As the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals begin, a few companies are beginning to showcase their premier releases for the rest of the year. One of those distributors who is a mainstay at both festivals is Sony Classics. A mini-major with arguably the best track record critically and financially in the business (although Fox Searchlight might have a good argument over the past five years), Classics has a number of intriguing titles on the festival circuit that are hitting theaters soon including Woody Allen's "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger," Stephen Frears' "Tamara Drewe" and Charles Ferguson's documentary "Inside Job."
It's only the first of September, but coinciding with the beginning of the Venice Film Festival, one Hollywood studio has already taken the first shot in what will no doubt be a long and grueling awards season war. Happily, it's one contender this pundit is not-so secretly gunning for.
One of the more intriguing aspects of the success of "Avatar" is what appears to be a more personable James Cameron. Always known as an intense filmmaker on set, the "Titanic" and "Terminator" creator was not necessarily known as publicity shy, but he certainly held many of his future plans and opinions close to the vest. That's changed dramatically since "Avatar's" massive critical and financial success.
As summer comes to an end and award season braces for the triple threat of the Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals, this pundit must once again put his reputation on the line with my annual Oscar in August predictions. This hit or miss list began in 2005 while I was writing the Hollywood Hitlist for MSN. This is the sixth edition and let's just say this prognosticator's soothsaying skills are improving with age.
There are a lot of obvious picks, but let's be honest, it's ludicrous to call winners at this point. Sure, Mo'Nique was a massive frontrunner even this far out a year ago for "Precious," but who knew that certain members of the media would start to campaign against her? Or, "Avatar" sure seemed like it was going to upset increasing favorite "The Hurt Locker" after critical and box office pandemonium hit Hollywood through the Christmas holidays, but the Academy had second thoughts only a few months later. Still, it's an Oscar watcher's duty to fall flat on their face every now and again, but moreover, be correct a good deal of the time. Let's revisit this list in February shall we?
You can't really beat Emma Stone's track record so far. "Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past" aside, the 21-year-old actress has displayed a wealth of talent since her debut in "Superbad" and starring roles in "The House Bunny" and "Zombieland." Still, when the logo for Screen Gems appeared before trailers for her new picture "Easy A," many no doubt assumed this was another forgettable teen comedy from Sony Pictures' genre label. Newsflash: anyone who dismisses "Easy" before seeing it will be making a huge mistake.
It has taken almost two years, but "I Love You Phillip Morris" is finally being released in the United States. Sort of strange for a Jim Carry movie, no? Well, its been a difficult journey for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival selection, but Roadside Attractions has arrived to save the day.
Debuting with strong accolades for stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, "Morris" was expected to be picked up by a mini-major such as Focus Features or Fox Searchlight after its debut, but a number of distributors were scared off by the film's gay content, because as the film jokes, Carrey's character is very gay. Based on a true story, Carrey plays Steve Russell, a seemingly happily married man who has an epiphany on his life after being in a car accident. Deciding to come out of the closet, he goes overboard in his new lifestyle using cons and fraud to support a lifestyle he can't afford. While in jail, he meets Phillip Morris (McGregor) and true love forms. Unfortunately, Russell is back to his old ways out of prison as he tries to build a perfect life for himself and Phillip that, again, he just can't afford.
Francis Ford Coppola, Jean-Luc Godard, Eli Wallach and Kevin Brownlow were announced today as the recipients of this year's Academy of Motion Picture Sciences' Governors Awards.
Coppola, the director of such classics as "The Godfather," "Apocalypse Now" and "Peggy Sue Got Married," will receive the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award. Godard, Brownlow and Wallach will be given honorary Oscar statues during the ceremony which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 13 at the Grand Ballroom at the Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.
Danny Boyle's "127 Hours" starring James Franco is quickly becoming one of the more anticipated films of the fall season. The true story of Aron Ralston, the film is a challenging follow up to "Slumdog Millionaire" for Boyle as a good chunk of Franco's screentime is spent stuck in a desert canyon. One of the most visual inventive filmmakers of his era, Boyle has provided some quick and energetic answers to that quandary in a brand new teaser for the film you can watch embedded here.
Fate stepped in and delayed some inevitable questions for Sandra Bullock after her stunning and improbable awards season ride this past winter. Bullock won her first Oscar for Best Actress for "The Blind Side," but before she could even be tempted by offers for follow up projects was embroiled in an unfortunate tabloid-friendly break up with her now former husband Jesse James. Now, as the fall is upon Hollywood and pictures are locking down early 2011 start dates, Bullock appears to have found her next endeavor.