Monday, April 13, 2015

The Fade Out

It should come as a surprise to no one that I'm somewhat obsessed with TV and movies, and am therefore always up for a good story about Hollywood. I've recently found myself digging into several excellent Hollywood stories -- some factual, some fictional. This is one I highly recommend.

My current favorite comic book series, "The Fade Out" comes from all-star comics writer Ed Brubaker (who, among many notable projects, wrote the "Winter Soldier" storyline that 2014's "Captain America" movie was based on) and artist Sean Philips.

Dabbling once again in the noir territory he frequents, Brubaker sets his story in 1948 Los Angeles. Screenwriter Charlie Parish wakes up to discover himself in the middle of an apparent murder scene, the victim being an up-and-coming actress with a role in Charlie's next movie. Fleeing the scene, Charlie becomes guilt-ridden when he realizes the movie studio is portraying it in the media as a suicide. Unable to let it be, Charlie and his alcoholic writing partner get in over their heads as they attempt to uncover the truth.

This series is only five issues in and, if you haven't been reading it already, now is the perfect time to jump in. The first volume containing all five issues is out now.

But I'd recommend seeking out the single issues. In addition to the great story being told, each issue is packaged with excellent peripheral material including additional artwork and -- my personal favorite -- a true story from Hollywood's past (such as the Fatty Arbuckle trials, or the Hollywood sign suicide). Even the fan letters are well-curated by Brubaker. Packed with outstanding material, each issue is a great read from cover to cover.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Official YDJ 2015 Oscar Ballot

Here's the 2015 Your Daily Joe Oscar ballot. This single sheet includes the complete list of nominees, checkboxes to track the winners, and special notations so you can see how well Your Daily Joe did at predicting the winners.

Click below to view, download (PDF format), and print out the ballot for the Feb. 22 telecast.

Click here to download

A very special thanks goes out to Helby's Hatch for designing this beautiful ballot! Visit Helby's Hatch for more original designs, patterns and crafts.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Best Director / Best Picture Splits

This year, I'm predicting a split between the Best Director and Best Picture Oscar wins. If I'm right, that will be three consecutive years of a Best Director / Best Picture split. Three consecutive years!

If that doesn't sound crazy to you, then you're probably a decade or so younger than me and it was somewhat normal by the time you started watching the Oscars. When I was growing up, not only did this almost never happen, but it was a scenario that just didn't make sense. After all, wouldn't the best movie have to be made by the best director? Doesn't it take the best director to create the best movie?

During my lifetime, the Director / Picture split has happened eight times; and really only six times since I was old enough to pay attention to the Oscars. In 1999, when I was a teenager and only a few years into adopting the persona of "film buff," it was cataclysmic when Spielberg won Best Director for Saving Private Ryan but Best Picture went to Shakespeare in Love.

In the 15 years since, there have been five Director / Picture splits -- fully 1/3 of the time. In the '80s, it only happened twice. In the '70s, once. The '60s, once.

But when you look back before the '60s, you start to notice that this was much more common. In fact, in the '30s -- the first full decade that the Academy Awards existed -- it happened 50% of the time! So I suppose this nothing more than a return to form.

Here's the list of every Best Director / Best Picture split in Oscar history. The years shown are the release years of the movies themselves; they received their awards the following year.

12 Years a Slave won Best Picture
Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director for Gravity

Argo won Best Picture
Ang Lee won Best Director for Life of Pi

Crash won Best Picture
Ang Lee won Best Director for Brokeback Mountain

Chicago won Best Picture
Roman Polanski won Best Director for The Pianist

Gladiator won Best Picture
Steven Soderbergh won Best Director for Traffic

Shakespeare in Love won Best Picture
Steven Spielberg won Best Director for Saving Private Ryan

Driving Miss Daisy won Best Picture
Oliver Stone won Best Director for Born On the Fourth of July

Chariots of Fire won Best Picture
Warren Beatty won Best Director for Reds

The Godfather won Best Picture
Bob Fosse won Best Director for Cabaret

In The Heat of the Night won Best Picture
Mike Nichols won Best Director for The Graduate

Around the World in 80 Days won Best Picture
George Stevens won Best Director for Giant

The Greatest Show on Earth won Best Picture
John Ford won Best Director for The Quiet Man

An American in Paris won Best Picture
George Stevens won Best Director for A Place In the Sun

All The King's Men won Best Picture
Joseph L. Mankiewicz won Best Director for A Letter to Three Wives

Hamlet won Best Picture
John Huston won Best Director for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Rebecca won Best Picture
John Ford won Best Director for The Grapes of Wrath

The Life of Emile Zola won Best Picture
Leo McCarey won Best Director for The Awful Truth

The Great Ziegfeld won Best Picture
Frank Capra won Best Director for Mr. Deeds Goes to Town

Mutiny on the Bounty won Best Picture
John Ford won Best Director for The Informer

1931 / 32
Grand Hotel won Best Picture
Frank Borzage won Best Director for Bad Girl

1930 / 31
Cimarron won Best Picture
Norman Taurog won Best Director for Skippy

1928 / 29
The Broadway Melody won Best Picture
Frank Lloyd won Best Director for The Divine Lady

1927 / 28
Wings won Best Picture
COMEDY = Lewis Milestone for Two Arabian Knights
DRAMA = Frank Borzage for 7th Heaven