in the best actor category

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Hollywood’s hottest couple is Spideypool but you’d only know it if you were paying VERY close attention at the Golden Globes

You may not have caught this — it happened fast — but a new romance took flight tonight. As the melodic chords of the La La Land soundtrack sounded a win for Ryan Gosling in the Best Actor, Comedy, category, fellow nominee and Canadian Ryan Reynolds was too busy to notice. The Deadpool actor was caught on video kissing Best Actor, Drama nominee Andrew Garfield.

WATCH THE VIDEO 

So, Caitriona and Sam did not win in their categories - Best Actor/Actress in a Drama Series - of the Critcs’ Choice Awards

Before everyone starts with their “they-don’t-get-the-recognition-they-deserve” posts, I’d like to remind you all that being NOMINATED in a MAJOR award is a recognition. A big one. There’s a ton of TV shows with great actors out there, many of them super deserving of recognition, most of them always snubbed. Only six were lucky enough to be nominated in each category, and Sam and Cait were among them.

Their work was recognized the moment they made into that list.

9

Peter Capaldi as the presenter for Single Documentary at the BAFTA Scotland Awards (Sunday, November 6, 2016).

After the number of times he’s lost in the Best Actor category or not even been nominated for Doctor Who, it was no surprise for him to say this cheeky remark to the audience. :) My sister and I both watched the ceremony live and felt bad for him. We laughed a little, but also said, “Oh, Peter! You’re never a loser!” XD

The Actor Television category came up later and he once again lost for Doctor Who, and just like the other times, we were deeply disappointed. Again, this does not mean we’re not happy for the winners, who deserve the award just as much as him. We’ve just gotten so tired of Peter getting snubbed every single time at every awards show. We’d loved to see him win for that role at least once, but that unfortunately hasn’t happened so far. It’s plain upsetting, especially when it’s someone who’s not only talented and done amazing performances, but he’s also a lovely and caring person.

GIFs made by me from the video, British Academy Scotland Awards Full Ceremony | BAFTA Scotland.

Maren Ade b.  12 December, 1976

Ade is a German film director, screenwriter and producer. Shortly before graduation she and fellow classmate Janine Jackowski formed the production company Komplizen film. 

The production company produced Ade’s thesis film, The Forest for the Trees, which went on to win the Special Jury Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2005. 

In 2009 her second film, Everyone Else, premiered at the Berlin Film Festival. Ade again won the Silver Bear for Best Film (Jury Grand Prix) and her lead actress won the Best Actress Silver Bear.

Her third film, Toni Erdmann, premiered in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. While the film failed to garner any prizes from the jury it won the FIPRESCI Prize for Best In Competition film. Toni Erdmann went on to win numerous critical awards. It was named the Best Film of 2016 by Cahiers du Cinéma, Sight & Sound Magazine and Slant Magazine. Furthermore it swept the top categories at the 2016 European Film Awards, winning Best Actor, Actress, Screenplay, Picture and Director making Ade the first woman to win Best Director at the EFAs. The film was also nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. 

In addition to her work as director and screenwriter Ade also has had a successful career producing films she hasn’t directed. She produced the award winning films Tabu and Arabian Nights Part 1, 2 and 3

Jargot: MTV Movie Awards

“JARED LETO as THE JOKER, SUICIDE SQUAD!” Applause erupts from the crowd. It’s the MTV movie awards 2017. The nominees are being shown for ‘Best Villian’. Margot smiled over at Jared, he is eyes were closed and his hands were over his ears. He didn’t like to watch his performances, what a shame, she thought. On the giant screens, the Joker was telling Harleen he was just going to hurt her. Really, really bad.

“MARGOT ROBBIE as HARLEY QUINN, SUICIDE SQUAD!” More applause. The screens switched from the Joker to his girlfriend as Margot in makeup laughed as she killed guards. Margot had trouble watching herself as well, all she saw was Margot running around in Harley Quinn makeup, but if the fans were happy with her performance, then she was happy.
Will Smith was also nominated in the ‘Best Villian’ category, the rest of the ‘Suicide Squad’ actors clapped widely as all three of them were announced. Margot truly cherished this cast, what great friends she had made.
Jared caught her eye as Jesse Eisenberg’s name was yelled out as another nominee in the category. Margot smiled at Jared, she said, “It’ll be you, I bet.”
Jared shook his head, “No, you deserve it.” He smiled, his beautiful blue eyes holding onto hers. Margot blushed and looked away, she had broken up with her longtime boyfriend a few months ago. Over the past months of press tours, she had realized she had a bit of a crush on Jared, but what woman didn’t? His endless flirting and constant compliments didn’t help her crush. It only increased it. Margot usually had a rule, don’t sleep your fellow cast members! Especially when she was in a role like Harley Quinn, it would just confuse her to be with Jared and then have him be the Joker… why was she thinking this? They weren’t together.
“AND THE WINNER IS…” Mila Kunis, the presenter, said into the microphone, “JARED LETO as THE JOKER. ‘SUICIDE SQUAD’.”
The crowd erupted, clapping and cheering. Margot clapped and stood up as Jared hugged his brother and walked up to Margot, hugging her as well. She was shocked, but accepted the short hug. Jared walked up the steps, kissed Mila on the cheek, and walked up to the microphone.
“THANK YOU EVERYONE WHO VOTED! THANK YOU.” His voice boomed over the microphone, “I’D LIKE TO THANK DAVID AYER, ZACK AND DEBBIE SNYDER…” He continued with his thank you’s, Margot was still a bit fluster from the hug. Calm down, she thought, you’re not fifteen. “FINALLY, I WOULD LIKE TO THANK MY HARLEY, MARGOT ROBBIE.” Margot was snapped out of her thoughts, she looked up on the stage to see Jared staring right at her, “I FEEL THAT HALF OF THIS AWARD BELONGS TO YOU BECAUSE MY JOKER WOULDN’T HAVE TURNED OUT THE WAY IT DID, IF YOU WEREN’T THE HARLEY THAT YOU WERE. SO THANK YOU.” Margot blushed again, smiling at him. “THANKS AGAIN TO THE PEOPLE WHO VOTED AND MTV!” Jared finished his speech and walked backstage.
Margot was still blushing. She didn’t think that was true, what Jared said, Jared’s a fantastic actor and he deserved the award in full.
The next category was ‘Best Transformation’. Jared and Margot were both nominated for that as well. “AND THE WINNER IS…” Channing Tatum opened the envelope, “MARGOT ROBBIE as HARLEY QUINN. ‘SUICIDE SQUAD’.”
Margot looked up in surprise, she thought Jared was going to win that one. Her friend hugged her as the crowd clapped. She embraced Channing, accepted her award, and walked up to the microphone. “WOW.” Her voice yelled out, she almost jumped at the loud noise, “I REALLY DIDN’T EXPECT THIS, I KNOW EVERYONE SAYS THAT, BUT I REALLY DIDN’T! I WANT TO THANK THE PEOPLE MTV FOR NOMINATING ME, THE PEOPLE THAT VOTED, DAVID AYER AND THE REST OF THE WARNER BROS. FAMILY AS WELL AS THE REST OF MY SKWAD. AND MY PUDDIN’.” She finished her speech and the crowd roared.
Channing showed her which way to go. They made their way backstage. Margot looked up to see Jared right there, smiling with his award.
“Congratulations.” Jared opened his arms and Margot gladly embraced him.
“Thank you! You too.” Margot reluctantly stepped away from the hug. Jared moved one of his hands to hold her elbow lightly, “Thanks for what you said.”
Jared’s attention was only on her, he had a way of making you feel like the only person in the room who mattered. His eyes, face, smile, spirit, his everything was so beautiful. She registered idly that the press were really trying to get them moving with taking pictures. Margot pretended she didn’t see them, she was trying her best to keep her eyes off Jared’s lips.
Margot couldn’t help herself, she was curious. Jared was still only looking at her.
“You’re welcome. I meant every word.” Jared replied.
“Puddin’ your making me blush!” Margot almost physically hit herself after her bad joke. Jared laughed.
Two men in tuxes came up to them, “Mr. Leto, Ms. Robbie we need you two to keep the line moving. Starting taking pictures, please.” Jared glared at the two men but the two winners did follow them to start taking pictures. They even took a few together, Jared wrapped his arm around her waist and they both smiled. In another photo, Jared kissed her cheek and Margot wrapped her arms around his back.
“Wow, what a lovely couple you two make!” The photographer yelled from behind his camera. The two winners smiled at each other, “Can we get one kiss on the lips?”
“Oh! We aren’t a-“ Margot tried to shake her head.
“Don’t be embarrassed!” The photographer said.
“But we aren’t-“ She continued to try and explain. She felt a warm hand grab her fingers.
“Let’s give them one.” Jared said, his eyes trapping her once again. “Is that okay, Margot? If I give you one kiss, right now?”
Margot stared at him, did she just hear those words? Or did her head make him up? Jared was beginning to pull his hand away, his eyes moved away from hers. Embarrassed. So, he had said those words. Do something, you idiot, Margot screamed at herself in her head.
She took Jared’s hand more firmly and pulled him close. Jared’s eyes blinked back to hers and she nodded, kiss me, she thought, please. Jared moved a piece of hair off her face, leaned down, and pressed his lips to hers.
A fire exploded where his lips touched hers, she used her free hand to grab his neck and pull him closer. She briefly saw a light flash behind her closed eyes as Jared kissed her, or she kissed him. She wasn’t sure, but it didn’t matter. She wondered why they hadn’t done this sooner, his tongue touched her lips and nothing else in the world mattered to her but him. In that moment, their moment.
“Beautiful picture and so much passion for two people who aren’t a couple.” The photographer sounded like breaking glass as Jared pulled away from Margot. “Two great actors, I suppose!”

Thanks for reading!!

Rurouni Kenshin Fight Sequence Analysis Series: Costume Designs

A sad reality about the film industry is that there are many departments that don’t get the recognition they deserve. After the big five categories are announced during the Oscars, (Best Writing, Picture, Actor, Actress, Director), many of us turn it off as the other elements aren’t as important to us. The truth is, there are many elements of filmmaking that aren’t necessarily conducive to praise or recognition because they are only noticed when done wrong. They are unsung heroes of the craft, since without them, some of our favorite movies wouldn’t be the same, and members of this group of unsung heroes are Costume Designers.

Costumes designers aren’t really noticed unless the costumes are terrible; their primary function is really to just set the world and sell it as a part of production design. Obviously, a person in 15th century Japan isn’t going to wear jeans and a hoody, otherwise it’d shatter immersion. That being said, however, there is a silent language to costumes, a hidden world of elements that we may not notice consciously, but our brains certainly do. 

To recognize and study this language, we need to set out to ask and answer certain questions: How do costumes fit in with a film like Rurouni Kenshin? Is there a purpose beyond mere world building? Can they be a cinematic tool to tell a story? Can they be used to express character and if so, to what degree? 

Today, we’re going to begin the search for answers to see how TeamOtomo used costumes to not only set and sell the world of RK, but to also see how it can be used as a grammatical element in the ever rich visual language of the film’s action sequences. 

SPOILER SCOPE

  1. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter Directed by David Zeller, Costume Designs by Kiersten Ronning and Tony Crosbie
  2. Game of Thrones Season 5: “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken directed by Jeremy Podeswa; Costume Designs by Michele Clapton
  3. Star Wars Episode III Revenge of The Sith Directed by George Lucas; Costume Designs by Trisha Biggar

                                     The Unsung Craftsman


Often times, especially in any industry where collaboration is required, part of doing your job right means no one will notice you at all. The production team gets almost as much flack as VFX designers in this industry; no one notices you and if they do, it’s not considered a good thing. Nevertheless, these people are craftsmen; they are artists that conceptualize and bring to life these imagined worlds that feel so beautiful and so lived in that for two hours or so, you forget that it’s not real. I know this kinda sounds like a crappy Oscar speech, but hey, its true!

The craftsman we will be looking at today is Kazuhiro Sawataishi, the costume designer of the RK trilogy.

His short but high profile filmography includes work on the famous Takashi Miike film, 13 Assassins, before heralding the now famous and successful Rurouni Kenshin Trilogy.

The responsibilites of a costume designer are particularly deceptive. On the surface, production design’s primary function is to build a world and make it believable and costumes have a major role to play in that. Some costume designs are so iconic that you don’t even need to have actually seen the films to recognize them. Consider the “Alien” (Xenomorph) by the brilliant H.R. Giger or John Mollo for his work on both the original Alien as well as the Original Star Wars Trilogy. That’s right, Darth Vader is his. We can look at the magical land of Oz and its wonderful costumes by Adrian Adolf Greenberg and many more. These costume designs are as iconic as films themselves and are testimony to the immense power and beauty behind the art of crafting the perfect costume and how essential to the film they can be.

Rurouni Kenshin is absolutely no exception. A costume designer’s most obvious and supperficial responsibility is obviously designing the costumes themselves. They are artists in charge of the designs, deciding the color palette, fabric and texture, and fit for the actor’s build, choosing what to accentuate and what to deemphasis in accordance to the director’s vision. Their costumes, when actualized by their team, have to look good on camera and ensure that they portray the correct color when the Director of Photography lights it and so on. They also need to decide what to simulate, such as Shishio’s bandages which is closer to plaster than fabric according to an interview with Sawataishi. It can be pretty creatively taxing for everyone involved. 

In some ways, Sawataishi’s work is made simultaneously easier and more difficult by the fact that the film is based on a manga. Otomo probably emphasized getting the costumes as accurate as possible to the original manga’s design, leaving only room for change if it was impractical for the actor or if it doesn’t test well on camera. It can be easier because he has to work off the designs of someone else, or it can be more difficult because those designs weren’t designed with a film in mind and he somehow needs to make it work for one. So essentially, Sawataishi needs to find a sweet spot between being true to the manga’s simplistic designs, making it at least easy for the actors to move, and make it consistent with the world Otomo and the Production Designers were. 

But looking good isn’t the Costume Designers only concern, just the primary superficial one. Their main focus is actually character and story. 

                                       The Fabric of Emotions


As readers of the visual poetry of cinema, we’re tasked with analyzing and considering the significance of certain stanzas of the poem itself. Traditionally (but by no means necessarily), a film needs to answer questions that it wants us to ask ourselves. “What kind of people are these characters? Can we identify them with costumes? How do the costumes add texture, context, and meaning to the visual landscape of the film we’re watching?” And perhaps the biggest question never asked: “Can we tell a story through costume design?”

 Before we move on to RK, I want to invoke an example of character and visual storytelling in cinema through costumes. This is Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, directed by David Zellner and costume designs by Kiersten Ronning and Tony Crosby

Without spoiling too much of the plot, the character of Kumiko is an introverted one. She doesn’t fit in very well in contemporary Japanese society and the film even implies that she might have a form of Aspergers. To demonstrate visually the isolation she often feels, the costume designers Ronning and Crosby gave her a red jacket. Seems simple enough, except in the visual rules set by the film itself, Kumiko is assigned the color red. To enforce this, the director/DP are very careful about how much red we see thats not her. Having everyone else wear neutral and darker tones, the bright red contrasts with the otherwise neutral visual landscape, making her stick out like a sore thumb. The disproportional visual weight given to her by her color choice and the contrast it affords, we can pick her out and isolate her from a crowd because she doesn’t quite fit in the visual landscape, not unlike how her character doesn’t quite fit in the world she occupies. 

Later in the first act of the film, she runs in to an old acquaintance who wants to catch up and talk. Here, she’s wearing a red scarf which immediately tips the audience off to a connection with Kumiko, due to us knowing by now that red is Kumiko’s color. This is a great example of how costume can enrich the visual grammar of a film. Even if you don’t speak Japanese, you can probably fill in the blanks without subtitles. 

Sawataishi-san applies these same grammatical principles by giving Kenshin the color red. (Fun Fact: In Japanese media, red is considered the color of a hero, which is why many shonen protagonists in anime wear red.) No major characters in the trilogy wears red as a primary color except Seijuro Hiko in the third film, a major overhaul of the original Hiko design and a great visual cue that Seijuro Hiko will be the one to restore Kenshin’s faith in his own vows.

This is also why the color palette of Cho was switched to beige rather than his classic red. The red that manga fans grew up on is treated with reverence and significance as we see Kaoru give it to him with expository dialogue informing us that it belonged to her father. The writers of the trilogy reestablishes its significance when Megumi gives Kenshin the kimono later in the third film when Kenshin returns to Tokyo. 

Beyond establishing the world and time these characters live in, it becomes a symbol of who he is as a human being and the ideals he carries. Its a symbol of the Rurouni, the wanderer who helps people, the man who protects the weak. The production team knew this; that’s what makes this shot from Kyoto Inferno so emotionally signficant after Kenshin leaves for Kyoto.

It shows us that Kenshin left behind all the ideals that the color red represents in the story and is now wearing black. The directing and camera placement puts us inside Karou’s head as she sees it first, and then we see “through her eyes”, putting us in her state of mind as well as setting up the moral conflict of the film, which will come to a head against Cho and then Shishio on the Rengoku. The red gi becomes as symbolic of Kenshin as a person as his sakabatou.

In these examples, we can see costumes telling us about the people who wear them and in Rurouni Kenshin’s case, what a character fights for and believes in. In Kyoto Inferno, we actually get something deeper: we get a subtle emotional response through the costume design. By treating the kimono and hakama with such reverence, the audience understands the significance and danger of Kenshin walking away from it. 

To take this matter even further, consider the fact that Kenshin is now wearing black. The only time we saw Kenshin wear black before heading to Kyoto is in flashbacks when he is Hitokiri Battousai. This is further exemplified when we flashback once per movie to the most significant moment the character has in that costume, which is the moment when he is confronted with the consequences of his assassinations as he watches Tomoe breaks down near Kyosato’s body. This reflects to us the challenges Kenshin will face as he heads down the road of death, where he will face the ever increasing odds of killing his opponents and being forced to choose between his vow and the necessity of his mission.

The visual idea of Kumiko’s acquaintance and her scarf is also used in RK, that idea being visual association. This is why Shishio’s men all wear blacks and greys except the Juppongatana. It’s why Kanryu’s samurai all look similar. Saito’s police uniform looks different from the rest of his men to show his rank without stating it, but the color palette is still similar, albeit brighter or bolder. It’s also why the Oniwaban wear deep blues and why Aoshi and Okina wear cloaks (or a coat in Aoshi’s case) with a similar color palette over their ninja outfits, establishing them as authority figures over their respective teams/groups. (Think back to Aoshi when he watched his group die.) We can tell who these groups are when we cut to fight scenes between them, especially in the set pieces involving multiple people. It is easier for us to keep track of who is fighting whom. 

It makes it easier to understand who is fighting and in some cases, dying. It can also be used to denote rank, relationships, similarity, and even a character’s philosophy. We see it in other mediums like video games too when characters keep mementos that the audience associates with people the character lost. 

We can tell a lot about a character just by what they’re wearing. Film however, has a more important demand in fight sequences for costumes, and this is one that is absolutely vital and can be understated unless its done improperly: Spatial Orientation. 

               Keeping Track: Spatial Orientation in Combat


For this last chapter, and the one that finally answers how costume is used for fight sequences, I’ll need to invoke a negative example. I’m going to preface this first by warning this may upset many of you, and I grievously apologize beforehand if I do since this is an unbelievably popular TV show….but as some may have guessed, I’m going to have to pick on Game of Thrones.

To get my personal feelings out of the way, in my opinion, season 5 had some of the crappiest action direction I’ve seen in a major production, which makes it ripe for the picking in demonstrating what RK does right. To illustrate my point as a negative reference, I’m going to call upon specific scene: Bronn and Jaime’s incursion with the Sand Snake sisters in Dorne midway through the season. I have taken the liberty of including a video of the fight in the bottom of this link; if you haven’t seen it, I encourage you to watch it before continuing to read. (For the record, this really hurt because Michele Clapton is actually pretty amazing).

Most people think the editing and handheld camera is the problem with action scenes in movies today, and for the most part they’re right but that’s not the only or maybe even the most severe problem. Many shots in RK’s fight scenes are shot in handheld. The problem here is that aside from their weapons and a few different details, these characters are dressed nearly identically to each other. The differences are useless because when everything is shot and edited extremely quickly, those details can fly by and we not have established who these weapons and details are associated with in any concrete capacity yet. This is association done poorly.

Originally posted by ithelpstodream

Its true that earlier I said RK used costumes for association but just as important as looking similar when representing a group, especially during scenes with specific individual characters, they need to have a bit of contrast. Contrast is there so when the action starts, we can keep track of the major players of the scene and remain invested.  

Jaime and Bronn are wearing more or less the same garb and are using the same type of weapon, while the Sand Snakes are wearing more or less the same armor, which instead of telling us anything specific about their characters, just lets the audience know that Jaime and Bronn are in a foreign land, and these girls are related to Oberyn Martell since they wear armor similar to the armor he wore in his fight with The Mountain in the previous season. (For non - Game of Thrones fans, please recall my previous entry in this series where I used Oberyn as an example for choreography and the placement of stunt doubles.)

 Looking too similar when inappropriate, espcially when improperly accentuated with bad editing and cinematography, can create a disastrous problem and violate a very important principle in filmmaking: the audience’s sense of space and orientation. In other words, the action is happening so quickly and is cut together in such a haphazard way that it’s extremely easy to lose track of who is who. It’s good to have similar costuming to show characters are on the same side in large battles or set pieces with multiple players, but when downscaled, it can distract the audience and pull you right out of what’s happening, and instead of manufacturing a tone or progressing the story, the audience can become really irritated or worse…bored. I’ll take a poorly executed film over a boring one any day. 

What makes this example even worse is that later in the series, we’re treated to these costumes which look fanatastic and are actually individualized enough to tell them apart, but similar enough in style that you can still grasp the character’s cultural and perhaps even familial association. They are also heavily individualized in the books these charactes are based on.

With no visual grasp of anything concrete due to the editing and immesion consistently being shattered by the audience’s fruitless attempt to regain some sense of orientation, its difficult to be invested and this problem is only aggravated further when the characters look the same.

In the RK trilogy, every major fight Kenshin has that involve one to four other players not including himself, are not only stylistically different in direction, composition, design, choreography, and tone, but all of his opponents have differing costumes, often times contrasting with Kenshin. Kenshin also has the bonus of having red hair and a unique hair style, so if he’s fighting multiple opponents in similar colors, such as the opening of the first film, the Kyosato flashback, and Shingetsu village battle in Kyoto Inferno, his red hair is enough to diversify him from his opponents, so we never lose track of him or where he is, who he’s surrounded by, or where he’s going.

Soujiro and Kenshin, while they are both wearing cool colors, remain visually distinct from each other so when they entangle and their confrontation explodes into a flurry of swishes and slashes, we never lose track of them. The camera work and editing also helps as the action is clearly visible and the editor cuts on motion so we never lose grasp of what we’re seeing and what is happening. 

And to rub salt in the wound, The Legend Ends also has a scene where 5 players in a fight are involved: the infamous 4 vs 1 finale against Shishio. Each character’s color palette, and costume designs are so diverse that losing track of them is actually rather difficult. 

The biggest challenge they might face is that Aoshi and Saito would blend since they both wear blue, but this is easily rectified by having Aoshi wear his coat.

In the second movie, Sawataishi demonstrates his skill as a costume designer once more as he does what Game of Thrones aimed to do but actually executed it correctly. During Aoshi’s big fight, he removes his coat against Okina to emphasize that they’re on the same side visually; he keeps it or another layer of something similar in color and fabric on in every other action sequence. The reason he got away with this is both because of the differences in their age and hair color. Having them dress the same grants poignancy to the fight as we are given a reminder that they were once on the same side, multiplied even further by the fact that Misao wears the exact same colors when she walks in on their duel.

 Anyway, because of this we can always tell who and where they are in relation to each other, keeping us routinely invested in the action. Instead of distracting, it becomes immersive and interesting. By getting out of the way and not drawing attention to itself, the costumes immerse us deeper into the action and more importantly, the story.  

                   Final Thoughts: The World They Live In


Before we wrap up, we’ll discuss something that sets apart Sawataishi’s costuming from most of his competition and is probably why Otomo hired him. He does one thing that is sort of his trademark and honestly makes his costumes look fantastic: He lets actors get dirty.

He lets actors sweat into their costumes. They get cut and sewed up, torn, they get leaves in their wigs and so on. Otomo will also have the actors roll around in the dirt before doing a take to create a layer of authenticity. This layer of dirt can be seen in 13 Assassins too, another prolific film in Sawataishi’s filmography.  

This authenticity sells the world to us and grounds it in believability. Contrasting with movies like The Last Samurai or the like, it removes any gloss or romanticization that often permeates in the chanbara or samurai genre since the fascination with Japanese culturei in the west grew. 

Kurosawa was also paritcularly fond of his characters getting dirty too. It shows the audience that these combatants aren’t superhumans, even when they do superhuman things. They get tired, hot, beat up, and grimy. They probably smell bad too. They look like they can get worn out and actually get hurt. This creates tension, especially in the finales of Seven Samurai and The Legend Ends, such as when Kenshin and Shishio, battered and bloody, try to one-up each other despite being almost unable to stand or earlier in the film when Kenshin and his master roll around in the dirt.

His costumes, while we may not notice or pay mind to them, are a very important part of the RK verse that TeamOtomo created. Its a world not unlike our own but one where extraordinary people live in. It has a layer of grit and dirt to it that makes it feel so lived in and real. Its a minor detail, sure, but it makes every hit feel real, and makes use the actors’ probably real exhaustion to create tone and characterization.

This can be directly compare this with Star Wars Episode III Revenge of the Sith’s Mustafar duel. Anakin’s limbs were freshly amputated and Obi-Wan just finished fighting over lava and molten rocks and yet he barely has a glisten. Obi-Wan looks more put together than I do taking a brisk walk in a Floridian afternoon. 

Sure, Obi-Wan seems to have broken a sweat, but he could’ve looked like that fighting in any location. Despite the sweat though, he doesn’t look very dirty for fighting a planet literally blackened by ash. His clothes look fine too, which is odd considering the intensity of their duel. I may be picking on this movie, but this really cheapens it for me, and removes a layer of depth Sawataishi afforded his films by letting actors get dirty to create authenticity and as a result, fails to sell the fact that they’re fighting on a molten planet, likely because the actors were actually fighting in a blue screen studio set.

 The suspension of belief is potentially shattered because the fight doesn’t feel real and doesn’t seem like any of the characters are in any serious danger until the screenwriter decides they are, which is a shame given the emotional intensity of the scene. Heck, the aforementioned fight between Okina and Aoshi and that had far more narrative depth to me despite being thematically identical as both scenes were about betrayal. How much more emotionally impactful would the tragedy have been if Anakin or Obi-Wan looked like Shishio and Kenshin at the end of the duel?

These costumes are so important to cinema. They’re emblems of a world that costume designers, despite maybe not getting the respect they deserve in the grand scheme of film like actors do, work really hard to not only realize RK into a film trilogy, but to bring the RK world to life and make it a world we can believe, and one that we can come to love enough to revisit. 

So next time you watch a movie, watch out for the costume designer and their team. What do their costumes say about their characters? How do they use it in an action scene? These are good questions I think, and ones worth asking. Keep watching guys, and thank you for reading!

                                               Special Thanks 


-To you guys for reading and making these cool graphics and screenshots. You’re also seriously bad ass and I wish I could credit everyone.

-To White-Plum for being a good friend and creating HYRK, the greatest avenue for me to write about this amazing series and a place where we can all gather in our love for RK.

and most importantly, to TeamOtomo, for bringing to life a manga that had been over for nearly 15 years, with no financial incentive other than to bring a comic we all love to life, with his wonderfully talented team. 

DISCLAIMER: None of the images or gifs used are mine. These graphics have been crowd sourced through tumblr and google, making their original creators difficult to identify. If you see that I’ve used an image that belongs to you and you’d like proper credit, please contact me via private message with proof that it is yours, and I will update this post with a special thanks to you as well as credit and a link to your blog. 

Some thoughts about the Oscars

So I said most of this in some form or another on twitter, but I wanted to put it all together here a bit more cogently.

As you all likely know by now, the Oscar Nominations were announced.  Again, the Academy failed to nominate any performers of color in the categories of Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, or Best Director.  Basically any category for which you would have had to write down the name of a person of color.

To be clear, this is not JUST a lack of black people, this is an excess of white people.  We’re talking about one Latino (Alejandro Inarritu, Director of The Revenant), no Asians, no Native Americans, no Indians, and no people of any Middle Eastern descent.  Other than Alejandro, just white people.  24 white people to be specific.

One of the most egregious instances being that while Sylvester Stallone was recognized as a supporting actor for Creed, neither its star nor director (both men of color) were left out.  Here’s the thing about that.  As recently as last year, Stallone was nominated for Razzie awards for his poor performances.  That sort of jump is not made without support, especially from a director.

But here’s the really painfully cruel irony: the Academy did include the name of one person of color in their nominations.  Her name is Nina Simone.  While Nina herself died back in 2003, a documentary was made this year about her named “What Happened, Miss Simone” which is all about Nina trying and ultimately giving up on balancing her status as a musician and a civil rights icon.

It is so easy to look back at a time fifty, twenty five, even ten years ago and see the injustices that an artist had to face.  Clearly, the Academy was able to do that.  They were able to look back and recognize Nina Simone’s struggle and say that, yes, this was wrong.  However, they are not able to look at what they are doing just this morning and see the mistakes they are making.  They can’t see the bias that goes into nominating 24 white people and one person of color.

The Academy is, at this very moment, creating the subjects of the documentaries that they will be nominating in another twenty years.  They are failing to look at the forest and see the trees and notice that all of the trees are white.

If documentaries are more than just records of the past and are in fact art, which I don’t believe is under dispute, the academy is failing to treat them as such.  If we can not see the lessons and ideas brought to us through art, recognize them as important, and apply them to our lives as we live them, then we are failing art.  If the Academy can not take the struggle they see in looking at Nina Simone and apply it to their functions as gatekeepers to the film community, than they are failing film.

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David Tennant down through the years at the TV Choice Awards
(alternate title: lots of photos of David holding that 3-starred trophy)

  • 2006 - David and Billie won the Best Actor and Best Actress Categories and  Doctor Who won “Best Loved Drama”
  • 2007 - David won “Best Actor” and  Doctor Who won “Best Loved Drama” 
  • 2008 - David (who couldn’t attend due to Hamlet) won “Best Actor”, Catherine Tate won “Best Actress”, and Doctor Who won “Best Loved Drama”
  • 2011 - David won “Best Actor” for Single Father
  • 2013 - David won “Best Actor” and Broadchurch won “Best New Drama”. David was also called to the stage (and photo session) for the acceptance of the “Outstanding Contribution to TV” award for Doctor Who
  • 2015 - David won “Best Actor” and Broadchurch won “Best Drama Series”
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“You know, it goes by so quickly. Part of it’s in slow motion and then when you hear your name called…and I remember going up on stage and literally thinking, like, I wasn’t talking English. Like, the words that were coming out of my mouth would make no sense. And later on, when I watched it later, ‘cause at the hotel they were showing clips so I got to see what I said, and I was right, I made absolutely no sense whatsoever. But when I won for The Usual Suspects, I got up and…thank goodness, what they do is they have the previous winner of the previous year, the actress…so in my category I was best supporting actor for Usual Suspects…Dianne Wiest, who’s a wonderful actress, she’s great, she’s wonderful…so she knew what I was going through!” 

Kevin Spacey talks about almost fainting backstage after winning his first Academy Award

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The Oscars are nearly as male as they are white

Because the acting categories are split 50-50 — best actor and supporting actor versus best actress and supporting actress — there’s an enforced gender parity. This makes the gender gap at the Oscars a little harder to notice at first blush. A closer look, however, reveals how underrepresented women are in nearly every other category.

OSCAR NOMINATIONS FOR BENEDICT and THE IMITATION GAME

A big congratulations to Benedict Cumberbatch and the rest of the cast and crew of The Imitation Game on recieving their Acadamy Award nomitations.

Benedict Cumberbatch is nominated in the category ‘actor in a leading role’ for his portrayal of Alan Turing in The Imitation Game.

Besides being nominated for 'best actor in a leading role’, The Imitation Game is also nominated in in the categories 'best picture’, 'actress in a supporting role’ 'directing’, 'editing’, 'music (original score)’, 'production design’ and 'writing (adapted screenplay)’.

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Best Actor, Drama

As a whole, the Best Actor, Drama category takes home the award for the most votes, with more than 210,000 votes deciding the results.

Sam Heughan, Outlander — 82.95%
Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead — 10.37%
Timothy Olyphant, Justified — 2.05%
Terrence Howard, Empire — 1.72%
Grant Gustin, The Flash — 1.66%
Dominic West, The Affair — 1.24%


Best Actress, Drama

After two years of nothing but love for Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany—who wasn’t in the race this year due to her much-deserved Emmy nomination—Outlander’s Caitriona Balfe steps up to fill her shoes.

Caitriona Balfe, Outlander — 81.8%
Katey Sagal, Sons of Anarchy — 5.1%
Kerry Washington, Scandal — 4.92%
Gillian Anderson, The Fall — 3.67%
Ruth Wilson, The Affair — 1.96%

Best Drama Series

Outlander took home the Best Drama EWwy by the biggest margin of victory in this year’s race with 129,334 votes separating first and second place.

Outlander — 82.97%
Sons of Anarchy — 4.8%
How to Get Away with Murder — 4.26%
The Americans — 2.93%
Empire — 2.75%
The Good Wife — 2.3%

EWwy Awards 2015: Meet Your Winners
‘Outlander’ and 'Jane the Virgin’ walk away the biggest winners after fans show their love for those snubbed by the Emmys