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Australian Academy Of Cinema Names First International Awards Nominees

Mike Fleming

The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television, which previously honored Aussie productions, has launched five new award categories that will recognize international product in Best Film, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, Best Actor and Best Actress. In other words, the Aussies are going Hollywood. The nominees were announced tonight by Jacki Weaver, the Aussie actress who was Oscar nominated for Animal Kingdom. I am not sure how these will factor into the Oscar conversation, but here are the nominees:

INAUGURAL AACTA INTERNATIONAL AWARDS NOMINEES

BEST FILM

The Artist – Thomas Langmann (The Weinstein Company)

The Descendants - Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Hugo – Graham King, Tim Headington, Martin Scorsese, Johnny Depp (Paramount Pictures)

The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver (Columbia Pictures)

Margin Call - Robert Ogden Barnum, Michael Benaroya, Neal Dodson, Joe Jenckes, Corey Moosa, Zachary Quinto (Roadside Attractions)

Melancholia – Meta Louise Foldager, Louise Vesth (Magnolia Pictures)

Midnight In Paris – Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum, Jaume Roures (Sony Pictures Classics)

Moneyball - Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt (Columbia Pictures)

The Tree of Life – Bill Pohlad, Dede Gardner, Sarah Green (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

We Need to Talk About Kevin – Jennifer Fox, Luc Roeg, Bob Salerno (Oscilloscope Pictures)
Read More »

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‘Melancholia’ Named Best Picture By National Society Of Film Critics

By | Saturday January 7, 2012 @ 12:55pm PST

UPDATED: Lars von Trier’s Melancholia is the big winner as the National Society of Film Critics unveiled its awards today. The film took best picture honors, and star Kirsten Dunst was selected best actress as she was at the Cannes Film Festival. The drama beat out Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life for the top honor, according to the group’s vote total, followed by the Iranian film A Separation; Malick did win best director. Brad Pitt was voted best actor for Moneyball and Tree Of Life. Here’s the full list of winners:

BEST ACTOR
*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree Of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

BEST PICTURE
*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree Of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree Of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia) Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: December 2-4

Specialty Box Office:

Shame (Fox Searchlight) NEW [10 Theaters]
Friday $110K, Saturday $139K, Weekend $361K, Per Screen $36,118

The Dirty Picture (FLM) NEW [48 Theaters]
Friday $76K, Saturday $120K, Weekend $268K, Per Screen $5,583, Cume $268K

Pastorela (Lionsgate) NEW [55 Theaters]
Friday $23K, Saturday $24K, Weekend $65K, Per Screen $1,191, Cume $65K

I Am Singh (Reliance Big Pictures) NEW [54 Theaters]
Friday $7K, Saturday $13K, Weekend $29K, Per Screen $539, Cume $29K

Kinyarwanda (Ind) NEW [9 Theaters]
Friday $8K, Saturday $7K, Weekend $21K, Per Screen $2,344

Answers To Nothing (Roadside Attractions) NEW [21 Theaters]
Friday $5K, Saturday $5K, Weekend $14K, Per Screen $712, Cume $15K

Sleeping Beauty (IFC) NEW [2 Theaters]
Friday $2K, Saturday $3K, Weekend $9K, Per Screen $4,770

Outrage (Magnolia) NEW [2 Theaters]
Friday $2K, Saturday $2K, Weekend $6K, Per Screen $3,080

My Week With Marilyn (The Weinstein Co) Week 2 [244 Theaters]
Friday $344K, Saturday $506K, Weekend $1.1M (-33%), Per Screen $4,836, Cume $3.8M

The Artist (The Weinstein Co) Week 2 (6 Theaters)
Friday $56K, Saturday $88K, Weekend $205K, Per Screen $34,263, Cume $495K

A Dangerous Method (Sony Classics) Week 2 [4 Theaters)
Friday $32K, Saturday $48K, Weekend $122K, Per Screen $30,629, Cume $415K,

Desi Boyz (ERO) Week 2 [103 Theaters]
Friday $55K, Saturday $82K, Weekend $182K, Per Screen $1,768, Cume $996K

Melancholia (Magnolia) Week 4 [110 Theaters]
Friday $72K, Saturday $101K, Weekend $238K, Per Screen $2,170, Cume $1.6M

Like Crazy (Paramount Vantage) Week 6 [152 Theaters]
Friday $84K, Saturday $108K, Weekend $251K, Per Screen $1,654, Cume $2.9M

Margin Call (Roadside Attractions) Week 7 [150 Theaters]
Friday $58K, Saturday $103K, Weekend $217K, Per Screen $1,451, Cume $4.7M

Martha Marcy May Marlene (Fox Searchlight) Week 7 [84 Theaters]
Friday $27K, … Read More »

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2011′s Second-Worst Weekend: ‘Breaking Dawn’ Threepeats For #1, ‘Muppets’ #2, Oscar-Buzzed ‘Hugo’, ‘Shame’, ‘The Artist’, ‘The Descendants’, ‘Marilyn’ All Strong

Specialty Box Office: December 2-4

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM : No major studio movies opened. Interesting that 6 of the Top 10 highest-grossing films are PG. But this weekend is looking like $82M, which is neck-and-neck for the  lowest weekend of 2011 (September 9th’s $81M). Deadline begins its closer look at the specialty market. Fox Searchlight’s Shame played in 10 theatres in 6 cities and grossed $361K with a theatre average of $36,118. In a dismal down weekend, the film delivered the highest per-screen average this post-holiday period even with an NC-17 rating. The studio is hoping this Steve McQueen-directed film is receiving enough buzz for a long run through the awards season. Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants sticks the Top 10 despite a low theater count and became the first limited-platform film ever to hit $10M in the first 12 days of release. This Oscar-touted Alexander Payne/George Clooney dramedy expands next Friday into 850 theaters to keep up with continuing demand. The Weinstein Co’s My Week With Marilyn didn’t add theaters but held up well, down only 43% on Friday and 26% on Saturday. Already TWC’s badmouthing of the Oscar competition has begun: “This compares to Descendants which, while down 47% and 24% overall, added 33% more locations (141) theaters, and their actual drop in the existing theaters was down 56% and 37%. Paramount’s Hugo added 44% more theaters (563) and, while their overall drop was down 57% and 24%, their actual drop in the existing theaters was down 62% and 34% for Friday and Saturday. What all this says is that Marilyn is holding in better than the competition and that we have good word of mouth.” [UPDATE: The Weinstein Co's David Glasser called me strenuously denying that this was 'badmouthing' and said this was merely normal box office comping.] The Weinstein Co’s Academy Award Best Picture-heralded The Artist had its best day yet on Saturday in both NY houses. “And while LA took a hit on Friday, it was only down slightly from last week on Saturday with drops of 21% in Hollywood and 11% at the Landmark,” the indie said. “Obviously, we have fantastic WOM on this.” The European Film Awards just wrapped in Berlin, where Magnolia’s Melancholia from the looney Lars von Trier won top prize.

Top 10 highest grossing films:

1. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) Week 3 [4,046 Theaters]
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $7.2M, Weekend $16.9M (-60%), Cume $247.3M

2. The Muppets (Disney) Week 2 [3,440 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $11.2M (-63%), Cume $56.1M

3. Hugo 3D (Paramount) Week 2 [1,840 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $7.5M (-36%), Cume $25.1M
Read More »

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‘Melancholia’ Tops European Film Awards, Susanne Bier Named Best Director, Tilda Swinton & Colin Firth Get Acting Honors

The European Film Awards just wrapped in Berlin where Lars von Trier’s Melancholia was honored with the top prize. However, it was Susanne Bier who took the best director honors for her Oscar-winning In A Better World. Cannes-watchers may recall that during von Trier’s press conference at the festival last May, the Danish bad-boy not so kindly singled out his compatriot during the now-infamous rant that made him persona non grata on the Riviera. “For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met Susanne Bier and I wasn’t so happy,” von Trier said back then. “But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German. That also gave me pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler. I sympathize with him a bit.”

Melancholia tonight also took prizes for cinematography and production design. Other winners include Tilda Swinton, best actress for We Need To Talk About Kevin, Oscar winner Colin Firth, best actor for The King’s Speech, the Dardenne brothers for writing The Kid With A Bike, Wim Wenders’ Pina for best documentary and Ludovic Bource for his score of Oscar hopeful The Artist. A full list of winners can be found here.

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European Film Awards Nominations Set

The European Film Academy unveiled its nominations this morning for the European Film Awards. Winners will be announced during a December 3 ceremony in Berlin. Here are the noms:

EUROPEAN FILM 2011
THE ARTIST, France
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Michel Hazanavicius
PRODUCED BY: Thomas Langmann & Emmanuel Montamat

LE GAMIN AU VELO (The Kid with a Bike), Belgium/France/Italy
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne
PRODUCED BY: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne, Denis Freyd & Andrea Occhipinti

HÆVNEN (In a Better World), Denmark
DIRECTED BY: Susanne Bier
WRITTEN BY: Anders Thomas Jensen
PRODUCED BY: Sisse Graum Jørgensen

THE KING’S SPEECH, UK
DIRECTED BY: Tom Hooper
WRITTEN BY: David Seidler
PRODUCED BY: Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin

LE HAVRE, Finland/France/Germany
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Aki Kaurismäki
PRODUCED BY: Aki Kaurismäki & Karl Baumgartner

MELANCHOLIA, Denmark/Sweden/France/Germany
WRITTEN & DIRECTED BY: Lars von Trier
PRODUCED BY: Meta Louise Foldager & Louise Vesth

EUROPEAN DIRECTOR 2011
Susanne Bier for HÆVNEN (In a Better World)
Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne for LE GAMIN AU VELO (The Kid with a Bike)
Aki Kaurismäki for LE HAVRE
Béla Tarr for A TORINOI LO (The Turin Horse)
Lars von Trier for MELANCHOLIA

EUROPEAN ACTRESS 2011:
Kirsten Dunst in MELANCHOLIA
Cécile de France in LE GAMIN AU VELO (The Kid with a Bike)
Charlotte Gainsbourg in MELANCHOLIA
Nadezhda Markina in ELENA
Tilda Swinton in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN

EUROPEAN ACTOR 2011:
Jean Dujardin in THE ARTIST
Colin Firth in THE KING’S SPEECH
Mikael Persbrandt in HÆVNEN (In a Better World)
Michel Piccoli in HABEMUS PAPAM
André Wilms in LE HAVRE

Read More »

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Nazi Sympathizer Lars Von Trier Visited By Police: He May Have Broken French Law

By | Wednesday October 5, 2011 @ 9:19am PDT

Danish film director Lars von Trier is always self-promoting — but he’s in big trouble now. He was visited by police today at his Denmark home and quizzed about possibly breaking French law which forbids justifying war crimes. It’s because Von Trier caused a storm of controversy during this year’s Cannes Film Festival when he said he had some sympathy for Hitler and Nazis dring a rambling monologue at a press conference. Although he later claimed he was trying to attract attention to his movie by making a joke, the festival banned him, he apologized, and later he rescinded the apology. In the end, European distributors ditched his latest film Melancholia which had its world premiere at Cannes before the ruckus. Now von trier is pledging to keep his mouth shut. Yeah, sure. “He’s a human being and a man with a family, and he wants to avoid further visits from anybody. He’s entirely fed up,” his spokesman tells me. Here is von Trier’s own statement:

Today at 2 pm I was questioned by the Police of North Zealand in connection with charges made by the prosecution of Grasse in France from August 2011 regarding a possible violation of prohibition in French law against justification of war crimes. The investigation covers comments made during the press conference in Cannes in May 2011. Due to these serious accusations I have realized that I do not possess the skills to express myself unequivocally and I have therefore

Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: India, Qatar, Spain

By | Wednesday September 21, 2011 @ 3:14am PDT

Rom-Com Zombies Lurching Into Bollywood Films
Indian filmmakers are dipping their creative toes into the zombie water, but with a light-hearted touch. Shaadi of the Dead (Wedding of the Dead) is about a zombie invasion at a Punjabi marriage ceremony. It’s set for release next year. Also in the works is Go Goa Gone, starring Saif Ali Khan, about a group of youngsters who fight the undead in the resort state of Goa. Shaadi of the Dead director Navdeep Singh is banking on the novelty value of the genre to attract younger Indian film audiences. “We feel this idea of a zombie film is very fresh,” he told AFP. “It is something that has never been tried in the Hindi film industry and so we feel it will work.”

Al-Jazeera Head Steps Down After WikiLeaks Link To U.S.
Qatar’s government has replaced Wadah Khanfar, the director-general of the Al-Jazeera satellite TV network, with a member of its own royal family. Khanfar’s resignation comes after eight years of revolutionizing the Middle East’s media landscape, but in the wake of a WikiLeaks controversy. A U.S. government cable uncovered last month suggests Khanfar agreed to “tone down” objectionable content and promised to “remove it over the subsequent two or three days.” Al-Jazeera has played a key role in the protest movements sweeping the Middle East, airing round-the-clock coverage of uprisings that brought down rulers in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya this year. The new chief is Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, an executive at Qatargas. Read More »

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CANNES: Elizabeth Taylor Remembered As amFAR Sets New Record

Pete Hammond

The late Elizabeth Taylor was fondly remembered during a tribute Thursday night at the ultra-glamorous  annual amFAR Cinema Against AIDS event (now in its 18th year) at Hotel Du Cap. The event co-chaired by Kenneth Cole and Harvey Weinstein broke all records, bringing in a haul of more than $10 million after an auction that also saw record prices. In clips from movies like Cleopatra and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, along with footage from her work for the organization in which she was the founding international chairman and host of the first event in 1993  Cole saluted Taylor as someone who “spoke up when others wouldn’t and said things when others can’t. I hope this will always be part of her legacy.” Weinstein added, “It was an honor to work beside her and it was an honor to watch her movies.”

Continuing the Taylor theme of the evening, two “Elizabeth” items went for big bucks in the annual auction that is always a part of this glitzy dinner, thrown near the end of each Cannes Film Festival since ’93. A limited-edition Herb Ritts photo of Taylor taken in Malibu in 1991 fetched a whopping $150,000, while an Andy Warhol dated lithograph of Liz circa 1964 fetched $400,000.

Among the stars taking part in the evening and auction were Janet Jackson, Brooke Shields, Freida Pinto, Kanye West, Rosario Dawson, Naomi Campbell, Gwen Stefani, Gavin Rossdale, Patrick Dempsey, Milla Jovovich (who opened the proceedings with a sultry “I Wanna Be Loved By You”), Jane Fonda, Goldie Hawn and Sean Penn. Penn, bringing up the rear, got big laughs demanding women abstain from sex unless their men cough up $10,000 apiece in order to break the record amount for the fundraiser. Twenty-one of them did just that. Boy George performed a couple of songs, too. Among those in the crowd were three Cannes jury members including president Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman (who also participated in the auction) and Jude Law, along with Melancholia star Kirsten Dunst, who looked happy not to have Lars von Trier as her date. Read More »

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CANNES: Watch Lars Von Trier’s Meltdown

By | Thursday May 19, 2011 @ 6:36am PDT
Mike Fleming

Here’s a video look at Melancholia director Lars von Trier trying to be humorous during the press conference with some of the comments that got him banned from the Cannes Film Festival this morning. Poor Kirsten Dunst looks like she wants to melt through the floorboards as von Trier just can’t bring himself to stop digging a hole he and his film might find it difficult to climb out of.

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CANNES: Lars Von Trier Declared ‘Persona Non Grata’ By Fest Organizers

By | Thursday May 19, 2011 @ 4:21am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: The Cannes Film Festival organizers are taking very seriously the comments made yesterday by director Lars von Trier during the press conference to introduce his film Melancholia. While Deadline termed him Biggest Douchebag after he made a tepid apology and a party for the film was canceled, the festival has gone further and labeled him “persona non grata” because of his inflammatory comments about the Nazis and Hitler. Meaning even provocateurs should watch the potentially hurtful things that come out of their mouths. Here’s the festival announcement:

The Festival de Cannes provides artists from around the world with an exceptional forum to present their works and defend freedom of expression and creation. The Festival’s Board of Directors, which held an extraordinary meeting this Thursday 19 May 2011, profoundly regrets that this forum has been used by Lars Von Trier to express comments that are unacceptable, intolerable, and contrary to the ideals of humanity and generosity that preside over the very existence of the Festival.

The Board of Directors firmly condemns these comments and declares Lars Von Trier a persona non grata at the Festival de Cannes, with effect immediately.

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CANNES: Lars Von Trier’s Nazi Outburst Prompts Party Cancellation

By | Wednesday May 18, 2011 @ 5:25pm PDT
Mike Fleming

I flew home today from Cannes and am playing catch-up to Lars Von Trier’s Nazi and pro-Hitler outburst at a press conference for his film Melancholia, which was capably chronicled by my colleague Pete Hammond. I’m told that a post-premiere party for Melancholia was canceled, which is probably appropriate because the provocateur left nobody in a mood for revelry and put a blot on what has been a fine festival so far. After watching yesterday’s press conference with Jodie Foster, and the way she thoughtfully answered every question both in English and in French about her film The Beaver, I find it shocking that an experienced director like von Trier could be so graceless in his opportunity to introduce his film on a worldwide platform. It’s inexcusable to be making flip comments about being a sympathizer of the Nazis and Hitler, seemingly oblivious to the memory of genocide that is the first thing most rational, decent people think of when those words are brought up. If there was a festival prize for Biggest Douchebag, von Trier wins, hands down. Despite a tepid apology issued through the festival that he “let himself be egged on by a provocation” (what the hell does that mean, anyway?), von Trier deserves all the lumps that will be coming to him.

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CANNES UPDATE: Lars Von Trier Apologizes After Saying During Press Conference That He’s A Nazi And Sympathizes With Hitler “A Bit”

By | Wednesday May 18, 2011 @ 9:30am PDT
Pete Hammond

UPDATE: 9:30 AM: Now director Lars von Trier has issued an apology: “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not anti-semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”

PREVIOUS, 9:05 AM: The Cannes Film Festival has just issued a press release saying it was disturbed by von Trier’s comments and asked for an explanation from the Danish director, who it said has apologized.

The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes. Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments.

The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation. He presents his apology.

The direction of the Festival acknowledges this and is passing on Lars von Trier’s apology. The Festival is adamant that it would never allow the event to become the forum for such pronouncements on such subjects.

PREVIOUS, 6:31 AM: As usual, you can leave it to Danish director Lars von Trier to make waves. But now enough may be enough. Participating in the Cannes Film Festival for the 11th time,

the controversial helmer set more than a few mouths agape at a press conference following the 8:30 AM press screening of his latest opus, Melancholia. Because, asked at one point about his German roots — though he was actually born in Copenhagen in 1956 — he jumped right in with the kind of “Is he putting us on or what?” abandon he is known for:

“For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met Susanne Bier [fellow Danish director and this year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film] and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German. That also gave me pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler. I sympathize with him a bit.”

Then, in the spirit of Mel Gibson, who wisely skipped The Beaver press conference yesterday, thereby dodging bullets of this type that come up from a room full of international press, von Trier kept on going:

“I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier. In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass [pause] … How can I get out of this sentence? OK, I’m a Nazi.” Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’

By | Friday April 8, 2011 @ 9:57am PDT

Kirsten Dunst, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Kiefer Sutherland, Alexander Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling, John Hurt, Stellan Skarsgard, Udo Kier and Jesper Christensen star in the drama. It opens July 1 in the UK; Magnolia Pictures picked up rights to the US and Canada at the Berlin film festival.

Melancholia from Zentropa on Vimeo.

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