Make it a second film in as many days that I had pretty much figured out of the Academy's likely grasp that has been given a big boost on the precursor circuit. After the New York Film Critics Circle named David O. Russell's "American Hustle" the year's best film yesterday, the New York-based National Board of Review has chimed in today by naming Spiike Jonze's "Her" the top film of 2013. The group also gave Jonze the Best Director prize.
Eyebrows were raised back in September, when Woody Allen was announced as the 2014 recipient of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement at the Golden Globes. Not, of course, that it was a controversial selection in itself: you could argue for the award being a tad redundant, given that Allen hasn't exactly been under-recognized in his career, but hardly undeserved.
I never realized that the Producers' Guild of America announces their TV nominations separately from their film ones, but I suppose it makes sense -- the buzz around the feature film nominees sucks up a lot of oxygen, so this way, everyone gets to feel special for a time. (The PGA actually announced their documentary nominees last week, so they really are spreading the joy.)
David O. Russell's "American Hustle" was crowned the best film of 2013 today by the New York Film Critics Circle, capping off a nearly five-hour vote and marking the first critics awards announcement of the year. The film also received wins for Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Best Screenplay.
From NY Mag's Vulture blog, this is worth noting:
"According to our critic David Edelstein, who is one of the NYFCC's members, the final vote for Best Picture resulted in a rare tie-breaker. NYFCC by-laws prevent the actual numbers from being released, but Edelstein said there was a strong American Hustle camp and a strong 12 Years a Slave camp (reflected in McQueen's best director win), and that the vote was remarkably close, with some members expressing 'visible dismay' when the final number was tallied."
Interesting. Also, Lou Lumenick has a breakdown of the balloting which I guess you can use to suss out runners-up and whatnot.
Check out a running commentary of the wins below and offer up your thoughts, whatever they may be, in the comments section below.
The Academy has narrowed the field of 147 documentary feature contenders to 15, and the key omissions appear to be Alex Gibney's "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," Martha Shane and Lana Wilson's "After Tiller" and and Errol Morris' "The Unknown Known," among others.
However, Gibney can take heart that his other 2013 project, "The Armstrong Lie," was on the list. And most of the year's critical hits of the form — "The Act of Killing," "Blackfish," "Stories We Tell" — survived the slaughter.
John Ridley's adaptation of the trials and tribulations of former slave Solomon Northup, Peter Morgan's account of James Hunt and Niki Lauda's Formula One racing rivalry and Ryan Coogler's testament to the tragically short life of Bay Area father Oscar Grant are just a handful of screenplays that won't be eligible for nominations from the Writers Guild of America (WGA) this year, HitFix has learned.
It was 10 Decembers ago that a French composer named Alexandre Desplat burst on to the Hollywood movie scene with his gorgeous score for "Girl With a Pearl Earring." He earned his first Golden Globe nomination for that work, and after continual quality achievements on films like "Birth," "Syriana" and "The Painted Veil," he earned his first Oscar nomination seven years ago for "The Queen." It has been nothing but up since then, as he has now earned five Oscar nominations and worked with directors ranging from Roman Polanski to Stephen Frears, Wes Anderson to Stephen Daldry, Terrence Malick to Tom Hooper, Kathryn Bigelow to George Clooney and David Fincher – and that’s just in the English language.
His latest score is for the newly released and highly regarded "Philomena." The chance to catch up recently was particularly meaningful for me, given that we first spoke the year Desplat earned his nomination for "The Queen," which was both his first Oscar nomination and the first year of In Contention's Tech Support column.
This weekend the revival of "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford" finally becomes a reality. The hard work Jamieson McGonigle has put into this thing behind the scenes is something to behold and notice has been taken across the net, his mission statement even making it into a New York Times Business section piece a few weeks back. I've been honored to have a hand in it all and look forward to hopping a plane later this week to share in the spirit out in Queens Saturday night.
In the run-up to that event, a number of outlets — Ain't It Cool News, Film.com, Film School Rejects, The Film Stage and HitFix — will be offering up appreciations of various elements from the film. As you might have expected, it's on me to look back on Roger Deakins' next-level photography, and the pleasure is all mine.
At present, Baz Luhrmann's spring hit "The Great Gatsby" has at least two Oscar nominations in the bag: bids for Production and Costume Design are assured, and it could well win both. Other tech nods are feasible, but while Warner Bros. are putting the campaign dollars in, above-the-line nominations seem unlikely. At the Australian Academy Awards, however, it's a different story: the blockbuster scored a leading 14 nods, including Best Picture and a quintet of acting citations for Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Elizabeth Debicki and Isla Fisher. (Sorry, Tobey.) I suspect it'll lose out to Australia's heartwarming Oscar submission "The Rocket" in the top races, but "Gatsby" devotees can briefly savor heavyweight status.[AACTA]