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Gay Marriage Legal in Utah & Lesbian Movie Wins Two Utahn Awards: Timing is Everything

Gay marriage and lesbian movie Blue Is the Warmest Color. Timing is everything in Utah and elsewhereLéa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue Is the Warmest Color. Timing is everything. Abdellatif Kechiche's sexually charged romantic drama Blue Is the Warmest Color won the 2013 Palme d'Or right when more than 150,000 people took to the streets of Paris to express their righteous outrage at the legalization of same-sex marriage – a.k.a. gay marriage – in France. Fast forward to December: right when the Mormon-dominated U.S. state of Utah is forced to recognize gay marriage within its borders, much to the righteous outrage of local “conservatives,” Blue Is the Warmest Color win two Utah Film Critics Association Awards: Best Foreign Language Film and Best Actress (Adèle Exarchopoulos).

Gay marriage legal in Utah (for now) as controversial lesbian movie wins two Utah Film Critics Awards

On Dec. 20, United States District Court judge Robert J. Shelby struck down Utah's anti-gay marriage (a.k.a. anti-marriage equality) laws. The night before, the Utah Film Critics Association named Abdellatif Kechiche's French drama Blue Is the Warmest Color 2013's Best Foreign Language Film and one of its stars, Adèle Exarchopoulos, the year's Best Actress.

No, that wasn't planned; and true, Blue Is the Warmest Color isn't about gay marriage. Yet Kechiche's controversial, sexually daring Palme d'Or winner does revolve around a lesbian relationship. Based on Julie Maroh's graphic novel, it traces the evolving emotional and sexual connection between an adolescent (Adèle Exarchopoulos) eager to open herself to life and an older, butch, blue-haired aspiring painter (Léa Seydoux).

Just as cosmic as what took place in Utah, Blue Is the Warmest Color won the 2013 Cannes Film Festival's Palme d'Or right when more than 150,000 people took to the streets of Paris to protest the legalization of gay marriage in France.

Traditional Family Bigotry

According to the New York Times, Utah governor Gary R. Herbert “condemned the [judge's gay marriage] decision and said he was trying to determine 'the best course to defend traditional marriage within the borders of Utah.'”

Utah's exponents of traditional family bigotry were, to the best of our knowledge, silent in regard to the two Blue Is the Warmest Color wins.

And let's not forget that back in late 2005 the Utah Film Critics selected Ang Lee's gay cowboy love story Brokeback Mountain as the year's Best Film, while Lee was voted Best Director. Heath Ledger, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Williams, and Anne Hathaway starred in the eventual winner of three Academy Awards – one that, expectedly, ran into trouble with Utah's traditional family values crowd.

As a French-language film with several unapologetic sex scenes, don't expect Blue Is the Warmest Color to win any Academy Awards. In fact, Kechiche's drama, ineligible in the Best Foreign Language Film category, will be lucky if it gets a single nomination.

'Gravity' Best Film

Now, gay marriage and lesbian sex scenes aside, the Utah Film Critics chose Alfonso Cuarón's mix of mother-love melodrama and solar-system thriller Gravity as the year's Best Film.

Additionally, Gravity, which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, also won awards for Cuarón's direction and Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography. Bullock – and Cate Blanchett, for Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine – were the Best Actress runners-up.

Chiwetel Ejiofor won Best Actor for his portrayal of the titular character in Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave. In second place was Oscar Isaac for Joel and Ethan Coen's Inside Llewyn Davis.

Surprising supporting selections

In the supporting categories, the Utah Film Critics made a couple of surprising choices: Bill Nighy for Richard Curtis' time-traveling tale About Time, and Scarlett Johansson – or rather, her voice – for Spike Jonze's Her, in which Johansson is heard as the computer operating system with which Joaquin Phoenix falls in love.

Nighy's runner-up was Michael Fassbender for 12 Years a Slave, while Johansson's was Jennifer Lawrence, whose voice is heard (and whose voluptuous body is seen) in David O. Russell's American Hustle, also starring Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Jeremy Renner.

Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, and Julie Delpy's romantic drama Before Midnight, and Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright's alien invasion comedy The World's End were the winners in the screenplay categories.

See further below the full list of this year's Utah Film Critics winners.

See also: James Franco tattoos surprise at Los Angeles Film Critics Awards, Los Angeles vs. New York Film Critics: Who's more daring, and Boston Society of Film Critics winners.

'12 Years a Slave' is awards season favorite

Whereas the Utah Film Critics fell under the spell of Gravity, a number of other U.S.-based critics groups have selected 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen's filmization of a slave narrative memoir from 1853, as 2013's top release.

Indeed, this story of a free-born black man and his dozen years as a slave in a Louisiana plantation following his abduction by two con men, has emerged as this awards season's favorite.

In addition to the Utah Film Critics' picks, below is the list of winners of four other U.S. critics groups: the Austin Film Critics Association, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Las Vegas Film Critics Society.

12 Years a Slave was the top choice of three of the aforementioned groups. The Austin Film Critics opted instead for Her, with the slavery drama as the runner-up.

In the acting categories, 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor and supporting actress Lupita Nyong'o have been frequently singled out. And so has supporting actor Jared Leto for his performance as an HIV-positive trans woman in Jean-Marc Vallée's Dallas Buyers Club.

'12 Years a Slave' cast

Besides Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots, Inside Man), 12 Years a Slave features:

Steve McQueen's Shame and Hunger star Michael Fassbender.

Brad Pitt, who also happens to be one of the film's producers.

Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek, 1983).

Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (Cinderella Man, 2005).

Benedict Cumberbatch. Paul Dano. Lupita Nyong'o. Sarah Paulson.

A previous version of the story, the 1984 TV movie Solomon Northup's Odyssey starred Avery Brooks as Northup. Gordon Parks (The Learning Tree, Shaft) directed.

12 Years a Slave Chiwetel Ejiofor: US film critics favorite movie is based on real-life horror story12 Years a Slave with Chiwetel Ejiofor. This awards season's favorite among U.S.-based film critics groups, British filmmaker Steve McQueen's first American movie, the period drama 12 Years a Slave, stars British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free-born black New Yorker who, while in Washington, D.C., in 1841, was kidnapped by two con men and sold into slavery. John Ridley, whose previous screen credits include the “story” for David O. Russell's 1999 (First) Iraq War satire Three Kings, adapted Northup's 1853 book of memoirs (“as told to and edited by David Wilson”), Twelve Years a Slave.

Utah Film Critics winners

Best Film: Gravity.

Runner-up: 12 Years a Slave.

Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Runner-up: The Past, dir.: Asghar Farhadi.

Best Actress: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Runners-up (tie): Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine; Sandra Bullock, Gravity.

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis.

Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson, Her.

Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle.

Best Supporting Actor: Bill Nighy, About Time.

Runner-up: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.

Runner-up: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright, The World's End.

Runner-up: Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Way Way Back.

Best Adapted Screenplay Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, Before Midnight.

Runner-up: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Documentary Feature: The Act of Killing.

Runner-up: Blackfish.

Best Animated Feature: Frozen.

Runners-up (tie): From Up on Poppy Hill & The Wind Rises.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Runner-up: Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis.

 

Austin Film Critics Association winners

Best Film: Her.

Top Ten Films:
1. Her.
2. 12 Years a Slave.
3. Gravity.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street.
5. Inside Llewyn Davis.
6. Short Term 12.
7. Mud.
8. Before Midnight.
9. Dallas Buyers Club.
10. Captain Phillips.

Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Actress: Brie Larson, Short Term 12.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.

Best Original Screenplay Spike Jonze, Her.

Best Adapted Screenplay John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Documentary: The Act of Killing, dir.: Joshua Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn, and Anonymous.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Best Score: Arcade Fire, Her.

Best Animated Film: Frozen, dir.: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee.

Best First Film: Fruitvale Station, dir.: Ryan Coogler.

Breakthrough Artist: Brie Larson, Short Term 12.

Best Austin Film: Before Midnight, dir.: Richard Linklater.

Special Honorary Award: Scarlett Johansson, for her outstanding voice performance in Her.

 

Southeastern Film Critics Association winners

Best Film
1. 12 Years a Slave.
2. Gravity.
3. American Hustle.
4. Her.
5. Inside Llewyn Davis.
6. Nebraska.
7. Dallas Buyers Club.
8. Philomena.
9. Captain Phillips.
10. The Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Foreign Language Film
1. The Hunt, dir.: Thomas Vinterberg.
2. Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Best Actor
1. Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.
2. Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Actress
1. Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.
2. Judi Dench, Philomena.

Best Supporting Actress
1. Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave.
2. Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle.

Best Supporting Actor
1. Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.
2. Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Ensemble Performance
1. American Hustle.
2. 12 Years a Slave.

Best Director
1. Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.
2. Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.

Best Original Screenplay
1. Spike Jonze, Her.
2. David O. Russell & Eric Singer, American Hustle.

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave.
2. Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan, Philomena.

Best Documentary
1. The Act of Killing.
2. Blackfish.
3. Muscle Shoals.

Best Cinematography
1. Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.
2. Sean Bobbitt, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Animated Film
1. Frozen.
2. The Wind Rises.

The Gene Wyatt Award for the Film that Best Evokes the Spirit of the South
1. Jeff Nichols, Mud.
2. Greg “Freddy” Cammalier, Muscle Shoals.

 

Florida Film Critics Circle winners

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: American Hustle.

Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Runner-up: The Hunt.

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: Joaquin Phoenix, Her.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.

Runner-up: Judi Dench, Philomena.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.

Runner-up: Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.

Best Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her.

Runner-up: David O. Russell & Eric Singer, American Hustle.

Best Documentary: The Act of Killing.

Runner-up: Blackfish.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Runner-up: Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis.

Best Art Direction/Production Design: The Great Gatsby.

Runner-up: American Hustle.

Best Animated Film: Frozen.

Runner-up: The Wind Rises.

Best Visual Effects: Gravity.

Runner-up: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Pauline Kael Breakout Award: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave.

Runner-up: Michael B. Jordan, Fruitvale Station.

Golden Orange: Dana Keith of the Miami Beach Cinematheque for his tireless championing of foreign, independent, and alternative film in South Florida for more than 20 years.

 

Las Vegas Film Critics Society winners

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave.

Top 10 Films
1. 12 Years a Slave.
2. Dallas Buyers Club.
3. Gravity.
4. The Wolf of Wall Street.
5. American Hustle.
6. Inside Llewyn Davis.
7. Saving Mr. Banks.
8. Nebraska.
9. Her.
10. Lone Survivor.

Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Best Actress: Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks.

Best Actor: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her.

Best Documentary: Blackfish.

Best Animated Film: Frozen.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Best Film Editing: Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger, Gravity.

Best Score: Hans Zimmer, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Art Direction: Andy Nicholson, Gravity.

Best Costume Design: Patricia Norris, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Visual Effects: Gravity.

Best Song: “Please Mr. Kennedy,” Inside Llewyn Davis.

Youth in Film: Tye Sheridan, Mud.

Best Family Film: Saving Mr. Banks, dir.: John Lee Hancock.

Best Horror/Sci-Fi Film: Pacific Rim, dir.: Guillermo del Toro.

Best Comedy Film: This is the End, dir.: Seth Rogen & Evan Goldberg.

Best Action Film: Lone Survivor, dir.: Peter Berg.

Best DVD (Packaging, Design and Content):Breaking Bad, The Complete Series” (Blu-ray).

William Holden Lifetime Achievement Award: John Goodman.

Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle. Shoo-in Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee despite plentiful competitionJennifer Lawrence in American Hustle. The Hunger Games movies' determined Katniss Everdeen and a Best Actress Academy Award winner for David O. Russell's 2012 comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence plays the sexually alluring and emotionally unbalanced Rosalyn Rosenfeld – the wife of con artist Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and, later on, the lover of mobster Peter Musane (Jack Huston) – in Russell's real-life-inspired crime comedy-drama American Hustle, based on the late 1970s/early 1980s FBI ABSCAM anti-corruption operation and one of 289 films in contention for the 2014 Academy Awards.

Oscar 2014: 289 movies in the running for Best Picture & other regular categories

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that no less than 289 feature films are in the running for the 2014 Academy Awards.

As the Academy's press release explains, to qualify for the 2014 Oscar, “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.”

Additionally, eligible films “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.”

There's more: feature films that were first publicly shown or distributed “in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release” cannot be considered for Academy Awards in any category.

The “Reminder List of Productions Eligible for the 86th Academy Awards” is available here

Fierce competition?

Now, 289 feature films. Does that mean competition has gotten fiercer for the likes of David O. Russell's American Hustle, Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, and Spike Jonze's Her?

Or that hundreds of actors and actresses will be vying for Academy Award nominations in the acting categories – thus making things more difficult for the likes of Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Julia Roberts, and Tom Hanks?

Not at all.

True, the Naomi Watts star vehicle Diana, the Stephenie Meyer-(co-)produced sci-fier The Host, the Sylvester Stallone & Arnold Schwarzenegger box office bomb The Escape Plan, the Steve Carell comedy The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, and the Tyler Perry comedy A Madea Christmas are all “eligible” for next year's Oscars, but that doesn't mean they and most of the other official contenders will be seriously considered – or even marginally considered – for the awards.

They're all about the buzz

And that includes well-regarded but awards season buzz-less fare whose DVDs and Blu-rays will go unseen by the overwhelming majority of Academy members, e.g., Thomas Vinterberg's The Hunt, Haifaa al-Mansour's Wadjda, Eytan Fox's Yossi.

So, expect to hear lots of buzz-y names when the 2014 Academy Award nominations are announced on Jan. 16, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2014 Oscar ceremony will be held on March 2 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the U.S., the Oscarcast will be broadcast live on the ABC network.

 

Utah Film Critics' winners via Sean P. Mean's article in the Salt Lake City Tribune.

Southeastern Film Critics Awards' winners via Neil Morris' article in Indyweek.

More details on the tabloidized Blue Is the Warmest Color controversy can be found in The Independent.

Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos Blue Is the Warmest Color image: IFC Films / Sundance Selects.

Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave image: François Duhamel / Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Jennifer Lawrence American Hustle image: Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures.


         
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1 Comment to Gay Marriage Legal in Utah & Lesbian Movie Wins Two Utahn Awards: Timing is Everything

  1. Suzie

    My buzz for Gravity—>Sandra Bullock????????????