Another day, another regional critics group that dives full force into the "12 Years a Slave" tank. The film dominated the Phoenix Film Critics Society nominations today with 13 mentions. "Saving Mr. Banks" was a distant second nailing down nine, while "Gravity" picked up eight. Jeff Nichols' "Mud" also sparked for the group, picking up as many nominations as top Oscar players like "American Hustle" and "Captain Phillips." It showed up in the group's lengthy Best Picture/Top 10 list category as well as in Best Original Screenplay. Check out the full list below, and remember to keep track of the season via The Circuit.
'Saving Mr. Banks' comes in a distant second
Also: Inside the LAFCA vote, and Hollywood's most overpaid actors
The editing of "The Wolf of Wall Street" has been a long-running story, as Martin Scorsese's film scrambled to get in under the wire -- with reports of various running times (one as long as four hours) along the way. Three-time Oscar winner Thelma Schoonmaker, who is probably more informed than most on this matter, talks to Melena Ryzik about the "shaving down" process, the improvisations she reluctantly had to lose, and the awkward NSFW moments she encountered along the way. “This is a lot of sex and a lot of drugs. It was a bit of a shock at first. Sometimes people would come in the editing room and there’d be some outrageous image on the screen and I’d say, ‘Wait a minute, let me move that off.’” [New York Times]
Did 'Captain Phillips' or 'Saving Mr. Banks' make the cut?
It's probably not fair to say Tom Hanks has experienced a comeback over the past year. He's always been here. His side job as a movie and TV producer has just stolen some of his free time over the past decade or so. 2013 is a watershed for Hanks, however, with acclaimed performances in two Oscar contenders, "Captain Phillips" and "Saving Mr. Banks," now on his resume. "Phillips" has already earned over $100 million domestic, "Banks" is expected to be a major holiday hit and he could earn Academy Award nominations for both films. So on second thought, maybe it's a pseudo comeback.
Check out all the photos from today's announced films
From Michael Fassbender to Shailene Woodley to Keira Knightley to Ryan Reynolds, Sundance's 2014 Premieres slate (full list here) is certainly a star-studded one, and you can take your first glimpse at a number of the selected films - including Gregg Araki's "White Bird in a Blizzard," David Wain's "They Came Together" and William H. Macy's "Rudderless" - in the gallery below.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 16-26 in Park City, Utah.
Neat showcase comes at the perfect time to catch awards voters' attention
As I wrote in yesterday's LAFCA voting live-blog, GKIDS' beguiling French creature feature "Ernest and Celestine" is making strides in the animated Oscar race. Yesterday's win from the LA crowd, pipping early critics' favorite "The Wind Rises" to the post, was an unexpected coup. It did well, too, in the Annie Award nominations, where it joined "Frozen" as the only films to score nods for directing and writing, in addition to the top prize. Add to that the news that the film's English-language version -- featuring the voices of Forest Whitaker and Nick Offerman, among others -- has secured a shiny premiere slot at the Sundance Film Festival, and it's clearly a viable contender.
Did your favorites make the list?
2014 Sundance Film Festival Premieres slate includes Michael Fassbender, Ryan Reynolds and 'The Raid 2'
Big stars and impressive directors for premiere slate
That's certainly a list that looks like a potential Best Picture lineup
The American Film Institute has announced AFI Awards official selections for outstanding motion pictures and television programs this year. And on the film side — which, remember, is limited to American productions — the year is well-represented with top tier studio and indie productions highlighted.
And Matthew McConaughey finally gets some 'Mud' love
The Detroit Film Critics Society has announced nominations for 2013, and it's not "12 Years a Slave" or "Her" or "Gravity" dominating the list, but indie "Short Term 12" and NYFCC winner "American Hustle," with five nods apiece. That's a nice change of pace. "The Wolf of Wall Street" finally shows up in a regional critics list, and it warms my heart to see Matthew McConaughey finally land some precursor recognition for "Mud" (in a truly colorful Best Supporting Actor line-up). Check out the full list below, and keep track of all the goings-on at The Circuit.
With the first wave of precursor announcements behind us, where do we stand?
The New York Film Critics Circle went with "American Hustle" after being gridlocked over whether to choose that film as 2013's Best Picture or "12 Years a Slave." "12 Years" came back around with the first wave of regional critics notices, taking Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics and winning huge with the online Beantown crowd, among others. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association answered their east coast brethren by completely ignoring "Hustle" and finding its own unsettled gridlock between "Gravity" and "Her" for the year's top honor, ending in a tie.
The chatter that has arisen in the wake of this initial precursor wave could have been predicted: it's anyone's game.
At this point last year, "Zero Dark Thirty" was dominating the critics groups' superlative lists. Mid-month, that tide eventually shifted to "Argo," but those were the two and nothing else ever seemed to be dominant. Here we are at the start and four different films have been crowned the year's best by the most respected organizations. Two of them we knew would be in the thick of it, the other two needed the boost of early kudos to insinuate themselves into the race. We're truly off to the races.