Articles on Oscars 2014

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Tom Hanks stars in the Best Picture-nominated film, Captain Phillips. Can Hollywood dish out moral lessons? EPA/Warren Toda

Oscars-worthy: dramatised acts of giving don’t redeem Hollywood

It’s Oscars season and there’s plenty of controversy, as usual, about what’s made the cut and what hasn’t. But I want to focus on what will be the most dramatised moment of Sunday’s award ceremony: the…
“Wenders meets Fellini” in The Great Beauty. Courtesy of Palace Films

Does The Great Beauty signal an Italian film renaissance?

Paolo Sorrentino’s film The Great Beauty is one of the five films nominated in the category of best foreign film in the 2014 Academy Awards, which take place on March 2. If it wins, the Oscar will follows…
Meryl Streep - Oscar worthy? Dominic Lipinski/PA

August: Osage County is less than the sum of its parts

This article contains spoilers. John Wells’ film August: Osage County tells the story of a family which has gathered for the funeral of its father. Ostensibly, they are also there to help its ill and drug-addicted…
2013 Oscar Winners (L-R) Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Christoph Waltz EPA

Explainer: the Oscars

The first thing to understand about the Oscars is that, as a measure of the aesthetic value of films, they are completely unreliable. To understand why this is the case, we need to know what exactly “The…
Ron Woodroof (played by Matthew McConaughey, right) changed HIV treatment in the US. EntertainmentOne

How the Dallas Buyers Club changed HIV treatment in the US

This article contains spoilers. In the award-winning movie The Dallas Buyers Club, Matthew McConaughey plays the role of Ron Woodroof, a real-life Texas cowboy who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1985…
Stars in our eyes Ben Terrett

What art can learn from science about awarding greatness

It’s that season, and the award shows have begun, culminating for many in the Oscars. There are, as always, heavy favourites, films nominated numerous times, shows, musicians and actors. But one has to…
A still from the film, The Act of Killing. ©2012 FINAL CUT FOR REAL APS, PIRAYA FILM AS AND NOVAYA ZEMLYA LTD

The Act of Killing: Oscar nod lifts the lid on Indonesia’s dark past

Academy Award nominations rarely enter into the domain of politics, and certainly have not delved into Indonesian politics in the past. This year, however, is different. US-British director Joshua Oppenheimer’s…
Sometimes too much is just too much. Martin Scorsese’s latest film is swamped by its excesses. Paramount Pictures

The Wolf of Wall Street is a howling disappointment

The Wolf of Wall Street is Martin Scorsese’s Scarface – and that isn’t meant as a compliment. I watched Brian De Palma’s 1983 film again recently. I had been looking forward to it: the Blu-ray edition…
Lupita Nyong'o and Alfre Woodard star in Steve McQueen’s new biopic. Chris Pizzello/AP

A life more terrible: the women of 12 Years a Slave

The United States was in the middle of a civil war 150 years ago and, while Abraham Lincoln had just issued the emancipation proclamation, it would still be another 18 months until freedom finally came…
In letting go, we have the chance to find ourselves. Warner Bros Pictures/AAP

Gravity lends weight to cinema – and always has

Cinema’s relationship to gravity is a fascinating one. At the time of its birth, in 1895, cinema was seen as a revolutionary machine that didn’t simply defy gravity through moving pictures seemingly suspended…

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