<p>Shockwave is pleased with &quot;Transformers:&nbsp;Dark of the Moon's&quot;&nbsp;VES&nbsp;Awards nominations.</p>

Shockwave is pleased with "Transformers: Dark of the Moon's" VES Awards nominations.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

'Harry Potter,' 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' Game of Thrones' lead 2012 Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations

'Tree of Life" is shut out from the digital guild

The Visual Effects Society (VES) today announced the nominees for its 10th Annual VES Awards and the surprise was the exclusion of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life."  Short-listed for the Oscar for Visual Effects, "Life" didn't land any film-centric nominations.

On the film side, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2"  and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" each landed five nominations. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" found four nominations, "Hugo" received three while "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" landed two nods respectively. "The Adventures of Tintin" had the most film nominations - animated or live-action - with six.

On the television side, "Boardwalk Empire"lead the way with four nominations, "Game of Thrones" found three nominations and "Pan Am" and "Terra Nova" each landed two.

As previously announced, Stan Lee will be honored with the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and Douglas Trumbull with the Georges Méliès Award.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;'Melancholia'</p>

 'Melancholia'

National Society of Film Critics picks Lars Von Trier's 'Melancholia'

Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt nab acting awards

"Melancholia," Lars Von Trier's allegorical film about the end of the world, was named best picture by the influential National Society of Film Critics, beating out "Tree of Life" and Iran's "A Separation." 

The film's star, Kirsten Dunst, also walked away with the title of Best Actress, handily defeating "Poetry's" Yun Jung-Hee and awards magnet Meryl Streep ("The Iron Lady"). Brad Pitt won the Best Actor award, for his work in "Moneyball" and "Tree of Life."

"Drive's" Albert Brooks was named in the Best Supporting Actor section for his sinister, against-type turn, while Jessica Chastain was honored for her roles in "Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help." Best Director went to "Tree of Life" helmer Terrence Malick. 

Last year, the NSFC (which includes critics from major publications all over the U.S.) chose "The Social Network" as the top film, with "The Hurt Locker" getting the honor in 2009. 

Here’s the full list of this year's winners:

 

BEST ACTOR
*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree Of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

BEST PICTURE
*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree Of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree Of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Cave Of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
3. Into The Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
3. Midnight In Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Mysteries Of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. The Tree Of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

EXPERIMENTAL
Ken Jacobs, Seeking The Monkey King

FILM HERITAGE

1. BAMcinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective with all titles shown on 16 mm. or 35 mm. film.
2. Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon.”
3. New York’s Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema.
4. Flicker Alley for their box set Landmarks Of Early Soviet Film.
5. Criterion Collecton for its 2-disc DVD package The Complete Jean Vigo.

 

Read Full Post
<p>That's our Billy.</p>

That's our Billy.

Watch: Funny or Die uses Megan Fox to bring Billy Crystal back to Oscar

HitFix
B-
Readers
B-
Has everyone forgotten about Eddie Murphy already?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences teamed up with Funny or Die to create the first promo for this year's 84th Academy Awards which debuted today online.  Not surprisingly, it centers on the search for this year's host, the legendary Billy Crystal. 

Read Full Post
<p>Sandra Bullock is slowly becoming &quot;Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's&quot;&nbsp;best shot at landing an Oscar nomination.</p>

Sandra Bullock is slowly becoming "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close's" best shot at landing an Oscar nomination.

Credit: Warner Bros.

2012 WGA Awards nominations: 'War Horse' and 'Extremely Loud' take an Oscar hit

When you're eligible in this ineligible mix you need the nod

As In Contention's Kris Tapley so eloquently warned us last month, there were many fine screenplays this year that wouldn't be eligible for the 2012 WGA Awards.  Guild awards are a wonderful honor from your peers, but they're also a union honor and if you don't play by the rules you can't get rewarded.  So it goes.

Therefore, it's not too surprising to find a number of unexpected nominees among the field announced by the WGA today.  What's more perplexing is some of the notable omissions ("The Ides of March," "War Horse"), inclusions ("Dragon Tattoo") and one outright rejection by the industry's writers ("Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close").   While guild awards typically signal how their respective Academy branches should vote in regards to nominees and winners, that's not going to be the case this year with so many ineligible contenders.  With that in mind, let's review the adapted and original fields.

Read Full Post
<p>Are these three of your acting Oscar frontrunners? &nbsp;Or are they three other contenders?</p>

Are these three of your acting Oscar frontrunners?  Or are they three other contenders?

Oscar's Acting Races: Who's in and who's out?

it's likely down to the wire this year for all four categories

As awards season enters the last week and a half before Oscar nomination ballots are due, the "great settling," as its been called, isn't yet upon us.  This magical few days or weeks when the collective Academy consciousness coalesces to determine one best picture winner (whether they know it or not) usually occurs before the nominations are announced, but not always.  Yes, "The Artist" is clearly the frontrunner this time around, but its hardly the lock "Slumdog Millionaire" or "The King's Speech" were in recent years.  That could easily change over the next few weeks as guilds such as SAG, PGA and DGA determine their own year end winners.  What's much more intriguing this season, however, are the acting races. 

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Hemsworth in &quot;Thor.&quot;</p>

Chris Hemsworth in "Thor."

Credit: Marvel Studios

'Super 8' and 'Thor' don't make the latest Oscar Visual Effects race cut

'Cowboys & Aliens,' 'Sucker Punch' and 'Sherlock Holmes' also out of contention

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the final 10 contenders for the Visual Effects Oscar today eliminating five previously announced candidates.  The Visual Effects committee has decided that "Super 8," "Thor," "Sucker Punch," "Cowboys & Aliens" and "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" are no longer eligible for a nomination.  Instead, the following 10 films will provide 10-minute excerpts that will be screened by branch members on Thursday, January 19.

Read Full Post
<p>That's right Kristen.&nbsp; &quot;Bridesmaids&quot;&nbsp;got a PGA&nbsp;nomination which means its one step closer to an Oscar nod.</p>

That's right Kristen.  "Bridesmaids" got a PGA nomination which means its one step closer to an Oscar nod.

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Bridemaids,' 'Moneyball,' 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' makes PGA Awards cut

Oscar chances looking dire for 'Harry Potter,' 'Tinker Tailor' and 'Drive'

The Producer's Guid of America announced their 2012 PGA Awards nominations for film this morning and studio fare ruled the day. Unlike the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences which may have anywhere from five to 10 nominees this year, the PGA has decided to remain with 10 nods.

This year's nominees as well as analysis follows:

Read Full Post
<p>Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in &quot;The Iron Lady.&quot;</p>

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

Is it time for 'The Iron Lady's' Meryl Streep to win a third Oscar?

Contrary to critics of the picture its certainly deserved

The hype surrounding Meryl Streep's turn as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's "The Iron Lady" has been relatively constant since her involvement in the project was announced in July, 2010.  Beyond the fact Streep's involvement in any drama immediately makes it Oscar bait, Thatcher was an incredibly polarizing figure in Great Britain.  She broke new ground as the country's first female PM and stood firm by Ronald Reagan in the last days of the Cold War, but was despised by the members of the opposition party (Labour) for her economic and Union-busting policies (among other issues).  So, in many ways, it wasn't a surprise that the initial reviews for the awards season player were mixed when the film was first screened for critics in London. As Lloyd noted in a conversation we had about the film before the holiday, she found her own friends questioning why she'd direct such a film.

Read Full Post
<p>&quot;Giant,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;The Sound of Music,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;Driving Miss Daisy,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;Forest Gump,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;Gladiator,&quot;&nbsp;&quot;Casablanca&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;The Godfather&quot; are showcased in the official poster for the 84th Academy Awards.</p>

"Giant," "The Sound of Music," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Forest Gump," "Gladiator," "Casablanca" and "The Godfather" are showcased in the official poster for the 84th Academy Awards.

Credit: AMPAS

The Official Poster for the 84th Academy Awards showcases former winners or does it?

HitFix
C
Readers
D+
Which movie didn't win the best picture Oscar?

The Academy released the official poster for the 84th Academy Awards today and boy is it a snoozer.

Featuring bubbles of former Academy winners including "The Sound of Music," "The Godfather," "Driving Miss Daisy," "Forest Gump," "Gladiator," "Casablanca" and "Gone With the WInd."  It also strangely includes "Giant" which was nominated, but didn't win (which makes it a tad out of place).  The poster is also instantly forgettable and looks like a home video cover for the best of an Oscar ceremony compilation.  What the tagline "Life. Camera. Action." has to do with the images is unclear.  Are these movies supposed to be representative of life?  Hmmm. O.K.  We're hoping the show will be better or at least watchable under Billy Crystal, er, producer Brian Grazer.

Read Full Post
<p>Kenneth Branagh at the UK premiere of &quot;My Week with Marilyn&quot;&nbsp;on Nov. 20 in London.</p>

Kenneth Branagh at the UK premiere of "My Week with Marilyn" on Nov. 20 in London.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Kenneth Branagh on the 'method' of playing Olivier and Marvel movies fueling England's film biz

Has he had his own 'Marilyn' on set?

If anyone deserves the 2011 comeback of the year award it may just be Kenneth Branagh. 

The four-time Oscar nominee burst upon the scene in 1989 with his acclaimed adaptation of "Henry V."  It was a remarkable achievement which he both directed and starred in at the ripe old age of 28.  Branagh became a creative force and incredibly prolific during the early to mid-90's with more Shakespeare adaptations such as "Much Ado About Nothing" and a four-hour "Hamlet," the underrated thriller "Dead Again," cult comedy favorite "Peter's Friends" and the studio misfire "Frankenstein." His career hit a major bumpy patch after his villainous turn in the disappointing "Wild Wild West" and the critical drubbing of his musical version of "Love's Labour's Lost" in 2000.  What followed was almost a decade of supporting roles in films such as "Rabbit-Proof Fence," "Valkyrie" and "Pirate Radio" and little substantial directing work.  I remember speaking to Branagah when "Sleuth" screened at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival and he was humbly grateful star and producer Jude Law offered him the chance to helm a movie people were paying attention to.  It was a far cry from a decade earlier when he was the toast of Hollywood and "Hamlet" was perceived as a best picture nominee (which didn't happen although it did land four nominations).

Read Full Post