The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is jumping into the screener business. Big time. DVDs for Animated, Live Action and Documentary Shorts as well as Feature Documentary and for the first time, Foreign Language Film nominees are officially on their way to all 6,028 eligible voting members, according to an email sent to the membership Thursday afternoon from President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. So the Academy will soon have another 25 nominated films of various lengths to check out before casting their ballots. Voting opens next Friday and continues through February 25th.
Related: Academy Thanks Members For “Record” Oscar Voting Turnout
Although most Oscar voters are inundated with DVD screeners of movies during awards season, the Academy itself has always turned its back on the process refusing to provide studios and distributors with addresses of their members. Those companies have to get that information on their own and consultants with the goods make a lot of money. It’s certainly true that the Academy doesn’t prohibit the practice, which has obviously been in place for years, but they have never officially encouraged it, correctly preferring to urge members to try and see the films on the big screen if at all possible. The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, on the other hand, actually facilitates mailing of Emmy screeners for networks and studios by providing a complete list of TV Academy members to … Read More »
What does Wong Kar Wai have to do to get an Oscar nomination? The veteran Hong Kong filmmaker was shut out of the Foreign Language Oscar category today after reaching the shortlist for the first time with The Grandmaster. His only other shot at an Oscar came in 2000 when his haunting period love story, In The Mood For Love, was the submission from his home country. It did not advance. To be fair, Grandmaster did pick up two nods today, one for Phillipe Le Sourd’s cinematography and one for William Chang Suk Ping’s costume design. But the Academy chose to forgo the Martin Scorsese-endorsed film in a race in which it was widely expected to figure.
Related: OSCARS: Who Got Snubbed By Academy?
Indeed, people I talked to today were very surprised. When I recently spoke with Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Co has the movie in several countries, I wondered if The Grandmaster‘s box office could be an issue since it was the highest-grossing film of all the contenders, and since commercial movies aren’t normally the ones the Academy sidles up to in this category. It’s familiar territory for Weinstein who was on the shortlist with French juggernaut The Intouchables last year. That film did not make the jump to a nomination and Weinstein told me in December that it had been a victim of its own success. One watcher today suggested Grandmaster may have suffered a similar fate. There was also a spot of controversy over the Chinese version being cut down for the U.S. – although the U.S. version is the same as the one submitted by Hong Kong. Weinstein told me last month that the adjustments were made to avoid confusion over some cultural elements and that Wong did them himself, rather than Weinstein and exec producer Megan Ellison as had been suggested. “People think it was us,” Weinstein said, adding, “As presumptuous as I can be, I’m not presumptuous enough to tell Kar Wai” what to do.
Related: Foreign Language Preview: A Long List Of Contenders For Such A Short List Read More »
Last year, I offered up a preview of the 15 films that had the most buzz going into the unveiling of the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist. Somehow this year, with a record 76 entries (last year it was 71), I whittled down another 15 films that have a shot at the shortlist which is expected to be finalized later this week. This was not an easy task in one of the strongest fields for foreign film in recent years. While 2012′s eventual winner Amour seemed like a foregone conclusion, this year has any number of possible outcomes. Movies that started their careers in Berlin and Cannes are represented below, but so are others that didn’t make it to those high-profile events. I spoke with the directors of each film about their inspirations and expectations, and in some cases with the U.S. distributor about what gave them the confidence to acquire. Notably, Harvey Weinstein clarifies the controversy surrounding an edit of Wong Kar Wai’s Hong Kong entry The Grandmaster. There’s also a lot more here from folks like Paolo Sorrentino, Thomas Vinterberg and Sebastian Lelio, among many others. The rules for selecting the final winner have changed this year with the entire Academy voting body able to weigh in without proving they have seen the films in a movie theater. But the regs for establishing the shortlist remain the same: The Phase I committee determines six of the nine films on the shortlist. The other three titles will be determined by the select Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. Those three extra titles might have international renown but been somehow overlooked by the larger committee (wink, wink City Of God, 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days and others). After that, an uber-committee of 30 higher profile members chooses the ultimate five nominees after viewing the finalists over the course of a long weekend. Below (in alphabetical order by title) are profiles of the 15 films that I believe have a shot at the first stage: Read More »
Make it two in a row for Mads Mikkelsen. Denmark has chosen Thomas Vinterberg‘s Mikkelsen-starrer The Hunt as its submission for the Foreign Language Oscar. Mikkelsen also starred in last year’s entry — and eventual nominee — A Royal Affair. The Hunt, a Cannes contender in 2012, focuses on a man whose life is turned upside down when a lie is spread about him in his small town. Mikkelsen won the Cannes Best Actor prize for the role. The movie also took the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury and the Vulcain Prize for technical artist Charlotte Bruus Christensen. It later won the British Independent Film Award for Best International Independent Film. Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm also won the European Film Award for their screenplay. Magnolia released The Hunt in the U.S. in July and it was released in Denmark earlier this year where it is still the No. 1 movie at the box office with nearly $8M. Also at home, it’s one of the top five most-seen Danish films since 2000. Vinterberg is currently shooting the English-language Far From The Madding Crowd and Mikkelsen soon returns for a second season as the eponymous Hannibal in the NBC series. Denmark last won the Foreign Language Oscar with Susanne Bier’s 2010 In A Better World.
Denmark Sees Boom In Admissions For Homegrown Films
Danish films are on a roll at home, with local pics taking 34% of the box office in the first six months of 2013, Cineuropa reports. Three Danish pics are at the top of the heap, led by Thomas Vinterberg’s 2012 Cannes entry The Hunt, which won Mads Mikkelsen the best actor prize at the festival. Homegrown films had a record 33% of the market in 2012 and in the first half of 2013 have sold 2.25M tickets, according to figures from the Danish Film Institute. Of those tickets, The Hunt, Martin Miehe-Renard’s My African Adventure and Rasmus Heide’s All For Two sold 1.47M. Conversely, TV viewing is down. Recent TNS Gallup figures show that Danes watched 13% less television than in the same period last year, Cineuropa said.
Tom Stoppard Radio Play Celebrates Floyd’s ‘Dark Side’ Turning 40
Tom Stoppard has written a new radio play to mark the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side Of The Moon. Darkside, premiering August 26 on BBC Radio 2, is a fantastical based on themes from the album. The cast includes Bill Nighy, Rufus Sewell, Adrian Scarborough, Iwan Rheon and Amaka Okafor. On the night of broadcast, visitors to bbc.co.uk/radio2 will be able to watch a specially commissioned animation by Aardman to accompany the drama.
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Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The theatrical rollout of the Sundance Film Festival‘s Grand Jury Prize winner is an anticipated and likely nerve-racking occasion for insiders. This year, newcomer Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station holds the mantle. The film won the festival’s top jury prize in addition to the Audience Award. Last year’s big winner Beasts Of The Southern Wild – also from a newcomer, Benh Zeitlin – opened in the summer, going on to rack up critical awards as well as Oscar nominations and solid but not explosive numbers at the box office. Fruitvale‘s debut will hopefully add shine to what has been a mixed to blasé bag in the Specialty arena of late. Also this weekend, fellow Sundance winner Crystal Fairy (a World Cinema prize winner) is also hitting the big screen via IFC Films. The film was a spontaneous undertaking while filmmaker Sebastián Silva and star Michael Cera awaited financing for another project. Cannes 2012 award winner The Hunt from veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg also joins the newcomer list Friday. The dark but acclaimed film has been a hit at home and other territories, but how it will translate in the U.S. remains to be seen. The weekend’s largest Specialty rollout in terms of location count, though, comes from India. Reliance will open Bhaag Milkha Bhaag in over 100 theaters across the country. Comparatively more limited new arrivals this weekend come from Samuel Goldwyn Films (Still Mine) and Anchor Bay Films (Pawn Shop Chronicles).
Director-writer: Ryan Coogler
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Melonie Diaz, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Durand, Chad Michael Murray, Ahna O’Reilly
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Fruitvale Station occupies a coveted place in the specialty/indie world, winning the Sundance Film Festival’s Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic Feature as well as the Audience Award in the same category. Its wins also naturally carry expectations. Last year’s jury prize winner, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, bowed with a $42,426 PSA in four theaters and went on to cume nearly $12.8 million domestically. It also managed to accumulate a slew of year-end awards as well as multiple Oscar nominations including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actress in a Leading Role, not bad for a film with no known actors. Fruitvale Station, however, boasts known talent including Oscar winner Octavia Spencer and Friday Night Lights actor Michael B. Jordan. “We’re excited and have high hopes for Fruitvale Station,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis. “Beasts is not a model for this, but it did prove that you don’t have to open at the end of year to receive acknowledgment. There needs to be an alternative [to the summer blockbusters]. It’s a powerful film and we’re going to take it out nationally.” Read More »
UPDATE, 9:34 PM: The Motion Pictures Editors Guild said tonight that it has reached an agreement with the producers of The Hunt. “The crew will report to work as scheduled tomorrow, and they’ll be working under a union contract,” the guild said on its Facebook page. “Many thanks to all those sisters and brothers who volunteered to walk the picket line. Thankfully, this time it won’t be necessary.” Sources say that things got pretty heated before a deal was reached between the union and the show’s producers. Company execs were loudly promising that Renegade 83 could go bust if The Hunt crew unionized. They backed down from that claim when it looked like their show would be shut down by picketing tentatively scheduled for Wednesday.
PREVIOUSLY: The upcoming CW series The Hunt doesn’t premiere until July 31st, but its producers are already in trouble with the Hollywood unions. The Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, sent an email to its members and sister IATSE locals today calling for a Thursday picket against Renegade 83 Productions’ Sherman Oaks offices doing post-production. The union claims that production subsidiary Triple Ridge Entertainment “has improperly interfered with its employees’ free exercise of their right to organize”. MPEG took to its Facebook page to put out a call for picketers. The Hunt is a wilderness competition in which 12 teams compete in a physical game for a $25,000 prize. It is executive produced by David Garfinkle, Jay Renfroe and Greg Goldman.
Related: … Read More »
The CW has slated new unscripted series Whose Line Is It Anyway?, a reboot of the improv comedy series; game show Perfect Score; and competition The Hunt as well as returning Breaking Pointe. After experimenting with Canadian scripted shows 18 To Life and L.A. Complex the last couple of years, the network is keeping its original summer slate all-unscripted this year. Whose Line, hosted by comedian Aisha Tyler and featuring the return of cast members Ryan Stiles, Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie, will be paired with Perfect Score, hosted by Arielle Kebbel, on Tuesdays. Breaking Pointe will air on Mondays, The Hunt on Wednesdays. All shows will premiere late in the summer to help launch CW’s fall slate. Here are the dates: Read More »