Yes, it's finally come to this. After months of festival debuts, cocktail parties and a fake awards show that somehow was aired on a major broadcast network, an awards event that actually means something (sort of) in the Oscar race is happening. The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations are hours away and, in some ways, they are the most competitive in recent memory.
We really shouldn't be having this conversation. It's just too soon. Isn't it?
When Meryl Streep won her third Academy Award for "The Iron Lady," the collective media mindset was that the acting icon had finally joined the three-timer club and any other nominations from that point on would be icing on the cake. A fourth Oscar win? Considering how many times she'd been overlooked since winning no. 2 for "Sophie's Choice" in 1982, it just didn't seem realistic that it would happen anytime soon or at all. Even after landing another Best Actress nod for "August: Osage County," the concept of Streep conceivably winning another statue just didn't register. That is, until now.
Perception is not always reality. Especially in the movie business.
Ever since the first trailer for "Paddington" arrived last March, eyebrows were raised. Would this CG-animated-live action hybrid do Michael Bond's beloved literary bear justice? Many thought the teaser looked more "Smurfs" or (perish the thought) "Garfield" than in the vein of a well-regarded "Fantastic Mr. Fox." It didn't matter that "Harry Potter" and "Gravity" producer David Heyman was shepherding the production; this was a movie that ended up having one bad publicity crisis after another.
Marion Cotillard has had what can only be described as a remarkable seven years. Truly.
Since winning the Best Actress Oscar for her breakthrough performance in "La Vie en Rose" she's starred in Woody Allen's best film this century ("Midnight in Paris"), Christopher Nolan's Best Picture nominee ("Inception"), worked with Michael Mann ("Public Enemies"), smartly joined a Steven Soderbergh ensemble ("Contagion"), headlined a massive French-language hit ("Little White Lies"), was already robbed of a second Best Actress Oscar nomination ("Rust and Bone") and was the center of an acclaimed drama already well on its way to cinephile cult film status ("The Immigrant"). Throw in one flick for her life partner ("Blood Ties"), a paycheck too hard to turn down ("The Dark Knight Rise") and a musical that just didn't work ("Nine") and Cotillard is already well on her way to living legend status. Now, get ready to add "Two Days, One Night" to her glowing resume.
BEVERLY HILLS — It's that time of year, when studios reunite cast and crew from some of their earlier releases to attract a little awards season spotlight. Today, 20th Century Fox had a swanky afternoon lunch at Craft to celebrate "The Fault in Our Stars." The film's premier awards player in the Best Actress race, Shailene Woodley, was on hand as was Ansel Elgort, screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, Laura Dern, producer Wyck Godfrey and the novel's author John Green. Most notably, you realize how important this film is to the studio and how proud they are of it when Jim Gianopulos, the Chairman and CEO, takes time out of his busy day to sit down for lunch with the cast and press on hand.
BEVERLY HILLS — It's been over two months since Jean-Marc Vallée's "Wild" premiered at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival, but the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir finally arrived in Los Angeles, and just in time for the heart of awards season.
As awards contenders rise and fall in the last-minute deluge of film premieres and screenings that is November, one movie that continues to stick with this particular writer is J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year." Sure, that seems silly considering the picture only debuted two weeks ago, but context is everything. We'll spare the names of the three other contenders I've seen since, that I need to remind myself I've actually seen. That's how impressive Chandor's period thriller is.
Chadwick Boseman is looking at me with a huge grin on his face.
On the one hand, the "Get on Up" star is no doubt in a great mood after being celebrated by well-wishers for his performance as the legendary James Brown in last summer's well-received biopic. The late love is thanks to Universal Pictures, who has organized a Sunday brunch at SoHo House West Hollywood to help remind voters about Boseman's critically acclaimed portrayal. Director Tate Taylor ("The Help"), producer Brian Grazer and co-star Craig Robinson are all on hand, but Boseman is the center of the attention.
It should have been bad. It should have been terrible. A live broadcast of the Hollywood Film Awards with Queen "People's Choice" Latifah as host? A network spotlight on the most fake awards show of them all? Even with low expectations, how could talent go on stage and pick up these, cough, "awards" in front of a national audience? An award given to them because they were available to show up and their studios lobbied for it? (At least fans vote for some of the Teen Choice Awards!) Well, watch out Critics Choice Awards because CBS and Dick Clark Productions figured out a way to fashion a much more entertaining two hours than you've delivered the past few years.