“To show this was something I dreamed about, because it looks almost like an impossible task,” admits Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu during the expansive Q&A that followed Monday’s screening of “The Revenant” at the academy theater in Beverly Hills. His follow-up film to last year’s “Birdman,” which won him Oscar for producing, directing and writing, is an epic tale that tells the true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) who hunts down the man (Tom Hardy) who left him for dead after a bear attack in the Dakota Territory of 1823.
Among those packed ino the 1012-seat theater on Sunday and Monday were Oscar voters and members of the 1200-strong SAG nominating committee (their Gotham brethren will get a chance to see the film over Thanksgiving weekend). On both nights, Inarritu and DiCaprio took part in post-screening Q&As, winning over the crowd with their candor.
On Monday, they were joined by cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, producers Steve Golin and Mary Parent, actors Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck and Arthur Redcloud, and sound team members Martin Hernandez and Randy Thom for a lively discussion moderated by Elvis Mitchell.
“The first day of shooting, we started with nothing less than the battle scene,” said Inarritu, referring to the prolonged fight sequence between a group of fur trappers and Native Americans that opens the film. “We had the great opportunity to rehearse for months in advance for most of the scenes, and that scene was rehearsed for almost a month with every detail.”
The filmmaker spoke extensively about the making of that sequence and others, all of which contain several roaming, unbroken, naturally-lit shots that have become the trademark of Lubezki, who could become the first cinematographer to claim three consecutive Oscars following wins for “Birdman” and “Gravity” (2013).
“To tell you the truth, it’s all a beautiful blur to me,” said DiCaprio of the filming. “This was such a unique process for all of us as actors, to come aboard a film that was very much like performing theater every single day. You had to rehearse meticulously, and then there was this mad, intense scramble to capture this magic light, this precious hour-and-a-half of beautiful, illustrious Chivo light. So it became very much like an unhumorous ‘Saturday Night Live.’”
According to our 22 experts drawn from major media such as Yahoo, USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, DiCaprio is currently out front to claim his first Oscar with odds of 23/10 for Best Actor, while Inarritu is in third place to take home a second Best Director Oscar with odds of 5/1. And the film, due out on Christamas day, is in third place to win Best Picture with odds of 17/2.
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