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Safety Last (#110 of 2)

15 Famous Movie Ledges

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15 Famous Movie Ledges
15 Famous Movie Ledges

Hitting theaters this week is Man on a Ledge, a rather unsubtly titled thriller that stars Sam Worthington as a guy whose nowhere-left-to-turn predicament has him doing the old wave-down-at-the-masses bit. This isn’t the first time Worthington has flirted with dizzying precipices (his motion-captured doppelgänger braved the floating mountains of Pandora), and it certainly isn’t the first time Hollywood has tormented acrophobics. Movies have long been living on the edge, ever intent on serving up vicarious vertigo. For proof, here’s a list of 15 memorable movie ledges, from cliffs to rooftops to ominous subway platforms. Safety nets not included.

Oscar Prospects: Hugo

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Oscar Prospects: Hugo
Oscar Prospects: Hugo

This season presents two Oscar contenders, Hugo and The Artist, that both bask in the dreaminess of cinema’s early days, but from polar opposite ends of the technological spectrum. Whereas the latter is a famously black-and-white, French-made silent picture, Hugo is a mega-budget spectacle and the biggest pairing of heavyweight director and 3D since Avatar (it’s also the most sophisticated movie yet to employ the format). In terms of awards chances, The Artist—which, appropriately enough, bears a key theme of overcoming technology’s relentless propulsion—most certainly has the edge, and did even before yesterday, when it netted five major Independent Spirit Award nominations, earned two wins from the New York Film Critics Circle (including Best Picture), and landed fifth on Sight & Sound’s polled list of the best films of 2011. But no one should assume that the soldiering forward of a powerful, atmospherically similar frontrunner means that Hugo can’t also perform well. Besides, it’s Martin Scorsese.