24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Martin Scorsese

Home theater: Robert Pattinson makes ladies swoon in 'Bel Ami'

May 2, 2012 |  6:23 pm

Bel Ami

This week, 24 Frames introduces a feature new to the blog, highlighting some of the most interesting titles available on Video on Demand or on DVD and Blu-ray. Look for the column on Tuesdays.

'Bel Ami'
Available on VOD beginning May 4

Guy de Maupassant’s novel has been adapted for  the screen before (most memorably in 1947, with George Sanders and Angela Lansbury), but for their new version, directors Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod take advantage of some of the freedoms of modern moviemaking, making sure that De Maupassant’s tale of a social-climbing rake has plenty of sex and straight talk. Robert Pattinson plays the rake in question, who takes a job as a newspaper columnist in 1890s France and advances in his career thanks to his relationships with three aristocratic women (played by Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci). The film isn’t as artful and sophisticated as the similar “Dangerous Liaisons” -- and it’s better at light drawing-room machinations than heavier political and romantic drama -- but this new “Bel Ami” is remarkably assured as it depicts how a man with no discernible skills works his way up from whorehouses to elegant estates simply because he’s handsome. (The film opens in Los Angeles theaters June 8.)

'George Harrison: Living in the Material World'
Hip-O/Universal, $24.98; Blu-ray, $24.98/$99.99

What keeps Martin Scorsese’s “Living in the Material World” from being just another Beatles-championing documentary is that it focuses specifically on guitarist George Harrison’s warring impulses: He was a spiritual, caring person who tried to make other people feel loved, and he was a brutally honest, self-centered man who succumbed to his carnal desires and hoarded money. (Harrison did write “Taxman,” after all.) “Living in the Material World” is divided in two, with the first half dedicated to Harrison’s stint with the Beatles, and the second half covering his explorations into religion as a solo artist. But both halves are really the same story: about a man who strove to be humble, while also grumbling that he was under-appreciated. The documentary is available on DVD and Blu-ray, and in a deluxe set that includes a book of photographs and a CD containing early takes of 10 Harrison favorites.

Lionsgate, $29.95; Blu-ray, $39.99

Director Steven Soderbergh and screenwriter Lem Dobbs return to the fast-paced, existential revenge-thriller mode of their 1999 film “The Limey” with “Haywire,” which stars real-life mixed martial arts specialist Gina Carano as a black-ops secret agent trying to track down and assassinate her handlers before they do the same to her. “Haywire” jumps back and forth in time and location and is packed with appearances by such actors as Michael Fassbender, Michael Douglas, Antonio Banderas, Channing Tatum and Ewan McGregor. But the story feels like an afterthought, and Soderbergh’s guerrilla filmmaking style at times makes “Haywire” resemble cheap, straight-to-video product. Still, Dobbs’ snappy dialogue and Soderbergh’s eye for the unusual go a long way. Some will appreciate that “Haywire” is a “pure” action flick: all kicks, little waste. The DVD and Blu-ray add two short featurettes. Available on VOD on May 1.

Starz/Anchor Bay, $29.98; Blu-ray, $39.99

Say this for Madonna: She doesn’t lack for ambition. For her second film as a director (after the very strange “Filth and Wisdom”), the multi-platinum pop singer and her co-screenwriter, Alek Keshishian, attempt to tell the story of King Edward VIII’s choice to abdicate the throne to pursue a love affair with American divorcée Wallis Simpson. Madonna and Keshishian employ a framing device that has a modern-day woman (Abbie Cornish) discovering that the reality of the renowned romance doesn’t match up with her fantasy version. But Madonna fails to convey her own fascination with Edward and Wallis, outside of some vague personal connection to the details of worldwide fame and pervasive dissatisfaction. Mostly, she seems to have made a movie that has a lot on its mind and no coherent way to express it. The DVD and Blu-ray come with a making-of featurette. Available on VOD on May 1


Dev Patel brings dash of youth to 'Marigold Hotel' [clip]

Mikhail Gorbachev says DVD can help cool U.S.-Russia relations

-- Noel Murray

Photo: Uma Thurman and Robert Pattinson in "Bel Ami." Credit: Magnolia Pictures.

Ang Lee says his 3-D learning curve on 'Life of Pi' was huge

April 25, 2012 |  7:09 pm

“Life of Pi’s” Pi (played by Suraj Sharma) and a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker

LAS VEGAS -- Ang Lee didn't make the decision to film "Life of Pi" in 3-D lightly. For months, he agonized over whether the technology would enhance the story or come across as a gimmick. In the end, it was the number pi that inspired him to make the leap.

Making an expensive 3-D film based on an intellectual, philosophical book required Lee to take "a leap of faith to see the circle that the pi indicates," the filmmaker said at CinemaCon, the theater owners' convention now underway in Las Vegas. On Wednesday, the Oscar-winning director joined Martin Scorsese in conversation, speaking candidly about the future of 3-D and its importance in the industry.

Despite his belief in the format, Lee was open about his struggle to adapt to the technology. While filming "Life of Pi," he said, the 3-D cameras were cumbersome, and he compared working with them to "operating a refrigerator." While directing 17-year-old actor Suraj Sharma, Lee thought he was giving appropriate instructions until he watched the footage in 3-D. "I'd have to go back to him and bring his performance down because it just enhanced it so much more. It's like a new film language," Lee said, describing his learning curve as "humongous."

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'Fifty Shades of Grey': Who should direct?

March 30, 2012 | 10:29 pm

  Who should direct '50 Shades of Grey'?
E.L. James, the author of the erotic e-book “Fifty Shades of Grey,” created a stir when Universal Pictures and Focus Features acquired the film rights to her trilogy of explicit books earlier this week. The series tells of a chaste college graduate named Anastasia Steele and the S&M-inflected romance she finds herself in with dashing billionaire Christian Grey.

“Shades” was a hot property in more ways than one, having already sold gazillions of copies to discreet, Kindle-carrying women all over the English-speaking world.

But now begins a more arduous process: attaching a filmmaker. Given the provocative nature of the subject matter, finding the right helmer won’t be easy. Allow us to offer a few suggestions:

Michael Bay. Sure, James’ book had plenty of raunchy sex. But where were the things moviegoers really care about, like secret government-created alien-fighting machines? “Grey” will be jazzed up considerably with the addition of Autobots and Decepticons, a true story of opposites. There is, after all, no tale of becoming quite like the tale of a car becoming a robot. Grey inflicts hurt on his partner using 30-ton robots, which brings nearly as much pain as watching a Michael Bay movie.

Nicolas Refn. Christian Grey wears a scorpion jacket and eats toothpicks. He and his lover take long drives to nowhere over '80s electropop. Forks are jammed into various body parts. The movie reaches a crescendo in its piece de resistance love scene, which takes place backward.

Marc Webb. Young Christian Grey works at a greeting card company and, when he’s not getting advice from his impossibly precocious sister or angsting about the state of his romantic life, kicks back with a little office karaoke. Anastasia Steele is an ethereal presence who doesn’t believe in love. They enter a complex relationship in which he decides to cause her pain, largely by playing her Morrissey songs over and over.

Judd Apatow. Every hot romance needs a little bromance. Apatow's "Fifty Shades" has Anastasia feeling neglected -- all Christian wants to do is smoke pot and talk about comic-book superheroes with his buddies. Challenges further ensue when Anastasia begins to question why anyone would want to be in an S&M relationship with Seth Rogen. All is resolved, however, when Christian and his friends take a break from trash-talking each other long enough for a tearful airport scene. The movie is notable for being the first Apatow film he doesn't want his wife to star in.

Sofia Coppola. Focus could reach into its own vaults and pull out “Somewhere” helmer Sofia Coppola. Grey and Steele live in a hotel. Sometimes they order room service. A car goes endlessly around a track. Someone cooks breakfast. The movie ends.

Martin Scorsese. Christian Grey begins the film by ordering mob hits on various members of Steele’s family, because she double-crossed the people who double-crossed her double-crossers. In fact, the hero is about to order a hit on Steele when he realizes that she owns an early 20th century print of Julien Duvivier's “La Belle Equipe,” which, Grey tells her, no human being should ever be without. He then gives her a three-hour lecture on the importance of preserving early cinema. She finds it a peculiar form of torture.


'50 Shades of Grey' aims for the movies

Bestselling 'mommy porn': '50 Shades of Grey'

'50 Shades of Grey' has studios hot and bothered

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: "Fifty Shades of Grey." Credit: Vintage Books

Oscar voters: When the motion picture academy is a family affair

February 23, 2012 |  5:01 pm

Jake and maggie
It's been said that couples shouldn't keep any secrets from each other. But there's one thing that motion picture academy members Francesca Loschiavo and her husband Dante Ferretti claim they never discuss: how they're planning to mark their Oscar ballots.

Maintaining their vows of silence must be tough this year: The couple were nominated for their art direction on Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," one of their numerous collaborations over the years in Hollywood and their native Italy.

They do, however, compare notes after the fact.

Oscar voters study"We are independent, not dependent," Ferretti said in an interview. "She will vote for what she likes, I will vote for what I like. Also, I don’t show her my ballots, and she doesn’t show her ballots, and then we discuss afterward, after we close the envelope.” 

Like Ivy League colleges and Appalachian hollers, the academy contains lots of kinfolk. There are extended families like the Gyllenhaals, a clan that includes director Stephen Gyllenhaal; his ex-wife,  screenwriter Naomi Foner; the couple's actor offspring, Jake and Maggie; and Maggie's husband and fellow thespian Peter Sarsgaard.

There are Significant Others and Signficant Ex-es. There are famous power couples (Brad and Angelina, Warren and Annette), and blood-relative craftspersons who are little-known among moviegoers but highly regarded by their peers, such as sibling cinematographers John and Matthew Leonetti.

Actor Lorenzo Lamas became a member of the academy at age 22 after his parents, actors Fernando Lamas and Arlene Dahl, endorsed his invitation. The organization had long been a part of the younger Lamas’ life: As a teenager he attended the Oscars and the Governors Ball with his mother, and often accompanied his father to the academy’s headquarters for official screenings.

“It was like the church of show business to me,” Lamas, 54, recalled. “You walk in and see these 10-foot tall gold Oscar statuettes and the names of these huge movie stars and directors who have made such a mark on this industry over the years. I was proud to walk in there with my dad, who was a member in good standing, and watch him shake people’s hands.”

Brother composers Richard and Robert Sherman, the team behind classic movie hits like "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," were signed by Walt Disney in 1960. By 1963, they'd accumulated enough film credits to earn academy membership.

"It’s a beautiful thing, it’s wonderful, we get to meet a lot of our colleagues," said Richard Sherman, a former member of the academy composers branch's executive committee. On two occasions the brothers also wrote the show-opening song number for the Academy Awards telecast.

As far as Oscar voting, Richard said, the brothers take the approach, "You vote  your way and I'll vote my way."

"A lot of the times we agree and sometimes we don’t," he added, "because that’s what makes life interesting."


Oscar voters overwhelmingly white, male

Oscar voters aren't always who you might think

Oscar voters: Meet the academy's youngest members

-- Reed Johnson and Amy Kaufman

Photo: Maggie and Jake Gyllenhaal at the 82nd Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, March 7, 2010. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


Exclusive: 'Hugo' hound headed to Golden Collar Awards

January 30, 2012 |  4:58 pm

Blackie the Doberman

In a move sure to send shockwaves through Hollywood and cause many to reevaluate their awards-season predictions, Alan Siskind, head of the Golden Collar Awards, told The Times today that Blackie, the canine star of Martin Scorsese's "Hugo," will be granted a late-breaking nomination for best dog in a theatrical film after a massive write-in campaign.

The groundswell of support was sparked by Scorsese's recent op-ed in The Times, in which the director of such iconic films as "Raging Bull" and "Goodfellas" admitted to feeling "severely slighted" when Blackie was not initially nominated. Calling the sleek, imposing Doberman an antihero, Scorsese wrote, "I'm proud of Blackie, who laid it on the line and dared to risk the sympathy of her audience. Let's just say that on the set, she had a fitting nickname: Citizen Canine."

Scorsese's call to action prompted Dog News Daily, the organizer of the awards, to promise Blackie a spot as a sixth nominee if the pooch garnered 500 write-ins on Facebook, a milestone achieved Monday morning.

"Due to the outpouring of love and support from around the world from fans of Mr. Scorsese, his film 'Hugo,' and its canine star Blackie, the write-in campaign … for Blackie has been successful," Siskind said in a prepared statement.

Blackie's nomination pits her squarely against Uggie, the winsome Jack Russell terrier nominated for roles both in "The Artist" and "Water for Elephants" and widely considered the frontrunner. The other nominees are Cosmo from "Beginners," Denver from "50/50" and Hummer from "Young Adult." The winners will be announced Feb. 13.


Which movie dog deserves Oscar treat?

Scorsese: For your consideration, Blackie

'The Artist's' Uggie to retire at 10; that's 50-plus in dog years

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Sacha Baron Cohen and Blackie the Doberman in "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures.

DGA names 'The Artist's' Michel Hazanavicius best director

January 28, 2012 | 11:17 pm

Scorsese payne hazanavicius fincher dga

This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

The Directors Guild of America on Saturday evening named Michel Hazanavicius best film director of 2011 for “The Artist,” the nostalgic black-and-white, nearly silent movie that hearkens back to the time of transition in Hollywood from silents to talkies. It is the first guild win for the 44-year-old French filmmaker.

"It's maybe the highest recognition I could hope. I really love directors, I over-respect directors. This is very moving and touching to me," he said, receiving a standing ovation. "Best director -- I really don't know what that means. All movies are different, so it's a strange thing to try to compare them and say which is best, but I'm very happy to get this. Thank you."

The other nominees were Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Woody Allen ("Midnight in Paris"), David Fincher ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") and Alexander Payne ("The Descendants").

PHOTOS: Directors Guild of America Awards

The DGA feature film awards are considered one of the most dependable bellwethers for the Academy Awards for best director. Over the past 63 years, the DGA and academy have disagreed on their choices only six times. The last time was nine years ago when Rob Marshall won the DGA award for “Chicago” and Roman Polanski was named best director by the academy for “The Pianist.”

Hazanavicius had already been named best director by the New York Film Critics Circle and the Critics Choice Movie Awards. He was in contention for a Golden Globe and is nominated for a BAFTA and Independent Spirit Award for best director.

Last week, “The Artist” won the Producers Guild of America award, which is one of the indicators for the best film Oscar. On Tuesday, “The Artist” earned 10 Oscar nominations, one less than the top nominee “Hugo.” Hazanavicius is up for three of those Oscars for director, screenplay and editing.

The 64th annual DGA Awards were held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland. Recent Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer was the host of the evening, succeeding Carl Reiner, who had become an institution at the event, hosting 24 times. Reiner agreed to host for a final time at the 2011 ceremony.

"Welcome to what will be a glorious night....for some of you. Last year we celebrated the DGA awards of biblical length -- it was so long, the Mayans could not predict an end," he said. "The director's cut was two hours shorter. Even James Cameron said, 'it was too long.'"

Before being named the night's big winner, Hazanavicius was presented with his nominee medallion by his two stars, Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin. Upon taking it, he said: "It's a thrill to be here and to be among these wonderful directors. I'm honored," he said in accepting the medallion. "Maybe you haven't noticed but I'm French. I have an accent and I have a name that is very difficult to pronounce. I'm not American and I'm not French, actually. I'm a filmmaker. And I made a film about my love for Hollywood. We create stories that tell people they are not alone. We separate life from shadows. Hollywood helped me grow up. I believed in values like courage, perseverance and integrity."

"I made this film as a love letter to Hollywood. I feel like I am being accepted by you -- not you as Americans but as filmmakers. So thank you." And he added:  "For my wife Berenice, I'm so glad we shared this together and I love you."

The guild gave James Marsh the award for feature documentary for "Project Nim."

The DGA award for best directing in a TV comedy series went to Robert B. Weide, "Curb Your Enthusiasm" ("Palestinian Chicken").

In accepting, Weide said: "I have very mixed feelings about this because this means that I just lost a $300 bet to my wife, Linda. Why do they call this a medallion? It's a plate. I understand when you go to Don Mischer's house for dinner, you actually eat off of these."

Other awards handed out Saturday night:

Movies for Television and Mini-series: Jon Cassar, "The Kennedys"

Dramatic TV series: Patty Jenkins, for the pilot of "The Killing"

Musical variety TV: Glenn Weiss, for the 65th annual Tony Awards 

Reality TV programs: Neil P. Degroot, for "Biggest Loser"

Daytime TV serials: William Ludell, for "General Hospital" ("Intervention")

Children’s programs: Amy Schatz, for "A Child's Garden of Poetry" 

Commercials: Noam Murro

Three special awards were also presented. Ed Sherin was named an Honorary Life Member; Katy Garretson received the Frank Capra Achievement Award; and Dennis Mazzocco recieved the Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award.

[For the record, 5:30 p.m. Jan. 29: A previous version of this post misspelled the last name of "Project Nim" director James Marsh as March.]


Oscar nominations: Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese top list for best director

Oscar nominations: Who's been hottest so far this awards season?

'The Descendants' expands rapdily, 'The Artist' slowly

-- Jasmine Elist and Susan King

Photo: Directors Martin Scorsese, Alexander Payne, Michel Hazanavicius and David Fincher attend the 64th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards Meet the Nominees Breakfast held at the DGA on Saturday.Credit: Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for DGA 


Martin Scorsese on being reviewed: 'You can't be bothered'

January 25, 2012 |  1:03 pm

There are certain external indicators filmmakers can look to when trying to evaluate the quality of their work — positive reviews, triumph at the box office, awards gold — but even these are imperfect measures. So how and when do filmmakers know if they've made a good movie?

At the recent Envelope Directors Roundtable, Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March") and Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close") addressed that question.

"I have a problem: I always think it's good," Hazanavicius said of his work. "So I think I'm not a good judge, really." But, he added, "What's true one day in October on a set, it's not the same truth four months later in an editing room. So I try to trust what I wrote, to trust what I storyboarded and to let things happen on set."

Payne said he has confident days and not-so-confident days: "Some days I am Orson Welles," he said. "Other days I am the worst loser, impostor, know-nothing, wannabe filmmaker in the world. I believe both with equal conviction."

Scorsese added that it's important to focus on the work and have confidence, without paying too much attention to concerns like movie reviews. "If you read the good ones, you might believe those, and if you read the bad ones, you certainly believe those," Scorsese said. "At a certain point, you've got to work."

Check out their full conversation in the video above.


Directors Roundtable: All seven videos

Directors Roundtable: An anxious, joyful art

Oscars 2012: Scorsese, Hazanavicius, Payne vie for best director

— Oliver Gettell

Oscars 2012: 'Hugo' editor Thelma Schoonmaker on kids, dogs and 3-D

January 24, 2012 |  1:17 pm

Click for photos of reactions from the top nominees

This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.

Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker's professional relationship dates back to at least 1970, and the veteran editor has racked up plenty of acclaim over those decades of working with the venerable filmmaker, among many other directors. On Tuesday, she picked up her fourth Oscar nomination in 10 years and her seventh Academy Award nomination overall for film editing for Scorsese's 3-D family film "Hugo," which led the field with 11 nods. 

"It’s so wonderful," Schoonmaker said. "I was hearing it on the radio that 'Hugo' won 11 nominations. I was in bed … it was like 7:30 a.m., and I heard about the 11. I think the love for this film is very intense. It’s the most [nominations] we've ever gotten, Scorsese and the whole crew. We’re going to have a great celebration."

Presenting the 1930s-set tale in an additional dimension presented some additional challenges for the crew, Schoonmaker, 72, said, though those hurdles didn't necessarily carry over into the edit bay. "Overall, it was a big challenge: the 3-D, the children, dogs. But it was a particularly joyous film to work on .... It was very complicated, technically, but the editing was surprisingly not difficult. We didn’t encounter the problems you hear about with 3-D -– I think it was very well thought out on set by Martin."

PHOTOS: Oscar nominees react

She said Scorsese's long-held passion for 3-D films served the production. “Marty has always loved 3-D, movies like 'Dial M for Murder' and 'House of Wax.' We were worried about editing in 3-D, frankly, but all the caveats -- like you can’t cut from a wide shot to a close shot because people will get sick -- didn’t happen. And we were able to put our glasses on and edit in 3-D (because of a new technology). Most people can’t do that -- they have to edit in 2D.”

Schoonmaker said she has been thrilled by the reception the movie has received from critics and audiences: "When we first started showing the movie, we thought kids would be throwing popcorn and texting each other, but they’ve been riveted."

She is unhappy, however, that none of the actors from the film -- the cast includes Asa Butterfield, Chloe Moretz and Ben Kingsley as a toy seller who turns out to be cinema pioneer Georges Melies,  among others -- were nominated. "I’m a little disappointed because I thought they were wonderful," Schoonmaker said. "The emotion between Melies and a little boy is so wonderful. I’m a little sad, but you can’t have everything."

"The film is a distillation of all the work Scorsese has done over the years, to bring other artists the world has forgotten back to the world," Schoonmaker said. "And that’s what we’d like to get across. How important the history of film is to see and enjoy."

The following video is from the Envelope Directors Roundtable. Here, filmmakers Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") and George Clooney ("The Ides of March") spoke to The Times' John Horn about some of the unique challenges of working with kids and dogs.


For the record, 1:47 p.m. Jan. 24: The headline on an earlier version of this post misspelled Thelma Schoonmaker's last name as Schoomaker.


And the nominees are ...

Video: Getting naked doesn't assure Oscar nod

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; "Artist," "Hugo" dominate

-- Deborah Vankin and Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Martin Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker on the set of "Hugo" Credit: Paramount Pictures

Oscars 2012: 'Hugo' composer Howard Shore on Scorsese collaboration

January 24, 2012 | 12:43 pm

Howard Shore

Some things never get old. Just ask composer Howard Shore, who woke to a phone call very early Tuesday  morning in Hawaii and learned he had earned his fourth Academy Award nomination. "It's always thrilling," Howard said of being nominated, this time for his original score for Martin Scorsese's "Hugo."

The film, about an orphan living in a train station in 1930s Paris, leads the Oscar pack with 11 nominations, and it marks Shore's sixth film with Scorsese. "It's a wonderful collaboration," Howard said of working with the director. "I think [Scorsese] works with music the way he works with all his other collaborators: I think he casts well, and then he shapes and guides and inspires."

In writing the music for "Hugo," Shore drew inspiration from the film's time and setting, 1930s Paris. "It's a very rich period of music," Shore said. "It's the exuberance and the thrill of making movies in this early period with this new technology. … It's a very rich world to write in and compose in, and it's very inspiring to me."

PHOTOS: Oscar nominees react

For Shore, the Academy Awards themselves also represent an opportunity to celebrate the history of filmmaking. "I love the show when it's elegant and shows what's great about films, and [when it] sets our work into the historical period of filmmaking," Shore said. "I think once a year it's good to look back at the history of Oscar and to embrace the great work that everybody's done this year and set it in place to the great work that's gone on before us."

After his layover in Hawaii, Shore is headed to New Zealand, where he is working on "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" with director Peter Jackson. The duo certainly has had a good run at Oscar together. Shore's won the Academy Award all three previous times he's been nominated -- for his original score for Jackson's 2001 film "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," the original score for Jackson's 2003 feature "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and for "Into the West," an original song he wrote with Fran Walsh and Annie Lennox for that film.

The following video is from the Envelope Directors Roundtable. Here, filmmakers Alexander Payne ("The Descendants"), Stephen Daldry ("Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"), Martin Scorsese ("Hugo"), George Clooney ("The Ides of March") and Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist") shared some of their setbacks and off days with Times film reporter John Horn.


And the nominees are...

Video: Getting naked doesn't guarentee an Oscar nod

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; "Artist," "Hugo" dominate

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Composer Howard Shore in 2001. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

Oscars 2012: ‘Hugo’ costume designer on her 10th Oscar nom

January 24, 2012 | 11:57 am

Sandy Powell OscarThe Oscar nominations were announced early Tuesday morning, but the day was heading into night in England, where costume designer Sandy Powell ended up learning the news of her Academy Award nod for Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" while she was stuck in traffic.

“I was in a car being driven by a friend in a traffic jam on a rainy London afternoon,” Powell said. “David [Davenport], my [costume] supervisor, sent me a message saying, ‘You better start looking for a dress!’”

This is Powell’s 10th Oscar nomination. She has won the costume design award three times, including for Scorsese’s Howard Hughes biopic,“The Aviator.” The opportunity to work again with the director, a frequent collaborator, was a major motivation for her to sign on to the lavish 3-D family movie, but so was its source material, the illustrated children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.”

PHOTOS: Oscar nominees react

“We used the book as a starting point and a reference point," Powell said. "I think everyone on the movie captured the essence of the illustrations in the book without just re-creating it.”

Allegiance to “Hugo” aside, Powell is “convinced” that “The Artist” is going to take home the best picture award come Oscar night next month. In a noteworthy coincidence, both movies pay homage to silent filmmaking.

“It’s the exact same period [as 'Hugo'], and they’re both films about film, but they couldn’t be more different. But I’m really happy that they’re so different,” Powell said.

Speaking to 24 Frames on her cellphone from a London store, she said the exciting news hadn't kept her from “trying to do my normal working day,” she said. There hasn’t been time yet to talk with fellow “Hugo” filmmakers -– the film earned 11 nominations, more than that of any other film for the year -– but she’s eager to celebrate with them later.

“I’m only disappointed that it didn’t get a makeup nomination. That would have been nice. Costumes and makeup -– it’s all part of the same thing,” Powell said.

The London native will be celebrating her own nomination during dinner tonight.

“I already had dinner plans with a good girlfriend,” she said. “So now we have a nice excuse to order a bottle of champagne.”


And the nominees are...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

–- Emily Rome

Photos: Sandy Powell winning a best costume design Oscar for "The Young Victoria" in 2010. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times; Powell's sketch for Sasha Baron Cohen's "Hugo" costume. Credit: Paramount Pictures


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