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Toronto: What Oscar Clues Are Wrapped In Today’s Massive Announcement Of TIFF Films?

Pete Hammond

Toronto: What Oscar Clues Are Wrapped In Today’s Massive Announcement Of TIFF Films?Well, they are coming hot and heavy now. With Toronto International Film Festival announcing 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations this morning in what is really just the first wave of their upcoming lineup, and  on top on New York Film Festival’s confirmation of their Opening (Gone Girl), Centerpiece (Inherent Viceand Closing (Birdman), BFI London’s opener of The Imitation Game and Venice Film Festival’s opener (also Birdman)  the awards season landscape is starting to fill in a bit more significantly. Venice in fact will announce their entire lineup tomorrow but today’s TIFF list gives us some further clues as to how the Oscar game is being played on the fest circuit. Of course Telluride is another factor, but they won’t officially announce anything until their fest begins just before Labor Day weekend.

Robert-Downey-Jr_-and-Robert-Duvall-in-The-Judge-2014-Movie-Image-2-750x499One player that I hear won’t be going to Telluride this year,  or it seems Venice, is Warner Bros which has used both fests significantly in the past (Warners had Oscar winners Argo and Gravity at the past two Tellurides and Gravity opened Venice last year). But, as predicted here, they are going to Toronto in a BIG way with World Premieres of three of their Fall films, The JudgeThis Is Where I Leave You and The Good Lie. Will TIFF mean the launch of an Oscar campaign for the trio, or is it just an effective way of getting the most media bang for your buck in releasing these early Fall titles? Certainly The Judge would seem to have acting potential for … Read More »

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Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Pete Hammond

Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?The Squarea harrowing documentary about the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of six of its participants, was Oscar-nominated in the 2013 Best Feature Documentary race. So how come it is suddenly a major contender at the Emmys too? Inquiries have come to our attention, including one calling for its withdrawal from Emmy competition, so I decided to check it out.

Daytime Emmy Awards WinnersThe film, which accounts for four of the impressive 31 Emmy nominations Netflix received this year, was picked up by the streaming service and qualified last year for the Oscar race with a seven-day run, according to the Television Academy, which has assured me they thoroughly examined this one. “The Square was not in general release prior to it TV appearance; rather, it qualified for the Oscars under the ‘one week NY-LA limited screening rule’ which would not have affected Emmy eligibility. Please know that we and the documentary peer group vetted the hell out of this one, and it’s good to Emmy go,” according to John Leverence, SVP Awards for the TV Academy. Read More »

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‘Boyhood’ Sets Off On Awards Trek With Strong, Packed Weekend Screenings For Oscar And SAG Voters

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 12:09am PDT
Pete Hammond

‘Boyhood’ Sets Off On Awards Trek With Strong, Packed Weekend Screenings For Oscar And SAG VotersWe are still a little more than a month away from the official start of awards season, but for IFC‘s smash-out-of-the-box indie hit, Boyhood, it already began in earnest on Sunday with back-to-back screenings and Q&As for members of the newly chosen 2000-strong Screen Actors Guild Nominating Committee, and later its official Academy screening at the newly re-opened Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Acad’s Beverly Hills headquarters. The SAG nom comm is just beginning its long schedule of these kinds of screenings, and Sunday afternoon’s was the first big one in LA, although I am told there were a couple of smaller films for the nom comm early in June just as the randomly-chosen group of actors was formed for this year’s race. They packed the Pacific Design Center’s screening room and after the Q&A with stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and young Ellar Coltrane along with writer/director Richard Linklater, the SAG crowd gave them all a heartfelt standing ovation. I moderated boyhood-poster and there was also much applause when I brought each of them on stage for the 40-minute conversation. The making of the film on 36 shooting days over the course of 12 years has been a well-publicized story this summer, and each of them offered detailed answers on various aspects of a film that is unique in motion picture history, particularly from the point of view … Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second Week

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 11:05am PDT

Specialty B.O.: ‘Boyhood’s’ Big Shoulders Continue To Dominate In Second WeekBoyhood continued to muscle into the Specialty Box Office in its second frame amid an expansion, even while the weekend’s newcomers showed mixed numbers. Zach Braff‘s Wish I Was Here and Mike Cahill‘s I Origins, second films from both writer/directors, bowed with averages in the low $7K range. IFC FilmsBoyhood opened last week with the year’s second highest PTA among limited-release titles and only compounded its star status in expansion. The Richard Linklater-directed feature added 29 locations, grossing nearly $1.2 million in 34 theaters, a stellar $35,230 per-screen average and a $1,848,050 two-week cume.
Boyhood’s mid- to long-term momentum appears assured with a 99-percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and what IFC Films says is “word of mouth… through the roof, as reflected by eye-popping exit polls this weekend and minimal drop at last weekend’s opening theaters.” IFC, which financed the film throughout its 12-year gestation, said the title played solidly across all demographics, with top scores from teens and from “those in their 60s and beyond.” Boyhood will expand to the top 25 markets next weekend and will continue to widen in coming weeks.
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‘Boyhood’ By The Numbers: What Else Happened Over 12 Years

By | Friday July 18, 2014 @ 10:37am PDT

‘Boyhood’ By The Numbers: What Else Happened Over 12 YearsAfter it debuted last week to the second-best opening of any specialty film in 2014, Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood is already considered an early Oscar contender that has a chance to cross over as it broadens its run to 10 markets today. It is unprecedented for a narrative film to be shot like this one was. It proved to be a time-lapse process that allows viewers to watch Ellar Coltrane and his castmates age naturally from age 6 to 18 and believably go through the joys and dramas, big and small, inherent in the lives of children. Linklater told Deadline he was lucky nothing unfortunate happened in the lives of the cast and crew, almost all of whom returned year after year. Here, Deadline looks at some of the things that happened to the participants over that span, including in Texas, where Linklater shot the film.

Boyhood chart

 

Number of other features, TV movies and shorts directed by Richard Linklater:  10
Number of TV episodes created by Richard Linklater: 6 (Up To Speed)
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Movie Academy Unveils Board Of Governors Election Results

Movie Academy Unveils Board Of Governors Election ResultsThe new members announced today after voting are re-upped for three-year terms. This comes ahead of the August 5 board meeting to elect the Academy’s officers. On that ballot will be current Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is up for her second of a potential four one-year terms and is expected to be re-upped. Isaacs, from the Public Relations Branch, was among the eight governors re-elected today, a list that includes Academy Secretary Phil Robinson (Writers Branch) ; five new first-timers were also voted in. Here’s the release: Read More »

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‘Gone Girl’s’ NYFF Announcement Fuels Fall Festival Oscar Season Speculation

By | Thursday July 17, 2014 @ 10:25am PDT
Pete Hammond

‘Gone Girl’s’  NYFF Announcement Fuels Fall Festival Oscar Season SpeculationThough it is still only July – and the summer movie blockbuster season is still in full force – all eyes are turning to awards season as much-awaited announcements of the four big Fall movie festivals that signal the beginning of the Oscar race are starting to drop. Following last week’s news that Fox Searchlight and New Regency’s Birdman would be launching the Venice Film Festival on August 27th, comes official word today from the Film Society Of Lincoln Center that David Fincher’s Gone Girl from Searchlight’s parent 20th Century Fox and New Regency will be launching the 52nd New York Film Festival on  September 26th. This selection was absolutely no surprise as the NYFF is very Fincher-friendly and most recently opened their fest in 2010 with the director’s The Social Network. Also, 20th has a strong recent relationship with the NYFF as both last year’s Oscar flameout, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and 2012′s Life Of Pi also had major showcases there. This continues the trend. In what might be counted as the firstnyff review of the much-anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best seller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, NYFF Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said: “Gone Girl  is so many things at once: sharp as a razor about many aspects of American life that have been untouched by movies, very tough and just as funny, brilliantly acted, and 100%  entertaining – a wild ride from start to finish. In short, a great … Read More »

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Art Directors Guild Draws Up Lifetime Achievement Award For Jim Bissell

Art Directors Guild Draws Up Lifetime Achievement Award For Jim BissellLegendary production designer Jim Bissell will receive the Art Directors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award, which will be bestowed January 31 at the 19th annual awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton. Bissell, the production designer for E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, is currently in pre-production on his second film in the Mission Impossible franchise, and was the production designer of four of the five films directed by George Clooney, including this year’s Monuments Men.

“Jim Bissell’s work as a production designer is legendary and we are proud to rank him among the best in the history of our profession,” said John Shaffner, guild’s council chairman. “He is an extraordinary artist and accomplished leader in the industry, and it is our pleasure to name him as this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.”
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Oscar Watching: The First Sure-Fire Best Picture Nominee Has Just Arrived And It’s Only July – Let The Race Begin

By | Friday July 11, 2014 @ 3:15pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Oscar Watching: The First Sure-Fire Best Picture Nominee Has Just Arrived And It’s Only July – Let The Race BeginEmmy nominations may only have been released yesterday, and I know it’s still just July, but with the opening of Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood today I am declaring July 11th the new official start of the Oscar season (at least for this year) with a film that I predict will occupy one of those prized Best Picture slots when Academy Award nominations are announced six months from now. It’s a bold statement considering last year’s first of nine eventual Best Picture nominees, Gravity, wasn’t released until October 4th, and generally with few exceptions of late , most of the nominees still come in the Fall season (although 2009′s Best Pic winner The Hurt Locker actually debuted in late June of that year and rallied later in the game to take it all). Boyhood’s  distributor IFC Films also has not been a major player in the Best Picture races, but Boyhood producer John Sloss told me they have made a complete commitment to this film like no other.

boyhood__140507074117A top awards veteran consultant Cynthia Swartz and her Strategy P.R. have been on the movie for months, slowly positioning it for a run. Just last week IFC President Jonathan Sehring, who greenlit it and supported it for a dozen years, told our indie box office reporter Brian Brooks that the film is his favorite project of his entire professional career. “It’s not like anything I have ever been involved with and is my crowning professional achievement no matter how it performs,” he told Brooks. … Read More »

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‘Boyhood’: 39 Shooting Days, A 4,200-Day Production Schedule

By | Thursday July 10, 2014 @ 11:30am PDT

‘Boyhood’: 39 Shooting Days, A 4,200-Day Production ScheduleThe first thing that catches you about Richard Linklater‘s new movie, Boyhoodis the gimmick: It took 12 years to make. And this wasn’t some Orson Welles-like fight with a studio or money people or an artistic fugue state like those afflicting early Terrence Malick or late Stanley Kubrick. It was done on purpose. And the studio behind the project, IFC, was all for it, doling out about $200,000 a year so Linklater could annually gather his cast and crew to shoot a few days at a time for a dozen years followed by, as Linklater put it, “a big chunk at the end” to finish the film.

Boyhood poster horizontalBut here’s the other thing: The movie is really good. And taking all that time might be part of the reason. The film follows the life of a boy named Mason (Ellar Coltrane in his long-developing but remarkable debut) from age 5 until his first days in college at 18. It also tracks the twists in the lives of his two parents (Patricia Arquette and Linklater regular Ethan Hawke), who split before the film’s start, when Mason and his older sister (played by the director’s daughter Lorelei Linklater) were very young.

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Oscars: Controversy Erupts Over New Documentary Branch Rules – Are Smaller, More Serious Films Being Pushed Out Of Race?

Pete Hammond

Oscars: Controversy Erupts Over New Documentary Branch Rules – Are Smaller, More Serious Films Being Pushed Out Of Race?The June 27th announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences regarding new and tweaked rules for the 87th Academy Awards seemed pretty much by-the-numbers at the time, but in the days since has engendered controversy over a new requirement in the Documentary Feature category that now requires even stiffer regulations for a film’s seven-day qualifying run. Instead of the previous requirement of two shows a day without specifying times, the new rule calls for a minimum of four shows per day at theatres in LA and NY with screenings beginning between noon-10 PM including at least one “prime” show beginning between 6-10 PM. Sources at the Academy tell me this is an effort to get the films seen by the public in a theatrical setting.

“The main reason was to get those documentaries to be seen by paying audiences,” an Academy executive told me. “As you know a lot of those (qualifying runs ) movies are basically four-walled at 11 AM and nobody sees them in a theatre. So by allowing  four showings daily for a week it allows so much greater access for the consumer and the public to see these movies.” I am told the docu branch leadership was passionate about the change because “it really allows the movie fan to see documentaries with so much more opportunity.” It also reinforces the idea that these Oscar-qualifying films are indeed theatrical experiences, something the Academy has always been rightfully concerned about emphasizing in their annual competition. Read More »

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An Appreciation Of Louis Zamperini, A True American Hero

Mike Fleming

An Appreciation Of Louis Zamperini, A True American HeroWhat sad pre-holiday news: American Olympian track star and WWII hero Louis Zamperini passed away last night at age 97, just one day short of Independence Day. It’s somehow poignant that Zamperini’s shadow hovers over the July 4th holiday; it comes half a year before the Universal Pictures release of Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed adaptation of the Laura Hillenbrand bestseller about a man whose unwillingness to break despite the most difficult of circumstances in a Japanese POW camp made him the personification of struggle and heroism. Part of that struggle included getting a movie made on his extraordinary life; imagine, Universal’s first attempt at a Zamperini film came in the 1950s, when Tony Curtis sparked to playing Zamperini as his follow-up to Spartacus.

louzzMany know Zamperini’s story because of the superb book by Seabiscuit author Hillenbrand, and the world will celebrate him at year’s end when Universal releases the film in Oscar season, with Jack O’Connell playing Zamperini. I have been obsessed with Zamperini since I saw a segment on his ordeal broadcast by CBS during the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, and have written about the movie at Variety and Deadline since then at the slightest provocation, because it seemed such a worth screen story. When CBS chronicled his story, Zamperini returned to Japan to run with the Olympic torch, covering ground not far from where he spent an unimaginably brutal stretch in a Japanese prison camp … Read More »

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Academy Sues Auction House & Oscar Winner’s Heirs For Selling 1942 Statuette

By | Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 7:14pm PDT

Academy Sues Auction House & Oscar Winner’s Heirs For Selling 1942 StatuetteAs it has dozens of times before, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sued in response to someone trying to make a buck hawking an Oscar. This time the case involves a statuette sold to an unknown buyer for nearly $80,000 just one week ago. In a suit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), the Academy takes umbrage to Briarbrook Auction Services auctioning off the Oscar awarded to Joseph Wright in 1942 for his color and 220px-Mygalsal02art direction on My Gal Sal. The Academy’s bylaws strictly spell out that neither the recipients of the awards nor their successors — Wright died in 1985 — can sell the statuettes without first offering them to the Academy. The suit says Academy officials sent a letter explaining its rules to the Rhode Island-based auction house and followed with calls — one of which, it says, ended with the woman who answered hanging up with she learned it was Hollywood calling. The suit says Briarbrook auctioned off the Oscar on June 24 anyway, netting $79,200. Now the Academy is suing for that amount and other damages and seeking a jury trial. Attorneys Gary Gans, Christopher Tayback and William Rollins of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan are representing the Academy.

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Academy Reveals Submission Dates For 87th Oscars

By | Tuesday July 1, 2014 @ 11:02am PDT

Academy Reveals Submission Dates For 87th OscarsThe Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced category submission deadlines for 87th Academy Awards consideration.

Here are the dates:

Scientific and Technical Awards: Friday, July 11 Read More »

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Roger Ebert’s Final Hollywood Premiere: Can A Movie About A Movie CRITIC Be Oscar Bound?

By | Friday June 27, 2014 @ 3:25pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Roger Ebert’s Final Hollywood Premiere: Can A Movie About A Movie CRITIC  Be Oscar Bound?Before the screening began at last night’s Hollywood premiere of director Steve James’ Roger Ebert documentary Life ItselfEbert’s remarkable wife Chaz shared something with the packed crowd of industry notables that her late husband told her as they were embarking on the shooting of the film. “Roger said, ‘Make sure Steve doesn’t make a movie I don’t want to see’,” she laughed. Mission accomplished, but in a cruel stroke of irony for the world’s most famous film critic, he didn’t live to see it completed.

Related: Sundance: Roger Ebert Docu Debut Draws Cheers & Tears

James, best known for his 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, has made a tough, entertaining, unsentimental and enormously moving film that everyone should want to see. It’s not just about a"Life Itself" - Los Angeles Premiere blue-collar kid from Chicago, who turned into a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic. It’s mostly an unflinching and unapologetic account of a man determined to keep on keepin’ on after devastating cancer robbed him of his speech and ability to eat but not his mind, his love for movies or, most of all, his love for Chaz, his wife of 20 years who stood by him and kept him going long after others would have given up. “Roger lived his life out loud, even when he lost his physical voice,” she said. Of the movie, which is brutally honest about his illness and never looks away, my wife said, “It’s the greatest love story I have ever seen”. It is that too. Just before rolling the film, Chaz noted that she had an empty chair in the front row at the Arclight that said simply, ‘Reserved for Roger’ because “he told me I’ll always be in the front row cheering you on”.

Related: Hot Trailer: Roger Ebert Docu ‘Life Itself’

Magnolia will release the film next week, and though the Academy’s documentary branch often ignores movies about the movies, this one is irresistible. Wouldn’t it be ironic if a movie about a film critic who wrote books called I Hated Hated HATED This Movie and Your Movie Sucks (among many others more positive to the medium) were to win an Oscar? I spotted plenty of Academy voters in the audience last night, including Acad President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. Read More »

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Academy Approves New Rules For 87th Oscars, But They’re Not Earth-Shaking

By | Friday June 27, 2014 @ 12:27pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Academy Approves New Rules For 87th Oscars, But They’re Not Earth-ShakingThe new rules that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ Board of Governors approved for the 87th Oscars are minor tweaks to existing rules and won’t greatly affect this year’s race. The most significant change allows producer duos who meet certain criteria to compete as a single producer, which creates the possibility of more producing nominees for Best Picture. Also, if a music group opts to submit a song for Oscar consideration under the group’s name, its members will receive only one statuette rather than one for everyone in the band. And in what sounds like a no-brainer, studios and production companies now have a cap on the number of actors and actresses they can nominate from a single film. This will curb the common practice of simply submitting an alphabetical list of a pic’s entire cast. Here is today’s AMPAS release: Read More »

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DeadlineNow: Oscars — New Academy Members & New Rules

By | Thursday June 26, 2014 @ 4:01pm PDT
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AMPAS Invites 270-Plus, Makes Tweaks

It's been a busy week for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which unveiled new Oscar rules and invited 271 folks to join up, including Julia Louis-Dreyfus, the Duplass brothers and Olivier Assayas. Deadline's Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten discuss all the news.

Related: Oscar Music Branch Rules Changed In Wake Of ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Controversy Last Year

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Eli Wallach Appreciation: How Oscar Finally Got It Right After Nearly 60 Years Of No Nominations

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 6:02pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Eli Wallach Appreciation: How Oscar Finally Got It Right After Nearly 60 Years Of No NominationsI like the fact that Turner Classic Movies announced today a special 11-hour tribute to the now-late and always-great Eli Wallach, who died last night at age 98. He was such a magnificent actor, particularly onstage, where he won a Tony in The Rose Tattoo or on TV in countless performances including his Emmy-winning turn in 1966′s Poppies Are Also Flowers. His movie roles were memorable too, but he never quite got that truly great moment onscreen that could have ignited his film career and sent it in a different direction. It’s true he was terrific as the evil Calvera in 1960′s The Magnificent Seven (which Denzel Washington is threatening to remake) and 584-G99UK_AuSt_55as the bandit Tuco in the 1966 Sergio Leone classic, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. His 1956 film debut in Baby Doll was a great way to start in cinema for this born stage actor, a disciple of the Actors Studio. There were other turns over the years in the underrated 1958 film The Lineup,  the film adaptation of stage hit The Tiger Makes Out co-starring his wife of 66 years Anne Jackson, How To Steal A Million, The Misfits (opposite Gable, Monroe and Clift in 1961), Cinderella Liberty, The Godfather Part III all the way up to his small but amusing role in 2010′s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

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R.I.P. Eli Wallach

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 12:39pm PDT

R.I.P. Eli WallachUPDATE: Broadway to dim the lights: Theater District marquees will go dark for one minute at 7:45 PM Friday as Broadway marks the passing of Eli Wallach, who died June 24 at age 98. TCM has also set a five-film tribute marathon on June 30 starting at 9 AM ET. The character actor likely was best known as Tuco opposite Clint Eastwood in Sergio Leone’s classic spaghetti Western The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

A lifelong theater actor and all but accidental movie and TV star, Wallach and his wife, Anne Jackson (who survives him), were fixtures of the Broadway and off-Broadway stages, often together and always happy to put their skill and fame in the service of liberal social causes.  In 1951 he was cast opposite Maureen Stapleton in the leading roles of Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo, as Alvaro Mangiacavallo, a truck driver who woos and wins Serafina Delle Rose, a Sicilian widow living on the Gulf Coast. Both won Tony Awards.
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