A brief recap of the biggest news of the film industry in the week of February 20, 2022.
BY: The DIFF Editorial Team
Oppenheimer: First Look at Cillian Murphy in Christopher Nolan’s New Biopic
On the morning of February 22, Universal Pictures released a first-look photo of Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s upcoming biopic. Oppenheimer (2023), written and directed by Nolan, will surround one of the founding fathers of the atomic bomb, the man after which the film is named. In addition to unveiling Murphy’s historical transformation, Universal and Syncopy announced production for the biopic is in progress. Oppenheimer will mark Nolan’s twelfth feature film following Tenet (2020). Along with Murphy, the biopic’s star-studded cast includes Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Rami Malek, Robert Downey Jr., Josh Hartnett, Matt Damon, and many others.
Nolan’s upcoming film will be shot on IMAX 65mm and 65mm large-format film photography, with sections in IMAX black and white analogue photography. This cinematographic choice is an early testament to the film’s distinctive nature and a contributing factor to some critics’ hesitation to call Oppenheimer a biopic, given the director’s well-known originality. We’ll have to wait to see where Nolan takes this memorable figure and how he—along with Murphy—portrays this complicated history.
Oppenheimer (2023) is currently slated for a U.S. release on July 21, 2023. —Madysen Rufener
Eight Categories Cut from 94th Academy Awards Live Presentation
The Oscars call to mind gold statues, glowing faces, glory, and applause. However, not every winning artist will receive their full dues this year. In a controversial move, the Academy has decided to cut the documentary short, film editing, makeup/hairstyling, original score, production design, animated short, live action short, and sound categories in an attempt to condense the event’s length and increase viewership.
Some film fans have taken up the tag #PresentAll23 to protest what they see as not only disrespectful to film artists but irrelevant to viewers’ motivation to watch. Was this decision a selfish chop or reasonable business choice? Tune in on Sunday, March 27 at 8/7c on ABC to decide for yourself. —Marina Chen
Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland Recreate Classic Spiderman Meme
Just this week, social media was overrun by an image of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland recreating the classic triple Spiderman standoff meme as the official date for the home video release of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) was announced. This past December, Tom Holland continued his run as the web-slinging hero, starring alongside his predecessors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield in the highest grossing film of the pandemic era. Minutes after the original tweet was posted, it received 10,000 retweets and took the rest of the internet by storm. Spider-Man: No Way Home releases on 4K UHD & Blu-Ray on April 12th. —Rett Grewal
Ukrainian Filmmakers Urge International Community to Act
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine which began on February 23rd, a group of prominent Ukrainian filmmakers penned an open letter calling for the support of the international community. These filmmakers included: Oleh Sentsov, director of Rhino (2021); Valentyn Vasyanovych, director of Reflection (2021); Maryna Er Gorbach, director of Klondike; Natalia Vorozhbyt, director of Bad Roads (2020); Iryna Tsilyk, director of The Earth is Blue as an Orange (2020); Nariman Aliev, director of Homeward (2019); and Anna Machukh, executive director of the Ukrainian Film Academy and OIFF.
Within the letter, these filmmakers address the danger this war poses to democracy, and the need for global populations to take action whether in the form of “speeches, protests, money, weapons, [or] sanctions.” They also stress the power of information, asking individuals and communities to spread “operative, truthful information” about the war in Ukraine.
As they stated in the letter: “Today, Russia launched a full-scale war against Ukraine. Now, more than ever, we need the help of the international community and anyone who understands that tomorrow war may be at your door. We’ve talked about the war in eastern Ukraine in our films for eight years. You watched them at the festivals. But this is not a film, but our reality. And today this reality has spread throughout our country without exception. Ukrainian cinematographers appeal to you not to be silent and not to stand aside. They are asking for help and certain actions that can help Ukraine regain peace.”
Both the letter and the filmmakers’ full statements can be read here in their entirety. —Cate Knothe