The Berlin Film Festival is generally seen as the least glamorous of the three major European fests: taking place in snowy February, it lands either too late or too early in the calendar to grab the sparkly awards-season hopefuls or the A-list international auteur titles. So landing the world premiere of Wes Anderson's "The Grand Budapest Hotel" as their Opening Film on February 6, 2014 is obviously a great get for the Berlinale -- one that may attract more international press than usual.
The all-star comedy will have its world premiere at the February fest
Can 'The Act of KIlling' score on both sides of the Atlantic?
The European Film Awards are really spreading out their nominations announcement this year -- a couple of weeks ago, we got the nominees for Best Animated Feature, last week brought the winners in the technical categories, and today we have the final three films in the running for Best Documentary Feature. On Saturday, nominees in all remaining categories will be revealed; I guess this is their way of shining an individual spotlight on less covered races.
The usual suspects are sure to dominate but these deserve a boost
The deadline for Golden Globe submissions was Friday and so studios had to declare whether their contenders would be aiming for comedy or drama consideration. Of course, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) can overturn these categorizations, as they have in the past with films like "True Grit." Between now and the time ballots go out to members of the organization on Nov. 27, the group may do that with one or more of the films that straddle the line between comedy and drama, but it's a rare occurrence.
With new entries set to unveil, studios get their ducks in a row
It's been a few weeks since I've been prepared to offer much of anything in this space, and really, it's been good to let the dust settle, as plenty has happened. "The Monuments Men" got out of dodge. "The Wolf of Wall Street" committed to Christmas. "Her" found critical embrace and "The Book Thief" has emerged as Fox's best bet for awards success. AFI Fest is on the horizon, and with it, the fates of "Out of the Furnace," "Lone Survivor" and, in some ways, "Saving Mr. Banks." The groundwork has mostly been laid otherwise and the circuit work is starting to click in.
LA's New Beverly Theater will host the Nov. 10 event
Every once in a while a studio capitalizes on parallels between one of its awards hopefuls and a classic of the medium that also did pretty well on the circuit by booking a double bill. Fox Searchlight did it with "The Wrestler" and "On the Waterfront," for instance. This year, Paramount is going that route with Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Peter Bogdanovich's "Paper Moon."
Also: James Franco's 'Taxi Driver' comparison, and Netflix shoots for an Oscar
From "12 Years a Slave" to "Captain Phillips" to even fictional contenders like "Gravity," a number of Oscar hopefuls are being subjected to rigorous fact-checking in the blogosphere. The latest to go under examination is "Dallas Buyers Club." In an interesting piece, Slate writer Aisha Harris explains that the film is in an unusual position relative to other biopics, in that protagonist Ron Woodroof's life hadn't really been documented in other media; screenwriter Craig Borten, who began the project after interviewing Woodroof in 1992, is his own most informed source, and admits to taking some artistic license in a "pretty accurate" portrayal. Harris separates the film's facts from its fiction. [Slate]
The controversial sci-fi adaptation hits U.S. theaters today
Lots of talk about Gavin Hood's "Ender's Game" this week -- not all of it the kind a potential sci-fi franchise-starter might want. The controversial homophobic beliefs of Orson Scott Card, the film's producer and author of the popular source novels, have prompted a widespread campaign to boycott the film, regardless of its own merits. That's unfortunate since, as I wrote in my review, it's rather impressive: smart, idea-driven mainstream entertainment that doesn't patronize its young audience, and has a promising lead turn from star Asa Butterfield. But what do you think? The film's been out in other territories for a week, so a number of you might have caught it by now -- or are you joining the boycott? Share your thoughts in the comments, and vote in the poll below.
Sadly, Oliver Hirschbiegel's dreary biopic is as bad as its reputation suggests
Matthew McConaughey's awards play hits theaters today
The more this year's Oscar-contending crowd thins out a bit, the better "Dallas Buyers Club" is looking for a last hurrah Best Picture bid for Focus Features. Sure, Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are strong in their races, but the passion vote could really help this one. I'm a big fan, particularly of how much the story of Ron Woodroof resonates in interesting ways with the zeitgeist. We've talked to McConaughey, Leto and director Jean-Marc Vallée and given you all the angles, but now the film hits theaters and you get to decide. Is McConaughey worthy of the Best Actor buzz? Can the film land more than acting nominations? Tell us in the comments section and feel free to vote in the poll below.
Also: David O. Russell honored at AFI Fest, and critics' blind spot with docs
Since the Academy created a casting directors' branch earlier this year, there's been a growing debate over whether or not a new Oscar category should be created for them. One person clearly in the "pro" camp is Woody Allen, who has written an open letter in praise of their work -- and, in particular, that of his longtime collaborator Juliet Taylor, whom he credits with introducing him to the work of such actors as Dianne Wiest, Jeff Daniels and Patricia Clarkson. (Wait, he worked with Clarkson in 2009 - bit slow on the uptake there, Woody!) "Because my films are not special effects films and are about human beings, proper casting is absolutely essential," he writes. "I owe a big part of the success of my films to this scrupulous casting process which I must say if left to my own devices would never have happened." [Hollywood Reporter]