Friday, January 31, 2014

César Award Nominations

France's equivalent of the Oscars.

PICTURE
9 Mois Ferme
Blue is the Warmest Color
Jimmy P
Les Garcons et Guillame, A Table!
The Past
Stranger by the Lake
Venus in Fur

DIRECTOR
Arnaud Desplechin, Jimmy P
Albert Dupontel, 9 Mois Ferme
Asghar Farhadi, The Past
Guillaume Gallienne, Les Garcons et Guillaume, A Table!
Alain Guiraudie, Stranger by the Lake  
Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color
Roman Polanski, Venus in Fur

ACTOR
Mathieu Amalric, Venus in Fur
Michel Bouquet, Renoir
Albert Depontel, 9 Mois Ferme
Grégory Gadebois, Mon Ame Par Toi Guérie
Guillaume Gallienne, Les Garcons et Guillaume, A Table!
Fabrice Luchine, Alceste a Bicyclette
Mads Mikkelsen, Michael Kohlhass

ACTRESS
Fanny Ardant, Les Beaux Jours
Bérénice Bejo, The Past
Catherine Deneuve, Elle S'En Va
Sara Forestier, Suzanne
Sandrine Kiberlaine, 9 Mois Ferme
Emmanuelle Seigner, Venus in Fur
Léa Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color

2013: It's a Wrap

After spending too much thinking about it, it's time time to say farewell to the 2013 film year.  Yes, yes, I'm perfectly aware it's nearing the end of January, the Oscar nominations have already been released and nearly everyone and every place else in sight has already named their top picks of the year, but these things take time-- the world would likely be a better place if the Oscar ceremony took place in September instead of February (or in this years case, March-- thank you Sochi!), after all, it's difficult to gauge how a film really connects unless sufficient time is spent to thoughtfully analyze and ruminate.  I viewed 114 films that were released in some capacity in 2013 and here is my careful ranking of all of them.  Enjoy.

114) To the Wonder (Terrence Malick)
This is painful, quite literally painful to say that the auteur behind rightfully esteemed American masterworks Badlands, Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line made for my least pleasurable film experience of 2013.  In my proper review of the film, I retitled the tedious romantic yarn starring Ben Affleck and Olga Kurylenko, "To the Pretentious Bits of Cinematic Hell," further stating, "There's nothing to cling to either by way of nostalgia or novelty and for the first time in his career, Malick seems to have, perhaps, been swayed [more} by the decades of being heralded a filmmaking genius, and offers little more than post-card ready snapshots shot to the ether, ready to raved and lavished upon."  The photography by Emmanuel Lubezki (more about him later on) is beautiful, but there's nary a grain of substance to hold onto or any sort of yearning to the central love story.  Simply, it's the film version of a teenage girls' Instagram summer crush.

113) Movie 43 (13 directors)
Thirteen different directors (including the Farrelly Brothers, Griffin Dunne, James Gunn and Elizabeth Banks) contributed to this omnibus film from hell which featured a cast of major A-list actors going all dirty and seedy because, one assumes, they had bets that were owed.  One of the ugliest, most disgusting films made in recent memory.

112) The Counselor (Ridley Scott)
A terrific ensemble cast including Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Brad Pitt is terribly wasted in Ridley Scott's joyless and tedious exercise of fan-worshiping at the feet of Cormac McCarthy, making his screenwriting debut.  A film full of listless monologuing but no actual story, The Counselor marks a major embarrassment for its strongly assembled creative team.  It's about drugs or something, but more so a missed opportunity for the trashy, B-rated pulpy thrill ride that it surely could have been-- at the very least Cameron Diaz as the cheetah loving femme fatale steals the show in all her car-humping gamesmanship.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

DGA Winners

Cuarón directs Sandra Bullock and George Clooney
MOTION PICTURE
FEATURE FILM: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
DOCUMENTARY: Jehane Noujaim, The Square

TELEVISION
DRAMA SERIES: Breaking Bad- Vince Gilligan
COMEDY SERIES: 30 Rock- Beth McCarthy-Miller
TV MOVIE: Behind the Candelabra- Steven Soderbergh
REALITY PROGRAM: 72 Hours: The Last Coast- Neil P.  Degroot
VARIETY/TALK/NEWS SPECIAL: 67th Annual Tony Awards- Glenn Weiss 

Sundance Film Festival Awards

GRAND JURY PRIZE: Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
AUDIENCE AWARD:  Whiplash (Damien Chazelle)
DIRECTING AWARD: Cutter Hodierne, Fishing Without Nets
WALDO SALT SCREENWRITING AWARD: The Skeleton Twins- Craig Johnson & Mark Heyman
CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD: Low Down- Christopher Blavelt
BREAKTHROUGH TALENT: Justin Simien, director of Dear White People
GRAND JURY PRIZE (Documentary): Rich Hill (Tracy Droz Tragos & Andrew Droz Palermo)
DIRECTING AWARD (Documentary): Ben Cotner & Ryan White, The Case Against 8
CINEMATOGRAPHY AWARD (Documentary):  E-TEAM- Ross Kauffman

Full winners here.

Friday, January 24, 2014

"American Hustle" and Oscar History

David O. Russell's American Hustle earned an extremely rare feat: four acting Oscar nominations, one for each acting category.  Russell accomplished the same thing last year for Silver Linings Playbook, which collected a win for Jennifer Lawrence in the Best Actress category.  In doing some research, this marked the first time in history that a filmmaker had successfully gotten a nomination in each of the four acting categories twice, in two consecutive years no less.  At this point, surely every agent and actor in the industry will be clamoring to work on Russell's follow-up films.  To date, only fifteen films in the history of the Academy Awards have earned acting nominations in all four categories.  Interestingly, none of the films to have accomplished this have ended up winning Best Picture.  American Hustle detractors can take note of that I suppose.  And they are:

Lombard and Powell in My Man Godfrey

MY MAN GODFREY (1936)- directed by Gregory La Cava
Actor: William Powell
Actress: Carole Lombard
Supporting Actor: Mischa Auer
Supporting Actress: Alice Brady

No winners in the group, and it's the only case in Academy history when a film earned the magic four acting nods without a coinciding Best Picture nomination.

MRS. MINIVER (1942)- directed by William Wyler
Actor: Walter Pidgeon
Actress: Greer Garson
Supporting Actor: Henry Travers
Supporting Actress: Teresa Wright; Dame May Whitty

Garson and Wright won Oscars in Wyler's WWII drama which also won the Best Picture prize.  Mrs. Miniver went a step even further, get a mention in not only all four acting categories, but two in  Supporting Actress  William Wyler has directed more Oscar-nominated performances than any other filmmaker.  He directed 36 performances to a nomination and 14 to a win; Elia Kazan (also a director with a credit on this list) is his closet competitor with 24 nominated performances and Martin Scorsese (not listed) is the closet living director with a chance of defeating said record with 22 nominated performances.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Gay & Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association

FILM OF THE YEAR: 12 Years a Slave
ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Matthew McCounaghey, Dallas Buyers Club
ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
LGBT FILM OF THE YEAR: Blue is the Warmest Color
FOREIGN FILM OF THE YEAR: Blue is the Warmest Color
DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR: Bridegroom
CAMPY FLICK OF THE YEAR: I'm So Excited
UNSUNG FILM OF THE YEAR: (tie) Kill Your Darlings; Short Term 12
VISUALLY STRIKING FILM OF THE YEAR: Gravity

TV DRAMA OF THE YEAR: (tie) Behind the Candelabra; Orange is the New Black
TV COMEDY OF THE YEAR: Girls
TV ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
TV ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Coven
TV MUSICAL PERFORMANCE OF THE YEAR: Shirley Bassey, Goldfinger- 82nd Oscars
LGBT TV SHOW OF THE YEAR: Orange is New Black
CAMPY TV SHOW OF THE YEAR: American Horror Story: Coven
UNSUNG TV SHOW OF THE YEAR: Getting On

"WE'RE WILDE ABOUT YOU" RISING STAR AWARD: Laverne Cox
WILDE WIT OF THE YEAR: Rachel Maddow
WILDE ARTIST OF THE YEAR: James Franco
TIMELESS AWARD: Lily Tomlin

Sunday, January 19, 2014

PGA Awards

FILM
MOTION PICTURE (tie): 12 Years a Slave; Gravity 
DOCUMENTARY: We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wiki-Leaks
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frozen
STANLEY KRAMER AWARD: Fruitvale Station


For the first time in its history, the Producers Guild Association came to a tie.  Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave and Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity shared the top prize in a move that will not only surely make this years Oscar race sled into hyper-drive but also drive the pundits and obsessives into an utter state of panic.  In recent history, the PGA (which began handing out prizes in 1990) has been an accurate bellwether for the eventual Best Picture victor; the last time the group disagreed with the Academy was in 2007 when the Producers went for Little Miss Sunshine, while the Academy selected The Departed.  Since the Academy adjusted the rules and squeezed in more titles, the voting procedures for the Oscar and the PGA are nearly identical and thus a consensus merged between the two groups.  This tie thing is the kind of bat-shit wrench that will likely thrust this into being one of the most competitive and eagerly (but hopefully not bitterly) fought races in recent memory.


What does it all mean?  
Well the DGA may serve as tiebreaker and Cuarón and his technical wizardry may prevail in the end tipping the scale to Gravity, which co-lead the Oscar nominations tally shared with American Hustle.  Or perhaps McQueen, with a nod to history on its side will take the DGA and 12 Years a Slave will hold true to the all frontrunner fuss since premiering at Telluride last September.  Or, an even crazier notion, is that two will split themselves and the SAG victor American Hustle will win on consensus because all its hairstyling and actorly bravado is just so pleasant to watch.  Or, I and perhaps a few of you out there will have a incessant headache until March 2nd, over-thinking this damn thing to death.  At the very least, the 2013 awards season is legitimately interesting and there's no Argo-train effect of any kind.  And for that, we should be happy, even if its torture.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SAG Awards

MOTION PICTURE
BEST ENSEMBLE: American Hustle
BEST ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
BEST STUNTS: Lone Survivor

I neglected to do predictions because it seems the SAG Awards just came out of nowhere in this accelerated awards season.  Geez the PGA Awards are tomorrow!  Yet after this late January madness, there will be an entire month of mudslinging en route the Oscars.  That being said, the SAG choices seems reflective of the way the big show may go around and all four acting winners reaped Critics Choice prizes and three out of four won Globes last weekend.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Critics Choice Awards

PICTURE: 12 Years a Slave
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Her- Spike Jonze
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: 12 Years a Slave- John Ridley 
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frozen
DOCUMENTARY: 20 Feet From Stardom
FOREIGN FILM: Blue is the Warmest Color 
ART DIRECTION: The Great Gatsby
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gravity
COSTUME DESIGN: The Great Gatsby
FILM EDITING: Gravity
MAKE-UP/HAIRSTYLING: American Hustle
SCORE: Gravity
SONG: "Let it Go," Frozen
VISUAL EFFECTS: Gravity 
ENSEMBLE CAST: American Hustle
YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS: Adéle Exarchopoulos, Blue is the Warmest Color

ACTION FILM: Lone Survivor
ACTOR IN AN ACTION FILM: Mark Wahlberg, Lone Survivor
ACTRESS IN AN ACTION FILM: Sandra Bullock, Gravity
COMEDY: American Hustle
ACTOR IN A COMEDY: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
ACTRESS IN A COMEDY: Amy Adams, American Hustle
SCI-FI/HORROR FILM: Gravity

JOEL SIEGEL AWARD: Forest Whitaker
LOUIS VIII GENIUS AWARD: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater

Oscar Nominations

PICTURE
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Gravity
Her
Nebraska
Philomena
The Wolf of Wall Street

DIRECTOR
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska
David O. Russell, American Hustle
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

ACTOR
Christian Bale, American Husle
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

ACTRESS
Amy Adams, American Hustle
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock, Gravity
Judi Dench, Philomena
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
June Squibb, Nebraska    

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
American Hustle- Eric Singer & David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine- Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club- Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack 
Her- Spike Jonze
Nebraska- Bob Nelson

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
12 Years a Slave- John Ridley
Before Midnight- Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips- Billy Ray
Philomena- Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope
The Wolf of Wall Street- Terence Winter

ANIMATED FEATURE
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

DOCUMENTARY
20 Feet From Stardom
The Act of Killing
Cutie & the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square

FOREIGN FILM
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture
Omar

CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Grandmaster- Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity- Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis- Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska- Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners- Roger Deakins

COSTUME DESIGN
12 Years a Slave- Patricia Norris
American Hustle- Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster- William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby- Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman- Michael O'Connor 

FILM EDITING
12 Years a Slave- Joe Walker
American Hustle- Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers & Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips- Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club- John Mac McMurphy & Martin Pensa
Gravity- Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger

PRODUCTION DESIGN
12 Years a Slave- Adam Stockhausen & Alice Baker
American Hustle- Judy Becker & Heather Loeffler
Gravity- Andy Nicholson & Joanne Woollard
The Great Gatsby- Catherine Martin & Beverley Dunn
Her- K.K. Barrett & Gene Serdena

ORIGINAL SCORE
The Book Thief- John Williams
Gravity- Steven Price
Her- William Butler & Owen Pallett
Philomena- Alexandre Desplat
Saving Mr. Banks- Thomas Newman

ORIGINAL SONG
"Alone Yet Not Alone," Alone Yet Not Alone
"Happy," Despicable Me 2
"Let it Go," Frozen
"The Moon Song," Her
"Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom 

LIVE ACTION SHORT
Aquel No Era Yo
Avant Que De Tout Perdre
Helium
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?
The Voorman Problem 

DOCUMENTARY SHORT
CaveDigger
Facing Fear
Karma Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

ANIMATED SHORT
Feral
Get a Horse!
Mr. Hublot
Possessions
Room on the Broom 

SOUND MIXING
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

SOUND EDITING
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lone Survivor   

MAKE-UP & HAIRSTYLING
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger

VISUAL EFFECTS
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness    
        

Oscar Nomination Eve

Like many a youngster on the night before Christmas morning, I wait-- sleepless and anxiety-filled-- for the announcement of the 86th Academy Award nominations, set to arrive in less than two hours time.  Unlike Christmas gifts however, these are presents that cannot be returned and the hope is always that this will be year that Academy makes the right decisions across the board.  Those decisions vary from person to person, but in the hours before all is set in stone and industry bloodbath really reaches its ugliest, there's still that hope, that quiver of anticipation.  It's silly.  It's ridiculous.  But those unlike myself (and a great many who hold their films and awards mania fandom more to themselves), this is Christmas morning.  What shiny presents will Santa leave under our tree?  Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Hemsworth, he of such defined abdomens, will tell us at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater at the break of this coming Los Angeles dawn.


All our predictions, for which we've been second guessing ourselves on over the past few weeks and most urgently, in the past few hours, will either be righted or wronged.  What surprises will emerge?  Will American Hustle, currently in the esteemed position of holding the most guild mentions of any film in 2013, pull of on upset in the leading tally of nominations setting itself for the Best Picture gold?  Or will 12 Years a Slave, the film that's been pegged ever since its first screening at Telluride, lead the field?  Or is it Gravity, the undisputed visual feast of the year, ripe for the taking?

And what of Robert Redford, whose had a bumpy awards season after being named Best Actor from the New York Film Critics, only to be snubbed from the SAG and BAFTA line-up and overtaken by Matthew McConaughey at the Golden Globes?  Or the entire Best Actor field for that matter, arguably the most competitive category which no matter what will result in more than a few painful snubs?  Will Leonardo DiCaprio be catapulted into the race from all the buzzed about controversy stemmed from The Wolf of Wall Street, a maelstrom that hit its apex whilst voting was taking place?  Or what of Amy Adams-- can she really usurp Meryl Streep's assumed eighteenth nomination?  So many questions, so little confidence in anything at this unruly hour-- who knows, maybe James Franco's gonzo Spring Breakers performance will make it in with all it's "Consider This Sh*t" bravado.  Or maybe, just maybe, enough Academy members watched my Frances Ha (yes, I claim perverse ownership of it) and will reward it amply across the field in a giant middle finger sigh of rebellion to the rules of awards prognosticating.  That's the insomnia creeping in, but let me have my moment...


Of what is clear is that three films are at the very top-- American Hustle, 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.  The locks in the Best Picture line-up.  All three managed PGA, DGA, BAFTA and considerable guild mentions.  Captain Phillips follows and is safe and sound and likely will end up as one of the films with the highest nomination tally even as a single win seems unlikely.  From there on, things get shaky.  Nebraska, which earned guild mentions from the Producers, Writers, Cinematographers and anchored by Oscar-ready performances from Bruce Dern and June Squibb, looks to be in about fifth slot.  It helps that the film likely plays right the sweet spot of older Academy base and plays beautifully on screener.  The Wolf of Wall Street earned Martin Scorsese a DGA nomination and film earned a PGA nod, but SAG ignored it and its awards season has been spotted and rife with endless arguments over everything and anything.  The film is likely in the Best Picture field because how can it really be resisted, but how adventurous are these Academy members anyway?  Dallas Buyers Club has a shockingly robust awards season.  The film was assured slots for actors McConaughey and Jared Leto, but it seemed at the start that would be ample reward enough.  Considering it's strong showing at PGA, WGA and that weird SAG Ensemble nomination, it would be hard to predict in the top award winning the trophy for the greatest divide between industry love and the merits of the film itself-- it also represents a closing chapter to James Schamus' deservedly heralded reign of Focus Features, which makes a bit more sense.  Her, Spike Jonze's beautifully melancholic romance has done wonderfully with the critics and is assured passion votes, but the film is fairly youth-skewing and the most hipster upscale film in the line-up.  The film may break in, but it could easily be snubbed-- consider: how many older members of the Academy will this appeal to anyhow?  The older members likely frothed at the mouth to the decidedly un-hip Philomena, which is the Weinstein Company's best bet a Best Picture nomination-- I feel it's in in a pinch, if the field is expanded to nine like it has been the last two years running.  And then there's Blue Jasmine, which earned PGA and WGA nods, Saving Mr. Banks, a slow burner that earned a PGA nomination and Lee Daniels' The Butler, which earned a SAG Ensemble mention and Inside Llewyn Davis, with all its critical love all the hopefully siphon enough votes away for a surprise nomination.

Anyhow, here's my NO GUTS, NO GLORY takes:
  • Spike Jonze surprises with a Best Director nomination alongside Steve McQueen, Alfonso Cuarón, David O. Russell and Paul Greengrass over-taking Martin Scorsese and Alexander Payne.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in; Robert Redford out.
  • Meryl Streep in; Amy Adams left snubbed and already deemed the frontrunner for next year with Big Eyes.

Razzie Nominations

Before we honor the very best of 2013, let's acknowledge the very worst in the year of cinema.  It's all subjective as one mans trash is another mans piece of art, but here come the 2013 Razzie Nominations.
Grown Ups 2 finally gets its day in the movie awards sun.

WORST PICTURE
After Earth
Grown Ups 2
The Lone Ranger
A Madea Christmas
Movie 43

WORST DIRECTOR
13 Directors, Movie 43
Dennis Dugan, Grown Ups 2
Tyler Perry, A Madea Christmas
M. Night Shyamalan, After Earth
Gore Verbinski

WORST ACTOR
Johnny Depp, The Lone Ranger
Ashton Kutcher, Jobs
Adam Sandler, Grown Ups 2
Jaden Smith, After Earth
Sylvester Stallone, Bullet to the Head; Escape Plan; Grudge Match

Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award Nominations

BEST SOUND EDITING: SOUND EFFECTS & FOLEY
12 Years a Slave
All is Lost
Captain Phillips
Fast & Furious 6
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Lone Survivor 

BEST SOUND EDITING: DIALOGUE & ADR
12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
August: Osage County
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Lone Survivor

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cinema Audio Society Nominations

BEST SOUND MIXING (LIVE ACTION)
Captain Phillips
Gravity
Inside Llewyn Davis
Iron Man 3
Lone Survivor

BEST SOUND MIXING (ANIMATION)
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Monsters University
Walking with Dinosaurs   

Visual Effects Society Nominations-- Or "Gravity" and Everything Else

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS IN A VISUAL EFFECT-DRIVEN FEATURE
Gravity
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek Into Darkness

BEST SUPPORTING VISUAL EFFECTS
The Great Gatsby
The Lone Ranger
Rush
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
The Wolf of Wall Street

BEST ANIMATION IN A ANIMATED FEATURE
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Frozen
Monsters University

BEST ANIMATED CHARACTER IN A LIVE ACTION FEATURE
Gravity- Ryan
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- Smaug
Oz: The Great & Powerful- China Girl
Pacific Rim- Kaiju- Leatherback   

Make-Up & Hairstyling Guild Nominations

BEST CONTEMPORARY HAIRSTYLING
Lee Daniels' The Butler
One Chance
Unfinished Song

BEST CONTEMPORARY MAKE-UP
August: Osage County
One Chance
Prisoners

BEST PERIOD/CHARACTER HAIRSTYLING
American Hustle
Jobs
The Lone Ranger

BEST PERIOD/CHARACTER MAKE-UP
Dallas Buyers Club
The Great Gatsby
The Lone Ranger

BEST SPECIAL MAKE-UP EFFECTS
Bad Grandpa
Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

This marks the first year of the Make-Up & Hairstyling Guild since 2004.  Good luck to Explosion at the Wig Factory,er...um, American Hustle.         

Monday, January 13, 2014

Golden Globes Post-Mortem

The 71st Golden Globes are in the books-- hopefully the hangovers have settled as the 2013 awards season has officially, in all its bombastic ridiculousness and woozy delight, left the train onwards the main event on March 2nd.  Long thought of as Oscar's slutty cousin, the Golden Globes continue to provide punchlines and quizzical sneers, but their stage can be prescient, absurd, momentarily insightful and rollicking as major stars sip the freely and generously served libations throughout the ceremony.  There's often a buzz that's emitted from the liquored up celebrities run about and casually-- yet so formally-- take the stage in the Beverly Hilton Grand Ballroom.

For the second year in a row, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the festivities and if their second act wasn't quite the revelatory lark that it was one a year ago, they still provided the very best things to be attributed to the overall presentation.  Coming out and welcoming us to the "Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Lee Daniels' The Butler Golden Globe Awards," they provided the snark and a gleeful energy to a proceedings.  Bubbly and charming, both hostesses still ensured snappy commentary on Hollywood and the foolishness that lies within it, yet because of their insider snap and charm, the jokes never veered into misanthropic Ricky Gervais mean-spiritedness.

North Carolina Film Critics Association

PICTURE: 12 Years a Slave
DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
ACTOR: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Inside Llewyn Davis- Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: 12 Years a Slave- John Ridley
ANIMATED FEATURE: Monsters University
DOCUMENTARY: Stories We Tell
FOREIGN FILM: The Hunt
TAR HEEL AWARD: The Way Way Back

Denver Film Critics Society

PICTURE: Gravity
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: American Hustle- Eric Singer & David O. Russell
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Wolf of Wall Street- Terence Winter
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frozen
DOCUMENTARY: The Act of Killing
FOREIGN FILM: The Grandmaster
SCORE: Gravity- Steven Price
SONG: "Let it Go," Frozen 
COMEDY FILM: This Is the End
SCI-FI/HORROR FILM: Gravity

DGA: Best Documentary Nominees

Zachary Heinzerling, Cutie and the Boxer
Jehane Noujaim, The Square
Joshua Oppenheimer, The Act of Killing
Sarah Polley, Stories We Tell
Lucy Walker, The Crash Reel

Sunday, January 12, 2014

71st Golden Globe Awards

PICTURE (Drama): 12 Years a Slave
ACTOR (Drama): Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
ACTRESS (Drama): Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine


PICTURE (Musical or Comedy): American Hustle
ACTOR (Musical or Comedy): Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
ACTRESS (Musical or Comedy): Amy Adams, American Hustle


DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
SCREENPLAY: Her- Spike Jonze
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frozen
FOREIGN FILM: The Great Beauty (Italy)
SCORE: All is Lost- Alex Ebert
SONG: "Ordinary Love," Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Golden Globe Predictions

Let's see how badly I can embarrass myself this year.

BEST PICTURE (Drama): Gravity
WHY?  The Hollywood Foreign Press seems likely to go big with Gravity this year.  They like spectacle (they went for Avatar over The Hurt Locker a few years back) and Alfonso Cuarón's space odyssey was the biggest spectacle of the year.  This is a tough year, and while 12 Years a Slave is on its heels, that film (despite its pedigree) may be too specifically American (not to mention difficult to watch) for the eighty some odd (and surely quite odd) members of the mostly European-based HFPA.

BEST PICTURE (Musical or Comedy): American Hustle
WHY?  The HFPA clearly adored David O. Russell's freely associative ABSCAM con film (awarded it seven nods), plus it's an a newfound Oscar frontrunner and truly the most entertaining film in the group.  This should stand as one of the easier picks of the night.


BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
WHY?  Steve McQueen may take this-- the HFPA more than than often swap Picture and Director-- but Gravity is such a directorial feat that it seems likely that even if there is a shift between Picture and Director, Cuarón will remain the one to beat here.

Friday, January 10, 2014

NAACP Image Award Nominations

OUTSTANDING FILM
12 Years a Slave
The Best Man Holiday
Fruitvale Station
Lee Daniels' The Butler
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

DIRECTING
Justin Chadwick, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Lee Daniels, Lee Daniels' The Butler
Malcolm D. Lee, The Best Man Holiday
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Jono Oliver, Home 


ACTOR
Chadwick Boseman, 42
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station
Forest Whitaker, Lee Daniels' The Butler

ACTRESS
Angela Bassett, Black Nativity
Nicole Beharie, 42
Halle Berry, The Call   
Jennifer Hudson, Winnie Mandela
Kerry Washington, Tyler Perry Presents Peeples

SUPPORTING ACTOR
Morris Chestnut, The Best Man Holiday
Cuba Gooding, Jr., Lee Daniels' The Butler
Terrence Howard, The Best Man Holiday
Terrence Howard, Lee Daniels' The Butler 
David Oyelowo, Lee Daniels' The Butler


SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Naomie Harris, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station
Oprah Winfrey, Lee Daniels' The Butler
Alfre Woodard, 12 Years a Slave

Georgia Film Critics Association

PICTURE: Her
DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
ACTOR: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Her- Spike Jonze
ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Short Term 12- Destin Cretton
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frozen
DOCUMENTARY: Stories We Tell  
FOREIGN FILM: No
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Gravity- Emmanuel Lubezki
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gravity- Andy Nicholson
ORIGINAL SCORE: Her- William Butler & Owen Pallett
ORIGINAL SONG: "Please Mr. Kennedy," Inside Llewyn Davis
ENSEMBLE CAST: American Hustle
BREAKTHROUGH AWARD: Brie Larson, Short Term 12, Don Jon, The Spectacular Now
OGLETHORPE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN GEORGIA CINEMA: The Spectacular Now

Iowa Film Critics Awards

PICTURE: 12 Years a Slave
runners-up: Nebraska; American Hustle
DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
runners-up: David O. Russell, American Hustle; Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
ACTOR: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
runners-up: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Bruce Dern, Nebraska
ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
runners-up: Amy Adams, American Hustle; Sandra Bullock, Gravity
SUPPORTING ACTOR: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
runners-up: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Philips; Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave
runners-up: June Squibb, Nebraska; Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
ANIMATED FEATURE: Frozen
runners-up: The Wind Rises; Despicable Me 2
DOCUMENTARY: 20 Feet From Stardom
runners-up: Blackfish; Stories We Tell  

ACE Eddie Award Nominations

The American Cinema Editors "Eddies" are the latest guild to announce their picks for the best of the year.  They're a big one too, as the Film Editing Oscar is sometimes predictive of the Best Picture.

BEST FILM EDITING (Drama)
12 Years a Slave- Joe Walker
Captain Phillips- Christopher Rouse
Gravity- Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger
Her- Eric Zumbrunnen & Jeff Buchanan
Saving Mr. Banks- Mark Livolski

Notice that Her, a comedy by the standards of the Globes gets a drama mention by the ACE Eddies, furthering confusing the line between this years highly subjective comedy/drama divide.

BEST FILM EDITING (Musical/Comedy)
American Hustle- Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers & Alan Baumgarten
August: Osage County- Stephen Mirrione
Inside Llewyn Davis- Roderick Jaynes
Nebraska- Kevin Tent
The Wolf of Wall Street- Thelma Schoonmaker

BEST FILM EDITING (Animated Feature)
Despicable Me- Gregory Perler
Frozen- Jeff Draheim
Monsters University- Greg Synder

BEST FILM EDITING (Documentary Feature)
20 Feet From Stardom- Douglas Blush, Kevin Klauber & Jason Zeldes
Blackfish- Eli Despres
Tim's Vermeer- Patrick Sheffield

Thursday, January 9, 2014

USC Scripter Award Nominations

Sort of a precursor for the Best Adapted Screenplay category, but not completely, the USC Scripter Award honor screenplays based on previously existing material.  But with a text.  They honor both the author of the screenplay as well as the author of the original source.  This years nominees were selected from a panel that consisted of Michael Chabon, Geoffrey Fletcher, Callie Khouri, Michael Ondaatje, Leonard Maltin, Kenneth Turan and Steven Zailian.

What Maisie Knew


The nominees are:

  • 12 Years a Slave- written by John Ridley; adapted from the autobiography by Solomon Northup
  • Captain Phillips- written by Billy Ray; adapted from the non-fiction A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates , Navy SEALs and Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips and Stephen Talty
  • Philomena- written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope; adapted from the non-fiction The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith
  • The Spectacular Now- written by Scott Nuestadter & Michael H. Weber; adapted from the novel by Tim Tharp
  • What Maisie Knew- written by Carroll Cartwright & Nancy Doyne; adapted from the novel by Henry James

Art Directors Guild Nominations

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN (PERIOD FILM)
12 Years a Slave- Adam Stockhausen
American Hustle- Judy Becker
The Great Gatsby- Catherine Martin
Inside Llewyn Davis- Jess Gonchor
Saving Mr. Banks- Michael Corenblith

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN (CONTEMPORARY FILM)
August: Osage County- David Gropman
Blue Jasmine- Santo Loquasto
Captain Phillips- Paul Kirby
Her- K.K. Barrett
The Wolf of Wall Street- Bob Shaw

EXCELLENCE IN PRODUCTION DESIGN (FANTASY FILM)
Elysium- Philip Ivey
Gravity- Andy Nicholson
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug- Dan Hennah
Oblivion- Darrel Gilford
Star Trek Into Darkness- Scott Chambliss 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Vancouver Film Critics Circle

BEST FILM: 12 Years a Slave
BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
BEST ACTOR: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis
BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
BEST SCREENPLAY: Inside Llewyn Davis- Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
BEST FOREIGN FILM: The Hunt
BEST DOCUMENTARY: The Act of Killing

American Society of Cinematographers Nominations

This morning of craziness continues with the ASC nominations.  Ever decisive this year, the guild chose seven (?!#@) choices this year.  A strong field and a strong field of films not nominated, however this appears to be a category all but done with.  Gravity should prevail; cinemaphile purists who get all hot and bothered by the mix of visual effects and old-fashioned cinematography (a worthy argument, if not completely applicable within an awards context) will continue to be outraged.

12 Years a Slave- Sean Bobbitt, BSC

Captain Phillips- Barry Ackroyd, BSC

The Grandmaster- Philippe Le Sourd

Gravity- Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC

Inside Llewyn Davis- Bruno Delbonnel, ASC, AFC

Nebraska- Phedon Papamichael, ASC

Prisoners- Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC

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