Netflix’s Mank led a set of nominations reflecting increased diversity for the 93rd Academy Awards, which honors movies released in 2020.
In a livestream from London March 15, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and her musician-actor husband Nick Jonas read the nominees covering 23 categories for the Oscars, which will air on ABC TV on April 25 from both Union Station Los Angeles and the Dolby Theater in Hollywood.
Mank, starring Gary Oldman — a film about scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz, who wrote Citizen Kane — earned 10 nominations, including best picture and best director (David Fincher). Oldman was nominated for best actor, while Amanda Seyfried earned a nom for best supporting actress.
For the first time, a record nine non-white actors were nominated for awards, including Yuh-Jung Youn (Minari), Daniel Kaluuya (Judas and the Black Messiah), Leslie Odom Jr. (One Night in Miami), LaKeith Stanfield (Judas and the Black Messiah), Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal), the late Chadwick Boseman (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom), Steven Yeun (Minari), Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Andra Day (The United States vs. Billie Holiday).
Notably, two women, Emerald Fennell (for Promising Young Woman) and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland), were nominated for best director for the first time.
Six movies earned six nominations each, including Netflix’s Judas and the Black Messiah; Netflix’s The Trial of the Chicago 7; A24’s Minari; Sony Pictures Classics’ The Father; Searchlight Pictures’ Nomadland (available on Hulu); and Amazon Studios’ Sound of Metal. Focus Features’ Promising Young Woman received five nominations.
$49.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R.’ Stars Philippe Noiret, Enzo Cannavale, Antonella Attili, Marco Leonardi, Salvatore Cascio, Jacques Perrin, Agnese Nano.
With movie theaters facing an existential threat, there is perhaps no better time to revisit this 1989 Best Foreign Film Oscar winner about the magic of cinema, available in 4K for the first time.
Through extended flashbacks, the Italian film traces one man’s love affair with the movies beginning as a boy in war torn Sicily in the pre-television era. The boy Toto is fascinated by his small town’s movie theater and the projectionist, Alfredo, who creates magic on the screen from his small booth above the balcony. The booth also houses treasure, stolen kiss clips from various films that the local priest has had the projectionist excise from reels shown in the theater. Through his special relationship with the projectionist and the theater, the fatherless boy grows to cherish the magic of cinematic storytelling. Revisiting the town as an accomplished filmmaker, he reminisces about love, movies and loss.
Director Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema also earned five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more plaudits.
The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore featuring interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer. This 4K combo pack also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory.
While the extras provide interesting backstory information, especially about the climactic and affecting “Kissing Sequence,” the real star here is the film itself polished for 4K. I saw the film when it first came out, and it has lost none of its power. As we move into the digital age, and physical media and theatergoing are increasingly labeled passé, Cinema Paradiso is a loving look back at moviegoing in a time when moving pictures were projected on a film strip of successive photos, capturing moments of magic.
Cinema Paradiso,Tremors,Versus and the Shohei Imamura three-film collection Survivor Ballads are available this month on disc from MVD and Arrow Films.
A winner of awards across the world including the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, five BAFTA Awards, the Grand Prize of the Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and many more, Cinema Paradiso (1988) — available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD — is Giuseppe Tornatore’s loving homage to the cinema. It tells the story of Salvatore, a successful film director, returning home for the funeral of Alfredo, his old friend who was the projectionist at the local cinema throughout his childhood. Soon memories of his first love affair with the beautiful Elena and all the highs and lows that shaped his life come flooding back, as Salvatore reconnects with the community he left 30 years earlier. The original award-winning theatrical version of Tornatore’s classic is presented here for the first time on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray with DolbyVision. This edition also includes the expanded director’s cut on Blu-ray, which delves deeper into Salvatore’s backstory. Special features include audio commentary with Tornatore and Italian cinema expert critic Millicent Marcus; “A Dream of Sicily,” a 52-minute documentary profile of Tornatore with interviews with the director and extracts from his early home movies and interviews with director Francesco Rosi and painter Peppino Ducato, set to music by Ennio Morricone; “A Bear and a Mouse in Paradise,” a 27-minute documentary on the making of Cinema Paradiso and the characters of Toto and Alfredo, featuring interviews with the actors who play them, Philippe Noiret and Salvatore Cascio, as well as Tornatore; “The Kissing Sequence,” in which Tornatore discusses the origins of the kissing scenes with clips identifying each scene; and the original director’s cut theatrical trailer and 25th anniversary re-release trailer.
A 1950s-style humorous creature feature, Tremors (1990), available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray, is a cult classic that has spawned a successful franchise that continues to this day. In the film, good-ol’-boy handymen Val (Kevin Bacon) and Earl (Fred Ward) are sick of their dead-end jobs in one-horse desert town Perfection, Nev. (population: 14). Just as they’re about to escape Perfection forever, however, things start to get really weird: half-eaten corpses litter the road out of town; the phone lines stop working; and a plucky young scientist shows evidence of unusually strong seismic activity in the area. Something is coming for the citizens of Perfection and it’s underground. The release features a new 4K restoration from the original negative by Arrow Films, approved by director Ron Underwood and director of photography Alexander Gruszynski. Included in the release are a 60-page book featuring new writing by Kim Newman and Jonathan Melville and selected archive materials; a large fold-out double-sided poster featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Matt Frank; a small fold-out double-sided poster featuring new Graboid X-ray art by Frank; six double-sided, postcard-sized lobby card reproductions; and limited edition packaging with a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Frank. Special features include new audio commentary by director Ron Underwood and writers/producers Brent Maddock and S.S. Wilson; new audio commentary by Jonathan Melville, author of Seeking Perfection: The Unofficial Guide to Tremors; “Making Perfection,” a new documentary by Universal Studios interviewing key cast and crew from the franchise (including Bacon, Gross, Ariana Richards and Underwood, among many others) and revisiting the original locations; “The Truth About Tremors,” a newly filmed interview with co-producer Nancy Roberts on the film’s rocky road to the screen; “Bad Vibrations,” a newly filmed interview with director of photography Alexander Gruszynski; “Aftershocks and Other Rumblings,” newly filmed on-set stories from associate producer Ellen Collett; “Digging in the Dirt,” a new featurette interviewing the crews behind the film’s extensive visual effects; “Music for Graboids,” a new featurette on the film’s music with composers Ernest Troost and Robert Folk; “Pardon My French!,” a newly assembled compilation of overdubs from the edited-for television version; and numerous archive and other extras.
Survivor Ballads is an exclusive Blu-ray box set from Arrow Academy that presents restored versions of three late career classics from legendary filmmaker Shohei Imamura, a leading figure of the Japanese New Wave era of the 1960s. Based on an ancient folktale, The Ballad of Narayama (1983) was the first of two works from the director to win the prestigious Cannes Palme d’Or. Imamura’s magnum opus depicts the members of an extended farming family eking out their existence in the mountains north of Japan against the backdrop of the changing seasons before village lore decrees they make the sacrifice of abandoning their aged mother on the top of a nearby mountain when she reaches her 70th year. Making its HD debut, Zegen (1987) takes a satirical look at Japan’s prewar colonial expansion through the unscrupulous eyes of its flesh-peddler antihero as he establishes a prostitution enterprise across Southeast Asia. Finally, the harrowing Black Rain (1989) details the precarious existence of a household of atomic bomb survivors as, five years after being caught in the blast of Hiroshima, they struggle to find a husband for their 25-year-old niece. The three works epitomize the director’s almost documentary style of filmmaking, exposing the vulgar yet vibrant and instinctive underbelly of Japanese society through a sympathetic focus on peasants, prostitutes, criminal lowlife and other marginalized figures to explore the schism between the country’s timeless premodern traditions and the modern face it projects to the world. Special features include new audio commentaries on all three films by Japanese cinema expert Jasper Sharp; new, in-depth appreciations of all three films by Japanese cinema expert Tony Rayns; an alternate color ending to Black Rain, shot by Imamura but removed from the film shortly before its release; archival interviews on Black Rain with actress Yoshiko Tanaka and assistant director Takashi Miike; multiple trailers and image galleries; original Japanese press kits for The Ballad of Narayama and Black Rain (BD-ROM content); a limited edition, 60-page booklet containing new writing by Tom Mes; and limited edition packaging featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tony Stella.
Versus (2000), available on Blu-ray, is chock-full of fight scenes, gangster shootouts, sword-slashing violence and gory zombie horror. In the film, a mysterious face-off in a wooded clearing between two escaped convicts and a carload of sharply dressed yakuza holding a beautiful woman captive ends in hails of bullets and showers of blood. The location for this violent encounter is the mythic Forest of Resurrection, the site of the 444th portal of the 666 hidden gates that link this earthly domain to the netherworld. As one of the surviving prisoners escapes with the girl into the darkness of the forest, disgruntled gangsters soon become the least of their worries as an earlier battle between a lone warrior against hordes of zombie samurai is carried over from a millennium ago into the present day. The film launched the careers of director Ryûhei Kitamura (Godzilla Final Wars, Midnight Meat Train) and action star and fight choreographer Tak Sakaguchi (Battlefield Baseball, Yakuza Weapon). Arrow Video is presenting the title in both its original 2000 and expanded 2004 Ultimate Versus iterations, in a new, director-approved restoration. Numerous extras include a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Chris Malbon; audio commentary by Kitamura and producer Keishiro Shin; and audio commentary by Kitamura and the cast and crew.
Navajo, a 1952 documentary drama nominated for two Academy Awards, is available on DVD from MVD Entertainment Group and Kit Parker Films.
In the film, a Navajo boy stoically endures hardship, hunger and the death of his family. He is taken away to attend a white man boarding school and escapes but is pursued to ancient Navajo caves. In the title role, a 7-year-old Navajo boy, Francis Kee Teller, received a Golden Globe special award even though he had never seen a movie until viewing his own performance.
Filmed at majestic Canyon de Chelly and nominated for Oscars for Best Documentary and Best Cinematography, the film showcases the talent of cinematographer Virgil Miller, who started out in silent pictures and became known primarily for filming travelogues. He had a reputation for keeping cameras rolling in remote locations under adverse weather conditions. The producers needed a cameraman with those qualities and tracked him down at a camera shop where he repaired photographic equipment. At age 64, Miller took on the challenge of working in freezing cold, with only one camera, a tripod and four reflectors, and came away with an Academy Award nomination.
The working title was The Voice of the Wind, and despite a shoestring $30,000 production budget, a threatened ban by the Indian Service, harsh weather and terrain, infighting between the co-producers, the picture went on to earn critical acclaim.
Bonus features include commentary by Teller; a “Canyon de Chelly” photo-essay by Deborah Lem, Diné; “The Canyon Matters” by Genny Yazzie, Diné; the 1952 national publicity tour with Teller (age 8); and “Our Navajo Neighbors” 1952 documentary.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is re-releasing the Ang Lee action-adventure fantasy Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a limited-edition Steelbook Dec. 1.
The film won Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film, Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction.
It follows two master warriors (Chow Yun Fat and Michelle Yeoh) who are faced with their greatest challenge when the treasured Green Destiny sword is stolen. A young aristocrat (Zhang Ziyi) prepares for an arranged marriage, but soon reveals her superior fighting talents and her deeply romantic past. As each warrior battles for justice, they come face to face with their worst enemy — and the inescapable, enduring power of love.
Set against 19th century China’s breathtaking landscape, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is directed by two-time Best Director Oscar winner Lee (Brokeback Mountain, 2005; Life of Pi, 2012) and features martial arts choreography by Yuen Wo Ping (The Matrix).
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC Television Network June 15 pushed the date of the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony to April 25, 2021. The Oscar telecast had been slated for Feb. 28.
In addition, the Academy has extended eligibility for the 93rd Oscars to include any film released in 2020 and in January or February of 2021. The typical eligibility period is January to December of the same calendar year, which the Academy announced it would return to in the future.
Nominations will be announced Monday, March 15. The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards presentation, which was scheduled for a June 20 ceremony in Beverly Hills, has been postponed to a later date still to be determined. The Academy’s Governors Awards, an annual celebration held at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood, will not take place this fall.
The Academy previously announced that movies that had been pulled from theatrical release as a result of theater shutdowns during the pandemic and instead were made available through premium video on demand or streaming services would still be eligible for Oscar consideration.
Many films slated for the summer movie season have been pushed back to the fall and winter, raising uncertainties about the scheduling for prestige films typically released later in the year to vie for awards.
For example, the “James Bond” film No Time to Die was moved from its April theatrical release and will now open Nov. 20. Warner pushed the DC Comics sequel Wonder Woman 1984 from June 5 to Aug. 14, then moved it again to Oct. 2. And director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, which Warner had penciled in for July 17, the date many theater chains expect to fully re-open, was moved by Warner to July 31.
“For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring, and entertaining us during the darkest of times. They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema.”
Coinciding with the Oscars celebration, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, initially scheduled to open to the public Dec. 14, will now open April 30, 2021. The museum will feature six floors of exhibition spaces, education and special event spaces, a conservation studio, a restaurant, a museum store, the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and the 288-seat Ted Mann Theater.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences April 28 announced that, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, it is waiving the requirement that films screen in theaters to be eligible for Oscars consideration at the 93rd Academy Awards.
Typically, films are required to be shown in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County for at least seven consecutive days, with at least three screenings per day, to qualify for Oscars consideration. However, due to the coronavirus all L.A. theaters have been shut down since March. As a result, the Academy declared that films intended for a theatrical run that instead debuted on a streaming platform or VOD service would still be considered for nomination in the Best Picture, general entry and specialty categories for the 93rd Academy Awards to be held Feb. 28, 2021.
The special dispensation will apply to this awards year only, according to the rules approved by the Academy’s Board of Governors, and only while theaters remain closed.
The film must still be made available on the secure Academy Screening Room member-only streaming site within 60 days of the film’s streaming or VOD release, and the film must meet all other eligibility requirements.
This is good news for films such as Universal’s Trolls World Tour and Warner’s Scoob!, which skipped theatrical runs in favor of a direct-to-VOD premiere, but can now still be considered for awards such as Best Animated Feature.
The Academy further specified that the exemption would be removed once theaters reopen in accordance with government-approved guidelines, at which point standard theatrical qualifications would again apply.
As such, with theaters looking to re-open by the end of summer, Netflix would still need to stage a token theatrical run for its year-end original movies to qualify them for the awards.
“The Academy firmly believes there is no greater way to experience the magic of movies than to see them in a theater. Our commitment to that is unchanged and unwavering,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement. “Nonetheless, the historically tragic COVID-19 pandemic necessitates this temporary exception to our awards eligibility rules. The Academy supports our members and colleagues during this time of uncertainty. We recognize the importance of their work being seen and also celebrated, especially now, when audiences appreciate movies more than ever.”
For films to more easily meet theatrical exhibition requirements when theaters reopen, the Academy will expand the number of qualifying theaters beyond Los Angeles County to include venues in additional U.S. metropolitan areas, including New York City, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta and the San Francisco Bay Area.
Film festivals that have been impacted by the pandemic may provide films online through either a transactional pay wall or password-protected entry, which will not affect the films’ eligibility for future Academy Awards qualification. The Academy will allow an exemption for those films that are released online through an impacted festival’s online platform, provided that proof of inclusion in the festival is submitted. With these provisions, films will be expected to comply with all other eligibility requirements for the 93rd Academy Awards.
The Board of Governors also announced rules changes in the Sound, Music and International Feature Film categories. The separate Sound Mixing and Sound Editing will be combined into a single Achievement in Sound award going forward; music scores must comprise a minimum of 60% original music, with sequels and franchise films requiring 80% originality; and all eligible Academy members will now be invited to participate in the preliminary round of voting for Best International Feature Film.
In addition, the Academy announced that the 93rd Awards season will be the final year DVD screeners will be distributed. Citing environmental concerns, the Academy will mandate digital screeners for 2021 films and beyond, covering the 94th Academy Awards and after. The distribution of physical music CDs, screenplays and hardcopy mailings, including but not limited to paper invites and screening schedules, also will be discontinued.
The dynamic trio of Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie powers Bombshell.
The three acclaimed actresses are at the center of the Oscar-lauded film based on the real story of ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America’s most powerful news networks, Fox News, becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous, Roger Ailes.
Available now on digital, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD from Lionsgate, Bombshell earned Academy Award nominations for Best Actress (Charlize Theron) and Best Supporting Actress (Margot Robbie), and won the Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.
Theron, who also produced the film, notes in the disc extras it was “a great opportunity for a lot of talented women to come together and tell an important story.”
“It was lovely to be able to join forces with these women and hopefully inspire people to say, ‘I don’t need to put up with this,’” adds Kidman.
Bombshell is a candid exploration of the sexual harassment scandal that brought down the powerful Ailes. Theron plays Megyn Kelly, an anchor at the height of her power. Kidman is Gretchen Carlson, the former anchor who sues Ailes, bringing the harassment to light. Robbie plays up-and-comer Kayla Pospisil, a fictional, composite character based on other individuals.
The three women appear in only one scene together, which proved to be one of the most striking in the movie. A scene in which they ride in the same elevator with little dialog was not originally in the script, but it turned out to be so impactful that it provided a key image for the film’s teaser.
“It was great to be able to have a scene with almost no dialog that still says a lot,” Kidman says in the extras.
“We don’t say anything to each other, and I think that’s the whole point of the scene, that we do not reach out and in a way our problems are unresolved because we have isolated ourselves,” adds Robbie.
“Charlize, Nicole and Margo are, well, a dream team,” says John Lithgow in the disc extras. Lithgow plays Ailes and made a point of telling the women in the film he was going to have to be nasty to them in the role.
Despite playing the villain, Lithgow brought complexity to the character.
“He never shied away from the fact that this guy Roger Ailes was incredibly charismatic and that people loved him,” Theron notes.
“What I look for always in playing a bad guy is a sort of core of insecurity, what in the world makes them that way, how do you show the fact that he may do bad things, but he hates doing them,” Lithgow explains in the extras.
One of the most emotionally wrenching scenes in the film takes place between Lithgow as Ailes and Robbie’s Kayla as she slowly becomes aware of his abusive intentions.
“The man is in the grips of his own compulsions, and he hates himself for it,” Lithgow says in the extras.
While the actors had a firm grip on the inner life of their characters, transforming them to resemble their real-life counterparts also added to the drama, winning makeup and hairstyling creators Kazu Hiro, Anne Morgan and Vivian Baker an Academy Award.
Detailed in the disc extras are the hours of work with prosthetics and makeup that it took to turn the actors into well-known personalities. Kidman wore chin and body enhancements as Carlson, and Lithgow wore six prosthetics and a body suit as Ailes. Theron, who listened to hours of interviews to mimic Kelly’s voice, wore nose plugs and cheek, eyelid, chin and nose prosthetics to replicate Kelly’s look.
“The look match was really important to her,” says director Jay Roach in the extras, adding she wanted to see herself in the mirror and not recognize herself.
“We ended up so close to Megan’s features,” Theron adds, crediting Hiro’s artistry.
An ensemble of accomplished actors, including Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell (as media tycoon Rupert Murdoch) and Allison Janney also joined in crafting a complicated but sharply told story that filmmakers hope will start a conversation — without preaching.
“I personally don’t want to go and watch a movie that I feel is preaching to me,” says Theron, who credits Roach’s comedy background in helping to bring realism to the film.
“You feel like you’re really there in the room with those people,” she says.
Blu-ray/DVD/Digital special features include the “No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell” seven-part documentary:
“Convergence: Genesis of the Film” Featurette
“Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John” Featurette
“Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast” Featurette
“Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design” Featurette
“Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing” Featurette
“A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach” Featurette
“Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts” Featurette
Everyone loves a winner. New research from Parks Associates suggests over-the-top video services — and their large slate of original programming — will benefit as their recognition during awards season in video entertainment continues to expand.
For this year’s Golden Globes, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon earned a total of 47 nominations, nearly double the 25 they received last year, with the three services winning two awards each.
“Apple TV+ streaming service found success with its flagship series ‘The Morning Show,’ starring Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell, which won awards from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics’ Choice Award,” analyst Steve Nason said in a statement. “These accomplishments mark Apple TV+’s first industry awards since its launch in November 2019.”
Among Netflix subs, 64% feel it would difficult to give up the service, including 47% who feel it would be “very difficult,” the highest among top OTT video services measured by the Dallas-based research company.
Parks finds that as of Q3 2019, pay-TV and OTT services reach roughly the same number of consumers — around 72% of U.S. broadband households. Pay-TV’s long-reigning dominance has dwindled as the OTT video service market booms.