Los Angeles, August 5, 2013 – The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles® (BAFTA Los Angeles) is pleased to announce it will honor Academy® and BAFTA Award-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and Academy® and BAFTA Award-winning actor Sir Ben Kingsley at the 2013 BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards presented by BBC AMERICA on Saturday, November 9, 2013 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. For the second year in a row, the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards will be broadcast on BBC AMERICA, airing in primetime November 10, 2013 at 8pm ET as a two-hour special including footage of the Britannia Awards Red Carpet. READ MORE »
EXCLUSIVE: Following in the footsteps of Beasts Of The Southern Wild or Fruitvale Station, the 13 projects selected today for this June’s Sundance Institute Directors and Screenwriters Labs could end up as Oscar nominees or at Cannes too. The projects’ origins range from the U.S. and the U.K. to Mexico, Peru, Germany and Somalia with the filmmakers’ backgrounds in photography, advertising and documentary not to mention a couple of past BAFTA and Sundance winners. This round of Sundance fellows will work with established filmmakers such as Zero Dark Thirty director Kathryn Bigelow, On The Road director Walter Salles, author/screenwriter Walter Mosley, Oscar nominee Ed Harris and Sundance founder Robert Redford. The Directors Lab runs from May 27 to June 20 at the Sundance Resort in Utah while the Screenwriters Lab goes from June 22 to June 27. (see the full list of the June 2013 Sundance Institute’s Directors and Screenwriters Labs below)
It appears the Senate Intelligence Committee probe into Zero Dark Thirty is over. A Congressional aide today confirmed to Reuters that the Committee led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Senators John McCain …
In case you are wondering if Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences member David Clennon ran afoul of official Academy rules regarding member behavior when he spoke out against Zero Dark Thirty at a media event today, he …
Let’s throw “conventional wisdom” out the window regarding this morning’s Oscar nominations. In a year when there are so many genuine contenders for the Oscars‘ Best Picture, the Academy has thrown a wrench into the proceedings, instantly cementing early frontrunner status for Lincoln and Life Of Pi along with the “little engine that could” Silver Linings Playbook while dampening prospects of winning the big prize for three other perceived major contenders Zero Dark Thirty (the controversial critical darling), Les Miserables and Argo. All three of those films’ directors were snubbed after winning DGA nominations earlier this week. Did these Best Picture nominees direct themselves?
The biggest shock waves at the Academy this morning were clearly over the omission of Ben Affleck‘s direction of Argo and Kathryn Bigelow‘s absence for Zero Dark Thirty. Both are still nominees as co-producers of their Best Picture-nominated films, but this has to sting. Instead, Silver Linings’ David O. Russell reversed his snub at DGA and BAFTA with a strong showing where it counts, and wildcard Michael Haneke of Amour (which did exceptionally well for a foreign-language film including a Best Picture and Foreign Language nod) got those spots along with the true shocker of the directing nominees, Beast Of The Southern Wild’s Benh Zeitlin. His tiny Sundance sensation and offbeat film defied expectations earning key Directing, Picture, Screenplay and Actress (for youngest nominee in the category ever, Quvenzhane Wallis). Some people were sure they were mistaken when they heard Zeitlin announced instead of Affleck after the first name Benh was called out. But the Oscars are always known for throwing surprises into the mix. Much like that Wizard of Oz, Oscar has spoken. As Academy COO Ric Robertson (who is also an Academy voter) told me, “I guess we really, really liked Beasts Of The Southern Wild’!” With Zeitlin’s directing nod, that’s an understatement. It is his first movie, by the way, so congratulations Benh, and sorry Ben.
Related: OSCARS: Who Got Snubbed By Academy?
Some Oscar dreams flourished and some were dashed with this morning’s announcement of the 85th annual Academy Award nominations. Academy voters can be as harsh as they can be predictable, and some snubs seem designed to sting. Thankfully some take it with a degree of humor. “I just got snubbed for a flu shot at CVS,” tweeted Prometheus co-writer Damon Lindelof today. Here are some of the directors, films and actors who got left out today even though they might have deserved better.
Kathryn Bigelow – The Zero Dark Thirty director was the first woman to win a Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker– she won’t be repeating that feat this year even though her film about the hunt for Osama bin Laden was nominated for Best Picture. “Kathryn Bigelow was robbed. So f—ed up. #recount,” tweeted ZD30 producer Megan Ellison after the nominations were announced Thursday.
Leonardo DiCaprio – He got a Supporting Actor nomination from the Golden Globes for his Calvin Candie in Django Unchained but nothing today — cast mate Christoph Waltz got the nod.
Marion Cotillard – No Best Actress for her Rust and Bone performance?
The Intouchables – A big hit at home and France’s submission for Best Foreign film, this comedy-drama Weinstein released movie got treated like an untouchable.
Ben Affleck – No Best Director or Best Actor for Argo. Really? Even though it got a Best Picture nomination?
Skyfall – Yes it’s a James Bond movie. But, as the PGA recognized, it is a Sam Mendes-directed Bond movie starring Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem. It would have been a nice addition to the tribute the Academy plans for the Bond movies’ 50th anniversary during the Oscarcast, but Oscar himself was neither shaken nor stirred beyond Adele’s best song nom.
Cloud Atlas – Not even a technical nomination? The Academy must have really hated it.
John Hawkes – His performance in The Sessions made this past nominee seem a sure thing for a Academy Award nomination – what happened Oscar?
Rise Of The Guardians – That must have really hurt over at DreamWorks Animation this morning.
Related: OSCARS: Nominations By Picture
Quentin Tarantino – The Golden Globes gave the Django Unchained helmer a nomination and the Academy gave the movie itself a Best Picture nomination today but no Best Director for Quentin? Too much controversy?
Perks Of Being A Wallflower – If any movie called out for Best Adapted Screenplay, it was this coming of ager directed and written by Stephen Chbosky based on his own acclaimed 1999 novel. And yet Oscar offered no perks at all.
Christopher Nolan – Holy Oversight, Batman! Even though Inception was nominated for Best Picture in 2010 and he’s picked up a pair of writing noms, The Dark Knight Rises director has never received a nomination for his helming work — including on the hugely successful Batman franchise. And just like with 2005’s Batman Begins and 2008’s The Dark Knight, Nolan was again left off the Best Director list.
After Gotham Victory Lap, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Moves To D.C.; Will It Withstand Controversy Through Oscar Season And Beyond?
UPDATE: There were a few Amnesty International protestors outside, but Kathryn Bigelow got a warm greeting at the Newseum in D.C. for the premiere of Zero Dark Thirty. After she was introduced by MPAA head and former Senator Chris Dodd, Bigelow (named a Best Director finalist by the DGA today) touched on the torture controversy only peripherally in her opening remarks. Said Bigelow: “We had no agenda in making this film and were not trying to generate controversy,” she said. “Quite the contrary. Mark and I wanted to present the story as we understood it, based on the extraordinary research that Mark did. All of us were affected by September 11th, 2001 and the events that followed. Among other things, it catalyzed the greatest manhunt in history. Many of us know how it ended. Perhaps nobody knows every detail of how it happened. We tried to bring this story to the screen in a faithful way. As a director, I make a film, and then it is up to the audience to interpret. Each person will have their own experience with the film. This was a momentous part of our nation’s history and we wanted to illustrate the ambiguities, the contradictions, and complexities of this 10-year search. There is a tremendous debate going on about various aspects of the hunt, some of which are depicted in this film. One thing is clear, at the end of the day it took a selfless team of individuals, many of whom we will never know or meet, to carry out this mission. As filmmakers, we hope that this film honors their work and sacrifice.”
EARLIER, 5:22 PM: After keeping quiet for a week as three U.S. senators called Zero Dark Thirty “grossly inaccurate” and pro-torture, Oscar-winning filmmakers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal spoke out last night in the friendly confines of the New York Film Critics Circle that had voted their film the best of 2012. Tonight, the pair heads into more hostile territory for a premiere in Washington D.C., where their film has been sharply criticized for depicting a terror suspect who, after being waterboarded, gives up information that eventually leads the CIA to Al-Qaeda leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden.
This morning’s just-announced DGA Award nominations are good news for the major studios and bad news for Harvey Weinstein. With Ben Affleck for Warner Bros’ Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for Sony’s Zero Dark Thirty, Tom Hooper for Universal’s Les Miserables, Ang Lee for 20th Century Fox’s Life Of Pi and Steven Spielberg for Disney/Dreamworks Lincoln, it was a clean sweep for the majors — a continuing roaring comeback in Oscar contenders for the big boys who the past two years have watched The Weinstein Company take Best Picture (and top DGA) honors with small indies like The Artist and The King’s Speech. Clearly, even as their focus is on money-making blockbusters and popcorn entertainment, the majors are no longer sitting on the sidelines when it comes to the Oscars and seem fully invested in the process this year at least.
Related: DGA Award Nominations Announced
It’s highly unusual since the advent of the Miramax takeover of Oscar seasons the past quarter century to see no independent contender in a strong position. But, at least as far as the DGA is concerned, that’s the story here, along with the fact that four of the five nominees are past DGA- and Oscar-directing winners, with Affleck the only newcomer to the DGA club after directing only his third feature film (he is an Oscar winner for co-writing Good Will Hunting). Bigelow and Hooper both won in the last three years and have made a quick return to the golden circle. Spielberg, meanwhile, is the Big Kahuna of the DGA as he is a three-time winner (The Color Purple, Schindler’s List, Saving Private Ryan) and now 11-time nominee as well as winner of the guild’s Life Achievement Award. Lee’s enormously impressive technical feat in bringing what was thought to be an unfilmable book, Life Of Pi, so successfully to the big screen is clearly something that appealed to the sensibility of directors, so his nomination was definitely expected. This will make for one of the tightest and most interesting directing races in years at the DGA.
UPDATED: Deadline has obtained a copy of a highly critical letter that Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and two other senators sent today to Sony Pictures’ boss Michael Lynton about the torture scene in Zero Dark Thirty. In the letter, Feinstein, John McCain and Carl Levin call the Kathryn Bigelow-directed film “grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Osama bin Laden.” The senators’ letter tells Sony that “with the release of Zero Dark Thirty, the filmmakers and your production studio are perpetuating the myth that torture is effective. You have a social and moral obligation to get the facts right.” In response, Sony has pointed to a statement from Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal released last week that said in part: “We depicted a variety of controversial practices and intelligence methods that were used in the name of finding bin Laden. The film shows that no single method was necessarily responsible for solving the manhunt, nor can any single scene taken in isolation fairly capture the totality of efforts the film dramatizes.”
Bigelow and Boal last week went on ABC’s Nightline to defend their film against claims the filmmakers were given classified information by the Obama administration that aided in making the movie.
Zero Dark Thirty, which is being released today, already has cleaned up on the awards-season circuit, having won Best Film honors from several critics organizations and snagging four Golden Globe nominations.
Here’s the senators’ full letter:
Mr. Michael Lynton
Chairman and CEO
Sony Pictures Entertainment
10202 W. Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232-3195
Dear Mr. Lynton:
We write to express our deep disappointment with the movie Zero Dark Thirty. We believe the film is grossly inaccurate and misleading in its suggestion that torture resulted in information that led to the location of Usama bin Laden.
We understand that the film is fiction, but it opens with the words “based on first-hand accounts of actual events” and there has been significant media coverage of the CIA’s cooperation with the screenwriters. As you know, the film graphically depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees and then credits these detainees with providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the Usama Bin Laden. Regardless of what message the filmmakers intended to convey, the movie clearly implies that the CIA’s coercive interrogation techniques were effective in eliciting important information related to a courier for Usama Bin Laden. We have reviewed CIA records and know that this is incorrect.
Zero Dark Thirty is factually inaccurate, and we believe that you have an obligation to state that the role of torture in the hunt for Usama Bin Laden is not based on the facts, but rather part of the film’s fictional narrative.
Pursuant to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s recently-adopted Study of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation program, Committee staff reviewed more than 6 million pages of records from the Intelligence Community. Based on that review, Senators Feinstein and Levin released the following information on April 30, 2012, regarding the Usama Bin Laden operation:
- The CIA did not first learn about the existence of the Usama Bin Laden courier from CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. Nor did the CIA discover the courier’s identity from detainees subjected to coercive techniques. No detainee reported on the courier’s full name or specific whereabouts, and no detainee identified the compound in which Usama Bin Laden was hidden. Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program.
- Information to support this operation was obtained from a wide variety of intelligence sources and methods. CIA officers and their colleagues throughout the Intelligence Community sifted through massive amounts of information, identified possible leads, tracked them down, and made considered judgments based on all of the available intelligence.
- The CIA detainee who provided the most significant information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques.
In addition to the information above, former CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote Senator McCain in May 2011, stating: “…no detainee in CIA custody revealed the facilitator/courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts. This information was discovered through other intelligence means.”
Katheryn Bigelow‘s hunt-for-bin Laden pic has won the National Board of Review‘s Best Film honor, its second victory in three days after New York Film Critics Circle voted it the year’s top film Monday. Bigelow also repeated her NYFCC Best Director win and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain won Best Actress from the group, comprised of a select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics and students who watch more than 250 films throughout the year. The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook also showed well in today’s announcement, taking Best Actor for Bradley Cooper and Best Adapted Screenplay for writer-director David O. Russell. Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Supporting Actor for Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, and Compliance‘s Ann Dowd won Best Supporting Actress.
Zero Dark Thirty has been under the microscope from the beginning, with some groups claiming that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were given access to classified documents by the Obama administration while making the film, which chronicles the manhunt that led to the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden in a Navy SEAL raid. The filmmakers have denied they received such info. The Sony war drama, which stars Chastain, Chris Pratt and Joel Edgerton, will be released in the U.S. on December 19 and now has plenty of momentum as awards season kicks into high gear. Bigelow and Boal’s previous film, the war drama The Hurt Locker, won six Oscars in 2010 including Best Picture, and made Jeremy Renner a star.
Last year, the NRB voted Hugo its Best Film, with the Martin Scorsese 3D fantasy going on to earn an Oscar nomination.
The National Board of Review’s awards will be handed out January 8 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City in a gala hosted by Meredith Vieira. Here is the complete list of today’s winners, which includes the NBR’s top lists of films in several categories in alphabetical order:
Best Film: ZERO DARK THIRTY
Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow, ZERO DARK THIRTY
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, ZERO DARK THIRTY
Best Supporting Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, DJANGO UNCHAINED
Best Supporting Actress: Ann Dowd, COMPLIANCE
Best Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, LOOPER
Best Adapted Screenplay: David O. Russell, SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK
Best Animated Feature: WRECK-IT RALPH
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: Ben Affleck, ARGO
The New York Film Critics Circle has named Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty its film of the year in voting going on right now in New York. The group also named Zero‘s Kathryn Bigelow its best director for the hunt-for-bin Laden war drama. In 2009, the NYFCC went with Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker as Best Film and Bigelow as Best Director — the same eventual results as the Oscars. The film’s director of photography Greig Fraser also won in today’s voting by New York-area film critics. Awards will be handed out January 7.
It’s the latest twist for Zero Dark Thirty, which has come under criticism from various groups that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were given access to classified documents by the Obama administration while making the film, which chronicles the manhunt that led to the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden in a Navy SEAL raid. Bigelow and Boal went on Nightline last week to deny they received classified info. “I certainly did a lot of homework, but I never asked for classified materials; to my knowledge, I never received any”, Boal told Martha Raddatz.
The Sony pic, starring Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt and Joel Edgerton, will be released in U.S. theaters December 19.
Other winners today included Lincoln, which saw a Best Actor win for Daniel Day-Lewis, Supporting Actress for Sally Field, and Best Screenplay for Tony Kushner. Rachel Weiss won the Best Actress nod for The Deep Blue Sea. Michael Haneke’s Amour continued its fall hot streak with a Best Foreign Language Film win, and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie was named Best Animated Film.
The NYFCC The critics group, which is announcing winners today via its Twitter feed, last year moved out ahead of the awards pack by doling out honors November 28, a controversial move because in the rush to come before rivals the National Board of Review and the LA Film Critics it wasn’t able to see Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, which ended up with a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Now they’ve moved back a week to today, with the National Board winners due Wednesday and the LA critics voting Sunday. Here’s the NYFCC winners as they’re announced:
Director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal said in an interview to air tonight on ABC’s Nightline that no classified documents were used in the making of Zero Dark Thirty, which details the Navy SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden. The pair told ABC News’ Martha Raddatz that claims they received top-secret help from the Obama administration on the details of the raid came down to partisan politics. “I certainly did a lot of homework, but I never asked for classified materials; to my knowledge, I never received any”, Boal said. “And I think as far as the controversy goes, you know, how can I put this — it was an election year. It was surreal and bizarre to have … I mean there were major players in the Republican Party characterizing the script and the movie before I had written a word, and I found that just really baffling”.
Boal did tell Nightline that he spoke to people with intimate knowledge of the Navy SEAL mission, including some in the military and the CIA, but that their identities are shielded in the film. “They were proud of what they had done, but they had more or less resigned themselves to the fact that what they had done is not something they could talk about publicly,” he said. “But one of the things a movie allows people to do is talk in a way that is a little bit freer because they know that movies can change the way people look, [and] that I don’t have quite the same standards of having to reveal sources as I would if I was, let’s say, running a front-page piece in the New York Times.”
And the hits just keep on coming. After a dry first nine months of the year, the Oscar season is heating up with one sensational contender after another. In the first half of Thanksgiving weekend, Les Miserables put itself firmly in the leading tier of the race. Now Sony Pictures’ surefire Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty took over the latter half of the holiday. It earned enthusiastic standing ovations for star Jessica Chastain and director Kathryn Bigelow at a Sunday unveiling (the first major screening) at LA’s Pacific Design Center. Shrouded in controversy throughout its pre-production and shooting stages, this riveting story of the hunt for Osama bin Laden had quite a checkered history in coming to the screen. As Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal explained in the Q&A following the film, he and Bigelow had been developing for the better part of a decade the story of how bin Laden eluded capture and most likely would never be caught. Then suddenly in 2011 he was nailed. That changed the whole trajectory of their story, and Zero Dark Thirty suddenly became a movie about his ultimate capture and killing.
It’s a remarkable effort on the part of Boal and Bigelow, who won Oscars for their acclaimed The Hurt Locker three years ago. I would venture to say they will be back in the race again this year for this follow-up effort which should figure strongly in the Best Picture, Actress (for Chastain), Director, Original Screenplay, Film Editing, Cinematography, Sound Mixing and Editing and Music Score (a haunting underscore by Alexander Desplat) categories. Talk on editorial pages and among moviegoers upon its limited December 19th opening — followed by a January wide break — will only add to the Oscar potential here, with critics groups year-end honors also likely to figure into the picture.
This is turning into a hell of an Oscar race. Strategists were hoping that many of the November-December releases would fall by the wayside and clear the way for earlier contenders like Argo and Toronto sensation Silver Linings Playbook, but clearly the late-innings flicks are delivering big time, clouding the picture and adding an unusual amount of mystery to the race.