The 92nd Academy Awards are almost upon us, and if there’s one certainty going into Oscar night, it’s that some worthy talent in some category will be overlooked in favor of a lesser talent. No nominee or winner is undeserving of recognition, but snubs are also an essential part of Oscar history and directors are not immune to them. In fact, some of the greatest directors of all time have gone their whole career without receiving a proper Best Director Oscar.
Film is fundamentally a collaborative medium, and we’re only a little over a month removed from a decade where the movie industry shifted to a more producer-controlled landscape in which IP-friendly tentpoles seemed to occupy all the best real estate. Yet the best directors, the ones with the most singular voice or vision, do tend to bolster the case for auteur theory, whereby a director can be considered a film’s primary author. With that in mind, here’s a roughly chronological look at ten great film authors eluded by the golden statuette for Best Director. With each name on this list, we’ll be seeking to answer three questions: who did they lose to (if they were ever nominated), what film or films should they have won for, and why, oh, why didn’t they ever win?
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A Rashomon TV show is in the works at Amblin Entertainment, proving once again that no property, not even an acclaimed classic, is safe. Read more about the new adaptation of director Akira Kurosawa‘s 1950 masterpiece below, which is being described as a “dramatic mystery thriller series.” Read More »
FilmStruck, one of the best streaming services around, has a new set of films with a running theme – cops undercover. In honor of the lineup, we’re running an exclusive FilmStruck video featuring Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent discussing the life of a undercover cop and the films portraying such a dangerous gig.
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(Welcome to Now Stream This, a column dedicated to the best movies streaming on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and every other streaming service out there.)
Summer is over. Good riddance, I say! Bring on chilly weather, heavy jackets and pumpkins as far as the eye can see. I’m talking thousands of pumpkins here, people. As the warm weather subsides and the cooler weather prevails, it’s time to once again shun the outdoors, bundle up with your blankets and stream some movies. In this edition of Now Stream This, we have a classic from Akira Kurosawa, a spy thriller for people who have no interest in seeing the new Kingsman movie, Al Pacino hamming up, the best horror-comedy in film history, and more! Let’s get streaming
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(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)
In this edition, a video essay takes a look at the seamless, invisible visual effects in the films of David Fincher. Plus, find out what happened when master filmmakers Akira Kurosawa and Hayao Miyazaki met in 1993, and witness every single “That’s what she said” joke across all nine seasons of NBC’s The Office. Read More »
A couple weeks back, I was lucky to jump on the phone with Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige and Sony studio head turned producer Amy Pascal to talk about their new film Spider-Man: Homecoming. I ask the duo about the lessons they learned from the last Amazing Spider-Man franchise failure, the influence of Back to the Future, was the Trump campaign an influence on the film’s villain, why they watched an Akira Kurosawa movie in prep for the film, and we discuss what the end credits scene means. All this and more. Read the full Spider-Man: Homecoming Interview, after the jump.
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With Star Wars: A New Hope celebrating the 40th anniversary of its theatrical release this year, this is as good a time as any to dig into the film’s history.
Knowledgable film lovers often cite Akira Kurosawa’s 1958 film The Hidden Fortress as a key influence on the young George Lucas, as the plot of that film heavily informs the original Star Wars. In it, two squabbling peasants become involved in the rescue of a princess, similar to how C-3PO and R2-D2 would get caught up in the mission to free Leia and deliver the Death Star plans.
As Wookiepedia shows, the first script treatment for Star Wars — a 1973 story synopsis that Lucas shopped around Hollywood — hews even closer in plot to The Hidden Fortress, with Lucas having straight-up plagiarized a description of that movie from a book called The Films of Akira Kurosawa by the late film historian and Japanophile Donald Richie.
But the Japanese roots of Star Wars run deeper than one artist stealing/borrowing from another (as all artists do, to the degree that they are influenced by one another). Let’s explore some of those influences: some well-known, others less perhaps so.
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We’ve been covering Kevin Tong‘s art for seven years now. You might remember his work on Gallery1988’s Lost show, or his amazing R2-D2 deconstructed poster for Mondo, his stunning Iron Giant print for MMM, his Breaking Bad infographic print which could be seen on the wall in Talking Bad, or more recently his work on Warcraft and Rocketeer. Hostly, there is just too much great artwork to mention. Our coverage of his pop culture work alone spans 4 pages worth of posts.
We’ve excited to exclusively premiere Kevin Tong’s latest poster print for Akira Kurosawa‘s RAN. See Kevin Tong’s RAN print, a variant, and learn where you can find this beauty, after the jump.
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Part of the reason Star Wars still resonates with audiences today, much like it did in 1977, is that it is simultaneously familiar and new. George Lucas created something wholly original while being inspired by a great many things that came before his work. From Akira Kurosawa, Flash Gordon, and Stanley Kubrick to Fritz Lang, the list of things Lucas channelled is long and distinguished.
That’s where this video comes in. Michael Heilemann, an interface director at Squarespace, edited clips and images into the original 1977 Star Wars to show Lucas’ influences. Check out the annotated Star Wars below. Read More »
While we’re lucky to live in a time where so many legendary filmmakers make their work and process accessible, there will always be a mystery behind some of the masters. Filmmakers like Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, John Ford, Frank Capra and many others passed away long before the age of video blogs, Twitter and behind the scenes DVD featurettes, leaving film fans with a precious few chances to study them in action.
Another man who makes that list is Akira Kurosawa, director of such iconic films as Seven Samurai, Rashomon, The Hidden Fortress and Yojimbo. Kurosawa passed away in 1998, which means some of his process was documented on his later films. That includes 1985’s Ran, a Japanese epic inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear. Now, a huge wealth of footage has come online – five hours of it – featuring the master filmmaker working behind the scenes on Ran. Check it out below. Read More »