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Entries in precursor awards (196)


Podcast: Special Behind-the-Scenes LAFCA Episode

For this unedited edition of the podcast, Nathaniel, Joe and Nick speak with Justin Chang from Variety about the Los Angeles Film Critics Association's annual voting, their commitment to voting their hearts free of the golden "O" word, their runaway favorites like Boyhood and the unlucky but well loved films like Grand Budapest and Birdman that were always in the mix but didn't win big. We also talk diversity of choices on the acting ballots and how surprises like Tom Hardy (Locke) and Agata Kulesza (Ida) come to happen in their two tiers of voting. How do they decide things like the Gena Rowlands career achievement prize and how close did Marion Cotillard come to this, the first critics prize of the season that eluded her. 

Have you even begun to digest this intense critics awards weekend? Did those long drawn out announcements Sunday stress you out? Unwind with this relaxed conversation about the Los Angeles third of the big day. You can listen at the bottom of the post or download from iTunes starting Monday night. Continue the conversation in the comments! 

LAFCA 2014 Discussion


Who Would You Vote For as "Best Young Actor/Actress"?

Each year when my BFCA ballot arrives I stop in my tracks, stumped, when I get to "Young Performer". Categories that aren't Oscar correlative are often trickier.

Oh dear. How uneasy I feel..."

That's not because you're free of predicting (anyone trying to predict with their own ballot really ought to find a new profession -- criticism: ur not doing it right) but because it's a subsection of acting you probably haven't been discussing at all. You suddenly remember that you need to have been considering it with as much seriousness as you have made your other selections.

I imagine that Ellar Coltrane, the now 20 year old star of Boyhood, will be tough to beat since this category is for the 21 and under set. But even if the category were adjusted downward to 17 and younger (which we strongly support as a rule change -because it's always weird when an adult wins like least year when the prize went to the very explicit Blue is the Warmest Color... in a kid's category!) he'd surely be considered an exemption since he spent 12 years in front of the camera in his childhood for that movie. But who will the other nominees be? Who should they be?

As a BFCA member I'm often frustrated by the choices made in this category since they don't feel carefully considered but "which big ticket movies have prominent teenage or child roles?" or, barring that, which movies did famous teen actors make? Fame ≠ Best so each year moving forward I will try to help my fellow critics by reminding them who is actually eligible... and not just from the Oscar seeking pictures. 

I hope you'll FYC your favorites in the comments and give voters some options to truly consider:

(if we've missed any key players - make sure to shout them out in the comments)

Chloë Grace Moretz (17) in Equalizer, If I Stay, Muppets Most Wanted or Laggies
Elle Fanning (16) as "Aurora" in Maleficent
Hailee Steinfeld (18) in Begin Again or The Homesman
Joey King (15) as "Grace" in Wish You Were Here Gotham Nominee
Kaitlyn Dever (17) in Men Women and Children or Laggies
Lilla Crawford
 (13) as "Red Riding Hood" in Into the Woods
Lorelei Linklater (20) as "Samantha in Boyhood 
Mackenzie Foy (14) as "Murph" in Interstellar WAFCA Nominee
Odeya Rush (17) as "Fiona" in The Giver
Saoirse Ronan (20) as "Agatha" in Grand Budapest Hotel 
Quvenzhané Wallis (11) is Annie 

John D'Leo, Jordan Scott, and Mackenzie Foy are among several eligible candidates who play "younger" versions of key characters

Alex Lawther (19) as "Young Alan Turing" in The Imitation Game
Ansel Elgort (20) in Divergent, The Fault in Our Stars or Men Women and Children
Antoine-Olivier Pilon (17) as "Steve" in Mommy
Blake Cooper (13) as "Chuck" in The Maze Runner
Charlie Tahan (?) as "Joey" in Love is Strange
CJ Adams (14) as "Young Ford" in Godzilla
C.J. Valleroy (?) as "Young Louis" in Unbroken
Connor Corum (7) as "Colton" in Heaven is For Real
Daniel Huttlestone (15) as "Jack" in Into the Woods 
Ellar Coltrane (20) as "Mason" in Boyhood  Gotham Nominee, WAFCA "Youth" Winner
Emjay Anthony (11) as "Percy" in Chef
Ghilherme Lobo (19) as "Leonardo" in The Way He Looks 
Jacob Latimore (18) as "Jeff" in The Maze Runner
Jaeden Lieberher (11) as "Oliver" in St. Vincent WAFCA Nominee
Jamarion Scott and Jordan Scott (?) as "Little James Brown" in Get On Up
John D'Leo (19) as "Young Pete" in Unbroken 
Kodi Smit-McPhee (18) as "Alexander" in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Noah Wiseman (7) "Samuel" in The Babadook WAFCA Nominee
Pierce Gagnon (9) as "Tucker" in Wish I Was Here 
Samuel Lange Zambrano (?) as "Junior" in Bad Hair 
Tony Revolori (18) as "Zero" in Grand Budapest Hotel  WAFCA Nominee

Noah Wiseman, Tony Revolori, and the Boyhood kids have huge roles. Will they make it?

I hope you'll FYC your favorites in the comments and give the Broadcast Film Critic voters some options to truly consider rather than making this the annual Chloe Moretz Shortlist. Which younger actors do you think have big things in their futures as they grow into young adult roles?


BSFC, LAFCA, and NYFCO: Their 2014 Winners

My apologies to Boston, Los Angeles and the online contingency of New York City for their shared billing but what can you do? When they all announce on the same weekend they share column space. The DC Film Critics also announced nominations today but in the interest of sanity, TFE only covers actual awards from critics groups, not their nomination rounds (which give performers and films no real juice publicity wise anyway); we have 30+ critics organizations in the US alone so any requested  coverage other than wins for the non-institutions feels ego-driven.

It was another good day for Birdman and Boyhood or "Boyman" as Sasha likes to call it. Particularly Boyhood which no films seem to be able to squirm around for top billing. Grand Budapest Hotel probably came close in L.A., Birdman looked like a distant second in Boston, but NYFCO seemed very committed. Is it now the Oscar frontrunner for Best Picture? It probably always was so yes. 

The BSFC was formed in 1981 and were once known for scrappy idiosyncratic choices. They were among the first awards group to rubber stamp Steven Soderbergh and David O. Russell (before their prime Oscar years). In the past ten years they've become far more conservative usually awarding their top prize to the Oscar frontrunner or its presumed challenger. Like NYC, Boston now has a second younger "online" group which already announced this year.

Film: Boyhood (runner up: Birdman)
Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood (runner up: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper)
Actor: Michael Keaton, Birdman (runner up: Timothy Spall, Mr Turner)
Actress: Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night AND The Immigrant (runner up: Hilary Swank, The Homesman)
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash (runner up: Edward Norton, Birdman)
Supporting Actress: Emma Stone, Birdman (runner up: Laura Dern, Wild)
Screenplay [TIE]: Birdman & Boyhood (runner up: Mr Turner)
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman (runner up: Dick Pope, Mr Turner)
Editing: Sandra Adair, Boyhood (runner up: Joel Cox & Gary Roach, American Sniper)
Foreign Film: Two Days One Night (runner up: Ida)
Animated Film: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (runner up: The Lego Movie)
New Filmmaker: Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler (runner up: Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child)
Documentary: Citizen Four (runner up: Jodorowsky's Dune)
Use of Music: Inherent Vice (runner up: Whiplash)


Founded in 1975, the LAFCA is one of the twin (coastal) towers of film critics associations alongside NYFCC which announced their prizes on December 1st. Last year the LAFCA had a very hard tie figuring out their prizes and the day ended with ties in three headline categories: Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor. These days they are perhaps best known for daring choices in Best Actress and Best Picture. 

Film Boyhood (runner up: The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Director Richard Linklater, Boyhood (runner up: Wes Anderson, Grand Budapest Hotel)
Actress Patricia Arquette, Boyhood (runner up: Julianne Moore, Still Alice)
Actor Tom Hardy, Locke (runner up: Michael Keaton, Birdman)
Supporting Actress: Agata Kulesza, Ida (runner up: Rene Russo, Nightcrawler)
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash (runner up: Edward Norton, Birdman)

New Generation: Ava DuVernay, Selma
Screenplay: Grand Budapest Hotel (runner up: Birdman)
Animated Film: The Tale of Princess Kaguya (runner up: The LEGO Movie)
Foreign Film: Ida (runner up: Winter Sleep)
Documentary: Citizen Four (runner up: Life Itself)
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubeszki, Birdman (runner up: Dick Pope, Mr Turner)
Editing: Sandra Adair, Boyhood (runner up: Barney Piling, Grand Budapest Hotel)
Score: TIE Jonny Green, Inherent Vice and Mica Levi, Under the Skin
Production Design: Adam Stockhausen, Grand Budapest Hotel (runner up: Ondrej Nekvasil Snowpiercer)
Experimental Film: Walter Reuben, The David Whiting Story
Career Achievement: Gena Rowlands

The LAFCA seem to have bought into their own myth about their iconoclastic Best Actress behavior. They weirdly switched categories for Patricia Arquette from supporting to lead despite backing J.K. Simmons as supporting from his far leadier work as half of a two-hander relationship drama between two men in a film with basically only two major characters.

Agata Kulesza is a worthy fascinating choice but she's really very obviously more of a lead than Patricia Arquette. But what can you do? I suppose you could make a better case for her in supporting than you could for Arquette as a lead but it's all rather baffling. 


Said to have been formed in 2000 the internet only has records dating back to 2003 for their prizes. They are not to be confused with the ancient and highly important NYFCC which already announced on December 1st and were Boyhood & Immigrant focused this year.

Picture: Boyhood
Director: Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Actress: Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Actor: Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Ensemble Cast: Birdman
Screenplay: Birdman
Cinematography: Birdman
Use of Music: Get On Up
Debut Director: Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler
Breakthrough: Jack O'Connel for Unbroken AND Starred Up
Documentary: Life Itself
Animated Feature: The LEGO Movie 

Marion Cotillard is perhaps the other big story of the day having won NYFCC, BSFC, and NYFCO already. Her Oscar chances still seem debatable though for a number of reasons including two separate films and the lack of any real campaigning beyond a screener for Two Days One Night.

J.K. Simmons, Richard Linklater, and Citizen Four continues to be steamrollers in Supporting Actor, Director, and Documentary respectively. Meanwhile Birdman marches along as a strong contender for basically everything if not, yet, a dependable film to bank any actual golden statues on. More unfortunately (especially given my change of heart about the film) critics have optioned not to really back Grand Budapest Hotel beyond the category that Oscar would have awarded it any way, Best Screenplay, which is the only category in which Wes Anderson films ever find any traction, sadly, despite often being sheer wonders in terms of Production Design, Costuming and weirdly expressive stylized performances. 


The Babadook, Russell Crowe and Mia Wasikowska Score at "Aussie Oscars"

Glenn here again to look at the AACTA Awards - aka the "Australian Oscars" - which announced their annual nominations last night. Lots of big names spread across the field and some welcome nods to smaller films.

It was an expectedly big day for Russell Crowe's directorial debut, The Winter Diviner. While ol' Rusty may be miffed (justifiable? I'm not sure, I have not seen his film yet) that he missed out on a directing nomination, he surely can't be disappointed for too long since his film is scattered all over the nominations. In fact, with eight, the WWI drama received the second-biggest haul of the day. Somewhat less expected, however, was the film that leads the nomination tally: Predestination. A period-set sci-fi thriller from the Spierig Brothers (Daybreakers) that stars Ethan Hawke as a time-traveller whose life intersects with a mysterious man whose story spans time, space, fate, terrorism, love and even gender. Thankfully that refreshing lack of genre bias extended to six nods for The Babadook and The Rover. Meanwhile, more traditional dramas like Tracks, The Railway Man and Australia's foreign language entry Charlie's Country also fared very well.

Here are the nominations.

Best Film

Click to read more ...


Gotham Awards 2014. The Winners...

Will it be Birdman, Boyhood, Love is Strange, Grand Budapest Hotel, or Under the Skin tonight? Read on for the winners and commentary.   

8:01 Uma Thurman the awards host is even more mannered than Uma Thurman the actress. Who knew? (I love Uma so I can say that. If you're no Umaphile you'd best shut it! 

8:14 IFP is bragging about IFP. Which is okay. This is the raison d'etre of Awards Bodies essentially.

8:18 First Uma, now Heather Graham? It's getting very 90s up in herrre.

8:20 I've been pronouncing "Riz" wrong in "Riz Ahmed" as it turns out. Breakthrough Actor goes to Tessa Thompson in Dear White People. P.S. She's also really good in Selma. I love that they announce the juries. This prize was given by Shane Carruth, Michael B Jordan, Ron Simons and two actresses we love up in herre Famke Janssen & Brie Larson

8:25 Ana Lily Amirpour wins Breakthrough Director for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. The other much-raved debut horror film from a woman this year (The Babadook wasn't nominated). Her acceptance speech is awesome. 

Tilda Swinton here and I'm like... GODDESS! Maybe if I can meet her and take a photo with her...

8:30 Meryl Streep is here to talk up Foxcatcher and give it a special prize for ensemble. She seems to really love it. Calls Channing Tatum a...

Click to read more ...


NYFCC Loves Legos, Nuns, and Boyhood

The NYFCC (New York Film Critics Circle), one half of the two crucial critics prizes for each film year (the other half being the LAFCA who announce soon) gathered this morning for prize time. Their annual game of combative rounds winnowing their choice down to one (usually) in their categories resulted in big wins for Boyhood and really important gets for two key actors.

It could well be a steamroller with critics groups. Unless Selma and Birdman get scrappy
DIRECTOR Richard Linklater, Boyhood
We can safely call him locked up for his first Oscar nomination in this category after two nominations for writing
SCREENPLAY The Grand Budapest Hotel
This is the only category that Wes Anderson has ever had real luck in with awards bodies. Can Budapest find a way to slip into the Best Picture Oscar field and change that?

ACTRESS Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant & Two Days, One Night
An enormously important get for Cotillard who has found it a real struggle to connect with awards bodies since her Oscar win for what ironically is an arguably lesser performance than the ones she's been trotting out regularly lately
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
So pleased that this grounded affecting performance has garnered such praise this year. It's a real treat coming from an actress that hasn't been overused overpraised much in her career.

ACTOR Timothy Spall, Mr. Turner
Another enormous "must have" for the preliminary rounds. Spall is up against a super tight Best Actor field and every mention counts towards keeping his name out there. They really should have released this movie earlier. I struggle to understand Sony Pictures Classics preference for late December which often kills "small" films with too little too late push
SUPPORTING ACTOR J.K. Simmons, Whiplash
Looks likely  march to the Oscar with no problem. Which is sad for Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and Edward Norton (Birdman) who are both still waiting and both so worthy this year

CINEMATOGRAPHY Darius Khondji, The Immigrant
So underappreciated
Unsurprising and I expect all the flyover state critics prizes to go the same way. The real question as precursor season heats up is which littler film gets some mentions.
If Ida dominates this field in the precursors might we see it pop up in one or two additional Oscar categories? Wouldn't that be neat?
A possible steamroller for the non-fiction prizes
FIRST FEATURE Jennifer Kent, The Babadook
Don't miss our interview with this hot new talent. I told her we were wondering about her future and she said "I'm wondering about my future, too!"


Birdman Leads Spirit Nominations 2014. Discuss!

Sony Pictures Classics leads the nominations for the Spirit Awards this year with an incredible 15 nominations though Fox Searchlight's Birdman leads all films with 6 nominations. And rather ridiculously even at the Spirits we have to play category fraud with Alfred Molina dubbed supporting in the marriage drama Love is Strange while his screen hubby John Lithgow is declared lead. (sigh). But we're happy that Love is Strange did so well wtih 4 nominations including Best Feature.

In case you forgot last year's nominations and would like a comparison, you can see them here as well as the eventual winners. Of all the awards shows you'd think that Spirit Awards could at least be a little different but last year they weren't with Best Picture and all four acting prizes repeating on Oscar night. Will this year have a greater and thus more exciting and wealth-spreading disconnect? We'll see but given the nominees in the acting categories (many from presumed Oscar hopefuls, we could well see a four for four again. 

Complete list of 2014 nominees is after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

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