January 02, 2015

Tag Archives: Darius Khondji

“Boyhood” takes Best Picture, Director, and Supporting Actress from the New York Film Critics Circle

It’s officially precursor season folks. As such, prepare to hear a lot about various critics groups chiming in with their picks for the best of 2014. This will go on until the major guilds more or less decide things early next year, but for now, it’s the critics stage of the precursors. As such, earlier today the New York Film Critics Circle (or NYFCC for short) announced their winners for the year, crowning Richard Linklater’s Boyhood as the big victor of the afternoon. They also brought a few contenders back to life, like The Immigrant for example, but it was mostly a triumphant precursor for Boyhood.
Linklater’s film was the big winner for sure, one of only two titles (along with the aforementioned The Immigrant) to have multiple citations. Boyhood led the awards with three wins, showing up in Best Picture, Best Director for Linklater, and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette. As such, the fuel to the “Boyhood is the Best Picture frontrunner” fire can burn even brighter, particularly since its main competition in Birdman, The Imitation Game, and Selma all were shut out by the NYFCC voters. Score one for Linklater and company, without a doubt. It’s too early to say if this is the beginning of a sweep, but this is the start that the film needed this awards season.
As I’ve hinted, the other title that did the best was James Gray’s The Immigrant, which picked up a Best Cinematography win for Darius Khondji as well as being half of Marion Cotillard’s Best Actress win (the other half belonging to Two Days, One Night). I don’t think this suddenly makes The Immigrant a serious player again, but it’s a hint that we might see it show up here and there this season. If nothing else, it does help boost Cotillard’s chances in Actress for her other performance.
Among the other major categories, NYFCC bestowed their Best Actor prize upon Timothy Spall for Mr. Tuner (which was a bit of a surprise considering the top tier competition he had), J.K. Simmons took Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash (which wasn’t a surprise at all, at least to me), and The Grand Budapest Hotel pulled off an upset Best Screenplay win. Presumed frontrunners Citizenfour, Ida, and The Lego Movie also won in Best Documentary (or in this case Best Nonfiction) Film, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Animated Film, respectively.
Here now […]

“Birdman”, “Boyhood”, “Nightcrawler”, and “Selma” lead the 30th Spirit Awards nominations

Just a few moments ago, the 2015 Independent Spirit Awards announced their nominations for their 30th annual ceremony, once again providing a mix of future Academy Award nominees and smaller contenders getting their moment in the sun. In terms of the former, Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) lead the nominations with a half dozen citations, followed by Boyhood and Selma with five each. Nightcrawler also scored a total of five, with Whiplash not far behind at four. They mixed with more fringe contenders like Love is Strange (also at four) and the aforementioned smaller players that won’t even sniff Oscar love, such as A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (three nominations). Overall, it was an eclectic mix, to say the least.
I won’t speculate about potential winners just yet, but I will do a quick bit of analysis. Obviously, Birdman, Boyhood, and Selma solidified their causes as top tier Academy Award players, while Nightcrawler and to a lesser degree Whiplash strengthened theirs. There isn’t really a film, filmmaker, or performance that really announced itself as an Oscar contender here, but if you want to stretch, you could say that Big Eyes popping up in Screenplay keeps that potential player afloat.
As always, there were plenty of snubs, particularly in the acting categories, where Oscar Isaac is a notable one, missing for A Most Violent Year. Also, a shutout for The Skeleton Twins boggles my mind. That being said, for the most part bigger names tend to miss for smaller contenders, so it’s hard to get too upset about that sort of thing. As such, I won’t go into who missed out today, though perhaps later in the week I’ll come back to that…
Here now are the full nominations for the Spirit Awards:
2015 FILM INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINATIONS
BEST FEATURE
(Award given to the Producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole
Boyhood
Producers: Richard Linklater, Jonathan Sehring, John Sloss, Cathleen Sutherland
Love is Strange
Producers: Lucas Joaquin, Lars Knudsen, Ira Sachs, Jayne Baron Sherman, Jay Van Hoy
Selma
Producers: Christian Colson, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Oprah Winfrey
Whiplash
Producers: Jason Blum, Helen Estabrook, David Lancaster, Michael Litvak
BEST DIRECTOR
Damien Chazelle
Whiplash
Ava DuVernay
Selma
Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Richard Linklater
Boyhood
David Zellner
Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter
BEST SCREENPLAY
Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Big Eyes
J.C. Chandor
A Most Violent Year
Dan Gilroy
Nightcrawler
Jim Jarmusch
Only Lovers Left Alive
Ira Sachs & […]

What does “Paris” expansion mean for Oscar chances? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The official news, which broke Wednesday night, is that Sony Pictures Classics plans to re-introduce “Midnight In Paris,” Woody Allen’s most lucrative film, to larger audiences with a late summer expansion that will take place on Friday, Aug. 26.
“Heading into the fall, the film continues to distinguish itself and will elevate to another Woody Allen record this weekend when it is set to reach 50 million at the box office, with no signs of slowing down,” the studio says in a release.
And they are absolutely right. The film, from Allen’s standpoint, is a juggernaut. No one would have guessed that, in the twilight of his decades-spanning career, Allen would release a film that would go on to become his highest-grossing to date. Which is why the subtext of the expansion announcement is pretty clear.
Sony Pictures Classics likely is setting the stage for a sizeable Oscar push for Allen’s Parisian romantic comedy.
Realistically, what categories could “Paris” claim? Is a Best Picture slot out of the question? Certainly not, especially with the recently implemented, fluid rules of selecting anywhere from five to 10 nominees. Allen might have a hard time slipping into the Best Director race, given the stiff competition he’s expected to face from Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg, Alexander Payne, George Clooney and more.
I don’t see Owen Wilson’s performance as Best Actor-worthy, but Marion Cotillard could ride a hot campaign to a Best Supporting Actress nod. Screenplay seems like a no-brainer (Allen last was nominated in 2005 for “Match Point”), as does Cinematography for Darius Khondji’s exquisite Paris shots. In fact, “Midnight” could clean up on technical nods when the Oscars are announced.
The news that SPC plans to re-release “Midnight In Paris” into the marketplace means they know they have a hit on their hands, and they’re doing what’s necessary to keep the film on people’s radars during the lengthy awards season. Screeners to Academy and guild members should follow, as well as FYC screenings all fall. Will Allen be up for the campaign? Will his movie lobby without his assistance? It’s going to be an interesting marathon if Allen is in it, as we haven’t seen him immersed in the “game” since 1994’s “Bullets Over Broadway.”
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