If you still haven’t seen Steve James’ congenial "Life Itself"... get on that. Along with being a thorough look at film critic Roger Ebert’s life — the good, the bad, and the hilarious — it’s filled with anecdotes from creatives whose lives he touched over the years. A regular on almost every festival circuit, Ebert championed young filmmakers and earned friendships along the way. One such person: Ava DuVernay, who just earned a Best Director Golden Globe-nomination for her film "Selma"
For nearly three-weeks, Sony Pictures has been fortifying security and watching confidential information spill into the cultural conversation after a hacker group calling itself the "Guardians of Peace" broke into the company’s computer systems with chaotic intent. It’s been a weird event to watch from the outside. The leak spawned fun tidbits (the idea that the "Jump Street" franchise may crossover with "Men in Black" sent the Internet into a tizzy) and sour revelations, personal correspondences scrutinized under a microscope. For many, the attack feels harmless — it’s just Hollywood after all! But pulling back to a macro view, the idea that the tap of a few buttons could cripple a major corporation is downright terrifying. What if the info didn’t feel so superfluous? What if criminally obtained knowledge flipped the state of the world forever? Welcome to the scenario revolving around Michael Mann’s new movie "Blackhat." There’s no way to ingest the film’s new trailer without considering the Sony hack. That’s probably a good thing.
Another critics announcement with "Birdman" leading the way. It's really starting to look like that film, "Boyhood" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" as the critical darlings of the year. All three had strong showings with the Detroit Film Critics Society, which also got nice and funky with some "Under the Skin" and "Whiplash" love throughout. Not to mention "The Babadook."
Nice of the San Diego crowd to keep things interesting. "Nightcrawler" led the way with nominations from the SoCal group, picking up nine tips of the hat including for Riz Ahmed in Best Supporting Actor, which is neat. "Gone Girl" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" were a step behind with eight while "Birdman" and "Boyhood" grabbed seven apiece.
After "Birdman" had a great day leading the Golden Globe nominations, it has also turned around and led the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association's list along with "The Grand Budapest Hotel": each film had 10 mentions. "Boyhood" and "Gone Girl" picked up seven each. David Fincher's film was a bit of a homer, noted as a Missouri location shoot in the group's press release.
One of the nicest surprises from this morning's 2015 Golden Globe nominations was the love the Hollywood Foreign Press Association bestowed upon Ava DuVernay's "Selma." The dramatic story behind the historic 1965 Selma-to-Birmingham march earned four nominations including Best Picture - Drama, Best Original Song ("Glory" by John Legend and Common), Best Actor in a Drama (David Oyelowo) and Best Director (DuVernay). It's somewhat disheartening that DuVernay is only the fifth woman nominated by the HFPA (still more than the Academy Awards for the moment) and the first African-American one, but this sort of love for one of the best pictures of the year? We can only hope Oscar is listening.
Sure, it's easy to dismiss an awards show put on by 80 or so journalists you wouldn't know by name and have probably never read or viewed their work. Because they are run by the infamous Hollywood Foreign Press Association, that means the Golden Globes have always ended up just being sort of kitschy fun. The awards telecast where the nominees and attendees always have a wee too much to drink, upsets abound and acceptance speeches actually still sound fresh and sincere. Plus, ever since a formal host was brought in with Ricky Gervais and then Tina Fey and Amy Poehler the show has arguably been more entertaining to watch than big brother Oscar.
When we lost Robin Williams and Mike Nichols this year, I couldn't help but feel an added pang of sadness as the talented actor and director each gifted us with one of the great comedies of the 1990s: "The Birdcage." The film boasts one of my favorite awards season victories, in fact, a Screen Actors Guild win for Best Ensemble at the industry organization's third annual ceremony in 1997. One of the individuals who shared in that victory was Dan Futterman, who finds himself on the circuit again this year as a screenwriter on Bennet Miller's "Foxcatcher."
As Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael Barker tends to put it, mornings like these always turn out to be bittersweet. Because for all of the attention that movies like "Foxcatcher," "Leviathan," "Still Alice" and "Whiplash" may have received from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — a nice cross-section representing the diversity of the SPC slate — there are others like "Mr. Turner," "Saint Laurent" and "Wild Tales" left on the sidelines. But "Foxcatcher" in particular is surging as of late, no thanks to the early critics groups that have virtually ignored the film.
Most Golden Globe nominees were trying to wake up at a God-awful hour on the west coast this morning. Many were doing the same at a more reasonable time in New York. Best Actor in a Drama nominee, SAG Awards nominee and "Theory of Everything" star Eddie Redmayne? Well, Christmas shopping came first.