This column originally ran Thursday.
OSCARS: Pete Hammond’s Absolute FINAL Predictions In Every Category In One Of The Most Competitive Races Ever
The Location Managers Guild of America will hold its first-ever Location Managers Guild Of America Awards on March 29 at the WGA Theater in Beverly Hills. Winners in six categories spanning film, TV and commercials will be announced, and the guild will bestow honorary awards including the Eva Monley Award, presented to an industry pro who has demonstrated above and beyond support of the work of location professionals; a humanitarian award; and a lifetime achievement award. Here are the noms:
FIRST ANNUAL LOCATION MANAGERS GUILD OF AMERICA AWARDS
Outstanding Achievement by a Location Professional – Feature Films
Ilt Jones (Iron Man 3)
John Latenser V (Nebraska)
Rick Schuler & Steve Mapel (Her)
Andrew Ullman & Lori Balton (Saving Mr. Banks)
David Velasco (American Hustle)
Outstanding Achievement by a Location Professional – TV Programs
Robert Boake (Game of Thrones)
Patrick Burn (House of Cards)
Christian Diaz de Bedoya (Breaking Bad)
Caleb Duffy (Behind the Candelabra)
Veronique Vowell (Scandal)
Tuesday, February 25
7:00 PM: BVLGARI “Decades of Glamour” Oscar Party hosted by Naomi Watts
Location: Soho House
7:30 PM: Oscar Week – Animated and Live Action Shorts Celebration hosted by Kevin Pollak
Location: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills
2nd Annual ICON MANN Pre-Oscar POWER 50 Dinner
Location: Peninsula Hotel
Vanity Fair and Fiat Toast “Young Hollywood”
Location: No Vacancy
Wednesday, February 26
10 AM: The Art of Elysium 7Th Annual Pieces Of Heaven Charity Art Auction
Location: Siren Studios, Los Angeles
5:30 PM: LoveGold Celebrates Lupita Nyong’o
Location: Chateau Marmont
6 PM: 7th Annual TOSCARS Awards Show
Location: Egyptian Theater, Hollywood
6:30 PM: Global Green USA Pre-Oscar® Party with performance by Moby and The Crystal Method
Location: The Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine Street, Los Angeles
OSCARS UPDATE: Production Community Rallying To Add ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member To In Memoriam Tribute
2ND UPDATE, 8:45 PM: The tributes to Sarah Jones continue to pour in. Below is a photo posted at WhoSay featuring Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev of CW’s The Vampire Diaries, the CW drama on which Jones worked. And action continues at the Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which now is past 21,500 likes. Other below-the-line workers are getting in on the act as well; among the more recent pics posted to the site are tributes to the late camera assistant adorning a walkie-talkie and a large power tool.
UPDATE, 6:00 PM: The Facebook group Slates for Sarah, which is gathering tribute photos for fallen Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones from production crews around the world, has now passed 18K “likes.” The online petition to include Jones in Sunday’s Oscar In Memoriam segment eclipsed its goal of 10,000 signatures within 12 hours Tuesday and now is approaching 13K. It will be submitted to the Academy on Friday.
PREVIOUS, 11:35 AM: A campaign to include Midnight Rider camera assistant Sarah Jones in this weekend’s Oscars In Memoriam tribute is gaining traction online, but time will tell if the Academy will acknowledge the increasingly vocal outcry within the production community to her tragic death. Jones, 27, died Thursday in a train collision on the set of director Randall Miller‘s Gregg Allman biopic that left several others injured in Jesup, GA. Her death has raised growing concerns within the industry about set safety and culpability as investigations into the accident continue.
Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Crew Member Killed In On-Set Train Accident
UPDATED: Two politically-charged Oscar-nominated documentaries, Jehane Noujaim‘s The Square and Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing, have taken their awards push to the international stage as balloting closes today, both attempting to effect real world change by reaching the very audience they depict onscreen. Noujaim’s The Square tracks the ongoing Egyptian Revolution of 2011 through 2013 through the eyes of four Egyptians at ground zero and was released theatrically and on Netflix in October. The Sundance Audience Award-winner was blocked from release in Egypt and had been pirated so much internationally that the filmmakers opted to release an Arabic-language stream via Distrify earlier this month. Yesterday Noujaim & Co. went one step further, making The Square available in Egypt for free on YouTube, circumventing censors whose refusal to rule on the pic’s admissibility had prevented a proper release in the country.
“This is a film that was born in Tahrir Square, by 40 Egyptian filmmakers who all met in the square and quickly saw the dark story that was forming once the international news cameras left. We knew that we had to make sure our story would be told to the world by us,” said Noujaim via email.
“It was crucial to release the film before the Oscars,” she continued. “It is the first nomination for a film from Egypt, and is a voice for freedom and democracy when there have been almost 30,000 people arrested since July, and among them many journalists and activists. The police brutality and killings in Egypt reported by Amnesty in the last 6 months have been unprecedented. In a time when the power structure is trying to white wash history and squares around the world are rising up with people claiming their rights it is crucial to to show the many who continue to fight for basic freedoms that their voices will be heard.”
The filmmakers will continue to try to pass The Square through Egypt’s censors so the the film can be legally released in the country. “It was important for us to continue this effort because this will be a major step in the direction toward support of freedom of speech in Egypt, because it will be the first time the government allows a piece of work to exist whether or not they agree or disagree with what it says,” said Noujaim.
Drafthouse Films’ The Act of Killing similarly encountered obstacles in reaching its subject audience – the people of Indonesia, whose government has historically ignored the acts of death squads that murdered an estimated 1M people in the nation’s politically-motivated genocide of 1965-66. Director Oppenheimer worked for eight years with the families of victims and the perpetrators of the killings which were carried out decades ago but have never been publicly acknowledged by the current regime. Despite the fact that the film could not openly screen in Indonesia, the film’s Berlin, BAFTA, and numerous critics awards propelled the ongoing issue of impunity for these war crimes into the global conversation. The Act of Killing has been seen in thousands of underground screenings in the country and in September, Drafthouse teamed with VICE and VHX to offer a free download geotargeted for Indonesian users; offered on BitTorrent in December, the film was downloaded over 3.5 million times. After the film was nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar, the Jakarta Globe addressed the genocide on its January cover story in which a spokesman for the Indonesian president acknowledged “the issues of our bleak past.”
Last chance Academy members — and you know who you are.
Voting for the 86th Annual Academy Awards closes today at 5 PM PT, but because of the Academy’s 2-year-old venture into online voting, members who opted in for that option actually have the luxury of time today getting their ballots in. Of course, if you are one of those members who chose the old-fashioned paper ballot and still haven’t voted for this year’s Oscars, you have only one alternative: It must be hand-delivered to the LA offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers at 601 S. Figueroa Street by that 5 PM cutoff.
There are no hard figures on just how many voters wait until the last day, but they are probably the same people seen dropping off their taxes at 11:59 PM on April 15th. I do know of a number of members who waited until this weekend to vote, particularly since this is the first year all 24 categories are open to everyone and the Academy sent out an elaborate 13-disc set of DVDs of Documentary Features, Foreign Language Film nominees and the Shorts. That’s a lot to get through. One consultant told me they estimate that anywhere from 5%-10% of the voters waited until the last 24 hours, even surmising that Monday may have been the single biggest day based on anecdotal evidence and past history. “Several members I spoke with thanked me for reminding them. They had forgotten believe it or not,” this person said. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson have continued to work diligently to turn out the vote. “I voted. We’ve gotten voicemails, emails etc. They are doing a terrific job of making sure everyone does it by the deadline this week and I credit Cheryl for that, ” said one member in an email to me after they finally cast their ballot Sunday.
That’s the message seen for the past few weeks on the 12 Years A Slave billboard as you drive on to the 20th Century Fox lot. And since the film earned nine Oscar nominations it has frequently been the slogan of choice for the Fox Searchlight contender in newspaper and television ads. A highly emotional close-up of star Chiwetel Ejiofor as the man forced into slavery and just two words to accompany it: “It’s Time”.
So is it resonating with voters? Are they paying attention? And how do you interpret the message, clearly aimed at Academy voters, that the studio is trying to send for its Best Picture nominee?
It’s Time for a serious film about slavery to win Best Picture?
It’s Time for any film about the black experience to win Best Picture?
It’s Time for a film with a largely black cast, theme, black director and screenwriter to win?
It’s Time those Academy members who have resisted seeing it, because they think it’s too brutal, stick their screener in their DVD player and watch.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s an effective and simple way of getting the film’s message across. Two words, that’s all.
The ad not only can be interpreted as shining a light on a very dark period in American history, it also shines a light on the Academy’s fairly dismal record of awarding its top honor to any movie about the black experience. In fact there has been only one Best Picture winner in the 85 years the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been handing out Oscars that even remotely qualifies in this regard. In 1968, In The Heat Of The Night , a murder mystery set against the racial divide in a small Southern town, won Best Picture and four other Oscars just a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King (the ceremony was even postponed two days out of respect). The votes were in before the King assassination, but it seemed then that “It’s Time” would have been an appropriate way to describe that victory. However, outside of lead actor Sidney Poitier — who also co-starred in another racially themed Best Pic nominee that year, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner — this movie featured a largely white cast, white producer, screenwriter and director (Norman Jewison).
12 Years A Slave makes a much bigger statement: The film has been honored widely with Best Picture awards from the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Movie Awards, the Producers Guild (in a tie with Gravity), and most recently BAFTA, but the victories have been narrow (it went 1 for 7 at the Globes, 2 for 10 at BAFTA and 3 for 13 at the CCMAs). Co-producer/director Steve McQueen has made impassioned speeches at all of them, though apparently it’s not time for a black director to win as he has lost consistently to Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron in that category at most precursor awards (ironically, there was a Picture/Director split the year of In The Heat Of The Night, with The Graduate’s Mike Nichols winning the directing awards over Heat’s Jewison).
Gravity and Captain Phillips took home the big feature awards tonight — for Best Sound Effects & Foley work and Best Dialogue/ADR, respectively — as the Motion Picture Sound Editors doled out annual awards recognizing achievement in sound editing. HBO’s Game of Thrones, AMC’s Breaking Bad, FX’s The Bridge and FX’s Sons of Anarchy took home honors on the TV side. Feature films, long- and short-form TV, animation, and docus were on the docket at the black tie affair at L.A.’s Bonaventure Hotel where George Lucas presented the annual MPSE Career Achievement Award to Skywalker Sound’s Randy Thom and Ray Dolby was feted in a special tribute introduced by Walter Murch. Scroll down for full list of winners:
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.
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
UPDATED WITH FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND REACTIONS: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave rallied from a slow stat to win the Best Film award tonight at the 62nd BAFTA Film Awards in London. The slave drama from Fox Searchlight had 10 nominations but won just two awards, after Chiwetel Ejiofor took the Leading Actor prize for playing Solomon Northup. Despite the marquee victory in the last major kudofest before the Oscars, it still seemed as though the night belonged to Warner Bros’ Gravity. The space drama picked up a leading six wins from its 11 overall nominations, including for Outstanding British Film — which will keep the debate going about just how British the pic is. Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director and the pic cleaned up in the craft categories, taking Sound, Cinematography and Special Visual Effects in addition to a nod for Steven Price’s Original Score. The BAFTA crowd at the packed Royal Opera House in Covent Garden exploded with each win for the movie, which had a leading 11 nominations going into the night.
Still, the 12 Years A Slave victory tonight maintains the film’s front-runner status going into the Oscars on March 2; the film also won the Golden Globe for Motion Picture-Drama. Many feel the Academy will lean the same way, honoring Gravity in the craft categories but not for the Best Picture. The two films have been going head to head all awards season, even scrapping to a rare tie in the PGA Awards contest. “It’s very important,” McQueen said backstage after the victory. “The way the public here — but not just here, in the U.S. — by going to see the picture, means a hell of a lot.” Added producer Brad Pitt: “This is an excuse for us to all get to gather and say job well done. We’re very proud of our work here, and it means a lot to us because of the people we got to work with.”
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.
‘Jackass: Bad Grandpa,’ ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Among Top Make-Up Honors; ‘American Hustle,’ ‘Behind the Candelabra’ In Hairstyling
After a ten-year hiatus, the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Awards are back and were awarded tonight in a black-tie ceremony with 500 in attendance at the Paramount Studios Theater. Fourteen categories were honored in film, television, …
VES Awards: ‘Gravity’ Wins 6 Including Top Prize; ‘Frozen’ Goes 4-For-4; 3 Nods For ‘Game Of Thrones’
The much talked-about visual effects in Alfonso Cuaron’s space thriller dazzled even the pros, as Gravity floated away with six wins at the VES Awards tonight. The pic won in all but one of its categories, including the big prize of Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture. Cuaron capped off his film’s big night with the Visual Effects Society’s Visionary Award. Cuaron accepting his honor said briefly, “Finally, visual effects are merging into the whole process of the cinematic experience,” the filmmaker said in his acceptance speech. “It’s about the integration of lights, sets and even actors.” Gravity continued its awards-season momentum, following up on big wins at the Art Directors Guild Awards, the American Society of Cinematographers Awards and DGA Awards.
Meanwhile, Frozen further cemented its Oscar front-runner status with wins in all four of its categories. Pacific Rim, which entered the 12th annual VES Awards with six nominations, second only to Gravity, went home empty-handed. And, just like last year, HBO’s Game Of Thrones was the big winner on the TV side with three VES Awards, also missing out in just one of its nommed categories. The evening also featured a tribute to VFX pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died in May, and a Lifetime Achievement Award to Oscar and Emmy winner John Dykstra, whose credits range from the original Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica to Spider-Man and Django Unchained. As the 186-minute show ending, host Patton Oswalt quipped, “”Omigod! Who’s president now!?”
Here is the complete list of winners, followed by our live blog, with Anthony D’Alessandro on the scene:
Bruce Dern Calls It A “Geezer’s Dinner”, But Oscar Nominees Show Up In Force At AARP’s Movies For Grownups Awards
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
Christy Grosz is editor of AwardsLine.
Screenwriter John Ridley and the late Solomon Northup, author of 12 Years A Slave, won the 26th annual USC Libraries Scripter Award for best book-to-film adaptation. The winner was announced tonight at a black-tie gala, chaired again by Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren and held at the Doheny Memorial Library on the USC campus. Ridley was moved to tears in discussing Northup and his memoir as he accepted the award. “There’s a very special relationship that forms between the writer and the originator,” said Ridley, who was joined by several of Northup’s descendants at the ceremony. Ridley praised the novelist and spoke about how adapting the book has been a new and different experience. “The clarity with which he wrote, the evocative language…” Ridley said. “Until I read Solomon’s memoir, I didn’t know what being a writer was about.”
Art Directors Guild Awards: ‘Her’, ‘Gravity’, ‘The Great Gatsby’ Win Top Film Prizes; HBO Cleans Up On TV Side; Martin Scorsese Honored
Her, Gravity and The Great Gatsby were the big winners on the film side at tonight’s ADG Awards at the Beverly Hilton. “I didn’t know if we were making a fantasy or a period film in the future,” Her production designer K.K. Barrett in accepting the award. “Spike Jonze told me, ‘Who are we to question what anybody else feels is real.’” Looking around the room, I believe in all your realities.”
Related: WGA Awards: ‘Captain Phillips’ & ‘Her’ Win Top Film Awards
Said production designer Andy Nicholson from the podium: “Gravity was an incredibly long and tough journey for my crew. None of this would’ve been possible without the artistic vision of Alfonso Cuaron.”
Martin Scorsese scored points in the room as he accepted the guild’s prestigious Cinematic Imagery Award, presented by his Wolf Of Wall Street stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill. “How does one even separate cinema from PD? You can’t,” he said. “We have images in our mind, pictures in our head, but yours are the ones I look to to get those images on the screen. You’ve never let me down. This [award] is for you.”
HBO cleaned up on the TV side, with Game Of Thrones, Behind The Candelabra and Veep all picking up trophies during the 18th annual Art Directors Guild Excellence in Production Design Awards. The show was hosted by Owen Benjamin, a comic and regular on the TBS comedy Sullivan & Son.
Here is the complete list of winners. Read on for the recap of our live blog.
‘Phillips’ IS The Captain Now As It Defies ‘Gravity’ At The ACE Eddie Awards To Win Second Guild Honor In A Row
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.
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.