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

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Alejandro G. Iñárritu beat the odds last year when Birdman became the first film to win Best Picture without at least being nominated for its film editing since 1980’s Ordinary People. Now, with 12 nominations for The Revenant — the most of any film released last year — Iñárritu may be poised to do something similarly rare, by becoming the first director to win back-to-back awards for his directing since Joseph L. Mankiewicz won for 1949’s A Letter to Three Wives and 1950’s All About Eve.

Then again, maybe not.

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A short list of things that the Star Wars and Rocky (now Creed) franchises have in common

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It has been almost 40 years since the original Rocky and Star Wars movies came out. Each franchise has seen a number of ups and downs since then. And now, over the next three and a half weeks, each series will release a new installment that sees one generation pass its legacy on to another. And the parallels don’t stop there…

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Are the ’80s over… again?

Two weeks ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger scored one of the worst opening weekends of his career, as The Last Stand — the first film to star him in the lead since he became Governor of California a decade ago — opened to a mere $6.3 million. It was the lowest opening for any of his films since 1986, when Raw Deal opened to $5.4 million on a bit more than half the screens that The Last Stand had.

Then, this past weekend, Sylvester Stallone scored one of the worst opening weekends of his career, as Bullet to the Head opened to a mere $4.5 million. With the exception of a few films that played in only a handful of theatres, it was the lowest opening for any of his films since 1981, when Nighthawks and Victory opened to $2.5 million or possibly even less.

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Review: Rocky Balboa (dir. Sylvester Stallone, 2006)

ROCKY BALBOAIt’s no secret that the Rocky movies have, in some sense, mirrored the career of the man who wrote and starred in them all. In the 1970s, Sylvester Stallone was a struggling actor who got his shot at the big time by writing, on spec, a screenplay about a struggling boxer who gets his shot at the big time — starting with the original Rocky, which won an Oscar for Best Picture in 1976. In the 1980s, as Stallone was at the height of his box-office power, Rocky was transformed, quite abruptly, from a hoodlum with a heart of gold to a wealthy celebrity who enjoys his fame and riches but fears that he may have lost his edge. And then, in 1990, as Stallone’s star began to fade, Rocky lost his fortune — again, quite abruptly — and retired to the low-income Philadelphia neighborhood where his story had first begun.

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