Tech Support: 'Budapest,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Exodus' highlight Best Production Design

Tech Support: 'Budapest,' 'Into the Woods,' 'Exodus' highlight Best Production Design

Also: Note an interesting new rule change for the Art Directors Guild Awards

Grandeur often rules the day in Best Production Design, which awards the men and women responsible for a movie's set design and construction. The category typically favors period pieces, though at least one fantasy title tends to find a home every year. It is rare for truly contemporary films to be nominated.

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Citizenfour

'CITIZENFOUR' leads Cinema Eye Honors' nonfiction film awards nominees

'Life Itself' and '20,000 Days on Earth' each earned five mentions

Following the IDA Awards nominations last month, the year’s top documentary contenders come into crisper focus with Thursday’s announcement of Cinema Eye’s 8th Annual Nonfiction Film Awards nominations. Laura Poitras’ "CITIZENFOUR" leads the pack with six nominations, including Outstanding Nonfiction Feature. The inside look at Edward Snowden’s NSA leak also earned praise in Directing, Editing, Production, Cinematography, and the Audience Choice category. Poitras is no stranger to Cinema Eye’s awards — she won the 2011 Directing Award for "The Oath."

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Still Alice - Julianne Moore
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Julianne Moore earns Palm Springs Film Festival’s Best Actress award

The 'Still Alice' lead’s Oscar potential continues to grow

If you’re still questioning whether Julianne Moore will be among the top contenders for this year’s Best Actress prize, allow the Palm Springs International Film Festival to bolster the argument. Announced in a press release, the fest will honor the "Still Alice" actress with its Desert Palm Achievement Award, an annual litmus test for the year’s Oscary-worthy performances.

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Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart and Maria Shriver bring 'Still Alice' home to LA

Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart and Maria Shriver bring 'Still Alice' home to LA

Plus: Moore talks about how 'grateful' they are for the Oscar attention

HOLLYWOOD — It was an emotional evening at the Egyptian Theatre Wednesday night as "Still Alice" finally came "home."

Co-directors and husbands Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland are longtime Los Angelinos and the latter remarked how both men had spent many nights watching films in this same venue, which is the Hollywood home of the American Cinematheque. More importantly, this AFI Fest screening afforded Glatzer, who is in advance stages of ALS, to finally see the movie on the big screen with an audience. He missed the amazing reception at the Toronto Film Festival. He missed the Rome Film Festival. He missed the Hamptons Film Festival. He was not going to miss seeing "Still Alice" in his hometown.

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Hilary Swank says recruiting Tommy Lee Jones to direct 'The Homesman' was easy

Hilary Swank says recruiting Tommy Lee Jones to direct 'The Homesman' was easy

Plus: The benefits of having your co-star direct

Like a number of actors still in the awards season mix, Hilary Swank has been talking about her contender along with films from Sundance or Cannes for a long time. In fact, she's been promoting Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman" from one film festival to another across the country for the past six months. Sitting in a Beverly Hills Hotel room the morning before its last stop, AFI Fest, the two-time Oscar winner admits she's happy to have something so good to talk about.

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Review: 'Selma' is a powerful portrait of Martin Luther King at a crossroads

Review: 'Selma' is a powerful portrait of Martin Luther King at a crossroads

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David Oyelowo is masterful as the iconic civil rights leader

Often we put our heroes on pedestals. Yet, even the greatest men in history have made mistakes, suffered because of their personal vices and doubted themselves at the most critical junctures of their lives. Ava DuVernay's powerful new drama "Selma" tells the tale of the Selma to Montgomery marches that spearheaded the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but at its center is one historically prominent hero who finds himself at a crossroads, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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The Homesman
Credit: Roadside Attractions

See the giant guitar (and other instruments) Marco Beltrami built for "The Homesman" score

It took 21st century tactics to achieve a 19th century sound

Marco Beltrami’s soundtrack for "The Homesman" is like an old photograph. Stare long enough at an 19th century relic and the memories start reverberating through space and time (not to get too "Interstellar" about it). Recreating pioneer era music, mining that Western language, is only part of Beltrami's goal for "The Homesman"; There are twists of ambience and metallic pangs that give old-timey melodies a contemporary sound. Intertwined and layered into the soundtrack, Tommy Lee Jones' film starts feeling less like a transportive period piece than a look backwards from our fixed position in 2014 — an unnerving quality that fits the film’s arduous travelogue. 

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<p>David Oyelowo at the 2014 AFI Fest (left) and the poster for &quot;American Sniper&quot;</p>

David Oyelowo at the 2014 AFI Fest (left) and the poster for "American Sniper"

Credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros.

'Selma' and 'American Sniper' land as an interesting AFI Fest double feature

Which one will light Oscar's fire?

HOLLYWOOD — AFI Fest sure did put together an awkward bloc of scheduling Tuesday night at the Egyptian Theatre. A moving story of a civil rights leader who was gunned down by a sniper followed by… "American Sniper," directed by a guy who talks to a chair and hates Obama. OK, that's a little unfair, but after Chris Rock's zinger Saturday night, it was sort of hard for my mind not to go there with two films that deal with political ideologies in both overt and subtextual ways.

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<p>Timothy Spall</p>

Timothy Spall

Credit: AP Photo

Timothy Spall says the contradictions of 'Mr. Turner' were his key into the character

He's already won awards and nominations, with more surely to come

Timothy Spall has already picked up an award for his performance as J.M.W. Turner in Mike Leigh's meticulous biopic "Mr. Turner." He won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where the film first premiered. He has also received a European Film Awards nomination for his work, a character actor who has picked up the leading man ball and run with it…perhaps even all the way to an Oscar nomination.

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Ralph Fiennes returns to 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' just in time for awards season

Ralph Fiennes returns to 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' just in time for awards season

Wes Anderson's best movie is getting a well deserved spotlight

Eight months after it hit theaters, "The Grand Budapest Hotel" is back in business, and here's hoping Hollywood is paying attention.

Ralph Fiennes joined co-stars Tony Revolori and Jeff Goldblum for a final SAG nominating committee Q&A Monday night in Los Angeles that this pundit was lucky enough to moderate. Most in the packed theater had already seen "Budapest" but wanted a chance to hear the film's stars discuss their journey into Wes Anderson's latest creation in person.

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