Nominations for the 26th annual European Film Awards -- the Continent's answer to the Oscars -- will be announced on November 9, with the ceremony to follow on December 7 -- but winners in six categories can already start rehearsing their acceptance speeches, as the EFA has changed the voting system for their technical awards. Instead of nominations and winners being announced and elected simultaneously with the top races, a specially appointed jury has instead chosen a single winner in each case.
In last week's Best Supporting Actress contenders gallery, I mentioned how farcical it was that Felicity Jones was being campaigned in that category for her inarguable lead performance in the title role of Ralph Fiennes' biographical romance "The Invisible Woman" -- category fraud is a fixture of the race now, but some calls are still too dishonest to let stand. Evidently, enough people agreed for Sony Classics to let common sense prevail, as Scott Feinberg reports that the company has switched Jones' campaign to a leading one. A small victory on principle, then -- though Jones is unlikely to be nominated either way for her strong work in the film. (Now, how about an honest supporting campaign for Jones' superb co-star Joanna Scanlan?) [Hollywood Reporter]
It's getting to the time of year when early drafts of year-end Top 10 lists start forming in our heads -- and bar a sudden windfall of previously unseen masterpieces between now and December, one film I'm reasonably confident will be on mine is James Gray's extraordinary romantic melodrama "The Immigrant," in which Marion Cotillard plays a wide-eyed Polish ingenue tussled over by showman brothers Joaquin Phoenix and Jeremy Renner.
The advance buzz on Ridley Scott's "The Counselor" could hardly have been less encouraging. For a film from a major director -- written by Cormac McCarthy, no less -- with a dream cast including Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, Penélope Cruz and Brad Pitt, the fact that it was only shown to critics days before its release seemed to spell disaster. As it is, it seems Fox really wanted to prevent word of the thriller's supposedly nihilistic bleakness from spreading too far; the one thing the critics do agree on is that it's not a crowdpleaser.
Other than that, reviews are all over the map: many have excoriated it, but Manohla Dargis is chief among its vocal champions. Drew McWeeny is somewhere in the middle; I haven't had an opportunity to see it yet. So, over to you: it's pretty obvious this is no awards contender, but is the movie itself a misfire or not? Vote in the poll below, and share your thoughts in the comments.
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is broadcast in special installments throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
On the docket today…
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film has been presented every fall since 2006. The honor frequently goes to a filmmaker or actor in the early awards conversation with a sizable body of work primed for toasting. Previous recipients include Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Harrison Ford, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Harris, John Travolta, as well as Douglas himself at the first annual ceremony. The 2013 edition of the award will go to Forest Whitaker, star of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” at a black-tie Gala dinner in Santa Barbara on Sunday, Dec. 15.
When yesterday's Gotham Award nominations were announced, many noted with some surprise that the very good, very independent and very Gotham-centric "Frances Ha" was left off the list entirely. One of those was Nathaniel Rogers, who wound up accidentally breaking the news to the film's star and co-writer Greta Gerwig. Unsurprisingly, she's not that bothered -- about this, or awards in general. "I think if you're in the film business long enough they eventually get around to you somehow. Or at least when you die a picture of you goes up onscreen ... I also think filmmakers who I love -- sometimes the movies they get recognized for aren't as good as some of their other movies. 'Oh, we sat on it when it was fascinating in the 80s or something, so now we're going to do it!'" [The Film Experience]
Last February’s Academy Awards ceremony produced a nice handful of surprises, but none was more jaw-dropping than the wacky turn of events than when “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” tied for the Best Sound Editing Oscar. I found the moment quite appropriate, actually, as not only were they both deserving victors (in different ways) but they demonstrated different sorts of films that tend to be honored in this category.
Well, that was fast. Late on Tuesday, the news dropped that Sony was pulling George Clooney's "The Monuments Men" from the release calendar. Yesterday, Kris, Greg and I speculated as to when the film would (or should) open in 2014. Today, we got our answer -- and, as Clooney hinted when the news initially broke, the all-star WWII story will indeed be a February release. Deadline revealed that the film has been set for February 7, 2014, booting Sony's "Robocop" remake to February 12 instead.
I guess you could say awards season has officially kicked off, with the Gotham Independent Film Awards -- as usual -- providing the race with its first slate of nominees. And to the surprise of absolutely no one, "12 Years a Slave" leads the field with three nominations -- get used to it coming out on top in pretty every nomination list for the next three months. Those nods include Best Feature (of course), and Best Breakthrough Actor for Lupita Nyong'o, while Chiwetel Ejiofor is mentioned in the newly created Best Actor category.
Its rivals for the top award include the Coen Brothers' upcoming "Inside Llewyn Davis," and three critics' favorites from earlier in the year: "Before Midnight," "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" and "Upstream Color." ("Upstream" lead Amy Seimetz has much to celebrate this morning, having scored a Best Actress nod, as well a Best Breakthrough Director nod for her first feature "Sun Don't Shine.")