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And the winners are.....

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#31 Alexandra


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Posted 30 March 2003 - 10:48 AM

Thank you, Estelle :D

I haven't seen either film -- but now want to. ("Far From Heaven" SOUNDS like a Tudor ballet) That's one of the best things about the Oscars for me -- it makes me want to make the effort to see the films I missed. I haven't seen "Gangs of New York," either. I'm not sure I want to -- the clips make it look like it's over the top, both in the amount of violence, and in its scale. But I admire Daniel Day-Lewis and was curious to see him in this.

The Guardian had a very cynical article yesterday about the Oscars, all focused on politics and money, nothing on art, and said that next year's nominations for best picture were settled during the Oscar parties because it all depends on how much money the studio puts into it. Partially true, perhaps, but all true? I'm cynical.

#32 Paquita


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Posted 30 March 2003 - 01:22 PM

I also liked "Far from Heaven". Although the little girl receiving pointe shoes for Christmas (which came with ribbons pre-sewn!) was unrealistic! I found Julianne Moore's role here very similar to the one she plays in "The Hours".
I am partially cynical about the degree of which artistic merit is considered in the Oscars vs. studio money. However, I was pleasantly surprised this year and found most of the awards very fair. I was so happy for Almodovar's screenplay winning the Oscar! "Talk to Her" was the best foreign film I saw this year (and I saw quite a few!) and only Almodovar could make a plot so bizarre and turn it into something meaningful. Actually, compared to some of his other films, these characters weren't that eccentric. I just rented "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" and "Live Flesh"... I was also happy for Adrien Brody. He was exceptional in "The Pianist".
Estelle, I saw "Spirited Away" last fall. I agree that it is a beautiful masterpiece. Miyazaki is a master of animation and his films transcend all the stereotypes linked to the medium and genre of "cartoons". Having visited Japan myself, I always get nostalgic when I watch his films. Was "Spirited Away" very popular in France? I read the French edition of the magazine Premiere, and noticed several articles on it. In Canada it did not sell very well, but it is back in theatres this week! Very odd since it was first release in October. Also interesting is how the title has been translated. I understand that in France it was called "Le Voyage de Chihiro", but in the original Japanese it is "Sen to Chihiro" (Sen and Chihiro), and of course over here it's "Spirited Away". Btw, I think you might like his last film too, "Princess Mononoke". I saw it in the film festival and Miyazaki was there himself!! In France, I assume that you get the original Japanese version with sub-titles? Here, they are usually dubbed in English. But at the last film festival people demanded to see the original and so they had to add an extra screening!
Though it didn't receive much attention, I really enjoyed "Adaptation". I liked it more than "Being John Malkovich". It's hillarious in a sarcastic way and made for great post-movie discussion too with my sister who is studying film theory. I think you get more out of it if you know film theory because they poke fun at it quite a bit. My sister loved it.
Has anyone seen "Nowhere in Africa"? The only best foreign film nominee that I've seen is "El Crimen del Padre Amaro", which was okay.

#33 Estelle


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Posted 30 March 2003 - 02:50 PM

Paquita, I think that "Spirited away" was quite popular in France (and also received excellent reviews), it sold more than 1.5 million tickets (here the films are ranked according to the number of tickets and not according to the money it brings) which is a very good score for France.
It was shown both in dubbed French version and in Japanese version with subtitles (which sometimes caused problems with unattentive parents bringing their kids to the Japanese version... But in many cinemas the dubbed versions were in the afternoon and the Japanese ones in the evening, so it was unlikely to happen).

"Princesse Mononoke" was released in France
earlier (actually Miyazaki's last film is "Spirited away", Mononoke was made earlier), it had been quite successful too (about half a million viewers) but not as much as "Spirited away". I had liked Mononoke too, but it was a bit more violent, and I had found it a bit less original. Also, a few months ago, an earlier work of his "Laputa, the castle in the sky" (dating back from 1986) and was quite successful too, and I've read that some other of his works will be released within a few months- probably the producers have realized that there really is an audience for it in France (and especially in Paris)! Among his earlier works, there also is "My neighbor Totoro" (very very cute) and "Porco Rosso".

#34 Paquita


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Posted 30 March 2003 - 04:09 PM

I saw "My Neighbor Totoro" too. It was a huge hit in Japan, they have all kinds of Totoro merchandise! Another one I saw was "Kiki's Delivery Service".
Oh yes, when I said Miyazaki's last film, I should have said before "Spirited Away". He aparently said that "Princess Mononoke" would be his final film, but later changed his mind. It seems to me to be the most serious and epic of his films, but I have only seen 4 of them, so I don't know. It took a great amount of work and money to do and for studio ghibi, it was a big risk. But it turned out to be a success. In Toronto as well, "Spirited Away" is more popular. Glad to hear it did well in France too!

#35 sandik


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Posted 30 March 2003 - 10:34 PM

I saw Spirited Away last summer when it first got to Seattle, and although I thought the plot got a bit out of hand at times (and I have a feeling that was mostly a function of translation) it was visually gorgeous. I love Totoro more, because the characters are so engaging, but I felt Spirited was almost a baroque feast.

It's not anywhere near the dish of these two films, but the short subject Pikachu's Vacation that played with the first of the Pokemon films (yes, I know, but I have a 9 year old) made me think of the production numbers in Busby Berkeley films, especially Dames. (But only if you have some extra time!)

#36 dirac


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Posted 31 March 2003 - 10:54 AM

Well, the Oscars are about money (and politics, and prestige), beginning with the financial numbers for television, where it's known alternatively as the Women's Super Bowl (and the Gay Super Bowl). The numbers aren't quite up there with the SB, but they are big enough. The Oscars are also supposed to help at the box office, but there's some disagreement about this.

Traditionally, nominees are helped by their studios lobbying efforts, special events held for Academy members, and so forth. This can hurt nominees from films from the same studio, because then the institutional effort is divided (as happened this year, when Rob Marshall and Martin Scorsese received nominations for movies from the same source).

Lobbying efforts that are too naked can backfire. A notorious example until recently was Berry Gordy's aggressive efforts on behalf of Diana Ross for "Lady Sings the Blues" -- people were turned off, and she lost when she might very well have won. The wins for "The Pianist" have been interpreted as part of a backlash against Miramax (too much to go into here and too far from our topic). And "The Pianist" was in its way a well-connected movie Polanski has lots of pals from way back when.

However, the Academy has shown an inclination to reward movies that reflect I wouldn't say art so much as respectability. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It gives Hollywood a chance to show the world that Money Isn't Everything, and it gives exposure to good films that might not reach a larger audience "The Pianist" has been playing at multiplexes it would never have got to without all those nominations. (You could also argue, though, that it's a way of relieving bad consciences they can produce dreck for most of the year, release a few Prestige Productions in time for the Oscars, and congratulate themselves for their efforts.)

I think you're right, Calliope. Kidman was probably exhausted at having to get up every fifteen minutes or so for yet another ovation. :)

You may be right, GWTW. Kidman will have to give out the Best Actor award next year, so she'll have to keep her fingers crossed , I guess. :)

Assuming, for the moment, my role as board cop, I'd suggest to people with inquiries of the "Has anyone seen Such-and-Such?" type to please begin a new topic. There's plenty of room for new threads, and could lead to long and fruitful discussions. Thanks!

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