THIS ceremony will have Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Kelly Marcel, 'Wadjda,' 'Rush,' Daniel Bruhl, Oprah Winfrey and the Coen brothers
Most cinematographers can only dream of shooting a studio feature in black and white. With “Nebraska,” Phedon Papamichael can cross that off his bucket list. Helmer Alexander Payne always envisioned the tale monochromatically. The decision led to a reduced budget, but the project was eventually feted with six Oscar nominations.
Payne allowed Papamichael more freedom to compose than in their previous forays (“Sideways,” “The Descendants”), and the d.p. says that the b&w approach allowed him to craft iconic widescreen imagery in harmony with the desolate landscapes and the curmudgeonly isolation of Dern's character, Woody Grant.
“Without the cacophony of colors, you're not fighting to make an elegant frame,” explains Papamichael. “There's definitely a poetic power in black and white.”
Papamichael shot on Arri Alexa digital cameras using older rehoused C-series Panavision anamorphic lenses.
“Alexander tells stories about people, about characters with all their subtleties and facial expressions,” says Papamichael. “He doesn't want to miss any of the nuances of the performance. Our camera movement was very subtle. Nothing is wasted. But you're always with a character at the moment you need to be, and nothing gets covered up by any kind of style, movement, rack focusing or lighting that would distract or take away from the story. The movie overall is very precisely crafted, and I think that's why, ultimately, his movies are so successful. You feel the love and the labor, and the thought behind everything.”
After enlisting in the U.S. Coast Guard prior to WWII, Sid Caesar wrote sketches for “Six on, Twelve Off,” a Coast Guard musical revue. Then Coast Guard officer Vernon Duke heard Caesar perform one of his foreign-language double-talk monologues (a later Caesar trademark) for the amusement of his fellow mates and hired him for a comic role in another Coast Guard musical, “Tars and Spars.” It was while performing this show that he befriended producer Max Liebman, who cast him in the Columbia Pictures film version of the musical. Caesar then performed in nightclubs and on Broadway before making his television debut in Liebman's “Admiral Broadway Revue.”
NBC's "Your Show of Shows" launched in 1950 and was an immediate success, launching the careers of Carl Reiner and Howard Morris (pictured at right with Sid Caesar). "Your Show of Shows" would become one of the most influential programs of TV's golden era, with writers including Neil Simon, Mel Brooks and Larry Gelbart.
Sid Caesar in a 1952 skit of "Your Show of Shows" with Imogene Coca and Carl Reiner
Sid Caesar behind the scenes of "Your Show of Shows." In 1954, when the ratings began to slip, the program was trimmed and renamed “Caesar's Hour.” Caesar was nominated for Emmys every year from 1951 to 1958 and won two. “I know of no other comedian, including Chaplin, who could have done nearly 10 years of live television,” said Brooks. “Nobody's talent was ever more used up than Sid's.” Over the years, “Television ground him into sausages … until finally there was little of the muse left.”
Sid Caesar and Edie Adams played husband and wife in 1963's "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"
Younger audiences may remember Sid Caesar as Coach Calhoun in "Grease."
Sid Caesar, partnered with Imogene Coca, is credited with breaking ripe comedic ground with the 90-minute live program: It didn't rely on vaudeville or standup-inspired material but rather on long skits and sketches.
"Your Show of Shows" pals Howard Morris, Imogene Coca, Sid Caesar and Carl Reiner reunite in 1994 for Comic Relief.
During the 1980s, Sid Caesar made supporting and guest appearances on film and TV, including hosting "Saturday Night Live." (Pictured: Sid Caesar having a little fun at the Golden Key Foundation Burlesque '80 Show)
Sid Caesar with Neil Simon at the 1993 opening of "Laughter on the 23rd Floor." The play was inspired by Simon's time in the writers' room on Caesar's "Your Show of Shows."
Sid Caesar paid tribute to Imogene Coca in 1995 at the second annual Women in Film Lucy Awards. Coca once observed, “I'm tired of talking about 'Your Show of Shows.' But deep inside, I know I've done nothing as good since.”
Television vets Milton Berle and Sid Caesar drew a long ovation at the 50th Emmy Awards in 1998.
Sid Caesar with his wife and daughter during "Sid Caesar Celebrates 50 Years In Television" at the Friar's Club.
They can move the BAFTA Awards to the middle of July and you can still assume the evening will be punctuated by meteorological mayhem, precipitative panic, aquatic angst, in a word, rain and to be more precise, pissing down (not “taking the piss” down) rain. As soon as the first soggy star sets foot on the flowing river that was the red carpet, the neatly pressed Armani smoking jackets will be as elegant as a dish rag and by evening's end, your Jimmy Choos will be used and abused, your Bruno Maglis mashed and moldy.
Attend the BAFTA Awards and you'll be reaching for your Google Translator. What the heck are “jumpers,” “bun fights,” “chavs,” “knickers,” “crisps,” “brollies,” “tossers,” “windscreens” and “plonk?” What are you to do when someone asks you for a “fag?” Should you call for emergency help when someone complains of being “knackered?” Do you need to back up when someone announces they're “taking the piss?” Unless you're British, be prepared for a long, unintelligible evening.
.....Cambridge Grad and National Treasure
A teenage misadventure in credit card scamland tossed BAFTA host Stephen Fry into the wonderfully named Pucklechurch Prison, but Fry's life since has proved his genius. He's a beloved figure on screens of all sizes as well as on newsstands and in bookstores and his abundance of wit, both genial and lethal, makes the evening a pure delight. Even if you're muttering about the voters' choices, Fry keeps the show rollicking on, challenging the audience to keep up with the observations of someone whose IQ outshines even the most glittery of the stars' baubles and bling.
It's called London and like Paris, New York, Rome and a few other places one could name, it's what the Brits would call a proper city. Which means there's a center, not a sprawling consortium of sunny suburbs and sometimes people even do that old-fashioned physical routine that is now virtually never seen in Los Angeles, that favorite activity of pre-Bieber bipeds, “walking.” If you find someone who walks to the Oscars this year, please Instagram it and take photographic proof to the Ripley's on Hollywood Boulevard.
Are you pissed off (as opposed to “pissed,” “taking the piss” or “standing in pissing down rain” at the omissions of the Oscar voters? Don't rant or rave, just rev up the Gulfsteam, get the Veuve (not the “plonk”) on ice and jet over to Blighty. Trust me, it's going to be a jolly good show positively plimming with all your fab faves!