On a movie set, every piece of furniture, wall hanging or bit of desktop clutter that an actor doesn't touch is chosen by the film's set decorator. For her annual Oscar-season series on Hollywood jobs, NPR's Susan Stamberg follows a handful of these decorators from prep through "Action!"
Over the last two weeks, Talk of the Nation has featured Oscar-nominated filmmakers from the "Best Documentary Feature" category. To wrap up the series, NPR arts critic Bob Mondello discusses how the Oscar business works and shares his favorites from this year's nominees.
The Invisible War looks at the ongoing issue of sexual assault in the military. Victims document the unsettling repercussions of reporting their assault within the military adjudication system. Part of an ongoing series of conversations with Oscar nominated documentary filmmakers.
Director and producer David France documents the struggle of HIV/AIDS activists as they fought for better care and access to new medicines in the early days of the epidemic. "There are today, 8 million people alive on those drugs that were spearheaded in this remarkable meeting of minds and hearts," France says.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz won an Oscar for his portrayal of Nazi Jew hunter Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's 2009 film Inglourious Basterds. Teamed up with Tarantino again in Django Unchained, he says Tarantino's writing and the rhythm of the language speaks to him as a performer.
With his latest film, director Quentin Tarantino was inspired both by spaghetti Westerns and the drama of slavery and the Civil War. The movie is extremely violent — but, says Tarantino, "What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse. ... If you can't take it, you can't take it."
The 9-year-old beat out thousands of other potential young actresses for the role of Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Now, she's juggling being the youngest ever nominee for the best actress Academy Award with the equally challenging job as a fourth-grader.
After the teary acceptance speeches, the most quotable moments from any Oscars telecast are the jokes. Comedy writer Dave Boone, a regular joke writer for Hollywood's biggest night, offers his tips on how to make 'em laugh in Movieland and beyond.
The filmmaker's latest project, Moonrise Kingdom, is up for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. It's the story of a 12-year-old girl and boy who fall in love and then make a pact to run off into the woods together.