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Home Movie Awards Stranger by the Lake: Sexually Explicit Gay Thriller Is Revered French Film Magazine Pick

Stranger by the Lake: Sexually Explicit Gay Thriller Is Revered French Film Magazine Pick

Stranger by the Lake Pierre Deladonchamps Christophe Paou: Cahiers du Cinéma explicit gay sex pick
Stranger by the Lake: Sexually explicit gay thriller with Pierre Deladonchamps and Christophe Paou. Winner of a Cannes side award regrettably named Queer Palm, Alain Guiraudie’s erotic thriller Stranger by the Lake / L’inconnu du lac landed the no. 1 spot on Cahiers du Cinéma‘s list of the year’s Top Ten movies. In the film, a young man (Pierre Deladonchamps) falls in lust with a handsome stranger (Christophe Paou) while they’re both spending their summer by a secluded lake frequented by gay men. The sex between the two is so good that the young man feels tempted to ignore the fact that the handsome stranger has a curious character flaw: he’s a psychopathic murderer.
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1. ‘Cahiers du Cinéma’ Top Ten Films: Gay erotic thriller ‘Stranger by the Lake’ is no. 1 pick

‘Cahiers du Cinéma’ Top Ten Films: Gay erotic thriller ‘Stranger by the Lake’ is no. 1 pick

Alain Guiraudie’s gay erotic thriller Stranger by the Lake / L’inconnu du lac, about a young man (Pierre Deladonchamps) who falls in lust with a suspected murderer (Christophe Paou), was the no. 1 movie of 2013 according to the French magazine Cahiers du Cinéma, which announced its Top Ten films (see further below) in late November.

Back in the spring, Stranger by the Lake, which created a bit of a stir because of its sexually explicit scenes, won the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.

Mainstream Hollywood & Girls Gone Wild surprise

The Cahiers du Cinéma voters usually stay away from commercial Hollywood fare, but every now and then they’ll include some mainstream American flick on their Top Ten list – e.g., J.J. Abrams’ Super 8 in 2011; Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino and Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009. This year there were two: Alfonso Cuarón’s adventure melodrama Gravity and Steven Spielberg’s historical drama Lincoln.

A less commercial – and, really, more surprising – inclusion was that of Harmony Korine’s Girls Gone Wild thriller Spring Breakers, a minor domestic sleeper hit featuring the likes of Vanessa Hudgens, Selena Gomez, and a gold-toothed, fully tattooed James Franco.

Last year, Cahiers du Cinéma‘s top movies were two (quite literally) white limo releases:

  • Leos Carax’s Holy Motors.
    Cast: Denis Lavant. Edith Scob. Kyle Minogue. Eva Mendes. Michel Piccoli.
  • David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis.
    Cast: Robert Pattinson. Juliette Binoche. Paul Giamatti. Sarah Gadon. Samantha Morton. Jay Baruchel. Mathieu Amalric.

‘Cahiers du Cinéma’: Top Ten films of 2013

1. Stranger by the Lake / L’inconnu du lac.
Director: Alain Guiraudie.
Cast: Pierre de Ladonchamps. Christophe Paou.

2. Spring Breakers.
Director: Harmony Korine.
Cast: Selena Gomez. Vanessa Hudgens. James Franco. Ashley Benson. Rachel Korine.

3. Blue Is the Warmest Color / La vie d’Adèle.
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche.
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos. Léa Seydoux.

4. Gravity.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón.
Cast: Sandra Bullock. George Clooney.

5. A Touch of Sin.
Director: Jia Zhangke.
Cast: Jiang Wu. Vivien Li. Luo Lanshan. Wang Baoqiang.

6. Lincoln.
Director: Steven Spielberg.
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis. Sally Field. Tommy Lee Jones.

7. Jealousy / La jalousie.
Director: Philippe Garrel.
Cast: Louis Garrel. Anna Mouglalis.

8. Nobody’s Daughter Haewon / Haewon et les hommes.
Director: Hong Sang-soo.
Cast: Eun-Chae Jeong. Lee Seon-gyun.

9. You and the Night / Les rencontres d’après minuit.
Director: Yann Gonzalez.
Cast: Laetitia Dosch. Vincent Macaigne.

10. Age of Panic / La bataille de Solférino.
Director: Justine Triet.
Cast: Kate Moran. Niels Schneider. Nicolas Maury. Eric Cantona.

Check out: NYFCC Winners include Jennifer Lawrence & “risqué” lesbian love story.

Her movie Joaquin Phoenix: San Diego Film Critics mostly mainstream + Emmanuel Lubezki surprise
Her movie with Joaquin Phoenix. This year, the choices of the generally out-there San Diego Film Critics Society have been surprisingly mainstream, with two Warner Bros. releases winning key awards: Spike Jonze’s Her and Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity – the latter one of the year’s top box office hits. But, all not being lost, there was a trio of major surprises as well, most notably Emmanuel Lubezki topping the Best Cinematography category not for Gravity, but for To the Wonder.

‘Her’ tops San Diego Film Critics Awards

The San Diego Film Critics Society has announced its 2013 awards. The finalists were quite eclectic, ranging from Best Actress nominee Brie Larson for Short Term 12 to Best Film nominee Gravity. The list of winners, however, tended to be – somewhat surprisingly – quite mainstream. In other words, no Stranger by the Lake or similar anywhere. (Check out further below the full list of San Diego Film Critics winners and nominees.)

For starters, Warner Bros.’ Spike Jonze-directed Her, starring Joaquin Phoenix as a shy, lonely man who becomes emotionally attached to a Scarlett Johansson-voiced computer operating system, was chosen as Best Film, in addition to topping the Best Original Screenplay (also Spike Jonze) and Best Score (Arcade Fire) categories.

Alfonso Cuarón was the Best Director for another Warner Bros. release, Gravity, a 3D space action melodrama about an astronaut/biomedical engineer and bereaved Mom (Sandra Bullock) who learns that, no matter what, Life Is Worth Living. George Clooney co-stars.

Oscar Isaac & Cate Blanchett top acting categories

Among the San Diego Film Critics’ other winners were Best Actress Cate Blanchett for her work in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine – a performance that some have found reminiscent of Vivien Leigh’s Oscar-winning turn as the disturbed Blanche DuBois in Elia Kazan’s A Streetcar Named Desire (1951).

Oscar Isaac was Best Actor for his performance as a scattered folk musician in Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis, while the Best Supporting Actor was Jared Leto for his HIV-positive trans woman and AIDS medication smuggler in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club.

And here’s one big surprise: Shailene Woodley was selected as the year’s Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of a young woman who becomes enmeshed with party boy Miles Teller in James Ponsoldt’s indie comedy-drama The Spectacular Now.

‘Drug War’ is surprise winner

Another big surprise was the San Diego Film Critics’ Best Foreign Language Film: Johnnie To’s Chinese-Hong Kong drug-trafficking thriller Drug War, starring Louis Koo and Sung Honglei.

But the biggest surprise was probably Gravity cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki topping that particular category for … Terrence Malick’s To the Wonder. (Last year, Lubezki and Malick’s collaboration The Tree of Life was U.S. film critics’ favorite in the Best Cinematography category.)

And finally, David O. Russell’s American Hustle failed to be nominated for Best Film, but it topped the Best Ensemble category. The crime comedy-drama’s cast includes Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Last year, the San Diego Film Critics went for Ben Affleck’s political thriller Argo; Affleck was also their Best Director pick.

San Diego Film Critics winners & nominations

Best Film
Gravity.
* Her.
Inside Llewyn Davis.
Short Term 12.
12 Years a Slave.

Best Foreign Language Film
Blue Is the Warmest Color, France / Belgium / Spain.
The Broken Circle Breakdown, Belgium / Netherlands.
* Drug War, China / Hong Kong.
The Hunt, Denmark / Sweden.
No, Chile / United States / France / Mexico.

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips.
* Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis.
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.
Joaquin Phoenix, Her.

Best Actress
* Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.
Sandra Bullock, Gravity.
Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color.
Brie Larson, Short Term 12.
Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks.

Best Supporting Actress
Elizabeth Banks, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine.
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle.
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave.
* Shailene Woodley, The Spectacular Now.

Best Supporting Actor
Daniel Brühl, Rush.
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.
James Gandolfini, Enough Said.
* Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.
Sam Rockwell, The Way Way Back.

Best Director
Joel and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis.
Destin Cretton, Short Term 12.
* Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.
Spike Jonze, Her.
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Ensemble Performance
* American Hustle.
Prisoners.
Short Term 12.
12 Years a Slave.
The Way Way Back.

Best Original Screenplay
Blue Jasmine, Woody Allen.
Enough Said, Nicole Holofcener.
* Her, Spike Jonze.
Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel & Ethan Coen.
Prisoners, Aaron Guzikowski.

Best Adapted Screenplay
* Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke.
Captain Phillips, Billy Ray.
Short Term 12, Destin Cretton.
The Spectacular Now, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber.
12 Years a Slave, John Ridley.

Best Documentary
* The Act of Killing.
Blackfish.
Let the Fire Burn.
Stories We Tell.
20 Feet from Stardom.

Best Cinematography
Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki.
The Great Gatsby, Simon Duggan.
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel.
Prisoners, Roger Deakins.
* To the Wonder, Emmanuel Lubezki.

Best Editing
* Captain Phillips, Christopher Rouse.
Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger.
Her, Eric Zumbrunnen & Jeff Buchanan.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Alan Edward Bell.
12 Years a Slave, Joe Walker.

Best Score
The Broken Circle Breakdown, Bjorn Eriksson.
Gravity, Steven Price.
* Her, Arcade Fire.
Rush, Hans Zimmer.
12 Years a Slave, Hans Zimmer.

Best Animated Film
The Croods.
Despicable Me 2.
Frozen.
Get a Horse!.
* The Wind Rises.

Best Production Design
Gravity, Andy Nicholson.
* The Great Gatsby, Catherine Martin & Karen Murphy.
Her, K.K. Barrett.
Saving Mr. Banks, Michael Corenblith.
12 Years a Slave, Adam Stockhausen.

Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave. Solomon Northup tragedy wins another film award
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. Hardly as outré as Cahiers du Cinéma‘s top pick Stranger by the Lake, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle’s Best Film selection is this awards season’s favorite among U.S. critics groups: Steve McQueen’s real-life-inspired drama 12 Years a Slave, starring San Francisco’s Best Actor winner Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free-born black New Yorker who, while in Washington, D.C., in 1841, was kidnapped by two crooks and sold into slavery. Before his eventual release, Northup spent 12 years working in Louisiana plantations.

San Francisco Film Critics choose ’12 Years a Slave’ & Chiwetel Ejiofor

The antithesis of an unconventional, not exactly audience-friendly effort like Stranger by the Lake, director Steve McQueen’s straightforward, real-life-inspired “message” drama 12 Years a Slave was chosen as the San Francisco Film Critics Circle’s Best Picture of the year. (See further below the full list of San Francisco Film Critics winners and nominations.)

In addition, McQueen’s slavery drama – this awards season’s clear favorite – earned John Ridley the Best Adapted Screenplay award, while Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kinky Boots, Inside Man) was voted Best Actor for his performance as free man Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and forced into slave work at a Louisiana plantation in the 1850s.

Besides Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave features Michael Fassbender (the star of McQueen’s Hunger and Shame), Brad Pitt (also one of the film’s producers), Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Lupita Nyong’o, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, and Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Alfre Woodard (Cross Creek, 1983).

Best Actress Cate Blanchett for ‘Blue Jasmine’

Despite the Bay Area success of 12 Years a Slave, Alfonso Cuarón’s 3D sentimental adventure drama Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, turned out to be the San Francisco Film Critics’ no. 1 winner, topping four categories: Best Director, Best Film Editing (Cuarón & Mark Sanger), Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), and Best Production Design (Andy Nicholson).

In the acting categories, San Diego Film Critics winner and Oscar favorite Cate Blanchett was voted Best Actress for Blue Jasmine, while the Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress winners were, respectively, a heavily tattooed James Franco for Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, and a tightly attired Jennifer Lawrence for David O. Russell’s crime comedy-drama American Hustle, which also earned the Best Original Screenplay award for Russell and Eric Singer.

More San Francisco Film Critics winners: The other ‘Blue’ movie & Indonesian death squads

The other San Francisco Film Critics winners were:

  • Best Foreign Language Film Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche’s controversial drama starring Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux as lesbian lovers. (Controversy or no, the sex in Blue Is the Warmest Color – unlike what’s seen in Stranger by the Lake – isn’t really explicit.)
  • Best Documentary The Act of Killing, about Indonesia’s paramilitary death squads.
  • Best Animated Feature Frozen, the Walt Disney Studios’ musical version of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Snow Queen.”

And finally, the San Francisco Film Critics issued a Special Citation to Andrew Bujalski’s Computer Chess, a low-budget comedy set at a 1980s weekend tournament for chess software programmers, while the Marlon Riggs Award, which honors talent connected to the Bay Area, was shared by Fruitvale Station filmmaker Ryan Coogler and Roxie Theater administrator Christopher Statton.

Immediately below is the list of San Francisco Film Critics winners and nominees. Strangely, Spike Jonze’s Her is missing from the Best Picture roster even though Jonze was shortlisted in both the Best Director and Best Original Screenplay categories.

Check out: “Los Angeles vs. New York Film Critics: Who’s more daring?”

San Francisco Film Critics winners & nominations

Best Picture
American Hustle, dir.: David O. Russell.
Gravity, dir.: Alfonso Cuarón.
Nebraska, dir.: Alexander Payne.
* 12 Years a Slave, dir.: Steve McQueen.
The Wolf of Wall Street, dir.: Martin Scorsese.

Best Foreign Language Film
* Blue Is the Warmest Color, dir.: Abdellatif Kechiche.
A Hijacking, dir.: Tobias Lindholm.
The Hunt, dir.: Thomas Vinterberg.
The Past, dir.: Asghar Farhadi.
Wadjda, dir.: Haifaa al-Mansour.

Best Actor
Bruce Dern, Nebraska.
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street.
* Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club.
Robert Redford, All Is Lost.

Best Actress
*
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.
Sandra Bullock, Gravity.
Judi Dench, Philomena.
Adèle Exarchopoulos, Blue Is the Warmest Color.
Brie Larson, Short Term 12.
Meryl Streep, August: Osage County.

Best Supporting Actor
Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips.
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave.
* James Franco, Spring Breakers.
Harrison Ford, 42.
Will Forte, Nebraska.
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Supporting Actress
* Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle.
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave.
Léa Seydoux, Blue Is the Warmest Color.
Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station.
June Squibb, Nebraska.

Best Director
* Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.
Spike Jonze, Her.
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.
David O. Russell, American Hustle.
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street.

Best Original Screenplay
* American Hustle, Eric Singer & David O. Russell.
Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón.
Her, Spike Jonze.
Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel & Ethan Coen.
Nebraska, Bob Nelson.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke.
Philomena, Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope.
The Spectacular Now, Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber.
* 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley.
The Wolf of Wall Street, Terence Winter.

Best Documentary
* The Act of Killing, dir.: Anonymous, Christine Cynn & Joshua Oppenheimer.
The Armstrong Lie, dir.: Alex Gibney.
Blackfish, dir.: Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
Stories We Tell, dir.: Sarah Polley.
Twenty Feet from Stardom, dir.: Morgan Neville.

Best Cinematography
* Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki.
Her, Hoyte Van Hoytema.
Inside Llewyn Davis, Bruno Delbonnel.
Nebraska, Phedon Papamichael.
12 Years a Slave, Sean Bobbitt.

Best Editing
All Is Lost, Pete Beaudreau.
American Hustle, Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy & Crispin Struthers.
Captain Phillips, Christopher Rouse.
* Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón & Mark Sanger.
12 Years a Slave, Joe Walker.
The Wolf of Wall Street, Thelma Schoonmaker.

Best Production Design
American Hustle, Judy Becker.
* Gravity, Andy Nicholson.
Her, K.K. Barrett.
Inside Llewyn Davis, Jess Gonchor.
12 Years a Slave, Adam Stockhausen.

Best Animated Feature
The Croods, dir.: Kirk DeMicco & Chris Sanders.
Despicable Me 2, dir.: Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud.
* Frozen, dir.: Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee.
Monsters University, dir.: Dan Scanlon.
The Wind Rises, dir.: Hayao Miyazaki.

Marlon Riggs Award (for Bay Area talent)
Fruitvale Station filmmaker Ryan Coogler & Roxie Theater administrator Christopher Statton.

Special Citation
Computer Chess.

San Francisco Film Critics Circle website.

Pierre Deladonchamps and Christophe Paou Stranger by the Lake image: Les Films du Losange.

Joaquin Phoenix Her movie image: Warner Bros.

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

Gay marriage + lesbian movie Blue Is the Warmest Color. Timing is everything in Utah
Léa 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 just as 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: just as 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 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.

’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 from real-life horror
12 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.

Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

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

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Supporting Actress: Scarlett Johansson, Her.

Best Supporting Actor: Bill Nighy, About Time.

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity.

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

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

Best Documentary Feature: The Act of Killing.

Best Animated Feature: Frozen.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

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
The Hunt, dir.: Thomas Vinterberg.

Best Actor
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.

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

Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club.

Best Ensemble Performance
American Hustle.

Best Director
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay
Spike Jonze, Her.

Best Adapted Screenplay
John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Documentary
The Act of Killing.

Best Cinematography
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Best Animated Film
Frozen.

The Gene Wyatt Award for the Film that Best Evokes the Spirit of the South
Jeff Nichols, Mud.

Florida Film Critics Circle winners

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave.

Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.

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 Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her.

Best Documentary: The Act of Killing.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Best Art Direction/Production Design: The Great Gatsby.

Best Animated Film: Frozen.

Best Visual Effects: Gravity.

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

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 competition
Jennifer 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.

American Hustle AFI Awards Top 10: Bradley Cooper Christian Bale + notoriously difficult director
Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper in American Hustle. Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook) and Christian Bale (The Fighter, which earned him the 2010 Best Supporting Actor Oscar) once again join forces with notoriously difficult filmmaker David O. Russell on American Hustle, one of the AFI Awards’ big-studio-friendly Top Ten Movies of 2013. In the real-life-inspired crime comedy-drama, Bale plays con artist Irving Rosenfeld, who becomes enmeshed with FBI Agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) during the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s/early 1980s, targeting both government and corporate corruption.

American Hustle & Gravity: Big-studio movies rule AFI Awards once again

The American Film Institute has released its Top Ten Movies of 2013 list. As usual, the AFI Awards mostly focus on mainstream, popular fare from the big studios; in fact, they’ve turned out to be a sort of more upscale, Oscar-friendlier People’s Choice Awards, i.e., no Twilight, no The Fast and the Furious, no Adam Sandler, a few scattered superheroes, Harry Potter mostly bypassed. (Check out the 2013 AFI Awards list further below.)

And that’s how six of the AFI Awards’ Top Ten 2013 movies came straight out of the Hollywood majors: American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Gravity, Her, Saving Mr. Banks, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Additionally, 12 Years a Slave was released by Fox Searchlight Pictures, a subsidiary of 20th Century Fox; Nebraska is a Paramount Vantage release; and the Fruitvale Station distributor is awards season savvy The Weinstein Company.

Inside Llewyn Davis is the lone “real” indie: a StudioCanal-funded production distributed by CBS Films.

Last year, eight movies found on the AFI list went on to receive Best Picture Oscar nominations. The one exception was Michael Haneke’s Amour. Two other exceptions from previous years: Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises and Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

AFI Awards Top Ten American movies

  • David O. Russell’s American Hustle.
    Cast: Bradley Cooper. Amy Adams. Christian Bale. Jeremy Renner. Jennifer Lawrence. Robert De Niro.
  • Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips.
    Cast: Tom Hanks. Barkhad Abdi. Catherine Keener.
  • Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station.
    Cast: Michael B. Jordan. Octavia Spencer. Melonie Diaz.
  • Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity.
    Cast: Sandra Bullock. George Clooney.
  • Spike Jonze’s Her.
    Cast: Joaquin Phoenix. Amy Adams. Kristen Wiig. Chris Pratt. Olivia Wilde. Voice: Scarlett Johansson.
  • Joel and Ethan Coen’s Inside Llewyn Davis.
    Cast: Oscar Isaac. Carey Mulligan. Justin Timberlake.
  • Alexander Payne’s Nebraska.
    Cast: Bruce Dern. Will Forte. June Squibb.
  • John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks.
    Cast: Tom Hanks. Emma Thompson. Colin Farrell.
  • Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave.
    Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor. Michael Fassbender. Brad Pitt.
  • Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
    Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio. Margot Robbie. Jonah Hill. Matthew McConaughey. Jean Dujardin. Kyle Chandler.

People’s Choice Awards-friendly movies & no foreign productions

Previous AFI Awards lists include People’s Choice Awards-friendly fare such as:

  • Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.
  • Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2.
  • Andrew Stanton’s Finding Nemo (with co-director Lee Unkrich).
  • Judd Apatow’s The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
  • Paul Feig’s Bridesmaids.
  • Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator.
  • Michael Mann’s Collateral.
  • Edward Zwick’s The Last Samurai.
  • Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino.
  • Todd Phillip’s The Hangover.

The AFI Awards’ 2001 movie of the year was Peter Jackson’s blockbuster The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.

Note: Non-American movies – e.g., the aforementioned Amour, Stephen Frears’ Philomena, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color, Asghar Farhadi’s The Past – are ineligible for the AFI Awards. To date, the AFI hasn’t bothered to come up with a Best Foreign Film list. (Albeit partly financed by the French company StudioCanal, Inside Llewyn Davis has mostly U.S. talent both in front and behind the camera.)

Why so Hollywood-oriented?

But why are the AFI Awards so Hollywood studio-oriented?

Well, AFI Board of Trustees Vice Chair Tom Pollock, former Vice Chairman of MCA and Chairman of Universal Pictures, presided over the film jury this year.

Among the other jury members were Jon Avnet, Anne V. Coates, Roman Coppola, D.C. Fontana, Nancy Meyers, and Noah Wyle; the AFI Board of Trustees; and movie critics from mainstream print and online publications such as Entertainment Weekly, The Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, TV Guide, and USA Today.

AFI Awards’ Top Ten movies: The Omissions

Among the eligible movies not included on the AFI Top Ten list were the following:

  • J.C. Chandor’s All Is Lost.
    Cast: Robert Redford.
  • John Wells’ August: Osage County.
    Cast: Meryl Streep. Julia Roberts. Sam Shepard. Benedict Cumberbatch. Ewan McGregor. Juliette Lewis. Abigail Breslin. Chris Cooper. Dermot Mulroney.
  • Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
    Cast: Cate Blanchett. Sally Hawkins. Alec Baldwin. Bobby Cannavale. Andrew Dice Clay.
  • Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
    Cast: Forest Whitaker. Oprah Winfrey. Terrence Howard. Alex Pettyfer. Jane Fonda. Alan Rickman. James Marsden.
  • Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club.
    Cast: Matthew McConaughey. Jared Leto. Jennifer Garner. Steve Zahn.
  • Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence. Liam Hemsworth. Josh Hutcherson. Sam Claflin. Philip Seymour Hoffman. Elizabeth Banks. Woody Harrelson.
  • Shane Black’s Iron Man 3.
    Cast: Robert Downey Jr. Gwyneth Paltrow. Ben Kingsley. Guy Pearce. Don Cheadle.
  • Peter Berg’s Lone Survivor.
    Cast: Mark Wahlberg. Ben Foster. Taylor Kitsch. Emile Hirsch. Ali Suliman. Eric Bana.
  • Jeff Nichols’ Mud.
    Cast: Tye Sheridan. Reese Witherspoon. Matthew McConaughey.
  • Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners.
    Cast: Hugh Jackman. Jake Gyllenhaal. Viola Davis. Maria Bello. Terrence Howard. Melissa Leo. Paul Dano.
  • Ron Howard’s Rush.
    Cast: Chris Hemsworth. Daniel Brühl. Alexandra Maria Lara. Olivia Wilde.

AFI Awards’ Top Ten television shows

The AFI’s Top Ten Television shows of 2013 were the following:

The Americans.
Breaking Bad.
Game of Thrones.
The Good Wife.
House of Cards.
Mad Men.
Masters of Sex.
Orange Is the New Black.
Scandal Veep.

12 Years a Slave Chiwetel Ejiofor Michael Fassbender. Following in footsteps of Django Unchained
Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave. Last year there was Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio as a vicious Mississippi plantation and slave owner. This year, there’s Steve McQueen’s Boston Society of Film Critics’ Best Film winner 12 Years a Slave, featuring Michael Fassbender as a vicious Louisiana plantation and slave owner. The former film is a work of fiction; however fictionalized, the latter is based on the 1853 book of memoirs by Solomon Northup (“as told to and edited by David Wilson”). Best Actor winner Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Northup, a free-born black New Yorker who ends up sold into slavery in Louisiana.

Slavery drama tops Boston Film Critics Awards

In other awards season 2013 news, the Boston Society of Film Critics has announced its list of winners.

Steve McQueen’s slavery drama 12 Years a Slave won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, who plays 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. Before his eventual release, Northup spent 12 years working in Louisiana plantations.

A major awards season contender, 12 Years a Slave is following in the footsteps of last year’s Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino’s mid-19th century-set Western/“Southern” that ultimately won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Christoph Waltz).

Besides Chiwetel Ejiofor, the 12 Years a Slave cast includes:

Brad Pitt (one of the film’s producers). Lupita Nyong’o. Benedict Cumberbatch. Paul Dano. Sarah Paulson. Paul Giamatti.

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

John Ridley penned the screenplay adaptation of Solomon Northup’s 1853 book of memoirs (“as told to and edited by David Wilson”).

Boston Film Critics’ surprises

Notably, there were several surprises on the Boston Film Critics’ list, among them Best Supporting Actor James Gandolfini for the posthumously released comedy Enough Said, which also – just as surprisingly – earned Nicole Holofcener the Best Screenplay mention.

In the Best Foreign Language Film category, Haifaa Al-Mansour’s Saudi Arabian-German drama Wadjda was another surprise – beating, among others, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Color.

Reportedly the first (at least part-)Saudi feature film directed by a woman and the first shot entirely in Saudi Arabia, Wadjda tells the story of an 11-year-old girl who takes part in a Koran recital competition so as to get enough money to buy a green bicycle.

Wadjda is also Saudi Arabia’s first-ever entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award.

Unsurprising Best Actress Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett was a more expected choice, winning Best Actress for her performance as a Blanche Dubois-type character in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. (Vivien Leigh won her second Best Actress Academy Award for her Blanche in Elia Kazan’s 1951 A Streetcar Named Desire.)

Alfonso Cuarón’s outer-space adventure/mother-love drama Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, unsurprisingly earned Emmanuel Lubezki the Best Cinematography award. (Lubezki was the Los Angeles Film Critics choice as well.)

Oldest Best Supporting Actress

And finally, a minor surprise was the Boston Film Critics’ Best Supporting Actress: 84-year-old June Squibb, who plays Bruce Dern’s wife and Will Forte’s mother in Alexander Payne’s road movie Nebraska – which also topped the Best Ensemble category.

Squibb is the Boston Film Critics’ oldest Best Supporting Actress winner ever, beating Mona Washbourne (78 at the time she won for Stevie in 1981; she was actually about 75 when the movie was made) and Peggy Ashcroft (77 at the time she won for A Passage to India in 1984).

See full list of 2013 Boston Society of Film Critics award winners below.

Boston Society of Film Critics winners

Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave.

Best Foreign Language Film: Wadjda.

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine.

Best Supporting Actress: June Squibb, Nebraska.

Best Supporting Actor: James Gandolfini, Enough Said.

Best Ensemble Cast: Nebraska.

Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave.

Best Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said.

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

Best Animated Film: The Wind Rises, dir.: Hayao Miyazaki.

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity.

Best Film Editing (awarded in memory of Karen Schmeer): Daniel P. Hanley & Mike Hill, Rush.

Best Use of Music in a Film: Inside Llewyn Davis (T Bone Burnett composed the film’s music score).

Best New Filmmaker (awarded in memory of David Brudnoy): Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station.

Boston Society of Film Critics website.

Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave image: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Christian Bale and Bradley Cooper American Hustle image: Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures.

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1 comment

Suzie -

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

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