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 ... ADG Awards Offer Insight on Best Production Design Oscar Race ... What Does the Best Ensemble SAG Award Win Mean for ‘Spotlight’ at the Oscars? ... SAG Awards: ‘Spotlight’ Victory Confirms We Have an Oscar Race, Folks! (Analysis) ... Santa Barbara Film Fest: All 5 Oscar-Nominated Directors to Appear on Panel, Collect Awards ...
Countdown to Oscars

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

‘The Revenant’ and ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ Become 4th and 5th Films Ever to Earn Nominations in All Seven Technical Categories

THR's awards analyst offers his take on the prospects of Alejandro G. Inarritu's vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio following its big unveiling.

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

The Revenant and Mad Max: Fury Road lead this year’s Oscar contenders with the most total nominations at 12 and 10, respectively.

Of those nominations, both films are nominated in each of the seven technical categories, that is, best cinematography, best costume design, best film editing, best production design, best sound editing, best sound mixing, and best visual effects.

To be nominated in every technical category is a major achievement accomplished by only a handful of other films in Academy history. However, it does not necessarily mean that a film is guaranteed the best picture Oscar or even can be considered the strongest shot at the Oscar, though every other film nominated in each category has at least scored a best picture nomination.

This year The Revenant and Mad Max have become the fourth and fifth films in history to earn every technical art nomination. Here’s a look at how each of the previous three films to achieve that feat fared at the Oscars.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oscars: Omission of Black Actors Upsetting, But Not Inexplicable or Proof of Racism

"None of this year's excluded films about people of color or people of color themselves were thought to be slam-dunks going into the nominations," writes THR's awards analyst. "They were competing in very competitive categories."

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Nobody was more disappointed than I was last Thursday morning when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its 88th Oscar nominations and we learned that Straight Outta Compton had not been nominated for best picture, The Hateful Eight’s Samuel L. Jackson, Creed‘s Michael B. Jordan and Concussion’s Will Smith had not been nominated for best actor and Beasts of No Nation‘s Idris Elba had not been nominated for best supporting actor. Each was worthy of recognition.

Many reflexively reacted to the news by accusing the Academy of being a racist organization, and I “get” why: this is the second year in a row in which not one of the five directing nominees or the 20 acting nominees were black (last year’s big omissions were Selma‘s director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowo), hence the popular Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Never-Before-Seen Age Difference in this Year’s Best Actress Race

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

One of the tightest races in this year’s Oscar season is that for the best actress statuette. There are past winners such as Cate Blanchett, who earned a best actress Oscar for Blue Jasmine in 2014 and a best supporting actress award for The Aviator in 2004, and Jennifer Lawrence, who won best actress in Silver Linings Playbook in 2013, previous nominees like Saoirse Ronan, who earned a best supporting actress nom for Atonement in 2008, and first-time nominees Brie Larson, who plays a young mother held captive in Room, and Charlotte Rampling, who plays a wife whose 45th wedding anniversary is upended by the arrival of a mysterious letter in 45 Years.

The most interesting factoid about this year’s best actress race, however, is the disparity in age between the competitors. Three of the five women are aged 26 years or below, with Ronan at 21, Lawrence at 25, and Larson at 26 while Rampling, who is 69 now but will be 70 by the night of the Oscars, is enjoying her first nomination and would be the third oldest winner in history if she pulls it off.

Giving that Blanchett just won the Oscar two years ago, the chances are that she may not be as high a priority as her competition in the Academy voters eyes. Likewise, Lawrence is a recent winner who may suffer from the same fate. Another factor to keep an eye on is the fact that the three younger nominees may hurt each other’s chances and split the votes. That leaves Rampling in a great position to pull off the win.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Oscars: Linda Perry Apologizes for Alleging That Lady Gaga’s Song Nomination Is Bogus

The singer-songwriter, whose tune 'Hands of Love' was not Oscar-nominated last week, tweeted hours ago that she had reason to believe that Gaga should not have received a nom alongside Diane Warren for the song "Til It Happens to You."

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Linda Perry has apologized for alleging that Lady Gaga’s Oscar nomination, for the song “Til It Happens to You” from the doc The Hunting Ground, is bogus.

After sending a series of tweets making the accusation early Monday morning, the singer-songwriter clarified the allegation later in the day. “My sincere apologies. I made a mistake to comment. I wasn’t in the room when the #TIHTY was being written. More importantly, I wish the focus to remain on the great importance of the song and the message of the film,” she wrote.

Perry, whose song “Hands of Love,” from the film Freeheld, was not Oscar-nominated by the Academy’s music branch last week, insinuated that Gaga did not contribute to the writing of “Til It Happens to You,” but only performed it, which would mean she should not have been eligible for the Oscar, according to Academy rules.

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Monday, January 18, 2016

What the Critics’ Choice Awards Can Tell Us About Oscar

Critics' Choice Awards: The Complete Winners List

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

The Broadcast Film Critics Association handed out their Critics’ Choice Awards last evening in Los Angeles and is the first awards ceremony since the Academy released their official nominations last Thursday.

Those looking to the Critics’ Choice Awards in hopes of fleshing out their Oscar predictions will notice a few differences between last week’s Golden Globes and Sunday’s awards in the major categories. Most notably is the fact that Spotlight won best picture after being entirely shut out by the HFPA at the Globes.

Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant), Sylvester Stallone (Creed), and Brie Larson (Room) all repeated their Globes success with acting wins, but Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) took home the best supporting actress award in lieu of Kate Winslet’s (Steve Jobs) win the week before.

Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller took home the night’s best director award, while last year’s best director Oscar winner, and last week’s Golden Globe winner, Alejandro G. Inarritu, went home empty-handed.

The Critics’ Choice Awards are actually a great indicator of what Oscar generally goes for, as they have lined up a number of times in the six major categories this century. Here’s a list of films and people who won awards at both the Critics’ Choice Awards and Oscars since the start of the new millennium:

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Friday, January 15, 2016

Meet George Miller: Oscar-Nominated Director of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

The man behind one of this summer’s biggest hits, and now a best picture nominee, Mad Max: Fury Road has been directing films for four decades but many fans would have a hard time picking him out of a lineup. George Miller, the 70-year-old visionary director behind all four films in the Mad Max franchise, earned the first best directing Oscar nomination of his career yesterday morning, though his history with the Academy goes all the way back to 1993.

To say Miller has an eclectic resume is an understatement, as his directing credits have bounced from post-apocalyptic action films to heavy family drama to family films. This year, his film is second in nominations to only The Revenant, from last year’s best director winner, Alejandro G. Inarritu.

Much of Miller’s anonymity springs from his ability to not be pegged down to one specific genre, and the success he has had in each new area he’s ventured into, both with audiences and with the Academy.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oscar Nominations: Now It’s a Whole New Race (Analysis)

THR's awards analyst dissects Thursday morning's Oscar nominations and reveals which nominees look strongest heading into the second phase of the race.

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

It’s fun to try to find meaning about the Academy Awards race in the SAG and Critics’ Choice noms or the results of the AFI and Golden Globe awards or all of the other tea leaves that fall throughout the season, but nothing offers a better indication of how the Academy feels about a crop of movies than the Oscar noms themselves. So what do this year’s reveal?

The best picture race is likely between Spotlight and The Big Short, with The Revenant as possible spoiler. True, The Revenant leads the field with 12 noms, and Mad Max: Fury Road is close behind with 10. But the former films — which have six and five noms, respectively — showed up in important categories in which the latter films did not.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oscar Nominations: Shocking Stats and Fun Facts (Analysis)

THR's awards analyst on the stat that suggests best pic is between 'The Big Short' and 'Spotlight'; new records set by Steven Spielberg, Sylvester Stallone and 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; and much more.

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

What a morning. The 88th Oscar nominations were announcedon Thursday at the Beverly Hills headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Revenant landed a field-leading 12 noms, followed close behind by Mad Max: Fury Road, with 10. The other headlines?

In: The Big Short‘s director Adam McKay; Room‘s director Lenny Abrahamson; Joy‘s lead actress Jennifer Lawrence; The Revenant‘s Tom Hardy; The Hateful Eight‘s supporting actress Jennifer Jason Leigh; both Netflix doc features, What Happened, Miss Simone? and Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom; and “Til It Happens to You,” the original song by Lady Gaga and seven-time Oscar bridesmaid Diane Warren.

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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Oscars: Number of Notables Landed First-Ever Nominations Today

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

The time has finally come and the Academy has released its official list of Oscar nominees for the 88th Academy Awards. A number of surprises were in store for those who have been following this year’s race closely, as those that once seemed like sure-thing contenders, such as Carol for best picture and Ridley Scott for best director for The Martian, were left out.

Among the familiar faces on this year’s list of nominees is last year’s best director winner, Alejandro G. Inarritu, who, over the weekend, won the Golden Globe for best director, who is nominated in the category again this year for his work on the Western, The Revenant, as well as last year’s best actor winner Eddie Redmayne, who won for his portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, who scored another best actor nomination for his performance as a transgender artist in The Danish Girl.

However, it is not all repeats and Oscar mainstays (though perennials Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett are also nominated). A number of high-profile names are also made the Academy’s list this year, and are being honored with their first Oscar nomination.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Watch the Directors of All 9 Oscar-Shortlisted Foreign Films Discuss Their Work

Watch the Directors of All 9 Oscar-Shortlisted Foreign Films Discuss Their Work

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Last Wednesday, I traveled to the Palm Springs International Film Festival — for the second year in a row — to moderate a wide-ranging conversation with the directors of all nine films that made the Academy’s shortlist for the best foreign language film Oscar, from which the category’s five Oscar nominees, which will be announced tomorrow, were chosen in recent days. (This was the only gathering of this sort that has happened or will happen.)

Over the course of 80 minutes, the filmmakers spoke, among many other things, about what inspired each of them to make their films; why they made some of their most interesting creative choices on their films; how they wound up with the casts they did (led, in several cases, by child actors); what they hope people will leave their films thinking or doing differently; and what being Oscar-shortlisted means to them and their countries.

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