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Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards Give Back

By Sean O’Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: “We greatly appreciate all you have done for us through the Hollywood Awards and our “Everybody Can Save a Life!” video contest. Your efforts have saved many lives.” – Paul Dooley, CEO- MatchingDonors.com

“Because of the generosity of The Hollywood Awards, we have just opened our new building at the Academy for Peace and Justice, the first free secondary school serving the very poor in Port-au-Prince… It is because of YOU that we are able to help change the lives of the poorest children of Haiti — children whose names I would love you to get to know, and whose faces I would you love you to see.” – Director Paul Haggis for Artists for Peace and Justice.

For a 15th consecutive year, the Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards continue their mandate of bridging the gap between emerging filmmakers and the film industry, as well as recognizing excellence in established Hollywood, both in front and behind the camera.

In addition to celebrating accomplishments on screen, the Hollywood Film Awards established the “Hollywood Gives Back(r)” program to expand and continue highlighting and assisting important local and national charities to fund raise. Over the years, the Hollywood Film Awards has contributed to such charities as: The Art of Elysium, Artists For Human Rights; Artists for Peace and Justice; Children’s Hospital Los Angeles; the Enough Project; and the children’s charity Variety SoCal among others.

Further, the Hollywood Film Awards selects individuals to be recipients of their “Hollywood Humanitarian Awards” in recognition of their contribution to the betterment of their communities or society at large. Prior recipients include Nobel Peace Prize winner and President of East Timor, Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta, Nobel Laureate Jody Williams, Father Rick Frechette and actor and activist Sean Penn.

Called the “first mandatory stop in the awards season” by the New York Times, the Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony, held respectively at the ArcLight Cinemas in Hollywood, and at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Beverly Hills, will take place from Oct 20 to 24, 2011, and will honor the brightest talents from some of the year’s best films.

The Los Angeles Times recognized the Hollywood Film Awards Gala Ceremony as a “pre-Oscar showcase,” while the laid-back atmosphere in the Beverly Hilton has helped the gala earn the description of “the Oscars without the angst.” (Also from the L.A. Times.). The Gala is a celebration of Hollywood and the art of filmmaking. In the past eight years a total of 73 Oscar nominations and 27 Oscars were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film Awards.

This year should be no different. So far, the talent chosen to be recognized by at the Hollywood Film Awards Gala include: Academy Award-nominated actress Michelle Williams with the “Hollywood Actress Award” for “My Week with Marilyn;” Academy Award-nominated actor Christopher Plummer with the “Hollywood Supporting Actor Award” for “Beginners;” actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt with the “Hollywood Breakthrough Actor Award” for “50/50;” and actress Felicity Jones with the “New Hollywood Award” for “Like Crazy.”

Other honorees include the cast of “The Help” (Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Allison Janney, Chris Lowell, Ahna O?Reilly, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, Sissy Spacek, Mary Steenburgen, Cicely Tyson and Mike Vogel); Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki; Editor Stephen Mirrione; Production Designer James Murakami; and Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar; and Gore Verbinski’s “Rango.”

Additional honorees will be announced 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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