Many (myself included) are still reeling from the fact that somehow Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for Best Director during this morning Oscar nominations announcements, but I have little doubt that we’ll be hearing Affleck’s name as a major part of an awards season race again soon. Argo was his most accomplished work yet, and eyes are now looking to what he’ll be directing as his next project.
We recently heard that Affleck was eyeing an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s 1920s Boston crime drama Live By Night as his next effort, and during a recent interview Affleck confirmed that he’s currently working on the screenplay as he readies the pic to be his next film. He also took a moment to explain why he had to drop out of starring in the drama Focus with Kristen Stewart. Hit the jump to see what he had to say.
The nominations for the 85th Academy Awards have been announced, and it’s quite a whirlwind of nominees. As expected, Lincoln landed the most nominations with 12, followed with Ang Lee’s Life of Pi which nabbed 11. The big story here, though, is the Best Director category. Shockingly, only two (two!) of the DGA nominees for Best Director made the Oscar cut: Ang Lee and Steven Spielberg. The rest of the category was filled out by Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, and Michael Haneke for Amour. It was almost guaranteed that Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow would be landing nominations for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively, but shockingly neither made the cut. Apparently those films just directed themselves. Based off today’s nominations, it now looks like it’s (surprisingly) down to Lincoln vs. Silver Linings Playbook for the big win.
Hit the jump to check out the list of nominees, and click here to check them against my predictions (somehow I predicted the Best Picture and Supporting Actor categories perfectly). The 85th Academy Awards will take place on February 24th.
The Directors Guild of America has just announced their nominations for “Outstanding Direction in Feature Film” for the 65th Annual DGA Awards. The nominees are as follows:
These nominations, as well as the omission of certain other directors, carry certain implications heading into the Academy Awards contest. Hit the jump for more DGA-related news.
As one can imagine, Ben Affleck is a pretty in-demand guy right now. His third directorial effort, Argo, is a major player in the upcoming awards race, as is Affleck for his stellar work as a director on the timely thriller. Affleck hasn’t given up his day job just yet, though, and he most recently wrapped a starring role opposite Justin Timberlake in the gambling pic Runner Runner. However, it looks like his busy schedule has gotten in the way of at least one of his upcoming projects, as he’s been forced to drop out of starring in the Warner Bros. pic Focus opposite Kristen Stewart. Hit the jump for more on the pic and Affleck’s current schedule.
The first trailer has been released for Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder. In the vague semblance of a plot, Olga Kurylenko plays a woman who travels to Oklahoma to be with the man she loves only to discover that their relationship isn’t as strong as they previously thought. There’s also a story involving a priest who grapples with his loneliness and has almost no narrative relation to the other plotline. I caught the picture at TIFF, and although To The Wonder is one of Malick’s shortest films, it feels like his longest. His attempt to make an intimate film about intimacy caved in on itself, and most of the movie is just people whispering narration and twirling. The majesty presented in this trailer is almost completely misleading.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, and Javier Bardem. To The Wonder is set to open on April 12, 2013.
If you hadn’t already noticed, we’re knee-deep in Oscar season now. Though many are put off by the awards race in general, one of the highlights of the year is always THR’s roundtable interviews with “the contenders.” This year’s directors roundtable is really something, as the one-hour conversation involves Quentin Tarantino, Ben Affleck, Ang Lee, Tom Hooper, David O. Russell, and Gus Van Sant. Though the entire interview is well worth watching, we figured our readers would be interested in a particular nugget from Tarantino in which he describes Death Proof as the “worst” film he’s ever made.
Hit the jump for more on that comment and to watch the full roundtable interview.
Here’s where things get interesting. Over that past few days we’ve been taking an early look at the 2013 Oscar race, running down the contenders in a number of categories including Best Supporting Actor and Actress, Best Actor and Best Actress, and Best Animated Feature, Screenplay, and technological category quick picks. We’ve now come to our final installment, Best Picture and Best Director, and these two races are shaping up to be incredibly interesting. Hit the jump for the full rundown.
With Rise of the Guardians opening this week, I recently got to see the finished film and it’s really well done. Not only is the animation great to look at, it’s got a strong story that’s character driven and it doesn’t rely on stupid jokes. In addition, unlike most superhero films that spend half the time introducing characters by explaining their origin and showing off their powers, what’s fantastic about Rise of the Guardians is that we join almost everyone in the middle of the story. If you’re not familiar with the story, it revolves around the rebellious Jack Frost (Chris Pine) teaming up with other mythical figures North aka Santa Claus (Alec Baldwin), E. Aster Bunnyman aka Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman), Tooth aka The Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher), and the Sandman to battle the evil Pitch (Jude Law). Here’s my video blog review and all our previous coverage.
To help promote the film, last week I got on the phone with composer Alexandre Desplat. We talked about how he got involved in Rise of the Guardians, his extremely busy year, his collaboration with the director on animated movies versus live-action features, and more. In addition, we also talked about some of his other projects like Ben Affleck‘s Argo, Kathryn Bigelow‘s Zero Dark Thirty, George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, other possible future projects, and a lot more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
While his most recent directorial effort, Argo, is beginning to generate well-deserved Oscar buzz, Ben Affleck spoke briefly about some of his upcoming projects that are sure to attract a lot of interest. When last we reported on Affleck collaborating with Matt Damon, it was to shed some light on the details of their Whitey Bulger picture. The rise-and-fall biopic of the Boston-area crime boss is apparently still in development, but Affleck did give a quick comment on it.
A bigger picture is Affleck’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand, a long-gestating picture that has fans hoping for some good news. Unfortunately, it’s proving to be an unwieldy bit of source material as Affleck admits to struggling with it. Struggling, not giving up. Hit the jump for more quotes from Affleck.
We’ve recently seen a number of interesting photos from the set of two new films that director Terrence Malick has been shooting this year, but we now have word on when we might get to see the filmmaker’s follow-up to 2011’s The Tree of Life. Malick notoriously takes his time in the post-production process, and his most recent film To the Wonder (which was shot in 2010) finally premiered this past fall at the Venice and Toronto film festivals. The story revolves around a European woman (Olga Kurylenko) and her tumultuous relationship with an Oklahoman man (Ben Affleck), and following a mixed-to-negative response, Magnolia acquired the pic for distribution.
Now The Film Stage reports that Magnolia is eyeing an April 2013 release for the pic, following its February 22nd UK release. Despite the mixed reactions (read Matt’s review right here), I’m eager to see the latest work from the reclusive auteur.
After The Twilight Saga ends for Kristen Stewart this November 16th, she may have a role lined up to star opposite Ben Affleck in Focus. We previously reported that Affleck was circling a role, and Warner Bros. was looking to fast-track the project once they found a female lead. It looks like Stewart is their choice. Focus, written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa of Crazy Stupid Love, tells the story of a “veteran con man who gets involved with a newcomer to the grifter business. They get involved romantically but that becomes perilous in a business where they lie and cheat for a living. The complications of the encounter haunt them when they meet up again in the future.” Hit the jump for more.
Even with five new movies competing at this weekend’s box office, Taken 2 had no trouble holding on to first place for a second week in a row. The action movie edged out Ben Affleck’s Argo and Friday’s first-place horror feature Sinister, though each put up strong debut numbers. The picture was not as rosy for the remaining three new releases, including Sony’s comedy Here Comes the Boom with Kevin James.
||Here Comes the Boom
||Perks of Being a Wallflower
[This is a re-post of my review of from the Toronto International Film Festival. Argo opens today.]
“That should be a movie,” someone might say if they read the true story behind Ben Affleck‘s Argo. It’s larger-than-life but not beyond the bounds of credibility. But there are plenty of movies “based on true stories”, and plenty of those movies are failures. Affleck avoids the true-story pitfalls by not making the hard-sell or simply tacking on the “based on a true story” title in order to lend much-needed credibility. Despite the necessities of condensing and finessing history in order to suit a dramatic narrative, Argo always feels real. It lives in its setting without feeling corny or overcooked. With Affleck’s confident direction and Chris Terrio‘s sharp script, Argo is a rare thriller that uses brains instead of bullets.
Director Ben Affleck is reportedly going back to the well to possibly adapt the Dennis Lehane novel, Live by Night, for his next feature. The multi-hyphenate is expected to write/produce/direct and star in the film, which is set up at Warner Bros. Another Lehane project would be fitting since Affleck cut his directorial teeth on the author’s novel, Gone Baby Gone. Live by Night is a new novel from Lehane that was just recently published and is a period piece, taking place in Boston in the roaring ’20s. Hit the jump for the full plot description of Live by Night.
Ben Affleck‘s detractors say he should stick to directing or only starring in movies he directs, but I’ve always liked him as an actor. He’s been in some bad movies, but he wasn’t the reason those movies were bad. He’s charismatic, compelling, and I’m excited to see what he’ll do if he signs on to star in Focus. Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love.), the movie “tells the story of a veteran con man who gets involved with a newcomer to the grifter business. They get involved romantically but that becomes perilous in a business where they lie and cheat for a living. The complications of the encounter haunt them when they meet up again in the future.” According to Deadline, Warner Bros. is looking to fast-track the project once they find the right female lead. As we reported back in April, Ficarra and Requa were hoping to reunite Crazy Stupid Love. stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone for the lead roles, but obviously the filmmakers have decided to move on.
Affleck will next be seen in his great thriller and possible awards contender, Argo. He’s also starring in the 2013 films To the Wonder and the gambling drama Runner Runner.