Saturday, December 19, 2009

Feature Films and Original Songs Eligible for Oscar® Race

(1) Michael B. Seligman has been named supervising producer of the 82nd Academy Awards telecast, marking his 33rd year of association with the Oscar® show, telecast producers Adam Shankman and Bill Mechanic announced.

(2) Adam Shankman, also a judge on the So You Think You Can Dance (SUTYCD) TV show, announced that the top male and top female winners on the show, Russell Ferguson and Kathryn McCormick, will perform on the Oscar telecast.

Nomination Process for Best Feature Film:

Two hundred seventy-four feature films are eligible for the Academy Award® for Best Picture of 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today. Sixty-three songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are contending for nominations in the Original Song category.

To be eligible for 82nd Academy Awards® consideration, feature films must open in a commercial motion picture theater in Los Angeles County by midnight, December 31, and begin a minimum run of seven consecutive days. The complete list if films will not be made available until all certifications of minimum run compliance have been received.

Under Academy rules, a feature-length motion picture must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format. Feature films that receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release are not eligible for Academy Awards in any category.

Nomination Process for Best Original Song:

The nomination process for Best Original Song is as follows: On Tuesday, January 12, the Academy will screen clips featuring each song, in random order, for voting members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles. Following the screenings, members will determine the nominees by an averaged point system vote. A song must receive an average score of 8.25 or more. Up the five songs may be nominated in the category.

A DVD copy of the song clips will be made available to those branch members who are unable to attend the screening and who request it for home viewing. A mail-in ballot will be provided.

A maximum of two songs may be nominated from any one film. If more than two songs from a film are in contention, the two songs with the most votes will be the nominees.

To be eligible, a song must consist of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the film. A clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition of both lyric and melody must be used in the body of the film or as the first music cue in the end credits.

The list of songs may be viewed by clicking the link "Original Songs Nominated for 82nd AA" on the right sidebar of this blog, and the page will remain throughout the nomination process.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, 2 February, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, 7 March, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Golden Globe Nominations for Film

Martin Scorsese

                        Ricky Gervaise                                                mavis_spencer

The nominations for the second annual biggest party in the media electronic Universe, the Golden Globes®, were announced early this morning. The Globes are sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), and honor the press association's choices for both film and television professionals at the same gala. This year, the 67th Golden Globe Awards will be Sunday, 17 January 2010, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, and broadcast live on NBC at 8:00 p.m., EST. Here is the list of nominees in film.

One advantage of the Globe broadcast is that it is leaner, cleaner, tighter and not as long as the top awards show, the Academy Awards®, a.k.a., The Oscars®. One thing I really like about the Globes is that they have two categories for the Best Picture, one in drama and one in comedy and / or musical comedy. That seems more fair, and I with that AMPAS® would do likewise as comedies and musicals often do not get the recognition they deserve. In the Oscar race, drama is everything.

The Globes are all about glitz and glam, attractive actors and actresses. The honorees are the movies the members of the foreign press liked in the current year. HFPA is mostly composed of the male gender and they tend to vote for their favorite "eye candy," both male and female, not necessarily a nominee's professional achievements and skills. Most often, beauty trumps ability.

Also, their choices are influenced upon the feedback the members get from residents of their native countries, who are their viewers, listeners, and/or readers. After all, each person associated with the press wants as many of their fellow country persons to watch the Globe gala as possible.

Unlike the Academy Awards, the voters aren't members of the industry, per sea. They are journalists and lovers of the industry. One night each year they get to show that love at the Golden Globe Gala. The Globes are no longer an event touted as something to see because they are predictors of the upcoming Oscars. The Globes now shine in their own firmament of splendor and fun.

Because the members represent the foreign press there is a much greater emphasis on who and what is "hot" at the very moment they fill out their nomination, or final ballots. However, they venerate older and more experienced actors, actresses, directors, cinematographers and writers, honoring them wherever they can.

This year, director Martin Scorsese will be honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award for his "outstanding contribution to the entertainment field." He has received two Golden Globe Awards as "Best Director of a Motion Picture" for THE DEPARTED and GANGS OF NEW YORK.

The Globe galas go to places the Oscars dare not go. For instance, this year the host will be Emmy / Golden Globe winner, comedian / actor Ricky Gervais. The Brit is probably best know for his appearances in the TV shows 'Extra' and 'The Office'.

Mavis Spencer, age 18, daughter of Golden Globe winner Alfre Woodard and writer/producer Roderick Spencer is this year's "Miss Golden Globe".

The special will be produced by Dick Clark Productions in association with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Philip Berk is President of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Orly Adelson, president of Dick Clark Productions, and Barry Adelman will executive produce the special. Chris Donovan is the director and Dick Clark Productions’ Bob Bardo is the executive in charge of production.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Semifinalists for Visual Effects Oscar® Nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced late yesterday that 15 films have been selected as semifinalists for Achievement in Visual Effects (VFX) for the 82nd Academy Awards®. In early January, the members of the Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee, who selected the semifinalists, will narrow the list to seven. Out of that list, three will be nominated.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
Angels & Demons
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
District 9
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Sherlock Holmes
Star Trek
Terminator Salvation
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Where the Wild Things Are

All members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films on Thursday, 21 January. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, 2 February 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, 7 March 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dubai Film Festival Opens Wednesday

With all the publicity about the financial difficulties and huge debts of Dubai, one of the seven Arab Emirates, I began to wonder if their international film festival would be held this year. Word came yesterday that it is indeed on, and the 6th edition will open this Wednesday, 9 December, for the usual seven-day run, ending on the 16th.

The Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) is a non-competitive festival. The main purpose is to showcase contemporary and classic global cinema, exhibit their invited guests, and raise money for charity. This is their third year to host the Cinema Against AIDS Dubai, a gala to raise funds for AmfAR. That's the charity Elizabeth Taylor founded in honor of the late actor Rock Hudson and others.

There are, however, obvious signs of cut-backs. Last year over 400 films were shown. There were lavish parties and huge cash prizes. This year, the film list has been cut to something over 170 from 55 countries, which is more inline with some other festivals. The approach this year is that the films are culturally diverse, providing movies for all ages and tastes. Plus, there are several package deals, providing an easy way to choose films, find significant cost savings for movie enthusiasts, and orders may be placed online.

There will be the usual cadre of film stars and directors. The opening night gala movie will be Rob Marshall’s NINE, starring Daniel Day Lewis, Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, Marion Cotillard, Judi Dench, Kate Hudson and Sophia Loren. Marshall directed CHICAGO, which garnered six Oscars®, including Best Picture. He also directed MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, and is scheduled to direct the next installment of PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN.

To make sure there will be plenty of glitz with the glam, the festival has partnered with world-renowned Cartier as the Official Jeweler. France is the country In Focus this year. Children’s favorite Alvin and the Chipmunks return with their "Squeakquel" for the Cinema for Children section, and Disney will bring THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. The Festival will host it's first-ever Acting for the Camera Workshop for school students, presented by Dubai Pearl, and it is open to school children ages 11 through 17. All sections help emphasize this year's "something for everyone" theme.

For much more in English, including how to get updates on your mobile phone, click the title of this post and visit their Official Website. Click for Arabic.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

10 Live Action Short Films Advance in Oscar® Race

10 out of the 71 originally qualifying live action short films have advanced in the voting process in the Live Action Shorts category for the 82nd Academy Awards®.

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their director:

The Door by Juanita Wilson.
The Ground Beneath by Rene Hernandez.
Hotel by Tim Conrad.
Instead of Abracadabra by Patrik Eklund.
Kavi by Gregg Helvey.
Miracle Fish by Luke Doolan.
The New Tenants by Joachim Back.
The Response by Adam Rodgers.
Short Term 12 by Destin Daniel Cretton.
Sidney Turtlebaum by Tristram Shapeero.

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles.

Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on this shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January 2010.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced on Tuesday, 2 February 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, 7 March 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

ASIFA Announces Annie Nominations

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced the 37th Annual Annie Award nominees last week. Animation award recipients will claim their trophies at the 37th Annual Annie Awards scheduled for Saturday, 6 February 2010 at UCLA's Royce Hall in Los Angeles, California. The 2009 recipients of the Winsor McCay Award were also announced. They are: Tim Burton, Bruce Timm and Jeffrey Katzenberg. They, too, will claim their awards 6 February.

In the interest of full disclosure, before I comment, I must disclose that the producer of CORALINE, Bill Mechanic, and actor Ed Asner (UP) are long-time acquaintances of mine.

Annie Award winners do exceptionally well in the Oscar® race for Best Animated Feature, with the Annie winner usually winning the Oscar, but not always. Here are highlights of the Annie nominations:

Best Animated Feature:
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Sony
Coraline - Laika
Fantastic Mr. Fox - 20th Century Fox
The Princess and the Frog - Walt Disney
The Secret of Kells - Cartoon Saloon
Up - Pixar

Directing in a Feature Production:
Wes Anderson for Fantastic Mr. Fox - 20th Century Fox
Pete Docter for Up - Pixar
Christopher Miller, Phil Lord for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Sony
Hayao Miyazaki, for Ponyo - Studio Ghibli
Henry Selick for Coraline - Laika

Writing in a Feature Production:
Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach for Fantastic Mr. Fox - 20th Century Fox
Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Tom McCarthy for Up - Pixar
Timothy Hyde Harris and David Bowers for Astro Boy - Imagi
Christopher Miller and Phil Lord for Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - Sony

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Jen Cody - Voice of Charlotte in The Princess and the Frog - Walt Disney
Dawn French - Voice of Miss Forcible in Coraline - Laika
Hugh Laurie - Voice of Dr. Cockroach Ph.D. in Monsters vs. Aliens - DreamWorks Animation
John Leguizamo - Voice of Sid in Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaur — Blue Sky
Jenifer Lewis - Voice of Mama Odie in The Princess and the Frog - Walt Disney

Best Animated Short Subject:
Pups of Liberty - Picnic Pictures
Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5 - ShadowMachine
Santa, The Fascist Years - Plymptoons
The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky - Barley Films
The Story of Walls - Badmash Animation

Best Animated Television Production for Children:
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - Disney
SpongeBob SquarePants - Nickelodeon
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack - Cartoon Network
The Mighty B! - Nickelodeon/Polka Dot Pictures/Paper Kite Productions
The Penguins of Madagascar - Nickelodeon and DreamWorks Animation

There is a monkey wrench of sorts in the Annie nominations for Best Animated Feature. THE SECRET OF KELLS, an English-language, Irish movie, will not be released in the U.S. until March, and it is not nominated for an Annie in any other category. Somehow, it seems rather unjust that PONYO (Ponyo on a Cliff, Gake no ue no Ponyo) from awarding-winning Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki's Studio Ghibli, Japan, is not nominated in this category. He has won more than one Annie Award for his writing and directing, and his SPIRITED AWAY (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) won an Annie and the Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature in 2001. PONYO was released months ago in the U.S., and Hayao Miyazaki is nominated in the directing category.

Miyazaki is not nominated in the writing category. ASTRO BOY is nominated in the writing and storyboarding categories. This type of split-nominating always muddies the waters when it comes to choosing the winners.

I cannot comment on the actual animation quality of THE SECRET OF KELLS as I have seen nothing of, or about, the movie. I have seen the others, or seen trailers and/or a number of clips, and I definitely concur to every nomination for the other five, as well as the nominations they received in other categories. I am, however, disappointed that no voice actor from UP received a nomination, and that PONYO was not nominated in the top category.

The winners of the Annie Awards will not be announced until 6 February. The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced prior to that on 2 February. The final Oscar voting polls close 2 March. Thus, the Annie winner will not influence the Oscar nominations for animation, but could influence the Oscar winner in the Best Animated Feature category because the Annie winner will be announced well in advance of 2 March. Interesting to ponder.

For the full list of Annie nominees, click the title of this post. For bios of Burton, Timm and Katzenberg click here.