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Ang Lee (#110 of 21)

15 Famous Big Weddings

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15 Famous Big Weddings
15 Famous Big Weddings

This weekend, multiplexes will be hit with what’s surely aiming to be the Valentine’s Day of wedding flicks. Directed by Justin Zackham, The Big Wedding packs Robert De Niro, Susan Sarandon, Diane Keaton, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, and more into a cast that’s led my Amanda Seyfried and Ben Barnes as the bride and groom. The titular celebration calls to mind a whole lot of substantial cinema nuptials, which stretch from good to great, and occur within chick flicks and masterpieces. We’ve rounded up 15 movie weddings that—aw, hell—take the cake.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Director

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Director
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Director

After Argo collected nearly every major industry award in the lead-up to the Academy Awards, in the process emerging as this year’s Best Picture frontrunner, it came as a shock to everyone to see Ben Affleck shut out of the running here given how often Best Director and Picture coincide. It’s with some irony, then, that two filmmakers who’ve emerged as the main contenders in Affleck’s absence are also among the very few previous winners here whose films were denied Best Picture trophies: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. But let’s try to rid our minds of the deplorable notion that Spielberg and Lee are contending for an award that belongs to Affleck. Stripped of this context, an Affleck-less battle for Best Director has all the makings of otherwise good Oscar drama.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Cinematography
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Cinematography

Just as we’d expect from the Academy, there’s no shortage of lushness on display in this year’s nominees for Best Cinematography, ranging from Seamus McGarvey’s dense visual palette for Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina to Roger Deakins’s colorful shadow plays for Skyfall. Both films boast stunning cinematographic depth and are brashly expressive enough to make them contenders, but Skyfall has the added benefit of Deakins’s Randy Newman-like winless streak as a potential story for voters to latch onto. On the other hand, Robert Richardson’s impeccable melding of naturalistic tones and the warmer oranges and reds of spaghetti westerns’ past for Django Unchained might not play as well with voters who lean toward less subtle visions.

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

Of all the major players in this year’s Oscar game, Lincoln has arguably had the most mercurial ride, beginning as a sight-unseen frontrunner, performing few remarkable feats in the precursors, leading the Academy’s pack with the most nominations (12), and now, standing to perhaps fall short in many races, including Best Picture. Throughout the power shifts, the two men who’ve managed to remain all but untouched are lead actor Daniel Day-Lewis and screenwriter Tony Kushner, both of whom have a certain, insurmountable something their competitors don’t. For Kushner, it’s a whale of a way with riveting, yet painstaking, political discourse, which, somehow, has even wooed the mainstream masses into making Lincoln a formidable box-office hit. By now, most awards watchers are aware of Kushner’s grand task of translating Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals, and how Steven Spielberg’s finished film is the whittled-down version of an initial 500-page script. Give or take Life of Pi, whose “unfilmable” nature speaks more to the triumphs of Ang Lee than scripter David Magee, no other project here can boast such an epic quest to the screen, and that’s just one reason voters are almost certain to swoon for Kushner.

Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Director

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Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Director
Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Director

When introducing Life of Pi at its New York Film Festival premiere, Ang Lee quipped that there are three things directors are warned to never work with: Children, animals, and water. With his latest, of course, the Taiwanese maestro broke all three rules, helming a high-seas adventure with an adolescent hero, and populating much of it with a part-CG, part-live-action menagerie. For his efforts, and for stepping up to the plate to adapt Yann Martel’s worldwide bestseller (a supposedly insurmountable task previously passed over by M. Night Shyamalan and Alfonso Cuarón), Lee is likely to land on Oscar’s Best Director shortlist, following prior nominations from the Broadcast Critics and the Hollywood Foreign Press. No stranger to the Academy’s affections, the man who won this category in 2006 for Brokeback Mountain is the closest thing to a fourth-place lock this year, tailing behind three shoo-ins whose projects were all far more political.

Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

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Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Adapted Screenplay
Oscar 2013 Nomination Predictions: Adapted Screenplay

If not bound to have the most impressive lineup, this category may just yield the season’s most deserving win, as Tony Kushner’s script for Lincoln remains miles ahead of the competition, standing, like its subject, in a class by itself. This article is, indeed, intended to outline the predicted nominees, but there are certain Oscar fields whose frontrunner dominates the conversation, and the truth is, Kushner’s path to the podium is even more secured than Daniel Day-Lewis’s. Agog at all the tack-sharp, workplace chattiness, many viewers have employed the term “Sorkinian” when describing Lincoln’s narrative, summing it up as The West Wing for the 19th century. But that analogy doesn’t come close to capturing Kushner’s evenhanded humanism, or his uncanny talents for pacing and characterization, which, together, keep this historical epic as nimble as it is organically populated, filled with individuals who, somehow, seem fully drawn in mere moments. Of course, there’s also the whole laborious research element, which, among other things, saw Kushner whittle his translation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals down from an initial 500-page draft.

Oscar Prospects: Zero Dark Thirty

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Oscar Prospects: Zero Dark Thirty
Oscar Prospects: Zero Dark Thirty

Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty was certainly made to seem special, kept under tight lock and key before being slowly, strategically unveiled at year’s end, but few pundits likely predicted the gravity of the film’s Oscar potential, and that Bigelow may well have another winner on her hands. As 2012 winds down, it’s beginning to feel a lot like 2009, when The Hurt Locker stormed ahead as the little contender that could, and sat poised to not just claim the Academy’s top prize, but make Bigelow its first female Best Director. If you want to go by precursor buzz alone, Zero Dark Thirty has now stepped ahead of Lincoln as this year’s Best Picture frontrunner, claiming top kudos from The New York Film Critics Circle, and topping the 10-Best lists of early-out-of-the-gate critics like David Edelstein and Lisa Schwarzbaum (Owen Gleiberman and Richard Corliss, who also revealed their lists, included it among their picks as well). For whatever it’s worth in this early stage, the film also picked up five nods from the International Press Academy, landing Satellite nominations for Picture, Director, Actress (Jessica Chastain), Original Screenplay (Mark Boal), and Editing (Dylan Tichenor). And as of this very writing, the National Board of Review has named Zero Dark Thirty its Best Film of the Year, with Bigelow taking the Director trophy. It’s more than safe to assume that the movie has an ironclad slot in Oscar’s top race, if not a damn good shot at ending up ahead of the pack.

Oscar Prospects: Life of Pi

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Oscar Prospects: Life of Pi
Oscar Prospects: Life of Pi

When it premiered on the opening night of the New York Film Festival, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi left plenty of viewers talking Best Picture, each of them reeling from all that massive scope and Academy-friendly uplift. Lee sure seems to have a contender on his hands, as his latest is an adventure of titanic proportions—and that’s not just a knowing wink at the old tell-me-your-story framing device, or the awesome, middle-of-nowhere sinking of a ship. Based on Yann Martel’s runaway hit novel, which many deemed “un-filmable,” Life of Pi is indeed an eye-popping beauty, and what may be the key thing in its Oscar plus column is it’s a prestige picture that puts the money up on the screen. Les Misérables is bound to be a spectacle, and Cloud Atlas surely doesn’t skimp on the wow factor, but this race needs a horse that strives to push the medium forward, and no candidate better fits that bill than Life of Pi. While a win seems unlikely, it’ll crack the top lineup, with other nods sprinkled throughout behind-the-scenes categories.

New York Film Festival 2012: Life of Pi

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New York Film Festival 2012: <em>Life of Pi</em>
New York Film Festival 2012: <em>Life of Pi</em>

Ang Lee’s latest, Life of Pi, signals its visual strengths from its very first frame. Using state-of-art 3D technology, the credit sequence is a delightful montage of the flora and fauna surrounding Piscine “Pi” Patel, the young Indian hero of the story, which is based on the prize-winning novel by Yann Martel. The setting is Pondicherry, a former French colony in South India, where Pi’s father manages a zoo in the city’s botanical garden. Even when you feel sometimes that the visuals are a little too self-consciously framed, Life of Pi has a memorable shimmering beauty. However, when it comes to the framing narrative, in which the adult Pi (Hindi movie star Irfan Khan) relates his incredible story to the stand-in for Martel, the movie stumbles. But for the most part the sheer sweep of the spectacle carries the day.