The Relationship Between Highest-Grossing Films and Oscar Nominations ... Palm Springs Film Fest: Richard Linklater to Receive Visionary Award for ‘Boyhood’ ... Independent Spirit Awards: Good News for ‘Birdman,’ ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Selma’ ... Potential Record-Breaking Year for English Actors in the Best Actor Category ... The Rise of Gugu Mbatha-Raw ... Disney Musical ‘Into the Woods’ Swoops Into Awards Season — How Far Can It Go? ... J. Ralph Could Make Oscar History With Second Song Nom for Doc-Featured Tune ... Ten Documentary Oscar Contenders That Debuted at Sundance ...
Countdown to Oscars

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Relationship Between Highest-Grossing Films and Oscar Nominations


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

It’s safe to assume that Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is going to end the year as the highest-grossing film at the domestic box office with more than $331 million earned as of Nov. 23, but its Oscar prospects lie in below-the-line categories, such as visual effects and sound.

More often than not, the highest-grossing films tend to be neglected in the best picture category. Though The Dark Knight (2008), which was widely-acclaimed and was the highest-grossing film of the year, received eight nominations and won two (sound editing and supporting actor), it was snubbed by the Academy in the best picture category. The following year, the number of best picture nominees increased from five to 10 (and can now fall between those numbers). Since this increase though, the only highest-grossing films to land best picture nominations are 2009’s Avatar and 2010’s Toy Story 3. Neither of the films won.

Twelve of the top domestically grossing films since 2000 received Oscar nominations and six won, but only two landed best picture nominations. More often than not, the nominations for the highest-grossing films fall in below-the-line categories.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Palm Springs Film Fest: Richard Linklater to Receive Visionary Award for ‘Boyhood’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Boyhood writer-director Richard Linklater will receive this year’s Sonny Bono Visionary Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s 26th annual PSIFF Awards Gala on Jan. 3. The fest will run Jan. 2-12.

Previous recipients of PSIFF’s Sonny Bono VIsionary Award include Oscar-winning filmmakers Tom Hooper, Danny Boyle, Quentin Tarantino and Michel Hazanavicius.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Independent Spirit Awards: Good News for ‘Birdman,’ ‘Boyhood’ and ‘Selma’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

The nominations for the 30th Film Independent Spirit Awards — which aim to celebrate the best work in American films that cost roughly $20 million or less, and which will be dished out on Feb. 21 — were announced on Tuesday morning. Birdman — an indie movie about a former star of studio films, interestingly enough — led the field with six noms, while the indie passion projects Boyhood, Nightcrawler and Selma were hot on its heels with five apiece. Several other high-profile contenders, meanwhile, were left out entirely.

All of which begs the question: does any of this mean anything?

Yes and no.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Potential Record-Breaking Year for English Actors in the Best Actor Category


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

This year’s best actor race is filled with strong contenders, and if Eddie Redmayne, Benedict Cumberbatch, David Oyelowo and Jack O’Connell all land nominations for best actor, this year could break the record for the most English actors to score a nomination in the same category in the same year.

Redmayne’s incredible portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, based on Jane Hawking’s memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen, could result in his first Oscar nomination. Redmayne will receive the Desert Palm Achievement Award at the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala on Jan. 3, whose past seven recipients have gone on to receive Oscar nominations.

Cumberbatch won the best actor award at the Hollywood Film Awards for his portrayal of Alan Turing, who helped crack the Nazi Enigma Code during World War II. (Redmayne won the breakout actor performance at the Hollywood Film Awards.)

Oyelowo stars in three films that are potential Oscar contenders this year — Interstellar, A Most Violent Year and Selma — but his “definitive” portrayal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Ava DuVernay’s Selma could garner him an Oscar nomination.

Though Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken has yet to premiere in the states, O’Connell has been receiving buzz for his portrayal of Louis Zamperini, an olympian and WWII Japanese prisoner-of-war survivor. He won the new Hollywood award at the Hollywood Film Awards.

The record for most English actors to score a best actor nomination in the same year is three, which occurred in 1984, and 16 of the 77 best actor recipients have been English actors.

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Monday, November 24, 2014

The Rise of Gugu Mbatha-Raw


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw — whose name is short for Gugulethu, which is Zulu for “Our Pride” — is quickly showing her versatility as an actress portraying an 18th century aristocrat and a hip-hop star over the course of a year. Mbatha-Raw (pronounced em-BAH-tah raw) has been highly praised for both roles and is showing no signs of slowing down.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Disney Musical ‘Into the Woods’ Swoops Into Awards Season — How Far Can It Go?


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

And then there was just one unseen Oscar contender. Unbroken.

On Saturday evening, Disney unveiled the second-to-last of the major Oscar hopefuls that had not yet been been seen by pundits, Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods, at simultaneous screenings on both coasts, followed by a Q&A — live in New York, streamed in Los Angeles — with Marshall, screenwriter James Lapine and stars Meryl Streep, Emily BluntJames Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris PineTracey Ullman and Christine Baranski. (Johnny Depp was the only notable absence.)

It marked the beginning of what will be an aggressive awards push by Disney for the highly-anticipated adaptation of the popular 1987 Broadway musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Lapine. And Disney is as motivated as ever following a disappointing 2013 awards season in which Saving Mr. Banks was almost entirely snubbed by the Academy.

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

J. Ralph Could Make Oscar History With Second Song Nom for Doc-Featured Tune


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

As discussed in another post earlier this month, only 20 Oscar nominations have ever been accorded to documentary features in categories other than the one designated for them. The most famous examples include “best writing, motion picture story” for Louisiana Story (1948), best film editing and best sound for Woodstock (1970), best film editing for Hoop Dreams (1994), best original song for An Inconvenient Truth (2006), best foreign language film for Waltz with Bashir (2008) and, most recently, best original song for Chasing Ice (2012).

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Ten Documentary Oscar Contenders That Debuted at Sundance


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Voting ends today for the Academy’s documentary branch who must narrow the list of 134 documentaries vying for a spot in the Oscar race to a shortlist of 15 films, which will be released in December. Of the 15 films, five Oscar nominees will be chosen in January.

Though a number of film festivals, such as the Savannah Film Fest, are becoming documentary hotspots, a number of Oscar-nominated documentaries premiere at the Sundance Film Festival each year. In the 21st century, seven of the Oscar winners have debuted in Utah: Born into Brothels (2004), March of the Penguins (2005), An Inconvenient Truth (2006), Man on Wire (2008), The Cove (2009), Searching for Sugar Man (2012) and 20 Feet from Stardom (2013).

The rest of the documentary winners were unveiled in the states (2000’s Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport and 2001’s Murder on Sunday Morning) and at the Cannes, (2002’s Bowling for Columbine, 2003’s The Fog of War and 2010’s Inside Job), South by Southwest (2011’s Undefeated) and Tribeca (2007’s Taxi to the Dark Side) film fests.

Ten of this year’s top documentary contenders made their debuts at Sundance:

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Palm Springs Film Fest: Rosamund Pike Lands Breakthrough Honor for ‘Gone Girl’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Rosamund Pike, the British blonde beauty whose performance in David Fincher’Gone Girl has blown away critics and moviegoers alike, will receive this year’s Breakthrough Performance Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s 26th annual PSIFF Awards Gala on Jan. 3. The fest will run Jan. 2-12.

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Marion Cotillard’s Curious Career


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Seven years after winning an Oscar for her portrayal of Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007), Marion Cotillard could land a second nomination for her role in Belgian brothers Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne’s Two Days, One Night (Deux jours, une nuit), which is Belgium’s Oscar submission. She was also in 2013 Cannes selection The Immigrant, which was released in May of this year. Since La Vie en Rose, Cotillard has mainly worked on small indie films both inside and outside of America, with the exception of Christopher Nolan‘s Inception (2010) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

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