THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and BIRDMAN Lead Critics Choice Awards Nominations

by     Posted 6 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.

Oscar Beat: 5 Things the Golden Globe Announcements, SAG Nominations, and Critics Awards Tell Us About the Season Ahead

by     Posted 10 days ago

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As evidenced by the first rounds of critics group awards and announcements of both the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations, we are in the thick of awards season.  I’ve been following the race closely these past few months and taking a closer look at specific categories like Best Picture, Best Actress, and most recently Best Supporting Actor over the past few weeks in regular Oscar Beat columns, but now feels like an opportune time to take a breath and consider what the awards thus far say about the race ahead.  Does Unbroken’s snub signal a surprisingly light Oscar presence?  Will Boyhood enjoy a near clean sweep of the critics groups?  Is Jennifer Aniston on her way to an Oscar nomination?  Read on after the jump.

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

by     Posted 13 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. 

Watch 6 Clips from Angelina Jolie’s UNBROKEN

by     Posted 14 days ago

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On the heels of the film finally screening for critics and guild groups, Universal Pictures has released a batch of Unbroken movie clips.  Directed by Angelina Jolie, the film tells the true (and incredible) story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943.  Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer.  The film has been highly anticipated by many for its inspiring story and incredible behind-the-scenes (and in front of camera) team, so I’m looking forward to finally checking it out.

Watch the Unbroken movie clips after the jump.  The film also stars MiyaviDomhnall GleesonGarrett HedlundFinn WittrockJai Courtney, and Alex Russell.  Unbroken opens in theaters on December 25th.

Oscar Beat: The Best Supporting Actor Race at a Glance

by     Posted 15 days ago

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By the time the Academy Awards nominations are announced every year, there’s already been so much prognosticating and discussion about the race itself that in actuality, there aren’t a great deal of surprises.  Sure, every now and then you’ll have something like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close getting into the Best Picture race or Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow being left off the Best Director shortlist (that one still baffles me), but by and large, things mostly seem to fall into place as expected.  Where you can find many of the true surprises, though, is in the Supporting Actor and Actress categories.  This is where beloved character actors can finally get their due, or burgeoning newcomers can find themselves nominated alongside acting veterans; and these kinds of nominees actually have good shots at winning.  This year, the bench for the Best Supporting Actor category is yet again deep with talent, offering plenty of opportunities for some pleasant surprises.

After the jump, I run down the current state of the Best Supporting Actor race in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat.

New UNBROKEN Images Reveal a Stranded and Starved Jack O’Connell and Domhnall Gleeson

by     Posted 20 days ago

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Fresh off the first reviews starting to trickle out, Universal has released a collection of new Unbroken images from director Angelina Jolie’s adaptation of the bestselling non-fiction book that show the physical transformation of the principal cast.  The film tells the true story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943.  Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer.  While the initial reviews are somewhat positive, there are some reservations about Jolie’s execution of the story and handling of Zamperini’s arc; this doesn’t appear to be the be-all, end-all Oscar heavyweight that some were predicting.  Regardless, Zamperini’s story is undeniably incredible and I’m very much looking forward to seeing how it’s portrayed onscreen.

Check out the new Unbroken images after the jump.  The film also stars Miyavi, Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund, Finn Wittrock, Jai Courtney, and Alex RussellUnbroken opens in theaters on December 25th.

Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race at a Glance

by     Posted 23 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.

Finn Wittrock Talks AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW, Dandy’s Motivations, Returning for More Seasons, UNBROKEN, and More

by     Posted 32 days ago

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The FX series American Horror Story: Freak Show follows a troupe of the strange and unusual in 1952, who are looking to survive as performers amidst the dying world of the American carny experience.  From the twisted minds of Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk, the show stars Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Michael Chiklis, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, Emma Roberts, Denis O’Hare and Finn Wittrock.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Finn Wittrock (who quite brilliantly plays Dandy Mott, a petulant rich kid with a dark side) talked about how he came to be a part of Season 4, what he thinks of his character, why Twisty the clown sparked his interest, working with John Carroll Lynch, whether the viewers might ever feel sympathy for Dandy, putting on the clown mask, and what he’d like to do in Season 5.  He also talked about working on Unbroken (which he’s seen and says is epic), directed by Angelina Jolie, and writing his own feature film, called The Submarine Kid.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

New UNBROKEN Trailer Continues to Prove Jack O’Connell Is One to Watch [Updated with New Images and Posters]

by     Posted 66 days ago

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Who’s ready for a Jack O’Connell tour de force?  The guy’s already proven himself thanks to his work in Starred Up and the upcoming limited release ’71, but based on this new trailer for Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken, it looks as though he’s got a lot more to offer.  The narrative is remarkable in and of itself, but O’Connell appears to bring such heart to the role of Louis Zamperini that his performance is bound to up the intensity of the situation tenfold.  Will it be enough to earn him some Oscar buzz?  There’s already some significant competition in the Best Actor category so it might be a reach, but Adam thinks the film’s got a chance at snagging a spot in the Best Picture race, and based on the quality of this new promo, I’m inclined to agree.

Hit the jump to check out the latest Unbroken trailer.  The film arrives on December 25th and also stars Domhnall GleesonGarrett Hedlund, Jai Courtney, Finn Wittrock, Alex Russell, John Magaro and Luke Treadaway. [Update: Universal has also released new images and posters for the film.]

Oscar Beat: The Best Picture Race at a Glance

by     Posted 67 days ago

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The awards race is off and running.  We’ve already been through the fall film festival circuit where a number of contenders emerged either as heavy hitters or non-players, and as November approaches we’re starting to get to the point where all of the big films have been seen.  As such, I thought now would be a good time to start taking a closer look at some of the big categories, seeing where things stand as far as what films and actors/actresses are most likely to be nominated.  Take a look at the Best Picture race at a glance in this week’s edition of Oscar Beat after the jump.

New UNBROKEN Trailer and Images Starring Jack O’Connell as Olympian and War Hero Louis Zamperini

by     Posted 164 days ago

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Universal has released a new Unbroken trailer online along with a batch of new images.  Angelina Jolie‘s film tells the incredibly true story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), a former Olympian and WWII bombardier whose plane crashed at sea in 1943.  Zamperini and two crewmates floated adrift for 47 days and 2000 miles, eventually finding themselves caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a POW camp where Zamperini was targeted by a sadistic overseer.  O’Connell looks good and the cinematography is very pretty, but this trailer also features people shouting platitudes like “You can take it, you can make it,” and “A moment of pain is worth a lifetime of glory.”  It looks like prime Oscar-bait, and while it turn out to be a good movie, the sappy tone of the trailer makes me feel like the film should be called “Unbroken: It Will Inspire the Living Shit out of You“.

Hit the jump to check out the Unbroken trailer and images.  The film opens December 25th, and also stars Domhnall Gleeson, Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund, and Finn Wittrock.

Angelina Jolie Talks MALEFICENT, Getting into Character, Wearing the Costume and Horns, Directing UNBROKEN, Balacing Work and Family, and More

by     Posted 214 days ago

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Every villain is the hero of their own story, which can certainly be said for the title character in Maleficent.  Played to wickedly delightful perfection by Academy Award winner Angelina Jolie, Maleficent is so much more than just a villain.  Once you learn about the elements of the betrayal that ultimately turned her pure heart to stone and led her to place an irrevocable curse upon the infant Aurora, you will begin to understand how she got her reputation.  Directed by Robert Stromberg and written by Linda Woolverton, the film also stars Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Lesley Manville, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Brenton Thwaites.

At the press day, Collider was invited to participate in a small roundtable with the film’s star, Angelina Jolie, who talked about realizing that there was no half-way, once she put on the full costume and horns, what ultimately sold her on her daughter, Vivienne, being in the film and what she was like on set, how big of a role motherhood played in her accepting this project, the process of getting into character, each day, whether she’d consider returning to this character, and how she feels about this film being watched, for generations to come.  She also talked about the experience of directing her second film, Unbroken, why it was so much more daunting than her first, why its subject, Louis Zamperini, is so important to her, and how she manages to balance her big family with her hectic career.  Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

CinemaCon Video Blog: TRANSFORMERS 4,TMNT, LUCY, FAST & FURIOUS 7, UNBROKEN, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, MINIONS, JURASSIC WORLD, and More

by     Posted 271 days ago

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With CinemaCon in full swing in Las Vegas, over the past 24 hours I’ve managed to see the first footage from a lot of upcoming movies from Paramount Pictures and Universal Studios.  Yesterday, Paramount unveiled the first teaser trailers for Hercules and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and a lot of footage from Michael Bay’s Transformers: Age of Extinction.  Today, Universal showed attendees footage from Luc Besson’s Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken (which looks like it’s going to be an awards contender), Fifty Shades of Grey, Fast & Furious 7, Minions, Dumb and Dumber To, a CGI-only trailer with voice over for Jurassic World, and a lot more.  Like previous years, Universal’s presentation really impressed me with the wide variety of great looking movies.  Hit the jump for more.

First Posters for THE EQUALIZER, HERCULES, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, DRACULA UNTOLD, and UNBROKEN

by     Posted 273 days ago

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With CinemaCon starting tomorrow in Las Vegas, I arrived earlier today to take pictures of the new posters on display.  For those unaware, CinemaCon is a convention put on for theater owners in order to get a look at what the studios have to offer for the rest of the year, and where vendors can show new products for theaters to buy.  It’s basically Comic-Con for theater owners.  Besides showing off never before seen footage, the studios often bring the cast and the filmmakers.  Over the course of a few days, Hollywood comes to Las Vegas.  So over the next few days expect tons of updates.  I’ll have new posters, thoughts on the new movie footage, and exclusives interviews.  It should be a fun week.

While walking around, I located the first posters for director Antoine Fuqua’s The Equalizer starring Denzel Washington, Brett Ratner‘s Hercules starring Dwayne Johnson, Jonathan Liebesman’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Gary Shore’s Dracula Untold, and Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken.  While the posters are just the logos of the movies, I figured you’d like to see them.  Hit the jump to check them out.

Oscar Beat: 10 Films That Could End Up in the 2015 Awards Race

by     Posted 288 days ago

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With the recent 86th Academy Awards ceremony, the Oscar race has finally come to a close—for now.  We just spent the past five months here on Oscar Beat deconstructing every inch of the Oscar season, and while we still have quite a while to wait before the next race heats up, now seems like a fine opportunity to take a quick preview of what just might be on tap for next year’s ceremony.  Obviously it’s way too early to take the 2015 Oscar race seriously, but there are plenty of anticipated films slated for release this year that could turn out to be the serious contenders in the next awards race.  After the jump, I preview 10 of the films that might pop up in next year’s Oscar conversation.

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