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Movies - Awards posts

Sunday January 25, 2015

Quote of the Day

“All these films have a believable voice and would not exist if there were not an [individual] expression behind them. And only the people who made it could have made it; they were not designed as products but as real expressions of human emotions.”

--Alejandro G. Iñárritu, accepting the Producers Guild of America award for best film of 2014, and talking about the other talent in the room—specifically, one imagines, Richard Linklater's “Boyhood,” Wes Anderson's “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Bennet Miller's “Foxcatcher,” Damien Chazelle's “Whiplash” and Dan Gilroy's “Nightcrawler.” Pretty much my feelings. Some have complained that 2014 was a weak year for movies but I think the opposite. Even better, those films have been recognized not just by critics but by the industry, which tends to recognize and reward corporate products.

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Posted at 06:48 AM on Jan 25, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Saturday January 24, 2015

And the Producers Guild of America Award Goes to ...

Birdman wins PGA for best film

... “Birdman.”

Most of the pundits assumed “Boyood.” Maybe because the critics awards generally went to “Boyhood.”

The PGAs, for what it's worth, often presage Oscar's best picture winner. At least they have 17.5 times out of 25:

Year PGA: Best Picture
2013 Gravity/12 Years a Slave
2012 Argo
2011 The Artist
2010 The King's Speech
2009 The Hurt Locker
2008 Slumdog Millionaire
2007 No Country for Old Men
2006 Little Miss Sunshine
2005 Brokeback Mountain
2004 The Aviator
2003 Lord of the Rings: Return of the King
2002 Chicago
2001 Moulin Rouge!
2000 Gladiator
1999 American Beauty
1998 Saving Private Ryan
1997 Titanic
1996 The English Patient
1995 Apollo 13
1994 Forrest Gump
1993 Schindler's List
1992 The Crying Game
1991 The Silence of the Lambs
1990 Dances with Wolves
1989 Driving Miss Daisy

SAG is tomorrow night, the DGAs take place on February 7. And if you're wondering if a film has ever won the PGA and DGA and not the Oscar, the answer is yes: three times. In 1995, the GAs went for “Apollo 13” (instead of “Braveheart”), in '98 for “Saving Private Ryan” (instead of “Shakespeare in Love”) and in 2005 for “Brokeback Mountain” (instead of You Know What.) Each time, I'd argue, Oscar blew it.

The PGAs went a different route than the Academy in two other movie categories this year. For best animated feature, it chose “The LEGO Movie,” which the Academy failed to nominate. And in best documentary, it went with “Life Itself,” about the life and times of Roger Ebert, which ditto. 

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Posted at 10:33 PM on Jan 24, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Tuesday January 13, 2015

2014 DGAs Announced: And We're Down to 3 American Indies and 2 (Wait, 1) British Biopic

2014 DGA nominees: Anderson, Eastwood, Linklater, Inarritu and Tyldum

The Fantastic Five.

The Directors Guild of America nominated its five best directors for 2014:

  • Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Clint Eastwood, “America Sniper,”
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu,Birdman
  • Richard Linklater,Boyhood
  • Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game” 

Three of these would be among my five nominees. Not? Eastwood, whose movie I haven't seen (and have doubts about), and Tyldum, whose movie I have (and don't). 

So why does Tyldum get the nod over Whatshisface who directed the other British supersmart biopic, “The Theory of Everything”? Who knows? And think of the dozen, two dozen, more deserving directors that could've, should've, been nom'ed: Bennet Miller, Michael R. Roskam, David Ayer, Ira Sachs, Dan Gilroy, Damien Chazelle, Jean-Marc Vallee, Ava DuVernay, and Paul Thomas Anderson. And that's just from the American movies. 

Seems “Theory of Everything” is out of the running now. So is “American Sniper,” really. It didn't get a nom for SAG cast and the last film that won the AA for best pic without a SAG cast nomination was “Braveheart” in 1995.

What's left? The three American indies (“Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “Grand Budapest”) and the British biopic (“Imitation Game”). 

This is the first DGA nomination for Anderson, Linklater and Tyldum. It's the second for Inarritu (“Babel” in 2006) and the fourth for Eastwood (“Unforgiven,” “Mystic River” and “Million Dollar Baby”).

Oscar nominations Thursday.  

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Posted at 07:57 PM on Jan 13, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Sunday January 11, 2015

The 2014 BAFTA Nominees: 'Budapest,' 'Birdman' and British Biopics

BAFTA nominees 2014

Sherlock Holmes' smarter brother and Finnick Odair announced the nominees last week. 

BAFTA, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, announced its nominations for 2014 at end of last week. Here they are. I've included thoughts, FWTW, on each category:

Best film

  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • The Theory of Everything

Yes, yes, yes, no, no. Seriously, what do people see in these last two movies? They're reductive biopics of supersmart Brits. The leads in each are great. The stories? Meh. But all five films will appear on the Academy's list. What's missing? Folks who know say “Unbroken” and “Selma.” Folks who don't (me) say “The Drop” and “Fury.”   

Best British film

  • '71
  • The Imitation Game
  • Paddington
  • Pride
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Under The Skin

The BAFTAs began this category way back in 1948, but dropped it in 1968 after four of its previous six “Best films” were also “Best British films”: “Lawrence of Arabia,” “Tom Jones,” “Dr. Strangelove,” and “A Man for All Seasons.” They started the category up again 30 years later in 1993. Anyone know why? BTW, I want to see “'71” based on the title alone. I've heard “Paddington” is good. Put it on a double bill with “Kindertransport.” 

Actor

  • Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
  • Ralph Fiennes - The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
  • Michael Keaton - Birdman
  • Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

If I had a vote I'd go Redmayne or Fiennes. But no Tom Hardy? For either film?

Actress

  • Amy Adams - Big Eyes
  • Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
  • Julianne Moore - Still Alice
  • Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
  • Reese Witherspoon - Wild

The main surprise is Amy Adams in place of Mariion Cotillard. Is the latter doomed to win critics' praise but not industry praise for “Two Days, One Night”? Does she need a hand to hold onto, a shoulder to cry on? Marion: call me.

Supporting actor

  • Steve Carell - Foxcatcher
  • Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
  • Edward Norton - Birdman
  • Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
  • JK Simmons - Whiplash

Carell as supporting? The Academy should do that. Otherwise, the list is as expected. 

Supporting actress

  • Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
  • Rene Russo - Nightcrawler
  • Keira Knightley - The Imitation Game
  • Imelda Staunton - Pride
  • Emma Stone - Birdman

Keira, huh? Haven't seen “Pride.” What's missing: Laura Dern for “Wild,” Agata Kulesza for “Ida,” and hey, how about Kim Dickens for “Gone Girl”? But no one's talking that one up.

Director

  • Wes Anderson - Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Damian Chazelle - Whiplash
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - Birdman
  • Richard Linklater - Boyhood
  • James Marsh - The Theory of Everything

Same as pic except Norway's Morten Tyldum, who directed “The Imitation Game,” has been replaced by Damian Chazelle of “Whiplash.” Good move. I would've lost James Marsh, too.

Adapted Screenplay

  • American Sniper - Jason Hall
  • Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn
  • The Imitation Game - Graham Moore
  • Paddington - Paul King
  • The Theory of Everything - Anthony McCarten

No Nick Hornby for “Wild”? Instead Graham Moore for “Imitation Game”? For shame. And the rest? When I post my Oscar nominee wishlist (next week), exactly none of these will be on it. 

Original Screenplay

  • Birdman - Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr, Armando Bo
  • Boyhood - Richard Linklater
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wes Anderson
  • Nightcrawler - Dan Gilroy
  • Whiplash - Damien Chazelle

I'd take all of these in a heartbeat. So odd that I agree almost 100% with original and 0% with adapated. 

Animated Feature

  • Big Hero 6
  • The Boxtrolls
  • The Lego Movie

I would include “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” here. But then it's one of only two animated movies I've seen this year. 

Documentary

  • 20 Feet from Stardom
  • 20,000 Days on Earth
  • Citizenfour
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • Virunga

Maybe there should be a “divisible by 20” category? “20 Feet” won the Oscar last year but apparently didn't make it across the pond until this year. I assume “CitizenFour” will be tough competition. Anyone seen “Virunga”?

Foreign Film

  • Ida
  • Leviathan
  • The Lunchbox
  • Trash
  • Two Days, One Night

I'd go “Ida.” Havent' seen “Leviathan” or “Trash.” Want to see “Leviathan.”

Cinematography

  • Birdman - Emmanuel Lubezki
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel - Robert Yeoman
  • Ida - Lukasz Zal, Ryszard Lenczewski
  • Interstellar - Hoyte van Hoytema
  • Mr Turner - Dick Pope

Good choices all around. I'd go “Ida.”

Costume Design

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Into the Woods
  • Mr Turner
  • The Theory of Everything

Um ... “Budapest”? Not my wheelhouse.

Editing

  • Birdman - Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel - Barney Pilling
  • The Imitation Game - William Goldenberg
  • Nightcrawler - John Gilroy
  • The Theory of Everything - Jinx Godfrey
  • Whiplash - Tom Cross

Anything but the myopic biopics. 

Make-Up and Hair

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel - Frances Hannon
  • Guardians of the Galaxy - Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou, David White
  • Into the Woods - Peter Swords King, J Roy Helland
  • Mr Turner - Christine Blundell, Lesa Warrener
  • The Theory of Everything - Jan Sewell

Um ... “Budapest”?

Music

  • Birdman - Antonio Sanchez
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel - Alexandre Desplat
  • Interstellar - Hans Zimmer
  • The Theory of Everything - Johann Johannsson
  • Under the Skin - Mica Levi

I'd probably go Antonio Sanchez. Cue: single drumbeat. 

Rising Star Award

  • Gugu Mbatha-Raw
  • Jack O'Connell
  • Margot Robbie
  • Miles Teller
  • Shailene Woodley

The ages, from top to bottom: 31, 24, 24, 27, 23. Brit, Brit, Aussie, and two Yanks. Should the Academy do something like this? To draw in the kids? Or is the Academy too old to figure it out? BAFTA is suspect, too. I mean, Shailene Woodley? Rising? Three years ago she was in “The Descendants,” last year “The Spectacular Now.” Way to wake up, gramps. 

Overall, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” had the most nominations (11), followed by “Birdman” and “Theory of Everything” (10 each). “Boyhood” received five nominations. 

The BAFTA awards will be broadcast on February 8.

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Posted at 10:40 AM on Jan 11, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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Monday January 05, 2015

Applauding Six of the 10 PGA Nominated Films

2014 PGA nominees for best film

Among the nominees: “The Theory of Everything,” “Nightcrawler,” “Whiplash,” “Gone Girl” and “Birdman.”

Screw the critics, time for the industry awards. 

The Producers Guild of America, or PGA, announced its 2014 nominees for both film and TV today. Here are its 10 nominated films:

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • Foxcatcher
  • Gone Girl
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Nightcrawler
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

I'm happy to see half of these movies make the list. (Specifically: “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “Foxcatcher,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “Nightcrawler” and “Whiplash.”) I'm resigned to seeing “The Imitation Game” and “The Theory of Everything” on here. Neither deserves it, but they were made to be on these lists, and garner these awards, so here they are. “American Sniper” is a late Eastwood entry (again) that hasn't arrived in Seattle yet, so no comment. “Gone Girl”? Meh.

But eveyrthing else, yay. 

What's missing? Among the assumed nominees: “Selma,” “Unbroken.” Among the good pictures? “The Drop” and “Fury.” 

Does it mean anything for the Oscars? A bit. Every PGA winner since 2006 (“Little Miss Sunshine”) has gone on to win the Academy's best picture. Plus, only one best picture Oscar winner has not been nominated by the PGA: “Braveheart” in 1995. So it's likely your 2014 Oscar winner is above.

The ceremony takes place Jan. 24. 

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Posted at 11:54 AM on Jan 05, 2015 in category Movies - Awards
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