Hungarian director Ildikó Enyedi’s “On Body and Soul” is set in a slaughterhouse, where a business manager and a quality control worker discover they share the same dream every night. The mystical romance of their sleep slips into the waking world in an allegory that unfolds against the purity of a winter forest and the industrial precision of the killing floors. The Times caught up with the filmmaker Tuesday, shortly after she learned “On Body and Soul” was nominated for the foreign language film Oscar.
Your film is about lovers who meet in a dream so unlike the dreariness of their real lives. What are you saying with them, and what do their two worlds represent?
We’re tough on ourselves. There’s a hole in us. But somehow we are part of something bigger, part of the universe. Without that sort of realization, you feel very much alone. Our culture tries to fill this hole with efficiency and practicality; you just want to resolve the problems of your life. There is not much space for living through the moment. This is the way babies are born today, the way people are dying in hospitals. All these tubes and medical things, but the very thing that is happening – someone is saying goodbye to life and to their loved ones – there’s no space for that. You have to fight for it.
Swedish director Ruben Östlund’s “The Square,” a many-barbed satire of the art world, was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign language film. The ensemble comedy revolves around the impeccable curator of a museum who must control damage after his cellphone is stolen. He is nudged beyond his liberal-minded and financially secure cocoon in what is an exploration of humanity and Europe’s unsettled conscience. The Los Angels Times caught up with the filmmaker shortly after he got the nomination news Tuesday.
Congratulations. Are you in Stockholm?
No, I’m at the Sundance Film Festival. I’m super happy about my nomination. But what I’m most happy about is that I and all the people I’ve been working with on the film can be happy together. It’s really, really a beautiful thing. What you can tell is that Oscar has such a huge impact. Thirty seconds after the nomination was announced, I think I had 50 new text messages on my phone.
Laurie Metcalf, already a three-time Emmy winner and recent Tony winner, on Tuesday earned her first nomination for an Oscar — a supporting actress nod for “Lady Bird.” The mother-daughter comedy is up for five Academy Awards, including best director (Greta Gerwig) and leading actress (Saoirse Ronan). The Times caught up with Metcalf shortly after the nominations were announced.
Tell me what the Oscar nomination today means to you.
I can’t tell you how happy I am that the film itself got so much recognition. For Greta and Saoirse, everybody who worked on the film just poured their hearts into it and seemed so attached to it. For it to be recognized in this way is so thrilling to me, and really, it just feels really personal.
Alexandre Desplat is no stranger to the Academy Awards: The prolific film composer has now been nominated nine times. He previously won his only Oscar for his work on 2014’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.”
Heading to the Sundance Film Festival, cinematographer Rachel Morrison took a moment to savor and consider her historic Oscar nomination for her work on Netflix’s “Mudbound.”
“Literally, it’s a dream come true,” she said of the nod that made her the first woman nominated in the cinematography category. “I really hope that it opens the door for more women to believe that they can do it and follow their dreams and become cinematographers. I think that once you see 50% of us [in the industry], you’ll see a lot more nominations this time of year.”
Nearly two weeks after five women accused James Franco of inappropriate or sexually exploitative behavior, the actor missed out on an Academy Award nomination for his performance in "The Disaster Artist."
The 39-year-old had been an early favorite on the awards circuit for his turn as the eccentric Tommy Wiseau, winning the leading comedic actor prize at the Golden Globes on Jan. 7. Four days later, on Jan. 11, The Times published a story detailing the five women's accounts, all of which Franco has denied. Voting for the Oscars closed on Jan. 12.
Among those to earn a nomination over Franco on Tuesday were "Roman J. Israel, Esq." star Denzel Washington, whose performance received positive reviews in a movie that bombed at the box office and was generally not beloved by critics. Tom Hanks, who played Washington Post editor-in-chief Ben Bradlee in "The Post," also did not receive a nomination, while newcomer Daniel Kaluuya, who stars in "Get Out," did earn recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Among those to recognize “Wonder Woman” in the lead-up to the academy’s announcement were the Producers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild. The film was among the nominees for the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award and nabbed a SAG Award win for action performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture.
The honor makes the “Get Out” filmmaker just the fifth black director nominated for the award, a distinguished group that includes John Singleton for 1991’s “Boyz n the Hood,” Lee Daniels for 2009’s “Precious,” Steve McQueen for 2013’s “12 Years a Slave” and Barry Jenkins for last year’s best-picture winner, “Moonlight.”
There is history left to be made, however. Peele could become the first black director to win the Academy Award.
"What?? This is beyond the realm of imagination. It was always expected of me to be in the basketball finals, but never this. It means so much that the Academy deemed Dear Basketball worthy of contention. Thanks to the genius of Glen Keane and John Williams for taking my poem to this level. What an honor to be on this team."
Kobe Bryant, producer of Animated Short nominee "Dear Basketball"
An 18-time NBA all-star is now an Oscar nominee: Kobe Bryant won an Academy Award nod in the animated short category Tuesday for his collaboration with artist Glen Keane and composer John Williams on "Dear Basketball."
Bryant hired Keane to illustrate his “Dear Basketball” letter written in 2015, when the Lakers star announced his retirement. The player-turned-film-producer turned to five-time Oscar winner John Williams to compose the film’s music.
Joining Bryant and Keane in the animated short category are Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon for "Garden Party," Dave Mullins and Dana Murray for "Lou," Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata for "Negative Space," and Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer for "Revolting Rhymes."