Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), James Cameron (Avatar), Lee Daniels (Precious), Jason Reitman (Up in the Air), and Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds) are the Directors Guild of America's five nominees for their best motion picture director of 2009 award.
Among those not shortlisted by DGA voters were Joel and Ethan Coen (A Serious Man), Clint Eastwood (Invictus), Peter Jackson (The Lovely Bones), Rob Marshall (Nine), Tom Ford (A Single Man), Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer), Michael Haneke (The White Ribbon), Jane Campion (Bright Star), Olivier Assayas (Summer Hours), Cary Joji Fukunaga (Sin Nombre), and Lone Scherfig (An Education).
Norman Jewison, 83, whose films include Oscar winner In the Heat of the Night, and Best Picture nominees The Russians Are Coming the Russians Are Coming, Fiddler on the Roof, A Soldier's Story and Moonstruck, will receive the DGA's Lifetime Achievement Award. Among Jewison's other efforts are the Doris Day vehicle The Thrill of It All; The Cincinnati Kid, starring Steve McQueen and Edward G. Robinson; the rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar; the controversial Agnes of God, with Jane Fonda and Anne Bancroft; and The Hurricane, with Denzel Washington.
Those who had not been taking Inglourious Basterds (above, with Eli Roth and Brad Pitt) as a serious Oscar contender must now be aware that Tarantino's World War II revenge fantasy has a pretty good chance of actually winning several Academy Awards – including Best Picture and Best Director. To date, those two fields remain wide open, with no less than four favorites: critics' pick The Hurt Locker, box office pick Avatar, cult pick Inglourious Basterds, and current-affairs pick Up in the Air.
DGA winners usually go on to win the Best Director Oscar, but there have been several exceptions. The lists of DGA and Academy Award nominees, on the other hand, have matched only four times in the past: 1977, 1981, 1998, and 2005. Last year, Christopher Nolan was nominated for the blockbuster The Dark Knight, but at the Oscars he was replaced by Stephen Daldry for The Reader. Will the Coen brothers or Michael Haneke or Olivier Assayas or Lone Scherfig upset the balance this year?
The Directors Guild will name their television, documentary and commercial nominees on Friday. The awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 30 in Los Angeles, three days before the Oscar nominations are announced.
Kathryn Bigelow & Lee Daniels: DGA Awards & Women, Blacks, Gays
Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) is a first-time Directors Guild of America nominee, but her former husband James Cameron (Avatar) won the DGA Award for his megablockbuster Titanic back in early 1998. Lee Daniels (Precious) and Jason Reitman (Up in the Air) are two other first-timers, while this is Quentin Tarantino's second nod (Inglourious Basterds) – his first was for Pulp Fiction (1994).
Bigelow is only the seventh (not fourth, as previously reported) woman to get a DGA nomination in the motion picture category, following Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties, 1976), Randa Haines (Children of a Lesser God, 1986), Barbra Streisand (The Prince of Tides, 1991), Jane Campion (The Piano, 1993), Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2003), and Valerie Faris (with co-director Jonathan Dayton for Little Miss Sunshine, 2006).
I should add that Wertmüller, Campion, and Coppola went on the land Academy Award nominations as well – the only three female directors to date.
Lee Daniels is the first black filmmaker to be nominated as a motion picture director by the DGA. If the Academy nominates him, Daniels will become the second black person to receive a Best Director Oscar nod, after John Singleton for Boyz N the Hood (1991).
It isn't clear how many gay/bisexual directors have been nominated by the DGA in the past (George Cukor, for one, was nominated four times), but Daniels is surely one of the first openly gay filmmakers to get a DGA nod. Rob Marshall and Bill Condon are the only two others I can think of. Marshall won for Chicago (2002), while Condon was cited for Dreamgirls (2006).
Yolande Moreau Surprising Best Actress: National Society of Film Critics Winners
The Hurt Locker was the National Society of Film Critics' big winner. The war drama about a bomb squad doing their work in the dangerous streets of an Iraqi city was voted best film of 2009, and earned honors for director Kathryn Bigelow and actor Jeremy Renner. Most US film critic' groups have picked The Hurt Locker as the favorite film of 2009 and Bigelow as best director. Jeremy Renner has also received several citations and is up for a 2009 SAG Award.
The NSFC's best actress was – I told you not be surprised – 2008 Cesar winner Yolande Moreau for Séraphine, in which she plays Séraphine de Senlis, a houseworker who also happens to be a great artist. In December, Moreau was voted the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's best actress as well. Despite her two important wins, however, Moreau's chances at the Oscar remain at best iffy. In a weak year, she'd be in, but competition is strong for 2009, e.g., Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, Gabourey Sidibe, Sandra Bullock, Helen Mirren, Melanie Laurent, and others.
Mo'Nique once again was the best supporting actress for her vicious mother in Precious, while Christoph Waltz' even viciouser Nazi in Inglourious Basterds was – gasp! – selfless enough to share the best supporting actor award with Bright Star's Paul Schneider, who's been all but ignored this awards season. Both Mo'Nique and Waltz should have their Oscar acceptance speeches ready by now.
Joel and Ethan Coen won the best screenplay award for the black comedy A Serious Man, while Agnes Varda's autobiographical The Beaches of Agnes was the best non-fiction film. The best foreign language film was Olivier Assayas' family drama Summer Hours, which has been a critics' favorite during this awards season.
The National Society of Film Critics consists of 64 members from major US-based media outlets, most of which are based in New York and Los Angeles. Six NSFC winners matched the New York Film Critics' choices (including Christoph Waltz); eight matched the Los Angeles winners (including The Beaches of Agnes, which tied with The Cove in LA).
National Society of Film Critics Awards
1. The Hurt Locker 64 (Kathryn Bigelow)
2. Summer Hours 23 (Olivier Assayas)
3. Inglourious Basterds (17) Quentin Tarantino
1. Kathryn Bigelow 85 (The Hurt Locker)
2. Olivier Assayas 23 (Summer Hours)
3. Wes Anderson 18 (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
BEST NONFICTION FILM
1. The Beaches of Agnes 40 (Agnès Varda)
2. Tyson 30 (James Toback)
3. Anvil! The Story of Anvil 25 (Sacha Gervasi)
1. Joel and Ethan Coen 33 (A Serious Man)
2. Olivier Assayas 25 (Summer Hours)
3. Quentin Tarantino 22 (Inglourious Basterds)
1. Yolande Moreau 22 (Séraphine)
2. Meryl Streep 21 (Julie & Julia and Fantastic Mr. Fox)
3. Abbie Cornish 19 (Bright Star)
1. Jeremy Renner 30 (The Hurt Locker)
2. Jeff Bridges 24 (Crazy Heart)
3. Nicolas Cage 15 (Bad Lieutenant)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
1. Christoph Waltz 28 (Inglourious Basterds)
1. Paul Schneider 28 (Bright Star)
3. Christian McKay 27 (Me and Orson Welles)
1. The White Ribbon 33 (Christian Berger)
2. The Hurt Locker 32 (Barry Ackroyd)
3. Everlasting Moments - 19 (Jan Troell and Mischa Gavrjusjov)
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
1. Nelson Lowry 43 (Fantastic Mr. Fox)
2. Rick Carter 28 (Avatar)
3. Henry Selick 12 (Coraline)
- Restoration of Rashomon, Academy Film Archive and National Film Center of the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo, as well as Kadokawa Pictures, Inc.
- Bruce Posner for his restoration of Manhatta
- Treasures of American Film Vol. 4 (Avant Garde 1947 - 1986)
- Warner Archive Collection
- UCLA Film & Television Archive for the restoration of The Red Shoes
- Kino International, Avant Garde Vol 3. Experimental Cinema 1922 - 1954
Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, George Clooney, Carey Mulligan, Quentin Tarantino, Abbie Cornish, Inglourious Basterds, and Everlasting Moments were a few of the top contenders for the 2010 National Society of Film Critics Awards, announced earlier today. The Los Angeles Times blog The Gold Derby has a full list of the NSFC's runners-up. Things can get really twisted around when a winner isn't decided on the NSFC voting members' first ballot. (Out of its 64 members, 46 voted this year.)
Meryl Streep, for instance, was the critics' initial top choice for best actress for her portrayal of Julia Child in Julie & Julia, but by the time the second ballot was over and done with things had changed quite a bit. See, only the 20 critics present at New York City's Sardi's Restaurant were allowed to have a say after the first ballot. As a result, Streep was demoted to #2 (with 21 points), right behind César and Los Angeles Film Critics Association winner Yolande Moreau for Séraphine. Abbie Cornish was the surprising #3 choice for her performance in Jane Campion's Bright Star, deemed at one point one of the top awards-season entries – only to be snubbed by most North American critics' groups.
The NSFC's three runaway winners this year were best picture The Hurt Locker (64 points vs. 23 for Summer Hours), The Hurt Locker's director Kathryn Bigelow (85 points vs. 23 for Summer Hours' Olivier Assayas), and best foreign language film Summer Hours (61 points vs. 21 for Jan Troell's Everlasting Moments).
The 2009 National Society of Film Critics announces its award winners tomorrow, Jan. 3. Admired by those who call their choices daring, reviled by others who call their choices snotty, the NSFC has been around since the mid-60s, when it was formed as a sort of splinter group from the more “mainstream” New York Film Critics.
It's usually hard to predict the NSFC picks because they often go for less commercial films, sometimes even little-known (in the US) foreign productions, e.g., Edward Yang's Yi Yi: A One and a Two, the best picture of 2000. Possibilities this year include Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, Lone Scherfig's An Education, and Jason Reitman's Up in the Air.
Among the possible best actor winners are George Clooney for Up in the Air, Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker, and Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. Potential best actress winners include Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia, Carey Mulligan for An Education, and don't be too shocked if someone like Yolande Moreau (for Séraphine) is named the year's top actress.
Mo'Nique for Precious, Samantha Morton for The Messenger, and Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air are the top possibilities for best supporting actress, while Christoph Waltz, for Inglourious Basterds, will quite likely be the supporting actor winner.
Last year's best film was Ari Folman's anti-war animated feature Waltz with Bashir, with best director Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky and the blockbuster WALL-E as runners-up. The best actor was Sean Penn for Milk; Sally Hawkins was best actress for Happy-Go-Lucky, Eddie Marsan was best supporting actor for Happy-Go-Lucky; and Hanna Schygulla was best supporting actress for Fatih Akin's German drama The Edge of Heaven.
Of those films and performances, Waltz with Bashir was a foreign language film nominee, WALL-E won in the best animated feature category, and Sean Penn took home the best actor Oscar. The others were left out of the Academy's nominations roster. Even so, the NSFC list shouldn't be totally discarded as a possible Oscar prognosticator.
Since 2000, four of the NSFC's best picture winners garnered equivalent Oscar nominations, with one win (Million Dollar Baby). Additionally, Pan's Labyrinth was nominated in the best foreign language film category. Six of their best actors and four of their best actresses won Oscars, and two other actors and four other actresses were nominated (that includes the NSFC 2004 tie between Oscar winner Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby and Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton for Vera Drake).
And even if none of the NSFC winners get Oscar nods, use their list of winners and runners-up as a reliable suggestion of movies you should check out – even if you've never heard of them.
'Avatar' & '2012': Best Visual Effects Oscar semifinalists
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced that seven films remain in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 2010 Academy Awards.
The films are listed below in alphabetical order:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
On Thursday, January 21, members of the Academy's Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 15-minute excerpts from each of the seven shortlisted films. Following the screenings, they will vote to nominate three films for final Oscar consideration.
Considering the number of movies relying on special visual effects this year, it's a little odd that there are only seven semi-finalists in that category and that a mere three will end up getting Oscar nominations.
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.
Jeremy Renner & Mélanie Laurent: Online Film Critics Winners
Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker has just won another best picture award, this one from the Online Film Critics Society. The other nominees in that category were Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man, Pete Docter's Up, and Jason Reitman's Up in the Air.
Additionally, The Hurt Locker won for Best Director (Bigelow), Best Actor (Jeremy Renner), and Best Editing (Chris Innis and Bob Murawski). The Iraq War drama about a bomb-squad team is one of the favorites for the 2010 Academy Awards.
Quentin Tarantino's World War II revenge fantasy Inglourious Basterds also won four OFCS awards: Best Actress (Melanie Laurent), Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz), Best Original Screenplay (Tarantino), and Best Cinematography (Robert Richardson). Mo'Nique was the Best Supporting Actress for Lee Daniels' urban drama Precious.
Sacha Gervasi's Anvil!: The Story of Anvil was named Best Documentary, Pete Docter's Up was the Best Animated Feature, and Michael Haneke's 2009 European Film Award winner The White Ribbon was the Best Picture Not in the English Language.
The complete winners of the 2009 OFCS Awards:
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
Best Dir.: Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actor: Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker
Best Actress: Melanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious
Best Original Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on a book by Roald Dahl
Best Documentary: Anvil!: The Story of Anvil
Best Picture Not in the English Language: The White Ribbon
Best Animated Feature: Up
Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds
Best Score: Michael Giacchino, Up
Best Editing: Chris Innis and Bob Murawski, The Hurt Locker
Oscar Scientific and Technical Awards
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced a list of 15 scientific and technical achievements represented by 46 individual award recipients to be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation at The Beverly Wilshire on Saturday, Feb. 20.
As per the Academy's press release, “achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2009. Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.”
The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements are:
Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate)
To Mark Wolforth and Tony Sedivy for their contributions to the development of the Truelight real-time 3D look-up table hardware system.
Through the use of color management software and hardware, this complete system enables accurate color presentation in the digital intermediate preview process. The Truelight system is widely utilized in digital intermediate production environments around the world.
To Dr. Klaus Anderle, Christian Baeker and Frank Billasch for their contributions to the LUTher 3D look-up table hardware device and color management software.
The LUTher hardware was the first color look-up table processor to be widely adopted by the pioneering digital intermediate facilities in the industry. This innovation allowed the facilities to analyze projected film output and build 3D look-up tables in order to emulate print film, enabling accurate color presentation.
To Steve Sullivan, Kevin Wooley, Brett Allen and Colin Davidson for the development of the Imocap on-set performance capture system.
Developed at Industrial Light & Magic and consisting of custom hardware and software, Imocap is an innovative system that successfully addresses the need for on-set, low-impact performance capture.
To Hayden Landis, Ken McGaugh and Hilmar Koch for advancing the technique of ambient occlusion rendering.
Ambient occlusion has enabled a new level of realism in synthesized imagery and has become a standard tool for computer graphics lighting in motion pictures.
To Bjorn Heden for the design and mechanical engineering of the silent, two-stage planetary friction drive Heden Lens Motors.
Solving a series of problems with one integrated mechanism, this device had an immediate and significant impact on the motion picture industry.
Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque)
To Per Christensen and Michael Bunnell for the development of point-based rendering for indirect illumination and ambient occlusion.
Much faster than previous ray-traced methods, this computer graphics technique has enabled color bleeding effects and realistic shadows for complex scenes in motion pictures.
To Dr. Richard Kirk for the overall design and development of the Truelight real-time 3D look-up table hardware device and color management software.
This complete system enables accurate color presentation in the digital intermediate preview process. The Truelight system is widely utilized in digital intermediate production environments around the world.
To Volker Massmann, Markus Hasenzahl, Dr. Klaus Anderle and Andreas Loew for the development of the Spirit 4K/2K film scanning system as used in the digital intermediate process for motion pictures.
The Spirit 4K/2K has distinguished itself by incorporating a continuous-motion transport mechanism enabling full-range, high-resolution scanning at much higher frame rates than non-continuous transport scanners.
To Michael Cieslinski, Dr. Reimar Lenz and Bernd Brauner for the development of the ARRISCAN film scanner, enabling high-resolution, high-dynamic range, pin-registered film scanning for use in the digital intermediate process.
The ARRISCAN film scanner utilizes a specially designed CMOS array sensor mounted on a micro-positioning platform and a custom LED light source. Capture of the film's full dynamic range at various scan resolutions is implemented through sub-pixel offsets of the sensor along with multiple exposures of each frame.
To Wolfgang Lempp, Theo Brown, Tony Sedivy and Dr. John Quartel for the development of the Northlight film scanner, which enables high-resolution, pin-registered scanning in the motion picture digital intermediate process.
Developed for the digital intermediate and motion picture visual effects markets, the Northlight scanner was designed with a 6K CCD sensor, making it unique in its ability to produce high-resolution scans of 35mm, 8-perf film frames.
To Steve Chapman, Martin Tlaskal, Darrin Smart and James Logie for their contributions to the development of the Baselight color correction system, which enables real-time digital manipulation of motion picture imagery during the digital intermediate process.
Baselight was one of the first digital color correction systems to enter the digital intermediate market and has seen wide acceptance in the motion picture industry.
To Mark Jaszberenyi, Gyula Priskin and Tamas Perlaki for their contributions to the development of the Lustre color correction system, which enables real-time digital manipulation of motion picture imagery during the digital intermediate process.
Lustre is a software solution that enables non-linear, real-time digital color grading across an entire feature film, emulating the photochemical color-timing process.
To Brad Walker, D. Scott Dewald, Bill Werner and Greg Pettitt for their contributions furthering the design and refinement of the Texas Instruments DLP Projector, achieving a level of performance that enabled color-accurate digital intermediate previews of motion pictures.
Working in conjunction with the film industry, Texas Instruments created a high-resolution, color-accurate, high-quality digital intermediate projection system that could closely emulate film-based projection in a theatrical environment.
To FUJIFILM Corporation, Ryoji Nishimura, Masaaki Miki and Youichi Hosoya for the design and development of Fujicolor ETERNA-RDI digital intermediate film, which was designed exclusively to reproduce motion picture digital masters.
The Fujicolor ETERNA-RDI Type 8511/4511 digital intermediate film has thinner emulsion layers with extremely efficient couplers made possible by Super-Nano Cubic Grain Technology. This invention allows improved color sensitivity with the ability to absorb scattered light, providing extremely sharp images. The ETERNA-RDI emulsion technology also achieves less color cross-talk for exacting reproduction. Its expanded latitude and linearity provides superior highlights and shadows in a film stock with exceptional latent image stability.
To Paul Debevec, Tim Hawkins, John Monos and Mark Sagar for the design and engineering of the Light Stage capture devices and the image-based facial rendering system developed for character relighting in motion pictures.
The combination of these systems, with their ability to capture high fidelity reflectance data of human subjects, allows for the creation of photorealistic digital faces as they would appear in any lighting condition.
Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2009 will be presented on Sunday, March 7, 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.
“Countdown to the Oscars 2010” will be executive produced by Jeff Margolis.