'Master and Commander' Movie + 'The Aviator': Maritime & Aerial Clashes

Master and Commander movie The Far Side of the World Russell Crowe
Master and Commander movie: Russell Crowe in Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

Peter Weir's 2003 Best Picture nominee Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is the next entry in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. The adventure drama will be screened on Monday, July 21, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Following the screening, production designer William Sandell, set decorator Robert Gould, second unit director David Ellis, sound designer Richard King, sound rerecording mixers D.M. Hemphill and Paul Massey, production sound mixer Arthur Rochester, and hairstylist Barbara Lorenz will take part in a discussion about the film.

Director-screenwriter Weir and co-screenwriter John Collee combined two of Patrick O'Brian's seafaring novels into a visually striking depiction of power struggles in the high seas during the Napoleonic Wars. Unfortunately, the Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World filmmakers opted to leave ashore depth, warmth, and excitement, while the cast – including Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, and James D'Arcy – plays at being fancily dressed 18th-century sea rats.

Master and Commander The Far Side of the World Peter Weir

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World earned a total of 10 Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Cinematography (Russell Boyd) and Sound Editing (King). The film also received nominations for Best Picture (Samuel Goldwyn, Jr., Weir and Duncan Henderson, producers), Art Direction (Sandell; Set Decoration: Gould), Costume Design (Wendy Stites), Directing (Weir), Film Editing (Lee Smith), Make-Up (Edouard Henriques III, Yolanda Toussieng), Sound Mixing (Massey, Hemphill, Rochester), Visual Effects (Dan Sudick, Stefen Fangmeier, Nathan McGuinness, Robert Stromberg).

Two Oscar-nominated animated shorts, Dominique Monfery's Destino and Christopher Hinton's Nibbles, will be screened prior to the feature.

Individual tickets are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

Photos: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library

Cate Blanchett The Aviator Katharine HepburnCate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator. Australian actress Cate Blanchett came up with a highly theatrical impersonation of highly theatrical Connecticut-born actress Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator, starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role.

Martin Scorsese's 2004 Best Picture nominee The Aviator is the next feature in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' “Great To Be Nominated” series. The handsome but vapid Howard Hughes biopic will be screened on Monday, July 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Following the screening, cast members Alec Baldwin, Jacob Davich, J.C. Mackenzie, and Amy Sloan, production sound mixer Petur Hliddal, special effects supervisor R. Bruce Steinheimer, and miniature effects supervisor Matthew Gratzner will take part in a discussion about the film.

The US$100-million-plus The Aviator wasn't quite the hoped-for critical and box office hit, though the biopic won numerous accolades and did good business thanks to the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio – Scorsese's latest box office friendly muse – in the title role. DiCaprio is a reliable player, but box office warranty or no, this time around he's thoroughly miscast as aviator/movie mogul/billionaire nut Howard Hughes. The problem is not with his acting, for DiCaprio is as honest a performer as can be; he simply doesn't look at all like the quirky, obsessive playboy, in addition to being much too young for the role. (Now, if they ever make “The Mad Genius: The Orson Welles Saga,” DiCaprio would be the choice.)

Cate Blanchett, who does a cringingly poor parody of Katharine Hepburn, looks like DiCaprio's mother, thus adding a kinky touch to their otherwise mundane love scenes. Perhaps that's what The Aviator needed – more kinkiness, less glitz.

Also in the mostly laughably miscast cast, Kate Beckinsale (Ava Gardner), John C. Reilly, Alan Alda (quite good, as Senator Ralph Owen Brewster), Ian Holm, Danny Huston, Gwen Stefani (Jean Harlow), Jude Law (Errol Flynn), Adam Scott, Kelli Garner (Faith Domergue), Willem Dafoe, Stanley DeSantis (Louis B. Mayer), and Edward Herrmann (Joseph Breen).

The Aviator earned a total of 11 Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Actress in a Supporting Role (Cate Blanchett), Art Direction (Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo), Cinematography (Robert Richardson), Costume Design (Sandy Powell), and Film Editing (Thelma Schoonmaker). The film also received nominations for Best Picture (Michael Mann and Graham King, producers), Actor in a Leading Role (Leonardo DiCaprio), Actor in a Supporting Role (Alan Alda), Directing (Martin Scorsese), Sound Mixing (Tom Fleischman, Petur Hliddal) and Writing – Original Screenplay (John Logan).

Two Oscar-nominated animated shorts, Mike Gabriel's Lorenzo and Bill Plympton's Guard Dog, will be screened prior to the feature.

Individual tickets for each of the remaining screenings in part five of “Great To Be Nominated” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with valid ID. Tickets may be purchased online at www.oscars.org, by mail, in person at the Academy during regular business hours or, depending on availability, on the night of the screening when the doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Curtain time for all features is 7:30 p.m., and pre-show elements will begin at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call (310) 247-3600.

Image of Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator: Courtesy of the Margaret Herrick Library.

'Master and Commander' Movie + 'The Aviator': Maritime & Aerial Clashes © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Leave a comment about ''Master and Commander' Movie + 'The Aviator': Maritime & Aerial Clashes'

NOTE: *Thoughtfulness* and *at least a modicum of sanity* are imperative. Abusive/bigoted, trollish/inflammatory, baseless (spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not), spammy, and/or just plain deranged comments will be zapped. Links found in comments will generally be deleted.

1 Comment to 'Master and Commander' Movie + 'The Aviator': Maritime & Aerial Clashes

  1. Your reference to Cate Blanchett is quite interesting. I understand what you are saying about her “impersonation,” however I don't think many actors could do a “Kate” that is not far from a parody. I think Hepburn has one of those personas that is easy to impersonate; much like WC Fields or even Cary Grant — which makes it difficult to take seriously. Doesn't everyone do a Kate Hepburn impersonation?? Although, I understand that Kate Mulgrew (too many Kates) did a good job in a stage version of Hepburn but since I didn't see it I don't know how much she relied on her idiosyncrasies. I agree that some of the other casting was not great: Beckinsale and Stefani especially. I liked Blanchett and was rooting for her to win — which she did.