Oscar Pool Picks: Best Live Action Short ... DGA Awards: Is ‘Revenant’ the New Oscar Frontrunner? (Analysis) ... Santa Barbara Film Fest: ‘Spotlight’ Honorees Argue That Movies Can Make a Difference ... ‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — William Shatner (‘Star Trek’) ... Meet Lenny Abrahamson, the Nearly Unknown Oscar-Nominated Director of ‘Room’ ... Diversity Scandal Overlooks Historic Year for Women at Oscars ... ‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Adam McKay (‘The Big Short’) ... A Number of Big Names are Behind Some of this Year’s Oscar Nominees ...
Countdown to Oscars

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Oscar Pool Picks: Best Live Action Short

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

With the Oscars coming right around the corner, many film fans will be filling out their annual Oscar prediction sheets in hopes of taking home their office pool. However, with certain categories, such as that of this year’s Oscar nominated shorts (broken into three categories: live action, animation, documentary), it can feel like you’re making a shot-in-the-dark prediction.

Well, fear not, Oscar prognisticators, for here is a breakdown of this year’s nominees for best live action short and who you should be pulling for in this year’s pool.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

DGA Awards: Is ‘Revenant’ the New Oscar Frontrunner? (Analysis)

THR's awards analyst looks at the four previous instances of the three highest-profile guilds awarding their respective top prizes to different films, and explains why one guild may have offered more important clues than the others this year.

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Two weekends ago, the Producers Guild of America went for The Big Short. Last weekend, the Screen Actors Guild went forSpotlight. And now, this weekend, the Directors Guild of America has gone for The Revenant.

In the 24 previous years in which the three highest-profile guilds presented their top prizes, a split of this nature has happened four times: 15 years ago, when the PGA went for Gladiator, SAG went for Traffic and the DGA went for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; 14 years ago, when the PGA went for Moulin Rouge!, SAG went for Gosford Park and the DGA went for A Beautiful Mind; 11 years ago, when the PGA went for The Aviator, SAG went for Sideways and the DGA went for Million Dollar Baby; and two years ago, when the PGA went for 12 Years a Slave and Gravity (they allegedly tied), SAG went for American Hustle and the DGA went for Gravity.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Santa Barbara Film Fest: ‘Spotlight’ Honorees Argue That Movies Can Make a Difference

The film's co-writer/director Tom McCarthy presented the fest's American Riviera Award to Michael Keaton ("our captain") and Rachel McAdams ("our heart"), while also complimenting Mark Ruffalo, who was a late cancellation.

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Three of the principal members of the best ensemble Screen Actors Guild Award winner Spotlight were honored with the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Riviera Award on Friday night at the city’s historic Arlington Theatre. Two of them, Michael Keaton and best supporting actress Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams, were in attendance for the celebration, while the third, best supporting actor Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo, was a late cancelation due to a family issue (but sent in a video expressing his apologies and appreciation).

It was an emotional evening in which the thesis of all involved parties — including SBIFF festival director Roger Durling, who moderated a two-hour Q&A that preceded the presentation of the awards themselves — was that films can change the world. This was supported by the fact that Spotlight, a film about Boston’s Catholic Church sex abuse scandal and the journalists who exposed it, had screened for the Vatican’s commission on clerical sex abuse. Additionally, Durling revealed — for the second time this week, after penning a guest column in The Hollywood Reporter — that he himself had been molested by a Catholic priest. He told the honorees, “I’ll speak for all of us survivors when I say, ‘Thank you for making Spotlight.'”

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — William Shatner (‘Star Trek’)

The 84-year-old legend muses about the possibility of reinhabiting Capt. Kirk ('How would they handle it, in science-fiction terms? I'm older, I'm heavier'), Harrison Ford's return to 'Star Wars' ('He needed a new airplane'), his seances with DeForest Kelley ('He's haunting a southern mansion') and his feud with George Takei as 'Star Trek' turns 50.

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

“This really isn’t the 50th anniversary,” William Shatnerdeadpans as we sit down in his Studio City office to record an interview commemorating the 50th anniversary of the airing of the first episode of Star Trek, the cult TV series-turned-blockbuster film franchise. “It just got canceled, Star Trek — but we’re in a time warp.”

When those words come out of the mouth of the actor who brought to life Capt. James T. Kirk, a man who traveled through space and time as commander of the starship USS Enterprise, one almost believes them. But, as Shatner acknowledges over the course of our wide-ranging conversation, time most certainly has marched on.

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Friday, February 5, 2016

Meet Lenny Abrahamson, the Nearly Unknown Oscar-Nominated Director of ‘Room’

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

Perhaps the most surprising, and unfamiliar, name at this year’s Academy Awards is that of Room director, Lenny Abrahamson. The Irish filmmaker is far from a household name, with only a handful of credits and his biggest film to date being 2014’s quirky SXSW favorite, Frank.

That is on the brink of changing, however, with Abrahamson earning his first Oscar nomination for this year’s Room, which tells the story of a young mother (best actress nominee Brie Larson) forced to raise her five-year-old son in the confines of a single room. As if an Oscar nom wasn’t enough, Abrahamson’s next slated project will team him with breakout star, and fellow Irishman, Domnhall Gleeson, on a script written by best picture-nominated The Danish Girl screenwriter Lucinda Coxon.

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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Diversity Scandal Overlooks Historic Year for Women at Oscars

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

When it comes to this year’s Academy Awards, no word is more buzzworthy than “diversity”. For the second year in a row the Oscars have nominated only white actors in their four main acting categories, sparking backlash and, as a result, inciting the Academy to announce new changes to tackle its “diversity problem”.

Amidst another year of #OscarsSoWhite trending on Twitter, however, the fact that 2015 has been an exceptionally strong year for women has been largely overlooked. Three of this year’s best picture nominees (BrooklynRoomMad Max: Fury Road) are female-centric and feature strong female protagonists in the center of the action. In fact, even outside of those films and their performances, a number of women are nominated for best picture as producers, as well. Kristie Macosko Krieger is nominated for Bridge of Spies, Blye Pagon Faust is nominated for Spotlight, Dede Gardner is nominated for The Big Short, Mary Parent is nominated for The Revenant, and Amanda Posey is nominated for Brooklyn.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Adam McKay (‘The Big Short’)

The 47-year-old best director and best adapted screenplay nominee talks about his journey through the comedy world, how he shifted gears to tackle Michael Lewis' 2010 bestseller, why he's backing Bernie Sanders and reteaming with Will Ferrell.

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

“It’s funny,” says Adam McKay — the Oscar-nominated co-writer and director of The Big Short who heretofore was known for the raunchy comedies he made with Will Ferrell, such as Anchorman and Talladega Nights — as we sit down in his guest house to record an episode of the ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast. “The whole time we were making the movie I never thought of it as, ‘I’m doing something different.’ You just chase the movie, is kind of all you do. But there’s no question we’re thrilled with the reaction it’s getting.”

(You can click above to listen to this episode or click here to access all of our episodes via iTunes. Past guests include Lady Gaga, Will Smith, Amy Schumer, Samuel L. Jackson, Kristen Stewart, J.J. Abrams, Brie Larson, Ridley Scott, Kate Winslet, Ian McKellen, Sarah Silverman, Michael Moore, Olivia Wilde, Benicio Del Toro, Lily Tomlin andEddie Redmayne.)

As he shares in this conversation, McKay, 47, grew up in Pennsylvania, obsessed with comedy and movies. He dabbled in standup while a student at Temple University before dropping out and heading, with a friend, to Chicago, the home of long-form improvisation. There, he co-founded the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, an improvisational sketch comedy group that gravitated towards “more aggressive comedy” than the already-established The Second City. And while he remembers that as “an amazing time,” he also recalls “we weren’t making any real money,” so he eventually auditioned for — and landed — a gig as an understudy for the main cast of Second City, which at that time included Steve Carell, Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Number of Big Names are Behind Some of this Year’s Oscar Nominees

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

This year’s Oscar race features many familiar faces, such as last year’s best director Alejandro G. Inarritu or last year’s best actor Eddie Redmayne, both of whom are repeat nominees in the same category.

However, what may surprise many is the number of big names behind many of this year’s nominees.

Taking a look at some of this year’s executive producers (people not necessarily involved in the making of a film but helped to finance the production), a number of names that may be surprising were hard at work behind the scenes.

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

ADG Awards Offer Insight on Best Production Design Oscar Race

'Game of Thrones,' 'Homeland' and 'American Horror Story' also are among the winners.

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

The 20th Annual Art Directors Guild Awards were held on Sunday and presented three awards to films in this year’s best picture race. Divided into genre categories (best period film, best fantasy film, best contemporary film), the Art Directors Guild awards those films’ whose production design they deem to be the most impressive, and this year’s winners were The Revenant for best period film, Mad Max: Fury Road for best fantasy, and The Martian for best contemporary.

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Monday, February 1, 2016

What Does the Best Ensemble SAG Award Win Mean for ‘Spotlight’ at the Oscars?

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

Saturday evening’s 22nd Annual SAG Awards proved that we have a real race on our hands for best picture. The night’s biggest prize, the best ensemble award, which has been awarded to 10 of the last 20 best pic winners, went to Spotlight.

Director Tom McCarthy’s drama about Boston Globe reporters investigating the Catholic Church’s child molestation scandal is led by performances from best supporting actor Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo, best supporting actress nom Rachel McAdams, and best actor nom last year, Michael Keaton.  The film previously won the Critics’ Choice award for best picture.

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