Best Documentary Feature remains one of this year's most excitingly competitive Oscar races. While some titles -- notably two critics' favorites, Joshua Oppenheimer's "The Act of Killing" and Sarah Polley's "Stories We Tell" -- have emerged repeatedly in the precursor awards, you'd be hard pressed to name a clear frontrunner, while no inclusions or omissions from the Academy's 15-film shortlist would be truly shocking when the nominations are announced on Thursday.
Female directors dominate the list
Lift the veil on how seemingly mundane environments were achieved
It's amazing, really, how seemingly mundane realities are so elaborately manifested in cinema. So much of what you see on screen, you'd never know, is a digital effect. This is the magic making business and these guys below the line who craft this stuff for us remain largely unsung, and particularly when their work is so invisible (as, often, it should be).
With that in mind, take a gander at the visual effects reel for "The Wolf of Wall Street" below. It takes things up a whole new level where lifting the veil on how things were accomplished is concerned. It's one of the better presentations of such a thing I've seen, and hopefully — whether you're a fan of the film or not — it will give you a whole new appreciation for how it was made.
Also: On White's eviction from the NYFCC, and Cannes' new president
Funny that Cannes named Jane Campion their jury president last week, while the Berlin Film Festival -- which is only three weeks away -- is only announcing their now. Anyway, former Focus Features chief James Schamus is an inspired and discerning pick for the role. The same, in fact, goes for the jury supporting him, an eclectic, international bunch that includes recent Golden Globe nominee Greta Gerwig, two-time Oscar winner Christoph Waltz, Michel Gondry (whose fascinating 2013 film "Mood Indigo" has finally been picked up by Drafthouse Films), Tony Leung and James Bond producer Barbara Broccoli. Can't wait to see what they pick between them. [Berlinale]
The 19th annual celebration happens Thursday night
The Broadcast Film Critics Association has announced recipients of honorary awards for the upcoming Critics' Choice Movie Awards being held on Thursday, Jan. 16.
Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron unveil a theme for the upcoming show
The Academy has announced that the 86th annual Academy Awards will focus on a celebration of movie heroes. The show will honor big-screen real-life heroes, super heroes, popular heroes and animated heroes, both past and present.
'All is Lost' and 'Rush' fail to make the cut
Nominees have been announced for the 50th annual Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards. A sometimes barometer of the Academy's Best Sound Mixing category. But the two awards don't always correspond. In recent years films like "Hanna" and "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" have managed to get in with the Society but failed to be recognized by the sound branch.
What is Team HitFix thinking across the board?
Alright, it's time to just take the dive. Ballots have long been in and nothing as of late can influence the Academy's nominations, so what will be on Thursday, in so many words, will be. What is Team HitFix thinking in the way of final predictions?
How did Team HitFix do?
Nominations will be announced on Thursday
We're in the home stretch with votes being tallied and the line-up of nominees for the 86th annual Academy Awards being readied. We'll know what's what on Thursday, bright and early, as will those who find themselves in this very competitive race.
Guy Lodge, Greg Ellwood and I will have a sweeping list of our predictions for you later today and you can parse them at your leisure. (I'm pretty much decided.) But as we gear up for the big reveal, as ever, I have some thoughts…
'Monsters University' chalks up a win
"12 Years a Slave" may have barely scraped by at the Golden Globes last night, but if it's any consolation, it was a more decisive winner with the North Carolina Film Critics' Association. Steve McQueen's film took six awards, including Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay and three acting wins. Cate Blanchett notched up yet another Best Actress win, "Inside Llewyn Davis" took the other writing award and "Monsters University" got one of its few animated wins of the season. Full list of winners after the jump; catch up with all the awards so far at The Circuit.