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 ... Palm Springs Film Fest: Rosamund Pike Lands Breakthrough Honor for ‘Gone Girl’ ... Marion Cotillard’s Curious Career ... Watch Jennifer Aniston Confront Sam Worthington in ‘Cake’ (Exclusive Video) ...
Countdown to Oscars

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Closing-night Films at AFI Fest Often Score Oscar Noms


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Since opening Nov. 6 with the world premiere of J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year, AFI Fest has hosted the world premieres of Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Rupert Wyatt’s The Gambler and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, but it’s also hosted a variety of festival favorites, including Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher, which closes the festival tonight. Miller, a two-time Oscar nominee, received the best director award at the Cannes Film Festival following the film’s premiere. This biographical film is based on the true story of brothers and wrestling gold medalists Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and their relationship with John du Pont (Steve Carell), which ultimately results in Dave’s murder. The film opens in theaters tomorrow. Twelve of the past 14 films to close AFI Fest have received Oscar nominations, two for best picture. Closing-night films at AFI Fest tend to have made the rounds to various fests before heading to Los Angeles, which could result in the the higher number of Oscar nominations for closing films than for opening films.

Read the rest of this entry »

Thursday, November 13, 2014

AFI Fest: Sophia Loren Receives Hollywood-Style Career Tribute


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

The American Film Institute’s AFI Fest took on a decidedly Italian flavor on Wednesday night as it celebrated the legendary actress Sophia Loren with a career tribute that packed the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The regal 80-year-old, who lives in Switzerland and doesn’t travel much to the U.S. anymore, emerged from backstage in a resplendent, shimmering dress and was greeted with a two-minute-long standing ovation, which clearly touched her.

Loren was then interviewed for 45 minutes by Rob Marshall, who directed her in her last Hollywood film Nine (2009), during which she spoke candidly about her early years and struggles, her career breakthroughs and her great successes. To many, the most striking thing about her was her humility. She said of her adoring fans — one of the braver ones approached the stage and started talking to her right as she took her seat — “I always feel like I owe these people so much for what they have given me… I never forget what I’ve come from: Naples and the war and terrible things — violence and hunger and everything.”

Read the rest of this entry…

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

‘Foxcatcher’ Hopes to Land Three Actor Nominations, a Rare Event


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Oscar buzz continues to follow Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher after its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and its screenings at various film festivals, including the Telluride, Toronto and New York film fests. The film is set to close AFI Fest Thursday and open in Theaters on Friday. Sony Pictures Classics will be pushing for three of its stars to land Oscar nominations: Channing Tatum and Steve Carell for lead actor and Mark Ruffalo for supporting. If the film was to score all three nominations, it would be one of 15 films to land that many actor nominations and the first film since 1991’s Bugsy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

AFI Fest: Oscar Race Gets Adrenaline Shot From ‘Selma,’ ‘American Sniper’ Premieres


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Talk about a double feature! On Tuesday night, two highly anticipated Oscar hopefuls — Ava DuVernay’s Selma (Paramount) and Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper (Warner Bros.) — had back-to-back world premieres at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theatre as part of AFI Fest.

And while the films each deserved nights of their own, those who were lucky enough to catch both witnessed something that has been strangely uncommon this season: projects that actually lived up to great expectations.

Read the rest of this entry…

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Recent Visual Effects Winners at the Oscars Have Also Won for Cinematography

By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor

This summer’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the sequel to 2011’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes, was released on Digital HD today and will be released on Blu-ray and DVD on Dec. 2. 20th Century Fox is pushing its cast, including Andy Serkis for his motion-capture performance as ape leader Caesar, for supporting actor nominations, but the film also has a serious shot at a nomination for visual effects. Rise of the Planet of the Apes garnered a nomination for visual effects at the 84th Academy Awards. Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, which opened Nov. 5, is also a visual effects contender, but it is also a cinematography contender.

The nominees are chosen by specific branches of the Academy based on expertise, but voting is done by all the members. Most of the films nominated for cinematography differ from those nominated for visual effects. Looking at the 21st Century nominees in both categories, films haven’t historically been nominated in both categories, but since the 82nd Academy Awards, the winner of cinematography has also won for visual effects.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Savannah Film Fest: Watch Eight Top Doc Filmmakers Discuss Their 2014 Oscar Contenders


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

There are just 11 days remaining before the Academy’s documentary branch must vote to determine which of 134 documentary features will make it onto a shortlist of 15 from which this year’s five Oscar nominees will be chosen. The general consensus of the dozens of doc-branch members with whom I’ve spoken at various events over the last couple of weeks —Rory Kennedy’s lunch at AOC in West Hollywood for Point and Shoot‘s Marshall Curry, Pierce Brosnan’s dinner at his Malibu home for Kennedy’s Last Days in Vietnam, etc. — is that this year’s doc race is as deep and competitive as any in memory.

That has been my sense, too, as I’ve made my way through a sizable chunk of the longlist, and it is why I was so delighted when the Savannah Film Festival offered to host me and eight documentary filmmakers at the SCAD Museum of Art’s 250-seat theater for a panel discussion about documentary filmmaking, in general, and some of this year’s “Docs to Watch,” as they termed their new festival sidebar, as part of which they screened the 2014 works of each of the documentarians.

Read the rest of this entry…

Monday, November 10, 2014

Few Actors Have Scored Original Song Nominations

By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Since its premiere at Sundance, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood has been garnering Oscar buzz and rave reviews. The film could score nominations for best picture, director, actor and more, but after submitting three songs to the Academy for consideration in the best original song category, the film could add another nomination. Two of the songs were written by Ethan Hawke, who could garner a best supporting actor nomination for his portrayal of the father. If Hawke receives a best original song nomination for one of his songs, he will join a short list of actors who have scored nominations for songs since 1994.

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Governors Awards: Top Contenders Celebrate Legends at Dress Rehearsal for Oscars


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

The Academy’s sixth annual Governors Awards was, like the five before it, as special a night as any on the Hollywood awards season calendar.

I refer to it as “special” because it was a beautifully orchestrated and moving ceremony (hat-tip to the evening’s producer Reginald Hudlin and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs) celebrating four remarkable people: Golden Age actress Maureen O’Hara, prolific writer Jean-Claude Carriere and animation master Hayao Miyazaki received honorary Oscars, and 87-year-old actor/activistHarry Belafonte became only the 37th recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Read the rest of this entry…

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Palm Springs Film Fest: Eddie Redmayne Lands Top Actor Honor for ‘Theory of Everything’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Eddie Redmayne, who has received raves — and whom I have long projected as the best actor Oscar frontrunner — for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in James Marsh’s tear-jerking drama The Theory of Everything (which Focus Features is releasing in select theaters Friday), has been tapped for his first accolade of the season: he will receive the Palm Springs International Film Festival’s highest honor for a male actor, the Desert Palm Achievement Award, at the 26th annual PSIFF Awards Gala on Jan. 3.

Read the rest of this entry…

Friday, November 7, 2014

Three ‘Boyhood’ Songs, Including Two by Ethan Hawke, Enter Oscar Race (Exclusive)


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

As the Oscar race approaches the Thanksgiving break, with only a small handful of major awards hopefuls that haven’t yet screened, IFC Films’ summer release Boyhood continues to look like the film to beat. It is almost impossible to imagine that the immensely popular indie, which was famously shot over 12 years, won’t show up in the categories of best picture, best director (Richard Linklater), best supporting actor (Ethan Hawke, who is having an incredible year), best supporting actress (Patricia Arquette), best original screenplay (Linklater) and best film editing (Sandra Adair) — and, as I’ve written before, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of it scoring a nom for best actor (Ellar Coltrane), as well.

Today, The Hollywood Reporter can exclusively report that three more possible noms have opened up for Boyhood. That’s because its filmmakers have officially submitted to the Academy’s music branch three songs featured in the film for consideration in the best original song category: “Split the Difference” (written by Hawke, performed by Hawke and Charlie Sexton); “Ryan’s Song” (written by Hawke, performed by Hawke, Coltrane, Lorelei Linklater and Jennifer Tooley); and “Summer Noon” (written by Jeff Tweedy, performed by Tweedy).

Read the rest of this entry…