Forest Whitaker holds his honor alongside colleagues and presenters Michael B. Jordan and Angela Bassett.
Forest Whitaker holds his honor alongside colleagues and presenters Michael B. Jordan and Angela Bassett.
Credit: Getty Images

Forest Whitaker reflects on an amazing year at Santa Barbara Kirk Douglas Award fete

Angela Bassett and Michael B. Jordan turn out to toast the multi-hyphenate

GOLETA, Calif. — Forest Whitaker has a little ritual on the many occasions he has rung in the new year in Santa Barbara. He goes down to the water, sits in the sand with his family, looks out over the ocean and up at the stars, and he reflects on the year that was.

As he transitioned into 2014 last week, there was certainly plenty for the actor to reflect upon. Whether it was giving a SAG-nominated performance in "Lee Daniels' The Butler," appearing in other films like "Black Nativity" and "Out of the Furnace" or producing the critically acclaimed "Fruitvale Station," Whitaker stretched himself considerably in 2013.

He was therefore a perfect choice for the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's 8th annual Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence, which was presented to him at a fundraising dinner in advance of the fest Sunday night.

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<p>Jonah Hill</p>

Jonah Hill

Credit: Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Jonah Hill defends 'Wolf of Wall Street': 'The movie is not glorifying this behavior'

Actor takes on critics of the controversial Martin Scorsese drama

Jonah Hill isn't buying the recent criticisms surrounding "The Wolf of Wall Street."

While being honored at Variety's Creative Impact Awards and 10 Directors to Watch brunch in Palm Springs on Sunday, the actor said he doesn't believe the Martin Scorsese drama glorifies the behavior of penny-stock fraudster Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his associates.

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<p>Amy Adams in &quot;American Hustle.&quot;</p>

Amy Adams in "American Hustle."

Credit: Sony Pictures

'12 Years a Slave' tops North Carolina critics' nominations

Amy Adams scores for 'American Hustle,' but not Jennifer Lawrence

Nope, we're not quite done with the regional critics' awards yet. North Carolina has weighed in with their nominations, and while the list reads much as you'd expect -- "12 Years a Slave," of course, leads with seven mentions -- there are a few quirks and variations here and there. Sarah Paulson notches up a Best Supporting Actress nod for "12 Years a Slave," for example, alongside the ubiquitous Lupita Nyong'o, while John Goodman scores a supporting actor bid for "Inside Llewyn Davis." Most refreshing of all is a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for Francois Ozon's "In the House," though the film oddly doesn't place in their Best Foreign Language Film category. Full list below; everything else at The Circuit.

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<p>Sandra Bullock in &quot;Gravity&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity"

Credit: Warner Bros.

'Gravity' wins four from North Texas film critics

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sandra Bullock take top acting honors

The North Texas Film Critics Association has declared Alfonso Cuarón's "Gravity" the year's best film. The space drama also received prizes for Best Director, Best Actress and Best Cinematography. Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave"), Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club") and Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle" rounded out the acting victories. Check out the full list of winners below and remember to keep track of it all via The Circuit.

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<p>&quot;12 Years a Slave&quot;&nbsp;helmer Steve McQueen receives the Director of the Year Award from star Chiwetel Ejiofor.</p>

"12 Years a Slave" helmer Steve McQueen receives the Director of the Year Award from star Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Credit: Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP

Hanks, McConaughey and more take stock of a great year for movies at Palm Springs awards gala

The awards season dives headlong into the new year

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — The 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala was held Saturday night and a wide array of stars came out to fete and be feted. Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Jane Fonda, Matthew McConaughey, Gary Oldman, U2's Bono, Amy Adams, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep were just a few on hand as the Oscar season dived headlong into the new year.

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<p>Bono speaks at the 25th annual&nbsp;Palm Springs International&nbsp;Film&nbsp;Festival Awards&nbsp;Gala</p>

Bono speaks at the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala

Credit: Frank Micelotta/Invision/AP

U2's Bono speaks out on Nelson Mandela and HIV/AIDS intervention at Palm Springs gala

'We are within reach of declaring the first AIDS-free generation.'

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. — As part of the 25th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival's awards gala Saturday night, rock superstars U2 were recognized with the organization's Visionary Award, the first time the honor has not gone to a filmmaker. The band, whose original song "Ordinary Love" is featured in the film "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" have long been associated with activism, particularly in the realm of AIDS intervention and awareness (a cause dear to Nelson Mandela's heart), and in accepting the honor with bandmate Edge at the Palm Springs Convention Center, lead singer Bono took the opportunity to speak at length about the work being done domestically and internationally. What follows is the entirety of his speech.

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'American Hustle' and 'August: Osage County' stars rule the Palm Springs Gala red carpet

'American Hustle' and 'August: Osage County' stars rule the Palm Springs Gala red carpet

Plus: Sandra Bullock, Colin Farrell, Tom Hanks and more

A slew of former Oscar winners and nominees headed to the desert for the annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards gala Saturday evening.  The reason for the 2 hour plus ride from Los Angeles? Well, almost all of the famous faces on hand are hoping to earn Academy Award nominations later this month or assist a specific film in landing a best picture nod.  It's become a staple on the awards season circuit and one reason stars from "American Hustle," "12 Years A Slave," "August: Osage County" and "Gravity" were on hand.

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<p>Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell's &quot;American Hustle.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Lawrence in David O. Russell's "American Hustle."

Credit: Sony Pictures

'Inside Llewyn Davis' dominates National Society of Film Critics honors

Another win for 'Spring Breakers' star James Franco

The National Society of Film Critics announced its 2013 honorees this afternoon and gave a much needed boost to the Oscar nomination chances for "Inside Llewyn Davis." 

"Davis" earned best film, best director (Joel and Ethan Coen), best actor (Oscar Isaac) and best cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel) honors. The NFSC also gave kudos to "American Hustle's" Jennifer Lawrence for best supporting actress and "Spring Breakers'" James Franco for best supporting actor.  Cate Blanchett once again won another best actress honor for "Blue Jasmine."

The NSFC has over 60 members from publications around the nation and their choices have historically not always lineup with their own local critics groups. The past five previous best film winners include "Amour," "Melancholia," "The Social Network," "The Hurt Locker" and "Waltz with Bashir."  "The Hurt Locker" and "Million Dollar Baby" are the only films the organization has chosen as best film that also won the Oscar for best picture in the past 20 years. You can find a somewhat dated list of the membership on their official website here.

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25 most anticipated prestige films of 2014: 'Inherent Vice,' 'Nymphomaniac,' 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

25 most anticipated prestige films of 2014: 'Inherent Vice,' 'Nymphomaniac,' 'The Grand Budapest Hotel'

Which auteur pieces and likely festival items have us excited?

Earlier this week, Kris, Greg and Drew put their heads together to compile a list of their 25 most anticipated films of 2014. It was certainly a fine, blockbuster-heavy list, but the cinematic buffet ahead of us stretches a lot further than just 25 films -- so we decided there was room for another list, focusing slightly more on the year's more specialist options.

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<p>On the set of &quot;All is Lost&quot;</p>

On the set of "All is Lost"

Credit: Roadside Attractions

Exclusive: Dive behind the scenes of 'All is Lost'

Below the line principals detail the journey of bringing the film to life

"We've done pretty much all you can do to a boat," director J.C. Chandor says of his latest film "All is Lost" in an exclusive featurette we're premiering for you today. And indeed, the production of this film was a substantial undertaking from a crafts standpoint and it's a treat to see all of the principals in one video giving their perspective on the film.

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