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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 15, 2013 at 10:21 AM

Oscar countdown: ‘Django Unchained’

Our alphabetical trot through the Best Picture nominees continues today with “Django Unchained,” Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked Western about a freed slave (Jamie Foxx), a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz), and a hateful plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). It’s been a box-office hit (second only to “Lincoln” among the Best Picture titles) and Tarantino’s highest grossing film to date, despite the usual Tarantino controversy over the film’s language and violence. Doesn’t seem like the kind of film that the staid Academy would reward, does it? But Oscar has smiled on Tarantino before; he’s received four nominations prior to “Django,” and a 1994 win for the screenplay for “Pulp Fiction.” This year he joins Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper, and Kathryn Bigelow in the Academy of the Snubbed Directors — those whose movies are in the running for Best Picture, but who didn’t get a directing nod.
Total U.S. box office: $155 million
Total Oscar nominations: Five, for best picture, original screenplay, supporting actor (Waltz), cinematography and sound editing
Best chance for a win: I wouldn’t be surprised to see “Django” go home empty-handed; its best shot is in the screenplay category, but it’s up against some strong competition (“Amour,” “Flight,” “Moonrise Kingdom,” “Zero Dark Thirty”).
Odds of this movie creating some fabulous Oscar-night weirdness: Any speech by Tarantino would likely be a little weird, but never mind that. If Waltz had a surprise win, it would be his second Supporting Actor trophy in three years (he won in 2010 for “Inglourious Basterds”); an unusual if not unprecedented feat. (Jason Robards won the category back-to-back in 1976 and 1977.)
Fun fact: John McLeod, special-effects coordinator for “Django Unchained,” gave an entertaining interview to Vulture.com discussing the film’s impressive blood-spurting effects: “One of Quentin’s directions was that he wanted the hits in some of the scenes to be very meaty. He kept pushing for it: ‘I want to see flesh and meat ripping as the squibs are going off. I don’t want to see a bunch of liquid; I wanna see a meaty effect!’ So we were trying to introduce different materials, strips of latex, little bits of particles, that we put inside the blood bag.”
Have a lovely holiday weekend! Remember that I’ll be chatting live on seattletimes.com on Oscar night; hope you’ll be joining me.
DJANGO_UNCHAINED.JPG
Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx in “Django Unchained” (photo by Andrew Cooper; courtesy of The Weinstein Company)

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