Ever wonder why it takes three to four years to make an animated blockbuster like "The Croods," which went on to earn $587 million worldwide? Doesn't that seem like production moves at a sloth's pace? Hey, is that why there's a sloth in the story? What's really happening behind the scenes?
The 36th annual "Kennedy Center Honors" celebrates the careers of opera singer Martina Arroyo, jazz man Herbie Hancock, rock and pop star Billy Joel, actress Shirley MacLaine, and rock guitarist Carlos Santana. The special was taped in Washington Sunday night and will air on CBS December 29. Santana was first up and was feted by Harry Belafonte, Juanes, Tom Morrello, Buddy Guy, Sheila E., and Steve Winwood. Arroyo was then honored by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, tenor Joseph Calleja, and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. Bill O'Reilly introduced the Hancock segment which included Snoop Dogg and Mix Master Mike. Kathy Bates began the MacLaine tribute with Sutton Foster, Patina Miller, and Anna Kendrick performing. The final tribute for Joel featured Tony Bennett, Don Henley, Garth Brooks, and Rufus Wainwright. USA Today.
The Santa Barbara Film Festival taps seven stand-out performers for their Virtuosos Awards. Daniel Bruhl ("Rush"), Adele Exarchopoulos ("Blue is the Warmest Color"), Oscar Isaac ("Inside Llewyn Davis"), Michael B. Jordan ("3Fruitvale Station#"), Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"), and June Squibb ("Nebraska") will be honored on February 4. Hitfix.
Carrie Underwood takes to Twitter over the weekend, responding to critics who "slammed" her performance as Maria in NBC's live production of "The Sound of Music." She says, "Plain and simple: Mean people need Jesus. They will be in my prayers tonight... 1 Peter 2:1-25." Just after the special wrapped on Thursday, her prior tweet said, "I couldn't be more proud. What a tough thing to pull off and we did it! I am so blessed!" New York Daily News.
The British Independent Film Awards choose "Metro Manila" as their Best Picture this weekend. James McAvoy ("Filth") is Best Actor; Lindsay Duncan ("Le Week-end") is Best Actress; Ben Mendelsohn ("Starred Up") is Best Supporting Actor; and Imogene Poots ("The Look of Love") is Best Supporting Actress. L.A. Times.
The weekend box office after the Thanksgiving holidays "is usually one of the year's weakest." Disney's animated "Frozen" moves into the top slot with $31.6 million. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" falls to second place with $27 million. "Out of the Furnace" debuts in third position with a modest $5.3 million. Thompson on Hollywood.
Scott Feinberg interviews Oscar winner Christian Bale about his new roles in awards contenders "American Hustle and "Out of the Furnace." In the lengthy Q&A, they discuss his experiences as a child actor (working in his first film with Steven Spielberg), his reservations about being famous, and his blockbuster run in the Batman franchise. Hollywood Reporter.
New HBO documentary "Six by Sondheim" focuses on six songs written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. Airing Monday night, the project was the brainchild of conductor James Lapine and writer Frank Rich. The 83-year-old Sondheim has won an Oscar and multiple Tony and Grammy Awards. He says, "I'm aware that the people who like my work are expecting so much. It's very hard at my age. You're getting public accolades, being reminded how people have praised you - and criticized you. You have to try to forget all that, because it can be paralyzing." USA Today.
Almost 400 Gold Derby readers predicted the winners of this year's Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Awards. In total, our Users logged almost 4,000 predictions. To see how you fared, log in to your account and under your profile picture click Los Angeles Film Critics Awards 2013.
Once again, this Southern California based group came up with some real headscratchers among their roster of winners. The frontrunner -- "12 Years a Slave" -- was all but shut out, taking just one award while "Her" proved to be a surprisingly strong contender, tying "Gravity" for Best Picture.
Even so, one of our Users -- Christian -- scored an impressive 82% and won our reader contest. His prize: a $100 Amazon Gift Certificate.
Another 13 Users scored above our best Expert -- Edward Douglas (Coming Soon) and Editor -- Matt Noble -- who both came in at 64%.
I got 55% as did Daniel Montgomery while Rob Licuria and David Schnelwar got 46%, Tom O'Neil scored 37, Chris Beachum got 30 and Tariq Khan (Fox News) was at 28%.
Overall, we did best at predicting two of the races with ties -- Actress and Supporting Actor -- as well as the Cinematography award for "Gravity." Our worst categories were Production Design which went to "Her" and that Animated Feature win for "Ernest & Celestine".
"12 Years a Slave" hasn't had a very good week on the awards circuit, with losses handed down by New York and Los Angeles film critics and the National Board of Review, but there's still the possibility it can rebound. OK, I admit it: "12 Years" happens to be my favorite film of the year. I rarely give in to wishful Oscar thinking, but then my favorite film of the year is rarely one of the top contenders. All the same, bear with me.
First off, I can't deny that Tom O'Neil is right when he says the recent losses for "12 Years" are a major blow. This is the kind of tough, downbeat film that seemed destined to ride a wave of critical support leading up to the greater challenge of trying to please the industry guilds, which are the most important precursors because they, like the Oscars, are decided by Hollywood filmmakers. If the critics are jumping ship, what chance does "12 Years" have later on?
But there could be a silver lining for "12 Years": it may be able to shake off the perception that it's the frontrunner. It's a dangerous thing to be the favorite early on. It puts a target on your back, makes you susceptible to backlash, raises expectations that can be difficult to meet.
A frontrunner that survives long enough could then encounter Frontrunner Fatigue, where everyone is tired of the same film hogging the attention. That may be how "Shakespeare in Love" pulled off its last-minute upset against "Saving Private Ryan," which seemed like the frontrunner from the moment it came out in the summer of 1998.
With "12 Years" taken down a notch, maybe it can start to pick up momentum as an underdog, the way "Argo" did last year when the Oscars snubbed Ben Affleck for Best Director. The good news for "12 Years" is that recent awards groups have been divided, instead of announcing one clear alternative. New York picked "American Hustle." The Gotham Awards went with "Inside Llewyn Davis." NBR opted for "Her." L.A. chose both "Her" and "Gravity."
And despite losing the more high-profile groups, "12 Years" has quietly picked up accolades from other organizations, including Boston Society of Film Critics and New York Film Critics Online. If support ends up split going forward, "12 Years" could still edge past them at the finish line.
Alright, back to reality.
The Boston Society of Film Critics gave four trophies to "12 Years a Slave," including Best Picture. It looks like they might have opted to dole out some laurels to "The Wolf of Wall Street," but many members didn't see the film prior to voting. Last year the society went for "Zero Dark Thirty," Daniel Day-Lewis and Emmanuelle Riva. To see more of their past champs, click through the calendar on the right side of this page at IMDB.
Many voters at the New York Film Critics Online had the same difficulty seeing "Wolf" and so opted on the "Slave" train, giving it kudos for Best Picture, Actor and Supporting Actress.
BOSTON SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS
"12 Years a Slave"
Runner-up: "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave")
Runner-up: Martin Scorsese ("The Wolf of Wall Street")
Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave")
Runner-up: Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street")
For the past two months, "Gravity" has been hovering in second place in our Experts' Best Picture predictions, but will soon lift off, take the lead and remain there throughout the Oscar derby ahead. The reason: predix leader "12 Years a Slave" just failed to win the top prize at four kudos events in a row where it was considered to be the frontrunner: the Gotham Awards, National Board of Review, New York Film Critics Circle and now the Los Angeles Film Critics' Association.
Today "Gravity" tied with "Her" for the L.A. critics' Best Picture prize (read news report here). Check out Gold Derby's racetrack odds and you'll see that most of our Experts overwhelmingly pick "Gravity" to snag the director's, editor's and cinematographer's laurels even though they take an abrupt left turn and opt for "Slave" in the Best Picture race by a wide margin -- 16 pick "Slave," 5 go for "Gravity," 3 prefer "Saving Mr. Banks" and there are 1 each for "American Hustle" and "The Wolf of Wall Street." That's strange."Gravity" just won the L.A. critics' awards for Best Director, Film Editing and Cinematography in addition to the laurels for Best Picture. Notice the parallels? If "Gravity" is truly ahead to win the Oscars for Best Director and Editing, every Oscarologist knows that those are usually two of the best tea leaves to predict Best Picture.
I have been predicting "Gravity" to win the top Oscar ever since Nov. 18. The reason: it's the most likely winner of DGA and that's usually the most accurate Best Picture indicator of all.
But, yes, we do need to be careful about going overboard for "Gravity" with our Oscar predictions. For starters, as Paul Sheehan points out, LAFCA is usually a lousy Oscar prophet. It's only agreed with academy voters twice over the past 20 years: "The Hurt Locker" (2009) and "Schindler's List" (1993).
Another drawback for "Gravity": No film set in outer space has ever won Best Picture. Also, it's unlikely to get a nomination for its script, which is usually essential. Only a few movies like "Titanic" (1997) and "The Sound of Music" (1965) managed to bag the top Oscar without one.
Last year, the group named "Amour" as the Best Picture of the year. While that French-language film reaped an Oscar bid, the winner of the top Academy Award was "Argo."
In its 38-year history, LAFCA has only predicted seven winners of the Best Picture Oscar. The last of these was Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker" in 2009. Prior to that it was way back in 1993 when "Schindler's List" ran the board, winning NYFCC, NBR and LAFCA before triumphing at the Oscars.
And Bigelow's win in 2009 was the last of the 11 Best Director Oscar champs that LAFCA foresaw. Last year's LA champ -- Paul Thomas Anderson ("The Master") -- wasn't even nominated at the Oscars.
The LA critics do much better presaging who will win the acting awards at the Oscars.
They've gotten Best Actor right 21 out of 38 times, most recently in 2010 with Colin Firth ("The King's Speech"). Last year's LA winner Joaquin Phoenix was a surprise Oscar nominee for "The Master. However, 2011 LA champ Michael Fassbender was not nominated by the academy for any of his leading performances ("A Dangerous Method," "Jane Eyre," "Shame" and "X-Men: First Class").
A lucky thirteen of the LAFCA Best Actress winners went on to claim the Oscar, including last year's double champ Jennifer Lawrence ("Silver Linings Playbook"). She had tied at LA with eventual Oscar rival Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour").
Fourteen of their choices for Supporting Actor repeated at the Oscars, including Christopher Plummer ("Beginners") in 2011. However, last year's winner with the LA crowd -- Dwight Henry ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") did not reap an Oscar bid.
On Sunday, the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. couldn't decide between "Gravity" and NBR champ "Her" and so named them co-winners of the Best Picture award. New York Film Critics Circle winner "American Hustle" was shut out by the LA group while Oscar frontrunner "12 Years a Slave" won only one award. (See full list of LAFCA winners here.)
Alfonso Cuaron took Best Director from LAFCA. NBR victor Spike Jonze ("Her") was the runner-up while NYFCC winner Steve McQueen ("12 Years a Slave") came third. Cuaron shared the Editing award with co-cutter Mark Sanger and "Gravity" lenser Emmanuel Lubezki won Best Cinematography.
NBR winner Bruce Dern ("Nebraska) prevailed in a tight race for Best Actor over Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave"). NYFCC champ Robert Redford ("All is Lost") and Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club") were also strong contenders.
LAFCA has a long history of feting foreign language performances for Best Actress but NYFCC winner Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine") rallied to tie Gallic ingenue Adele Exarchopoulos ("Blue is the Warmest Color") whose film won the foreign language award over EFA champ "The Great Beauty."
Best Screenplay went to "Before Midnight." "Her," which was the runner-up for this award, won Best Production Design.
While "Breaking Bad" leads this year's Writers Guild of America awards for all of television with four nominations, one omission has fans of the late AMC series in an uproar: Where's the Episodic Drama nomination for "Ozymandias"?
Bryan Cranston) pleading on his knees with the gun-yielding Nazis to save the life of his brother-in-law DEA Hank (Dean Norris).
Other memorable highlights from this buzzy episode included Walt Jr. (RJ Mitte) finding out the truth about his father's meth empire, Walter and Skyler (Anna Gunn) engaged in a family knife fight, Walter kidnapping his infant daughter as Skyler ran after him down the street, and finally Walter creating a false identity to leave everyone behind.
TV Guide's Matt Roush agreed, writing, "The final season's greatest episode was undoubtedly the harrowing 'Ozymandias,' but the finale was no slouch."
Perhaps most impressively of all, "Ozymandias" received a perfect 10 out of 10 from more than 41,000 users at IMDB.com.
With all those kudos in consideration, our forum posters were shocked this week to find "Ozymandias" snubbed by the WGA. Instead, the six nominees for Episodic Drama are three other episodes from "Breaking Bad" ("Buried," "Confessions" and "Granite State"), two TV pilots ("House of Cards" and "Masters of Sex") and the fan-favorite "Hitting the Fan" episode of "The Good Wife."
The WGA nominees for Best Drama Series are "Breaking Bad," "The Good Wife," "Homeland," "House of Cards" and "Mad Men." (To see the complete list of nominees, including Best Comedy Series and Episodic Comedy, click here.)
Could the omission of "Ozymandias" be a simple oversight? Or were the WGA voters so sick of hearing how great the episode was, they took it upon themselves to honor some of the smaller "Breaking Bad" hours this season? Whatever the case, here is a small sample of outrage from our savvy forum posters.
ThemeParks4Life: Solid list of nominees (minus Homeland and Ray Donavan), but no Ozymandias?!?!
Gold Derby presents 4 sets
of Oscar predictions
See contenders' momentum in easy-to-read graphs here. Click links on left side of that page to see more categories. Click here to see the racetrack odds generated when the Experts' predix are combined.
JOSH, Jake and trebor76 all reaped the best scores (80%), but trebor76 wins our contest prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate because he also had highest point score. Always remember to wager your game points when making predix at Gold Derby. READ MORE
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