So the Independent Spirit Awards happen tonight, followed by the main event tomorrow. As you'll have heard, everyone fully expects Oscar Night to be one of the most politically charged awards ceremonies in the Academy's history. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has suggested that President Trump won't be watching, but that doesn't necessarily mean there won't be a whiny tweet or two early Monday morning.

As Catherine Shoard reports for the Guardian, the six directors behind the five films nominated for the foreign language Oscar have all signed a statement condemning, per the statement, "the climate of fanaticism and nationalism we see today in the US and in so many other countries, in parts of the population and, most unfortunately of all, among leading politicians." The signatories:


Shoard reminds us that Farhadi, "who became the first Iranian to win an Oscar in 2012 for his film A Separation, has already said he will boycott the ceremony in protest against Donald Trump’s attempts to enforce a travel ban which would exclude from the US people from seven Muslim-majority countries." Tomorrow, London mayor Sadiq Khan will introduce a free screening of The Salesman on Trafalgar Square.


Orlando von Einsiedel's The White Helmets has been nominated for Best Documentary Short and, as he writes for the Talkhouse Film, when his team heard the news, the "first people we called were Khaled Khateeb, the film’s cinematographer, and Raed Saleh, the leader of the White Helmets. Immediately, we began making plans for them to join us." Then came the travel ban. "Fortunately, a few days ago, Raed and Khaled both got their visas and, touch wood—as long as there isn’t some new executive order announced—they will be able to join us at the Oscars…. We’ll remain cautiously apprehensive until we see them walk through the arrival gates at LAX, where we’ll be waiting to give them the warmest welcome possible."

Update: From the AP's Bradley Klapper: "According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khateeb from traveling to Los Angeles for the Oscars. Khateeb was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans have been upended after US officials reported finding 'derogatory information' regarding Khateeb. Derogatory information is a broad category that can include anything from terror connections to passport irregularities."

WRAPPING 2016


By Tuesday, I'd thought the last of the guilds had presented their awards. I was wrong. Later that night, Costume Designers Guild announced its winners and, of course, La La Land did not walk away empty-handed.

The 42nd César Awards, France's rough equivalent of the Oscars, were presented last night:


Last week, Manchester by the Sea came out on top of the Skandies, one of our favorite annual polls. A few days later, Mike D'Angelo, who's been conducting the poll since the mid-90s, crunched a whole lot of numbers to produce umpteen lists of various results spanning two decades that'll delight any stats-loving cinephile.

BEYOND 2016


Time Out has put together a list of "the 100 best British films as chosen by a panel of 150 actors, directors, writers, producers, critics and other industry bigwigs. We've spoken to Wes Anderson, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach, Sam Mendes and Terence Davies, David Morrissey, Sally Hawkins, Thandie Newton and many, many more." And every title gets a paragraph or two. The top ten:

  1. Nicolas Roeg's Don't Look Now (1973).

  2. Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949).

  3. Terence Davies's Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988).

  4. Ken Loach's Kes (1969).

  5. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes (1948).

  6. Powell and Pressburger's A Matter of Life and Death (1946).

  7. Nicolas Roeg and Donald Cammell's Performance (1970).

  8. Robert Hamer's Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949).

  9. Lindsay Anderson's If… (1968).

  10. Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996).



Depending on how you look at it, Cinetrii is a useful service, fun toy or dangerous time-suck that, as its creator, Nils Everling, explains, "attempts to algorithmically connect movies based on inferences by critics." Now he's looked into "the reviewers who diligently draw the parallels and make the inferences that my thematic search engine depends on. Are some more knowledgeable than others? I made a metric based on inverse popularity of the films mentioned by the critics."

Today in Dublin, Martin Scorsese, "whose upcoming mob movie The Irishman is the subject of a dispute regarding its international rights, will receive the John Ford Award from Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland," reports Variety's Leo Barraclough.