December 09, 2016

Tag Archives: Entertainment/Culture

Hollywood Film Awards billed as the launch of awards season

dick clark productions announced today that two-time Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro will be honored with the “Hollywood Career Achievement Award.” The awards ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, on November 1, 2015. The Hollywood Film Awards, the official launch of the awards season®, has recognized excellence in the art of cinema and filmmaking for 18 years, honoring some of the world’s biggest stars. Honorees have gone on to garner many Oscar nominations and wins.
“The Hollywood Film Awards is an incredible brand, previewing some of the biggest movies and stars of the year, while launching the award season,” said Allen Shapiro, CEO of dick clark productions. “We are honored to have Robert De Niro as this year’s recipient of the Hollywood Career Achievement Award.”

Robert De Niro is currently starring in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Intern” and will appear next in 20th Century Fox’s “Joy,” coming out December 25, 2015.
Past honorees of the “Hollywood Career Achievement Award” include Glenn Close, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Keaton and Robin Williams among others.
ABOUT ROBERT DE NIRO
Robert De Niro launched his prolific motion picture career in Brian De Palma’s “The Wedding Party” in 1969. By 1974 he had won the New York Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of his critically acclaimed performance in “Bang the Drum Slowly” and from the National Society of Film Critic for Martin Scorsese’s “Mean Streets.” In 1974 De Niro won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the young Vito Corleone in “The Godfather, Part II.”
In 1980, he won his second Oscar, as Best Actor, for his extraordinary portrayal of Jake La Motta in Scorsese’s “Raging Bull.” De Niro has earned Academy Award nominations for his work in five additional films: as Travis Bickle in Scorsese’s acclaimed “Taxi Driver;” as a Vietnam vet in Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter;” as a catatonic patient brought to life in Penny Marshall’s “Awakenings;” in 1992 as Max Cady, an ex-con looking for revenge, in Scorsese’s remake of the 1962 classic “Cape Fear;” and as a father to a bi-polar son in David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook.”
In 2009, De Niro received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor for his distinguished acting. He also received the Hollywood Actor Award from the Hollywood Film Festival, which he won again in 2012, and the Stanley Kubrick […]

Gerard Kennedy Joins the HollywoodNews.com Team

“There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?”
Yes, Oscar season has once again awoken and its force is powerful. (Oh, you thought I may have been referencing something else…)
The next several months will result in many of the leading contenders for the 88th Annual Academy Awards hitting screens across North America. We have seen many of them already at festivals. Stories of the actors and directors in contention will not be difficult to find. Indeed, they are already popping up on the covers of magazines.

Stories of the below-the-line or “crafts” artists whose work also immeasurably improves our movies are much rarer.
But are these individuals ever artists. Cinematographers whose camera work makes our films, well “movies.” Production designers and set decorators who create the world that characters inhabit. Costume designers and makeup artists who fashion our characters’ appearances. Editors who set the pace. Musicians whose compositions can transform mood and indeed theme. Sound mixers and editors whose audio work turns a movie into something resembling a “real world,” even one that is fantastical. And visual effects artists who create both spectacle and story.
Over the next ten weeks, we will seek to analyze each of the ten “crafts” categories honored by the Academy: Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup & Hairstyling, Music – Original Score, Music – Original Song, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Visual Effects. In doing so, we will explain features of the individual races, such as their different important precursors (they all have different guilds, after all). The idiosyncrasies of the various branches will also be explored, from the independence of the costume designers to the bellwether-like film editors to the insular musicians to the creative makeup artists and hairstylists.
But perhaps most importantly, we will be talking about the artists who are frequently ignored elsewhere in the mainstream press. Many of them will be seeking an overdue first nomination. Others will be seeking an overdue first win. Still others will be veterans with several statuettes on their mantleplace. And many will have found a break that will be catapulting them into the race and, just possibly, their professions’ elites. All will have a unique career trajectory that has brought them to the Oscar race. No matter how they have arrived at where they are and regardless of where we may be going, it is our goal to shine a light on each individual journey.
By the […]

Could “The Martian” be this year’s blockbuster Hollywood Best Picture nominee?

I’ve written a fair amount about The Martian already this year, and still have more planned in advance of its release next week, but having seen the film now, I have more to say. First of all, it’s a terrific movie, one of my favorites of 2015 so far, and a legitimate Academy Award contender. Where exactly will depend on a few factors, but what I want to focus on today is how it can score a Best Picture nomination. Essentially, it will have to be a big financial hit and be the blockbuster nominee of the group. Can it do it? Believe it or not…I think that it can.
I mentioned that this will need to make money, and by that I mean that often Oscar will have a financial hit or two in its Best Picture lineup. Honestly, they almost always need to have made some money, but I’m specifically looking at things that were breakout financial hits. Just look at some of the previous nominees in the categories that have been of this ilk:
2014 – American Sniper
2013 – Gravity
2012 – N/A
2011 – The Help
2010 – Inception, Toy Story 3
2009 – Avatar, The Blind Side, Up
2008 – N/A
2007 – N/A
2006 – N/A
2005 – N/A
2004 – N/A
2003 – The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2002 – The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2000 – N/A
Obviously, there’s an exception with The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, as it won Best Picture, but often it seems like these are meant as filler nominees, meant to boost ratings. Looking at those blockbuster nominees, aside from Avatar, which was kind of a one off situation, and Gravity, none were definitely considered heavily as winners. Luckily for The Martian, it does fit in with those, so that keeps its hopes very much alive…

As always, let me now double back for a quick summary of what The Martian is about, in case you’ve been ignoring this section all the previous times. For astronaut Mark Watney (Damon), the worst case scenario comes true for him on a mission to Mars when his crew (led by Jessica Chastain) thinks he’s been killed while on the surface and takes off for Earth without him. Still alive, but injured and only with supplies for a short period of time, Mark has […]

Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling – “The Big Short” enters 2015 and could shake the Oscar race up

Something kind of big just came our way folks. Yes, the shake up to the awards season that we’ve been hoping for might have made its entrance. The film in question is The Big Short, which was originally set as a high profile 2016 release. Now though, it’s been announced as having a late 2015 release date, with a big debut at AFI Fest as well. As such, the Paramount release has to be considered a potentially big contender in a bunch of categories, particularly since the announcement also coincided with a Trailer dropping. Simply put, it looks very good. It hasn’t been a boring season yet, but the potential was there, so this new contender is welcome in my eyes…
The movie is an adaptation of the Michael Lewis book of the same name. It’s about the housing crisis and the chaos brought on by the banks. Essentially, some tried to take advantage of the looming calamity, while some fought against it. Adam McKay directs and co-writes the adaptation with Charles Randolph, while the giant A-list cast includes Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Melissa Leo, Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, and quite a few more as well. Lewis penned the non fiction books that became The Blind Side and Moneyball, so it’s fair to assume that The Big Short could certainly follow in the Oscar nominated footsteps of both…

What has me so intrigued by this new Academy Award hopeful is that we’ve yet to really see anything that feels like a slam dunk Best Picture nominee. Moreover, I don’t think any of the acting or writing categories are locked up, not to mention Best Director. The closest might be Spotlight of the films that have screened so far (more on that one soon), but the unseen contenders are what we’re really banking on this year. With the rest of 2015 filled with movies that could do well but could also fall short, something like this flick really does give voters one more high profile option. We’re just speculating, but that’s the name of the game.

In terms of awards, The Big Short could wind up all over the place if it’s as good as the Trailer looks. Nominations for Best Picture, Best Director (for McKay), Best Actor (for either Bale, Carell, Gosling, or Pitt, depending on category placement), Best Supporting Actor (some combination of Bale, Carell, Gosling, or Pitt, depending […]

Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for “Our Brand is Crisis”

Yesterday, a Trailer dropped for Our Brand is Crisis, the political drama/satire hybrid that I’ve been predicting for Oscar attention all year. With it, we got our first real look at a film that could certainly liven up the impending awards season. David Gordon Green’s movie is getting a premiere shortly at the 2015 Toronto Film Festival, and assuming reviews are strong, this will quickly become more than just a Sandra Bullock vehicle, but a legitimate Academy Award contender as well. We’ll know soon enough, but this very solid Trailer is a hint that this is something to be excited about, especially if you’re looking for another contender to enter the race.
Here’s a quick refresher on the movie. Basically, it’s based on the documentary of the same name (Our Brand Is Crisis, of course), which focused on the use of American political campaign strategies in South American elections. Specifically, it was a Bolivian politician named Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada hiring James Carville’s political consulting firm to help him win the 2002 Bolivian presidential election. Carville works to use American political campaign strategies, leading to a different outcome than might otherwise have been. For the film, Bullock will play ‘Calamity’ Jane Bodine, basically a stand in for Carville, I believe, though Billy Bob Thornton as a rival consultant with a bald head makes me wonder if he’s actually the Carville stand in. Regardless, aside from Bullock and Thornton, also in the cast are Ann Dowd, Zoe Kazan, Anthony Mackie, Scoot McNairy, and more. Green directs, as mentioned before, with the script penned by Peter Straughan. The potential for something special is certainly there, it seems.
I’d always considered this a player more so than most, and the Trailer that you’ll be seeing below seems to indicate that I might be on to something. Not only does it look to showcase Bullock in a great leading role, it appears to be Green’s largest scale filmmaking to date. It’s easy to look at Our Brand is Crisis and think that it’s a cousin to Ben Affleck’s Argo, which also was produced by George Clooney and Grant Heslov. I’m sure all involved here would be thrilled if this one came even close to what that one did, but there’s certainly a chance.
If there’s one thing the Trailer for this movie really showed us, it’s that we’ve got a showcase for Bullock’s talents on our hands. […]

Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race

We always knew that the beginning of the fall festival season would launch a number of titles into the early Oscar race, but perhaps not to this level so far. Yes, over at the Telluride Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival, almost all of the high profile debuts have been fondly received, giving them momentum going into the awards season. We still have the New York Film Festival later this month to add more potential contenders, but already Telluride and Venice have been a near embarrassment of riches. Even just a quick glance at the early response could make this a crowded precursor season once again.

We’ll start with Venice, which begun first and had the high profile premiere of Everest to kick things off. That disaster epic debuted to mostly solid reviews, though outside of the technical fields I have my doubts that this will contend heavily. Time will tell, but it could techs or bust for Baltasar Kormákur’s movie, which stars an ensemble that includes Jake Gyllenhaal. There was also the bow for Beasts of No Nation, which was incredibly well received, with tons of good work for filmmaker Cary Fukunaga as well as for actors Idris Elba and first timer Abraham Attah. The question here will be distributor Netflix can run a strong awards campaign or not. They’ve had mixed success with their television contenders at the Emmys, so their first film shot could be a tough go. It certainly bears watching though, as the quality is apparently very much there.

The big three over in Italy that have generated the most buzz though seems to be the trio of Black Mass, The Danish Girl, and Spotlight. Each seems to be a player, to one degree or another. Black Mass has gotten mostly solid initial reviews, though most of the time it’s been in praise of Johnny Depp’s performance more than anything else. Depp will be a force to be reckoned with in Best Actor, though the film and perhaps a supporting performance or two (Joel Edgerton, for one) could come along for the ride. Scott Cooper’s flick might not be in a prime spot for Best Picture, but it’s definitely going to hang around. The same can be said of The Danish Girl, which is Tom Hooper’s latest Academy player. Pundits have raved about the performances of Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, so this could potentially be […]

David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?

Much like I said last week, of the many storylines that begin during awards season, few are usually as compelling as the ones centered around who’s most due for an Academy Award. I think that it’s usually pretty satisfying to see a former bridesmaid finally become a bride, as it were. As such, below I’ve made up a list of ten filmmakers who’ve previously been nominated for Oscars but have yet to win one who are in contention this year, after doing the same for actors and actresses previously. I’ve more or less ranked them by how due they are, and just to be fair, I’ve excluded anyone who has already won a prize elsewhere, or any of the myriad contenders who are seeking their first ever nomination by the Academy. Take a look at the writers/directors below and I hope you all enjoy!
Here now are the ten writers and/or directors most due for their first Oscar win:
10. Guillermo del Toro – A bit of a long shot to be sure, but del Toro in some ways is a filmmaker that folks are waiting to deliver an Oscar player once again. He was nominated for Best Original Screenplay when Pan’s Labyrinth came out and now will hope to compete in that category (or even Best Director) for Crimson Peak. I wouldn’t bet on it, but he’s still due to lift up a statue one day, perhaps in Best Foreign Language Feature. It just likely won’t be this year…
9. Billy Ray – Very much under the radar, Ray is one of the industry’s go to screenwriters for prestige fare, and he’s developing into a solid director as well. Nominated in Best Adapted Screenplay for Captain Phillips two years ago, we have Ray in the race this year for both Adapted Screenplay as well as Best Director for the remake of The Secret in Their Eyes. It’s an awards season X factor, but even if it doesn’t happen this time around, his writing will likely get him in before too long.
8. Stephen Frears – Frears is the sort of steady hand that doesn’t always win, but at the same time you would never be surprised to see him rewarded by a group such as the Academy. A two time Best Director nominee (for The Grifters as well as The Queen), he’ll potentially be in play for Director again with The Program, should […]

Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup – Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette

The Telluride Film Festival has announced the 2015 lineup, which runs September 4 – 7.
In addition, Rooney Mara, who stars opposite Cate Blanchett in the Cannes-acclaimed “Carol,” will receive a tribute.
The full lineup of the 42nd Telluride Film Festival is listed below.
“Retour de Flame” (Cby Serge Bromberg)
“Steve Jobs” (Directed by Danny Boyle)
“Ixcanul” (Directed by Jayro Bustamante)
“Bitter Lake” (Directed by Adam Curtis)
“Black Mass” (Directed by Scott Cooper)
“Beasts of No Nation” (Directed by Cary Fukunaga)
“Room” (Directed by Lenny Abrahamsson)
“Spotlight” (Directed by Tom McCarthy)
“Suffragette” (Directed by Sara Gavron)
“Rams” (Directed by Grimur Hakonarson)

The Best of the first three quarters of 2015

Believe it or not, but today is actually the last day of August, which means tomorrow stars September and the final quarter of the year. With this changing of the calendar, I wanted to again give you a bit of a look inside my mind. In short, this will be a quick little look at what I’ve enjoyed most over the first eight months of the year, as opposed to some of my slightly longer outings of this ilk. 2015 has been an interesting cinematic year for sure, so there’s no shortage of films worth praising. I’m keeping it simple this time and not being repetitive with commentary, but this does give you a look at what my favorites of the year so far look like before awards season truly gets underway. That’s something, right?
So far this year, I’ve seen 206 films, including a few that I can’t talk about yet (one is a big Oscar hopeful that I’m just under embargo for), so it’s been a busy 2015 so far. That being said, I’m limiting this to only things that have had a release date before September 1st. As such, that keeps a few great flicks off the list, like Sleeping with Other People and Time Out of Mind, of the titles I can speak freely about. Those will get their due soon enough, but right now they have to be on the outside looking in. The former of those two is sitting very pretty for a spot on my year end Top Ten list right now, so there’s that.
What’s interesting to me, before I reveal the updated list, is that of the over 200 movies I’ve seen, very few are actually going to seriously contend for Academy Award nominations. Excluding what I’m embargoed from discussing, only The End of the Tour, Grandma, Inside Out, Love & Mercy, Mad Max: Fury Road, and maybe Trainwreck will potentially show up anywhere even just on the precursor circuit. Awards season is going to be dominated by late year releases in 2015, that much seems certain. I’m not sure what that says about the year in film, at least right now, but it’s worth making a note of.
Below you’ll see my top ten films of the first three quarters of the year so far, along with my awards. Stay tuned for a longer piece at the end of the year, since there’s […]

“Carol”: Looking at potential Best Adapted Screenplay Hollywood Contender

Hollywood Contenders: As you lovely ladies and gentlemen all must know by now, it’s one thing entirely to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what pundits like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that specific regard, I’m continuing to run down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing on with the series but moving on from the acting categories and hitting the writing ones…starting off with Best Adapted Screenplay.
Here are the ten particular films/scripts that I have in play for Best Adapted Screenplay, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. The Martian – Considering how well I have this film doing in my predictions, it kind of has to be the top dog here, right? Drew Goddard penned this adaptation and is a very underrated writer (he also was the original director for this one), so even if I’m possibly putting this one too high up in predictions, it still deserves a spot in a top five. It’s my frontrunner for now though, until proven otherwise. A make or break debut at the Toronto Film Festival is on the horizon for Goddard and the film on the whole…
2. Carol – Perhaps the safer bet for the category is this one right here. Phyllis Nagy adapted this one and pretty much everyone who saw it at the Cannes Film Festival raved about every aspect of the film. I’d be pretty surprised if this script didn’t wind up being one of the nominated five. It could even be the most likely one to take home the statue, but that remains to be seen. Suffice to say though that Nagy is very much in it.
3. Brooklyn – Another safe bet in the category is Nick Hornby’s adaptation here. He’s a prior nominee in Best Adapted […]

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