En route to Palm Springs yesterday afternoon, I saw the news that the National Society of Film Critics had gone against the flow, where most would have expected a "Boyhood" win, and named Jean-Luc Godard's "Goodbye to Language" the year's best film. What I wasn't fully aware of until this morning was the wave of displeasure it apparently spurred.
In nominations announcements from those critics groups who bother with them, "Birdman" is far and away the leader, even if "Boyhood" remains the overall victor on the winning side. That played out again with the Central Ohio Film Critics Association, which handed Alejandro González Iñárritu's film 10 nominations Sunday morning. One wonders whether the film could lead with the Oscar nods, too, when they are announced in just 11 days.
PALM SPRINGS — The 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival lit up the desert night sky Saturday night with an awards gala recognizing top prospects in this year's Oscar race. Talent from films like "Gone Girl," "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything," "Still Alice" and "Wild," among others, was on hand to ring in the new year with towering statues dished out on a massive stage that seemed to scream out, "This is a serious awards season stop!"
Saturday afternoon, the National Society of Film Critics, "made up of many of the country’s most distinguished movie critics," announced the winners of its annual "Best of" vote. Critical darlings came out on top, with Jean-Luc Godard’s 3-D film "Goodbye to Language" prevailing in the Best Picture category.
Clearly drunk on Netflix’s mass uploading of all 10 "Friends" seasons, the Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced Friday evening that Jennifer Aniston would earn its Montecito Award. The fest’s prestigious accolade reconigzes a performer who has "given a series of classic and standout performances throughout his or her and whose style has made a major contribution to film." Previous winners include Oprah Winfrey, Daniel Day-Lewis, Geoffrey Rush, Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bradem, Naomi Watts, and Annette Bening. SBIFF honors Aniston for her "inspirational performance" in "Cake."
The on-going film vs. digital debate seemed to reach a bit of a fever pitch in 2014. A lot of that had to do with the fight by filmmakers like Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan to maintain Kodak's production of film stock. It was a fight they won in August, while the industry at large would surely prefer to march headlong into the (more affordable) future of ones and zeroes. But this "debate" has remained a somewhat nuanced one, even as the separate passionate sides have presented it as cut and dried.
The future of director commentaries is grim. Without physical DVD releases to bulk up with extras, digital downloads arrive bare boned. The new-fangled iTunes Extras could pave the way for a new era, or independently produced accompaniments could emerge — who wouldn’t pay $1.99 for a podcast commentary, new or old? — but for now, rambling explanations from our favorite filmmakers is a dying art.
Voters are, well, voting, ballots in hand, catching up with screeners and such. As already laid out earlier this week, there's plenty in the news to help curate the field in this way or that, but this is also the time for outright discovery. And you know what film is playing really, really well to voters lately? "Nightcrawler," that's what.
If you were looking for things to be shaken up a little bit in this year's Oscar race, the American Cinema Editors (ACE) offered a slight jolt Friday with the organization's 65th annual list of nominees for film editing. And if you were wondering if "Nightcrawler" might make a serious play on the circuit, well…
As the holiday season comes to a close, Paramount Pictures delivers one more gift. When the studio’s Martin Luther King Jr. biopic "Selma" opens wide on Jan. 9, the film will play for free in the town where it all started: Selma, Alabama.