The 2011 British Orange Film Awards were announced on Saturday evening in London and the big winner, as expected, was "The King's Speech."
As The Weinstein Company works to put the finishing touches on a best picture win for "The King's Speech" at the Academy Awards Feb. 27, the company is also making sure its cupboard isn't bare for next awards season. The mini-major already has "My Week with Marilyn" starring Michelle Williams in the fold, but today the company announced it has acquired the U.S. rights to "Coriolanus," the directorial debut of none other than Ralph Fiennes.
As it appearing there will be little surprises among the winners on Oscar night, a lot of the focus has turned to just how entertaining first time hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway will be. Like the Super Bowl halftime show, Academy Award hosts are many times given a thankless task that few can walk away from with critical raves. Besides Billy Crystal who, let's be frank, became a tad predictable in his later gigs, there hasn't been one host or hosts that made everyone happy. Last year's team up of Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin was an unqualified disaster, Ellen DeGeneres was surprisingly boring and forgettable, Chris Rock made the horrible David Letterman mistake of pissing off the room in his monologue (even though he was funny the rest of the night), Steve Martin's solo acts were a bit dry for some, Hugh Jackman was upstaged by the show's production (not necc a bad thing) and Jon Stewart never seemed entirely comfortable in the position, even during his second go-around. Enter: James Franco and Anne Hathaway.
Last summer, one picture that seemed like a potential awards player was Miramax's "The Debt." The dramatic thriller starred Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington, Jessica Chastain (the upcoming "The Tree of Life" and Sundance premiere "Taking Shelter"), Marton Csokas ("The Bourne Supremacy"), Jesper Christensen ("Casino Royale"), Ciarán Hinds and two-time Oscar nominee Tom Wilkinson. It was also seen as a potential comeback for "Shakespeare in Love" helmer John Madden who has had a rough decade since that surprise Academy Award-winning champ. And, it featured the Oscar-friendly subject matter of a Jewish Mossad crew taking out an evil Nazi doctor now in hiding in East Germany. Add in the prestige of premiering at the Deauville and Toronto Film Festivals this past September and you've got a prime awards season candidate. And then the press saw it.
As I wrote in my review from Toronto, "The Debt" was an incredibly frustrating experience. For the first two acts we witnessed great performances from Mirren, Wilkinson and Chastain and some inspired direction from Madden as the story goes back and forth and the mystery of what happens to the doctor deepens. And then, sadly, the film jumps the shark in a plot turn that made some in my audience gasp in a "you've got to be kidding me reaction." It wasn't surprising then that Disney, which still controlled the picture while they worked out a sale for their Miramax division, pulled out of a late December release (it didn't help that Mirren's other Miramax flick, "The Tempest," was also a turd).
Miramax's new owners took over with no intention of creating a marketing or distribution team which put "The Debt's" future in doubt which was surprising considering that Mirren and Worthington should at least be able to provide some interest in a limited release. Fear not moviefans, Focus Features has come to the rescue.
In a release today, Focus and Miramax announced "The Debt" will be released nationwide Aug. 31. Focus has had a lot of success in that pre-Labor Day weekend slot with such last summer performers as "The Constant Gardener" and "The American." Whether "The Debt" can make a something of a comeback, however, still remains to be seen.
Check out the trailer Disney cut for "The Debt" embedded in this page and share your thoughts below.
At the end of a busy Monday, a few friends got together to discuss their latest achievement. What most of these men had in common is that they have worked together before and they have all been united because of Christopher Nolan. In what was likely the last Q&A to discuss "Inception," Wally Pfister (cinematography), Hans Zimmer (original score), Guy Hendrix Dyas (art direction), visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin (visual effects), Richard King (sound editing), Ed Novick and Gary Rizzo (sound mixing) and special effects supervisor Chris Corbould (Visual Effects) all took some time to reflect on he picture that landed them Oscar nominations this year.
Is it possible that a Meryl Streep movie doesn't have a U.S. distributor yet? is it possible that a movie where Meryl Streep plays a famous historical figure doesn't have a U.S. distributor? You betcha.
Streep has reunited with her "Mamma Mia!" director Phyllida Lloyd for "The Iron Lady," a drama centered on Margaret Thatcher and how she saved her position as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom before and during the Falklands War in 1982. Jim Broadbent, an Oscar winner himself, is on board as Streep's husband Dennis. "Lady" is currently shooting in the U.K.
Amazingly, the producers still haven't made a deal for "The Iron Lady" in the U.S., but Pathe, which reps the film overseas, released the first image of Streep as Thatcher today as they get ready to make big sales at the Cannes Film Festival this May. In a statement from Pathe, Streep remarked, "“I am trying to approach the role with as much zeal, fervour and attention to detail as the real Lady Thatcher possesses – I can only hope my stamina will begin to approach her own."
No one will debate that the subject matter and Streep and Broadbent's pedigree make "Iron Lady" a major prestige and awards play. The question is who will jump on board? Fox Searchlight teamed with Pathe on "127 Hours," but appears as though it will have a busy awards season with Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" and Sundance pick up "Martha Marcy May Marlene." Other potential players such as The Weinstein Company, Focus Features, Summit and Paramount Pictures, on the other hand, all have slots open which could create an intriguing bidding war. Well, as much of a bidding war as you can get for a drama that might top out at only $50 million domestically.
In the meantime, check out the image of Streep as Thatcher as a tease for awards season 2012 and share your thoughts below.
When each nominees name was announced to receive their certificate yesterday at the 83rd Academy Awards luncheon, according to all accounts, the name that got the biggest ovation was a bit of a surprise. It wasn't industry and Academy favorite Jeff Bridges, show co-host and nominee James Franco or the very pregnant and always adorable Natalie Portman. No, the biggest round of applause appeared to be for best actress nominee Annette Bening.
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:
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.
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.