HOLLYWOOD — "Unbroken" is Angelina Jolie's second directorial effort to date, but she bit off a whole lot more than she expected to chew. The production became a huge undertaking, particularly at the script stage when a number of various elements could have been included from the epic life of Louis Zamperini. So it was as important as ever to do a lot of heavy lifting on the page.
The Foundation for the Advancement of African-Americans in Film (FAAAF) announced its nominees for the 15th Annual Black Reel Awards Wednesday morning. Justin Simien's "Dear White People" and Ava DuVernay's "Selma" led the way with 10 nominations each. They were joined by "Belle," "Beyond the Lights" and "Top Five" in the organization's best picture category.
Critics in the UK obviously aren't immune to the charms of "Boyhood," as the film did well with the London Film Critics Circle. Now the Dublin Film Critics Circle has named it the year's best across the channel. The group also revealed its long lists throughout the categories, giving you some insight into which films were in the running. (Personal shout-out to my friends who made the documentary "Showrunners," which got a little love on the documentary list.)
Yeah, the Austin Film Critics Association naturally dug the Austin-set "Boyhood," and yeah, they showed a lot of love for "Nightcrawler." But the single coolest thing they did Wednesday in their awards announcement was single out "Joe" star Gary Poulter, a homeless local non-actor who tragically died after completing work on the David Gordon Green film but who delivered one of the most startling performances of the year. He belongs on any supporting actor ballot, in my humble opinion.
Each year, the Library of Congress selects 25 films to be named to the National Film Registry, a proclamation of commitment to preserving the chosen pictures for all time. They can be big studio pictures or experimental short films, goofball comedies or poetic meditations on life. The National Film Registery "showcases the extraordinary diversity of America’s film heritage and the disparate strands making it so vibrant" and by preserving the films, the Library of Congress hopes to "a crucial element of American creativity, culture and history.” This year’s selections span the period 1913 to 2004 and include a number of films you’re familiar with. Unless you’ve never heard of "Saving Private Ryan," "The Big Lebowski," “Rosemary’s Baby” or "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
During her Gotham Awards tribute speech, Tilda Swinton name-checked one unexpected collaborator just before exiting stage: Chris Lyons, the man behind Fangs FX. A prosthetic effects company specializing in dental wonders, Swinton personally rang Lyons for four films that played in 2014: "Only Lovers Left Alive," "Zero Theorem," "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and "Snowpiercer." For Swinton, the makeover is part of the job. If she can use special effects makeup to inch just a little closer to her vision of the character, she’ll leap at the chance. A new behind-the-scenes video gives those who bow at the Swinton altar a chance to see her undergo this metamorphosis, going from "Snowpiercer" makeup chair to on-set rehearsal with director Bong Joon-ho.
This year's Best Supporting Actress field has more or less firmed up. It seems Patricia Arquette and Meryl Streep are ahead of the pack and have been for weeks. Keira Knightley and Emma Stone are on somewhat solid ground, rounding out the four with the HFPA/BFCA/SAG trifecta. Jessica Chastain is obviously in the mix and we've already written about Tilda Swinton being in the thick of it (as well as about why Minnie Driver deserves to be in the thick of it). Naomi Watts has her SAG nod, but that will probably have to suffice. And so that seems to be the field. But you know who really should be in this conversation? Rene freakin' Russo, that's who.
The Houston Film Critics Society has announced nominations, and no surprise, the three-horse race for critical darling of the year led the way: "Birdman" with 10, "Boyhood" with seven and "The Grand Budapest Hotel" with six. They also throw in a Best Poster category and deign to chart the year's worst.
The Phoenix Film Critics Society ended up splitting their Best Picture and Best Director awards between the two most critically acclaimed (on the circuit) films of the year: "Birdman" and "Boyhood." The former picked up six awards in total, and the only real divergent note throughout is that Keira Knightley won Best Supporting Actress.
Though Circuit underdogs "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Inherent Vice" came close to the top prize, the Toronto Film Critics Association followed suit on Tuesday when it named Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" as the best film of 2014. Collectively, the group called it "a cinematic masterpiece that evokes beauty in life and the inevitable passage of time," adding an honor to Linklater for his "singular achievement."