A slew of potential nominees for the 86th Academy Awards attended the annual Governors Awards Saturday night, where voters were on hand to salute honorees Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Piero Tosi and Steve Martin. While a few were actually friends or relatives of the honorees, 99 percent of them were in full campaign mode (or at least that's what the studios and their publicists were hoping for).
HOLLYWOOD — The Academy kicked off awards season in its own way Saturday night with the presentation of this year's Honorary Oscars at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood. Or, as Martin Short considers them, "The highest honor an actor can receive…in mid-November." But more on that in a moment.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — After a rough start to 2013 ("Stoker," say what?), Fox Searchlight has had a lot to celebrate. The studio's Sundance pickup "The Way, Way Back" was one of the art house hits of the summer earning $21 million, September comedy "Baggage Claim" did an OK $20 million with an $8.5 million budget and Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said" became a surprise indie smash with $16 million and is still going strong (with $20 million well within reach). Oh, and of course, there is that little drama "12 Years a Slave" that critics and audiences have been a tad euphoric for.
As Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" makes its way into limited release today, more reviews are hitting the wire, reflecting a movie that, while not an out-and-out critical knock-out like "Inside Llewyn Davis," "12 Years a Slave" or "Before Midnight," certainly has its champions. Naturally, star Bruce Dern is getting great notices, but co-star Will Forte is getting his fair share of solid ink, too, leading me to wonder if Paramount could have a serious Best Supporting Actor shot with the former "Saturday Night Live" cast member.
The American Society of Cinematographers has named the three cameramen who will be receiving honorary recognition at next year's ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 1. So, if Emmanuel Lubezki is as safe a bet as most seem to think in the feature film category, you can start composing the winners lineup already. Dean Cundey, Eduardo Serra and Richard Rawlings, Jr. will all be celebrated for their careers' work.
Mark Harris notes, as many have before him, that the Academy's Best Screenplay categorizations are a bit confusing. Why should films like "Before Midnight" and "Toy Story 3" compete as adaptations when they're not adapted from anything, simply because they use pre-existing characters? And on the original side of things, are factual or biographical screenplays really that comparable to fiction crafted entirely from the writer's imagination? Harris argues that the only solution is to divide the writing Oscars into three categories: Best Original Screenplay, Best Screenplay Based On Factual Material and Best Adaptation. Even then, though, a part-factual, part-fabricated film like "The Butler" could blur the lines. What do you think? [Grantland]
LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's an Oscar ceremony with dinner, drinks and no commercial breaks: For the fifth consecutive year, the motion picture academy will present its honorary Academy Awards at a private, untelevised, black-tie dinner.
There are a handful of filmmakers looking for rare air this year. If "American Hustle," "Inside Llewyn Davis" and "Nebraska" end up with Oscar nominations for Best Picture in January, then that means David O. Russell, the Coen brothers and Alexander Payne will enter the exclusive company of 11 other filmmakers who have directed three Best Picture nominees in a row. And next year, Bennett Miller will be looking to do the same with "Foxcatcher," which was recently rescheduled for a 2014 release.
In terms of media coverage, the AFI Fest in Los Angeles is generally portrayed as yet another launchpad for big-name Oscar contenders in this crowded season -- headlines were dominated by the US premiere of "Saving Mr. Banks," the surprise package of "Lone Survivor" and so on. All that Hollywood-focused talk, however, tends to obscure what a fine selection of world and art house cinema the festival also showcases -- and it's this lower-profile part of the programme that comes to the fore when it's time for the jury and audience awards to be handed out.