The “awards” portion of this year’s awards season has officially begun. The New York Film Critics Circle is always the first critics group out of the gate, and today they named American Hustle the best film of the year. The move comes as a slight surprise given that Hustle only first screened a week ago and 12 Years a Slave and Gravity have been the Best Picture frontrunners for the past few months, but the awards race may be in for a twist. Steve McQueen was awarded Best Director for 12 Years a Slave, Robert Redford took Best Actor for All Is Lost, and Cate Blanchett began what’s sure to be an awards season sweep of Best Actress trophies. American Hustle picked up three awards in total, including Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence and Best Screenplay. The excellent Blue Is the Warmest Color was named Best Foreign Film, and Stories We Tell won Best Documentary.
Hit the jump to see the full list of winners and for my commentary on what this means for the coming Oscar season.
The 2014 Independent Spirit Awards nominations have been announced, and director Steve McQueen’s excellent drama 12 Years a Slave tops the nominees with seven nods, including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor. Nebraska is not far behind with six nominations, and the Robert Redford drama All Is Lost also did well with four nods. The much-beloved Short Term 12 failed to land a Best Feature nomination, but Primer director Shane Carruth’s twisty second feature Upstream Color landed nods for Best Director and Best Editing. The Best Actor category is a strong mirror of the very tight Oscar race in the same category, and the wonderful Shailene Woodley and Brie Larson nabbed Best Actress nominations for The Spectacular Now and Short Term 12, respectively.
Hit the jump for the full list of nominations and additional commentary. The Independent Spirit Awards will be hosted on March 1, 2014.
In the last few months of covering this year’s awards race, it’s become very clear that the 2014 Oscars are going to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. Nowhere is this more clear than in the Best Actor category, which already seems to have congealed into a solid list of five extremely likely candidates with a number of others waiting in the wings to play the spoiler. As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches and the race starts to firm up, now seems like a good time to start taking a closer look at the individual categories in the 2014 Oscar race.
In today’s edition of Oscar Beat, we begin with the Best Actor category, which will see a couple of acting legends challenging the rise of McConaughey, powerful performances depicting historically important characters, Leo, and more. Read on after the jump.
Though it’s only October, we’re already in the thick of awards season. We’ve seen frontrunners emerge from the fall festival circuit, and now some of the year’s potential heavy hitters are starting to open in theaters, providing some hard data for the all-important “audience reception” factor in the Oscar race. Gravity emerged as a potential frontrunner for a number of awards—including Best Picture—when it screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Venice, and Telluride earlier this year, and now the film can add “box office hit” to its resume, as the pic opened to a record-breaking $55.5 million in its first weekend and only dropped an incredible 21% in its second weekend.
In today’s edition of Oscar Beat, we examine the importance of box office in the Oscar race and what this means for Gravity and the other awards contenders going forward. Additionally, I update my predictions to reflect movements in the recent weeks. Hit the jump to read on.
One of the many reasons The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is one of my favorite films is the opening. There is no dialogue. It’s a lesson in how much can be said without words and the skill of a talented director. J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. The movie not only has a single actor, but it refuses to even let him have the solace of talking to himself. He is a man of action in a fight for his life against the elements, and there’s no time to walk us through thought processes or the finer points of sailing. There’s only the old man, the sea, and the present.
The Fall Film Festival season has come and gone, and with that we now have a pretty clear idea of the early state of the Oscar race. While initial awards projections were made mostly on conjecture and blind faith, a number of the major contenders have now had a chance to screen at the prestigious Telluride, Toronto, and Venice film festivals allowing critics and industry folk to assess the quality of heavy hitters such as Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Labor Day, and August: Osage County. Last year, an early Oscar frontrunner came out of nowhere at the Toronto International Film Festival in the form of Silver Linings Playbook, but this year an incredibly strong frontrunner has emerged with near-unanimous praise.
Hit the jump for a rundown of the Oscar race as it stands now, including our first Oscar Beat power rankings for the major categories.
A variety of new posters has been released online. Briefly:
- The Secret Life of Walter Mitty – Director/star Ben Stiller defies gravity in the first poster for his promising adventure comedy. The film also stars Kristen Wiig and Adam Scott and opens on December 25th.
- Gravity – Speaking of gravity, a new poster for director Alfonso Cuaron’s space-set pic shows off half of the cast as we see George Clooney’s astronaut character. Sandra Bullock leads the film, which opens on October 4th.
- All Is Lost – The first poster for J.C. Chandor’s (Margin Call) survival drama puts star Robert Redford in a tight situation. The film opens on October 18th.
- Ass Backwards – The debut poster for the Sundance comedy, starring Casey Wilson and June Diane Raphael. The film will be availabl VOD on September 30th and hits theaters on November 8th.
Hit the jump to take a look at the posters.
The lineup for this year’s Telluride Film Festival was announced this morning just before the Colorado fest gets underway this weekend, and with it comes some serious expectations. As I outlined in the inaugural edition of Oscar Beat, the fall film festivals mark the official start of awards season, as the studios use the festivals to announce their heavy hitters and Oscar hopefuls. Four of the last five Best Picture winners played at Telluride (Argo, The King’s Speech, The Artist, and Slumdog Millionaire) and this year’s lineup certainly has the potential to launch our eventual winner with fare from the Coen Brothers, Jason Reitman, and Alfonso Cuaron all on tap.
Hit the jump for more, as we take a closer look at the Telluride lineup with an eye towards sussing out our 2013 Best Picture winner.
The Telluride Film Festival gets under my skin. It’s incredibly expensive to attend, and you don’t know the line-up until the day before the festival begins. Its major advantage is that it’s become the place where awards films attempt to pick up a little steam. Telluride equivalent of a Preview Night. Rather than drop the films at the Toronto International Film Festival, they can start picking up some buzz from a smaller audience, which could potentially guide the much larger audience at the TIFF. Not all of the films are making debuts. Most notably, Cannes favorites Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, and All Is Lost will be playing at Telluride, skipping TIFF, and then playing at the New York Film Festival. Gravity just had its premiere at Venice, but Telluride is now its North American debut. Other notable movies that will now be making their world premiere at Telluride are Jason Reitman‘s Labor Day, Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, and Errol Morris‘ documentary The Unknown Known.
Hit the jump for the full line-up. The 2013 Telluride Film Festival runs from August 29 – September 2nd.
Each year, the fall film festival season is where studios present their awards fare and kick off months of rigorous campaigning in hopes of Oscar glory. We recently examined this year’s contenders in the inaugural installment of our new column Oscar Beat, and at the time it appeared that the Toronto International Film Festival was poised to once again be the heavy hitter. However, the 2013 New York Film Festival has now announced its full lineup, and it definitely gives TIFF a run for its money.
In addition to previously announced films Captain Phillips, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and Her, NYFF will play host to screenings of Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, Alexander Payne’s Nebraska, James Gray’s The Immigrant, J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost, Hayao Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises, and plenty more. Hit the jump to check out the full lineup. The 2013 New York Film Festival runs from September 27th – October 13th.
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have released the trailer for the survival drama, All Is Lost. Written and directed by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call), the film stars Robert Redford as “one man lost at sea and his battle against the elements to stay alive.” Although Redford previously said that this character had no dialogue, the trailer shows that to be a slight overstatement, although I assume he’ll have almost no dialogue. The film received rave reviews when it played at Cannes earlier this year, and I would really like to see Redford add another memorable performance to his career.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. All Is Lost opens October 18th.
All Is Lost is a very intriguing project. It first caught our eye because Robert Redford stars in “a solo performance of one man lost at sea and his battle against the elements to stay alive.” The twist: Redford says he has no dialogue. That is a brave choice for writer/director J.C. Chandor in his second feature film, especially after a Best Original Screenplay nomination for his debut, Margin Call.
Despite the intrigue, we know little about All Is Lost other than the logline, the dialogue-free tease, and this image. Steve is at CinemaCon right now and found a little more info. First, we will be able to see what All Is Lost has to offer sooner than expected, as we’ve learned Roadside Attractions has set an October 25 release date. Second, Steve snapped a picture of a new image of Redford weary at sea that Roadside has on display. Check out the full image after the jump.
Writer-director J.C. Chandor landed a breakthrough flick with 2011′s Margin Call. Chandor picked up an Oscar nomination for his screenplay, and his follow-up feature, All Is Lost, nabbed Robert Redford for the lead. According to the press release from August, “Redford stars in a solo performance of one man lost at sea and his battle against the elements to stay alive.” As we saw from Life of Pi, it’s not easy to make a movie where a single actor is stranded in the middle of the ocean. But at least Pi Patel had a tiger for conversation. Redford’s character will be silent.
Hit the jump for more.
Director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call) has just wrapped principal photography on his next feature, All Is Lost. To celebrate, Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions have released the first image of Robert Redford, who stars in “a solo performance of one man lost at sea and his battle against the elements to stay alive.” Actually, I’ll have to take their word for it. Redford’s beautiful face is obscured in a severe battle with those elements.
Redford is the only credited actor, which automatically qualifies All Is Lost as one to watch—at the very least as an intriguing formal exercise anchored by one of the greats. Hit the jump for the full image and a press release with all the details on the production.
How’s this for a success story: after making his feature directorial debut with the low-budget financial crisis drama Margin Call, director J.C. Chandor is set to helm a man vs. nature drama as his follow-up and legendary actor-director Robert Redford is in talks to star. Deadline reports that Chandor will next direct All Is Lost, a drama that mainly focuses on a single character and takes place on the water. The film is described as a “one man show” in which the lead braves the elements in order to survive. Chandor premiered Margin Call this past January at the Sundance Film Festival, and the writer-director was apparently so taken with the festival’s founder Redford that he wrote All Is Lost just for him.
I’ve yet to see Margin Call but I’m intrigued by this success story. It’ll be interesting to see how Chandor sets the film apart from the similarly plotted Cast Away. They’ve apparently scouted Baja Film Studios in Mexico as a possible filming location. James Cameron and Michael Bay have both previously used the studio for Titanic and Pearl Harbor, respectively, obviously (though one wonders what James Cameron’s Pearl Harbor and Michael Bay’s Titanic would have looked like), and it’s a prime location for extended water shoots. Zachary Quinto’s Before the Door will produce and they hope to start filming by next May.