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Louis Delluc Prize Winner + Best Visual Effects Oscar Longlist

Awards season schedule: upcoming announcements

Below is a list of several groups that will be announcing their award winners or nominees in the next few days. The field will likely get even more crowded, what with about a dozen other US-based critics' groups that should be announcing their winners during that time (or a few days later).

Among those are the African-American, Austin, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Houston, Las Vegas, New York Online, Oklahoma, Phoenix, San Diego, Southeastern, Toronto, and Utah film critics, plus the Women Journalists.

Internationally, there will be nomination announcements for Sweden's Golden Beetles (Guldbagge) and the Spanish Academy's Goyas in the next couple of weeks. The Dubai and Metro Manila film festivals should also announce their winners before the year is over.

As far as US critics are concerned, expect to hear Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Lone Scherfig's An Education, Clint Eastwood's Invictus, and Lee Daniels' Precious mentioned time and again in various categories. And perhaps Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man, Tom Ford's A Single Man, Sebastian Silva's The Maid, and Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, and Cary Joji Fukunaga's Sin Nombre here and there as well.

But don't be surprised if Avatar, which has been garnering some positive buzz since its London premiere earlier this evening, pops up in some unexpected categories, e.g., best picture or best director, as well. (The San Diego critics, for instance, did choose King Kong as their picture of 2005.) Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones and Rob Marshall's Nine, however, the two films to beat before their first reviews came out, may not do as well as expected in the awards races.

We'll be posting the lists of winners/nominees as they come out. Keep checking back.

Dec. 11 - Australian Film Institute Winners (technical categories)

Dec 12 - Australian Film Institute Winners (top categories)

Dec. 12 - European Film Award Winners

Dec. 13 - Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Awards

Dec 13 - American Film Institute Best of the Year List

Dec. 13 - Boston Society of Film Critics Awards

Dec. 14 - San Francisco Film Critics Awards

Dec. 14 - Chicago Film Critics Awards (nominations - winners on Dec. 21)

Dec. 14 - St. Louis Film Critics Awards (nominations - winners on Dec. 21)

Dec. 14 - New York Film Critics Awards

Dec. 14 - Broadcast Film Critics Nominations

Dec. 15 - Golden Globes Nominations

Dec. 17 - Screen Actors Guild Nominations

Oscar 2010: Visual Effects Semi-Finalists

2012 by Roland Emmerich
Star Trek - J.J. Abrams

2012 by Roland Emmerich (top); Star Trek by J.J. Abrams (middle); Avatar by James Cameron (bottom)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that 15 films have been selected as semifinalists for Achievement in Visual Effects for 2010 Academy Awards.

The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

  • Angels & Demons
  • Avatar
  • A Christmas Carol
  • Coraline
  • District 9
  • G-Force
  • 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
  • 2012
  • Watchmen
  • Where the Wild Things Are

I find it a little surprising that of all the special-effect-driven movies out there – or even regular movies that make use of special effects in their production (Invictus, The Lovely Bones) – they selected a mere 15 semi-finalists, of which (see below) only three will get an Oscar nomination. Considering the state of filmmaking nowadays, visual effects should be a regular category with five nominees each year.

The following is from the Academy's press release:

In early January, the members of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee, who selected the semifinalists, will narrow the list to seven.

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

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

The 2010 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, 2010, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the US, it'll be televised live by ABC.

'A Prophet' Wins Louis Delluc Prize

Jacques Audiard's tough prison drama A Prophet, winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes, received the Louis Delluc Prize at a ceremony held Friday, Dec. 11, in Paris.

Starring Tahar Rahim (above) as a 19-year-old inmate who must fend off the Corsican mafia, A Prophet has also won the best foreign language film award from the 2009 National Board of Review and has been nominated for a Spirit Award in that category. Additionally, it garnered six European Film Award nominations, winning one – best actor for Rahim and a technical prize for its sound design – and is France's submission for the 2010 Academy Award for best foreign language film.

According to Variety, A Prophet has already grossed 7.2 million euros ($10.6 million) at the French box office. The film is also expected to dominate the César Awards early next year.

Other contenders for the 2009 Louis Delluc Prize were Alain Resnais' Wild Grass, Xavier Giannoli's In the Beginning, Christophe Honoré's Non ma fille, tu n'iras pas danser, Claude Miller and Nathan Miller's Je suis heureux que ma mère soit vivante, Philippe Lioret's Welcome, Alain Cavalier's Irène, and Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch.

Silent Voice by Lea Fehner

Another prison-focused tale, Léa Fehner's Qu'un seul tienne et les autres suivront / Silent Voice (above), was chosen the best first feature film. In this well-received drama, a woman looking for her son's murderer, a petty thief, and a man doing business with a convict have their paths intersect at a prison in the south of France.

Other contenders were Nassim Amaouche's Adieu Gary, Riad Sattouf's Les beaux gosses / The French Kissers, Nicolas Saada's Espion(s), and Mathias Gokalp's Rien de personnel.

The Louis Delluc Prize was created in 1937 in honor of the French filmmaker, journalist and cine-club founder. Headed by Cannes Film Festival president Gilles Jacob, the Louis Delluc jury is composed of 20 members, including film critics and industry professionals.

Last year's Louis Delluc winner was Raymond Depardon's documentary La vie moderne, which landed a César nomination in the documentary feature category.

Iraq War Movie Among AFI's Top Ten Films

Algenis Perez Soto in Sugar
Algenis Perez Soto in Sugar

There were a couple of surprises among the American Film Institute's feature-film choices for its AFI Awards 2009: Todd Phillips' low-brow box office smash The Hangover and Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck's little-seen Sugar.

The story of Dominican baseball player (Algenis Perez Soto) who dreams of one day joining the major leagues, Sugar was a particularly interesting pick as thus far it hasn't been getting all that much attention from US critics' groups. The sports drama got a 2008 Spirit Award nomination for best screenplay (that was a year ago) and a best ensemble Gotham Award nod a few weeks ago. That's basically it.

Most of the other films included in the AFI's top ten list were low-budget, independently made productions (though probably not nearly as low-budget as Sugar): Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Oren Moverman's The Messenger, Lee Daniels' Precious, Tom Ford's A Single Man, and Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man.

Only Pete Docter's animated blockbuster Up and Jason Reitman's George Clooney vehicle Up in the Air could be considered high-profile films.

Topics range from corporate downsizing (Up in the Air) and death (A Single Man) to family abuse (Precious) and the Iraq War (The Hurt Locker).

Among the titles left out of the AFI list are James Cameron's Avatar, Rob Marshall's Nine, Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, Grant Heslov's The Men Who Stare at Goats, Clint Eastwood's Invictus, and Steven Soderbergh's The Informant!.

The selected films were chosen by a 13-person jury consisting of “scholars, film artists, critics and AFI trustees.”

'Avatar' Tops New York Film Critics Online

I found it inevitable that Avatar would land the top spot of some US-based critic group or other. And it's already happened: The New York Film Critics Online have picked James Cameron's 3-D spectacle – which has mostly received quite respectable reviews – as the best picture of 2009.

Set in a future that's not all that far off, but on a planet that is way, way far off, Avatar pits greedy, ruthless, narrow-minded human beings – not unlike those inhabiting planet Earth right now – against a blue race with big yellowish eyes and long, flat noses. I haven't watched the movie, yet, but Cameron has already talked about the possibility of a couple of sequels, which means that the blue people manage to survive the Earthlings' destruction. Let's hope we on this planet are as lucky.

Anyhow, Cameron was not the NY Online critics' best director. That honor went to Kathryn Bigelow for the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. Earlier today, Bigelow and The Hurt Locker won top honors from the Los Angeles and Boston film critics.

Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart
Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia

The NY Online acting awards went to the following: Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (above, top photo), Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (above, lower photo), Mo'Nique for Precious, and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds. Waltz was also voted the year's breakthrough performer, while the best ensemble prize went to the cast of Armando Iannucci's political satire In the Loop, which includes James Gandolfini, Tom Hollander, and Peter Capaldi.

Among the other New York Online Film Critics' winners were Louie Psihoyos' The Cove as best documentary; Michael Haneke's 2009 European Film Award and Cannes winner The White Ribbon as best foreign language film; Pete Docter's Up as best animated feature; Quentin Tarantino for his Inglourious Basterds screenplay; and Marc Webb, who was voted best debut director for (500) Days of Summer.

Missing in action: Nine, The Lovely Bones, Broken Embraces, The Last Station, A Single Man, Invictus, Coraline, The Maid.

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2 Comments to Louis Delluc Prize Winner + Best Visual Effects Oscar Longlist

  1. jay M

    Avatar will surely win this one.

  2. NITIN