Oscars Good As Gold? #40

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Deepnews Digest #40

Oscars Good As Gold?

Hollywood stars will strut the red carpet this Sunday for the Academy Awards, kicking off the annual analysis of what the film industry is doing right, what it is doing wrong, and whether the Oscars hold as much weight as they used to. This week’s selection looks at the controversies around the ceremony itself but also some of what makes this year’s crop of nominees particularly interesting, from the potential history that Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” could make to the role of Netflix to the technical marvel of “1917.” Outlets include the leading lights of La-La-Land, but also smaller sites whose work leading up to the big night was highlighted by the Deepnews Scoring Model.

Story Source
The Guardian
After an indifferent sojourn in Hollywood, the film-maker went back to South Korea do his next film – and produced an undisputed masterpiece. Why is his stunning critique of the class system striking chords all over the world?

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Rolling Stone
Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert still remember how they felt when they heard the news: It was 2014, and Fuyao, a Chinese company specializing in manufacturing glass for automobiles, announced plans to open a plant in the filmmakers’ economically depressed hometown of Dayton, Ohio. “It was really good news,” Reichert says by phone, pointing out that the rust-belt community was still reeling from the devastating closure of a General Motors plant in the wake of 2008’s Great Recession. That shuttering led to the loss of thousands of jobs. “[It] was a shock wave that was terrible. It was like a bomb going off in the blue-collar middle class of Dayton.”

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Vox
The Oscars make few ripples in geopolitical waters. Hollywood’s most prestigious awards can exert some pressure on American politics, by virtue of the topics the movies tackle, the conversations they provoke, or the speeches the winners make. But in the grander scheme of global politics, the Oscars don’t matter much, with one exception: Best International Feature Film.

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The New York Times
LOS ANGELES — Ballots for the coming Academy Awards are still being tabulated. But it already seems clear: This will not be Netflix’s year.

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The Hollywood Reporter
Australian filmmaker Bruce Beresford’s kid, then a rambunctious toddler and now a Hollywood Reporter staffer, interviews her father about the making of his chauffeur drama, which triumphed three decades ago at the Oscars.

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Nikkei Asian Review
Bong Joon-ho’s highly acclaimed dark comedy “Parasite” has achieved unprecedented international success since its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last May, where it became the first Korean-language film to win the coveted Palme d’Or prize.

Editor’s Note: One of the big stories of this year’s Oscars has been “Parasite,” the Korean thriller that could take home the top prize. Much has been written about it from Hollywood, but here Nikkei reports from Seoul.

UPI
NEW YORK, Jan. 22 — Hopes are running high in South Korea that Bong Joon-ho’s satirical thriller Parasite will win big at the Oscars on Feb. 9.

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Jewish Journal
This year’s Oscar-nominated documentary “Edge of Democracy” is a cautionary tale of a democracy in crisis. Written and directed by 36-year-old Brazilian actress and filmmaker Petra Costa, the movie documents the political mayhem in Brazil.

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Esquire
It’s a film that celebrates women’s stories on and off the screen. And it’s also just a damn good movie.

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AFP
Taking a break from film sets, the 26-year-old from the Mixtec community in the southern state of Oaxaca is dedicating this year to working as a UNESCO goodwill ambassador for indigenous peoples

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RTÉ
Opinion: From the mid-19th century onwards, Irish characters, archetypes and stars have regularly featured in all forms of American popular culture

Editor’s Note: Though in the U.S., Hollywood itself also pulls in people from around the world. Here RTE looks at the role of Irish actors and actresses, such as the nominated Saoirse Ronan, in Los Angeles.

ArkansasOnline
While the Oscars might be Hollywood’s biggest night, film fans in Tunisia already have something to celebrate about this year’s race for the gold. Writer-directors Meryam Joobeur and Yves Piat both shot their Oscar-nominated live-action short films Brotherhood and Nefta Football Club there, and each reveals a side of the country that would surprise outsiders.

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The New York Times
Your Carpetbagger rarely plays favourites while covering the Oscar race, but when it comes to this year’s best-actor contender Antonio Banderas … well, who wouldn’t love to see his well-deserved comeback come to a glittery conclusion?

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Deadline
Dr. Amani Ballour, the courageous subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Cave, has been granted a visa to enter the United States in time for the Academy Awards, Deadline has learned.

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Financial Times ($)
In Jordan Peele’s spidery political horror movie Us — one of many excellent films not nominated for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars — an American family is menaced by doppelgängers, funhouse strange and nightmarishly violent. Eventually, the viewer is invited to think an uneasy thought. Maybe the monsters are the real thing — and the wholesome family the imposters?

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The Conversation
Chris Williams is Senior Principal Academic, National Centre for Computer Animation, Bournemouth University

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New York Public Library
The Academy Awards show—practically a national holiday—airs this coming weekend. Seven of the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture are set in the past. For example, The Irishman is based on a true crime book and Little Women upon a novel; 1917 is an original story set during a real historical event (World War I) while Once Upon a Time in…Hollywood uses a real historical event to grind up the popular memory of the heretofore like ice for margaritas in Leonardo DiCaprio’s vintage blender.

Editor’s Note: Many of this year’s films are looking at history, some with nostalgia, some with sadness. Here Andy McCarthy of the New York Public Library, pumps up his institution as an untapped resource of information for a number of the contenders.

Deadline
“There are surprises day by day almost all year,” admits director Ljubomir Stefanov regarding the film’s awards run. “So now it is maybe even believable.”

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The Hollywood Reporter
There was a time when studio films struggled to find a place in the best picture race. But the 2020 crop includes only one true independent (‘Parasite’). The shortened awards season and a shift in studio thinking may be to blame.

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Vox
My table at the 85th New York Film Critics Circle gala in early January was near the back of the cavernous main room at the posh nightclub Tao Downtown, where the lights are kept dim. So I could see Antonio Banderas’s figure but only barely make out his features as he stood at the podium to collect the Best Actor award for Pain & Glory, which my colleagues and I had voted to give him.

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Towards Data Science
The Oscars and their preferential balloting led me to create a novel machine learning approach to mimic this voting system.

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Variety
Every year, controversy mounts over some Oscar selection. Whether it’s the lack of women director nominees, not enough racial diversity among the acting categories, or the choices made in the documentary or foreign-language category, the Academy’s picks are sure to be questioned. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made a concerted effort to expand the membership over the past few years, in hopes of addressing some of these concerns. But many Oscar watchers are still unclear about who the Oscar voters are and how the coveted little gold men are handed out. Here’s a brief rundown of how the Academy Awards work.

Editor’s Note: The Academy has been criticized for the makeup of its membership, but how does the process actually work. Here Variety breaks it down so readers can know exactly what it is that they are critiquing.

The Guardian
Pacino, Hanks, Hopkins: this year’s Oscar and Bafta male acting categories feature the same old faces. Is it time for a youth rebellion?

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The Daily Beast
Marlow: As the Academy and viewing public careen violently toward the inevitable catastrophe that is Oscar night, coming earlier than ever on Feb. 9, where do we even begin to assess how strange and silly this awards season has been?

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Deadline
Oscars: Inside The Academy Award Nominees Luncheon Where Everyone Is A Winner

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