On Sunday Ang Lee took the Best Director Oscar for Life of Pi, which also won three other awards, making it the big Oscar winner this year. But what of the more than 400 visual effects employees who spent Sunday protesting business practices that make VFX work a losing proposition for many artists?
The Oscar wins come, ironically, at a very difficult time for one of the companies most directly responsible for the movie’s success: Rhythm & Hues, the effects house that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection just a week ago. Lee didn’t mention the company by name in his speech, or thank the artists who brought his film to life.
That bankruptcy highlights a big issue in Hollywood: films are ever-more dependent upon digital effects, but often treats the process of their creation like the work of a sweatshop. (See the Tumblr Before VFX for many examples of familiar scenes without their effects.) Claudio Miranda won the Best Cinematography Oscar for Life of Pi, but much of what we see in the film is the work of CG artists. Many of the film’s waves, skies, and animals, including the tiger Richard Parker, are digital. Miranda may have broadly overseen the creation of effects, but he didn’t point a camera at some of the film’s signature elements.
The men who oversaw creation of those digital elements did get honored, but also took a heavy backhand from the Oscar producers. Just as Life of Pi VFX Supervisor Bill Westenhofer was trying to bring up the trouble Rhythm & Hues faces as part of his award acceptance speech, he was rushed off the Oscar stage with the theme from Jaws. His mic was even cut off. That moment was an ugly metaphor for exactly what the VFX industry is angry about: the people who create the elements big-budget movies rely on for success get no voice, and no respect.
(If you see Facebook and Twitter icons going green this week, that’s in support of VFX artists.)
So what’s happening in the visual effects segment of the movie industry, and what was the protest about? After the break we’ll break down the issues facing effects companies, and explain the reason that imposition of the Jaws theme was so ironically ugly.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 26th, 2013 by Angie Han
Two days after the Oscars, it’s still tough to say whether or not Seth MacFarlane‘s performance as Oscars host was a success. On the one hand, he’s been roundly criticized for his reliance on sexist humor; on the other, he succeeded in attracting the young male audience, just as the Academy had hoped.
But whatever the verdict, it’s looking unlikely he’ll make a repeat appearance at next year’s festivities. Asked by a fan whether he’d host again, MacFarlane gave an unambiguous “No way.” Hit the jump to keep reading.
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Don’t say Disney folk can’t be badasses, or at least smartasses. Kristina Reed, producer of the short film Paperman, was temporarily kicked out of Sunday’s Oscar ceremony after celebrating her film’s victory. Once Paperman took the Oscar for Best Animated Short, Reed, who was sitting in one of the many balconies at the Dolby Theater, began throwing paper airplanes with kisses on them. When security saw, she was asked to leave. Read More »
Posted on Monday, February 25th, 2013 by Angie Han
Despite the oft-repeated observation that the Oscars are the Super Bowl of movies, only the actual Super Bowl has managed to turn its commercial breaks into an event as big as the game itself. But the Academy Awards telecast is still a prime spot for brands wanting to make an impression, and some companies went to extra mile to tailor their promos specifically for the Oscars’ movie-loving audience.
Samsung‘s new promo for their Galaxy Note prominently featured Tim Burton mulling over a (fake) project about a unicorn apocalypse, while their competitors over at Apple name-checked David Fincher, Indiana Jones, and Back to the Future to promote the iPad. Meanwhile, the geniuses working for Kraft brought back the “Pardon me” Grey Poupon campaign of the ’80s, only with a more blockbuster-friendly spin. Hit the jump to watch them all.
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While most of the world was watching Seth McFarlane and the drama of the Academy Awards Sunday night, poster fans were refreshing Twitter waiting for Mondo to drop the rest of their 2013 Oscar posters. Last week they revealed posters for nominees Les Miserables, Paranorman and The Master. Then, during the show, they revealed posters for Argo, Moonrise Kingdom, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, Zero Dark Thirty and two different posters for Django Unchained including one by Tyler Stout. Check them all out below. Read More »
Here are the winners of the 85th Oscars. It was a rather strange year, with only the sixth tie in the history of the awards (for Sound Editing) an excess of references to Chicago, and a surprise win in the Best Director category for Ang Lee. (And those who expected Jessica Chastain to take the Best Actress award were surprised by Jennifer Lawrence winning the award, for Silver Linings Playbook.) Lee’s Life of Pi actually ended up being the night’s big winner, with four Oscars.
As expected, Ben Affleck‘s Argo took Best Picture, with producer Grant Heslov taking the opportunity to really highlight Affleck (also a producer) and give the director time to have the mic. And though the event was hosted by a comedian, Best Actor winner Daniel Day Lewis made the best jokes of the night — surprise, surprise, the guy was better than everyone else in the room.
For more commentary check out the night’s live blog. Read More »
Posted on Sunday, February 24th, 2013 by Angie Han
Two months of nonstop awards ceremonies have led up to this. The 85th Annual Academy Awards are being held tonight at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, hosted by Seth MacFarlane, of all people, and we’ll be live-blogging the proceedings right here all night.
This season, Argo has emerged as the heavy favorite to win Best Picture (despite the lack of a corresponding Best Director nod), as has Anne Hathaway for Best Actress. But the picture isn’t as clear for some of the other categories, and in any case there are no guarantees until the victor is clutching that little gold man up on that stage. Here’s hoping for some pleasant surprises.
Hit the jump to read the winners as they’re announced, along with live commentary.
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Posted on Friday, February 22nd, 2013 by Angie Han
Nate Silver is worshipped in political circles for his uncanny ability to predict election outcomes, and now he’s seeing whether his methods can be applied to the Oscar race as well. The statistics whiz has offered his predictions on who’ll take the big prizes come Sunday night.
If you haven’t already resigned yourself to the inevitability of Argo‘s Best Picture win, you might as well do it now — that result is as close to a sure bet as anything Silver found in his numbers. Hit the jump to keep reading.
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