THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and BIRDMAN Lead Critics Choice Awards Nominations

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Individual critics groups are starting to weigh in with their picks for the very best of the year, and now the largest group of critics has unveiled its list of nominees for the 20th Critics Choice Movie Awards.  Made up of members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Critics Choice Awards recognize films and performances from all genres, with separate categories for Comedy, Action, etc.  Leading the pack in terms of quantity is Birdman with 13 nominations, followed by The Grand Budapest Hotel which raked in 11 nominations including Ralph Fiennes for Best Actor.  The brilliant Selma also fared well with 6 nods overall, and Unbroken rebounded a bit after being shut out of SAG and the Golden Globes with 6 nominations.  Additionally, you’ll find plenty of love for Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow in the Action categories.

Check out the full list of nominees after the jump.  The 2015 Critics Choice Movie Awards will be telecast live on A&E on January 15th.

79 Original Songs and 114 Original Scores in Contention for Oscar Race

by     Posted One week ago

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled lists of the eligible contenders in the Oscar races for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.  In the former category I’d have to say “Everything Is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie is an early favorite, and I would love to see Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island perform on the Oscar stage.  Other standouts include two songs from Boyhood, both co-written by Ethan Hawke, and the beautiful “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” from How to Train Your Dragon 2.  On the Best Original Score side of things, it’s kind of an embarrassment of riches.  How to choose between John Powell’s Dragon 2 score, Alexandre Desplat’s incredible work on The Imitation Game, Hans Zimmer’s astounding Interstellar score, James Newton Howard‘s propulsive work on Nightcrawler, etc.?

Check out the full lists of eligible contenders in both categories (79 songs and 114 scores) after the jump, along with a bit more analysis.  Nominations for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced on January 15, 2015.

Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actress Race At a Glance

by     Posted One week ago

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There are complaints every year that while the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories are stacked with talent, the low number of quality female roles that appear in movies makes for frustratingly thin Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress races.  Those complaints are entirely valid, and while there are indeed a plethora of excellent male roles that were on display this year, the Best Supporting Actress field has actually filled out quite nicely.  In this edition of Oscar Beat, I take a look at where the category stands right now.

2015 Golden Globe Nominations Announced; BIRDMAN Leads the Film Categories with Seven; FARGO Scores Five TV Nods

by     Posted 9 days ago

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It looks as though Alejandro González Iñárritu and Birdman could have quite the awards season.  Not only did the film earn the most SAG and Independent Spirit Award nominations, but now it’s got the most Golden Globe Nominations as well.  Birdman came in with a total of seven nods followed by Boyhood and The Imitation Game, both of which got five.  Fargo led the television series or program categories with five nominations while True Detective came in right behind with four.

I’m glad to see Reese Witherspoon getting recognition for her work in Wild, but I hope the film itself gets some attention down the line.  It’s also unfortunate that Channing Tatum’s work in Foxcatcher isn’t being honored.  And sadly Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany didn’t make this list, but I’ve got no problem rooting for Girls Lena Dunham or Orange is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling instead.  Hit the jump for the full list of 2015 Golden Globe nominees.

2015 Screen Actors Guild Nominations Announced; BIRDMAN Leads with Four Followed By BOYHOOD, THE IMITATION GAME and THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

by     Posted 10 days ago

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The 2015 Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations have been announced and, yet again, Birdman scored the most nods including Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role (Michael Keaton), Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role (Edward Norton), Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role (Emma Stone) and Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.  Boyhood, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything all received three nominations.

On the TV front, I’m glad to see Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany snag her very first SAG nomination, but where’s Eva Green in the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series category?  Her work on Penny Dreadful needs some recognition.  Hit the jump for the full list of nominees.  The 21st Annual SAG Awards will be simulcast on TNT and TBS on Sunday, January 25th at 8pm EST.

AFI Announces Top Films and TV Shows of the Year; Includes NIGHTCRAWLER, SELMA, and SILICON VALLEY

by     Posted 12 days ago

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The American Film Institute has announced its official AFI Awards 2014 selections for the best films and TV programs of the year, and the results are a little surprising.  On the film side of things, AFI expanded its Top 10 to a Top 11, included some welcome additions like Nightcrawler and Foxcatcher alongside this year’s awards staples such as Boyhood and Birdman, but they also singled out Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, which is frankly a not-so-great film (though AFI did name The Dark Knight Rises one of 2012’s finest, so their track record isn’t spotless).  And no love for Gone Girl, although they did recognize Into the Woods and Interstellar.  As for TV, the stellar The Americans and The Knick made the Top 10, as did Amazon’s critically hailed Transparent, HBO’s hilarious Silicon Valley, and ABC’s addictive How to Get Away with Murder.

Check out the full AFI Awards 2014 Top 11 Films and Top 10 TV Programs after the jump. 

Matthew Goode and Allen Leech Talk THE IMITATION GAME, Balancing Fact and Fiction, Alan Turing, and More

by     Posted 13 days ago

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Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a brilliant cryptanalyst whose expertise cracked Germany’s “Enigma code” and helped turn the tide of World War II for the Allies, but his homosexuality still made him a target of persecution.  The film is really more about Turing than the war, but Tyldum weaves the Enigma plot throughout the film in a way that makes it feel like a spy thriller.

During my exclusive video interview with stars Matthew Goode and Allen Leech, they talked about balancing fact versus fiction in the movie, what it’s like being part of such an important and special film, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.  The Imitation Game is currently in theaters and also stars Keira KnightleyMatthew GoodeCharles DanceMark StrongRory KinnearAllen Leech, and Matthew Beard.  For more on the film, watch six clips, the trailer, or click here for all our previous coverage.

Benedict Cumberbatch Talks THE IMITATION GAME, Alan Turing, Future Projects, and Much More

by     Posted 17 days ago

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Over the past few years, Benedict Cumberbatch has shown incredible range while bouncing from project to project, always delivering great performances.  If you’re one of the few that isn’t familiar with his name, I recommend watching Sherlock (where he plays Sherlock Holmes), The Fifth Estate (where he plays Julian Assange), and also going to your local movie theater to see his incredible work in director Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game.  The film is about Alan Turing (played by Cumberbatch), a brilliant cryptanalyst whose expertise cracked Germany’s “Enigma code” and helped turn the tide of World War II for the Allies, but his homosexuality still made him a target of persecution.  The film is really more about Turing than the war, but Tyldum weaves the Enigma plot throughout the film in a way that makes it feel like a spy thriller.

When I recently spoke to Cumberbatch to help promote the film, he talked about why he wanted to be part of this important movie, balancing fact versus fiction, what Turing helped invent, what it’s like being connected to so many highly anticipated new movies, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to watch and for more on the film, watch six clips, the trailer, or click here for all our previous coverage.

Box Office: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Stays on Top; Passes $225 Million Domestic

by     Posted 20 days ago

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If last weekend’s box office debut of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was a tad underwhelming, it made up some ground with a big Thanksgiving haul.  The sequel took in an estimated $56.8 million for the three-day weekend and brought its domestic total above $225 million after twelve days.  That left only table scraps for this weekend’s box office newcomers.  The Penguins of Madagascar came in second with an estimated $25.8 million while Horrible Bosses 2 opened way back in fifth place with $15.7 million.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Mockingjay – Part 1 $56,875,000 $225.7
2.  Penguins of Madagascar $25,800,000 $36
3.  Big Hero 6 $18,770,000 $167.2
4.  Interstellar $15,800,000 $147
5.  Horrible Bosses 2 $15,700,000 $23
6.  Dumb and Dumber To $8,295,000 $72.2
7.  The Theory of Everything $5,082,000 $9.6
8.  Gone Girl $2,470,000 $160.7
9.  Birdman $1,880,000 $17.2
10.  St. Vincent $1,773,000 $39.3

 

Full story after the jump.

Keira Knightley Talks THE IMITATION GAME, Working with Benedict Cumberbatch, Balancing Fact and Fiction, EVEREST, and More

by     Posted 21 days ago

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Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a brilliant cryptanalyst whose expertise cracked Germany’s “Enigma code” and helped turn the tide of World War II for the Allies, but his homosexuality still made him a target of persecution.  The film is really more about Turing than the war, but Tyldum weaves the Enigma plot throughout the film in a way that makes it feel like a spy thriller.

During my exclusive video interview with Keira Knightley, she talked about balancing fact versus fiction in the movie, what it’s like being part of such an important and special film, what it was like working with Benedict Cumberbatch, if the script changed during production, her role in Baltasar Kormákur’s Everest, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.  The Imitation Game is currently in theaters and also stars Matthew GoodeCharles DanceMark StrongRory KinnearAllen Leech, and Matthew Beard.  For more on the film, watch six clips, the trailer, or click here for all our previous coverage.

THE IMITATION GAME Review

by     Posted 22 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The Imitation Game opens today in limited release.]

In September 1933, General George S. Patton told the Calvary Journal, “Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.” Mathematician Alan Turning proved Patton’s statement was only half true when it came to World War II. It was won by men and a machine. Turing and his team used a computer to decipher the Germans’ “Enigma” code, which turned the tide of the war and was one of the key contributions to the Allies’ victory. Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game is a compelling look at a man treated inhumanely and the creation of his machine that helped saved humanity from evil. The film isn’t hard to crack, but led by Benedict Cumberbatch’s outstanding performance and Tyldum’s strong direction, it’s a compelling tale of secrets, lies, and sacrifice.

Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race at a Glance

by     Posted 22 days ago

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As we head out of the Thanksgiving holiday, studios have been scrambling to get screeners out to critics and voters before early December deadlines, and some of the year’s later releases are finally starting to be seen, which means the Oscar race is becoming much clearer.  We already have one potentially huge game-changer in the form of Selma, which has enjoyed enthusiastically positive response from its initial screenings, but that film also throws a curious prospect into the mix: for the first time in history, could we actually have two female directors nominated for the Best Director Oscar?

After the jump, I consider this question as I take a look at the current state of the rather crowded Best Director race in this edition of Oscar Beat.

Director Morten Tyldum Talks THE IMITATION GAME, Trying to be Historically Accurate, Deleted Scenes, What he Learned From Test Screenings, and More

by     Posted 23 days ago

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With the year coming to a close, it seems like a great new movie hits theaters every weekend, and The Weinstein Company continues that trend on November 28th with The Imitation Game.  Directed by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters), the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a brilliant cryptanalyst whose expertise cracked Germany’s “Enigma code” and helped turn the tide of World War II for the Allies, but his homosexuality still made him a target of persecution.  The film is really more about Turing than the war, but Tyldum weaves the Enigma plot throughout the film in a way that makes it feel like a spy thriller.

During my exclusive video interview with Morten Tyldum, he talked about trying to be historically accurate, filming in real places, if he had many deleted scenes, balancing fact versus fiction, what he learned from friends and family screenings, what sequences he worked on again and again to get them right, and loads more.  Hit the jump to watch.  The Imitation Game also star Keira KnightleyMatthew GoodeCharles DanceMark StrongRory KinnearAllen Leech and Matthew Beard and will likely be a strong awards season contender this year.  For more on the film, watch six clips, the trailer, or click here for all our previous coverage.

THE IMITATION GAME Producers and More Talk the Long Road to Getting the Film Made, Finding Their Director, Historical Accuracy, and More

by     Posted 24 days ago

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As we move into awards season, 2014 is proving to be an exciting year for films and no doubt there will be some year-end surprise contenders.  One of my personal favorites is The Imitation Game, directed by Norwegian filmmaker Morten Tyldum, about British mathematician, cryptanalyst and war hero Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is credited with cracking the unbreakable codes of Germany’s World War II Enigma machine.  Opening November 28th, the film’s intense and haunting portrayal of a brilliant, complicated man offers a fresh take on the biopic genre and features an impressive cast that includes Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, and Mark Strong.

At the Below The Line press day, we sat down with Producers Teddy Schwarzman, Nora Grossman, Ido Ostrowsky, Production Designer Maria Djukovic, Costume Designer Sammy Sheldon Differ, and Music Supervisor Lindsay Fellows who discussed the development process with screenwriter Graham Moore, the challenge of bringing Turing’s story to the screen, the decision to have Tyldum direct, the vision he brought, what drew the designers to the project, how their research helped them design a period piece with historical accuracy, the actors’ input into their costumes, the musical choices, composer Alexandre Desplat’s score, their commitment to honoring Turing’s legacy, and his family’s positive reaction.  Check out our interview after the jump.

Composer Alexandre Desplat Talks THE IMITATION GAME, Coming to the Project Late, Finding Continuity in His Scores, His Love of Conducting, and More

by     Posted 30 days ago

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Six-time Academy Award Nominee Alexandre Desplat is a remarkably versatile composer with a distinct voice who has collaborated with some of the world’s top filmmakers.  His films this year range from Wes Anderson’s The Grand Hotel Budapest, to George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, the blockbuster action thriller Godzilla, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game.  Desplat’s compelling score for the Alan Turing biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch features lots of keyboards, clarinets, and fast arpeggios which support the pacing of the film and capture the story’s thrilling intensity and the humanity of characters who are racing against time to crack the Nazi’s Enigma code during WWII.

In an exclusive interview, Desplat discussed his collaboration with Tyldum, the tight schedule he was under to deliver the film, how he created themes that resonated with the storyline of a film that has an extremely complex structure consisting of many flashbacks and flashforwards, his themes for Alan Turing and his friend Christopher, how he strives to find a sense of continuity when he scores a film, why the chronology of music is important, why he finds each collaboration with a director a new adventure even when they’ve worked together before, and his upcoming projects including Suffragette.  Check out the interview after the jump.

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