Inside Movies and Pop Culture with Gregory Ellwood
'Mad Men' and 'Modern Family' top TV categories
Two of the Oscar nominees for art direction took home category prizes at tonight's 15th Annual Art Director's Guild Awards and one production designer left out received some validation for her efforts.
"The King's Speech's" Eve Stewart won the Period Film honor, "Inception'" Guy Hendrix Dyas won the Fantasy Film honor and Therese Deprez won the Contemporary Film award during this evening's festivities. On the television side, "Mad Men," "Modern Family," "Saturday Night Live" and the 82nd Academy Awards show were all major winners.
In what appears to be turning into a very competitive race, "Speech" and "Inception" will face off against "Alice in Wonderland," "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1" and "True Grit" on Oscar night. All members of the Academy get to vote for the Art Direction category and their history of going for a fantasy or genre film five out of the last seven years seems to give "Inception" or "Alice in Wonderland" a leg up on the competition. Last year, "Avatar" won the award.
A complete list of this year's ADG honorees is as follows:
Pixar's 'Day & Night' wins animated short
Now everybody looks bad.
The 2011 Annie Awards were announced tonight in Los Angeles and to no one's surprise, DreamWorks Animation's "How To Train Your Dragon" pulled off a clean sweep of all the major awards including Best Animated Feature, Directing in a Feature Production, Storyboarding in a Feature Production, Writing in a Feature Production, Character Animation in a Feature Production and Voice Acting in a Feature Production (Jay Baruchel as Hiccup). This after, as reported previously, Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Studios boycotted the longstanding animation organization after complaints of unfair membership standards and voting.
Aaron Sorkin wins best adapted screenplay for 'The Social Network'
The surprise of the WGA Awards this evening was not that Aaron Sorkin duplicated his USC Scripter win in the best adapted screenplay category, but that Christopher Nolan won his very first guild honor of any kind in the original screenplay race for "Inception."
Nolan, who was shockingly left out of the best director race at the Academy Awards for "Inception," has previously been nominated numerous times by the Producer's and Director's Guilds for "Memento," "The Dark Knight" and "Inception" only to lose every time. Thankfully, his fellow screenwriters ended that streak tonight. It is something of a breakthrough from his peers and considering the complexity of his "Inception" screenplay is richly deserved. Nolan also beat out strong competition from the writing teams behind "The Kids Are All Right" and "The Fighter." He'll face a tougher challenge on Oscar night against "The King's Speech" which was not eligible because of strict Writer's Guild rules.
The other major film winner of the night was "Inside Job" for documentary.
The awards were handed out in a bi-coastal satellite ceremony in both Los Angeles and New York.
Plus: Did Melissa Leo jump the Oscar shark with her own ads?
Many see the USC Scripter Award as a strong indicator of who will win the Oscar for best adapted screenplay. Those pundits might want to do a little research. The two honors have only lined up six times in 23 years meaning the odds of winning both ain't that good. However, two of the last three Scripters did win Oscar, "No Country for Old Men" and "Slumdog Millionaire." Unfortunately, last year's winner, "Up in the Air," did not.
Her majesty calls it 'moving' and 'enjoyable'
Queen Elizabeth II has been a fan of motion pictures for quite some time and that hasn't stopped as she's crept into her mid-80's. Her Majesty, as the Brits like to call her (well, some of them), still entertains about one to two movie premieres a year mostly for charity. With a film about her father's ascension to the throne nominated for 12 Academy Awards and a box office hit both in the U.K. and in the U.S., many were starting to wonder what the Queen thought about Tom Hooper's historical drama "The King's Speech." Well, now we know.
A spokesperson for the Queen spoke to London's The Sun newspaper today the monarch found it both "moving" and enjoyable." No doubt sweet relief for Hooper, Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush and Harvey Weinstein.
According to The Sun, a source noted, ""The Queen loves a good film. 'The King's Speech' is close to the bone as it is a portrayal of her family in the '1930s. But she found it moving and enjoyable. She was clearly amused by some of the lighter moments."
It also appears the Queen was particularly impressed with Firth who plays her father.
She also appears in the film as a young girl and in one particular scene both she and her sister are sad their lives will forever change with their father's abrupt coronation as King.
The Queen previously invited Dame Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for portraying her in the appropriately titled "The Queen," to lunch at Buckingham Palace following her awards season run. It's unclear if Firth, who has been cattily critical of the Royals, will be extended the same invitation.
Plus: Randy Newman will put viewers to sleep
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the performers of the best original song Oscar nominees this year and, happily, most of the original artists will appear live at the Kodak Theater. The only surprise is the inclusion of hipster favorite Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine.
'Boardwalk Empire' and 'The Pacific' take home TV trophies
The 9th Annual VES Awards were held tonight in Los Angeles to celebrate the best visual effects in the entertainment industry and Christopher Nolan, who was on hand to receive the inaugural VES Visionary Award, must have been thrilled with how his blockbuster fared throughout the night.
"Inception" took home four awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual-Effects Driven Motion Picture, the night's biggest prize, thereby dominating the show. The film is also a clear frontrunner to win the visual effects Oscar later this month.
Other big winners included "The Pacific" and "How To Train Your Dragon" which both received three statues. "Halo: Reach" and "Boardwalk Empire" each won two awards. Pixar's Oscar nominated short "Day & Night" won the same honor here.
Plus: Annette Bening gets her due
One of the more intriguing stories left on Oscar night (don't laugh, there are many still) is just which of the five nominees will win the very competitive best documentary. While "Gasland," "Inside Job," "Restrepo" and "Waste Land" are all critically acclaimed works, "Exit Through The Gift Shop" landed on many top ten lists as well and was barely second to "Inside Job" at the box office with an impressive $3.2 million through unconventional distribution.
'Inception' filmmaker honored by Leonardo DiCaprio at Santa Barbara Film Fest
While most of Hollywood was enjoying the 2011 SAG Awards Sunday evening, Christopher Nolan was being lauded at this year's Santa Barbara Film Festival where he was honored with the festival's Modern Master Award.
Plus: A rundown of special pre-Oscar events in Los Angeles
After almost all of "The Avengers" were on stage to present at this year's Golden Globes (out of costume of course), is it any surprise the Academy is bringing in some of the biggest superhero guns it can find to appear at this year's Oscar show? Hugh Jackman is already in the mix, but now AMPAS has revealed Robert Downey, Jr. will return to present at the Kodak Theater as well.
A two-time nominee for "Chaplin" and "Tropic Thunder," Downey, Jr. is best known to moviegoers for his roles as Tony Stark, aka "Iron Man" and as the super sleuth Sherlock Holmes (with a sequel conveniently on the way). Will this entice more young men to tune in this year? Probably not, considering he also presented last year (with Tina Fey), but considering Jackman's hosting stint actually improved those TV demo rating numbers, it can't hurt to try.