Dec 102015
 

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The 2015 nominees from the Screen Actors Guild have been announced. The nominees here are often a very accurate guide of who will be the eventual Oscar nominees. We suspect that this year might be an exception as a number of these nominations are very surprising, given the reactions to the films.

Some of the Best Picture contenders, like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Martian are going to be recgonised in other areas, but it was still a surprise to not even see Matt Damon amongst the Best Actor nominees, having been credited the award by the National Board of Review last week.

Trumbo led all nominees with three – for Lead Actor: Bryan Cranston, Supporting Actress: Helen Mirren and Ensemble Cast. Mirren also received a Lead Actress nomination for Woman in Gold, another surprise, considering the strength of that category. No Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years? Johnny Depp continues to defy expectations by gathering a Best Actor nomination for the cooly received Black Mass, while Leo DiCaprio scores his first big nomination for his amazing performance in The Revenant. Another cooly received film to score love was Tom Hoopers’ The Danish Girl, with nominations for last year’s Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne (Lead) and Alicia Vikander (Supporting).

Both Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett were expectedly recognised for Carol, while Brie Larson and Saoirse Ronan maintained their co-favouritism (they have been splitting awards) for Best Actress. Only Christian Bale and Rachel McAdams were individually and deservedly recognised for The Big Short and Spotlight respectively, but their wonderful ensemble casts were no-brainer nominations.

Interesting to note: supporting Actor has become a rather competitive category. Steve Carell (The Big Short), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight) and Sylvester Stallone (Creed) could all have made it into the already-strong field here and not felt out of place.

Lead Actor
Bryan Cranston, “Trumbo”
Johnny Depp, “Black Mass”
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Revenant”
Michael Fassbender, “Steve Jobs”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Danish Girl”

Lead Actress
Cate Blanchett, “Carol”
Brie Larson, “Room”
Helen Mirren, “Woman in Gold”
Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Sarah Silverman, “I Smile Back”

Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, “The Big Short”
Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Michael Shannon, “99 Homes”
Jacob Tremblay, “Room”

Supporting Actress
Rooney Mara, “Carol”
Rachel McAdams, “Spotlight”
Helen Mirren, “Trumbo”
Alicia Vikander, “The Danish Girl”
Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs”

Cast
“Beasts of No Nation”
“The Big Short”
“Spotlight”
“Straight Outta Compton”
“Trumbo”

Stunt Cast
“Everest”
“Furious 7″
“Jurassic World”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation”

For the full list of TV nominees, visit the SAG website.

Nov 252015
 

Beasts of No Nation

Overnight the nominees for this year’s Independent Spirit Awards were announced. The rather fascinating selections were led by Todd Haynes’ Carol, with six nominations, Beasts of No Nation, Netflix’s first move into original feature film making, scored five, while vivid journalism drama Spotlight, iPhone5 feat Tangerine and latest Charlie Kaufman brain-buster Anomalisa landed four. These five films were also honoured with Best Feature nominations, with Spotlight also scoring the coveted Altman Award for Best Ensemble Cast.

While only a few of these films will likely be recognised at next year’s Oscars, we do expect Carol and Spotlight to be right amongst them. Anomalisa is looking like a lock for a Best Animated Film nomination, but will it break out into other categories as it has here? The directors of the five aforementioned films were joined by David Robert Mitchell for breakout horror hit It Follows, which was also recognised for cinematography and editing.

Donald Margulies’ screenplay and Jason Segel’s performance as David Foster Wallace in The End of the Tour were recognised, as were Brie Larson’s widely acclaimed performance in and Emma Donoghue’s first screenplay for Room. Diary of a Teenage Girl, James White and Mediterranea all received multiple nominations, including Best First Feature.  

In the acting categories both Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett were acknowledged for Carol, as were transgender actresses Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor for Tangerine, which is fantastic to see. Beasts of No Nation also received two nominations in acting categories, for Abraham Attah (lead) and Idris Elba (supporting). Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) and Michael Shannon (99 Homes) strengthened their chances for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination with one here. They are joined by Kevin Corrigan, also honoured at the Gotham Awards for his brilliant work on Results. 

The 2016 Spirit Awards nominees can be found after the jump. What are your thoughts? Continue reading »

Nov 042015
 

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The 2015 British Independent Film Awards were announced yesterday and Yorgos Lanthimos’ wonderful new film The Lobster led the surprisingly offbeat field with seven nominations, including Best Best, Director, Screenplay and Lead Actor – Colin Farrell. Co-Best Film nominees 45 Years and Macbeth each scored six, while Ex Machina and Amy were handily rewarded with five.

Brooklyn also scored five nominations, including three for acting, and one for Nick Hornby’s screenplay. Ben Wheatley’s hotly anticipated and expectedly divisive High Rise was similarly honoured, while Oscar contenders Suffragette and The Danish Girl were relegated to just acting nominations. Suffragette led that field with four, while the The Danish Girl received just a single nomination, for lead actress Alicia Vikander. Vikander has been touted as one of the top contenders for the Supporting Actress Oscar, but the voters her saw that claim dubious and voted her into the lead. Vikander could easily have been nominated for Ex Machina, but it was overlooked for acting, with production design and visual effects deservedly honoured in the ‘Achievement in Craft’ category. I was also quite pleased to see Palio score a Best Documentary nod. It is one of the most thrilling experiences I had in the cinema this year.

45 Years, Suffragette and Brooklyn are looking to be the most likely to feature amongst the Oscar contenders, but we now know we cannot write off The Lobster. It is likely ‘too weird’ for Oscar voters, but it is sure is pleasing to see it gather attention. Australians hoping to see some of these films don’t have to wait long. You can catch up on Amy and Ex Machina on home entertainment, while The Lobster is currently in cinemas. 45 Years, Brooklyn and Suffragette are all screening at the British Film Festival, which is running presently. Suffragette and The Danish Girl have Boxing Day releases, with Brooklyn and 45 Years scheduled in 2016.

You can check out the full list of nominees after the jump: Continue reading »

Oct 292015
 

dressmaker

The Dressmaker leads Australia Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA) Award nominations, with 12 nods including Best Film, Best Director, Lead Actress (Kate Winslet,) and Supporting Actress (Sarah Snook). The film which centers around an internationally acclaimed designer returning home to rural Australia was released in Australian cinemas today (October 29).

The critically-acclaimed post-apocalyptic film Mad Max: Fury Road received 11 nominations, including a Lead Actress nomination for Charlize Theron. I love that she has been recognised as the lead, because the film is utterly hers. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see her in contention for an Oscar in the same category? We can only hope.

Warm-hearted Last Cab to Darwin received 8 nominations; while Holding the Man received 6, and Cut Snake and Paper Planes both received 5.

A look at the Best Visual Effects Or Animation category shows how many major Hollywood productions are looking to Australia for our innovation in special/visual effects. Pan, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ted 2, and Mad Max: Fury Road have all received nomination in this category.

This year has been a record-breaking year at the box office for Australian films, with the all-time box office record of $63.4 million (set in 2001) passed at the beginning of the month. The Australian film share of the local box office is currently (as of Oct 7) sitting at 6.8%, which is the best since 2001.

The AACTA craft awards will be presented at a dinner in Sydney on November 30, with the main awards presented at an awards ceremony at The Star Event Centre on December 9.

Check out the nominations after the jump.

Continue reading »

Feb 192015
 

stillaliceimage

So Andy and I have made our Oscar predictions – some winners seem so certain, while with certain categories, it feels like it is up to the toss of a coin. Feel free to publicly shame us when it turns out we are completely wrong with all of our predictions (though we do differ on some).

After the jump see our picks for who we think will win the Oscar and who (out of those nominated) we think should take it home.

Continue reading »

Feb 082015
 

afca

The Australian Film Critics Association (of which I am a member) held their annual Film & Writing Awards at ACMI in Melbourne’s Federation Square on Saturday 7 February. The Babadook and Charlie’s Country were the big winners of the evening as a wonderful year of Australian film was celebrated. The Babadook took home four awards – Best Film, Best Director, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor; while Charlie’s Country was the winner in three categories – Best Actor, Best Cinematography and Best Screenplay.

In a special presentation David Gulpilil was awarded his Best Actor statue on Friday evening during Melbourne’s BlakNite event at Treasury Gardens. Mr Gulpilil was presented the Award by Aaron Pedersen, last year’s AFCA Best Actor winner and he was greatly touched and emotional by the surprise presentation. He dedicated the Award to “the spirit of the country and his family”.

The full list of AFCA Film and Writing Award winners is after the jump.

Continue reading »

Jan 302015
 

aacta

It was a big night for Jennifer Kent and The Babadook at Australia’s annual celebration of film and television. The director picked up best director, best original screenplay and shared the best film prize. The ABC reports that Kent said of her win,”I’ve traveled round the world with The Babadook and it’s been an extraordinary journey this last year. But to be here and to have this award from my industry peers in my home country means so much to me.”

The Babadook shared the best film prize with Russell Crowe’s The Water Diviner, which was the most commercially successful local film of 2014. The Lego Movie may be missing from the Academy Awards, but it was recognised by the AACTAs, picking up the award for best visual effects or animation. Sarah Snook and David Gulpilil were the extremely deserving winners of the lead acting categories.
 
Award for Best Film
The Babadook Kristina Ceyton and Kristian Moliere
The Water Diviner Andrew Mason, Keith Rodger and Troy Lum

Award for Best Direction
The Babadook Jennifer Kent

Award for Best Original Screenplay
The Babadook Jennifer Kent

Award for Best Adapted Screenplay
The Railway Man Frank Cottrell Boyce and Andy Paterson

Award for Best Lead Actor
David Gulpilil Charlie’s Country

Award for Best Lead Actress
Sarah Snook Predestination

Award for Best Supporting Actor
Yilmaz Erdogan The Water Diviner

Award for Best Supporting Actress
Susan Prior The Rover

Award for Best Visual Effects or Animation
The Lego Movie Chris McKay, Amber Naismith, Aidan Sarsfield and Grant Freckelton

Award for Best Feature Length Documentary
Ukraine Is Not A Brothel Kitty Green, Jonathan auf der Heide and Michael Latham

Trailblazer Award
Rose Byrne

The full list of AACTA winners (including the television categories), can be found here.

Jan 262015
 

EddieR

The Screen Actors Guild awards have been announced, and they contain both upsets and the expected. The Supporting Male & Female Actor and Leading Female Actor categories at the Oscars seem like a give, with Simmons, Arquette and Moore all wining in their respective categories at the SAGs. It’s almost impossible to imagine these three not being the Academy Award winners in 4 weeks time.

In what some would call a major upset, Eddie Redmayne took home the SAG for leading actor. Keaton would have probably been the favourite here, so this was a surprise. Both men won Golden Globes, but the SAG has to tip the scales in Redmayne’s favour. It certainly seems that the other three nominees are completely out of the Oscar race now.

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Eddie Redmayne The Theory of Everything 

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

Julianne Moore Still Alice

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

J.K. Simmons Whiplash

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Patricia Arquette Boyhood

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

The cast of Birdman

A full list of SAG award winners (including the television categories) can be found here.

 
Producers Guild Awards

The 26th annual Producers Guild Awards gave their top honour to Birdman, giving the film an edge over Boyhood in the best picture Oscar race.  How much of an edge? From Deadline, “Since instituting the top prize in 1989, they have deviated from the ultimate Academy (whose producers they also vet) Best Picture choice six times, most recently in 2006 when they chose Little Miss Sunshine while Oscar went with The Departed“. So while it’s not a given, it is a strong tick in Birdman‘s column, as is the win for ensemble cast at the SAGs – the industry likes Birdman.

The PGAs give absolutely no indication as to which animated or documentary film will win their respective Oscar categories, as PGA winners The LEGO Movie and Life Itself are not nominated in the best animated film or best documentary film categories.

The Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures

Birdman (Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, James W. Skotchdopole

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

The LEGO Movie (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Producer: Dan Lin

The Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures

Life Itself (Magnolia Pictures)
Producers: Garrett Basch, Steve James, Zak Piper

A full list of Producers Guild Award winners (including the Television categories), can be found here.