Breathing a sigh of relief once again Fox Searchlight’s 12 Years A Slave pulled out another squeaker at the BAFTA Awards just as it did at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Awards and the Producers Guild (where it tied Gravity). Going into the BAFTAs with ten nominations and favored status, as it was directed by Brit Steve McQueen and starred Brit Chiwetel Ejiofor, it looked like a total shutout losing award after award and going 0 for 7 (including surprising losses for Adapted Screenplay, Supporting Actress and Supporting Actor) but finally getting on the board with Ejiofor’s Best Actor win and then pulling off Best Film shortly after in a ceremony that reflected the kinds of splits we have seen all season. At the Globes you may recall it went 0 for 6 before nabbing Best Drama Picture at the end of the evening. Somehow McQueen winds up on stage at the end of all these shows making an acceptance speech and that’s what counts.
Related: BAFTA Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Wins Best Film But ‘Gravity’ Carries Most Weight With Six Total Nods; Chiwetel Ejiofor & Cate Blanchett Take Actor Wins; ‘American Hustle’ Scores 3 Including For Jennifer Lawrence
This is an unusual year to say the least and the BAFTA win for 12 Years A Slave where it helps the most gives it bragging rights as Oscar voting is getting underway this weekend. But these kinds of narrow victories might be a little tension-headache inducing for Searchlight as it now heads to the Oscars in the tightest race in years. Slave was expected to do much better here than it did overall. The results indicate voting was all over the map. BAFTA is important as there may be as many as 500 members that it shares in common with the motion picture Academy. The outcome really did nothing to add more clarity or certainty in a see-sawing Best Picture Oscar race with Gravity’s six BAFTA wins including Best Director for Alfonso Cuaron and Outstanding British Film keeping it in strong contention. Perhaps BAFTA voters thought they could offer up their own PGA-style split by giving these two films their own producing prize? Who knows? Here’s the good news for Slave . The BAFTA Best Film winner has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture for the past five years a row. However in the four previous years before that streak it failed to match Oscar’s top winner, so into which camp will Slave fall? Again, who knows? Makes things exciting though. Read More »
One winner thanked “giant killer robots”. Another said, “When you see the next Michael Bay extravaganza it was all worth it”. And yet another called it “the Winter Olympics for geeks”.
Welcome to the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Scientific & Technical Awards which were handed out last night during a surprisingly entertaining ceremony at the Beverly Hills Hotel. I have been to just about every different conceivable kind of Academy function over the three decades I have been covering Oscars but this was my first time at this event which the Academy has been doing in one form or another since they started handing them out in the Oscars‘ fourth year, 1930-31. I guess I always thought this might be a rather dull sort of thing to sit through. I barely understand how to get my emails so imagine a ceremony that is all about honoring the ILM Plume System, the Flux gas simulation system, the Zeno application framework, a thesis on the fundamental concepts of deep shadowing technology, the design of the Pneumatic Car Flipper or the Flying-Cam SARAH 3.0 system? And that’s just for starters in a show that handed out a LOT of Technical Achievement certificates, Scientific and Engineering Plaques and even a couple of real Oscar statuettes toward the end of the evening (Peter W. Anderson won one of those as recipient of the Gordon E. Sawyer award this year). But there was a lot of spirit in the room and judging from the whoops and hollers that went for five guys in tuxedos going up to accept for the development of the ASC Color Decision List technology you’d think they just won Best Picture. “When I was a kid nobody told me if I wanted to win an Academy Award I should study mathematics,” one winner said wryly. Like I said this was an entertaining evening, particularly considering the geek factor. And the clips were great too, going a long way to shedding light on just what these unheralded wizards do for the movie industry. Read More »
It’s a banner year for Oscar newcomers in the uber-competitive acting races. Outside of the veteran-heavy lead actress contest, 13 of the 20 nominees in lead and supporting are receiving either their first or second nominations. Considering how often the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tends to play favorites, it is good to see new blood. As voters enter the final balloting period before the March 2 ceremony, the guilds and other precursor awards have provided two fairly solid lead-category frontrunners—one of whom is a first-time nominee.
Related: SAG Awards: American Hustle Gets A Big Boost
With wins at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Dallas Buyers Club’s Matthew McConaughey has leapt to the front of the pack in the incredibly tight best actor race, which has see-sawed all season. But storm warning ahead, Matthew: The all-important British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards are still to come on Sunday, and you didn’t even snag a nomination there, leaving an opening for your chief rivals: The Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio, a four-time acting nominee looking for his first win; 12 Years A Slave’s Chiwetel Ejiofor (who is British and a first-time Oscar nominee); and Nebraska’s Bruce Dern, enjoying his second nom. American Hustle’s Christian Bale, who won a supporting Oscar in 2011 for The Fighter, rounds out the category.
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EXCLUSIVE: Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto have become the focus of Focus Features’ Academy campaign for Dallas Buyers Club with ads proclaiming “the year’s two most transformative performances are now its most honored”. Certainly it would be hard to argue with that as both won at SAG, … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: As Oscar voting begins today a lot of campaigns are moving into their final phase. American Hustle, which is generally considered to be one of three front runners for Best Picture along with 12 Years A Slave and Gravity, has decided to take its message … Read More »
Final voting for the 86th Annual Academy Awards has now officially opened as of 8 AM PT today. Consider it the Academy’s Valentine’s Day gift to members: the chance to determine Oscar winners in all 24 categories, open to ALL voters for the first time. Despite the Academy’s press release noting voting begins today — both online or, if requested, by paper ballot — some members have told me they were surprised to receive their paper ballot in the mail as early as Monday of this week. So actually voting may already be finished for some early birds who requested, got, and maybe mailed their ballots in already. It’s significant since studios are running some very expensive Phase 2 campaigns timed to peak with the beginning of voting.
Related: OSCARS: Jennifer Lawrence Set To Present
My guess is most ballots will be coming in closer to the announced final deadline of February 25 at 5 PM PT. That’s because, as previously noted on Deadline , the Academy sent a 13-disc package to all members last week containing all nominees in the Foreign Language Film, Documentary Feature and Live Action, Animated and Documentary shorts categories. That’s a lot to get through even if you’ve already seen the major contenders in the tightest Best Picture race in years, as well as other categories. Also, the Academy is strongly encouraging members to vote online, which gives a voter more time to cast a ballot. The process, which was troubled in its first year, has been widely praised by members this time around. They made it a lot easier — plus it saves you a stamp. Read More »
There’s talk of a Broadway show. A TV movie is being developed for Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network on the life of one of its subjects, Darlene Love. It became the number one grossing documentary of the year . And now it made the cut as one of the five … Read More »
Made In Hollywood? When it comes to Oscar nominees don’t count on it.
The third annual “Made-In-Hollywood” awards were presented today at 1600 Vine, former site of the famous Brown Derby restaurant, to the producers of Her, The Croods and Frozen, pretty much the only higher profile Oscar nominees that qualified even remotely as a film wholly or in substantial part made in Southern California. Frozen producer Peter del Vecho, Croods producers Kristine Belson and Jane Hartwell, and Her producer Vincent Landay accepted proclamations from presenter Jacqueline Bisset and L.A. City Councilmen Tom LaBonge and Mitch O’Farrell who said these honors were conceived as a way to encourage local production by rewarding Academy Award nominated films for keeping their productions in their “historic home”. The Councilmen whose districts include Hollywood want to “promote the full and well-earned use of the vast reservoir of filmmaking talent, creative artists, craftspeople and technicians”. Of course this is a big part of the reason Mayor Eric Garcetti created the job of L.A. Film Czar, filled briefly by the late Tom Sherak and now in the hands of Ken Ziffren. There’s lots of TV production but the movie industry has definitely fled for other environs. Previous winners in the first two years of the program, Argo and The Artist were the only two films in their respective years that qualified and both went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars.
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This week, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom look at whether Gravity is a lock to win the Oscar technical categories after dominating the Visual Effects Society awards and winning at the Art Directors Guild – but losing at the Eddies to Captain Phillips. Pete and David also check in on the scene at the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon, where everyone’s a winner; and the AARP Movies for Grownups event, where everyone’s a grownup; and remember entertainment titans Shirley Temple Black and Sid Caesar.
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 63 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 63 (.M4A version)
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The Oscar luncheon has become a lynchpin for other events and award-related activities since so many nominees are in town for the occasion. It’s a last-gasp attempt to get them out to as many events as possible before final ballots go out Friday. The Dallas Buyers Club group, the Wolf Of Wall Street and several others had AMPAS Q&As lined up Monday evening. But perhaps the biggest event — judging by the Oscar-nominated star power it drew – was AARP‘s 2014 Awards Gala on Monday night saluting Movies For Grownups. Their mission as they say is to “honor outstanding writing, acting and filmmaking with distinct relevance to the 50-plus audience”. Considering the average age of Oscar voters, this is a good place to be seen. Among the winners were 12 Years A Slave as Best Movie For Grownups, Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron as Best Director, Nebraska’s Bruce Dern and Philomena’s Judi Dench as Best Actor and Actress, 20 Feet From Stardom for Best Documentary, and Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke for their Before Midnight screenplay. Susan Sarandon received the life achievement award from presenter Melissa McCarthy. Best Buddy Picture was CBS Films’ Lost Vegas with star Morgan Freeman and director Jon Turtletaub on hand. Best Grownup Love Story appropriately went to Nicole Holofcener for the terrific and sadly Oscar-overlooked Enough Said.
Related: 86th Academy Awards Nominees Photo
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No question the nominees lunch, which took place today at the Beverly Hilton, is the feel good event of a very long Oscar season — at least as far as the nominees who have made it this far are concerned. If the Governors Awards in November is a great networking opportunity for contenders, this luncheon has become a “must attend” for nominees, who get their certificates, a goodie bag and the chance to meet their fellow nominees in a collegial atmosphere where everyone’s a winner. At least until March 2. Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a point of telling them a billion people will be watching in more than 225 countries and that the time begins the moment they hit the microphone and they will have only 45 seconds. “But don’t be nervous,” smiled Zadan. “Just prepare”.
86th Academy Awards Nominees Photo
OSCARS: 86th Academy Award Nominations
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“There’s not one single Academy member invited to this event tonight,” a Disney executive proudly told me before the studio’s live concert of the music from their smash animated Oscar contender Frozen began Sunday evening at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Jazz Club in L.A. Now that’s not normally the kind of thing you hear during awards season. Usually studios beg and cajole Oscar voters to show up to these kinds of things. For instance, Disney staged another memorable musical event in December for Saving Mr. Banks with a concert by Mary Poppins composer Richard M. Sherman at the Polo Lounge. That one was crawling with invited Academy members. But that also took place before nominations. Much stricter AMPAS guidelines for campaigning after nominations are announced mean all these kinds of events, lunches, parties, meet-and-greets with contenders, etc., are verboten, and a violation of those guidelines can mean loss of tickets or stronger repercussions from the Academy.
So this special evening was limited to Disney execs, Frozen creatives like directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho, composer Christophe Beck, songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, and executive producer and Disney Animation chief John Lasseter along with the press. Lots of press who can spread the word about the phenomenal success of Frozen just a few days before those ballots go into the mail to Oscar voters who — did I say this? – weren’t invited. Read More »
Just when you think you have this whole awards season thing figured out, along comes another fork in the road. Tonight’s American Cinema Editors Awards crowned three favorites including American Hustle as Best Edited Feature Film (comedy or musical), Frozen for Animated Feature and 20 Feet From Stardom in the corresponding Feature Documentary category. But when it came to the final award of the evening, presenter Leonardo DiCaprio opened the envelope and announced Captain Phillips which was edited by past Eddie- and Oscar-winner Christopher Rouse. This is the second week in a row where Phillips has pulled off a mini-coup after surprising at the WGA Awards by taking Best Adapted Screenplay. In retrospect that win wasn’t that stunning since Oscar front-runner in the category 12 Years A Slave was ineligible as was another major contender, Philomena. But Friday night at the ACE Eddies Phillips pulled off a major win by besting favorites Slave, and especially Gravity which was co-edited by its DGA winning and Oscar-favored Director Alfonso Cuaron.
Related: WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards
Gravity has been the favorite to win this award and several other crafts honors at the Oscars. This slowed a little of its momentum at least for the night. Will the surprise ambush at ACE mean Captain Phillips, another superbly edited nail-biting achievement, suddenly has turned the category into a real race and put a roadblock in the way of a possible Gravity sweep? We do have to remember that it is only editors themselves voting at ACE while the entire Academy membership votes in this category, and all others, for the final Oscar winner. I still think that gives Cuaron’s space drama the upper hand, but who knows? It was the Academy that bypassed both star Tom Hanks and director Paul Greengrass making it a bit of an underdog to the front-runners but it is on something of a roll right now. Read More »
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is jumping into the screener business. Big time. DVDs for Animated, Live Action and Documentary Shorts as well as Feature Documentary and for the first time, Foreign Language Film nominees are … Read More »
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond talks with host David Bloom about which films and performers got an Oscar bump out of the WGA, Annie and Cinematographers awards shows this past Saturday; check in on the Santa Barbara film festival’s celebration of Cate Blanchett and whether the controversy over her Blue Jasmine director in will spill over into the Oscar race; dissect the Academy’s defense of its de-nomination of “Alone Yet Not Alone” in the face of complaints by, particularly, religious and conservative critics; and discuss the highlights of Pete’s sit-down with Julia Roberts this week to discuss her supporting actress Oscar nomination for “August: Osage County.”
We’ll also get Pete’s take on the week’s notable movie debuts, including the true and likable WWII story The Monuments Men, directed by and starring George Clooney with a big-name cast, and The Lego Movie, a fast-moving and smart animated film that Pete suggests could be in the Oscar hunt a year from now.
You can listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here:
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 62 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 62 (.M4A version)
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If you think Hollywood’s awards season will come to a complete stop just because of a little thing called Super Bowl Weekend, think again! As already covered extensively on Deadline yesterday, the pre-Oscar madness was running full tilt Saturday with the WGA, ASC and Annie awards, the Santa Barbara Film Festival and lots of lingering controversies about nominees and “rescinded” nominees. Whew! You’d think they’d give it a rest to let football take over but NOTHING gets in the way of Hollywood’s own Super Bowl!
28th Annual ASC Awards: ‘Gravity’s Emmanuel Lubezki Wins Feature Film Honor
WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards
Annie Awards: ‘Frozen’ Wins Big Including Best Feature
I am up at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival this weekend where I moderated the two-hour sold-out Performance Of The Year tribute to Oscar frontrunner Cate Blanchett at the 2000-seat dream palace known as the Arlington Theatre. At the end of it, Cate received a standing ovation when future co-star Rooney Mara (they start shooting Todd Haynes’ Carol in March) presented her with the latest trinket in a season in which she has so far run the table in terms of awards. She was a willing and warm subject onstage as we showed clips and I dissected her career, informing her at one point that, with The Aviator in which she played Katharine Hepburn, she became the only person to win an Oscar playing an Oscar winner. Always glad to pass on useless trivia to movie stars.
Over the years I have hosted several of these tributes, which are obviously well-timed as part of the Academy season. Festival executive director Roger Durling picks the honorees months in advance but always seems to have a good hunch who is going to be in the Oscar game. Among those SBIFF plays to are numerous Academy members who live in the area, so it’s always smart exposure on the part of awards consultants — just as is the early-January Palm Springs fest in the pre-nomination period. Durling himself moderated a rollicking free-form session with American Hustle writer-director and Oscar nominee David O. Russell at the same venue Friday night. And earlier Saturday at the Lobero, there was a producers panel mostly populated with Oscar nominees followed by the annual Women’s Panel (moderated in style as usual by Madelyn Hammond — yes, we’re related) which also sported several current contenders. Among those coming up in the next week are Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio and several others. Some landed nominations, some didn’t, but they are all showing up regardless. It’s that time of year. Read More »
Wonder why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to take the unusual step on a Super Bowl Saturday to “clarify” its decision Wednesday to rescind the Best Song nomination of the controversial Alone Yet Not Alone from the yet-to-be-released (now they are saying early summer) faith-based movie of the same name? Since the decision was announced, there has been blowback regarding the true intent of the Academy’s decision — particularly in a letter to Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs from Oscar-winning producer Gerald Molen (Schindler’s List) who was also an executive producer of the controversial documentary 2016: Obama’s America, a high-grossing documentary that became a lightning rod in the last Presidential campaign and a darling of right-wing critics of President Obama.
Related: Oscar Scandal: Academy Nixes Song Nomination For Improper Campaigning
In the letter, Molen accuses the Academy of bias: “Many will see this decision as faith-based bigotry pure and simple,” he wrote in defending songwriter Bruce Broughton‘s right to the kind of grass roots campaign he conducted in order to get the unknown film a nomination against stiff competition from the likes of Taylor Swift, Coldplay and Lana Del Rey — none of whom made the cut. In order to stem further bleeding — particularly in becoming a target of right-wing blogs — I believe the Academy decided to curb any further damage or controversy the decision seems to be causing. In today’s detailed statement (read it below) it even gets very specific and states that Broughton sent “at least 70″ emails to fellow Music Branch members (the entire branch numbers 240). AMPAS explains that coming from a former governor and current member of the Branch’s Executive Committee, he could be rightly suspected of taking advantage of his insider status in gaming the system (my term, not the Academy’s). The original statement Wednesday was much more polite in using the phrase “no matter how well intentioned” Broughton’s efforts might have been. This letter today is far more damning and much more specific in explaining Academy rules. There has been no indication the Academy plans to take any further action on the matter, but it certainly isn’t bowing down to critics who are saying it made a mistake in deep-sixing the song. Here’s today’s statement: Read More »
Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom talk about the Toronto Film Festival’s attempt to throw its considerable weight around on would-be premieres; remember the late former Academy president Tom Sherak, one of Hollywood’s biggest and most influential personalities; and ponder the potential Oscar impact of Alfonso Cuaron’s win at the DGA Awards for Gravity. David and Pete also survey the Oscar Best Song field after the Academy disqualified the surprise entry, Alone Yet Not Alone, for improper campaigning tactics.
Listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here:
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Fans of the Oscars should be in hog heaven over TCM‘s terrific new 95-minute documentary chronicling the Academy Awards from their inception 86 years ago to the present. The film, And The Oscar Goes To…, premieres Saturday and is perhaps the most thorough and detailed look at the Oscars yet done — at least anything actually sanctioned on this scale by the Academy. To do something like this requires the complete cooperation of the Oscar gods, and filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads: Stories From The Quill, The Celluloid Closet) got it. There is tons of rare footage, both onstage and back at most of the past Oscar ceremonies reaching all the way to the first when it was held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
According to Epstein, it was then-Academy President Tom Sherak who was their knight in shining armor in getting the docu project off the ground. As I was interviewing him on Tuesday, news broke that Sherak had died. Epstein, who also serves as an Academy Governor in the Documentary Branch, wanted to make sure Sherak got due credit. “I just want to say that for me personally there is no greater tribute to Tom than having worked on this film, because if it weren’t for him it wouldn’t be. I went to him with the idea and five minutes of footage and he said, ‘We are going to make this happen,’ and he did. That was three years ago. He got it right away, he embraced it, he said you’re the guy to do it. He said he was going to take it to the board, and he presented that trailer I showed him to the board, and everyone agreed that this was the kind of thing we should support,” he said. Read More »