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Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Rango

Oscar predictions: Animation, foreign language and documentary

February 24, 2012 |  6:00 am

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Check previous posts for tips on marking your Oscar pool ballots for the music categories, short films, sound races and the visual crafts. Now
, predictions for the winners for animated feature and two categories in which academy members often defy conventional wisdom: foreign-language film and documentary.


The nominees:

“A Cat in Paris,” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
“Chico & Rita,” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
“Kung Fu Panda 2,” Jennifer Yuh Nelson
“Puss in Boots,” Chris Miller
“Rango,” Gore Verbinski

And the winner is … “Rango.” “Tintin” won the Producers Guild and Golden Globe awards, but the animation nominating committee fixed "Tintin's" motion-capture wagon but good, leaving it off the final ballot. So “Rango,” flaws and all, it is. And let’s hope for a better slate of nominees next year.

Unless … the academy’s older-skewing membership boasts a proud Crazy Cat Lady contingent and the group coalesces behind a feline tale (say, “Puss in Boots” over “A Cat in Paris”).


The nominees:

“Bullhead” (Belgium)
“Footnote” (Israel)
“In Darkness” (Poland)
“Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada)
“A Separation” (Iran)

And the winner is … “A Separation.” Yes, we’re aware that critical acclaim sometimes means bupkis here. “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “White Ribbon,” “Waltz With Bashir” all lost to lesser films. Last year, the high-profile “Biutiful” had both Javier Bardem’s celebrated, Oscar-nominated acting and Julia Roberts, Sean Penn and a number of A-listers singing its praises. And then it lost to the middlebrow “A Better World.”

So why should this year be different? The fact that Asghar Faradi’s deeply involving  masterwork also received a screenplay nomination might be a good indicator of broad support. “A Separation” also won the Golden Globe and a number of critics prizes. And it’s the clear standout among the nominees.

Unless … many of the voters who love “A Separation” haven’t seen the other four nominated films in exhibition and thus, by academy rule, can’t cast a ballot here. That’s where spoilers come into play. Agnieszka Holland’s third Holocaust drama, “In Darkness,” fits the model and could well pull off an Oscar night upset that, given the category, wouldn’t really be all that shocking. Enraging, yes. But not shocking.


The nominees:

“Hell and Back Again,” Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front,” Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory,” Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
“Pina,” Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
“Undefeated,” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Rich Middlemas

And the winner is … With the West Memphis Three case fresh in voters’ minds (and fresh off another doc that premiered at Sundance), “Paradise Lost 3” could eke out a win, though it’s nowhere near as powerful as the trilogy’s first film, which, of course, wasn’t nominated in 1996.

Unless … academy members go with another topical, buzzed-about doc, the photojournalistic “Hell and Back Again,” which follows a Marine as he returns home from a harrowing tour of duty in Afghanistan.


Reluctantly, an Iranian director becomes a symbol

Rango wins the Annie Award for animated feature

Sundance 2011: At war and home in 'Hell and Back Again'

Oscars 2012: Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

— Glenn Whipp

Photo: Scene from "Rango." Photo credit: Industrial Light & Magic/Paramount Pictures.

'The Descendants,' 'The Artist' and 'Rango' win editing awards

February 18, 2012 | 10:00 pm


"The Descendants," "The Artist" and "Rango" each took home an Eddie Award on Saturday night. The American Cinema Editors honored Kevin Tent in the dramatic motion picture category for his work on "The Descendants," while Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius won for best edited comedy or musical film for "The Artist." All three are also nominated for the Academy Award in the editing category.

Craig Wood earned a feature film Eddie for the animated film "Rango."

The 62nd annual awards were handed out Saturday night at a black-tie ceremony hosted by comic and actor Patton Oswalt at the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

On the television side, Steven Rasch won in the best edited half-hour series category for the "Palestinian Chicken" episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm," while Skip MacDonald won for one-hour series for commercial TV for the "Face-Off" installment of "Breaking Bad."

Jordan Goldman and David Latham won for the pilot of "Homeland" in the one-hour series for non-commercial TV, while Lewis Erskine and Aljernon Tunseil won best edited documentary for "Freedom Riders."

Best edited reality series went to Eric Lasby for the "Haiti" episode of "Anthony Bourdain -- No Reservations," while Eric Kench won the student competiton for "Video Symphony."

Special awards were also handed out Saturday evening. Tent presented "Descendants" director and co-writer Alexander Payne with the ACE Golden Eddie Filmmaker of the Year, while Lifetime Achievement Awards went to editors Joel Cox and Doug Ibold.


'Rango' wins the Annie Award for animated feature

Movie review: 'The Artist' a love note to the movies

'The Descendants': George Clooney on why he took the role of Matt King

--Susan King

Photos: George Clooney in "The Descendants." Credit: Fox Searchlight. Jean Dujardin (L) and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.. "Rango." Credit: Paramount Pictures.

VES Awards: 'Rango' leads with four wins for visual effects

February 7, 2012 | 11:15 pm


The animated tale "Rango" took home four trophies at the 10th annual Visual Effects Society Awards on Monday night, leading all films. The live-action movies "Hugo," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" each won two awards.

Directed by Gore Verbinski and featuring the voice of Johnny Depp, "Rango" was honored for outstanding visual effects in an animated film, outstanding animated character in an animated film, outstanding created environment in an animated film and outstanding virtual cinematography in an animated film.

In the last two weeks, "Rango" also has earned an Oscar nomination for best animated picture and won four Annie Awards from the International Animated Film Society. It is the first full-length animated feature from the visual-effects house Industrial Light & Magic; the film was released by Paramount.

Other highlights from the VES Awards, which were held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, included a surprise appearance by "Hugo" director Martin Scorsese, the presentation of a lifetime achievement award to comics icon Stan Lee and the presentation of the Georges Melies Award to visual-effects innovator Douglas Trumbull. The awards also recognized television programs, commercials, special venues and video games.

Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt ("Young Adult") hosted this year's show, which will be broadcast on the Reelz Channel on Feb. 19 at 10 p.m. EST, 7 p.m. PST.

Following is a full list of winners.

Continue reading »

Chat with 'Rango' director Gore Verbinski on Feb. 10

February 6, 2012 |  5:11 pm


“Rango” is an oddly philosophical tale of a little lizard, voiced by Johnny Depp, who finds himself wearing the sheriff's badge in a harsh outpost known as Dirt. The Gore Verbinski film is a mash-up of the classic western and a postmodern sensibility –- it’s far less cuddly or cookie-cutter than most animated features, which Verbinski says is by design.

So far, "Rango" has found success, whether at the box office or in awards season. The movie is nominated for an Oscar in the animated feature category, and it just picked up the top prize Saturday at the Annie Awards, presented by the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood.

Verbinski admits, though, that taking chances is never easy. "In a world of data of what works and what doesn't work, when a producer's intuitive responses are trusted less than research, I think it's forgotten that an audience wants something new," he said.

To that point: Verbinski and Depp are re-teaming for a revival of "The Lone Ranger," which would be something of a dusty counterpart to their three "Pirates of the Caribbean" films. Expect a wholly different take on the classic western radio and TV series.

So how did Verbinski come up with those loopy characters? And did the voice cast really wear costumes and meet on a set rather than a recording booth?

The director will join us at 11 a.m. Friday (Feb. 10) for a live chat about "Rango," the Oscar race and more. Sign up below:


'Rango' wins Annie Award for animated feature

Academy Award ballots are out; get your votes in

'Rango,' 'Kung Fu Panda 2' among those vying for Oscar

--Geoff Boucher

Photo: "Rango." Credit: Industrial Light & Magic/Paramount Pictures

'Rango' wins the Annie Award for animated feature

February 4, 2012 | 10:48 pm

Rango wins the Annie Award

"Rango," the Oscar-nominated box-office hit about a pet chameleon who becomes sheriff of a small western town, won the Annie Award for animated feature from the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, on Saturday.

The film, directed by Gore Verbinski and starring Johnny Depp as the voice of Rango, also won Annie Awards for character design for Mark "Crash" McCreery, writing for John Logan, Verbinski and James Byrkit, and editing for Craig Wood.

"Rango," which is nominated for the Academy Award for animated feature, topped a field that included "Kung Fu Panda 2," "Puss in Boots," "Cars 2," "Rio" and "The Adventures of Tintin."

The 39th annual Annie Awards were handed out at a ceremony at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Patton Oswalt, who most recently appeared in "Young Adult" and was the voice of Remy in the Oscar-winning 2007 animated movie "Ratatouille," was the host of the event.

Jennifer Yuh Nelson won for directing in a feature production for "Kung Fu Panda 2," which also earned an Annie for production design for Raymond Zilbach. Steven Spielberg’s "Tintin" won Annies for music for veteran composer John Williams and animated effects for Kevin Romond.

Jeremy Spears won an Annie for feature storyboarding for "Winnie the Pooh," while Jeff Gabor took home the Annie for feature character animation for "Rio." Bill Nighy won for voice acting for his role as Grandsanta in "Arthur Christmas." Animated short honors went to Minkyu Lee for "Adam and Dog."

The group also honored animation work in live-action productions. Eric Reynolds received the award for character animation in a live-action production for "Rise of the Planet of the Apes," and Florent Andorra earned an Annie for animated effects in a live-action production for "Transformers: Dark of the Moon."

Besides feature films, Annies are also presented for TV, video games and commercials.

On the TV front, "Kung Fu Panda -- Secrets of the Masters" won the Annie for animated special production, while "The Simpsons" won the award for general audience animated TV production, as well as writing for the "Treehouse of Horror XXII" episode for Caroline Omine.

Following is a list of the rest of the winners.

Continue reading »

'The Artist' stars and other Oscar nominees set for Santa Barbara film fest Saturday

February 2, 2012 | 11:56 am

The Artist

Among the many events for Oscar nominees to attend as awards season heats up is the 27th Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which this weekend will feature panels with filmmakers including “The Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius and “Bridesmaids” director Paul Feig.

The festival, which kicked off Jan. 26, wraps Sunday after a weekend of multiple panels and final screenings. Among the films still screening are the Adrien Brody-starrer Detachment and the documentary Nothing Like Chocolate,” which received a standing ovation at its premiere last weekend.

Sharing the stage with Hazanavicius and Feig at the directors panel at 11 a.m. Saturday are five other directors who also helmed Oscar-nominated films, including “Rango” director Gore Verbinski and "Hotel Rwanda" director Terry George, nominated this year for his short film, "The Shore."

Los Angeles Times columnist Patrick Goldstein will moderate the Movers & Shakers panel at 2 p.m. Saturday for a Q&A with six filmmakers behind some of this year’s Oscar best picture nominees, including “The Descendants” producer Jim Burke and “Hugo” producer Graham King.

SBIFF also presented awards to Viola Davis, Christopher Plummer and Martin Scorsese. On Saturday, "The Artist" stars Bérénice Bejo and Jean Dujardin will receive the festival's Cinema Vanguard Award.

Festival tickets and schedule are available at Sbiff.org.


Santa Barbara Film Festival to honor 'The Artist' stars

'Rango,' 'Margaret' head back into movie theaters Friday

Oscars 2012: 'Descendants' producer closer to 'career goal' with nom

— Emily Rome

Photo: "The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius (left) will participate on SBIFF's directors panel Saturday. The film's stars, Bérénice Bejo (center) and Jean Dujardin (right), will receive the festival's Cinema Vanguard Award that evening. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times.

'Rango,' 'Margaret' head back into movie theaters Friday

January 26, 2012 |  5:14 pm


Two films that initially received very different theatrical runs are finding their way back to the big screen Friday: “Rango,” the Gore Verbinski-directed animated film that charts the adventures of a chameleon voiced by Johnny Depp who finds himself the sheriff of an Old West town, and “Margaret,” a drama starring Anna Paquin as a teenager who struggles with guilt over her role in a deadly traffic accident.

In the case of Paramount’s “Rango,” the re-release comes on the heels of the movie’s Oscar nomination for animated feature — the film, which originally opened in March of last year and grossed upward of $123 million at the domestic box office, is one of five titles that will compete for the top prize in the category at the 84th Academy Awards next month.

Verbinski, a director who typically works in live action, made a fan of Depp in his handling of the animated production that won over critics and moviegoers last year. “Gore amazed me right away with his technical ability,” Depp told The Envelope last fall. “He knows cinema backwards and forward and he’s completely unafraid. When I saw ‘Rango’ I was pretty stupefied — it was unlike anything I had ever seen before.”

As for “Margaret,” the Fox Searchlight film, written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan, has become the subject of an unlikely groundswell of interest since it opened for a very limited run last September. A number of film critics took to Twitter to campaign on the movie’s behalf, some hailing it as an overlooked masterpiece, others simply lobbying for it to play more broadly so more people would have the opportunity to see it.

“Margaret” was originally shot in 2005 but its release was delayed for years as the film ran into post-production problems and became the subject of several legal disputes.

In an interview with The Times earlier this month, Paquin — who heads up an ensemble cast that includes Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, Jean Reno, Allison Janney, J. Smith-Cameron, Matthew Broderick, Kieran Culkin and Jeannie Berlin, among others — had nothing but praise for Lonergan, saying, “I could not possibly have loved that script or loved doing that movie any more.”

“What I love about that character is she's not really likable all the time,” Paquin continued. “She's going through such trauma and she is kind of buried under this whole pile of guilt and confusion as to why when she tried to make it right there is all this resistance. She's sort of kicking her way to the surface and taking on everyone who stands in her way. She's hitting the self-destruct button but doing it in a really outwardly aggressive way.”

“Rango” will play for one week at the ArcLight Hollywood; “Margaret” will have a one-week run at the Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles.


Anna Paquin on the unlikely resurrection of 'Margaret'

'Margaret' growing on critics, but will audiences find it?

-- Gina McIntyre, Geoff Boucher and Mark Olsen

Photo: "Rango." Credit: Paramount

Golden Globes: Producer Graham King hits a triple

December 15, 2011 | 11:25 am


Producer Graham King has won an Oscar ("The Departed"), worked on any number of critical and commercial hits ("The Town," "Traffic," "Rango") and supports one of the better soccer teams in Barclays Premiere League (Chelsea). But the feat he pulled off in Thursday's Golden Globe nominations bears special mention, because King's productions were nominated in three top categories: drama, animated movie and foreign language film.

"It was quite a morning," King said. "It was surprising to have all three — three filmmakers doing three totally different genres. I'm not sure when it's been done before."

PHOTOS: Golden Globe top nominees

King financed "Hugo," which not only was nominated for dramatic motion picture but also for director (Martin Scorsese) and score (Howard Shore). King produced  "Rango," nominated as best animated film, and co-financed "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a foreign-language movie directed and written by first-time filmmaker Angelina Jolie.

"It's so wonderful for Angie to get this recognition," King said of Jolie, whose 2010 movie "The Tourist" was produced by King. "It's the first time she's directed anything."

FULL COVERAGE: Golden Globes

While "Hugo" is doing steady business at the box office and "Rango" was a solid hit with global receipts of more than $245 million, "In the Land of Blood and Honey" does not arrive theaters until Dec. 23. But the film, shot largely in Hungary and set in the Bosnian war, did not qualify for Academy Award foreign-language film consideration.

"This was a true collaboration and I am forever indebted to our cast and crew, who experienced their own personal tragedies in the Bosnian War and gave me an authentic  perspective into the conflict," Jolie said in a statement.


Golden Globes: The complete list of nominees

Golden Globes: Gore Verbinski finds first time is a charm with 'Rango'

Golden Globes: 'Extremely Loud,' 'Tinker Tailor' snubbed

 — John Horn

Photo: Producer Graham King, left, Brad Pitt and producer Tim Headington arrive at the premiere of "In the Land of Blood and Honey" held at ArcLight Cinemas on Dec. 8 in Hollywood. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.


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