Los Angeles, Boston, and New York Online Critics Announce Awards; HER and GRAVITY Tie for Best Picture in LA Awards

by     Posted 268 days ago

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The critics group awards are off and running.  Last week we saw the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review, and the Boston Online Critics announce their annual awards, and today we have three more groups to add to the pile.  12 Years a Slave won Best Picture in the Boston and New York Online groups, but the Los Angeles voting resulted in a tie for Best Picture between Gravity and HerAlfonso Cuaron took Best Director in the Los Angeles and New York Film Critics Online awards, while Boston went for 12 Years a Slave’s Steve McQueen.  While many votes seemed to be in line with early predictions, James Franco shared the Best Supporting Actor moniker in the Los Angeles group for his work in Spring Breakers.

If there’s one takeaway from the critics group awards we’ve seen thus far, it’s that Spike Jonze’s Her has a heavy amount of love in the film community, which could very well translate to Oscar.  Hit the jump to read the full list of winners for all three groups, as well as the runners up for the L.A. and Boston awards.

National Board of Review Names HER Best Film of the Year; GRAVITY, PRISONERS, and WOLF OF WALL STREET Land in Top 10

by     Posted 272 days ago

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The critics awards are off and running after the New York Film Critics Circle announced its picks for the best of the year yesterday, and today the National Board of Review has named Her the best picture of 2013.  Spike Jonze was also named Best Director for the film, while the acting honors went to Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Octavia Spencer (Fruitvale Station).  Always an eclectic list, the NBR’s Top 10 includes The Wolf of Wall Street, Gravity, Lone Survivor, and Prisoners.  Wholly absent from the Top 10 is the NYFCC’s pick for Best Film, American Hustle.

The NBR winner for Best Picture has failed to match up with Oscar since 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire, as last year’s award went to Zero Dark Thirty, but for the past 13 years every NBR winner has landed a Best Picture nomination, so this bodes well for Her‘s Oscar prospects.  Read the full list of NBR winners after the jump.

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS Wins Best Picture at Gotham Awards; Matthew McConaughey, Brie Larson, and Michael B. Jordan Take Home Acting Awards

by     Posted 274 days ago

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The Gotham Awards, established to honor the best in independent film, have announced the 2013 winners.  The Coen Brothers‘s Inside Llewyn Davis won Best Picture.  Matthew McConaughey took home Best Actor for his performance in Dallas Buyers ClubShort Term 12‘s Brie Larson beat out prohibitive Oscar favorite Cate Blanchett for Best Actress.  Fruitvale Station dominated the “breakthrough” categories: Ryan Coogler won Breakthrough Director for his first feature and star Michael B. Jordan won Breakthrough Actor.  The Act of Killing rounds out the awards with a win for Best Documentary.

Hit the jump for the full list of nominees and winners.

Michael B. Jordan to Reteam with FRUITVALE Director Ryan Coogler for ROCKY Spinoff CREED; Stallone to Reprise Balboa Role

by     Posted 1 year, 40 days ago

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Director Ryan Coogler’s feature film debut Fruitvale Station took the Sundance Film Festival by storm earlier this year, picking up a handful of awards and becoming one of the most talked-about films of the fest.  The Weinstein Company quickly swooped in and picked the film up for distribution, and the true-life story started opening in theaters a couple of weekends ago ahead of what’s sure to be an intense awards season run.  Now it appears that Coogler is ready to team up with his Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan sooner rather than later, as the two are in early talks to make a Rocky spinoff film focusing on the grandson of Carl Weathers Apollo Creed.  Hit the jump for more.

FRUITVALE STATION Review

by     Posted 1 year, 52 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  It has been slightly altered to reflect the new title.  Fruitvale Station opens in limited release today.]

Here’s one of the most morbid thoughts you can ever put in your head: will I die today? This thought isn’t to spur you to live each day like it’s your last. It’s a simple observation. Where has life led you to this point, where would you like your life to go, and how does one affect the other? In his debut feature Fruitvale Station, writer-director Ryan Coogler goes into the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot by BART police officers in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day, 2009. Coogler’s solemn, no-frills direction lets us walk into Oscar’s life, and become absolutely devastated as it heads to its inevitable conclusion. The film’s emotional impact is only lessened by Coogler’s bizarre decision to push a message that doesn’t coincide with his movie’s theme.

Writer-Director Ryan Coogler Talks FRUITVALE STATION, Bringing Oscar Grant’s Story to the Screen and Taking Dramatic License with the Story

by     Posted 1 year, 53 days ago

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Opening this weekend is the indie film Fruitvale Station, inspired by the true-life story of Bay Area native Oscar Grant.  Debut feature writer-director Ryan Coogler – who is also from the Bay Area and about the same age Grant would have been – talked to us about his film that landed awards at both Cannes and Sundance.  Coogler commented on his decision to bring Grant’s story to the screen, working with cast members who possess varying levels of experience, taking dramatic license on the story and attending the prestigious film festivals.

Fruitvale Station, starring Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand and Chad Michael Murray, opens July 12th.  Hit the jump for our video interview with Coogler.

Sundance 2013: FRUITVALE Review

by     Posted 1 year, 219 days ago

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Here’s one of the most morbid thoughts you can ever put in your head: will I die today?  This thought isn’t to spur you to live each day like it’s your last.  It’s a simple observation.  Where has life led you to this point, where would you like your life to go, and how does one affect the other?  In his debut feature Fruitvale, writer-director Ryan Coogler goes into the last day in the life of Oscar Grant, who was infamously shot by BART police officers in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day, 2009.  Coogler’s solemn, no-frills direction lets us walk into Oscar’s life, and become absolutely devastated as it heads to its inevitable conclusion.  The film’s emotional impact is only lessened by Coogler’s bizarre decision to push a message that doesn’t coincide with his movie’s theme.

Sundance 2013: Director Ryan Coogler Talks FRUITVALE, His Connection to the Story, Why It’s Important, Participating in the Sundance Lab & More

by     Posted 1 year, 221 days ago

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Among the many great films premiering this week at Sundance Film Festival is Ryan Coogler’s drama Fruitvale.  The writer/director brings us his representation of the final day in the life of Oscar Grant, the 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was shot by a police officer in the Fruitvale BART station on New Year’s Eve, 2008.  Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle, Redtails) plays the man who was a father, a fiancé, a son and a friend whose life was tragically ended that fateful day.  The film also stars Melonie Diaz as Grant’s fiancé and Octavia Spencer (The Help, Smashed) as his mother.

After the film’s premiere, I was able to speak to director Ryan Coogler about the film.  He told me about his connection to this story and how he originally got involved with it, the sense of responsibility he felt to Grant’s family, and what he hopes people take away with them after seeing the film.  A previous Sundance Lab participant, Coogler discussed how it feels to be back at Sundance with his finished film, as well as his future plans.  Click after the jump to read the full interview.

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