A & E






Newspapers & Magazines




Web / Tech

VIFF 2011, Day 15: Where To Go For Film News Post Festival


The 30th annual Vancouver International Film Festival wraps today, and weary filmgoers are preparing to return to their lives, once again assuming the mantle of responsibility that comes with being a conscious person — living life with a purpose — in our troubled, and often troubling, times.

As it happens, there are a handful of bloggers who live for film just as much as the most diehard VIFF patron. These bloggers perform no small feat: rewarding employment for themselves arising from the uncommonly acute, and for those of us who count themselves as fans of their work, the much appreciated decision to dedicate a significant portion of their lives to coverage of film from across the globe. Insightful, informative coverage.

Emerging each autumn, leading up to the nominating and awarding of the Oscars these bloggers not only write about film passionately — having attended many, many of the critically most audacious film festivals held in far-flung places across our globe — they also become the 'experts' in the burgeoning field of Oscar prediction, setting the agenda for who and what will be nominated. These bloggers assume the bully pulpit of film coverage.

star.jpg star.jpg star.jpg


First up, at the top of the heap, there's someone we've written about before: Jeffrey Wells of the cinema-related website, Hollywood Elsewhere, our favourite online columnist, writer, racounteur, curmudgeon and all around high energy, take no shit, "I'll speak my mind, and damn the consequences" online wonder, who posts about film — films that are upcoming, and the best of films past — and often American politics, as well, 4 - 6 times a day, and more, writing cogently, with élan and savoir faire.

Mr. Wells' output is impressive, as is his ability to write reviews at length, as he at all times remains utterly original and true to himself. Sure, he can piss his readers off, but that's all to the good. VanRamblings visits Hollywood Elsewhere several times throughout the day, each and every day. And what do we find? There's almost always some new, provocative and thought-provoking topic of interest available on his blog. For the most part, the 'commentary' on his site (those who comment on his posts) is first-class: sometimes the commentary is screamingly funny, and almost always the commentary is thoughtful, well-considered and informative.

VanRamblings' appreciation for Jeffrey Wells has grown that much more since the début of his and Sasha Stone's iTunes podcast, Oscar Poker. Both Jeff and Sasha are incredibly well-informed about film, the film market, and the work of prominent actors and directors past and present. Their rapport is utterly relatable and natural, humane and sometimes tinged with a reflective melancholy, as well as informed and a compelling listen.

Jeffrey Wells' blog is listed under the Cinema category in the list of websites to your left. Here are more of the world's most important film bloggers ...


Anne Thompson's Thompson on Hollywood: Former film columnist at Variety, and deputy editor of, where she started the "Thompson on Hollywood" blog in March 2007, this New York-based writer has over the years contributed to The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Observer and Wired. From January 2005 to March 2007, she served as the Deputy Film Editor at The Hollywood Reporter and before that was the West Coast Editor of Premiere, from 1996 to 2002.

Before joining Premiere, Thompson wrote about behind-the-scenes Hollywood for Entertainment Weekly, and was West Coast Editor for Film Comment Magazine. From 1985 to 1993 she wrote the film industry column "Risky Business" for LA Weekly and the Los Angeles Times Syndicate. A graduate of the Department of Cinema Studies at New York University, she teaches the fall semester of "Sneak Previews" for UCLA Extension.

Anne Thompson, 'Thompson on Hollywood'

At present, Ms. Thompson publishes daily at IndieWire, where she's their stalwart and their defacto lead blogger, her clarion voice just as passionate as Jeffrey Wells' voice, her spirit upbeat and her love and knowledge of 'the movies' unparalleled. Anne publishes three or four items a day, she's always informed and informative, and (thankfully, cuz we need a voice of reason in the movie criticism field) rarely as provocative as the indefatigable Mr. Wells.

Last year (a full year before the estimable Mr. Wells, "imitation being the sincerest form of flattery," Ms. Thompson avers), Anne Thompson joined with In Contention's Kris Tapley in posting a weekly iTunes podcast, Oscar Talk which informs and provokes. Ms. Thompson fares well on Oscar Talk, with her always engaging and thoughtful opinions on film, and her ready, warm sense of humour and well-developed wit!


We know next to nothing about Sasha Stone, the 'intelligence' behind the Oscar prediction blog Awards Daily. From what we've gathered listening to her and Jeffrey Wells' always delightful and informative Oscar Poker podcast (a must-listen for anyone who loves the movies), Ms. Stone is a single mother raising her 13-year-old daughter, Emma, and has worked on Awards Daily for the better part of a decade, loves movies, is possessed of a wonderful sense of humour, seems both generous and genuine of spirit (and humble, too, which always works when one is presenting themselves before the public), and is well informed about film, and its cultural impact on 21st century social mores. And, she's the best writer among the bloggers group.


Emerging in a tangibly readable, glossy magazine format back in 1989 when it was a must-read for film aficionados, a couple of years back Movie | Line was re-born as an online magazine, with the estimable film blogger S.T. VanAirsdale at the helm. Directing a first-rate group of cinéastes — not the least of whom is former Salon lead film critic, Stephanie Zacharek — VanAirsdale has turned Movie | Line into a must-read online presence for anyone who has love for the cinema, as he and his team set about 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to cover all aspects of the Hollywood, and global, cinematic magic factory. Yet another post VIFF 2011 must-read blog.


Long associated with the Los Angeles Times' awards covering website, The Envelope, after six years with the Times Gold Derby founder Tom O'Neil has taken leave of the security work with the Times provided to recapture the old entrepreneurial spirit (although he'll continue to submit to the Times on a freelance basis). Needless to say, O'Neil's association with the Times has given him a certain caché in Hollywood which — lucky for those who visit his blog during the Oscar season — translates into a well-informed, compelling site to read, written by someone with ready access to Hollywood's movers and shakers. A must-read film / Oscars blog.


Each week from the beginning of November lasting through til the week before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences make their late January Oscar nominee announcement, MovieCityNews editor / founder David Poland gathers together a few of the most informed Oscar prognosticators to predict the Oscar race, and publishes the results as Gurus of Gold. As is the case with the other sites mentioned in this post, the dozen or so film writers Poland gathers together not only predict, their 'judgment' sets the stage for whom Academy members will cast their Oscar ballot. Influential and informative.


Here's what Kris Tapley has to say about himself, and In Contention ...

Editor Kristopher Tapley has covered the film awards landscape in various forms on the Internet since 2001. He launched In Contention in the summer of 2005 as a solo gig and now finds himself joined by a chorus of contributors ... who comment and reflect upon, muse about and attempt to decipher the season on a daily basis throughout the year and especially during the Oscar crunch of the fall.

Truth to tell, Kris Tapley is not our favourite Oscar blogger. Still, there's no question he's hard working (and if VanRamblings were to be generous, we might say he's a little shy), and has created a listenable podcast called Oscar Talk, with IndieWire's Anne Thompson, about whom we've above.


While we're in a confessional mood, we'll reveal the following: we only became aware of the quite tremendous and generous Mr. Feinberg when we heard him on an episode of the Oscar Poker podcast with Jeffrey Wells and Sasha Stone, and were impressed. Weinberg is thought of so well as a writer, film critic and Oscar blogger, this Oscar season, The Hollywood Reporter has hired him to lead their Oscar coverage. Meanwhile, Scott has kept his blog readably alive with daily new content.


Yes, the august New York Times is behind The Carpetbagger, originally the brainchild of the once dissolute and wildly readable David Carr (now a media and culture columnist for the Times). In 2009, the not-quite-so-
tremendous, nor quite-so-readable Melena Ryzik took over from Carr. This year, Ryzik will work closely with Michael Cieply (who we like), as well as Brooks Barnes (both of whom are stationed in Los Angeles), Paula Schwartz in New York, and for the first time, polling guru Nate Silver, each of whom will offer their take on the Oscar contenders, the filmmakers and the 'talent', as well as set out to provide some (let's hope humorous, and at time scathing) commentary and insight on the Oscar awards season.
Carpetbagger film / Oscar coverage will begin in earnest next month.

There are even more websites which cover film and the Oscar awards season, including ...

  • The Contenders, brought to you by the folks behind the Rope of Silicon;

  • The Envelope: The work of the folks at the Los Angeles Times, with a whole whack of Times' film and industry writers bringing you the latest info on the Oscar race;

  • Deadline Hollywood Awards: In her quest to rule the Hollywood entertainment universe, Deadline Hollywood founder-editor Nikki Finke hired longtime Los Angeles Times / Variety awards columnist Pete Hammond to front Deadline's awards coverage. Hammond has a reputation for usually getting it right, for having first-rate access to studios and the Hollywood moguls therein, the studio's 'stars' and critical inside the beltway info, all of which makes him a first-class 'acquisition' for Finke;

  • The Odds: Daily posts from The Wrap's Steve Pond, another respected Oscar prognosticator. Here's an interview Gold Derby's Tom O'Neil recently conducted with the former Premiere magazine writer ...

And, finally, the two industry awards websites, first from ...

VanRamblings hopes you enjoy the bloggers' sites written about today.

Full VanRamblings' retrospective coverage daily coverage of the 30th annual Vancouver International Film Festival may be found here.

Posted by Raymond Tomlin at October 14, 2011 8:47 AM in VIFF 2011


back to top