The Best Animated Feature Film Oscar race is slowly coming together. Big dogs like "How to Train Your Dragon 2" and "The LEGO Movie" have already bowed, while Fox ("The Book of Life") and Focus ("The Boxtrolls") have rolled out footage presentations in recent weeks to stay top of mind. One film we've been assuming would have a place in the 2014 line-up is GKIDS' "Tale of Princess Kaguya" from Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli. We were just waiting for a release date announcement — and now we have it.
We've only recently begun dusting off the Best Original Song contenders section and filling it out with prospective players in the upcoming Oscar race (though the ranking is arbitrary for the moment). You can bet the wonderful "Lost Stars" from "Begin Again" will be a force, and I imagine Stephen Sondheim's original offerings for "Into the Woods" will be in play, too. But another song that deserves to be in the thick of it is "Land Ho!," Keegan DeWitt's title track from Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz's Sundance sensation.
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — If you're going to make your first foray into producing feature films, you can do a lot worse than to have Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey by your side. That's just how things turned out for Juliet Blake, a content producer for TED Talks who has been with "The Hundred-Foot Journey" since before the book was even published.
CENTURY CITY, Calif. — For Guillermo Del Toro to get involved with a new filmmaker, to hop onto a project to produce when it will take him away from his family, away from his life, it goes without saying, it has to be worth it. And when animator Jorge R. Gutierrez came to him with "The Book of Life," an animated feature set for release by 20th Century Fox in October, it checked off a lot of boxes for the "Pacific Rim" director.
Martin Scorsese's "Silence" is finally making its way to the screen. First announcing his intention to direct an adaptation of the acclaimed Shusako Endo novel in 2007, the Oscar-winning filmmaker has directed a trio of narrative features in the intervening years ("Shutter Island," "Hugo" and "The Wolf of Wall Street") but is now closer than ever to realizing his vision for the book, which was the recipient of Japan's prestigious Tanizaki Prize in 1966.
It's a good weekend for catching up on Sundance highlights, big and small. Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" is, of course, the film on everybody's lips at the moment — and deservedly so — but that's no reason to ignore a more modest independent tale of growing up and growing out, albeit at a slightly different age. Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens' droll, laid-back comedy "Land Ho!" is the first collaboration between the two writer-directors, each one with a handful of delicately formed micro-indies behind them, and it is itself a story of an unexpected partnership: the plot centers on two drifting retirees, formerly in-laws, whose friendship is tested and deepened over the course of a spontaneous road trip through Iceland.
"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" is getting killer reviews and I couldn't be happier for Matt Reeves and company. Though I think some of them might be a little too effusive ("Godzilla" remains, for me, the movie of the summer), this is a fantastic showcase. And naturally, the technical prowess on display is phenomenal; pity it seems something else is destined to come along and snatch the Best Visual Effects Oscar from this team every time ("Hugo" in 2011, "Interstellar" this year?).
"Pride" is heading to U.S. theaters.
The winner of the Queer Palm at this year's Cannes Film Festival has been acquired for Stateside distribution by CBS Films, it was announced today. Directed by Tony winner Matthew Warchus from a script by Stephen Beresford, the "dramatic comedy" stars Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton, Dominic West, Paddy Considine, Andrew Scott, Joseph Gilgun, George MacKay and Ben Schnetzer in a fact-based story about the unlikely alliance between LGBT activists and striking mineworkers in the U.K. during the mid-1980s.
Jean-Marc Vallée directed two actors to not only their first Oscar nominations last year, but their first wins, as "Dallas Buyers Club" stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto ended up walking away with gold that felt preordained early in the season. This year he could do the same for Reese Witherspoon, who won the Best Actress Oscar for "Walk the Line" back in 2005 and has a significant opportunity in "Wild" to remind us what she's capable of.
This morning was like Christmas for TV and Emmy fanatics, and among the nominees this year, as usual, were a slew of former Oscar winners.