Monday, March 13, 2023

"Men in Black" and What's in the Frame

watch on YouTube

A lovely example of "what's in the frame is the entire universe" from "Men in Black" (1997). Look how director Barry Sonnenfeld sets up the scene - Agents K and J pull over Reggie in broad daylight. Then the camera dollys a few feet to reveal his wife in labor in the back seat. The narrator (the camera) didn't want you to see her until just the right time.

Of course the Agents would have seen her as they walked up to the car. But the camera movement reveal is what makes it funny.

A Twitter thread of other examples:

Monday, March 06, 2023

Vulture - The Stunt Awards

I was thrilled to be a part of Vulture's inaugural "The Stunt Awards".

The folks at Vulture, like myself, believe strongly in the art and craft of stunt professionals, and find it bizarre there's no Academy Award for this important part of Hollywood storytelling.

Enter: The Stunt Awards, created from a desire to not only highlight great stunt work over the past year (and there was great stunt work this year), but to underscore the obvious awards-worthiness of action storytelling. To do so, we created our own academy of voters, a combination of stunt professionals, filmmakers, cinematographers, visual effects artists, and critics. They considered stunt work in feature-length films released between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, appraising individuals scenes and performances, as well as movies on the whole, across 10 different categories. A smaller group of consultants including Gill, director and writer Liam O’Donnell, stunt coordinator and second unit director Angelica Lisk-Hann, and visual effects artist Todd Vaziri helped us to decide what those categories would be — making clear that aerial and vehicular feats deserve to be distinctly celebrated, and that great fights and great shoot-outs are their own art forms. Importantly, this group emphasized that stunts did not need to be purely practical to qualify for our awards. The massive fight sequence that serves as actor Ram Charan’s introduction in RRR, for example, might have involved VFX, but it took 35 days to actually film.

Thanks to Bilge Ebiri and Brandon Streussnig for inviting me to the team. It was a blast to discuss the stuntwork of 2022, and also help them sift through the grey area between physical stunts and digital visual effects. The final piece is terrific.

The nominations announcement:

The winner's announcement:


Sunday, March 05, 2023

Oscar Pool Ballot, 95th Academy Awards

It's time for the Awesomest Oscar Pool Ballot In The History Of Oscar Pool Ballots.

Every year I create a special ballot based on a typical Academy Awards printable ballot -- but on my ballot, each category has a different point value. The highest valued category is "Best Picture," while the mainstream films' categories are valued at two points. The non-mainstream categories (like the documentary and short film categories) are valued at one point.

This way, in a tight race for the winner of the pool, the winner most likely would not be determined by the non-mainstream films (in other words, blind guesses).

Download the ballot here for the 95th Academy Awards and use it at your Oscar party.

And if you're wondering why Tom Cruise is on my ballot... he's been on every one of my Oscar ballots. Because he's soooooooooo cool.