NEW YORK - I'm somewhat torn as to whether to communicate just how awkward my interview with Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams was for Spike Jonze's masterful "Her" last month. Our video editing team did a wonderful job of making it seem less so, but let's just say that Mr. Phoenix lived up to his well deserved reputation. It's one reason you hear a lot more from the wonderfully charming Ms. Adams in the interview embedded at the top of the post than the movie's leading man. Granted, we were able to discuss a bit about Jonze's vision of a future Los Angeles and the changes to the project through production, but it certainly wasn't what I'd hoped for when I walked in the interview room. Certainly not for a film that ended up at no. 9 on my top ten list of 2013.
No one likes to be told what to do, but with just two real days left for Academy members to submit their votes for the 86th Academy Awards ask our Oscar friends to indulge us in some unsolicited advice. It may be their last chance to do the right thing before history is signed, sealed and delivered.
A slew of former Oscar winners and nominees headed to the desert for the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards gala Saturday evening. The reason for the 2 hour plus ride from Los Angeles? Well, almost all of the famous faces on hand are hoping to earn Academy Award nominations later this month or assist a specific film in landing a best picture nod. It's become a staple on the awards season circuit and one reason stars from "American Hustle," "12 Years A Slave," "August: Osage County" and "Gravity" were on hand.
The National Society of Film Critics announced its 2013 honorees this afternoon and gave a much needed boost to the Oscar nomination chances for "Inside Llewyn Davis."
"Davis" earned best film, best director (Joel and Ethan Coen), best actor (Oscar Isaac) and best cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel) honors. The NFSC also gave kudos to "American Hustle's" Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress and "Spring Breakers'" James Franco for best supporting actor. Cate Blanchett once again won another best actress honor for "Blue Jasmine."
The NSFC has over 60 members from publications around the nation and their choices have historically not always lineup with their own local critics groups. The past five previous best film winners include "Amour," "Melancholia," "The Social Network," "The Hurt Locker" and "Waltz with Bashir." "The Hurt Locker" and "Million Dollar Baby" are the only films the organization has chosen as best film that also won the Oscar for best picture in the past 20 years. You can find a somewhat dated list of the membership on their official website here.
Hollywood had a lot to celebrate at the end of 2013. Box office grosses were up to a record $10.9 billion, a .7% increase over 2012. Of course, that's partially due to the fact an average ticket price is now $8. Tickets sold were actually down to 1.35 billion or .4% below last year's pace. Comparatively, however, that really isn't too bad. This year was somewhere in the middle of tickets sold when looking over the past six years. And while it's been 12 years since the modern mark of 1.575 billion sold, the industry is relatively healthy in the U.S. Much more importantly, emerging markets such as China and Russia continue to pump up international grosses which has almost single-handedly helped the movie industry survive the collapse of DVD and home entertainment sales.
Sequels dominated the top 10 movies of the year, but there was some room for an original blockbuster or two when the finally tallies were counted. Before you check out the final ranking of the top 25 in the story gallery below, here are some important lessons Hollywood took in at the turn of the new year.
The Producers Guild of America announced the 10 nominees for theatrical picture and animated picture categories today for the upcoming 25th PGA Awards and familiar names such as "American Hustle," "Gravity," "12 Years A Slave," "The Croods" and "Frozen" made the cut. Surprisingly, the Coen Bros' and Scott Rudin produced "Inside Llewyn Davis" and The Weinstein Company's "Lee Daniels' The Butler" was snubbed from the 10 motion picture honorees.
Think you've had a bad year? Well, you aren't alone. Some of Hollywood's biggest names have experienced 12 months of creative frustration they would prefer to completely forget. We've picked 10 of the most disheartening, but there is some good news around the corner for these famous faces. A number of these favorites are on track to completely turn things around in 2014. The others? Let's just remember 12 months is a long time in the entertainment bubble and anything can happen.
Looking for something to cheer up your day? The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, Paul Feig and Ellen DeGeneres have something that just might do it.
The Library of Congress announced the 25 films selected for the 2013 National Film Registry and they feature some Academy Award winners, a groundbreaking documentary, genre classics and family favorites.
The second chapter of Peter Jackson's adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkein's "The Hobbit," "The Desolation of Smaug," hit theaters this past weekend with mixed results. On one hand, critics thought it was an improvement than "An Unexpected Journey" (58 rating on Metacritic for the original vs. a 66 rating for pt. 2). The box office, on the other hand, showed signs of audience fatigue. "Smaug" earned $73.6 million domestic over its first three days which was a significantly smaller haul than "Unexpected's" $84.6 million last December. Don't cry for Warner Bros. and MGM as "Smaug" is still expected to make a killing overseas. That being said, just scroll throw your twitter or facebook feed and you'll probably find a lot more snarky and negative remarks about the series than you did after "Journey." HitFix's own Drew McWeeny thought Jackson delivered a much better movie this time around. This writer thought it was a marginal improvement at best.