The Oscars seem to get more controversial with each passing year. All the front runners have had some bad press ensnaring them in some form or another. While this may be seen as simply the bitter and fierce PR campaigns run by the studios backstabbing each other, many of these controversies have negatively effected the film industry in one way or another.
Whether it was the decision to go host-less after Kevin Hart’s departure following backlash over his homophobic remarks that were resurfaced from years ago or Viggo Mortensen having to apologize for a racial slur he used in press for his film ‘Green Book’ or the fact that Bohemian Rhapsody’s director Bryan Singer was fired after he was accused of multiple instances of sexual misconduct and is being sued for allegedly raping a 17-year-old boy.
Thankfully there are some much-needed good news to report at this year’s Oscars. From the presenters to the winners, this year's ceremony have been more inclusive than in the past. For example, some of the presenters spoke in Spanish and history was made, with Ruth Carter becoming the first African American woman to win an Oscar for costume design.
Peter Ramsey being the first black director to win for an animated film with "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse." The latter featured the first Afro-Latina Spider-Man and one of the writers of the screenplay mentioned the importance of inclusion in his acceptance speech.’ Period. End of Sentence’ won best short documentary about menstruation – not a traditional choice for the usual stuffy Academy.
Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel is a favourite for sci-fi fans and for good reason. It is widely considered one of the best science fiction books of all time, however, the transition from book to the big screen has been less than smooth. The latest adaption is directed by Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve.
It will be released next year and already receiving a lot of buzz. It has an all-star cast including Jason Momoa, Javier Bardem, Charlotte Rampling, Oscar Isaac, and Josh Brolin to name a few.
While the source material is brilliant, its silver screen appearance has b
een troubled. Chilean director Alexjandro Jodorowsky tried to bring a 10-hour epic staring Salvador Dali and scored by Pink Floyd but eventually it was abandoned and never completed. David Lynch tired next to bring it to life in his 1984 epic. The film was supposed to be the anti-Star Wars. A dark, totalitarian, dystopia universe where epic families battle for control over the empire. It went through many scripts and the rough cut was over four hours long. When it was released, the critics hated it, calling it a glorified mess. It only earned $30 million on a $40 million budget. Over the years, fans have been a little kinder to the film, and it’s turned into somewhat of a cult classic.
Villeneuve has a lot of pressure to succeed where others have failed. Warner Bros and Legendary have green lit a huge budget, taking a huge gamble that it will be a success. Denis Villeneuve’s only big budget film thus far was the 2 hour and 44 minute Blade Runner 2049, which disappointed at the box office despite being a critical win, earning $259.2 million on a budget of at least $150 million. The big question remains can Villeneuve pull off an even bigger epic?
Some stunt actors are calling for a boycott of this year’s Oscars for the Academy’s refusal to put in a category awarding the best stunt in films. Despite the incredible skill that go into stunts and the risks stunt people take to perform a great action scene, they are not being properly recognized for their effort. The Oscars have awards in other technical areas such as makeup, set design, and special effects all the while stunt people remain in the dark.
Stunt actor Jack Gill has been campaigning for inclusion in the Oscars since the early nineties. Last year, over a hundred stunt performers from throughout the industry protested outside the Academy's office and gathered over 50,000 signatures including big names like Steven Spielberg and Arnold Schwarzenegger on a petition demanding recognition during the awards despite being one of the oldest professions in Hollywood.
In the early years, circus performers would be hired in chase and other action scenes. As stunts got more elaborate in the 60’s and 70’s, stunt actors had to perform greater feats. Many multi-million dollar franchises including Rambo, Terminator, James Bond, and Indian Jones relied on the visibility of stunts as each tired to outdo the other.
In Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy and the remake of Mad Max, stunt actors were praised for their efforts and professionalism. Stunt actors plays a huge role in making the film experience authentic, yet the labour of it often goes unrewarded. Stunt actors aren’t paid millions of dollars or put on the front of movie posters like leading men and women like Tom Cruise, Jason Statham, Dwayne Jonson, and Milla Jovovich.
James Cameron has just announced the new Terminator film will be called Dark Fade. It has already built up a steady buzz as it’s the first film to star both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton since the classic Terminator 2: Judgement Day which really launched the film series into a franchise.
A promo photograph was released last year showing Hamilton sporting short, spikey grey hair and a shotgun, looking positively badass. Although Arnold Schwarzenegger is obviously the star of the franchise, most fans are most excited to see Hamilton return.
The film will be helmed by Deadpool director Tim Miller and produced by Cameron. We don’t know much about the storyline which has been kept under lock and key, but according to rumors it will ignore the events that took place in both Genisys and Salvation, paving the way to take the franchise in a new direction. We assume there will be heavy CGI effects to make Schwarzenegger look like a younger version of himself. Hopefully, however, they will do a better job than they did with the patchwork in Terminator: Salvation when Schwarzenegger as the Terminator made a cameo appearance – although they have 10 years of technology to improve the special effects.
Stephen King has become popular ever since the most recent adaption of IT grossed 700 million, making Hollywood producers sit up and take notice. After the success of the first installment, it didn’t take much time for IT's second part to be greenlit and will be released later this year.
Now Pet Sematary is being remade with Jason Clarke, John Lithgow and Amy Seimetz. There is a lot to be excited about judging by recent trailers, especially Lithgow’s performance who has successfully jumped from comedian to spooky character actor.
Pet Sematary is one of King’s most underrated books. It plays on people’s basic emotions, of love and loss, and the need to fix tragedy by any means necessary. It plays on the timeless theme of: If you could bring a dead loved one back somehow, would you? We know that the answer should be no but sometimes we can’t help ourselves. The recent Netflix original series Sabrina based upon the comic book, and takes more than a couple ques from Stephen King’s work, also asks the same question.
This is not the first time that Hollywood gave Pet Sematary a big-screen telling, as the first film has become a bit of a cult classic, but also stands as a movie that hasn’t aged incredibly well. King’s stories have a Shakesperean tragedy element to them, asking eternal human questions that can be just as effective to a new generation.
Hollywood has a huge influence on our we act and how we think. There it’s reasonable to believe that as we take cues from films, they should represent us – especially when they deal with history. However several of this year’s Oscar contenders have been accused of historical misrepresentation. Hollywood screenwriters, producers and directors have always believed that story, plot and character should come first before facts but what effect does that have on the average filmgoer?
When Green Book became an Oscar contender despite its controversy, historians and film buffs started an outcry. won top prize at the Toronto film festival in September, it became an instant Oscar front runner.
Green Book tells the story of African American pianist Donald Shirley and his Italian American driver Tony Vallelonga as they undertake a tour of the Deep South in 1962. Along the way, Shirley is refused service in stores, excluded from restaurants and physically assaulted. At the start, Vallelonga is hostile towards Shirley and black people in general. When he gets to know Shirley, though the film his attitude changes as he sees Shirley as a regular guy not deserving of prejudice.
Green Book is a mainstream audience that is designed to be a hit with Oscar board members. Shirley’s real-life family have reacted with anger, asserting that this film was basically a fabrication and in reality there was no close friendship between the pair. The family heavily criticism the filmmakers for not consulting them.
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