Thursday, May 1, 2014

Oscar week !!

Los Angeles is a great city full of museums, parks, canyons, etc. But, above all, this is the city of cinema !!!! Obviously, this is already great to visit studios and see LACMA's expositions but the Oscars stays THE unbeatable event!  Last year, the newbies we were did neither really well understand the interest for this ceremony, nor why everyone from the hairdresser to the student, frantically follow this. Thus, this year, we have decided to catch us up and to do this up to the end by coming to the Oscars!!!

But the Oscars, what is this exactly? 

When one thinks "Oscars", he essentially thinks to the TV-broadcast ceremony. However, the Oscars or should I say Academy Awards, are an association which works all year long to recall to people that cinema is an art before being an industry. Speaking of the Oscars, this is not only the closing ceremony but about 2 months during which nominees are selected, one week (the Oscars week) during which the nominee works are presented and finally a broadcast ceremony during which one the winner names are given. We didn't sit in the closing ceremony, but only to two selections : foreign movie and make-up and hairstyle .

How attend to the Oscars?

Even if you do not work in the cinema field, you may attend to the Oscars week. You only need to go to the Academy website and most of the selections are free or $5 worth. Nevertheless, seats are limited to 2 persons and go away fast : from my experience, the reservations opened at 10 a.m. and 15 minutes later, there were no more available seats in the selections I was interested in !

A day at the Oscars

Selection of the foreign movies

This selection was complicated to get since seats were quickly sold out. Moreover, only 2 tickets are given by person and I succeeded to have two but no more since everything was gone later. Nevertheless, we tried to get tickets at the entrance and we were lucky because there were some last minute withdrawals. Later, our lucky day just went on because we tried to seat at the forefront in the middle of the nominees. Usually, this is forbidden but this time that worked! This is how I sat next to the Tsotsi director (Oscar 2006) and just in front of the Belgium team !!
Actress of the Belgium movie during an interview
The selection was introduced by a member of the Academy, then the event host and producer Mark Johnson (producer, among others, of Rain Man, the Notebook and the Narnia Chronicle) presented the nominees (presented in the following). Then, Gavin Hood, South African director who directed, for instance, Tsotsi and X-men Origins: Wolverine (from an extreme to an other!), gave a speech as previous winner. Of course, he flattered the Hollywood and American ego (this is his work environment now!), but he also reminded us the importance of European movie (actually, by European, he spoke about the rest of the world). More specifically, he pointed out the importance of the movie in front of "you can't eat pop-corn (...) and after which you are shocked, and you only have one envy : take a glass and discuss about the movie". That was very interesting, especially since he reminded us that people didn't have to despise entertainment movies which operate the movie industry and have its cultural importance (if we only watched dramas, this would become very hard to manage !). He also said many funny anecdotes about his Hollywood starting. Here is one of them : One day, he had an appointment with a producer to who he sent a scenario. The producer asked him to present the movie and because the director was astonished, he said : "Myself, I do not read scenarii, I make movies!". I am not very fair because I was very impressed by "Tsotsi" ( about 10 years ago already!) but I was very enthusiastic by this introduction !

Later, each nominee came to present his film and I will not detail everything because that would be too long but there are the trailers of the nominated movies and some director comments about their films.

  • The broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)

This movie is about a love story and a child loss in a context of Bluegrass music. Good music besides since the soundtrack has apparently surpassed the sell of the Titanic movie in Belgium!!

  • The Missing Picture (Cambodia)

This movie and its director were my favorites. Indeed, this film is about the Cambodia genocide by using small clay figurines which produce an effect reminded me the Verfremdungseffekt by Brecht (distancing effect). I also appreciated the director: he was really engaged in his film and we felt that he worked hard to surpass the trauma in order to inform and force new generations to think. Besides, he reminded that this kind of atrocities do not belong to the past. People have always to stay vigilant and do not tolerate situations as Venezuela or Ukraine know nowdays.
For the record, the movie has to be made with real actors and the director has changed his mind at the last minute to use figurines instead. He kept only a narrator who is even not an actor since he is a math professor in a prestigious Engineering School in France ("Ecole Polytechnique"). So, this has nothing to do with the cinema!

  • The Hunt (Danmark)

This movie is about a teacher wrongly accused of the young child rape of his friends. The director wished to stay in the US to make a film about the suggestion of fake memories but the subject was too sensitive to interest the fundraisers. Finally, this is in Denmark where he found the best conditions to direct "The Hunt".

  • The Great Beauty (Italy)

The Great Beauty is a movie defined by its director as a film about everything but finally about nothing.
The fabulous decadence of Rome is presented and makes upset those who are caricatured but also displeases to those who aren't in it because they would like to. In conclusion, an Italian movie :-)

  • Omar (Palestine)

"Omar" is a movie taking place in Palestine. It describes a love story undermined by the treason turmoil when the protagonist has to betray his friends to spy them. The director wrote this movie in 4 days when he was in a luxury hotel in L.A. plagued to a panic and paranoia attack. He left then Hollywood and directed this movie to have its feet back on the ground and suppress the superficial glitters of the cinema world to retrieve authentic feelings

Comment : This is "The Great Beauty" which won the Oscar. That was not my favorite and particularly the director was not the most pleasant but this is the game! 

Makeup and Hair styling Selection

During the afternoon, we attended to a very different kind of event: the nominee presentation for the make-up and hair styling. That was very funny since much more eccentric than the morning. Did you watch Hunger games? Well, the audience looked like coming from the Capitol: green, red, blue, pink hair and Cruella hairstyle, all kind of make-up, clothes extremely...fashionable, well the show was in the public and not on the stage!
There were 3 movies in competition: Bad Grandpa which is like Jackass but with Jerry Knoxvill dressed up as a grand-father, The Lone Ranger a Disney movie and an independent movie Dallas Buyers Club. In other words, as a matter of budget, this comes from 12 people for Disney to $250 for Dallas Buyers Club whose funds were removed just at the beginning of the filming.

This session was clearly aimed at professionals and they spoke technical tips and format problems, but it remains accessible to the ignorant I am. We were able to see some makeup processes used, including for processing in Jackass grandfather (finalized painting) and the Robin Mathews' handiwork to give the appearance of a really sick patient to Mathew McConaughey.

The "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" girl in discussion with the makeup of the film "The Lone Ranger"
Some accessories
Comment : For once, this is my favorite which won! Congratulations to the two winners who richly deserved their price! Besides, I think it's a nice mockery to the fate that has almost canceled this movie and ending up with three Oscars (best first and second male roles). And congratulations also to Jared Leto (Oscar for best second role) who was so steeped in his role as the transvestite makeup naturally spoke of "her" and said she had met the real Jared once the filming was done!

To know more...

To know more about the Oscar history: History

To enjoy of the events and exhibits organized all over the year: Calendar

To see the full list of nominees and winners: Nominees (by  category) ou Nominees (by movies)

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