AWFJ Members’ Oscars 2017 Opinions, in Brief — Jennifer Merin reports

AWFJ Members’ Oscars 2017 Opinions, in Brief — Jennifer Merin reports

This compendium of AWFJ members’ takes on Oscars 2017 represents our diverse opinions. Read what Jeanne Wolf, Susan Wloszczyna, Moira Sullivan, Diana Saenger, Sheila Roberts, Nell Minow, Brandy McDonnell, Michelle McCue, Karen Martin, Kimberly Lindbergs, Leba Hertz, Candice Frederick, Marilyn Ferdinand, Chaz Ebert, Katherine Brodsky, Liz Braun, Betsy Bozdech and Erica Abeel have to say about Oscar 2017. Exclusive commentaries with links to other coverage. Read on…

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Oscars 2017: Poise Under Pressure — Sheila Roberts comments (Exclusive)

Oscars 2017: Poise Under Pressure — Sheila Roberts comments (Exclusive)

Etched indelibly in my mind about the Oscars this year is how graciously the presenters and the filmmakers from “La La Land” and “Moonlight” handled the confusion that ensued on stage after the wrong Best Picture was announced. Noteworthy was the leadership of “La La Land” producer Jordan Horowitz who took charge and stepped in to clarify what had gone wrong, even when it meant acknowledging his own loss. It was done with a lot of class, dignity, and poise under pressure.

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Oscars 2017: We Need More Creativity on Stage! — Katherine Brodsky comments (Exclusive)

Oscars 2017: We Need More Creativity on Stage! — Katherine Brodsky comments (Exclusive)

This year had several worthy nominees and they were well-recognized. Although as a whimsical musical fan, I was rooting for “La La Land” as Best Picture, having finally caught up on “Moonlight” a few nights prior, I recognized what a great film it was as well. But here’s a sad fact: This year’s Oscar ceremony will be remembered most for the hiccup at the end rather than anything in between. Every year, I tune in to the Oscars telecast hoping for a great show, thinking that this year will be the one.

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Oooops! Oscars 2017 As Seen from the Pressroom — Jeanne Wolf (Exc;usive)

Oooops! Oscars 2017 As Seen from the Pressroom — Jeanne Wolf (Exc;usive)

What???? What’s going on? How could this happen? What went wrong? WOW! Oh my God! The F word flying in the air.

In such a wild – lightning bolt of a moment minds explode with a jumble of reactions and parallel narratives. Nervous laughter, adrenaline driven shouts, everyone guessing at an explanation, asking each other for an urgent reality check.

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Iran’s Oscar-Winning THE SALESMAN — Review by Susan Granger

Iran’s Oscar-Winning THE SALESMAN — Review by Susan Granger

Iran’s Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film is another marital drama from Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi (“The Separation”). When Emad (Shahab Hosseini) and Rana (Taraneh Alidoosti) Etesamis are forced to evacuate their crumbling Tehran apartment, they move into a more dilapidated abode, one that was previously occupied by a single woman with a young child. The clutter she left behind when she was evicted gives subtle clues as to who she is and the promiscuous life she led. She’s described as “a woman with lots of acquaintances…who lived a wild life.” Read on…

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Oscar 2017 Predictions — Susan Granger

Oscar 2017 Predictions — Susan Granger

Every film year acts as a mirror & reflects the tenor of the times. When the Oscars began in 1929 to celebrate the motion picture industry, the winner was William Wellman’s anti-war “Wings.”

The subsequent Depression years celebrated character studies like “Grand Hotel,” “The Great Ziegfeld” and “Rebecca.” After the turmoil of Kennedy’s assassination, the Academy chose light-hearted fare like “Tom Jones,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Oliver!” And in 2000, the last time a Republican won the White House, after losing the popular vote, “Gladiator” won the Oscar.

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Rooney Mara’s Evolution With Clues from Cate Blanchett, Todd Haynes – Quendrith Johnson comments

Rooney Mara’s Evolution With Clues from Cate Blanchett, Todd Haynes – Quendrith Johnson comments

To hear fellow Oscar-nom, two-time winner Cate Blanchett, gush about her Best Supporting Actress and Carol consort Rooney Mara, is almost as shocking as when Blanchett uses the word “startling” to describe Mara’s acting chops. Next “The Great Cate,” a woman many Oscar watchers believe will one day match or best Katharine Hepburn in lead wins, cobbles together some descriptive sentences worthy of a literary titan…

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Why Sylvester Stallone Could Take the Oscar, Thanks to Ryan Coogler’s CREED – Quendrith Johnson comments

Why Sylvester Stallone Could Take the Oscar, Thanks to Ryan Coogler’s CREED – Quendrith Johnson comments

Maybe it’s a little known fact that a deep bond between Hollywood icon Sylvester Stallone and newly minted phenom director Ryan Coogler, who turns 30 in May, is that they both were homeless once and fought their way to the big leagues in movies. Deadline’s reporter Pete Hammond, on hand to present Stallone with the Montecito Award in Santa Barbara, prods Stallone on this, skipping the connection with Coogler who lived in his car on and off while attending USC Film School.

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Spotlight’s Real-life Sacha Pfeiffer On “How We Got The Story” & The Power of Subtext – Quendrith Johnson comments

Spotlight’s Real-life Sacha Pfeiffer On “How We Got The Story” & The Power of Subtext – Quendrith Johnson comments

One thing is certain, in Oscar contender Spotlight, Rachel McAdams is well-cast as Boston Globe investigative reporter Sacha Pfeiffer. McAdams is as intense as her real-life counterpart, and jokingly credits “17 years of figure skating” for her tenacity. RacheSachaPfeiffer packs an editorial punch, and has earned her stripes as was part of the Pulitzer Prize winning team that cracked open the Priest sex-abuse scandal and dethroned Catholic powerbroker Cardinal Law. But in person, Sacha tilts her head to one side and leans back when introduced, as if to welcome you into her zone…

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Maltin’s Gravitas Matters As Oscar Takes a Powder for Johnny Depp & BLACK MASS – Quendrith Johnson comments

Maltin’s Gravitas Matters As Oscar Takes a Powder for Johnny Depp & BLACK MASS – Quendrith Johnson comments

Leonard Maltin just tells it like it is, but with such heart and insight for viewers. So much so that the elder statesman of cinema had a life achievement award renamed after him at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) in 2015: The Maltin Modern Master Award. Last night his legacy was cemented as A-List actor Johnny Depp, or “John Christopher Depp,” as Maltin called him, came to SBIFF to accept The Other Golden Statuette.

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Golden Globes Noms Make You Wake Up At 5:15 AM PST, That’s Show Business

Golden Globes Noms Make You Wake Up At 5:15 AM PST, That’s Show Business

What’s cool about the Golden Globes is you can do things there you wouldn’t dream of at there award shows. Can you imagine Jodie Foster coming out during an Oscar speech? But that’s exactly what she did, years after everyone in Hollywood had long since known and forgotten about it. Foster knew there would be no theme music rushing her off stage, nor any censorship, so in 2013 she accepted herself while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award from The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Even the word “Foreign” in their name is slightly strange and outdated, almost anachronistic…

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Spike Lee’s CHI-RAQ: The Most Inventive & Poignant Film of The Year

Spike Lee’s CHI-RAQ: The Most Inventive & Poignant Film of The Year

“Has the world gone crazy?” This is the refrain coming from the San Bernardino, Calif., and the Paris mass shootings; but it also echoes in filmmaker Spike Lee’s new movie Chi-Raq, which opens tomorrow. While Chi-Raq is ostensibly a high-art adaptation of Aristophanes’ Greek satirical classic “Lysistrata” set in the inner city, it is a call-to-action on the shock topic of gun-related violence worldwide.

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How Oscar 2015 Shapes 2016 With Kat Kramer & Thank Meryl via Patricia, Now Lily, Jane Fonda

How Oscar 2015 Shapes 2016 With Kat Kramer & Thank Meryl via Patricia, Now Lily, Jane Fonda

What happened after winner Patricia Arquette’s impassioned Equal Pay Oscar acceptance speech in 2015, remarkably, has had a ripple effect, not just with the projects it inspired for 2016, but also in legislation, and even a federal investigation into equal pay in Hollywood based on salary numbers leaked as part of the Sony Hack. ArquetteASFArquette’s trophy moment for Boyhood, Best Supporting Actress, crescendoed with “To every woman who gave birth, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality…”

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“Dinner With Friends” Playwright Donald Margulies On Writing “The End of The Tour”

“Dinner With Friends” Playwright Donald Margulies On Writing “The End of The Tour”

There’s really only one thing you need to know about Donald Margulies, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his play “Dinner With Friends” (1998) — he will field any question graciously. This generosity is the defining characteristic of someone at the top of their craft. So when The End of The Tour (starring Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg) opens in theaters on July 31, Margulies, as the screenwriter who adapted the David Lipsky memoir about David Foster Wallace, will be discovered by a whole new generation of film audiences.

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Top 10 Road Movies: His vs Hers, Why Not?

Top 10 Road Movies: His vs Hers, Why Not?

Summer is when a lot of us hit the highway, so a round-up of Road Movies makes sense. But how do you assess the genre, because the freeway and its parallel story-lines have been the purview of men traditionally? Easy, just compare two Top 10 His & Hers Road Movie Lists.

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A Minute with David Gordon Green & No “Shouty” Al Pacino in Manglehorn

A Minute with David Gordon Green & No “Shouty” Al Pacino in Manglehorn

You could say director David Gordon Green’s late-career Al Pacino-starrer Manglehorn, that opens tonight in Los Angeles at Sundance Sunset Cinema, is about the violence of everyday conversations, the hurt we inflict in the routine course of ordinary discussions, and how these wounds last a lifetime. PacinoGreenBut, just as easily, Manglehorn could be considered a snow globe souvenir of screen legend Al Pacino. Joe (Nicolas Cage), The Sitter (Jonah Hill), and Pineapple Express (Seth Rogen, James Franco) to his credit, cuts to the chase with, “Well it started with a title. As if often does with me in a weird way. I was evacuating from a hurricane.” Someone asked him what street he was on. “I was on Mangle Horne Street.”

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From Paper Moon to Phantom Halo: Another Bogdanovich Ascends

From Paper Moon to Phantom Halo: Another Bogdanovich Ascends

Two-on-one interviews are never easy, especially if you inexplicably fluff a plot-point on a movie. Writer-director Antonia Bogdanovich, on the phone with her father Peter Bogdanovich, who executive produces on her debut feature film Phantom Halo, graciously corrects the error with: “The (other) guy shot the father. Not the son.” And with that Freudian flourish, you solider on somehow, mostly because the Bogdanovich’s are so gracious.

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Agnès Varda’s Palme d’or, Or The Moving Imagist Redefines Still Life

Agnès Varda’s Palme d’or, Or The Moving Imagist Redefines Still Life

There’s a scene in Mad Max: Fury Road where Charlize Theron meets a displaced tribe of elderly women, one of whom protects a mysterious satchel with “heirloom” seeds from a lost world that also holds the power for a verdant future. The segue here is that French New Wave Director Agnès Varda, who will receive an award from the 68th Cannes Film Festival at the Closing Ceremony, is the seed-holder of Cinema Past and Future.AgnesVarda2015
Tonight, May 24, at Cannes 2015’s final gala, it is an extraordinary first for a woman in filmmaking, to be so honored with a coveted Palme d’or.

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Golden Glaze, Or After the Awards Turn Into Ad Campaigns, What Will You See?

Golden Glaze, Or After the Awards Turn Into Ad Campaigns, What Will You See?

If you have noticed the Oscar wins have now turned into ad campaigns, you’re right, but there’s more to the story. Because Boyhood did not sweep the Oscars, IFC Films will underplay Patricia Arquette’s Oscar win for Best Supporting Actress, and sell the movie’s three Golden Globe Awards…

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Why Kristen Stewart’s César Win Reboots Her Career

Why Kristen Stewart’s César Win Reboots Her Career

World headlines have now announced Kristen Stewart as the first American in 30 years to be nominated, let alone score a César, or “French Oscar,” for Clouds of Sils Maria. But this historic first-ever win for an American, technically in a Supporting Role, merely scratches the surface of how this actor went from the Twilight franchise to become beloved of the notoriously insular French Academy.

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How Colliding Shows and Dueling Schedules Imperil the Awards Season

How Colliding Shows and Dueling Schedules Imperil the Awards Season

When award shows collide, everyone feels the impact. An in-depth look at this clutch-time scramble sums up Awards Season 2015, where show dates overlap in a hectic mash-up of guilds, societies, and associations vying for limited calendar dates. So what are the actual stats on galas that make up filmed-entertainment’s biggest moment of the year? Read on…

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OSCAR CALCULUS: Why Best Actor is a Two-Way Race Between Keaton and Redmayne

OSCAR CALCULUS: Why Best Actor is a Two-Way Race Between Keaton and Redmayne

An informal red carpet survey may not be the most accurate way to gauge the Best Actor race for 2015, but this year it does confirm prevailing insider Hollywood sentiment that predicts a two-way tug between veteran Michael Keaton and newcomer Eddie Redmayne. leaving Steve Carell, Bradley Cooper and Benedict Cumberbatch on the sidelines. To understand voter calculus, let’s take a measure of the golden profiles of the Best Actor nominees, see what they bring to the gate, and reflect on what voters have said about their chances.

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And the winners are….AWFJ EDA Awards 2015

And the winners are….AWFJ EDA Awards 2015

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists announces the 2014 AWFJ EDA Awards, with BOYHOOD named Best Film and BIRDMAN getting six awards. Ava DuVernay and Laura Poitras also get top honors for SELMA and CITIZENFOUR, respectively, and both are named Female Icons of the Year. Congrats to all the EDA Award winners. To see the complete list, and find out which film had the best depiction of nudity and who is this year’s Actress Most in Need of a New Agent, see the full list…

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Interview: Jennifer M. Kroots’ Take On TO BE TAKEI

Interview: Jennifer M. Kroots’ Take On TO BE TAKEI

TO BE TAKEI is an entertaining and moving look at the many roles played by eclectic 76-year-old actor/activist George Takei whose wit, humor and grace has allowed him to become an internationally beloved figure. He’s an A-Lister, if ever there was one. Filmmaker Jennifer M. Kroots gives us the scoop on working with Takei and bringing his world of accomplishments to the big screen. Read on…

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“Academy Originals” Focus on Women Filmmakers

“Academy Originals” Focus on Women Filmmakers

In May, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) began the video series “Academy Originals” focusing on the behind-the-scenes artists and the various creative processes that get a film from page to screen. Since the series launch, AMPAS has released 16 episodes that have covered everything from how Jurassic Park changed the VFX world to an episode about everyday people toiling away at screenplays in their local coffee shops. Here’s the scoop…

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