Jason Reitman's comedy-drama Up in the Air was voted the best film, but as it's happened before Kathryn Bigelow was the best director for the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. Also as it's happened before, Reitman and Sheldon Turner's screenplay was chosen as the best of the year (in the adapted category), while The Hurt Locker's Mark Boal is nowhere to be found in the list of winners. In Up in the Air, George Clooney stars as a frequent-flying corporate-downsizing expert.
Meryl Streep was the best actress for her star turn as Julia Child in Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia (Amy Adams' Julie hasn't been at all lucky this awards season), while Mo'Nique won for her abusive mother in Lee Daniels' Precious and Christoph Waltz for his multilingual Nazi in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino's World War II revenge fantasy also earned the director-screenwriter the best original screenplay award. Pete Docter's Up was the best animated feature.
The unusual suspects rounded up by the Kansas City critics were two: Matteo Garrone's Camorra saga Gomorrah, chosen as the best foreign language film, and best documentary Every Little Step, Adam Del Deo and James D. Stern's portrait of auditions for a Broadway revival of A Chorus Line.
Kansas City Film Critics Awards
Best Film - Up in the Air
Best Foreign Language Film - Gomorrah
Best Documentary - Every Little Step
Best Animated Film - Up
Best Director - Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Actress - Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
Best Actor - George Clooney, Up in the Air
Best Supporting Actress - Mo'Nique, Precious
Best Supporting Actor - Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Best Original Screenplay - Inglourious Basterds
Best Adapted Screenplay - Up in the Air
Vince Koehler Award for Outstanding Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror Film - District 9
Oscar ballots mailed out
Pictured above is an actual Oscar ballot for the Best Picture of 2009. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mailed Oscar ballots of various kinds to its 5,777 voting members on Dec. 28, '09.
According to the Academy's preferential voting system, every vote is supposed to count – unless, of course, none of your choices make it into the top ten (for Best Picture) or top five (in case you belong to a specific individual branch* as well).
Having said that, I should add that at most only one choice per ballot will be counted. It could be your first choice, or (much less likely) your fifth choice, or (much, much less likely) your tenth choice. But only one will be counted depending on who/which movie among your choices has the best chance of landing a nomination.
Sounds complicated? Well, it could always be more mind-boggling.
* At the Oscars, actors vote for actors, directors for directors, screenwriters for screenwriters, and so on.
Best Picture contenders
This year's potential Best Picture Oscar contenders include:
- Jason Reitman's Up in the Air, with George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, and Anna Kendrick.
- Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker, with Jeremy Renner.
- James Cameron's Avatar, with Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver.
'It's Complicated' actors to host Oscar ceremony
The 2010 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
The 2010 Oscar ceremony will take place on Sunday, March 7, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles. In the U.S., the Oscarcast will be televised live by ABC.
Both Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, who co-star with Meryl Streep in Nancy Meyers' romantic comedy hit It's Complicated (not about the Academy Awards' preferential voting system), will share duties as Oscar hosts.
Best Picture Oscar ballot photo: Greg Harbaugh / © A.M.P.A.S.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (A.M.P.A.S.) website.
'Avatar' In, Oprah Winfrey Out: Producers Guild Nominations
Jan. 5 update: James Cameron's Avatar, J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, and Neill Blomkamp's sleeper hit District 9 are three science-fiction films included in the Producers Guild of America's list of nominees for best narrative feature of 2009. Two other major box office hits were included in the list as well, Pete Docter's animated Up and Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, in addition to a couple of smaller but successful productions, Lee Daniels' Precious and Jason Reitman's Up in the Air.
Also included were critics' favorite The Hurt Locker, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, Lone Scherfig's British drama An Education, and, somewhat surprisingly, Clint Eastwood's box office disappointment Invictus, in which Morgan Freeman plays Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon a South African rugby player.
Missing from the list are two high-profile year-end releases, Rob Marshall's all-star musical Nine and Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, though Jackson did get in as one of the District 9 producers. Also missing are Marc Webb's (500) Days of Summer, three successful female-centered productions – John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side, Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia, Nancy Meyers' It's Complicated – and well-received smaller films that failed to make a box office and/or year-end awards splash, such as Amreeka, A Serious Man, A Single Man, The Last Station, and Crazy Heart.
In the best animated feature category, Up is joined by 9, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and The Princess and the Frog. Missing from this list is Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
Only four documentaries made the cut – Burma VJ, The Cove, Sergio, and Soundtrack for a Revolution – whereas the longform television category has six nominees: Georgia O'Keeffe, Grey Gardens, Little Dorrit, Prayers for Bobby, The Prisoner, and Taking Chance. Missing from the documentary list are Agnes Varda's The Beaches of Agnes, Sacha Gervasi's Anvil! The Story of Anvil, and Robert Kenner's Food, Inc.
The PGA will announce its winners on Jan. 24.
The Academy is probably hoping that Oscar voters will follow the Producers Guild of America' lead, as their top-ten list features one mega-blockbuster, James Cameron's Avatar (more than $1 billion worldwide), and no less than four blockbusters: J.J. Abrams' Star Trek, Pete Docter's Up, Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds and Neill Blomkamp's District 9. The rationale is that bigger movies are supposed to result in bigger TV ratings.
Cameron's Titanic raked in solid viewership numbers back in 1998, but it's been mostly downhill from there. Last year, the Oscar ceremony got an audience bump that was credited to the presence of teen heartthrobs Robert Pattinson (fresh off of Twilight) and Zac Efron (of High School Musical infamy). If Oscar ceremony organizers are smart, they'll have Pattinson and Efron back this year – and a high-school vampire dance number, just in case.
But will the Academy's list match the Producers'? Early last year, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight – the year's biggest blockbuster – was one of the Producers Guild nominees, but it failed to get an Oscar nomination for best picture. The much smaller The Reader, a Weinstein Co. release directed by Stephen Daldry, replaced it at Oscar time.
With ten available slots this year, the makers of Avatar needn't worry. But the chances for several of the other blockbusters on the list – District 9, Star Trek, Up – is iffier. The Oscar-savvy Weinstein Co., for instance, is pushing Nine, and the first and last time an animated feature received an Oscar nod was back in early 1992, when Beauty and the Beast sneaked in. Also, actors – not producers – form the largest group of Academy members.
And finally, although she's a walking, talking blockbuster, Oprah Winfrey's name is nowhere to be found among the PGA nominees and has no chance of getting an Oscar nomination because she was billed as one of Precious' executive producers. Only “producers” get to be nominated. (Also, Winfrey's actual participation on the making of the film has been questioned of late.)
Producers Guild nominations
BEST NARRATIVE FEATURE
Prod.: James Cameron, Jon Landau
Prod.: Carolynne Cunningham, Peter Jackson
Prod.: Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
The Hurt Locker
Producer(s): Awaiting final credit determination.
Prod.: Lawrence Bender
Prod.: Clint Eastwood, Rob Lorenz, Lori McCreary , Mace Neufeld
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire
Prod.: Lee Daniels, Gary Magness, Sarah Siegel-Magness
Prod.: J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Prod.: Jonas Rivera
Up In The Air
Producer(s): Awaiting final credit determination.
Directors Guild & Producers Guild to Announce Nominees: Quentin Tarantino?
Jan 4 early morning: Below is a partial list of film award announcements to come out in the next week. The most important among those six announcements is the 2010 People's Choice Awards – well, at least in terms of populist appeal. Among this year's nominees are Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Star Trek, The Hangover, The Proposal, Twilight, Robert Pattinson, Johnny Depp, Kristen Stewart, Jennifer Aniston, Sandra Bullock, Ben Stiller, Miley Cyrus, Hugh Jackman, and Ryan Reynolds. (Avatar isn't listed because it opened in mid-December. But it'll be there when the 2010 nominations come out later this year; also, I couldn't quite figure out if the shortlisted Twilight is the 2008 release or The Twilight Saga: New Moon.)
But the most important announcements when it comes to the Oscars are, you guessed it, both the Producers Guild of America (PGA) and the Directors Guild of America (DGA) nominations. Ten films will be shortlisted by the producers; five directors will be in contention for the DGA Award. Who do I think will be nominated by the DGA? Let's see: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker, Jason Reitman for Up in the Air, Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds, Lee Daniels for Precious, and James Cameron for Avatar.
Of those five, I'd say Lee Daniels is the iffiest. If not Daniels, then Pete Docter for Up or Joel and Ethan Coen for A Serious Man. I don't believe that Lone Scherfig for An Education, Olivier Assayas for Summer Hours, Rob Marshall for Nine, Nancy Meyers for It's Complicated, or Michael Haneke for The White Ribbon have much of a chance here, but who knows?
Remember, a DGA nod doesn't necessarily mean an Oscar nod. According to online reports, the DGA has about 13,000 members, including thousands of television directors and assistant directors (some are both). The Directors Branch of the Academy has less than 400 members.
Jan. 5 - Producers Guild of America nominations
Jan. 5 - USC Scripter Awards nominations
Jan. 6 - Online Film Critics (winners)
Jan. 6 - People's Choice Awards (winners)
Jan. 7 – Directors Guild of America nominations
Jan. 8 - Art Directors Guild nominations
Award winning Production Designer Michael Baugh will receive the Creative Leadership Award at the 2010 Art Directors Guild (ADG) Awards ceremony on Feb. 13. The award will be presented at a black-tie gathering at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
Art Director Michael Baugh to Be Honored
The information below is from the ADG's press release:
Baugh is being honored for serving on the Board of the Art Directors Guild in various positions for more than 30 years - longer than any other designer in the Guild's history - including two terms as President. He is currently the Treasurer, and also edits Perspective, the Guild's bi-monthly magazine. He has produced the annual ADG Awards event twice, and created the Guild's non-profit Center for Film and Television Design.
Multiple Emmy winning Production Designer and Art Directors Guild officer, Michael Baugh, a Los Angeles native, studied stage design and lighting at Yale University before returning home and beginning a 45 year career in television and feature films. Directly out of college, he had the good fortune to contact ADG Hall of Fame designer Romain Johnston at the exact moment he needed help, and became his assistant. Their partnership continued for three more years, until Baugh was moved up to design a series on his own. At twenty-five years old, he was the youngest production designer in network television. For the next seven years, his work included musical and variety series for Jim Nabors and Leslie Uggams and specials for Doris Day, Dick Van Dyke, and Bill Cosby.
A two-year staff position at KCET's then-new facilities allowed Baugh to stretch his talents, designing five classic PBS dramatic specials, including George Bernard Shaw's Man of Destiny and Sean O'Casey's Shadow of a Gunman. This experience led him directly into film, and during his long career, he designed more than 70 television movies and miniseries, along with over 800 episodes of television series, and 12 feature films. He has been nominated 10 times for an Emmy Award, and has won three of them, for series such as Columbo, and Nothing Sacred, and for television movies such as Buffalo Soldiers, Blind Ambition and American Tragedy. He has also been nominated six times for Art Directors Guild Awards.
Nominations for the 14th ADG Awards will be announced on Jan. 8. On awards night, February 13, the ADG will present winners in nine competitive categories for theatrical films, television productions and commercials, along with a Lifetime Achievement Award for Production Designer Terence Marsh and the award for Outstanding Contribution to Cinematic Imagery, which is being given to Warren Beatty. In addition, there will also be a presentation of the three newest Production Designers to be inducted into the ADG's Hall of Fame: Malcolm F. Brown, Bob Keene and Ferdinando Scarfiotti.
Photo: Courtesy of the Art Directors Guild
'Avatar,' 'Star Trek': Art Directors Guild Nominations
Avatar, Inglourious Basterds, The Lovely Bones, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and The Hurt Locker are five of the fifteen nominated films in the Art Directors Guild's three categories for excellence in production design in 2009. The lists' most glaring absentee is Rob Marshall's elaborate musical Nine.
In the fantasy category, joining Avatar and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince are Star Trek, Where the Wild Things Are, and District 9. In the period category, Inglourious Basterds is joined by Julie & Julia, Public Enemies, Sherlock Holmes, and A Serious Man. In the contemporary category, The Hurt Locker and The Lovely Bones (not “fantasy”?) are joined by The Hangover, Up in the Air, and Angels & Demons.
In addition to Nine, other films left out of the ADG's roster are Bright Star, An Education, Broken Embraces, It's Complicated, The White Ribbon, and Red Cliff.
The Art Directors Guild winners will be announced Feb. 13 at the ADG's 14th awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton. Special honorees include Warren Beatty, Terence Marsh, and Michael Baugh.
A SERIOUS MAN, JESS GONCHOR
INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, DAVID WASCO
JULIE & JULIA, MARK RICKER
PUBLIC ENEMIES, NATHAN CROWLEY
SHERLOCK HOLMES, SARAH GREENWOOD
AVATAR, RICK CARTER,
DISTRICT 9, PHILIP IVEY
HARRY POTTER & THE
HALF-BLOOD PRINCE, STUART CRAIG
STAR TREK, SCOTT CHAMBLISS
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE, K.K. BARRETT
ANGELS & DEMONS, ALLAN CAMERON
THE HANGOVER, BILL BRZESKI
THE HURT LOCKER, KARL JULIUSSON
THE LOVELY BONES, NAOMI SHOHAN
UP IN THE AIR, STEVE SAKLAD
Television Movie or Mini-Series
BEN 10 ALIEN SWARM, YUDA ACCO
GREY GARDENS, KALINA IVANOV
THE PRISONER, MICHAEL PICKWOAD
George Clooney & Carey Mulligan Win More U.S. Critics Awards
Not too many surprises among the Central Ohio Film Critics Association's 2009 winners.
In the last few weeks, Up in the Air, George ClooneCarey Mulligan, Up, Mo'Nique, and Christoph Waltz have all been cited a number of times by other critics' groups throughout the United States. The one Central Ohio win that could be considered an upset took place in the foreign language film category: Ari Folman's anti-war animated drama/documentary Waltz with Bashir hasn't been mentioned by anyone this awards season because it was up for all sorts of awards in late '08/early '09.
Even the Central Ohio critics' list of ten best films of 2009 basically matched choices made elsewhere. But if we look at their runner-up for best cinematography, then Anthony Dod Mantle is an eye-popping choice for Lars von Trier's Antichrist, which has been all but ignored by US film critics' groups. Mantle, however, did win the European Film Award for best cinematography for his work on both Antichrist and Slumdog Millionaire.
And it's good to see Ramin Bahrani's Goodbye Solo remembered by someone.
Below is the full list of the Central Ohio critics' winners and runners-up. Source: indieWIRE.
Central Ohio Film Critics Awards
1. Up in the Air
3. An Education
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox
5. Inglourious Basterds
6. The Hurt Locker
7. In the Loop
8. (500) Days of Summer
9. A Serious Man
10. A Single Man
Best Foreign Language Film: Waltz with Bashir
Runner-up: Summer Hours
Best Documentary: Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Runner-up: The Cove
Best Animated Film: Up
Runner-up: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Best Dir.: Jason Reitman, Up in the Air
Runner-up: Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Best Actor: George Clooney, Up in the Air
Runner-up: Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
Best Actress: Carey Mulligan, An Education
Runner-up: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Antichrist
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Peter Capaldi, In the Loop
Best Supporting Actress: Mo'Nique, Precious
Runner-up: Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds
Best Ensemble: Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Up in the Air
Best Adapted Screenplay Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner, Up in the Air
Runner-up: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach, Fantastic Mr. Fox
Best Original Screenplay Quentin Tarantino, Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Pete Docter, Bob Peterson, Up
Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, Inglourious Basterds
Runner-up: Anthony Dod Mantle, Antichrist
Best Score: Michael Giacchino, Up
Runner-up: Carter Burwell and Karen O., Where the Wild Things Are
Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work): George Clooney, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Men Who Stare at Goats and Up in the Air
Runner-up: Woody Harrelson, The Messenger and Zombieland
Breakthrough Film Artist: Carey Mulligan, An Education (for acting)
Runner-up: Neill Blomkamp, District 9 (for directing and screenwriting)
Best Overlooked Film: Goodbye Solo
George Clooney & Meryl Streep: SAG Awards Presenters
Alec Baldwin, George Clooney, Jane Lynch, Michelle Monaghan, Chris O'Donnell, Anna Paquin, Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci have been announced as presenters at the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards. Additionally, previously announced presenter Sandra Bullock will hand out SAG's Life Achievement Award to Betty White.
Both Alec Baldwin and George Clooney have won four SAG Awards (or Actors). Meryl Streep has won two. All three have been nominated this year: Baldwin for the TV series 30 Rock, Clooney for Up in the Air, and Streep for Julie & Julia.
Three-time Actor nominee Anna Paquin is in the running again as a member of the ensemble in the HBO television series True Blood, while two-time Actor nominee Stanley Tucci is up for best supporting actor for The Lovely Bones.
The 16th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards ceremony will be simulcast live on TNT and TBS from the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), 7 p.m. (CT) and 6 p.m. (MT). An encore presentation will air on TNT at 11 p.m. (ET/PT). (Viewers watching via satellite or in HD should check local listings.)
Preceding the SAG Awards ceremony will be the premiere of “TNT and PEOPLE Magazine Present the SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® RED CARPET SHOW” at 7:30 p.m. (ET/PT), 6:30 p.m. (CT) and 5:30 p.m. (MT) and the annual tnt.tv and tbs.com Red Carpet Webcast at 6:30 p.m. (ET), 5:30 p.m. (CT), 4:30 p.m. (MT) and 3:30 p.m. (PT).
Photo: Courtesy of the Screen Actors Guild
Meryl Streep & George Clooney Take Over Texas
Pegasus News reports that Jason Reitman's Up in the Air was the best picture of 2009 according to the ten members of the North Texas Film Critics Association that got together at a Dallas cafe this past Saturday.
Matching the choices of numerous other US-based critics' groups, the NTFCA chose Kathryn Bigelow as best director for the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker, Pete Docter's Up as best animated feature, and Louie Psihoyos' The Cove as best documentary. The acting categories mostly belonged to the usual suspects as well: George Clooney for Up in the Air, Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia, and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds.
The one variation in that category was Anna Kendrick's win in the best supporting actress category, which has been the domain of Precious' Mo'Nique. Kendrick plays Clooney's assistant of sorts in Up in the Air.
Another surprise was the choice of best foreign language film: Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, chiefly because it didn't open in the US in 2009. Even so, Audiard's prison drama starring Tahar Rahim was also the 2009 National Board of Review's winner.
North Texas Film Critics Awards
Up in the Air
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Anna Kendrick, Up in the Air