‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Harvey Weinstein (The Weinstein Co.) ... Meet the Oscar-Winning (Twice!) Rabbi Whose Blessing Hollywood Seeks Each Awards Season ... Looking Ahead to the 89th Academy Awards’ Possible Contenders ... A Sweep in Below-the-Line Categories Could Lead to Best Pic and Best Director Oscars for ‘Mad Max’ ... Lack of Best Screenplay Nomination May Spell Defeat for ‘The Revenant’ in Best Pic Category ... ‘Awards Chatter’ Podcast — Sandy Powell (‘Carol,’ ‘Cinderella’) ... Netflix and HBO Battle for Documentary and Short Film Crown at Oscars ... Scripter Win Solidifies Oscar-Frontrunner Status for ‘Big Short’ Screenplay (Analysis) ...
Countdown to Oscars

Friday, February 12, 2016

Oscar Pool Picks: Best Documentary Short

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

The best documentary short award has been presented at the Oscars since 1942. Unlike its counterpart category, best documentary feature, documentary shorts rarely receive wide theatrical releases. As such, it can be difficult for many film buffs, and Oscar predictors, to view the films.

However, in recent years a number of documentary shorts have been broadcast on television, including three of this year’s nominees (Body Team 12, Claude Lanzmann, A Girl In The River: The Price of Forgiveness) which are all HBO productions and will be broadcast on the network this year. The other two films in the category are serious contenders for this year’s Oscar, as well, and may be worth picking in your office pool.

Here’s a breakdown of all of this year’s best documentary short nominees.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Steven Spielberg Supports Diversity in Academy, “Not 100 Percent Behind” Current Plan, Calls for Limits on Oscar Campaigning (Exclusive)

The three-time Oscar winner, who is nominated this year for 'Bridge of Spies,' tells THR that he was "surprised" by the absence of noms for 'Straight Outta Compton' and Idris Elba, but opposes "taking votes away from Academy members who have paid their dues and maybe are retired now."

By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

Steven Spielberg, perhaps the most respected and powerful member of the Hollywood community, has weighed in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the Academy’s response to it.

During an episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s ‘Awards Chatter’ podcast that was recorded on Monday, the three-time Oscar winner expressed “surprise” about the fact that the Academy did not nominate Straight Outta Compton for best picture or Beasts of No Nation‘s Idris Elba for best supporting actor. He also criticized the organization for responding by “taking votes away from Academy members who have paid their dues and maybe are retired now.”

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Oscar Pool Picks: Best Animated Short

By Patrick Shanley
Managing Editor

While the Oscar’s best animated feature category has only existed since 2001, the award for best animated short has been presented since 1932. This year five short films from all across the globe are competing in the category.

With the exception of Pixar’s Sanjay’s Super Team, which accompanied the studio’s feature length film, The Good Dinosaur last year, most Oscar fans filling out their scorecards likely haven’t seen this year’s competitors for best animated short. Here’s a breakdown of all five films competing and which one may just have the edge.

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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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