The 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off on Tuesday night with the North American premiere of Richard Raymond's feature directorial debut Desert Dancer, a drama based on the true story of a young aspiring dancer in present-day Iran, where dance is banned. (Think Rosewater meets Footloose or Dirty Dancing, in the best sense.)
What a weekend! Less than 24 hours after Birdman upset Boyhoodto win the top prize at Saturday's 26th PGA Awards, Alejandro G. Inarritu's quirky dramedy held serve by topping Richard Linklater's unprecedented 12-year project to win the top prize at Sunday's 21st annual SAG Awards as well. And, in a development just as surprising as Birdman's PGA win, The Theory of Everything's Eddie Redmayne upended Birdman's Michael Keaton — the heavy favorite — to win the best actor SAG Award, stopping in its tracks any real threat to his Oscar hopes.
The other winners on the film side were all heavy favorites: Still Alice's Julianne Moore won best actress, Whiplash's J.K. Simmons won best supporting actor and Boyhood's Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress.
The Golden Globe Awards, Critics' Choice Awards and Hollywood Film Awards, like the many other awards ceremonies that took place this season prior to Saturday night, were fine and dandy, but their winners were chosen by foreign journalists, film critics and an unnamed committee, respectively. They were not chosen by people who actually make movies, like those who are represented in the Academy. The people who work in the business tend to reveal their leanings at the various guild awards that precede the Oscars. And the first of those — the 26th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards — took place in Century City on Saturday night.
And that is why it is big news that the PGA awarded its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures to Birdman, not Boyhood, which had previously won just about everything for which it was eligible. In just 24 hours, the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards will follow the PGA Awards, and the result could be the same.
If the presumptive best picture Oscar frontrunner Boyhood has an Achilles' heel, it is that its story, about 12 years in the life of a fictional family, is not about anything of a greater social or historical import, as most previous recipients of the prize have been. The same, of course, is true of Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, The Theory of Everything, in that they focus on imagined stories or, in the case of Theory, the personal life of a historical figure — but not, most would argue, Selma, American Sniper or The Imitation Game. And with Selma and Sniperimmersed in controversy about the accuracy of their depictions of historical events, that may leave an opening for The Imitation Game.
To that end, a number of developments in recent days — largely organic, and then subsequently amplified by the savvy Weinstein Co. — have served to remind people about the social and historical significance of Imitation Game subject Alan Turing, the gay British mathematician-turned-war hero who died in 1954, disrespected or forgotten by many of the countrymen whose lives his code-breaking saved.
This story first appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Films that are first screened in January are often forgotten by awards season later that year — unless they screen at Sundance, which for the past 25 years has served as a springboard for small but accomplished films, helping them to find distributors which, in turn, help those films find Oscar buzz toward year's end.
Five Oscar-nominated filmmakers — Whiplash's Damien Chazelle, Boyhood's Richard Linklater, Foxcatcher's Bennett Miller, Citizenfour's Laura Poitras and The Imitation Game's Morten Tyldum — will become the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's first-ever recipients of the fest's newly-created Outstanding Directors of the Year Award, SBIFF announced on Tuesday.
Christina Thomas, a founding member of the New York branch of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts who has served in its leadership for the past two decades, helping to grow its membership to more than 800 people and introducing a variety of educational and philanthropic programs for its members, will step down from her current role of chief executive on July 1, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
By now we've all had a few days to process the announcement of the 87th Oscar nominations that came last Thursday. With the benefit of a little bit of distance and perspective, here are what I regard as the five biggest "snubs" — or, if you prefer a different word, exclusions — of the day.
By now we've all had a few days to process the announcement of the 87th Oscar nominations that came last Thursday. With the benefit of a little bit of distance and perspective, here are the five nominations that I believe were the most surprising to the greatest number of people.