Archive | Awards

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LEGO MOVIE Directors Comment On Oscar Snub

Posted on 15 January 2015 by Rich Drees


It’s not an announcement of Academy Award nominations without some surprises and snubs. One of the biggest surprises this year was the snub of critically and publicly popular The Lego Movie not being nominated in either the Best Picture or Best Animated Feature categories. (Which raises the question as to whether Academy members were unsure as to which category to place a nomination for The Lego Movie, thus diluting the support for it across the two categories.)

And while there seems to be an uproar going across the internet about the film’s lack of nominations outside of one for Best Original Song (“Everything Is Awesome”), co-writers and co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller demonstrated a sense of humor about things as they took to twitter to comment.

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GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and BIRDMAN Lead Academy Awards Nominations

Posted on 15 January 2015 by Rich Drees


Director Wes Anderson’s quirky tale of employees and murder at a European hotel between World Wars, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s story of an actor looking for redemption on the stages of Broadway, Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), were the frontrunners at this morning’s announcement of the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards.

In addition to being nominated for Best Picture, Director and Original Screenplay, Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel also received nominations in various creative and technical categories including Best Original Score, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Makeup and Costuming. Conversely, Birdman, while sharing the Best Director, Picture, Original Screenplay and Cinematography categories with Grand Budapest Hotel managed to score nominations in three of the four acting categories – Best Actor for Michael Keaton, Best Supporting Actor for Ed Norton and Best Supporting Actress for Emma Stone – as well as nods for Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.

The number of nominations for Grand Budapest Hotel comes as a bit of a surprise as the film was released last spring, well outside the usual end of the year “Oscar Season” which lead many awards prognosticators to fear that the film might be forgotten come nomination time.

Both Grand Budapest Hotel and Birdman have been heavily touted in a number of year’s end “Best Of” lists from critics groups as well as at various awards ceremonies already.

Following closely behind in the nominations count is The Imitation Game, the story of how the attempt to break Nazi encrypted coded messages during World War Two lead to the invention of the modern computer. The film scored eight nominations including Best Picture, Best Director for Morten Tyldum, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and Best Original Score.

Composer Alexandre Desplat landed a rare double nomination in the Best Original Score category for his work on both The Imitation Game and Grand Budapest Hotel.

Other nominees in the Best Actor category include Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Bradley Cooper for American Sniper and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything. Bradley Cooper’s nomination marks the third year in a row that the actor has been under consideration for Academy Award gold.

Here is the complete list of nominees –

Best Motion Picture
American Sniper
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Performance By An Actor In A Leading Role
Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything”

Performance By An Actor In A Supporting Role
Robert Duvall in “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke in “Boyhood”
Edward Norton in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Mark Ruffalo in “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”

Performance By An Actress In A Leading Role
Marion Cotillard in “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore in “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike in “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon in “Wild”

Performance By An Actress In A Supporting Role
Patricia Arquette in “Boyhood”
Laura Dern in “Wild”
Keira Knightley in “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone in “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”
Meryl Streep in “Into the Woods”

Best Animated Feature Film Of The Year
Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale Of The Princess Kaguya

Achievement in Cinematography
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Emmanuel Lubezki
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Robert Yeoman
“Ida” Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski
“Mr. Turner” Dick Pope
“Unbroken” Roger Deakins

Achievement in Costume Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Milena Canonero
“Inherent Vice” Mark Bridges
“Into the Woods” Colleen Atwood
“Maleficent” Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive
“Mr. Turner” Jacqueline Durran

Achievement in Directing
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Alejandro G. Iñárritu
“Boyhood” Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Bennett Miller
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Wes Anderson
“The Imitation Game” Morten Tyldum

Best Documentary Feature
“CitizenFour” Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky
“Finding Vivian Maier” John Maloof and Charlie Siskel
“Last Days in Vietnam” Rory Kennedy and Keven McAlester
“The Salt of the Earth” Wim Wenders, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado and David Rosier
“Virunga” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

Best Documentary Short Subject
“Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1” Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry
“Joanna” Aneta Kopacz
“Our Curse” Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki
“The Reaper (La Parka)” Gabriel Serra Arguello
“White Earth” J. Christian Jensen

Achievement in Film Editing
“American Sniper” Joel Cox and Gary D. Roach
“Boyhood” Sandra Adair
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Barney Pilling
“The Imitation Game” William Goldenberg
“Whiplash” Tom Cross

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
“Ida” Poland
“Leviathan” Russia
“Tangerines” Estonia
“Timbuktu” Mauritania
“Wild Tales” Argentina

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling
“Foxcatcher” Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier
“Guardians of the Galaxy” Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Alexandre Desplat
“The Imitation Game” Alexandre Desplat
“Interstellar” Hans Zimmer
“Mr. Turner” Gary Yershon
“The Theory of Everything” Jóhann Jóhannsson

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
“Everything Is Awesome” from “The Lego Movie”
“Glory” from “Selma”
“Grateful” from “Beyond the Lights”
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from “Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
“Lost Stars” from “Begin Again”

Achievement in Production Design
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game” Production Design: Maria Djurkovic; Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar” Production Design: Nathan Crowley; Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods” Production Design: Dennis Gassner; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner” Production Design: Suzie Davies; Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Best Animated Short Film
“The Bigger Picture”
“The Dam Keeper”
“Me and My Moulton”
“A Single Life”

Best Live Action Short Film
“Boogaloo and Graham”
“Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)”
“The Phone Call”

Achievement in Sound Editing
“American Sniper” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Martín Hernández and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar” Richard King
“Unbroken” Becky Sullivan and Andrew DeCristofaro

Achievement in Sound Mixing
“American Sniper” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and Thomas Varga
“Interstellar” Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken” Jon Taylor, Frank A. Montaño and David Lee
“Whiplash” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley

Achievement in Visual Effects
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”
“Guardians of the Galaxy”
“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Adapted Screenplay
“American Sniper” Written by Jason Hall
“The Imitation Game” Written by Graham Moore
“Inherent Vice” Written for the screen by Paul Thomas Anderson
“The Theory of Everything” Screenplay by Anthony McCarten
“Whiplash” Written by Damien Chazelle

Original Screenplay
“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” Written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. & Armando Bo
“Boyhood” Written by Richard Linklater
“Foxcatcher” Written by E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman
“The Grand Budapest Hotel” Screenplay by Wes Anderson; Story by Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness
“Nightcrawler” Written by Dan Gilroy

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2014 Award Season’s For Your Consideration Screenplays

Posted on 29 December 2014 by Rich Drees


It’s that time of year, members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are making their final nominations for the various Academy Award categories and the studios are stepping up their promotional game to get their films considered for potential Oscar gold. And as part of that push is posting the scripts that they hope will be in play for the two Best Screenplay categories. If you want some reading material for the new year, here are the links to the the screenplays that we’ve found online at the various studio For Your Consideration sites.

20th Century Fox
The Fault In Our Stars
Gone Girl

A Most Violent Year

Into The Woods

Dreamworks Animation
How To Train Your Dragon 2

The Boxtrolls
Kill The Messenger
The Theory Of Everything

Fox Searchlight
The Grand Budapest Hotel

IFC Films

The Gambler

Roadside Attractions
Dear White People

Get On Up

The Weinstein Company
Big Eyes
The Imitation Game
St. Vincent

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Paramount Would Like You To Consider TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION For The Best Picture Oscar

Posted on 08 December 2014 by Rich Drees


I am reasonably sure that studio execs know that not every film they make is not Academy Awards Best Picture material. Sure, there may be some rather talented work going on in service of a stinker – See the Best Makeup Oscar nomination for Eddie Murphy’s otherwise terrible Norbit (2007) – but they have to be aware that a majority of their releases are not serious contenders for the Academy’s top prize.

That doesn’t seem to stop them from trying though. Case in point, this “For Your Consideration” ad I stumbled across while perusing Paramount’s Academy Award campaign site.


That’s right, Paramount Pictures wants you, if you happen to be an Academy voter, to think about nominating and voting for Transformers: Age Of Extinction for Best Picture this year. And while you’re at it, maybe think about Michael Bay for Best Director and Ehren Kruger for Best Adapted Screenplay. Just, never mind the fact that the film has an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Does Bay actually still have this much juice that he can pressure the studio into this campaign? Sure the movie grossed upwards of a $1 billion at the box office world wide, but surely he can’t be so blinded by his own ego that he can’t realize how ridiculous this all looks? Sure, I can see them touting the film for some technical awards, and we know that it is on the Academy’s shortlist of ten films eligible to be nominated in the Best Visual Effects category. But this just makes Bay and the studio look absolutely foolish.

Just so you know, the nomination process opens on Monday, December 29, 2014 at 8 a.m. PT and closes on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 5 p.m. PT, with the nominations being announced Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015.

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BOYHOOD & BIRDMAN Dominate Boston Critics Best Of 2014

Posted on 08 December 2014 by Rich Drees


Boyhood and Birdman continued their dominance of the year end critics awards last night with director Richard Linklatter’s Boyhood earning five prizes from the Boston Society of Film Critics while director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman earned four. The group named Boyhood its Best Picture of 2014, as well as bestowing on the film their Best Director, Editing and Ensemble Cast awards. In addition to the award for Best Cinematography, Birdman took Best Actor and Supporting Actress wins for stars Michael Keaton and Emma Stone. Birdman and Boyhood shared the award for Best Screenplay.

With both Birdman and Boyhood dominating last week’s New York Film Critics Circle Awards and Gotham Awards, the two appear to be the big front runners as the Academy Award season starts to head into high gear. This also marks the second award this season for Keaton as well as Marion Cotillard who repeated her her dual Best Actress win from the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for her work in both The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Picture – Boyhood
Best Actor – Michael Keaton for Birdman
Best Actress – Marion Cotillard for The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night
Best Supporting Actor – J. K. Simmons for Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress – Emma Stone for Birdman
Best Director – Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Best Screenplay – (tie) Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo for Birdman & Richard Linklater for Boyhood
Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki for Birdman
Best Documentary – Citizenfour
Best Foreign-Language Film (awarded in memory of Jay Carr) – Two Days, One Night
Best Animated Film – The Tale of The Princess Kaguya
Best Film Editing (awarded in memory of Karen Schmeer) – Sandra Adair for Boyhood
Best New Filmmaker (awarded in memory of David Brudnoy) – Dan Gilroy for Nightcrawler
Best Ensemble Cast – Boyhood
Best Use of Music in a Film – Inherent Vice

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Academy Names Ten Contenders On Short List For Best Visual Effects Oscar

Posted on 06 December 2014 by Rich Drees


Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Interstellar are among the ten films named to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ shortlist of movies eligible to nominated for the Best Visual Effects Oscar at the upcoming 87th Academy Awards. The complete list of potential nominees is below.

Having seen all of the films on the shortlist with the exception of Night At The Museum, I would dare say that from a technical standpoint that there isn’t really a clunker title in the group. Interestingly, though, is the fact that neither Biblical epic released this year – Darren Aronofsky’s Noah nor Ridley Scott’s Exodus: Gods And Kings – made the cut.

If one were inclined to wager on such things, the safe bet as to who could win this category is actually tied to the list of nominees for Best Picture. Over the past six years, the winners of the Best Visual Effects Oscar were also Best Picture nominees. Looking at this list, I would say that Interstellar is probably the closest to a lock for a Best Picture nomination, that is if Academy members can get past the film’s length, middling reviews and the controversy over the film’s sound mix. If Academy voters were looking for a populist film to fill a spot on the nominee list then Guardians Of The Galaxy could very well be a contender. However, if none of the pictures here wind up also garnering a Best Picture nomination, then my money would be on Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes.

Here is the complete list films on the shortlist –

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Godzilla
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
  • Interstellar
  • Maleficent
  • Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Inarritu’s BIRDMAN Wins Big At Gotham Awards

Posted on 02 December 2014 by Rich Drees


Hot on the heels of the New York Film Critics Circle naming Boyhood as the Best Film of 2014 and its director Richard Linklater Best Director, the Gotham Awards gave their equivalent crowns to director Alejandro G. Inarritu and his drama Birdman. Birdman star Michael Keaton also nabbed the Best Actor award for his work in the film, while Boyhood won the Gotham’s Audience Award. Julianne Moore took the award for Best Actress as a college professor suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease in Still Alice. Director Laura Poitras’ Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour was the only film to win its category in both the Gotham Awards and the New York Film Critics Circle .

The Gotham Awards are presented annually by the Independent Feature Project.

Taking the stage to accept his award for playing an actor struggling to break free from the public’s conception of him typecast as the lead of a trilogy of superhero films he did decades before, Keaton took advantage of the unique setting to poke fun at his own past work in two Batman films saying “I want to thank the fine folks at Gotham. It feels good to be back home. Not to toot my horn, but when was the last time you saw the Penguin or the Joker cause any problems?”

Given that the Gotham Awards are determined by a panel of five judges for each category rather than voted on in toto by an organization’s membership, the awards aren’t looked at as any sort of bellwether for eventual Academy Award wins. Still, a double win for Birdman does help raise awareness of the film in the minds of Oscar voters as they start to think about the ballots they will be casting next month.

The 24th Annual Gotham Independent Film Award recipients are:

Best Feature: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Best Documentary: CITIZENFOUR
Gotham Independent Film Audience Award: Boyhood
Best Actor: Michael Keaton in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Best Actress: Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Breakthrough Actor: Tessa Thompson in Dear White People
Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director: Ana Lily Amirpour for A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night
Special Jury Award: Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum—for their ensemble work in Foxcatcher
euphoria Calvin Klein Spotlight on Women Filmmakers ‘Live the Dream’ Grant: Chloé Zhao, director, Songs My Brothers Taught Me

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New York Film Critics Name BOYHOOD Best Film Of 2014

Posted on 01 December 2014 by Rich Drees


As the end of the year fast approaches, so too do the number of critics groups that release their best of the year awards. Traditionally, this is kicked off by the New York Film Critics Association and the group has just announced their list of the best in cinema for 2014. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood turns out to be the only film on the list to garner multiple awards – Best Film, Director and Support Actress (Patricia Arquette). Will other critics and awards organizations agree? We’ll see as the season rolls on.

Here’s the complete list of NYFCA winners –

Best Film: Boyhood
Best Director: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Best Actor: Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner)
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard (The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night)
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Best Foreign-Language Film: Ida (Poland, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski)
Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie (directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller)
Best First Film: The Babadook (directed by Jennifer Kent)
Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary): Citizenfour (directed by Laura Poitras)
Best Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel (writer Wes Anderson)
Best Cinematography: Darius Khondji (The Immigrant)
Special Award: Adrienne Mencia

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Neil Patrick Harris To Host The 2015 Oscars

Posted on 15 October 2014 by Rich Drees

NeilPatrickHarrisHeader1I will readily admit that I frequently disagree with the common consensus when it comes to host of the Academy Awards. I thought that such nearly universally panned hosts like David Letterman and Seth McFarland were just the edgy shaking up that the sometime staid ceremony can get while such audience favorites as Billy Crystal and last year’s Ellen DeGeneres have left me cold. But I think that the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ choice for next year’s Oscar ceremony host is one that makes me happy and sounds like a crowdpleaser as well.

The Academy has announced today that Neil Patrick Harris will be the master of ceremonies for the 2015 Academy Awards on next February 22.

Harris has already proven himself capable with well lauded gigs hosting both Emmy and Tony Award shows in previous years. A consummate entertainer in the best sense of the word, Harris has some serious cross-generational appeal that should guarantee good television ratings for the program.

And, let’s face it, with this Oscar gig, that leaves Harris just a Grammy hosting job away from a full hosting-EGOT.

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THE GRANDMASTER Sweeps Hong Kong Film Awards WIth 12 Wins

Posted on 14 April 2014 by Rich Drees

Wong Kar Wai's The Grandmaster

The Grandmaster, director Wong Kar Wai’s dramatic telling of the life of martial arts master Ip Man, swept the Hong Kong Film Awards this weekend, winning in 12 categories including Best Director, Actress (Zhang Ziyi), Best Supporting Actor (Zhang Jin), Screenplay and Action Choreography.

The Grandmaster was released in the United States last year in edited form by the Weinstein Company who has previously indicated that they were not interested in releasing Wong’s original version of the film with Harvey Weinstein’s infamous “Who gives a shit?” response when asked about the original edit being released stateside. Given that the edited version failed to even earn a nomination in the Foreign Language Film category for the Academy Awards maybe you should have given a shit Harvey.

This is Wong’s third best director win at the Hong Kong Film Awards, following Days Of Being Wild (1990) and Chungking Express (1994). Taking to the podium the director stated “I remember it was 1994 when I was last here. It was a short walk from the podium to the stage, but it took me 20 years to come back to this spot.”

Nick Cheung took home his second Hong Kong Film Award, this time the Best Actor Award for his work in Mixed Martial Arts drama Unbeatable. He previously one for his work in Beast Stalker (2008).

The complete winners

Best Film – The Grandmaster
Best Director – Wong Kar Wai (The Grandmaster)
Best Actor – Nick Cheung (Unbeatable)
Best Actress – Zhang Ziyi (The Grandmaster)
Best Supporting Actor – Zhang Jin (The Grandmaster)
Best Supporting Actress – Kara Wai (Rigor Mortis)
Best New Director – Adam Wong (The Way We Dance)
Best New Performer – Babyjohn Choi (The Way We Dance)
Best Screenplay – The Grandmaster
Best Art Direction – The Grandmaster
Best Costume and Make Up Design – The Grandmaster
Best Cinematography – The Grandmaster
Best Film Editing – The Grandmaster
Best Visual Effects – Rigor Mortis
Best Sound Design – The Grandmaster
Best Film From Mainland and Taiwan – So Young
Best Original Film Score – The Grandmaster
Best Original Film Song – The Way We Dance
Best Action Choreography – The Grandmaster
Lifetime Achievement Award – Cheung Yam-yim (The Shaolin Temple)

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