Black Film Critics Circle springs for 'Zero Dark Thirty,' 'The Intouchables,' 'Rise of the Guardians'
Daniel Day-Lewis and Jessica Chastain steam roll right along
The Black Film Critics Circle has jumped on the "Zero Dark Thirty" bandwagon, handing the film Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress honors. "Django Unchained" and "Lincoln" each won a pair of awards, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz) for the former, Best Actor (Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Ensemble for the former. Check out the full list of winners below and keep track of the season via The Circuit.
How an intimate play exploring her relationship with her father became one of 2012's most lauded indie films
As indie sensation "Beasts of the Southern Wild" makes its way through the awards season, and director Benh Zeitlin and star Quvenzhané Wallis pick up countless breakthrough prizes along the way, it would be worth bearing in mind how the identity of the film grew from a little play by writer Lucy Alibar.
In the stage production "Juicy and Delicious," there is no little girl. There is a boy, whose father is dying, much like Hushpuppy's in the feature film, and for Alibar, it was a way of working through emotions she was feeling in the midst of a health scare with her own father.
From Adele to Paul Williams, Ennio Morricone to Bombay Jayashri
With the recent reveal of the Academy's list of Best Original Song qualifiers -- all 75 of them -- the music branch has a wide swath of popular artists to choose from. Of course, the branch tends to focus on the work itself, not necessarily the talent involved, but it's worth mentioning that Fiona Apple, Florence + the Machine, Karen O, Christina Aguilera, Adele, Keith Urban, Mumford and Sons, The Bootleggers & Emmylou Harris, Arcade Fire, Dolly Parton, Katy Perry, Paul Williams, Jordin Sparks and Norah Jones are all in the mix. That's quite the role call.
Also: Ann Dowd's self-funded Oscar dream, and 2012's most overlooked gems
Looks like the debate over the depiction of torture in "Zero Dark Thirty" isn't going to end any time soon. Three US senators, all in positions concerning national security, have taken it upon themselves to dismiss the film's portrayal is "grossly inaccurate and misleading" in an open letter to Sony Pictures chairman Michael Lynton. "'Zero Dark Thirty' is factually inaccurate," they write, "and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama (sic) bin Laden is not based on facts, but rather part of the film's fictional narrative," They further accuse the film of having "the potential to shape American public opinion in a disturbing and misleading manner." There is plenty to counter in such claims -- both regarding the events on screen and their relative fictional status -- so I expect this conversation to continue. [Variety]
The 'Argo' director recently praised Marvel's 'Avengers' build and welcomed smart genre projects
The internet was abuzz a few months back when what turned out to be an overzealous report put Ben Affleck in the driver's seat of the planned Warner Bros. team-up film "Justice League." The report was soon enough shot down and everyone went about their business, but in a recent interview about his work on "Argo," Affleck said he hated talking about it in the media at all because the eventual stories shed a negative light on the project.
"I just want to make it clear because it’s not like I had something to even pass on," he said. "Because someone will eventually do 'Justice League' and they'll go, like, 'Ben Affleck passed on it,' and it won't be true. So I don’t mind setting the record straight. It's one of those things where the closest I came was some people talked to me about it like at a meeting. They were like, 'Here's the stuff we’re doing,' you know? 'Here’s what we're looking at.' That kind of thing. And they suggested it. But I don’t think there’s a script. I don’t think there’s anything."
Aussie talks about his SAG Awards and Golden Globes nominated performance
NEW YORK - We've been waiting a long time for Hugh Jackman to sing on the big screen. From his Tony Award-winning turn in "The Boy From Oz" to his three stints hosting Broadway's annual awards show to his lauded turn as Academy Awards host (arguably the best Oscars show over the past decade), Jackman has teased us with his impressive voice, sly dance moves and old school showmanship. Granted, producers have tried to get him to commit to a number of movie musical projects, but most of them have been stuck in development hell for years leaving fans to wonder if we'd ever see Jackman sing in his prime. That's all changed with the actor's SAG and Golden Globes Awards nominated turn as Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables." And, in something of a surprise, it turns out that he had to campaign to get the role.
The director and writer of one of the season's biggest hits discuss their process
NEW YORK -- When he made his way into the director's chair for a new phase in his career, Ben Affleck always assumed that if he came across an existing script, he would likely just take over and re-write it. And of course, he has the credentials: an Oscar for co-writing "Good Will Hunting" with Matt Damon goes a long way toward legitimizing his talent as a writer. But when "Argo" was fired across his bow by Smoke House honchos Grant Heslov and George Clooney, that wasn't the case.
Davis Guggenheim will participate on the U.S. documentary jury
The director will also preside over the competition jury
As I mentioned last week, compared to Cannes and Venice, the Berlin Film Festival tends to look like something of a weak sister when it comes to securing major auteur titles. Their festival curtain-raisers, meanwhile, tend to be on the low-key side: while a good film, this year's opener, "Farewell, My Queen," wasn't exactly an event, while "True Grit" was old news by the time it kicked off the 2011 edition.
Both those traditions have been broken in grand style by this morning's doozy of an announcement. The official festival email slyly mentioned only "Opening Film" in the subject line: upon opening it, I had to blink a few times before believing that, yes, Wong Kar-wai's long, long delayed "The Grandmaster" will indeed be kicking off the Berlinale with its international premiere on February 7. (It's an international rather than a world premiere because it's scheduled for release in China the month before.)
Also: Hooper, Danna honored by Palm Springs, 'Holy Motors' tops IndieWire poll
Though the film itself can't seem to catch much of a break in the awards race -- those omissions from Oscar's VFX and makeup shortlists still sting -- "The Impossible" star Naomi Watts keeps gathering momentum. After neatly scoring SAG, Globe and BFCA nods last week, the actress now has her own vocal Academy advocate (her Julia Roberts, if you will) in the form of Reese Witherspoon. A public fan letter to Watts from Witherspoon, who is not a close personal friend, compares her performance to those of Meryl Streep in "Sophie's Choice" and Sally Field in "Norma Rae" (both Oscar winners, as it happens) and declares "The Impossible" "one of the best films I have ever seen in my entire life." Witherspoon is not the "Impossible" team's first celebrity cheerleader: Angelina Jolie hosted a screening last month. Is this the tip of the iceberg in terms of actors' branch support? [EW]