Blockbuster Best Picture Race; Encino Man Success; Infinity Pool Rules



Blockbusters make a big return to the Oscars Best Pictures race, which Everything Everywhere All at Once leads; Encino Man fans rejoice at the comeback of Oscar nominees Brenden Fraser and Ke Huy Quan; Infinity Pool is deeply disturbing, and good. All in today’s Movie News Rundown,

Oscar Nominations: Congratulations to Everything Everywhere All at Once, which received 11 nominations, the most of any film, in this morning’s Oscar nominations. The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front received eight each. Those films will compete in the Best Picture category with Avatar: The Way of Water, Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis, The FabelmansTár, Women Talking, and Triangle of Sadness. Here’s why the presence of two massive blockbustersWay of Water has earned over 2 billion, and Maverick close to 1.5 billion — could be good for this year’s ceremony.

Also: Here is the complete list of Oscar nominees.

Backlash: Oscar voters liked exactly one thing about Blonde: The lead performance by Ana de Armas, which earned her a Best Actress nomination. The loaded category also includes Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Cate Blanchett for Tár, Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie and Michelle Williams for The Fabelmans. Yeoh and Blanchett are widely seen as the favorites — though Blanchett is over the “televised horse race” of awards season. If Oscar voters find themselves torn between Yeoh and Blanchett, they may go with Yeoh, because Blanchett already has a best actress and best supporting actress Cscar.

Comebacks: Brendan Fraser earned a Best Actor nomination for The Whale that marks a major comeback for an actor who spent years away; and Ke Huy Quan earned a Best Supporting Actor for his role in Everything Everywhere All at Once after 25 years away from acting.

Next Year Is Your Year, Pauly Shore: Please enjoy this scene from the 1992 hit Encino Man featuring 2023 Oscar nominees Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan:

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Reflecting on the First Half of Sundance: As I say goodbye to the beautiful, sparkly snow of Park City and head home to sunny Los Angeles, I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed the movies I saw during the first four days of Sundance. The ones that I found the most moving were: Cat Person, my overall favorite that hit way too close to home in a hurts-so-good kind of way; Infinity Pool, undoubtedly the most disturbing film I’ve ever seen in my entire life; and Victim/Suspect, because a documentary hasn’t made me cry this much since The End of Medicine. If the job of movies is to make us think, then Sundance 2023 is a veritable think-tank.

Our Coverage So Far: If you want to learn more about the Sundance movies we’ve seen so far, here are some stories we’ve written about Julia Louis-Dreyfus in You Hurt My Feelings; Anne Hathaway in Eileen; Daisy Ridley in Sometimes I Think About Dying; the nostalgic wonder of Judy Blume Forever; the incredible optimism of Still: A Michael J. Fox Story; the crushing honesty of Pretty Baby: Brooke Shields; the Jonathan Majors of it all in Magazine Dreams; that horrible kiss in Cat Person; the unspeakable horrors faced by the women who go to the police in Victim/Suspect, and the legendary force at play in Little Richard: I Am Everything.

I Just Need to Say One Thing: About Infinity Pool. As I left the theater, I overheard the guy behind me utter with frustration: “Lurid. Garbage.” But just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean it’s bad. Obviously, it goes way too far… but isn’t that the point? There were moments when I questioned whether what I was watching was actual, literal porn. But shock value aside, it was a thing of quality. Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård gave incredible performances and the twists kept me on the edge of my seat. Yes, I often wondered when possibly unhinged Brandon Cronenberg was going to let me off his crazy train. But he ultimately made me think very seriously about human nature, and if I’m having a lingering conversation with myself all the way home and into the next day, like it or not, I know I just saw a good movie.

Brendan Fraser’s Night Out: The Whale star made a surprise appearance at a London double feature of The Mummy and The Mummy Returns on Friday. “I am proud to stand before you tonight,” Fraser told the delighted audience, according to Variety. “This is a film that was made in Britain. You should know that! Even the second one, too. Be proud.” He added: “We had no idea what kind of movie we were making when we shot this… We didn’t know if it was a drama or a comedy or an action or a horror picture or a romance… all the above. We had no idea until it tested in front of British audiences. Thank you for that.”

Kevin Feige’s Firm Belief: The Marvel boss doesn’t think people will ever get tired of superhero movies because, well, of course, he doesn’t. “From probably my second year at Marvel, people were asking, ‘Well, how long is this going to last? Is this fad of comic book movies going to end?’” he said on The Movie Business Podcast. “I didn’t really understand the question. Because to me, it was akin to saying after Gone With the Wind, ‘Well, how many more movies can be made off of novels? Do you think the audience will sour on movies being adapted from books?’ You would never ask that because there’s an inherent understanding among most people that a book can be anything. A novel can have any type of story whatsoever. So it all depends on what story you’re translating. Non-comic readers don’t understand that it’s the same thing in comics.”

And Now: For something completely different.

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Main Image: A still from Infinity Pool by Brandon Cronenberg, an official selection of the Midnight section at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Main image: Your guys Brendan Fraser and Ke Huy Quan in Encino Man.



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