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Friday , September 17 2021

Scorsese, ‘Irishman’ enter Oscar race with world premiere at NYFF

Afghanistan chooses ‘Hava’ for int’l feature film entry

This image released by Netflix shows Joe Pesci (left), and Robert De Niro in a scene from ‘The Irishman’. The film made its world premiere at opening night of the New York Film Festival on Sept 27. (AP)

LOS ANGELES, Sept 29, (RTRS): Even with its three-hour run time and a short 28 days in theaters before it’s available on Netflix, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is likely to be a major contender at the Oscars.

The 57th New York Film Festival opened on Friday night with the world premiere of the epic real-life mob drama. Scorsese and his all-star cast, including Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci, hit the arrivals black carpet before being introduced on stage ahead of the screening. The last and only other time Scorsese had a narrative feature in his hometown’s signature festival was 46 years ago with “Mean Streets” in 1973.

With “The Irishman’s” 209-minute run-time, many festival-goers jokingly worried about drinking enough coffee to stay awake throughout the screening, which wasn’t set to start until 8 pm.

And it was close to midnight when the final credits began to roll. Even so, hundreds of guests headed to the festival’s opening night party at Tavern on the Green, where many praised the film for its grand scope. Within just a few hours of the premiere, “The Irishman” scored 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Pacino appeared to be the big standout for his portrayal of Jimmy Hoffa. While a case could be made that Pacino should be campaigned for lead, he’s likely to be pushed to supporting while Robert De Niro goes for the leading title for his work as the titular Frank Sheeran.

Also in the supporting category could be Pesci for his understated performance as mob boss Russell Bufalino. Additionally, he could score some points with voters for his decision to come out of retirement for the movie.


While early predictions have Brad Pitt picking up his first acting Oscar for his supporting work in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (he was part of the best picture winning production team for “12 Years a Slave”), his golden statue may not be so sure once Academy voters finally get the chance to see Pacino in “The Irishman”. Pacino has been nominated eight times with only one win in 1993 for “Scent of a Woman”. But if Pesci is also in the category, the “Irishman” vote could be split, leaving Pitt the favorite to win.

Netflix has been lauded for being the only studio willing to finance the $160 million film after Scorsese, De Niro and Pacino tried for a dozen years to get it made. “We finally found people who back it and that was Netflix,” Scorsese said during his introduction of the film, adding, “No one would give us what we needed to make the film, and I don’t think much interest really.”

With that in mind, Netflix has to be concerned that most Academy voters won’t truly experience the impressive size and scale of the film if they’re watching it on their televisions, laptops, tablets or at worst, on their phones.


LOS ANGELES: Afghanistan has chosen Sahraa Karimi’s “Hava, Maryam, Ayesha” as its entry for the newly re-branded international feature film award at the 92nd Academy Awards, it was announced Friday.

The film is the story of three Afghan women from different social backgrounds who live in Kabul and are facing big challenges in their lives. Hava, a traditional woman who is pregnant, lives with her father and mother-in-law. Maryam, an educated TV news reporter, is about to get a divorce from her unfaithful husband when she finds out she is pregnant. Ayesha, an 18-year-old girl, decides to marry her cousin because she is pregnant from her boyfriend who disappeared after hearing the news.

“Hava, Maryam, Ayesha” held its world premiere at the 2019 Venice Film Festival in the Orizzonti section and is produced by female producer and sales agent Katayoon Shahabi from Noori. It’s currently playing in cinemas in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Ahead of the premiere, Angelina Jolie sent a message of support to the director, cast and crew of the film. She said: “This delicately made and moving film chronicles the lives of young women in contemporary Afghanistan. It shows the grace, beauty and spirit of Afghan women as they navigate marriage, love, friendship, family and motherhood.

Every film made in Afghanistan is a triumph against the odds.

At a time when the future of Afghanistan is hanging in the balance, it reminds us of all that is at stake for millions of Afghan women, who deserve the freedom, independence and safety to make their own choices – in their own homes, and throughout society as a whole.”

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