October 28, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

“The Help” earns Ensemble Award at 15th annual Hollywood Film Awards – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Rarely is there a “lock” during the lengthy Oscar season. Films and performances that appear to be frontrunners in the marathon run toward Oscar nominations falter and fade, while other films that had precious little buzz upon release find waves of support when it matters, and ride that momentum to multiple nominations.

That being said, I’d be surprised in Tate Taylor’s blockbuster summer dramedy, “The Help,” found itself shut out of the Oscar race altogether when nominations are announced early next year. Taylor’s adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel has so many checks in its “Win” column – from boffo box office ($147 million domestically and counting) to outstanding performances by Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer and Emma Stone – that one could see why it’s the closest thing to an Oscar lock that we’ve seen this season.

This morning, “The Help” received the first of what should be several nods for its accomplishments, winning this year’s Hollywood Ensemble Acting Award at the 15th annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards. The annual event, hosted by HollywoodNews.com’s parent company, is presented by Starz. It’s widely considered the first awards show of the Oscar season.

Carlos de Abreu, the Founder and Executive Director of the event, says Stone, Davis and Spencer are expected to attend the Oct. 24 event, along with Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O’Reilly, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Cicely Tyson, and Mike Vogel.

An Ensemble award eliminates the difficult decision of singling out one performance from Taylor’s fine cast. Last year, the cast of David Fincher’s “The Social Network” – an eventual Best Picture nominee – was recognized in this category.

The 2011 Hollywood Film Festival has announced they will also honor Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Editor Stephen Mirrione, Production Designer James Murakami and Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar at their annual Awards Gala. Gore Verbinski’s “Rango” will also be honored at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony.

This year’s event will be held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. De Abreu says more winners will be revealed in the coming weeks.

For complete Oscar and Film Festival coverage, visit our Awards Alley for the latest news items, reviews and interviews all season long.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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