-white love letter to Universal horror films and his Burbank youth, along with an earlier stop-motion project, 2005’s “Corpse Bride.”
Those kinds of public appearances aren’t easy for the filmmaker: “I’m not a very social person, I’m quite sort of reserved,” he said, awkwardly attempting to stir his green tea.
Gateshead – Jim Shaw: “The Rinse Cycle” at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art through February 17, 2013
By K. Hill
The Baltic Centre in Gateshead is currently holding the first-ever retrospective of works by American Jim Shaw outside the United States. Including over one hundred works in a variety of media, from video and sculpture to paintings and installations, the show explores Shaw’s ongoing examination of American life, and his unique set of aesthetic signifiers at play throughout his career.
Jim Shaw is a Los Angeles based artist who has worked alongside other California Institute of the Arts graduates, including Tony Oursler, John Miller, and Mike Kelley. Strongly influenced by his environment, Shaw has said that, “there are always autobiographical aspects to my art, even if it is completely abstract.” Refusing to to be confined by a singular style, he creates series revolving around complicated, work-intensive narratives that he occasionally revisits and embellishes. This exhibition includes works revolved around the following series by Shaw: My Mirage, Dream Drawings/Objects, Oism, Faces and Men in Pain, and Left Behind.
Is Brad Bird's "Tomorrowland" movie about that "UFOs are real" TV show which Walt Disney Productions almost made back in the 1950s?
By Jim Hill
For three weeks now, photos of a mysterious bankers box have been making the rounds on the Web. Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof reportedly deliberately put these images out there to help whet people's appetites for "Tomorrowland," the sci-fi -themed project that these two wrote which is based on a concept that Lindelof and "Entertainment Weekly" writer Jeff Jensen originally came up with.
"So what's this motion picture actually supposed to be about?," you ask. Well, as Matthew Jackson recounted in his October 2012 article for Blastr, "Tomorrowland" 's origin can be traced back to ...
Art review: Retrospective shows Llyn Foulkes' sharp eccentricity
By Christopher Knight
Llyn Foulkes is a crank. That's a good thing, because we need cranks.
I might not want to sit next to one on the subway or listen to one give a floor-speech in Congress. But popular culture and institutional art have a way of smoothing out or even debasing life's often painful rawness. Works of art offer contemplative distance, which can make zealous eccentricity especially riveting.
Take "The Corporate Kiss" (2001), a bracing bit of strangeness that is on view in the sprawling, 50-year retrospective exhibition of Foulkes' art newly opened at the UCLA Hammer Museum. In it, Mickey Mouse stands on a man's shoulder and plants a big cheerful smooch on his cheek. The man, beleaguered and despondent, barely responds.
His careworn face expels an open-mouthed sigh, downcast eyes staring from beneath a furrowed brow. A bleak, empty brown desert unfurls behind the pair, beneath a limpid blue sky.
The Weirdest Thing on the Internet Tonight: Bermuda
All hail the hypno-box! This psychedelic short film by Calvin Frederick of CalArts surprisingly uses zero CGI or other special effects. He instead relies on a Canon 5D mounted in a motion-control rig, a programmable LED board, and mirroring to create this kaleidoscopic mania.
The California Institute of the Arts (more specifically, Friends of CalArts) hold terrific salons every so often. When I rate an invite, I try to pop by. They are full of interesting people and are held at incredible homes or other well-chosen venues. An avant garde water ballet someone choreographed at one salon in Venice is still with me. This go-round, the CalArtsians met at Edie Baskin Bronson and Richard “Skip” Bronson’s Bev Hills manse (a fantastic Spanish revival that belonged to singer Ella Fitzgerald) to listen to a conversation with directors Mark Andrews (Brave) and Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille).
Alexander Mackendrick nurtured film and student directors
By Susan King
British director Alexander Mackendrick made memorable films on both sides of the pond.
In Britain, Mackendrick was one of the star directors at the famed Ealing Studios thanks to his sharp, inventive comedies such as 1949's "Whisky Galore" and 1951's "The Man in the White Suit," and his 1955 masterwork, "The Ladykillers," with Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.
In Hollywood, Mackendrick is best known for the brilliant 1957 drama "Sweet Smell of Success" that starred Burt Lancaster as the ruthless gossip columnist J.J. Hunsecker and Tony Curtis as the ambitious press agent Sidney Falco. Though the film is considered one of the seminal dramas of the 1950s, it was not a hit and Mackendrick made just a handful of films over the next decade.