Sunday, January 31, 2010

First Female Director Wins DGA Top Prize

SERIES: Hollywood Guild Awards and Oscars®

Kathryn Bigelow

Director Kathryn Bigelow won the 2009 Director's Guild of America's Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for THE HURT LOCKER Saturday, 30 January. The 62nd Annual DGA Awards Dinner held in the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles made cinema history.

Bigelow is the first female director to win the top DGA award. Director Norman Jewison received the DGA Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Achievement in Motion Picture Direction.

Some movie pundits are speculating that the race for the Oscar has anointed a leader for Best Motion Picture of 2009 before the announcement of the Oscar® nominees Tuesday, which is the official "starting gun" for the race. Saturday, the DGA top prize went to director Bigelow and her movie THE HURT LOCKER. The war drama set in Iraq also took the best film honors at the Producers Guild last week.

The top award was presented to Bigelow by director Danny Boyle, who won the same award with his movie SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE last year. Each went on to win an Academy Award®. As a matter of fact, in the 60 years this award has been given, the DGA winner has gone on to win the best picture Oscar in 54 of 60 years.

Not only is Kathryn Bigelow the first woman to get this DGA award, no female has ever won an Oscar for directing. This year Begelow could possibly win two Oscars, directing and best picture. After all, she is one of the ex-wives of director James Cameron, and in all fairness, he has supported her efforts in this project.

The award for outstanding directorial achievement in documentary went to Louie Psihoyos for THE COVE, about the clandestine slaughter of dolphins in Japan. In television, 'Mad Men' and 'Modern Family' received the best series nods, and best made for TV movie went to TAKING CHANCE, directed by Ross Katz.

For a full list of winners, click here.

For more about Kathryn Bigelow, click title of this post.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tim Burton Will Head Cannes' Jury

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

Tim Burton

Sundance is in full-swing and Berlin is about to open in a few weeks, but the most anticipated festival each year at this time is Cannes. Venice is the oldest film festival but Cannes is the most glorious. Thus, I was thrilled when an e-mail from the festival popped into my e-box today.

Gilles Jacob, president of the 63 Annual Cannes International Film Festival announced today that filmmaker Tim Burton will head the Festival Jury in May. Burton's ED WOOD screened at the festival in 1995, and he served on the 1997 jury helmed by Isabelle Adjani. With this announcement, and the Websites opening, the cinephiles begin their march toward the Croisette where all will coalesce beginning 12 May 2010. The festival will run through May 23rd.

When making his announcement, President Jacob joyfully said about Burton, "A filmmaker with a heart of gold and silver hands, Tim Burton is first and foremost a poet. He’s a magician of visual delights who turns the screen into a fairy wonder. We hope his sweet madness and gothic humor will pervade the Croisette, bringing Christmas to all. Christmas and Halloween."

Burton stated, "It's a great honor and I look forward, with my fellow jurors, to watching some great films from around the world. When you think of Cannes you think of world cinema. And as films have always been like dreams to me, this is a dream come true."

There is currently an exhibition, "Tim Burton at MoMa" which opened 22 November, and will run through 26 April 2010. It includes a film retrospective and a gallery exhibition. Those living near NYC, don't miss it! Also, here are all of Burton's films with some videos.

Registration for badges begins 1 February. The official press conference of the competition films will be held, as usual, in mid-late April.

Click the title of the post for the Festival's Official Website in English.

Monday, January 25, 2010

HURT, UP, COVE & PRECIOUS Receive Top PGA Awards

SERIES: Hollywood Guild Awards and Oscars®

THE HURT LOCKER, about a risk-taking bomb disposal technician, produced and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was named best picture by the Producers Guild of American (PGA) at the 21st Annual PGA Awards ceremony held Sunday, 24 January 2010, at the Hollywood Palladium.

The PGA, a national non-profit trade group committed to protecting the rights and credits of producers in film, television and new media, honored the movie PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE with the 2010 Stanley Kramer Award.

Also, John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, and Principal Creative Advisor, Walt Disney Imagineering received the 2010 David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Motion Pictures. Lasseter is the first producer of animated films to be awarded the Selznick Award by the PGA and was the co-recipient of the PGA’s first-ever Vanguard Award in 2002.

Here are the winners with producers and directors in the best feature motion picture categories:

Feature Motion Picture: THE HURT LOCKER - producer & director Kathryn Bigelow.

Animated Theatrical Motion Picture: UP - Jonas Rivera, directed by Peter Doctor.

Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture: THE COVE - Paula DuPre Pesman, Fisher Stevens, and directed by Louie Psihoyos.

Also, must mention one TV show here. 30 Rock lost the Best TV Comedy title to Glee at the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Saturday, but it managed to take home Producers Guild Awards on Sunday. The award of Danny Thomas Producer of the Year went to the comedy's producers Lorne Michaels, Tina Fey and co., after they beat producers of Californication, Entourage, Weeds and The Office. Lorne Michaels also produces Saturday Night Live.

To see all the nominees and winners, click the title of this post.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

16th Annual SAG Award Winners for 2009


SERIES: Hollywood Guild Awards and Oscars®

The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) gave their acting awards last night. All knew that the big movie winner in drama at the Golden Globes® was AVATAR, but that movie was not nominated by SAG. Wonder why?

Easy. The Screen Actors Guild supports live actors in the flesh. Actors doing "performance capture," and then being computerized for the big screen, is not in SAG's mission statement. As has been mentioned before, keep in mind that SAG is the biggest voting block in Ampas®. So, as SAG votes, often that's the way the Academy members vote for the Academy Awards®.

The delightful Quentin Tarantino movie, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS won the best performance by a cast in a motion picture, which for an acting guild is also saying, "Best Motion Picture." The other casts nominated were AN EDUCATION, NINE, PRECIOUS and THE HURT LOCKER.

Sandra Bullock moved up a notch in the awards firmament by winning best actress for her performance in THE BLIND SIDE. She won a best supporting actress Globe for the same role.

Actress Betty White, whose career has mainly been in television, received the Life Achievement Award.

Click the title of this post to go to the Official SAG Website and view some great pictures from last night's event as well as all the nominees in their glitz and glam. Here's the full list, including the television awards, and not one in this list surprised me:

Cast: Inglourious Basterds.
Actor in a leading role: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart. - He won a Globe.
Actress in a leading role: Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side. - She won a Globe.
Supporting actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglorious Basterds - He won a Globe.
Supporting actress: Mo'Nique, Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire - She won a Globe.
Stunt ensemble: Star Trek.

Drama series cast: Mad Men.
Comedy series cast: Glee.
Actor in a drama series: Michael C. Hall, Dexter.
Actress in a drama series: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife.
Actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock.
Actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey, 30 Rock.
Actor in a movie or miniseries: Kevin Bacon, Taking Chance.
Actress in a movie or miniseries: Drew Barrymore, Grey Gardens.
Stunt ensemble: 24.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Oscar® Nominations Ballots Due Now

The 5,777 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences must return their completed Oscar nominations ballots no later than 5 p.m., tomorrow, Saturday, 23 January to to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted.

PricewaterhouseCoopers will tabulate the ballots using the preferential voting system. To view the list of movies eligible for nomination in the Best Motion Picture of 2009 category, and for other categories, see the "Oscar Eligible Films" link on the right sidebar. For more about the Academy Awards®, click title of this post.

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 beginning at 5 p.m., PT, or 8 p.m., ET.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nine Foreign Language Films Still Alive

Nine films will advance to the next round of voting in the Foreign Language Film category (BFLF) for the 82nd Academy Awards®. Sixty-five films originally qualified in the category.

The films, listed in alphabetical order by country with director, are:

Argentina - EL SECRETO DO SUS OJOS (The Secret of Your Eyes), Juan Jose Campanella;

Australia - SAMSON & DELILAH, Warwick Thornton;


France - UN PROPH├łTE (A Prophet), Jacques Audiard;

** Germany - THE WHITE RIBBON (Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte), Michael Haneke;

Israel - AJAMI, Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani;

Kazakhstan - KELIN, Ermek Tursunov;

The Netherlands - WINTER IN WARTIME, Martin Koolhoven;

Peru - THE MILK OF SORROW, Claudia Llosa.

** Winner this year of the Golden Globes® for Best Foreign Language Film, and won Best Film last May in Cannes.

Foreign Language Film nominations for 2009 are again being determined in two phases.

The Phase I committee, consisting of several hundred Los Angeles-based members, screened the 65 eligible films between mid-October and January 16. The group’s top six choices, augmented by three additional selections voted by the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee, constitute the shortlist.

The above shortlist will be winnowed down to the five nominees by specially invited committees in New York and Los Angeles. Those committees will spend Friday, 29 January, through Sunday, 31 January, viewing three films each day and then casting their ballots. From those ballots will come the final five nominees.

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, and Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, 7 March 7.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Winners of the Motion Picture Golden Globes® for 2009

67th Golden Globe Awards, Sunday, 17 January 2010, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, California.

There were surprises and, perhaps, some questions about the winners at this year's Golden Globe Awards. One thing is certain, the winners are all over the map. There is no discernable pattern, no way to say that the Globes are an indicator of how the Academy Awards will go this year.

However, if you read this blog even occasionally, you have already learned that the sponsors of the Globes, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is composed of journalists, as opposed to the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is composed of those who belong to the industry's guilds. The members of the HFPA nominate for the Golden Globes the people they want to see, and meet. The members of AMPAS honestly nominate their peers they not only work with and usually like, but the ones they feel actually deserve an Oscar, and "like" is the operative word.

Tonight was a fun night. James Cameron won for Best Director of AVATAR, and the technology expanding movie won Best Motion Picture, Drama. He even tipped his hat to one of his ex wives, Kathryn Bigelow, saying he thought she would take the director's award for THE HURT LOCKER. That might happen at the Oscars®.

And glory be, my favorite animated movie, UP, topped its category, thanks to the voice acting skills of one my favorite people on this Earth, Edward Asner, who voiced to role of the old curmudgeon. It also won best score for Michael Giacchino.

I must confess, I really like that score, but I was cheering for James Horner for AVATAR. I not only love his music, there is a familial connection. The same was true for Best Song. Down deep, I have felt the vibes for the nominated song from CRAZY HEART by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, "The Weary Kind," but there was the beautiful song in AVATAR, "I Will See You," by, yep, James Horner, Simon Franglen and Kuk Harrell.

THE WHITE RIBBON, directed by Michael Haneke, won the Best Film at Cannes last May and it won the Best Foreign Language Film tonight. I has been submitted for Oscar consideration in that category.

THE HANGOVER took home the statuette for Best Motion Picture, Musical Comedy or Drama. The Best Screenplay went to Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner for UP IN THE AIR.

I was delighted to see Jeff Bridges win Best Actor, Drama, for CRAZY HEART, and not really surprised when Sandra Bullock won in the Best Actress, Drama, for THE BLIND SIDE. With the exception of Helen Mirren and Bullock, the other nominees were panty weights in that category, and I expected Bullock would win. Mirren's chances suffered because THE LAST STATION's lack of promotion and from poor distribution.

I knew Meryl Streep, who was nominated for two roles in the Best Actress, Musical or Comedy category, almost had to win one. I hoped it would be for her role as Julia Chile in JULIE & JULIA. It was, although she is a hoot opposite Alec Baldwin in IT'S COMPLICATED.

I'm blowing big kisses to Robert Downey, Jr., for a magnificent comedic performance in SHERLOCK HOLMES and for winning a Best Actor, Musical or Comedy Globe for it. Cheers for Jeff Bridges for winning in the same category for Drama.

No surprise concerning the winners of Best Supporting Actor and Actress, for sure. I have never seen a year when these categories have produced such strong contenders. Christoph Waltz for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, and Mo'Nique for PRECIOUS: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. Both "heavy" roles.

The absolutely best list on the Planet of all the Golden Globe winners can be found on the IMDb, but here's the short list of the winners in the Motion Picture categories:
  • Best Motion Picture - Drama: AVATAR.
  • Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: THE HANGOVER.
  • Best Animated Motion Picture - UP.
  • Best Foreign Language Film - THE WHITE RIBBON (Das weisse Band - Eine deutsche Kindergeschichte, Germay), directed by Michael Haneke.
  • Best Director - Motion Picture: James Cameron for AVATAR.
  • Best Screenplay - Motion Picture: UP IN THE AIR by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama: Jeff Bridges for CRAZY HEART.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama: Sandra Bullock for THE BLIND SIDE.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Robert Downey Jr., for SHERLOCK HOLMES.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy: Meryl Streep for JULIE & JULIA.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Drama: Christoph Waltz for INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture - Drama: Mo'Nique for PECIOIUS: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.
  • Best Original Song - Motion Picture: "The Weary Kind," by T-Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham, CRAZY HEART.
  • Best Original Score - Motion Picture: Michael Giacchino for UP.

67th Golden Globe® Awards Gala Tonight

The 67th Annual Golden Globe® Awards Gala is tonight, and will be broadcast live on NBC at 8:00 p.m., ET, from the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA. If you click the title of this post you will go to the Globes' Official Website on which you can see a live feed outside the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Mouse over the inset and you will find direct links to Twitter, Facebook and chat.

Guess what? You can not only watch live what is happening outside the Beverly Hilton Hotel in real time, you can access your Wall on Facebook through the site as well, and instantly share with all your friends while the awards are in progress. If you are so inclined, you can access Twitter there, too, and bombard your friends. However, I will not be tweeting my friends because I want to enjoy the show, and they do, too.

Also, you can go directly to live chat about the awards through Dick Clark Productions.

Getting ready to watch the awards, and reap the most enjoyment out of the experience, is simple:
  • (1) Go to the phone and invite a few friends over to your place;
  • (2) Get your party necessities;
  • (3) Go to this webpage and print ballots for each person who will be watching with you (pdf);
  • (4) The Globes' resource page is excellent - - providing links to the same page for previous years available on upper right, link to printable ballot, videos, and much more;
  • (5) If you want to familiarize yourself with the nominated movies and TV shows, you might like to go to this IMDb webpage, and consider leaving it open during the show for quick reference as there are links to the IMDb page for each movie, TV show, and more.

If you need information, which will remain accessible months later, you can access previous posts and links on this blog's right sidebar relating to the Golden Globes® and the Academy Awards®. For instance, there is a link ("Golden Globes 2010") with a list of Golden Globe movie nominations. It will remain, with winners in red, until this time next year. There will also be a link for a similar Oscar® nominations / winners page. A link for AMPAS® is always there. Take a look at the links list, for much more.

There are two previous posts on this blog about this years 67th Golden Globe movie awards and the Academy Awards that you may want to read, or re-read, and posts from previous years:

Look at the bottom of this, and every post, and you will find "tags" which you can simply click to find related posts. Otherwise, use the search box at the top left of the page.

The Golden Globe Awards Gala is definitely a party, the most glamorous awards show second only to the Academy Awards. It is one of the most entertaining and enjoyable of the major award shows. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Critics Choice Movie Awards - WINNERS

SERIES: Hollywood Guild Awards and Oscars®.

The 15th annual Critics Choice Movie Awards will be held tonight at the Hollywood Palladium, and broadcast live on VH1 at 9:00 PM, ET/PT. Well, to be correct, the Pacific Time broadcast will be a broadcast live-delayed. Kristin Chenoweth will host.

The awards are in and the winners are shown in red.

The 235 members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the largest film critics' organization in the United States and Canada, representing television, radio and online critics, selected the nominees in 25 categories. They proclaim that the Critics Choice Awards are the most accurate predictors of the Academy Awards®. I am putting that to the test this year, and we shall see.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and NINE lead the pack of nominations with ten each, closely followed by AVATAR, UP IN THER AIR, and THE HURT LOCKER, each receiving eight nominations. Don't worry, I am not going to list all 25 categories here. Here are some of the major ones - -

BEST PICTURE: Avatar; An Education; The Hurt Locker; Inglourious Basterds; Invictus; Nine; Precious; A Serious Man; Up; Up In The Air.

BEST ACTOR: Jeff Bridges - Crazy Heart; George Clooney - Up In The Air; Colin Firth - A Single Man; Morgan Freeman - Invictus; Viggo Mortensen - The Road; Jeremy Renner - The Hurt Locker.

BEST ACTRESS: TIE - Emily Blunt - The Young Victoria; Sandra Bullock - The Blind Side; Carey Mulligan - An Education; Saoirse Ronan - The Lovely Bones; Gabourey Sidibe - Precious; Meryl Streep - Julie & Julia.

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE: Inglourious Basterds; Nine; Precious;
Star Trek; Up In The Air.

BEST DIRECTING: Kathryn Bigelow - The Hurt Locker; James Cameron - Avatar; Lee Daniels - Precious; Clint Eastwood - Invictus;
Jason Reitman - Up In The Air; Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Mark Boal - The Hurt Locker; Joel Coen & Ethan Coen - A Serious Man;Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber - (500) Days Of Summer; Bob Peterson, Peter Docter - Up; Quentin Tarantino - Inglourious Basterds.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach - Fantastic Mr. Fox; Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell - District 9; Geoffrey Fletcher - Precious; Tom Ford, David Scearce - A Single Man;Nick Hornby - An Education; Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner - Up In The Air.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs; Coraline; Fantastic Mr. Fox; Princess And The Frog; Up.

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: Broken Embraces (Spain); Coco Before Chanel (France); Red Cliff (Chi bi, China); Sin Nombre (Without a Name, Mexico); The White Ribbon (Germany).

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Anvil; Capitalism: A Love Story; The Cove; Food, Inc.; Michael Jackson's This Is It.

Observations. Brad Pitt is not nominated for either best actor or best supporting actor. Nor, is he nominated for a Golden Globe in either category. On the other hand, the animated movie UP is nominated here in both the best animated film and in the best picture categories.

There are now two series on this blog for 2010 - SERIES: Major Film Festivals, and SERIES: Hollywood Guild Awards and Oscars®. The first will run all through 2010, and the second will run until sometime after the Academy Awards. To read each, type SERIES: film festivals, or SERIES: Hollywood, in the upper left hand search box on this blog, which will bring up all posts in each series

Monday, January 11, 2010

National Board of Review Awards


SERIES: Hollywood Guild Awards and Oscars®

This new series is to document, compare and discuss the nominations of the film industry guilds. This is the first year I am publishing how I analyze the various awards and pick my Oscar® choices.

The members of the movie industry guilds are also voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, AMPAS®, which produces the Academy Awards®. Most of the major guilds have nominated, and some have named the recipients. Want to actually pick the winners this year? Then, I suggest you follow this series.

The National Board of Review (NBRMP) is not a guild, but an independent board of review. Although the general public knows little of this award, it is the oldest of the major motion picture awards, and a most prestigious award, established in 1909. That's why I am opening this new series with the NBRMP.

The awards were announced earlier, and they will be presented at the annual dinner to be held tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 January, at Cipriani on 42nd Street, New York City.

They named UP IN THE AIR, directed by Jason Reitman, and starring George Clooney, as Best Film of 2009. The French film, Un proph├Ęte (A PROPHET) by writer/director Jacques Audiard, will receive the best foreign language film award, and THE COVE the best documentary.

Their other awards may be beacons shinning on the possible Oscar winners - -


Best Actor: George Clooney, UP IN THE AIR; Morgan Freeman, INVICTUS.
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION.
Best Supporting Actor: Woody Harrelson, THE MESSENGER.
Best Supporting Actress: Anna Kendrick, UP IN THE AIR.
Best Ensemble Cast: IT'S COMPLICATED.

Best Director: Clint Eastwood, INVICTUS.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner, UP IN THE AIR; and Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, A SERIOUS MAN.

Best Animated Feature: UP.

Special Filmmaking Achievement: Wes Anderson for THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX.

To see all the NBRP awards, click the title of this post.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Major Film Festivals in January 2010

SERIES: Major Film Festivals

Twenty-First PALM SPRINGS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (PSIFF), Palm Springs, California, 5 - 17 JANUARY 2010.

About Elly, Iran, 2009. In years past, this festival was a big party in the desert for the celebrity crowd but last year the PSIFF goers chose Japan's DEPARTURES by director Yojiro Takita as the Audience Award winner. It went on to win the Oscar® for Best Foreign Language Film, and this festival's standing among U.S. festivals was immediately elevated. This year, the Festival offers 41 foreign films, including the acclaimed ABOUT ELLY, submitted by Iran for Oscar nomination consideration in the Best Foreign Language Film category. See full list. Will this year's audience award be an Oscar portend?

The PSIFF opened last Tuesday, 5 January, with an awards gala, usually held the last night of a festival. As do the people in Utah's Sundance FF, they do things differently in Palm Springs.

The festival will close 17 January with another gala and the screening of THE LIGHTKEEPERS, directed by Daniel Adams, starring Richard Dreyfuss, Blythe Danner, Tom Wisdom, Bruce Dern and Mamie Gummer. The next day, the Festival will screen "The Best of the Fest." The list will be announced on the 17th.

Yesterday was Australian Film Day but if you missed it, there will be repeat screenings of new Australian films throughout the festival. http:// Also, there will be more about the festival on this blog as news from the PSIFF warrants.

Twenty-Sixth SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL (SFF), Park City, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah, 21 - 31 January 2010, sponsored by the Sundance Institute.

I'M PAT, director: Amir Bar-Lev, screenplay: Mark Monroe, USA, 2009. In the U.S., Sundance is the first festival of prominence at the beginning of each year. Sorry, Palm Springs, it is a fact. It is also one of the best showcases for independent movies and documentaries in the U.S.

With an emphasis on feature documentaries as well as being a launching pad for independent art-house titles, it has always focused on filmmaking outside the commercial mainstream. The festival's commitment to documentary has been driven by the personal connection that President and Founder Robert Redford feels for the genre.

First of all, there are passes still for sale, but you better hurry! Second there's an iPhone App for Sundance. It is available through iTunes Store for $4.99+.

The 2010 Sundance Film Festival will open with our annual celebration as filmmakers and festival friends reunite or meet for the first time, Thursday, 21 January 2010, 10:00 p.m.-1:00 a.m., Legacy Lodge,1310 Lowell Ave. The opening screening will be director Aaron Schneider's GET LOW, and will be held in Salt Lake City, Friday, 22 January 22, 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, and screening tickets required.

Closing Night Screening, 29 January, director Joel Schumacher's TWELVE, 9:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre.

Awards Ceremony, Saturday, 30 January 30, Time TBA, Park City Racquet Club, 1200 Little Kate Rd. Among the most anticipated, the Audience Awards, which are decided by the festival attendees and awarded to films in each of the four competition categories. The ceremony will be followed with the closing night gala party.

Here's access to the festival film guide:

If widget doesn't work for you, download (PDF) Competition Film Guide, and other guides:

There will be more about the festival on this blog as news from the SIFF warrants. The last week of this month watch for SERIES: Major Film Festivals, "Major Film Festivals in February," with the upcoming Santa Barbara IFF (SBIFF) as lead festival.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Shortlist for Visual Effects Oscar Nominations

Yesterday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that seven films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category (VFX) for the 82nd Academy Awards®.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:


All members of the Academy’s 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. There were not enough qualifying films to have more than three nominees in the category this year.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced 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 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.

Do Golden Globes Influence Oscars?

While both races for the Oscars® and Golden Globes® are officially underway, the second biggest awards party in the U.S., the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards Gala will be held first. The date is Sunday, 17 January 2010, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA, and broadcast live on NBC at 8:00 p.m., ET. That will be seven days before the Oscar Nomination ballots are due back at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). The Academy Awards® will be held 7 March 2010.

The Golden Globe nominations were announced in mid-December, and the final ballots were mailed to members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) the same day as the Academy Awards® Nomination ballots. Those final Globe ballots must be received in the Los Angeles offices of the accounting firm of Ernst & Young, Wednesday, 13 January.

For Golden Globe nominees and more, see previous post about the nominations and the Golden Globes Official Website. To find references in this blog, simply type "Golden Globes," or "HFPA" in the search text box at the top left, and click what looks like a magnifying glass at the end of the text box. To access the Website, click the title of this post.

Sponsored by the HFPA and produced by Dick Clark Productions, the Golden Globe Gala will be held this year, as it usually is, before the Oscar Nomination ballots are due back at PWC. Because the Academy Awards are held later than the Globes, each year there is a debate among film critics as how the Globes affect the Oscar nomination process, or if they do.

I have come to believe that the Globes have little impact on the Academy Awards®. Movie critics like to think the Globes do, and that they, the critics, greatly impact both awards, but if the truth be told, and that's what I try to do, critics matter little when it comes to awards. However, I will give them their due by noting that they do seem to have a positive, or negative impact upon the Box Office, depending upon how the majority of critics review a particular movie. Example? This year's AMELIA. A preponderance of critics immediately pummeled it even before it was released. It quickly disappeared from marquees of movie theaters across the country.

Those who vote for the Oscars and those who vote for the Globes are so very different. Therefore, the voting results in these awards are like apples and oranges, as are the ballots of each organization. The fact that the ballots for the Globes and Oscars are different is almost as important as the composition of the voting groups. For example: The members of the HFPA nominate a Best Film in two categories for the Globes, not one: (1) Drama, and (2) Musical or Comedy. There are usually five movies in each of these categories.

The Academy has two Best Film categories, too: Best Feature Motion Picture and Best Foreign Language Film. In both, all feature movies are lumped into one of the categories, regardless of genre. There are usually five nominees in each category. However, this year there will be 10 Best Feature Motion Picture nominees. Actually, the number of films in this category has varied through the years, and this is not the first year that this category will have 10 nominated pictures. It must be noted that the Best Foreign Language Film nominees remain at five nominees.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) are the biggest voting block in the Academy. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association produces and votes for the Golden Globe recipients. Critics don't vote, unless they also happen to be members of the Academy and/or HFPA.

Members of SAG have a different perspective about movies than do the members of the Foreign Press Association. Therefore, as a amateur voter, I have compared the nominations between the two for years. I fill out my ballot from Entertainment Weekly according to how I think I would vote for the Oscars, if I were a member of SAG. For the Golden Globes, as if I were a member of HFPA. Hey. A girl can dream, can't she? Besides, I'm correct about 90% of the time.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Oscar® Nomination Process

Back from a lovely break for the holidays. I hope you had a joyous one. I love Christmas and New Years. The first is more religiously and family oriented, and the second is party time! Both include great food. But, back to business.

By now, each of the 5,777 voting members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have their nomination ballot for the 82nd Academy Awards®. Completed ballots must be returned to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) by 5 p.m. on Saturday, 23 January 2010. Ballots received after the deadline will not be counted. Believe me, that last statement is true.

The PWC accounting firm makes sure that all aspects of the balloting processes, nomination and final, are conducted with fairness and accuracy. Prior to mailing, the staff administers a thorough verification process to ensure that there are no duplicate ballots and that none are missing.

In addition to being counted and sorted, the ballots are numbered to guarantee that each one is addressed to the appropriate Academy voter. Once ballots are returned, they will be meticulously guarded and tabulated by the staff at PwC, all of whom being sworn to secrecy.

Nominations will be announced on Tuesday, 2 February 2010, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Shortly after, screenings of all the nominated films will be held for Academy members, both in Hollywood and New York City.

I am able to write those last two paragraphs with complete confidence as I was once a part of the process at PwC. I was not on the accounting staff, but I was the Administrative Assistant to the partner in the firm in charge of the process at the time, Mr. Frank Johnson. Believe me, if the U.S. Presidential Election of 2000 had been run by PwC, we would not have had that outlandish debacle.

The 82nd Academy Awards Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, 7 March 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.