Meryl Streep & Michelle Williams: Honorary Golden Bear & More Critics Awards

Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, Take This Waltz
Michelle Williams, Luke Kirby, Take This Waltz

With four nominations, Michel Hazanavicius' silent comedy-drama The Artist is the top nominee in the international categories of the Vancouver Film Critics Circle's 2011 Awards. (See further below the full list of Vancouver Film Critics nominations.) Starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, The Artist is set at the dawn of the talkie era, as screen icon George Valentin (Dujardin) sees his star fade while newcomer Peppy Miller (Bejo) becomes a hit in early talkies.

Hazanavicius says The Artist was inspired by the life of silent era superstar John Gilbert, but the film – officially an original screenplay – clearly owes quite a bit to What Price Hollywood? and the first two A Star Is Born movies. (Gilbert was, to a certain extent, an inspiration for those movies as well. His career stalled, while wife Ina Claire fared well in a couple of early talkies, most notably The Royal Family of Broadway. Gilbert's one-time girlfriend Greta Garbo, I should add, was a major silent film star before she became an even bigger star in talkies.)

In addition to Best Film, The Artist is up for Best Actor (Dujardin), Best Director, and Best Screenplay (also Hazanavicius). Its Best Film competitors are Alexander Payne's The Descendants, which also earned a Best Supporting Actress nod for Shailene Woodley (but not a Best Actor nod for George Clooney) and a mention for its screenplay; and Terrence Malick's Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life, which is also up for Best Director and Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain, also for Tate Taylor's The Help and Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter). Competing with Hazanavicius and Malick for Best Director is Martin Scorsese for Hugo.

Vying with Jean Dujardin in the Best Actor category are Michael Fassbender for his ever-horny but sexually frustrated New Yorker in Steve McQueen's Shame and Michael Shannon for his paranoid family man in Take Shelter. Up for Best Actress are Elizabeth Olsen for Sean Durkin's thriller Martha Marcy May Marlene, Meryl Streep for her portrayal of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, and Michelle Williams for her portrayal of another real-life individual – a much better-looking, more charming, and more intelligent one: Marilyn Monroe – in My Week with Marilyn.

The nominees for Best Documentary are Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light, James Marsh's Project Nim, Steve James' The Interrupters, and Mathieu Roy and Harold Crooks' Surviving Progress. Up for Best Foreign Language Film are Asghar Farhadi's Berlin Film Festival winner A Separation, Lee Chang-dong's Poetry, and Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Kid with a Bike.

Michelle Williams was also shortlisted in the Vancouver Critics' Canadian categories. She's a Best Actress contender for her married woman infatuated with Luke Kirby in Sarah Polley's Take This Waltz, which also features Vancouver-born Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Feature nominee Seth Rogen as Williams' husband. Distributed by Magnolia Pictures, Take This Waltz should open in the United States some time in 2012.

Other Best Actress contenders in Canadian films are two Englishwomen, Keira Knightley for A Dangerous Method and Rachel Weisz for The Whistleblower, French superstar and Johnny Depp wife Vanessa Paradis for Jean-Marc Vallée's Café de flore, and Slovakian-born actress/director/screenwriter Ingrid Veninger for her mother/indie filmmaker in i am a good person/i am a bad person.

Café de flore is also up for Best Canadian Film, along with Ed Gass-Donnelly's Small Town Murder Songs and Ken Scott's Starbuck. Gass-Donnelly, Scott, and Vallée are vying with A Dangerous Method's David Cronenberg for the Best Director award. Cronenberg's period Jung/Freud drama also earned Best Supporting Actor in a Canadian Film nominations for Vincent Cassel and Viggo Mortensen.

Curiously, Canada's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar entry, Monsieur Lazhar, was shortlisted in only one category: Mohamed Fellag is in the running for Best Actor in a Canadian Film.

And finally, animator Marv Newland (Bambi Meets Godzilla) will be handed the 2012 Achievement Award for Contribution to the British Columbia Film and Television industry at the Vancouver Critics' awards ceremony, to be held at the Railway Club on January 9.

Take This Waltz photo: Magnolia Pictures.

BEST FILM
The Artist
The Descendants
The Tree of Life

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
A Separation
Poetry
The Kid with a Bike

BEST ACTOR
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

BEST ACTRESS
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks, Drive
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, The Help, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life
Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

BEST DIRECTOR
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Martin Scorsese, Hugo

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Cave of Forgotten Dreams
The Interrupters
Nostalgia for the Light
Project Nim
Surviving Progress

BEST SCREENPLAY
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, The Descendants
Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball

BEST CANADIAN FILM
Café de flore
Small Town Murder Songs
Starbuck

BEST ACTOR IN A CANADIAN FILM
Mohamed Fellag, Monsieur Lazhar
Patrick Huard, Starbuck
Peter Stormare, Small Town Murder Songs

BEST ACTRESS IN A CANADIAN FILM
Keira Knightley, A Dangerous Method
Vanessa Paradis, Café de flore
Ingrid Veninger, i am a good person/i am a bad person
Rachel Weisz, The Whistleblower
Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A CANADIAN FILM
Vincent Cassel, A Dangerous Method
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
Seth Rogen, Take This Waltz

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A CANADIAN FILM
Hélène Florent, Café de flore
Jill Hennessy, Small Town Murder Songs
Hallie Switzer, i am a good person/i am a bad person

BEST DIRECTOR OF A CANADIAN FILM
David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method
Ed Gass-Donnelly, Small Town Murder Songs
Ken Scott, Starbuck
Jean-Marc Vallée, Café de flore

BEST BRITISH COLUMBIA FILM
Daydream Nation
People of a Feather
Sisters & Brothers

Jean Dujardin/Missi Pyle/The Artist photo: The Weinstein Company

Meryl Streep: Berlin Film Festival Honorary Golden Bear Recipient

Meryl Streep, a likely Best Actress Academy Award contender for Phyllida Lloyd's Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady, will receive an Honorary Golden Bear at the 62nd Berlin International Film Festival next February 14. As part of the ceremony, The Iron Lady will be screened at the Berlinale Palast.

If Streep does get – the inevitable – Oscar nod for The Iron Lady, that'll be her seventeenth nomination and fourteenth in the Best Actress category. She has so far won two Oscars: Best Supporting Actress for Robert Benton's father-love drama Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) and Best Actress for Alan J. Pakula's Holocaust drama Sophie's Choice (1982).

In 2003, Streep shared with fellow The Hours co-stars Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore the Berlin Film Festival's Silver Bear for Best Actress. Six years later, Streep was the recipient of the Berlinale Camera.

Among Streep's other films are Fred Zinnemann's Julia (1977), starring Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave, and in which Streep has a small supporting role; Woody Allen's Manhattan (1979), as Allen's lesbian ex-wife; Karel Reisz's The French Lieutenant's Woman, as an actress romancing Jeremy Irons; and Mike Nichols' Silkwood (1983), playing nuclear plant whistleblower Karen Silkwood.

Also: Sydney Pollack's Best Picture Oscar winner Out of Africa (1985), with Robert Redford; Hector Babenco's expensive box office flop Ironweed (1987), a Depression era drama co-starring Jack Nicholson; Susan Seidelman's comedy She-Devil (1989), with Ed Begley Jr and Roseanne Barr; Mike Nichols' Postcards from the Edge (1990), as a Carrie Fisher-like Hollywood daughter battling Shirley MacLaine's Debbie Reynolds-like mother; and in Robert Zemeckis' visual-effects-laden comedy Death Becomes Her, co-starring Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis.

Plus Clint Eastwood's romantic drama The Bridges of Madison County (1995); Spike Jonze's Adaptation (2002), with Nicolas Cage and Chris Cooper; David Frankel's The Devil Wears Prada (2006), with Anne Hathaway; Robert Altman's A Prairie Home Companion (2006), with Lily Tomlin and Lindsay Lohan; and Robert Redford's political drama Lions for Lambs (2007), with Redford and Tom Cruise.

A few recent ones: Phyllida Lloyd's musical comedy Mamma Mia! (2008), a surprising blockbuster also featuring Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, and Pierce Brosnan; John Patrick Shanley's Doubt (2008), as a stern nun after Philip Seymour Hoffman's friendly priest; and Nora Ephron's Julie & Julia (2009), as cook Julia Child in the hit comedy featuring her other Doubt co-star, Amy Adams.

As part of the Berlinale's Meryl Streep homage, the festival will screen the following Streep movies:

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
By Robert Benton
With Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Justin Henry

Sophie's Choice (1982)
By Alan J. Pakula
With Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Peter MacNicol, Günther Maria Halmer

Out of Africa (1985)
By Sidney Pollack
With Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, Klaus Maria Brandauer

The Bridges of Madison County (1995)
By Clint Eastwood
With Meryl Streep, Clint Eastwood, Victor Slezak

A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
By Robert Altman
With Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson, Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly

The Iron Lady (Great Britain 2011)
By Phyllida Lloyd
With Meryl Streep, Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Roger Allam

'Love Crime': Surprising Top Ten Movies List

The Artist topped the Top Ten Movies of 2011 list compiled by the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle. Michel Hazanavicius' French-made comedy-drama set in Hollywood at the dawn of the sound era has been a critical favorite. The Artist, which stars Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, is also a front-runner for the 2012 Academy Awards.

Among the surprises in LaSalles' list – as in, movies that haven't received very much praise elsewhere – are: Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn, set during the time Marilyn Monroe was working with Laurence Olivier on Olivier's The Prince and the Showgirl in the late '50s; Alain Corneau's last film (Corneau died in August 2010), Crime d'amour / Love Crime, a psychological crime drama starring Kristin Scott Thomas as a ruthless executive and Ludivine Sagnier as her naive assistant; and the Anne Hathaway-Jim Sturgess romantic drama One Day, a critical and box office flop.

I should add that My Week with Marilyn has been winning tons of awards and mentions, but almost invariably for star Michelle Williams' portrayal of Monroe, and, sometimes, for Kenneth Branagh's performance as Olivier.

Below is LaSalles' top ten list, which also includes several titles frequently found on other lists, e.g., Woody Allen/Owen Wilson's Midnight in Paris, Bennett Miller/Brad Pitt's Moneyball, Paul Feig/Kristen Wiig's sleeper comedy hit Bridesmaids, and David Weissman and Bill Weber's documentary about the early years of the AIDS pandemic, We Were Here.

The Artist
My Week with Marilyn
One Day
Bridesmaids
Like Crazy
We Were Here
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
Love Crime

Woody Allen & Kristen Wiig: WGA Nominations

Yesterday, Twitter was abuzz with comments about a proposed Bridesmaids sequel sans Kristen Wiig. Let Universal try that. Wiig and fellow writer Annie Mumolo have been shortlisted for their Bridesmaids screenplay for the 2012 Writers Guild of America Awards. Paul Feig directed the sleeper hit comedy. (See below the full list of 2012 WGA Award motion picture nominations.)

The Bridesmaids duo is competing with Woody Allen for his biggest box office hit in years, Midnight in Paris; Will Reiser for the well-received but financially disappointing Summit Entertainment release 50/50; Tom McCarthy for the little-seen Win Win, starring Paul Giamatti; and Diablo Cody for Young Adult, a comedy directed by Jason Reitman and starring Charlize Theron that has failed to ignite at the North American box office.

Eligible in the original screenplay category but left out were Terrence Malick's Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life, Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar (screenplay by Oscar winner Dustin Lance Black), Dee Rees' Pariah, and Miguel Arteta's Cedar Rapids (written by Phil Johnston).

The Best Adapted Screenplay shortlist includes Tate Taylor for the sleeper box office hit The Help, starring Emma Stone and Viola Davis; Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash for Payne's George Clooney vehicle The Descendants; John Logan for Martin Scorsese's period fantasy Hugo; and Steven Zaillian twice: for David Fincher's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake and, with The Social Network's Aaron Sorkin, for Bennett Miller's baseball drama Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt.

Eligible but left out of that category were Steven Spielberg's War Horse (which was also left out of the Art Directors Guild Award shortlist), George Clooney's The Ides of March, Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. When it comes to the Academy Awards, that's not a good sign for any of those movies.

The six nominees for Best Documentary Screenplay are: Better This World (Katie Galloway and Kelly Duane de la Vega), If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek), Nostalgia for the Light (Patricio Guzmán), Pina (Wim Wenders), Position Among the Stars (Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich and Leonard Retel Helmrich), and Senna (Manish Pandey). Only two of those – If a Tree Falls and Pina – are still in the running for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar.

Feature films eligible for a Writers Guild Award had to be screened for at least one week in Los Angeles during 2011 and “written under the WGA's Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) or under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement of the Australian Writers Guild, Writers Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Great Britain, Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild or the New Zealand Writers Guild.”

That leaves out the following: Rodrigo García's Albert Nobbs, Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, Mike Mills' Beginners, Roman Polanski's Carnage, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, Cary Joji Fukunaga's  Jane Eyre, Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady, Drake Doremus' Like Crazy, J.C. Chandor's  Margin Call, and Sean Durkin's Martha Marcy May Marlene.

Also: Lars von Trier's Melancholia, Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn, Gore Verbinski's Rango, Gilles Paquet-Brenner's Sarah's Key, Asghar Farhadi's A Separation, Steve McQueen's Shame, Pedro Almodóvar's The Skin I Live In, Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter, Takashi Miike's 13 Assassins, and Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

As per the WGA press release, the rules for documentaries are more lenient. Eligible documentaries “featured an onscreen writing credit and were exhibited theatrically in Los Angeles or New York for one week during 2011. Credited documentary writers were required to join the WGAW's Nonfiction Writers Caucus or the WGAE's Nonfiction Writers Caucus to be considered, but scripts need not have been written under WGA jurisdiction for consideration.”

The WGA Award winners will be announced on Sunday, Feb. 19, during simultaneous ceremonies at the Hollywood Palladium in Hollywood and at B.B. King Blues Club in New York.

Source for most of the WGA Awards' ineligible movies: hitfix.com.

Charlize Theron/Young Adult picture: Phillip V. Caruso / Paramount Pictures.

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

50/50, Written by Will Reiser; Summit Entertainment

Bridesmaids, Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig; Universal Studios

Midnight in Paris, Written by Woody Allen; Sony Pictures Classics

Win Win, Screenplay by Tom McCarthy; Story by Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni; Fox Searchlight

Young Adult, Written by Diablo Cody; Paramount Pictures

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

The Descendants, Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash; Based on the novel by Kaui Hart Hemming; Fox Searchlight

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian; Based on the novel by Stieg Larsson, originally published by Norstedts; Columbia Pictures

The Help, Screenplay by Tate Taylor; Based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett; DreamWorks Pictures

Hugo, Screenplay by John Logan; Based on the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick; Paramount Pictures

Moneyball, Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin; Based on the book by Michael Lewis; Columbia Pictures

DOCUMENTARY SCREENPLAY

Better This World, Written by Katie Galloway & Kelly Duane de la Vega; Loteria Films

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Written by Marshall Curry and Matthew Hamachek; Oscilloscope Pictures

Nostalgia for the Light, Written by Patricio Guzmán; Icarus Films

Pina, Screenplay by Wim Wenders; Sundance Selects

Position Among the Stars, Script by Hetty Naaijkens-Retel Helmrich, Leonard Retel Helmrich; HBO Films

Senna, Written by Manish Pandey; Producers Distribution Agency

Terrence Malick & Clint Eastwood Movies Bypassed: PGA Award Nominations

The biggest surprise among the Producers Guild of America (PGA) Theatrical Motion Picture nominations was the inclusion of George Clooney's political drama The Ides of March, which hasn't exactly been a critical favorite or a runaway box office hit. Also in the running for the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures are nine other narrative features, including Steven Spielberg's War Horse, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, and Martin Scorsese's Hugo. (See list of PGA Award nominations below.)

Left out of the race were Terrence Malick's Palme d'Or winner The Tree of Life, Tomas Alfredson's Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, David Cronenberg's A Dangerous Method, and Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Not to mention Lars von Trier's Melancholia, but considering the very, very mainstream bent of the Producers Guild Award voters, von Trier's apocalyptic drama had absolutely no chance to begin with.

The most curious thing about the Producers Guild choices is that they make the Broadcast Film Critics Association's Critics' Choice Awards look decidedly avant garde: in the running for the Critics Choice Award for Best Picture are both Malick's The Tree of Life and Refn's Drive. But the fact that neither movie caused much of a stir at the domestic box office doomed those two generally acclaimed efforts as far as the PGA Award voters are concerned. (Much like last year's Winter's Bone, which was bypassed by the PGA even though it went on to receive a Best Picture Oscar nod.)

The only PGA narrative feature nominee to have made less than $40 million at the domestic box office – including those released in late December – is The Artist, still doing well in limited release, with an estimated $5.4 million to date. Considering the PGA Award voters' propensity to choose well-received releases that are also box office friendly, the biggest omissions from the PGA roster are David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the year's biggest worldwide blockbuster and quite possibly the best-received Harry Potter movie, and Brad Bird/Tom Cruise's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, a late-year critical and box office hit.

Co-chaired by former Cruise business partner Paula Wagner and Michael Manheim, the 2012 Producers Guild Awards will announced the winners on January 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. This year's special honorees are Leslie Moonves (Milestone Award), Steven Spielberg (David O. Selznick Achievement Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures), Don Mischer (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Stan Lee (Vanguard Award), and the Angelina Jolie-directed In the Land of Blood and Honey (Stanley Kramer Award).

Partial list below.

Owen Wilson/Alison Pill/Midnight in Paris photo: Roger Arpajou / Sony Pictures Classics

MOTION PICTURES

Darryl F. Zanuck Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures

THE ARTIST
Prod.: Thomas Langmann

BRIDESMAIDS
Prod.: Judd Apatow, Barry Mendel, Clayton Townsend

THE DESCENDANTS
Prod.: Jim Burke, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO
Prod.: Ceán Chaffin, Scott Rudin

THE HELP
Prod.: Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, Brunson Green

HUGO
Prod.: Graham King, Martin Scorsese

THE IDES OF MARCH
Prod.: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Brian Oliver

MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Prod.: Letty Aronson, Stephen Tenenbaum

MONEYBALL
Prod.: Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz, Brad Pitt

WAR HORSE
Prod.: Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN
Prod.: Peter Jackson, Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg

CARS 2
Prod.: Denise Ream

KUNG FU PANDA 2
Prod.: Melissa Cobb

PUSS IN BOOTS
Prod.: Joe M. Aguilar, Latifa Ouaou

RANGO
Prod.: John B. Carls, Gore Verbinski

Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures

BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST
Prod.: Michael Rapaport, Edward Parks (*additional producers eligibility pending arbitration completion)

BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK
Prod.: Philip Gefter

PROJECT NIM
Prod.: Simon Chinn

SENNA
Prod.: James Gay-Rees

THE UNION
Prod.: Cameron Crowe, Michelle Panek

TELEVISION

David L. Wolper Award in Long-Form Television 

“Cinema Verite” (HBO)
Prod.: Zanne Devine, Karyn McCarthy

“Downton Abbey” (Masterpiece) (PBS)
Prod.: Julian Fellowes, Nigel Marchant, Gareth Neame

“The Kennedys” (ReelzChannel) Prod.: Jon Cassar, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Kronish, Steve Michaels, Michael Prupas, Jamie Paul Rock, Joel Surnow

Mildred Pierce” (HBO)
Prod.: Todd Haynes, Pamela Koffler, Ilene S. Landress, Christine Vachon

“Too Big To Fail” (HBO)
Prod.: Carol Fenelon, Jeffrey Levine, Paula Weinstein

The Danny Thomas Award for Episodic Television, Comedy

“30 Rock” (NBC)
Prod.: Robert Carlock, Tina Fey, Marci Klein, Jerry Kupfer, Lorne Michaels, David Miner, Jeff Richmond, John Riggi, Don Scardino

“The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Prod.: Chuck Lorre, Steve Molaro, Faye Oshima, Bill Prady

“Glee” (FOX)
Prod.: Ian Brennan, Dante Di Loreto, Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy, Kenneth Silverstein

“Modern Family” (ABC)
Prod.: Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Jeffrey Richman, Dan O'Shannon, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker

“Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
Prod.: Greg Daniels, Dan Goor, Howard Klein, Amy Poehler, Morgan Sackett, Michael Schur

The Norman Felton Award for Episodic Television, Drama

“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Prod.: Eugene Kelly, Howard Korder, Stephen Levinson, Martin Scorsese, Rudd Simmons, Tim Van Patten, Terence Winter

“Dexter” (Showtime)
Prod.: Sara Colleton, John Goldwyn, Chip Johannessen, Robert Lloyd Lewis

“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Prod.: David Benioff, Frank Doelger, Mark Huffam, Carolyn Strauss, D.B. Weiss

“The Good Wife” (CBS)
Prod.: Brooke Kennedy, Michelle King, Robert King, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott, David W. Zucker

“Mad Men” (AMC)
Prod.: Jonathan Abrahams, Scott Hornbacher, Andre Jacquemetton, Maria Jacquemetton, Blake McCormick, Dwayne Shattuck, Dahvi Waller, Matthew Weiner

The Ides of March picture: Saeed Adyani / Columbia Pictures.

Chimpanzee, Elton John, Ayrton Senna, A Tribe Called Quest: PGA Documentary Nominations

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced last Dec. 2 the Documentary Theatrical Motion Picture nominees of 2011. The nominated films are:

• BEATS, RHYMES & LIFE: THE TRAVELS OF A TRIBE CALLED QUEST directed by Michael Rapaport

• BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK directed by Richard Press

• PROJECT NIM directed by James Marsh

• SENNA directed by Asif Kapadia

• THE UNION directed by Cameron Crowe

As per the PGA's press release, “Producers Guild arbitrations for individual producer credit determination for all film and television categories were still underway” at the time. Hence, no producers' credits as yet. (Those will come out today.)

Of the five PGA nominees, only Richard Press' Bill Cunningham New York, about fashion photographer Cunningham, and James Marsh's Project Nim, about a chimpanzee raised as a human, are to be found on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences list of Best Documentary Feature semi-finalists.

Also worth noting is that whereas the Academy's semi-finalists mostly focus on “serious” issues – the U.S. justice system, the Iraq War, the environment, AIDS – the PGA documentaries, with the exception of the anthropological Project Nim, are about “lighter” fare: the aforementioned Bill Cunningham New York; Asif Kapadia's Senna, about Brazilian car racer Ayrton Senna; Michael Rapaport's Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest, a look at the hip hop band A Tribe Called Quest; and Cameron Crowe's The Union, which isn't about labor organizing, but about the making of Elton John and Leon Russell's album “The Union,” produced by T Bone Burnett.

Other Producers Guild Award categories, including the narrative motion picture nominees, will be announced today. Co-chaired by Michael Manheim and former Tom Cruise partner Paula Wagner, the PGA Awards will be handed out on January 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Special 2012 PGA honorees include Steven Spielberg, Leslie Moonves, Don Mischer, Stan Lee, and Angelina Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey.

Project Nim photo: Red Box Films

'Tintin,' 'Harry Potter': Art Directors Guild Nominations

The Art Directors Guild (ADG) 2011 nominations include a few surprises, most notably the omissions of Steven Spielberg's War Horse, Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar, Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, and Francis Lawrence's Water for Elephants in the Period Film category; Kenneth Branagh's Thor and Michael Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon in the Fantasy Film category; and Brad Bird's Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol and George Clooney's Producers Guild Award nominee The Ides of March in the Contemporary Film category. (See below the full list of Art Directors Guild nominations.)

The omission of War Horse is particularly glaring because Spielberg's period drama is considered one of the front-runners for the 2012 Best Picture Academy Award. Two years ago, the film's production designer, Rick Carter, shared an Academy Award and an ADG Award for James Cameron's Avatar. Additionally, Carter was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Robert Zemeckis' Forrest Gump (1994) and received ADG nominations for two Spielberg movies: Amistad (1997) and A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001).

Curiously, Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin, a 3D motion-capture animated feature, was shortlisted in the Fantasy Film category. The other nominees in that category are Captain America: The First Avenger, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, Cowboys & Aliens, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

The five nominees in the Period Film category are The Help, The Artist, Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Anonymous (but not Coriolanus). The Contemporary Film nominees are The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Descendants, Drive, and Bridesmaids.

Last year, all five films nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Art Direction category had been previously shortlisted by the Art Directors Guild. Two of those were in the Period Film category (The King's Speech, True Grit) and three in the Fantasy Film category (Inception, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, and the eventual winner, Alice in Wonderland).

The Art Directors Guild Awards ceremony will take place Saturday, February 4, at the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. Paula Poundstone will serve as host for the third consecutive year.

At the ceremony, production designer Tony Walton will receive the guild's Lifetime Achievement Award, while many of those involved in the making of the Harry Potter movies – including director David Yates, creator and author J.K. Rowling, screenwriter Steve Kloves, and production designer Stuart Craig – will be handed the Cinematic Imagery Award. Partial list.

FEATURE FILMS

Period Film

THE ARTIST Production Designer: Laurence Bennett 
HUGO Production Designer: Dante Ferretti
THE HELP Production Designer: Mark Ricker
ANONYMOUS Production Designer: Sebastian Krawinkel
TINKER TAYLOR SOLDIER SPY Production Designer: Maria Djurkovic

Fantasy Film

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 Production Designer: Stuart Craig
CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER Production Designer: Rick Heinrichs
THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: THE SECRET UNICORN Production Designer: TBD
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES Production Designer: John Myhre
COWBOYS & ALIENS Production Designer: Scott Chambliss

Contemporary Film

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO Production Designer: Donald Graham Burt
THE DESCENDANTS Production Designer: Jane Anne Stewart
EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE Production Designer: K. K. Barrett
DRIVE Production Designer: Beth Mickle
BRIDESMAIDS Production Designer: Jefferson Sage

 

TELEVISION

One-Hour Single Camera Television Series

BOARDWALK EMPIRE
Episode: 21 Production Designer: Bill Groom

GAME OF THRONES
Episode: A Golden Crown Production Designer: Gemma Jackson

AMERICAN HORROR STORY
Episode: Murder House Production Designer: Mark Worthington 

THE PLAYBOY CLUB
Episode: The Scarlet Bunny Production Designer: Scott P. Murphy

PAN AM
Episode: Pilot Production Designer: Bob Shaw

 

Television Movie or Mini-Series

MILDRED PIERCE Production Designer: Mark Friedberg
CINEMA VERITE Production Designer: Patti Podesta 
TOO BIG TO FAIL Production Designer: Bob Shaw
THE HOUR Production Designer: Eve Stewart
BLING RING Production Designer: Robb Wilson King

 

Episode of a Half Hour Single-Camera Television Series

MODERN FAMILY
Episode: Express Christmas Production Designer: Richard Berg

30 ROCK
Episode: Double-Edged Sword Production Designer: Keith Ian Raywood, Teresa Mastropierro

WEEDS
Episode: Game-Played Production Designer: Joseph P. Lucky

CALIFORNICATION
Episode: Monkey Business Production Designer: Michael Wylie

NEW GIRL
Episode: Pilot Production Designer: Jefferson D. Sage

'Harry Potter' & 'Transformers 3': Oscar Visual Effects Semi-Finalists

It's not often that you find a heavy family drama listed among the year's semi-finalists for the Best Visual Effects Academy Award. But that's the case of Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, which has been shortlisted along with nine other movies, including Martin Scorsese's period fantasy Hugo, David Yates/Daniel Radcliffe's blockbuster Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the Tom Cruise box office hit Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, and Johnny Depp's most recent pirate movie, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Below is the full list of semi-finalists, in alphabetical order:

  • Captain America: The First Avenger
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
  • Hugo
  • Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
  • Real Steel
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon
  • The Tree of Life
  • X-Men: First Class

Absent from the roster are Guy Ritchie/Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Kenneth Branagh/Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Martin Campbell/Ryan Reynolds' Green Lantern, J.J. Abrams' Super 8, Jon Favreau/Harrison Ford/Daniel Craig's Cowboys & Aliens, Jonathan Liebesman's Battle: Los Angeles, Tarsem Singh/Henry Cavill's Immortals, and Justin Lin/Paul Walker/Vin Diesel's Fast Five.

As per the Academy's press release, “all members of the Visual Effects Branch will be invited to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the 10 shortlisted films on Thursday, January 19. Following the screenings, the members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.”

The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the United States, the telecast will be broadcast live on ABC. The Oscarcast will also be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon photo: Mark Fellman / Paramount Pictures.

Michelle Williams/Simon Curtis/My Week with Marilyn photo: Laurence Cendrowicz / The Weinstein Company

Meryl Streep & Michelle Williams: Honorary Golden Bear & More Critics Awards © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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