Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm Back!/Starting the Serious T-ride 2015 Speculation/Birdman: The Score Controversy and More/Imitation Game Notes/Troops for Wild as Well/Feinberg, Gurus and Derby/Rudderless Makes Some Noise

I'M BACK!



Good Monday morning and salutations on your last Monday of 2014.  MTFB/FAC returns after a week long hiatus with today's post but, fair warning, I will not be publishing a new post on New Year's Day.  The next new post will come on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 and the regular posting schedule of Mondays and Thursdays will resume then as we get down to a matter of days before Oscar nominations are announced (Jan. 15).  Next Monday, I'll also post a new Film Awards Clearinghouse complete with every feature film category.

I hope that everyone has had a terrific holiday season thus far and here's wishing everyone a fantastic 2015!  Happy New Year!

STARTING THE SERIOUS T-RIDE 2015 SPECULATION



OK...maybe not that serious...but...

Here's the way my process works, more or less in a chronological fashion.

1) Sundance and Berlin Festivals...Sundance announcements act as a nearly complete guarantee that those films will NOT appear at Telluride on Labor Day weekend.  I can think of two exceptions over the nine years I've been going to Telluride: Tamara Jenkins "The Savages" in 2007 and Lone Sherfig's "An Education" in 2009.  So, films that have already been announced for next month's Sundance ("Slow West", "True Story", "A Walk in the Woods" "The End of the Tour", Noah Baumbach's "Mistress America", ) are almost certainly off Telluride's table.

Meanwhile, the Berlinale almost always unearths a film or two that make the Telluride lineup so looking at the films announced for that fest can sometimes give you a signal.  2014's " '71" and 2013's "Gloria" are both examples of films that played Berlin and then made an appearance at Telluride.

Some of Berlin's 2015 lineup has already been  announced.  Will Terrence Malick's "Knight of Cups" make its way from its announced Berlin premiere to Telluride?  (Probably not)  How about Peter Greenaway's "Eisenstein in Guanajuato"? (MTFB reader Christopher Schiller thinks that's a real possibility).  There are still more titles to be announced from Berlin and it's almost a certainty that one or two of them will be on our schedule come Labor Day.  Berlin runs from Feb. 5-15.

2) Post-Oscar predictions...Almost immediately after the Oscars are announced on Feb. 22, enterprising analysts and bloggers will publish/post Oscar 2015 speculation and prediction lists.  Those are often a lot of fun to cull for possible Telluride titles.

I looked back at what I posted the last couple of years based on the "Monday morning" post-Oscar speculation and found that the first post-Oscar post this year that included 2014 Oscar speculation (and, as a result for me , Telluride speculation) had mentions of "Birdman", "The Imitation Game", "Wild" and "Foxcatcher".  I posted Oscar speculation lists from The Playlist, Sasha Stone's Awards Daily and The Atlantic just a week after last year's Oscars.  The Playlist also had a brief mention for "The Homesman".

In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter had the first piece of Oscar 2014 speculation that I jumped on after Oscar 2013 was done.  They included "Foxcatcher" (we didn't know we'd be a year premature), "Inside Llewyn Davis"and  "Nebraska".  So, the immediate post-Oscar speculation about the following year's Oscar prospects can give some good clues.

3) Cannes speculation, lineup announcement, presentations and awards.  Cannes is a veritable smorgasbord of Telluride possibilities year in and year out.  Cannes speculation and rumor starts early (it's already started for this year).  I've made a lot of the Cannes/Telluride connection over the last few years and with good reason.  The connection between the two fests is remarkable.  In 2014 Cannes and Telluride shared "Two Days, One Night", "Foxcatcher", "Leviathan", "Mommy", "Mr. Turner", "Wild Tales" and "The Homesman" and that was just from Cannes' competition lineup.  So keeping an eye on the rumors about what could play Cannes, the actual announcement of its lineup, the critical reactions as the films play and the awards that are announced at the end of the festival are all good ways to find possible Telluride films.

4) Summer...I begin to post six times a week the first week of June and that schedule continues right up to and through the festival.  During those months I focus on a number of factors: Distributors, producers, film makers with a Telluride history and, of course, the speculation of the film media.  Toward the middle of summer, speculation about Venice, New York and Toronto lineups can often provide clues.  Which leads to...

5) This past year, the "Toronto" ultimatum and its subsequent listing of the films it announced for its lineup complete with that film's premiere status made Telluride speculation an easier and more certain prospect.  That was true for this space but also for any number of major film media outlets as the announcements from Toronto proceeded last summer.  If the process remains the same this year, then you can expect to have a pretty good idea of a bunch of Telluride's titles published/posted in a bunch of places.

The Toronto honchos are on record as having been very happy with how this worked in 2014 and have vowed to continue the policy in 2015.  That said, there was some comment from the TIFF folks that there might be some "tweaks" with The Hollywood Reporter on Sept. 14th publishing this:

"Both Bailey and Handling  (Toronto Artistic Director and CEO respectively)  said it was too early to decide whether the Telluride premiere policy will be tweaked, but that they will consult the industry ahead of next year's event."

I wrote at the time that seemed like Toronto was giving itself some "wiggle room" to adjust the policy while still sounding bullish on its first year implementation.  

Personally, and I emphasize this is strictly me and strictly speculation on my part, it seemed the "industry" was none too keen on how Toronto played last year and I honestly have doubts that the Torontonians can have been all that pleased.  

When your big debuts were "The Judge", which may get a single Oscar nod for Robert Duvall) and "The Theory of Everything", which may end up with as many as half a dozen Oscar nods but is fairly likely to end up with bupkes on Oscar night...you may want to re-think the policy that created that situation. 

Adding insult to injury was the fact that Telluride "premiere" "The Imitation Game" won Toronto's Audience Award despite not having the big opening weekend slot reserved for it.

So, I wouldn't be surprised if the Toronto policy is "tweaked" come this summer.

That said, I just read a post from The Hollywood Reporter yesterday that is a 2014 review of all things Canadian vis-a-vis the film business and that reporter seems to think that Toronto is just fine with the way events have played out.

So, there it is, a broad outline of how this thing bumbles along for six months of the year. And all of that is to get to this... Jeffrey Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere posted a "20 Films" list for 2015.  Included there are some interesting Telluride possibilities:

The first T-ride possible mentioned is Alejandro G. Inarritu's "The Revenant" staring Leonardo DiCaprio.  I've mentioned it here before.  The film is listed as "filming" by IMDb at this moment, so the real conversation is whether it would be ready in time for a 2015 Telluride play.  The key clue to look for:  If it's finished and thick in the middle of Venice speculation and is ultimately announced for Venice, look for Alejandro in the San Juans for a "sneak" of the film.

 Wells mentions the Scott Cooper directed "Black Mass" with Johnny Depp as real life, legendary gangster Whitey Bulger.  Warner Brothers has the distribution for this film and could well return to Telluride in 2015.  WB missed the party in 2014 but their success with "Argo" in 2012 and "Gravity" in 2013 makes me believe that "Black Mass" could definitely be a part of this year's Telluride conversation.

From Wells' list, those two films seem to have the greatest chance of playing in Telluride.

Here's the link to the complete post:

 http://www.hollywood-elsewhere.com/2014/12/20-films-might-2015-maybe/


BIRDMAN: THE SCORE CONTROVERSY AND MORE



The Academy's Music Branch rejected the attempt to overturn their original decision disallowing Antonio Sanchez's percussion heavy score for Best Original Score Oscar consideration.  Seems a shame.  When I saw it in T-ride, I thought it was oppressive but when I saw it a second time over Thanksgiving, it seemed to have been slightly altered and was a much more appealing part of the film.

HitFix/InContention, The Hollywood Reporter and Variety carried stories, among other outlets, about the process and the appeal:


http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/exclusive-birdman-composer-says-oscar-dq-doesnt-make-mathematical-sense

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/race/inside-story-why-birdmans-drum-760140

http://variety.com/2014/film/awards/antonio-sanchez-saddened-that-oscar-nixes-birdman-score-1201386404/


Additionally, in other "Birdman" news, Dave Karger's Fandango Frontrunners series on YouTube included a segment with Oscar candidate Michael Keaton.  You can see that here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUsxPG9RQxs&feature=youtu.be


Meanwhile, The New York Times Movie blog interviewed the cast of "Birdman" about the challenges of acting on the stage for the play within the film:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/27/movies/birdman-stars-describe-acting-onstage.html


IMITATION GAME NOTES



Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" continues to fare well in limited release.  I saw, over the long holiday weekend at some point, the InContention's Kristopher Tapley thinks that it might be the film that wins the big prize on Jan. 22.  I've said that as well.

For me, the calculation goes like this: "Boyhood" too long and not much really happens.  "Birdman" too weird.  "Selma"  Questions about historical accuracy...which leaves you with : "The Imitation Game" against which the biggest "knock" seems to be "not gay enough"...Now, this isn't what I'm saying...just some of the narratives that I've seen being spun and, frankly, among a good part of the Academy "not gay enough" won't hurt it.  What's left?  "The Theory of Everything"?  The lack of serious buzz for director James Marsh makes me dubious.  "Whiplash"?  JK Simmons win is fore-ordained at this point, otherwise, no.

So. perhaps it is "The Imitation Game" that wins out.  I wouldn't be surprised.

I have included a couple of links to posts focused on "The Imitation Game".  The first is from Variety's "Directors and Their Troops" series that looks at the technicians behind the camera that make the film happen:

http://variety.com/2014/artisans/awards/directors-their-troops-morten-tyldum-on-his-imitation-game-team-1201382995/

The other post is from The Hollywood Reporter and focuses on the producers who put the film together:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cracking-code-how-two-work-745734


TROOPS FOR "WILD" AS WELL



Variety's "Directors and Their Troops" series also recently focused on Jean Marc Vallee and the crew that made "Wild".  Check that here:


http://variety.com/2014/film/news/directors-their-troops-jean-marc-vallee-on-his-wild-bunch-1201382908/


FEINBERG'S LATEST FORECAST, GURUS OF GOLD AND THE GOLD DERBY



In lieu of an update from The Film Awards Clearinghouse and because Oscar ballots are out today into the hands of Academy members, here are the links to the latest postings from Oscar expert Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter as well as the latest compilations of experts from The Gurus of Gold/Movie City News and The Gold Derby (according to them all, "Boyhood" is still the overwhelming favorite...so my boldness on "The Imitation Game" above..maybe is folly):

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/awards/predictions/oscars/2015/oscars-12242014-3


http://moviecitynews.com/2014/12/gurus-o-gold-academy-members-please-watch/


http://www.goldderby.com/awardshows/experts/oscars-2014-nominations-nominations/best-picture.html


RUDDERLESS MAKES SOME NOISE



 William H. Macy's Oklahoma-centric (filmed in state and co-written by Okies Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison) is showing up here and there on some end-of the -year Ten Best lists.  Congratulations "Rudderless" crew!  You can see it on lists from Crave Online and WeLive Film.com:

http://www.craveonline.com/film/articles/800787-14-best-films-2014-final-opinion#/slide/8

http://welivefilm.com/the-10-best-films-of-2014-by-moviemanmenzel/


That's it for a week, unless something truly earth shattering comes up...Happy New Year from Michael's Telluride Film Blog!

Monday, December 22, 2014

1,000 Posts/Variety Series/Sundance Stories

Good Monday Everyone...

A quick note here...Michael's Telluride Film Blog/Film Awards Clearinghouse will not post on Thursday this week or next week. I'll be holidaying on both of those days.  I will post a new MTFB next Monday, Dec. 29th and return to the normal twice a week posting on Monday, Jan. 5th  followed by a new post on Thursday, Jan. 8th.

Of course, if something blog-worthy pops, I could change all that.

Here's todays' MTFB/FAC:

1,000 POSTS



Today's post is MTFB/FAC's 1000th post!  The first post came on August 8, 2008.  Here it is in its entirety:




The festival opens three weeks from today and the Pattersons are uber excited. Last year's fest was such a great experience that we're really looking forward to whatever awaits us in the San Juans in a few days. See you there! When in Telluride, stay at the lovely River Club!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Back to today:  This all started with the notion that someone might be able to decipher some of the films that would make the secret lineup each year with enough investigation.  I know I've written this before, but it's still difficult for me to believe that people actually read this; that it's been going for more than six years and that people seem to find it useful.

I'm not sure what the future holds for MTFB/FAC.  If you'd have asked me back in 2008 if it'd still be going 6 years and 1,000 posts later, I probably would have said that was nope, so predicting what happens with it over the next six years...

As always, huge gratitude to the people who have allowed me to indulge in this exercise:  Mitzi and Larry Mallard of Telluride who have made my attendance at the festival possibly each year since 2006.  Passes for me and my wife, Kristy, as well as sumptuous lodging for us and our guests for nine straight fests.  I'm guessing that the monetary value of this generosity would be around $100,000. You kids have changed my life.

Thanks also to the staff of TFF especially over the last four fests that MTFB/FAC has been accredited as a part of the official TFF press corps.  A specific shout out to Erica Gioga, Shannon Mitchell and Julie Huntsinger for their graciousness each time I've talked with them.

Thanks to the great friends that we have made along the way including those of you who attended the "Guide to the Ride" meet-ups in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

To those of you who have read and supported this experiment, my gratitude.  It means more to me than you can imagine when someone who reads the blog comes up to me at the fest to say hello.  It also constantly amazes me.

And finally, the biggest "thank you" to my wife and biggest fan, Kristy...at least I think she's the biggest fan.  She's endured this obsession of mine with patience and support for six years. Thank you!

Another six years and a 2,000th post?  Who knows, but I'm going to try.

VARIETY SERIES



Variety has been publishing/posting a series of conversations between people who are likely Oscar contenders which has necessarily included a number of Telluride #41 film participants.  You might have seen my link in an earlier post to the convo featuring Edward Norton (Birdman) and Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game).  There have been more and I have included links to several with T-ride connections here:

Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Reese Witherspoon (Wild):

http://variety.com/video/actors-on-actors-reese-witherspoon-and-michael-keaton-full-video/


Hilary Swank (The Homesman) and Tilda Swinton (TFF 2011 Tribute recipient):

http://variety.com/video/actors-on-actors-hilary-swank-and-tilda-swinton-full-video/


Producers Roundtable including producers for: "The Imitation Game", "Wild" and "Foxcatcher":

http://variety.com/video/producers-roundtable-at-the-variety-studio/


Another Variety feature called The Contenders; Directors on Directors has had contemporaries of various Oscar candidates write a bit about them.  Included are Alejandro Inarittu/Birdman (by Alfonso Curaon), Bennett Miller/Foxcatcher (by Andrew Dominik), Tommy Lee Jones/The Homesman (by Ron Shelton), Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game (by Michael Roskam), Xavier Dolan/Mommy (by Damien Chazelle) and Jean Marc Vallee/Wild (by Jeff Nichols).


http://variety.com/gallery/contenders-directors-on-directors/#!1/birdman-fox/


SUNDANCE STORIES




Announcements within the last ten days about films that will play the Sundance Film Fest in and around Park City, Utah have moved some films that I have thought could be Telluride players into the "not very likely" camp.  "Slow West" (Michael Fassbender) and "True Story" (Jonah Hill, James Franco) have both been named as Sundance premieres.  Sundance founder and recent (2013) Telluride Tribute recipients Robert Redford's "A Walk in the Woods" starring Redford and Nick Nolte and directed by Ken Kwapis will also, unsurprisingly, play Sundance.

I've included some of that coverage here:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/sundance-adds-robert-redford-drama-jonah-hill-and-james-francos-true-story-1201379800/

http://www.firstshowing.net/2014/a-walk-in-the-woods-true-story-are-also-headed-to-sundance/

http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/sundance-2015-lineup-includes-slow-west-z-for-zachariah-results-strangerland-and-more-20141203

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Film Awards Clearinghouse Vol. 6A: Picture, Director, Actress and Actor/Cotillard Talks/Foxcatcher and Makeup/Rudderless Top Ten/Critics Choice Awards


FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE VOL. 6A



Here's the latest FAC focused on Best Picture, Director, Actress and Actor.

The FAC uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar nominees:

Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter


Telluride #41 films are Bold (with their last rating in parentheses).


BEST PICTURE

1) Boyhood (1)
2) Birdman (3)
3) The Imitation Game (4)
4) Selma (2)
5) The Theory of Everything (5)
6) The Grand Budapest Hotel (15)
7) Whiplash (7)
8) Foxcatcher (9)
9) Unbroken (6)
10) Gone Girl (8)
11) Into the Woods (12)
12) Nightcrawler (NR)
13) Interstellar (10)
14) Mr. Turner (13)
15) A Most Violent Year (14)

Hot: Grand Budapest, Nightcrawler

Not: Selma, Unbroken, Gone Girl, American Sniper

Comment: "Grand Budapest" returns to a serious part of the conversation in light of good news from critics and Globes nominations.  "Selma's" drop is probably not all that crucial.


BEST DIRECTION

1) Richard Linklater/Boyhood (1)
2) Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu/Birdman (2)
3) Ava DuVernay/Selma (3)
4) Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game (4)
5) Wes Anderson/The Grand Budapest Hotel (13)
6) David Fincher/Gone Girl (6)
7) Damien Chazelle/Whiplash (7)
8) Bennett Miller/Foxcatcher (10)
9) Angelina Jolie/Unbroken (5)
10) James Marsh/The Theory of Everything (8)

 Hot: Anderson, Miller

Not: Jolie, Marsh and Nolan

Comment:  the Director's race continues to tell me that "Imitation Game" is the more likely Best Picture spoiler compared to "The Theory of Everything".  Wes Anderson also benefits from "The Grand Budapest" explosion over the lat ten days.

BEST ACTRESS

1) Julianne Moore/Still Alice (1)
2) Reese Witherspoon/Wild (2)
3) Felicity Jones/The Theory of Everything (3)
4) Rosamund Pike/Gone Girl (4)
5) Jennifer Aniston/Cake (9)
6) Amy Adams/Big Eyes (6)
7) Hilary Swank/The Homesman (5)
8) Marion Cotillard/Two Days, One Night (11)
9) Emily Blunt/Into the Woods (7)
10) Shailene Woodley/The Fault in Our Stars (8)


Hot: Aniston and Cotillard.

Not: Swank, Blunt, Woodley and Mbatha-Raw

Comment:  Aniston is a hot enough candidate that I expect she might be parked at #2 when we re-visit the category in two weeks.  Ultimately, the five nominees might be known at this point.


BEST ACTOR

1) Michael Keaton/Birdman (1)
2) Eddie Redmayne/The Theory of Everything (2)
3) Benedict Cumberbatch/The Imitation Game (3)
4) David Oyelowo/Selma (4)
5) Steve Carell/Foxcatcher (5)
6) Jake Gyllenhaal/Nightcrawler (10)
7) Timothy Spall/Mr. Turner (7)
8) Ralph Fiennes/The Grand Budapest Hotel (11)
9) Oscar Isaac/A Most Violent Year (8)
10) Chadwick Boseman/Get On Up (14)

Hot: Gyllenhaal, Fiennes and Boseman

Not: Cooper.O'Connell

Comment: Gyllenhaal is definitely a part of the convo along with Oyelowo and Carell for the fourth and fifth spots.


COTILLARD TALKS



Thompson on Hollywood talks to the Telluride Tribute recipient,  Oscar winner and potential nominee about "Two Days, One Night" and other matters.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/from-the-immigrant-to-two-days-one-night-marion-cotillards-amazing-year-20141201


FOXCATCHER AND MAKEUP

Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" makes the final lineup of seven films that can still be Oscar nominated for outstanding hair and makeup:

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/seven-features-make-the-oscar-hair-and-makeup-shortlist-20141215


RUDDERLESS TOP TEN



William H. Macy's (and Casey Twenter and Jeff Robison's) "Rudderless" makes Fred Topel/Crave Online's Top 15 film list from 2014.

Ahead of: "Unbroken", "Boyhood", "Begin Again" and "Gone Girl".

Check the list here:

http://www.craveonline.com/film/articles/800787-14-best-films-2014-final-opinion#/slide/1


CRITIC'S CHOICE AWARDS NOMINATIONS LED BY "BIRDMAN"



Continuing a trend that I have said will carry on into Oscar nomination morning, Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman" led all films with 13 Critic's Choice Award nominations including Best Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Supporting Actor, Direction and Screenplay.

Also among the nominees from Telluride:

"The Imitation Game": Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay

"Two Days, One Night": Best Actress

"Wild" Best Actress, Adapted Screenplay

"Foxcatcher" Best Supporting Actor

The complete list is here:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/birdman-leads-pack-13-critics-757554


More in Monday...

Monday, December 15, 2014

Viewing the Awards Landscape/Music News for Oscar/Inarritu: Moving On/Nuts and Bolts: Editing Imitation/Awards Season Overload?/Hateful 8 Has Begun

Good Monday to Everyone...


VIEWING THE AWARDS LANDSCAPE



Everyone, take a breath.  The first real wave of awards season news has come ( Golden Globe. Independent Spirit and SAG nominations and critics lists and awards from NBR, AFI and LA and NY) with that, here are some thoughts:

Richard Linklater's "Boyhood" is your betting favorite for Best Picture (and likely Best Director and Supporting Actress.  Maybe even Original Screenplay).  It made all seven of the above organizations lists/awards .  It also appears that "Birdman" and "The Imitation Game" are the only films with any kind of shot to challenge.

Acting favorites are all pretty solid but not as much of a lock as it might seem.  Even Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) and JK Simmons (Whiplash) who have seemed unbeatable may have a bit more of a challenge than has been previously thought.  For Simmons, that would appear to come from Edward Norton (Birdman)  and for Arquette the challenge looks to be coming from Jessica Chastain for "A Most Violent Year".

Lead acting  favorites are Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Julianne Moore (Still Alice).  Keaton has never been perceived as a prohibitive favorite and his biggest challenge is likely from Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything).  Moore has been a prohibitive favorite, but the rise of Jennifer Aniston's profile for "Cake" over that past couple of weeks, should give Moore pause.


MUSIC NEWS FOR OSCAR



A couple of big announcements for the Music categories for The Academy Awards this past week. The Academy  announced 114 eligible scores and original songs and, as there always seem to be, there were some surprises.

First surprise to be mentioned is the ineligibility of Antonio Sanchez's percussion heavy, and very distinctive, score for Alejandro Inarritu's "Birdman".  TFF scores that are eligible include: "The Homesman", "The Imitation Game", "Merchants of Doubt", "Mr. Turner", "Red Army", "Rosewater", "The Salt of the Earth" and "Wild Tales". Also from TFF #40: "Tracks" and "Under the Skin".  The complete list is here from The Gold Derby:

http://www.goldderby.com/news/7931/oscars-birdman-whiplash-entertainment-13579086-story.html

Meanwhile, The Academy also released the list of 79 eligible original songs for Oscar consideration. Among them is: "You Fooled Me" from "The Merchants of Doubt".  Additionally, blog obsession "Rudderless" had three songs make the the list: "Over Your Shoulder", "Sing Along" and "Stay with You".  The complete list is here from Deadline.com:

http://deadline.com/2014/12/oscars-original-songs-movies-1201322686/


Listen to some of the "Rudderless" songs here:

https://soundcloud.com/lakeshore-records/rudderless-soundtrack-preview/s-9L7Pa

INARRITU MOVING ON



Despite the fact that awards season madness is in full swing and that his "Birdman" is in the midst of a hot campaign for a number of trophies and baubles (it will almost certainly garner more Oscar nominations than any other film this year), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is already deep into his next project.  That's the revenge western "The Revenant" starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  Inarritu is in Canada filming away.  Kristopher Tapley reports for HitFix/InContention that Inarritu is set to film until April.  The film has an announced limited release date for Dec. 25, 2015.  I have to believe that it would play Venice/Telluride if Inarritu has it ready but that would be a really tight window.  Check out Tapley's story here:


http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/birdmans-inarritu-says-its-important-to-stay-busy-during-ego-stroking-awards-season


NUTS AND BOLTS: EDITING "THE IMITATION GAME"



As we get deeper into awards season, you can see the P.R./Oscar machine begin to go into every possible cranny to get traction.  Stories about the technical aspects of various contenders pop up with more and more frequency.  Case in point is this Variety story focused on the film editing for Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game":

http://variety.com/video/editing-the-imitation-game/


AWARDS SEASON OVERLOAD



Does it get overwhelming?  This past ten days or so have seen the announcements of film excellence winners and nominees for the Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globes, NBR, AFI, New York and Los Angeles Film Critics and the Screen Actors Guild plus more.

Well, fear not.  The Film Society of Lincoln Center has developed an awards matrix.  It's really useful.  Look at it here:

http://www.filmlinc.com/daily/entry/the-awards-matrix-2014


"HATEFUL 8" HAS BEGUN

As had been announced earlier, Quentin Tarantino has begun actual filming of his next (and last project?) "The Hateful Eight" just outside of Telluride.  Star Samuel L. Jackson tweeted  this picture on Wednesday:


That'll do it for today...check back for more on Thursday...



Thursday, December 11, 2014

Golden Globes!/Film Awards Clearinghouse 5B/Talking to Marion

GOLDEN GLOBES!



The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced their nominees for the best of film and television for 2014 this morning.  Here they are with TFF #41 (and a TFF #40) film in Bold.:


Best Original Song – Motion Picture
“Big Eyes” (Big Eyes)
“Glory” (Selma)
“Mercy Is” (Noah)
“Opportunity” (Annie)
“Yellow Flicker Beat” (The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part I)
Best Original Score – Motion Picture
Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, “Gone Girl”
Antonio Sanchez, “Birdman”
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Best Screenplay – Motion Picture
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, “Birdman”

Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Gillian Flynn, “Gone Girl”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Ida”
“Tangerines”
“Leviathan”
“Force Majeure”
“Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem”

Best Animated Feature Film
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“The Boxtrolls”
“The LEGO Movie”
“Big Hero 6”
“The Book of Life”

Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Bill Murray, “St. Vincent”
James Corden, “Into the Woods”
Joaquin Phoenix, “Inherent Vice”
Christoph Waltz, “Big Eyes”
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”

Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Meryl Streep, “Into The Woods”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”

Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”
Emily Blunt, “Into The Woods”
Julianne Moore, “Maps To The Stars”
Quvenzhane Wallis, “Annie”
Helen Mirren, “The Hundred Foot Journey”
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
“Birdman”
“Into the Woods”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“St. Vincent”
“Pride”
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Best Director – Motion Picture
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Birdman”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
David Fincher, “Gone Girl”
Best Motion Picture, Drama
“Foxcatcher”
“Boyhood”
“The Imitation Game
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”

 Telluride films with 18 Golden Globe nominations.

"Birdman" led all films with seven nominations (Picture, Director, Actor, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay and Score).   "The Imitation Game" had five (Picture, Actor, Supporting Actress, Screenplay and Score).  "Foxcatcher" was nominated three times (Picture, Actor, Supprting Actor).  Sinble nominations were captured by "Wild" "Ida" and "Leviathan".


FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE VOL. 5B

Here's the latest FAC focused on the Supporting Acting and Screenplay categories.

The FAC uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar nominees:


Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter


Telluride #41 films are Bold (with their last rating in parentheses).



BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS



1) Patricia Arquette/Boyhood (1)
2) Meryl Streep/Into the Woods (4)
3) Emma Stone/Birdman (3)
4) Kiera Knightley/The Imitation Game (2)
5) Jessica Chastain/A Most Violent Year (6)
6) Laura Dern/Wild (5)
7) Carmen Ejogo/Selma (8)
8) Tilda Swnton/Snowpiercer (NR)
9) Anna Kendrick/Into the Woods (11)
10) Jessica Chastain/Interstellar (7)

Hot: Streep, Swinton and Kendrick

Not: Knightley, Chastain for "Interstellar" and Kristen Stewart in "Still Alice" who falls off the top ten.

Comment:  Chastain's charge may nuke Laura Dern's chances.


BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR



1) JK Simmons/Whiplash (1)
2) Edward Norton/Birdman (2)
3) Ethan Hawke/Boyhood (3)
4) Mark Ruffalo/Foxcatcher (4)
5) Robert Duvall/The Judge (8)
6) Tom Wilkinson/Selma (5)
7) Christoph Waltz/Big Eyes (9)
8) Josh Brolin/Inherent Vice (7)
9) Miyavi/Unbroken (6)
10) Chris Pine/Into the Woods (NR)

Hot: Duvall, Waltz and Pine

Not: Miyavi and John Goodman who dropped out of the top ten.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY



1) The Theory of Everything (1)
2) Gone Girl (3)
3) The Imitation Game (2)
4) Wild (5)
5) Unbroken (4)
6) Inherent Vice (7)
7) Still Alice (8)
8) American Sniper (6)
9) Into the Woods (9)
10) Rosewater (10)

Hot:   Meh...

Not: "American Sniper"

Comment: he category is very stable and  matter of 2 points within my metric separate "Theory". "Gone Girl" and "Imitation".

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY



1) Boyhood (1)
2) Birdman (2)
3) Whiplash (3)
4) Selma (7)
5) The Grand Budapest Hotel (4)
6) Foxcatcher (5)
7) A Most Violent Year (8)
8) Mr. Turner (6)
9) The LEGO Movie (NR)
10) Wild Tales (10)

Hot: "Selma", "LEGO"

Not: "Mr. Turner" and "Interstellar" which dropped form the top ten.

TALKING TO MARION



The Film Society of Lincoln Center continues its series of podcasts talking to various film makers and stars that are in the thick of the awards season rough and tumble.  I have linked one of their latest casts with Oscar winner and Telluride tribute recipient Marion Cotillard who is getting some award buzz for "The Immigrant" as well as the Dardennes Brothers' "Two Days, One Night" which played this year's TFF.  Cacth that podcast here:

http://www.filmlinc.com/daily/entry/marion-cotillard-two-days-one-night-the-close-up-podcast


More on Monday...

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FLASH: Screen Actors Guild Nominations Announced

FLASH: SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED



Telluride nominees in Bold!

BEST ACTOR

Steve Carell/Foxcatcher
Benedict Cumberbatch/Imitation Game
Jake Gyllenhaal/Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton/Birdman
Eddie Redmayne/Theory of Everything

BEST ACTRESS

Jennifer Aniston/Cake
Felicity Jones/Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore/Still Alice
Rosamund Pike/Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon/Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Robert Duvall/The Judge
Ethan Hawke/Boyhood
Edward Norton/Birdman
Mark Ruffalo/Foxcatcher
JK Simmons/Whiplash


BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Patricia Arquette/Boyhood
Kiera Knightley/Imitation Game
Emma Stone/Birdman
Meryl Streep/Into the Woods
Naomi Watts/St. Vincent

BEST CAST

Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

"Birdman" leads with four nominations.  "Boyhood"  and "The Theory of Everything" have three.  "Foxcatcher" nabbed two.

Telluride 2014 is represented with 10 of the 25 nominations.

Monday, December 8, 2014

FLASH: AFI Names 11 Films to Its Top Ten List

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Nightcrawler
Selma
Unbroken
Whiplash

LA Critics Like the "Boy"/Catching Up with TFF #41 Releases: Wild, Imitation Game, Foxcatcher, Two Days

LA CRITICS LIKE THE BOY



The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted yesterday and really endorsed Richard Linklater's "Boyhood".  The Sundance breakout picked up four mentions fro the LAFCA including Best Picture, Director and Actress. The complete list is here from the LAFCA website:

http://www.lafca.net/years/2014.html

Among Telluride connected films, "Ida" was named Best Foreign Language Film along with Agata Kulesza as Best Supporting Actress from that TFF #40 film.  Emmanule Lubezki won Best Cinematography for "Birdman" (TFF #41), "Under the Skin (#41) tied for Best Score.

Telluride films that were near-misses/runners-up included both Michael Keaton and Edward Norton for Actor and Supporting Actor respectively for "Birdman".  "Birdman" was also runner-up for Best Screenplay.  "Mr. Turner" was the runner-up for Best Cinematography.

Here's the coverage of the LA Citics awards from Variety:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/l-a-film-critics-voting-in-progress-2-1201373174/

The American Film Institute announces its superlatives today to complete the week long run of major critics accolades.

CATCHING UP WITH TFF #41 RELEASES:



WILD

HitFix talks to actress Reese Witherspoon and the inspiration for her "Wild"

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/reese-witherspoon-and-cheryl-strayed-revisit-wild-in-the-wild

THE IMITATION GAME



Three articles for "The Imitation Game" including a Tech Times examination of the life of Alan Turing.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/inside-the-making-of-the-imitation-game-and-cracking-the-alan-turing-code-20141203

http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/imitation-game-cast/?smid=tw-thecarpetbagger&seid=auto&_r=0

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/21267/20141202/the-vast-legacy-of-alan-turing.htm

FOXCATCHER



Deadline talks to director Bennett Miller and actors Channing Tatum and Steve Carell:

http://deadline.com/2014/12/foxcatcher-making-of-channing-tatum-bennett-miller-steve-carell-1201304777/

TWO DAYS ONE NIGHT



The Dardennes Brothers discuss their film and the amazing Marion Cotillard:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/the-dardenne-brothers-on-marion-cotillard-disappearing-into-two-days-one-night-1201368826/


BIRDMAN



Costuming for Alejandro Inarritu's masterpiece "Birdman":

http://carpetbagger.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/clothes-and-character-birdman-michael-keaton-emma-stone/?smid=tw-nytmovies



I'll have the AFI announcement up later today and more on Thursday!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Film Awards Clearinghouse Vol. 5A: Picture, Director, Actress, Actor/WGA Excludes/Oscar Doc List at 15/NYFCC and NBR Announce


FILM AWARDS CLEARINGHOUSE VOL. 5A

Here's the latest FAC focused on Best Picture, Director, Actress and Actor.

The FAC uses the published predictions of the following to develop its list of likely Oscar nominees:

Kristopher Tapley/InContention/HitFix
Sasha Stone/Awards Daily
Bred Brevet/Rope of Silicon
Nathaniel Rogers/Film Experience
Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood
Peter Knegt/IndieWire
Clayton Davis/Awards Circuit
Scott Feinberg/The Hollywood Reporter


Telluride #41 films are Bold (with their last rating in parentheses).


BEST PICTURE



1) Boyhood (1)
2) Selma (9)
3) Birdman (2)
4) The Imitation Game (3)
5) The Theory of Everything (4)
6) Unbroken (5)
7) Whiplash (6)
8) Gone Girl (8)
9) Foxcatcher (10)
10) Interstellar (7)
11) American Sniper (12)
12) Into the Woods (13)
13) Mr. Turner (11)
14) A Most Violent Year (14)
15) The Grand Budapest Hotel (15)

Hot: Selma's march to serious contender status is complete as it zooms past a number of serious Best Pic contenders to challenge "Boyhood".

Not: "Interstellar" takes the biggest slide which seems about right to me.  "Mr. Turner" also slides  a good bit.

It'll be interesting to see if this week's awards announcements from the New York critics, the Gotham Awards and The National Board of Review (in addition to the L.A. critics  and The American Film Institutes's list coming this weekend) have an effect when we next post these categories in a couple of weeks.  Additionally, all of the players have now been seen in some form by some people.

I'd expect that "Boyhood", "Birdman" and "A Most Violent Year" have had the best of it from NBR, NYFCC and The Gothams.  NBR's omission of "Theory" and "Selma" is curious.

BEST DIRECTION


Director Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game


1) Richard Linklater/Boyhood (1)
2) Alejandro Inarritu/Birdman (2)
3) Ava DuVernay/Selma (7)
4) Morten Tyldum/The Imitation Game (3)
5) Angelina Jolie/Unbroken (5)
6) David Fincher (6)
7) Damien Chazelle/Whiplash (8)
8) James Marsh/The Theory of Everything (12)
9) Christopher Nolan/Interstellar (4)
10) Bennett Miller /Foxcatcher (9)

Hot: DuVernay

Not: Nolan

The director's race gives, I think, a real window as to the Best Picture race.  "Selma's" Ava DuVernay has also rocketed from the edge of consideration into the thick of the race.  Meanwhile, Chris Nolan's plunge here is even more precipitous than "Interstellar's" drop in the Best Picture category.


BEST ACTRESS


Hilary Swank/The Homesman


1) Julianne Moore/Still Alice (1)
2) Reese Witherspoon/Wild (2)
3) Felicity Jones/The Theory of Everything (3)
4) Rosamund Pike/Gone Girl (4)
5) Hilary Swank/The Homesman (6)
6) Amy Adams/Big Eyes (5)
7) Emily Blunt/Into the Woods (7)
8) Shailene Woodley/The Fault in Our Stars (8)
9) Jennifer Aniston/Cake (17)
10) Gugu Mbatha-Raw/Belle (12)


Hot:Aniston and Mbatha-Raw.  Aniston rises like a rocket over the last three weeks.  If she continues at this rate, she could sneak into the fifth spot.

Not: Cotillard.  It'll be interesting to see if Cotillard's NYFCC win has an impact on this chart in a couple of weeks.   Chastain also falls out with the realization that her role in "A Most Violent Year" is supporting.


BEST ACTOR


Steve Carell/Foxcatcher


1) Michael Keaton/Birdman (1)
2) Eddie Redmayne/The Theory of Everything (2)
3) Benedcit Cumberbatch/The Imitation Game (3)
4) David Oyelowo/Selma (5)
5) Steve Carell/Foxcatcher (4)
6) Bradley Cooper/American Sniper (8)
7) Timothy Spall/Mr. Turner (6)
8) Oscar Isaac/A Most Violent Year (7)
9) Jake O'Connell/Unbroken (9)
10) Jake Gyllenhaal/Nightcrawler (10)

Hot: Cooper.

Not: Nobody.

It says a lot about the toughness of this category that Oyelowo barely benefits from the rocket ship that "Selma" has become the last couple of weeks.  I'm also interested to see if Spall's NTFCC win translates into increased support.


Next week, the supporting and screenplay updates.


WGA GUIDELINES EXCLUDE SOME SCRIPTS



As is the case every year, some screenplays that will be Oscar eligible are not eligible for the Writers' Guild honors.  InContention posted this story outlining some of the Oscar favorites that won't be a part of the WGA awards: (including Telluride films: "Mr. Turner" and "Wild Tales"

http://www.hitfix.com/in-contention/exclusive-selma-theory-mr-turner-among-2014-scripts-not-eligible-for-wga-awards


OSCAR DOC LIST IS DOWN TO 15



The Academy pared the number of possible Best Documentary nominees to a list of 15 films this week.  I have linked Variety's story that provides the list of 15.  On the list are three TFF #41 films: "Keep on Keepin' On", "Tales of the Grim Sleeper" and "The Salt of the Earth".  Also included is "Jodorowsky's Dune" which was on the program at TFF #40.

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/15-documentaries-land-on-oscars-short-list-1201368807/


AWARDS REVIEW FROM THIS WEEK:  NYFCC AND NBR



Here's a re-post of results from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review from earlier this week":



New York Film Critics Circle 2014 Awards


Best Animated Feature: “The Lego Movie”

Best Foreign Film: “Ida” (TFF #40)

Best Non-Fiction Film: “Citizenfour”

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons/”Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette/”Boyhood”

Best Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography: “The Immigrant”

Best Actor: Timothy Spall/”Mr. Turner” (TFF #41)

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard/”The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night” (TFF #41)

Best First Film: “The Babadook”

Best Director: Richard Linklater/”Boyhood”

Best Picture: “Boyhood”


NBR'S BEST FILMS OF 2014



Telluride Films are Bold

Best Picture: A Most Violent Year

Top Ten Films:
Boyhood
Birdman
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
American Sniper
Unbroken
Fury
The Lego Movie
Inherent Vice
Nightcrawler

Director: Clint Eastwood/American Sniper

Actor: Oscar Isaac/Most Violent Year and Michael Keaton/Birdman (Tie)

Actress: Julianne Moore/Still Alice

Supporting Actor: Edward Norton/Birdman

Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain/Most Violent Year

Original Screenplay: The Lego Movie

Adapted Screenplay: Inherent Vice

Ensemble: Fury

Breakthrough: Jack O'Connell (Starred Up/Unbroken)

Top Ten Indie Films:

Blue Ruin, Locke, A Most Wanted Man, Obvious Child, The Skeleton Twins, Snowpiercer, Stand Clear of Closing Doors, Starred Up, Still Alice

Foreign Film: Wild Tales

Top Five Foreign Films: Force Majuere, Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem, Leviathan, Two Days One  Night" We Are the Best

Documentary: Life Itself

Top Five Documentaries: Art and Craft, Jodorowsky's Dune, Keep On Keepin' On, The Kill Team, Last Days of Vietnam

Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2

NBR Freedom of Expression Awards: Rosewater, Selma


LA AND AFI



I'll post the announcements from both the L.A. critics and The American Film Institute as they happen over the weekend...as always...More then, on Monday...

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

National Board of Review Names Best Films of 2014

NBR'S BEST FILMS OF 2014



Telluride Films are Bold

Best Picture: A Most Violent Year

Top Ten Films:
Boyhood
Birdman
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
American Sniper
Unbroken
Fury
The Lego Movie
Inherent Vice
Nightcrawler

Director: Clint Eastwood/American Sniper

Actor: Oscar Isaac/Most Violent Year and Michael Keaton/Birdman (Tie)

Actress: Julianne Moore/Still Alice

Supporting Actor: Edward Norton/Birdman

Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain/Most Violent Year

Original Screenplay: The Lego Movie

Adapted Screenplay: Inherent Vice

Ensemble: Fury

Breakthrough: Jack O'Connell (Starred Up/Unbroken)

Top Ten Indie Films:

Blue Ruin, Locke, A Most Wanted Man, Obvious Child, The Skeleton Twins, Snowpiercer, Stand Clear of Closing Doors, Starred Up, Still Alice

Foreign Film: Wild Tales

Top Five Foreign Films: Force Majuere, Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem, Leviathan, Two Days One  Night" We Are the Best

Documentary: Life Itself

Top Five Documentaries: Art and Craft, Jodorowsky's Dune, Keep On Keepin' On, The Kill Team, Last Days of Vietnam

Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2

NBR Freedom of Expression Awards: Rosewater, Selma


Comment:  No Foxcatcher anywhere or Theory of Everything either...

Thrilled about Keaton and Norton and the evident love for Birdman.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Flash: NYFCC Loves "Boyhood" and "The Immigrant" Cotillard, Spall, Arquette, Simmons Win.

FLASH: NEW YORK FILM CRITIC'S CIRCLE LOVES "BOYHOOD" AND "THE IMMIGRANT":


New York Film Critics Circle 2014 Awards

 

Best Animated Feature: “The Lego Movie”

Best Foreign Film: “Ida” (TFF #40)

Best Non-Fiction Film: “Citizenfour”

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons/”Whiplash”

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette/”Boyhood”

Best Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Cinematography: “The Immigrant”

Best Actor: Timothy Spall/”Mr. Turner” (TFF #41)

Best Actress: Marion Cotillard/”The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night” (TFF #41)

Best First Film: “The Babadook”

Best Director: Richard Linklater/”Boyhood”

Best Picture: “Boyhood”

 

 

 

 

 

The National Board of Review is supposed to announce their list tomorrow and I’ll have that list up on the Blog in a special post.

"Wild" Unleashed/"Imitation Game" Starts Strong/"Mr. Turner's" Mike Leigh/Critics' View/Couple of Notes

Good Monday All.  Hope your Thanksgiving holiday was terrific.  The New York Film Critics are supposed to announce their choices for the best in 2014 film making.  I'll have a bonus post about that later this morning...


WILD UNLEASHED

Jean Marc Vallee's "Wild" is unleashed on Friday.  The film premiered at Telluride.  The film tells the true story of Cheryl Strayed who walked the Pacific Coast Trail as an act of revival and redemption.  The film stars (and was partially produced by) Reese Witherspoon who has received considerable awards buzz as has co-star Laura Dern.

I have linked interviews/profiles with Vallee, Witherspoon and Strayed below from The LA Times, Mother Jones and Newsday:



http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-jean-marc-vallee-wild-director-20141130-story.html#page=1

http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/11/wild-cheryl-strayed-reese-witherspoon-jean-marc-vallee-laura-dern-pacific-crest-trail

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/movies/wild-a-charged-experience-for-reese-witherspoon-1.9655502


IMITATION GAME STARTS STRONG

The word from this weekend is that Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game" starring Benedict Cumberbatch opened very strongly in limited NY/LA release.  The film based on the life of Alan Turing was surprisingly snubbed by The Independent Spirit awards earlier last week but if early box office and Academy buzz is any indication...it looks to still be a strong awards contender.

Here's Variety's report of the strong box office opening in only four theaters in New York and L.A. from the weekend:

http://variety.com/2014/film/news/imitation-game-box-office-benedict-cumberbatch-oscars-1201367234/


The New York Times Arts Beat posted this video of director Morten Tyldum narrating a segment of the film:


http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/11/27/morten-tyldum-narrates-a-scene-from-the-imitation-game/?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytmovies


MR. TURNER'S MIKE LEIGH


Writer/director Mike Leigh talks process and other items in this discussion about "Mr. Turner" with Anne Thompson/Thompson on Hollywood:


http://blogs.indiewire.com/thompsononhollywood/cannes-mr-turner-q-as


CRITICS' VIEW


Critic's have started announcing their ten best lists and such as we enter the last month of 2014.  Awards Daily's Sasha Stone takes a look at what the critics' collectives tell us:


http://www.awardsdaily.com/blog/2014/11/checking-in-with-the-critics-as-we-head-into-critics-
week/

Sight and Sound has posted it's "Ten" Best list.  It's here and below the link is the list of TFF #41 an #40 films that made their cut.

http://blogs.indiewire.com/criticwire/sight-sounds-top-10-movies-of-2014-boyhood-goodbye-to-language-and-grand-budapest-20141128

"Leviathan"
"Under the Skin" (TFF #40)
"Ida" (TFF #40)
"Mr. Turner"
"Birdman"
"Two Days, One Night"
"The Look of Silence"
"The Wind Rises" (TFF #40)


COUPLE OF NOTES

I saw "Birdman" a second time in Albuquerque (there for the Rio Grande Art Show).  It's s till great...genius...masterpiece.  Likely the #1 film when I put together my year end list.  Go see it if you didn't see it in T-ride or someplace else later...or see it again.

I also saw Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash" and maybe I suffered from too much anticipation or perhaps I can't leave my "teacher" lenses aside (believe me, I've "tough loved" my share of kids) but...ummm...no.  The film has been a critical darling since Sundance (look at Sasha's story above about the critical response so far).  My objections:  It's over heated, has zero subtlety and the ending...which a lot of people love...fundamentally unbelievable.  Now, I'm a huge J.K. Simmons fan and there's a lot of reason to believe he's going to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for this and to give him his due, he does a terrific job of committing to the character but in the end, even J.K. can't make me buy the way it all plays out.

Bottom line is that "Whiplash" is a B- film.  That's my two cents.

More on Thursday including an updated FAC for Best Picture, Director Lead Actress and Actor.