Though the Indiana Film Journalists Association have chimed in with the usual at the top, as "Boyhood" took Best Film and Best Director honors, their decisions in a few areas are pretty interesting. Ralph Fiennes for Best Actor, for instance, and "Under the Skin" for score. The runner-ups throughout are pretty nifty if you're getting tired of the usual.
On Saturday, nearly 30,000 people assembled in New York City’s Washington Square Park for "Millions March NYC," a demonstration protesting the grand jury's decision not to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Staten Island resident Eric Garner, along with broader racial issues that have bubbled to the surface in America throughout 2014. On Sunday, Paramount Pictures held its east coast premiere for director Ava DuVernay’s "Selma" at the city’s lavish Ziegfeld Theater. With a fleet of photographers ready to snap their photos, DuVernay and her cast took advantage of the stage, donning shirts emblazoned with "I Can’t Breathe," Garner’s final words and the unofficial protest slogan, for a striking group photo. The example set the night before could not go unacknowledged.
The Sundance Film Festival announced the addition of 10 new titles to its 2015 program, which features 123 feature-length films and represents 29 countries. The two additions to the premiere category, "True Story" and "A Walk in the Woods," appear to have increased the festival's already potent acquisition market and star power.
The Online Film Critics Society has crowned Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel" the year's best film. Richard Linklater took best director honors for "Boyhood," while Michael Keaton, Rosamund Pike, Edward Norton and Patricia Arquette filled out the acting categories.
The Santa Barbara Film Festival's Cinema Vanguard Award was created in recognition of actors who have forged their own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film. It's makes for as subjective a reading as anything, I suppose, but this year's honorees are a fair enough choice: "The Theory of Everything" stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.
The first paparazzi photos from Terrence Malick’s "Knight of Cups" surfaced in October 2012. Featuring Christian Bale and Natalie Portman playing in the ocean, it looked as poetic and narrative-less as anyone could hope from the "Badlands" and "Tree of Life" director. Since the shoot, Malick shot a second film (set around the Austin music scene... we think) and fought a few legal battles over his "Tree of Life" IMAX companion film "Voyage of Time." So we’ll forgive him that it’s taken this long for "Knight of Cups" to actually make its way on to the theater circuit and towards an actual release date.
Monday morning, the Dallas-Fort Worth film critics declared themselves major "Birdman" fans. Alejandro González Iñárritu’s backstage spectacle took the top spot on the DFW critics association’s 2014 best pictures list, as well as collecting awards for Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography and Best Director. In a nice surprise, DFWCA honored Reese Witherspoon with Best Actress, a prize she’s been continuously in the mix for with other group awards, but has rarely picked up.
The Broadcast Film Critics Association's (BFCA*) annual announcement of nominees is particularly informative for one key reason: it's a broad assessment of the year from a vast voting body. The only two such events prior to the end of the year tend to be this and the Screen Actors Guild's nominations announcement, each setting the early stage in terms of what seems to be appealing across a wide spectrum. Other guilds then add to that equation in January.
So where did the BFCA's chips end up this season?
I've sort of just sat back in muted horror all week as a lot of entertainment journalists have finally gotten their moment in the sun, to act like the Fourth Estate in the wake of the Sony hack, to act as if bitchy emails and spreadsheets documenting famous people's salaries somehow equate to The Pentagon Papers. I've read my computer screen, mouth agape, as writers have tried to explain it away as an unprecedented gray area, when all I see is fundamental black and white. The ethical ickiness has been shrill and it's been shrieking.
HOLLYWOOD — Unknowns making a big splash can be exciting in this industry. Just last year, Barkhad Abdi stood toe-to-toe with Tom Hanks and landed an Oscar nomination for his troubles, when just a year prior, he was driving a limo in Minneapolis trying to find his way. Rocker-turned-actor Miyavi is a different story, though. He never planned on acting. He had carved a place on the stage for himself long before Angelina Jolie came calling, but after "Unbroken," he might be getting a few more calls.