Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actress Race At a Glance

by     Posted 5 days ago

oscars-best-supporting-actress-2015

There are complaints every year that while the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories are stacked with talent, the low number of quality female roles that appear in movies makes for frustratingly thin Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress races.  Those complaints are entirely valid, and while there are indeed a plethora of excellent male roles that were on display this year, the Best Supporting Actress field has actually filled out quite nicely.  In this edition of Oscar Beat, I take a look at where the category stands right now.

Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Author Cheryl Strayed Talk WILD, Reaction to the Script, How It’s a Universal Tale, and More

by     Posted 15 days ago

Reese-Witherspoon-Laura-Dern-Cheryl-Strayed-Wild-interview

Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallee’s impressive follow-up to last year’s Dallas Buyer’s Club is a compelling film about determination, rebirth and taking the road less traveled featuring a fearless lead performance by Reese Witherspoon and a strong supporting turn by Laura Dern.  Inspired by a true story of personal triumph, Nick Hornby’s script and Witherspoon’s portrayal of Cheryl Strayed and her 1,100 mile trek along the Pacific Crest Trail are refreshing in the way they never play into stereotypes.  Wild opens today in New York and Los Angeles and additional select cities on December 5th.

At the film’s recent press day, I sat down with Witherspoon, Dern ,and Strayed who talked about their reaction when they first read the script, how they felt lucky to be part of the world Strayed created in her novel, what they think makes the film so fresh and compelling, how it’s a universal and timeless tale about a transformative journey that’s been told throughout human existence, Reese and Laura’s personal version of Cheryl’s epic trek, Witherspoon’s upcoming comedy with Sofia Vergara and Dern’s new drama, 99 HomesCheck out our interview after the jump.

WILD Review

by     Posted 15 days ago

wild-review

[This is a re-post of my Wild review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The movie opens in limited release today.]

Perseverance is easier said than done.  We all understand that if we can just get through this, push a little harder, fight through the pain, then we will more than likely come out on the other side better off than we were before.  But it is so easy to stop trying.  Laze seems to be some kind of natural instinct that takes over and tells us to just give up and accept our life as it is.  Director Jean-Marc Vallée follows up last year’s Dallas Buyers Club with a much more solitary drama in Wild, which recounts author Cheryl Strayed’s three-month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, during which she reflects on past mistakes and hardships, and struggles to find some inner peace.  That’s a trite enough premise, but through Vallée’s confident, dynamic direction and a truly fearless lead performance by Reese Witherspoon, Wild turns out to be an honest, surprising, and unabashedly feminist chronicle of determination and rebirth. 

Director Jean-Marc Vallée Talks WILD, the Length of His First Cut, Deleted Scenes, DEMOLITION, and More

by     Posted 16 days ago

Jean-Marc-Vallee-Wild-interview

In his exhilarating new adventure epic, Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée brings best-selling author Cheryl Strayed’s acclaimed memoir to the screen based on screenwriter Nick Hornby’s powerful adaptation.  Reese Witherspoon delivers a riveting performance as a woman who wants to change her life and decides to do it in an extraordinary way by embracing the call of the wild and embarking on a journey of self-discovery and redemption along the Pacific Crest Trail.  Opening December 5th, Wild stands out from other wilderness epics in the remarkable way it takes a woman’s moving, transformative experience in a different, less expected direction.

At the film’s recent press day, I had the opportunity to sit down with Vallée to discuss why he chose Wild as his follow-up to last year’s Dallas Buyers Club.  He revealed how the film changed from the initial script to the final version, the length of his first cut, the deleted scenes and extras we can expect on the DVD, how Hornby’s script and Witherspoon’s performance kept things interesting by refusing to play into stereotypes, what Witherspoon brought to her role, and his upcoming romantic drama, Demolition, written by Bryan Sipe and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper, and Judah Lewis. Check out our interview after the jump.

Cinematographer Yves Belanger Talks WILD, Rehearsal Process, Controlling Light, Choosing Angles, and More

by     Posted 16 days ago

wild-reese-witherspoon-slice

Cinematographer Yves Belanger teams up again with director Jean-Marc Vallée and brings their distinctively minimalist cinematic style to a wilderness setting in Wild, which was shot on location in California’s Mojave Desert and Oregon via the rugged Pacific Crest Trail.  The film is based on the best-selling novel by Cheryl Strayed adapted for the screen by Nick Hornby and features a radiant performance by Reese Witherspoon complemented by Belanger’s stunning cinematography.  The story chronicles one courageous woman’s transformative journey as she sets out to hike the PCT, the longest, toughest and wildest through-trail in America, completely alone.

In an exclusive interview, Belanger discussed his collaborative partnership with Vallée using hand-held digital cameras and natural light, their rehearsal process, his experience shooting on the trail with Witherspoon, the economy of doing everything in one slate for the shorter scenes with no cuts and no set-ups, controlling the light and choosing the angles, his core camera crew, why the Alexa was his camera of choice, changing the exposure as he operated the camera, using a remote focus puller, combining modern and old lenses to create the look of the film, and his upcoming films Brooklyn, Demolition, and Janis Joplin:  Get It While You CanCheck out our interview after the jump:

Oscar Beat: The Best Actress Race at a Glance

by     Posted 35 days ago

oscars-best-actress-2014

Every year it seems like Oscars’ Best Actor category is crowded, while the number of contenders for the Best Actress trophy feels relatively thin.  It’s a result of the sad fact that there just aren’t as many interesting lead roles for women in Hollywood as there are for men; many times the “female lead” is relegated to existing only in relation to the film’s male lead.  It’s disappointing to be sure, but it doesn’t mean there aren’t any noteworthy female roles out there, and this year’s Best Actress race is an excellent showcase of both talent and range, from brilliant sociopaths to Alzheimer’s patients.

After the jump, I take a look at the current state of the Best Actress Oscar category in this new edition of Oscar Beat.

Reese Witherspoon Gets Mistaken for a Hobo in Excellent New WILD Clip

by     Posted 36 days ago

wild-clip-reese-witherspoon

Fox Searchlight has released a new Wild clip from director Jean-Marc Vallée’s (Dallas Buyers Club) upcoming drama, and it’s a fantastic representation of the film as a whole.  Based on the Cheryl Strayed memoir of the same name (adapted by Nick Hornby), Reese Witherspoon stars as a woman who attempts a three-month long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, during which she reflects on past mistakes and hardships, and struggles to find some inner peace.  While the premise may sound trite and predictable, the film is anything but.  It’s funny, surprising, and emotionally affecting, and Witherspoon gives quite possibly the best performance of her career.  This new clip comes from a scene in which Witherspoon’s character gets mistaken for a hobo and responds in sharp fashion.  Again, I highly recommend seeing the film when it comes to a theater near you; it’s one of my favorites of the year.

Check out the new Wild clip after the jump, and click here to read my full review from TIFF.  The film also stars Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, W. Earl Brown, Mo McRae, and Keene McRaeWild opens in theaters on December 5th.

WILD Clip: Reese Witherspoon Really Needs Some Potato Chips and a Snapple

by     Posted 38 days ago

wild-reese-witherspoon-slice

Ready to get a taste of a possible Oscar-worthy performance?  Fox Searchlight just unveiled the very first clip from Jean-Marc Vallée’s Wild.  The film is based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, which chronicles her 1,100-mile hike from the Mojave Desert to the border of Washington State while revealing what sparked the need to make the lengthy journey along the way.  In a TIFF edition of Oscar Beat, Adam dubbed Witherspoon’s work in the film “her best performance to date.”

This new Wild clip doesn’t really have “Academy Award” written all over it, but it is a charming scenario and Witherspoon does make a convincing plea for chips and a lemonade Snapple upon her arrival at the very first stop on her 1,100-mile trek, Kennedy Meadows.  Hit the jump to check it out for yourself.  Wild arrives in select theaters on December 5th and also stars Laura DernMichiel HuismanGaby HoffmanThomas Sadoski and Kevin Rankin.

Oscar Beat TIFF 2014: Reese Witherspoon Enters Frustratingly Thin Best Actress Race with WILD

by     Posted 97 days ago

oscars-reese-witherspoon-wild

While the Toronto International Film Festival is a regular launching pad for awards season fare, this year’s fest lacked any one big breakout film like last year’s 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.  TIFF 2014, instead, was all about the performances.  I’ve already written about the awards prospects of the incredible work in Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything, not to mention a potential dark horse in Jake Gyllenhaal’s Nightcrawler, and now it’s time to discuss Reese Witherspoon’s raw, naked lead performance in director Jean-Marc Vallée’s pleasantly surprising and refreshing drama Wild.

You can read my full review of the film right here, but in this TIFF 2014 edition of Oscar Beat, I consider Witherspoon’s chances in the frustratingly weak Best Actress race.  Read on after the jump.

WILD Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 99 days ago

wild-review

Perseverance is easier said than done.  We all understand that if we can just get through this, push a little harder, fight through the pain, then we will more than likely come out better off on the other side.  But it is so easy to stop trying.  Laze seems to be some kind of natural instinct that takes over and tells us to just give up and accept our life as it is.  Director Jean-Marc Vallée follows up last year’s Dallas Buyers Club with a much more solitary drama in Wild, which recounts author Cheryl Strayed’s three-month hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, during which she reflects on past mistakes and hardships, and struggles to find some inner peace.  That’s a trite enough premise, but through Vallée’s confident, dynamic direction and a truly fearless lead performance by Reese Witherspoon, Wild turns out to be an honest, surprising, and unabashedly feminist chronicle of determination and rebirth. 

2014 London Film Festival Lineup Announced; TESTAMENT OF YOUTH, FOXCATCHER, SERENA, MONSTERS: DARK CONTINENT and More

by     Posted 106 days ago

testament-of-youth-slice

The Telluride Film Festival is over and done with and Venice is coming to a close, but we’ve got the Toronto International Film Festival on the way and the New York Film Festival coming up right after.  On top of that, the lineup for the 58th BFI London Film Festival was just announced.

The list includes a bunch of titles that are already making the festival rounds like the event opener, The Imitation Game, as well as Gala selections Foxcatcher, Whiplash, Wild and Mr. Turner.  In addition, we’ve also got Testament of Youth starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell, Emily Watson and Dominic West making its world premiere as well as The Falling with Maisie WilliamsSilent Storm with Andrea Riseborough and Damian Lewis, and Serena with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.  Hit the jump for more on the 2014 BFI London Film Festival lineup.  The event begins on October 8th and wraps up on October 19th.

2014 Telluride Film Festival Lineup Announced; ’71, 99 HOMES, FOXCATCHER, WILD, MADAME BOVARY, THE IMITATION GAME and More

by     Posted 112 days ago

telluride-film-festival-lineup-slice

As Adam pointed out in Oscar Beat yesterday, four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival.  If that trend continues, we can really narrow down the Best Picture contenders now because the Telluride main program lineup was just announced.

This year’s Toronto and Telluride crossovers (not including the documentaries and foreign language selections) are the Jack O’Connell-starrer ’71, Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes, Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley, Madame Bovary with Mia Wasikowska, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, Rosewater starring Gael García Bernal and Wild with Reese Witherspoon.  Hit the jump for more on what’s to come at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival.

Oscar Beat: Which Awards Contenders Will Emerge from the Fall Film Festival Season?

by     Posted 113 days ago

fall-film-festival-preview-2014-foxcatcher-birdman

Ready or not, the awards season is about to begin.  Every year, Oscar season kicks off with the series of film festivals in late August and early September.  It’s at these festivals—Telluride, Toronto, and Venice—that a hefty number of the year’s Oscar hopefuls debut and begin what they hope will be long and prosperous campaigns.  Four out of the last five Best Picture winners screened at both Telluride and Toronto, and as the festivals are about to start later this week, now felt like a good time to preview the block of awards hopefuls that will be screening since the odds are pretty good that this year’s Best Picture winner will have debuted by mid-September.

Hit the jump for the Fall Film Festival Preview 2014 edition of Oscar Beat.

WILD Trailer: Reese Witherspoon Sets out on a Solitary Hike

by     Posted 161 days ago

wild-trailer-reese-witherspoon

Fox Searchlight has released the first trailer for WildDallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallée’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir.  Reese Witherspoon takes on the role of Strayed in the pic, as she decides to hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Coast Trail alone after the dissolution of her marriage and death of her mother.  There’s plenty more on display here than scrapbook moments from Strayed’s journey of self-discovery, as the trailer cuts between the challenges she faces on her hike and pivotal decisions she made in the past.  One imagines the feature film will follow a similar style, paralleling her trials and tribulations during both her metaphorical journey and her literal one. However Vallée handles the film’s framework, the inspiring story is almost certain to spark some awards talk.

Hit the jump to watch the Wild trailer.  The film also stars Laura Dern, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffman, Thomas Sadoski, and Kevin RankinWild opens in theaters on December 5th.

Release Dates for POINT BREAK Remake, WILD, DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS, and THE DROP

by     Posted 217 days ago

the wild release date reese witherspoon

A few release dates to pass along:

  • The Point Break remake is set for release August 7, 2015.
  • Two Reese Witherspoon projects found a place on the calendar.  The Jean-Marc Vallée-directed drama Wild opens December 5, 2014.  The comedy Don’t Mess With Texas (co-starring Sofia Vergara) opens May 8, 2015.
  • The crime drama The Drop moves up a week from September 19 to September 12, 2014.
  • Universal and Legendary Pictures scheduled an untitled “event project” November 4, 2016.

Dates via Box Office Mojo.  More on each project after the jump.

Click Here