Noah news round-up: Oscar buzz & an environmental panel

It seems like the Oscars happened just last month. Oh, wait, that’s because they did happen just last month. So we have almost a year to go before the next batch of golden statues are handed out. Still, why wait to campaign for next year’s awards when you could start right now!

Two weeks ago, Pete Hammond wondered whether critically-acclaimed films like Noah and The Grand Budapest Hotel might have a shot at the Oscars, despite the fact that they were released so early in the year. Now comes word, via Deadline and Variety, that Paramount has already started its campaign for Noah.

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Noah news round-up: the studio executives speak, what it all might mean for other Bible movies, and early Oscar buzz?

So, Noah had a great first weekend in North America and many other territories. How did it do so well? What are the film’s prospects going forward? And what does this bode for other possible Bible movies?

First, Paramount vice chairman Rob Moore — who attends a Vineyard church in Los Angeles — has given a few interviews commenting on how his studio beat some of the controversy that some people had whipped up in the months leading up to the film’s release.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, he said a key “turning point” came when the studio openly admitted that the film was “inspired by” the Bible story but was not a “literal” version of it, whatever that would mean. He also commented on how the film has been received by different communities:
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Bible films (and other ancient epics) and Oscar nominations

As I mentioned yesterday, Son of God is coming to theatres the same weekend that this year’s Oscar ceremony takes place. This got me thinking: with three different Bible movies coming out this year, might we see any of these films represented at next year’s Academy Awards?

This, in turn, got me wondering what kind of attention the Bible-movie genre has received from the Academy in the past. We all know about Ben-Hur (1959) and its record-setting 11 awards — a record that has never been beaten, though it has since been matched by Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003) — but what about all the other Bible epics (and not-so-epics) that have been produced over the years?

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Thirteen things about the Alone Yet Not Alone kerfuffle

There has been a lot of sound and fury over the past six days as industry insiders and pundits of all kinds respond to the Academy’s decision to rescind the Oscar nomination for ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’, the title song to a small Christian film that almost no one had heard of until a few weeks ago, but which will now have ample fodder for its publicity campaign when it gets a wider release later this year.

I wrote about the rescindment last Wednesday, within hours of it being announced, but I figured it would be good to both take a step back and look at the film’s background, on the one hand, and summarize what the fallout has been since the Academy’s decision, on the other hand. Here, below, is a point-form summary.

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The Oscars rescind nomination for Alone Yet Not Alone

Whoa. The organization behind the Oscars has “rescinded” the Best Original Song nomination for the title song to Alone Yet Not Alone. The official reason given is that composer Bruce Broughton, one of the Academy’s former governors and an executive committee member of the Academy’s music branch, went too far when he sent e-mails to members of the music branch to let them know his song was out there and eligible for a nomination. This, it seems, violated the Academy’s rules against excessive campaigning.

It’s pretty rare for the Academy to rescind a nomination outright. Looking at the precedents cited by The Hollywood Reporter and Entertainment Weekly, there may have been as few as six rescindments in the past, depending on how one defines these things. And now Alone Yet Not Alone has joined that list.

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Terminator update: casting news and a change in producers

It’s been a while since I last posted any news here about the new Terminator films, so here’s my catch-up post.

As of last week, the most recent bit of news is that Megan Ellison, the producer who got this next round of films started in the first place, has pretty much detached herself from the franchise and left it in the hands of her brother David, who has more experience making big-budget popcorn fare.

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A Christian indie: the most obscure Oscar nominee ever?

Perhaps the most surprising Oscar nomination announced this morning was for an obscure independent Christian film called Alone Yet Not Alone, which was nominated for its title song, sung in the film by Joni Eareckson Tada.

One of the reasons most people hadn’t heard of the film, which is set during the Seven Years’ War (or the French & Indian War, as it is known in the United States), is that it hasn’t actually had a proper release yet. According to Deadline, the film did have a week-long Oscar-qualifying run back in September, but according to the film’s website, it won’t actually play in most theatres until sometime in June!

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Oscar winners slipping at the box office — 2013

I devoted posts to this subject in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2012 — so here’s the post for 2013.

First, a recap:

2005 marked the first time since 1996 that the Best Picture winner did not gross at least $100 million, the first time since 1985 that not one of the Best Picture nominees grossed at least $100 million, and the first time in living memory that the Best Picture winner was not one of the Top 25 films of its year. In fact, the winner that year — Crash — grossed a mere $54.6 million and ranked way, way down at #49.

Ever since then, the Oscar for Best Picture has alternated between relatively big hits and somewhat smaller box-office performers.

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Oscar nominations — my own two bits, and a complete list

It is extremely rare for a film to win Best Picture without also being nominated for its director, its film editing, and its screenplay. So it looks like this year’s top Oscar will go to either the frivolous but entertaining American Hustle, which scored 10 nominations altogether, or the serious and historically significant 12 Years a Slave, which scored nine.

Between American Hustle and last year’s The Silver Linings Playbook, director David O. Russell has pulled off the neat trick of getting nominations in all four acting categories for two years in a row. This had happened only 13 times prior to Russell’s films, and while no film has ever won all four acting categories, all but two of the 14 films so nominated in the past have won at least one of the acting awards (the sole exceptions being 1936’s My Man Godfrey and 1950’s Sunset Boulevard).

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Adam and Dog and expressions of Grace

If you haven’t seen the Oscar-nominated animated short Adam and Dog yet, you really should. It’s a beautiful, inspired and, in its own way, challenging take on the story of the Garden of Eden, as seen from the limited — but still keenly felt — perspective of the world’s first domesticated canine.

I loved it from the moment it was first posted online two weeks ago, and I saw it again a couple days later, this time on the big screen, where it was screened as part of the touring Oscar Nominated Short Films program.

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