Thursday, December 30, 2010

241 eligible screenplays for the 83rd Academy Awards

In contrast to the Writers Guild, which allowed only 76 films to compete for their WGA Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) released the titles of the 241 eligible screenplays for the 83rd Academy Awards. 134 are original screenplays while 107 are adaptations. They include the films The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Another Year, Biutiful, Blue Valentine, The Ghost WriterScott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Winter’s Bone, which were excluded from the WGA list of eligible films.

The film website Rope of Silicon has posted a selection of the top contending screenplays for this year's awards season, including Winter's Bone, The Kids are All Right, Toy Story 3 and Rabbit Hole

The Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT. The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony takes place on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The inaugural Ghana Movie Awards 2010 - winners

The first ever Ghana Movie Awards took place this past weekend at the Accra International Conference Centre. The event was attended by stars of both the Ghanaian and the Nigerian movie industries such as Patience Ozokwor, Desmond Elliot, Mercy Johnson, Jim Ike, and Tonto Dike. 28 categories were awarded, with separate awards for films in English and in local languages.

Shirley Frimpong-Manso's A Sting In A Tale emerged with the most awards (a total of five), taking Best Directing, Best Original Music, Best Screenplay, Best Score, and Best Cinematography. But Best Picture went to Leila Djansi's Sinking Sands, which also won for Best Art Direction, Best Wardrobe, and Best Movie (West African Collaboration).

The Best Actor awards went to Majid Michel (English) and Kofi Adu A.K.A. Agya Koo (Local Language). Jackie Appiah (and 3 co-stars) won Best Actress (English) and Rose Mensah A.K.A. Kyeiwaa won the local language award.

76 eligible screenplays for the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Awards

The Writers Guild of America has released the titles of the 76 qualifying scripts for its 2011 WGA awards. 43 are original screenplays while 33 are adapted. The 76 eligible screenplays are seven less than last year and less than half of the number of screenplays in 2008. Major titles excluded from their awards include The King's Speech, Toy Story 3, Another Year, Biutiful, Blue Valentine, The Ghost WriterScott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Winter’s Bone.

It isn't completely unheard of for a film to not get a WGA nomination, yet go on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Films that have accomplished this feat include Gladiator, Chariots of Fire, Gandhi, and Amadeus.

Unlike other guilds such as the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild is very strict about eligibility and doesn't open eligibility to nonmembers of their guild or affiliates. Also, they introduced a formal submission process, whereas a recently as two years ago they employed an automatic submission process for the awards.

The WGA Awards will take place on Saturday, February 5, 2011 at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

25 films selected for 2010 National Film Registry

The Library of Congress has released the titles of 25 films which it has chosen for preservation in its National Film Registry. Every year, the Librarian of Congress names 25 films to the National Film Registry that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant, to be preserved for all time. These films are not selected as the "best" American films of all time, but rather as works of enduring significance to American culture.

This year's selection includes short films, documentaries, independent films and historical works as well as some recognizable Hollywood titles. Some recent losses in Hollywood were acknowledged with the inclusion of Airplane! starring Leslie Nielsen, The Empire Strikes Back by Irwin Kershner, and The Pink Panther by Blake Edwards. 

The 25 selections were chosen from 2,112 titles nominated by the general public, members of the National Film Preservation Board, and Library of Congress staff. Nominations for next year's Registry selections can be made at

Monday, December 27, 2010

Canadian Short Screenplay Competition (CSSC) announces Short Film Fund

The Canadian Short Screenplay Competition (CSSC) announced the creation of the Short Film Fund. This is a completion fund for short films in post-production or which have been recently completed. The fund will award up to $1,500 to successful applicants.

The completed films must be no more than 15 minutes in length, including credits. The CSSC will accept applications from around the world.

The Short Film Fund does not have a deadline. They will accept applications on an ongoing basis and will award up to three awards per year at their discretion. They ask that filmmakers not apply more than twice annually.

There is no fee to apply for the Short Film Fund.

2010 Online Film Critics Society Award - nominees

The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) announced on Monday December 27 their nominations for the 2010 OFCS Awards. Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan led with seven nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. It also received nominations for Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, and Best Editing.  

True Grit and The Social Network tied with six nominations each. The other two nominees for Best Picture were Inception and Winter's Bone.

Curiously, the nominees for Best Documentary included not only Exit Through the Gift Shop, but also Catfish. Both titles are considered borderline, since they appear to have many fiction elements incorporated into their documentary style.

OFCS members will submit their final votes over the next few days, and winners will be announced Monday, January 3, 2010.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

2010 Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) EDA Awards - nominees

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) has announced the nominees for their 2010 EDA Awards. The EDA Awards stand for Excellent Dynamic & Activism, and are named in honour of Eda Reiss Merin, a stage, film and television actress whose career spanned more than 60 years.

They have 38 categories, many of which are unusual and interesting, e.g. Actress Most in Need of a New Agent, Bravest Performance, Best Depiction of Nudity and Sexuality, and a Sexist Pig award.

The nominees for Best Film are Black Swan, Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network and Winter’s Bone. The Kids Are All Right wasn't nominated for Best Film but was the film with the most nominations.

Helen Mirren alone received five nominations.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) Awards - winners

Last year after some dissent in the African American Film Critics Group, three of the five founding members broke off and formed a splinter group, the Black Film Critics Circle, and released their own list of awards. Now for 2010, they've released their second end-of-year awards. In this year with very few films by or with black people, the winners are not particularly different from many other critics' lists.

As a result, The Social Network came out on top with the prize for Best Picture. It also won Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Best Ensemble. It didn't, however, win Best Director. Instead, that was won by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan), which also won Best Actress for Natalie Portman. Colin Firth (The King's Speech) James Franco (127 Hours) tied for Best Actor. Both Supporting acting awards went to The Fighter.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was declared the Best Foreign Film. Waiting For 'Superman' took Best Documentary, while Toy Story 3 was named Best Animated Feature

The Women Film Critics Circle Awards 2010

A very interesting critics awards list has been released by the Women Film Critics Circle. Their 2010 awards are very different from every other list so far, with The Social Network nowhere to be seen. The under-appreciated Mother and Child took the prize for Best Movie About Women and also won Best Ensemble. Winter's Bone won Best Movie By A Woman, Best Young Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and the Adrienne Shelly Award for "film that most passionately opposes violence against women."

The Kids Are All Right was also a triple winner, taking Best Woman Storyteller (Lisa Cholodenko) and both Best Actress and Best Comedic Actress for Annette Bening (Bening also starred in Mother and Child). So too was Another Year, winning Best Screen Couple and tying for Best Male Images and Best Equality of the Sexes.

They also handed out two "worst" prizes, to Jackass 3D and - surprisingly - to Black Swan. I would have thought that the shallow and insignificant women's roles in The Social Network, for instance, would have been a more suitable candidate for rebuke than anything in Black Swan. It may be true that Black Swan portrays women unflatteringly but that's because it's a dark thriller, and it nonetheless provided a large number of interesting roles for women whereas others did not.

31st London Critics' Circle Film Awards - nominations

The London Critics' Circle announced their nominations for their 31st London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, and The King's Speech and Another Year seven nominations each. The King's Speech received nominations for FIlm of the Year, British Film of the Year, Actor (Colin Firth), British Actor (Colin Firth), British Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), British Director (Tom Hooper) and Screenwriter (David Seidler)

Another Year was also nominated for British Film of the Year but missed out on the Film of the Year category. And while Jim Broadbent and Mike Leigh were nominated for British Actor and British Director, Another Year competes against itself in two categories, with double nominations for British Actress (Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen) and British Supporting Actor (David Bradley, Peter Wight).

The other films competing for Film of the Year were the American features Black Swan, The Kids are All Right, The Social Network and Toy Story 3. The other nominees for British Film of the Year were 127 Hours, The Arbor, and Monsters.

Monday, December 20, 2010

2010 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards - winners

The Chicago Film Critics Association announced the winners of its 2010 Chicago Film Critics Association Awards and as with most other critics' groups, The Social Network was the big winner. It took Best Picture, Best Director (David Fincher) and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). Inception took two awards for Best Original Screenplay Christopher Nolan) and Best Cinematography (Wally Pfister). Black Swan also won two awards, for Best Original Score (Clint Mansell) and Best Actress (Natalie Portman).

The other main acting prize went to Colin Firth (The King’s Speech). The supporting acting awards went to Christian Bale (The Fighter), and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) was named Most Promising Performer.

The other feature awards were given to Un Prophète (A Prophet) for best Foreign Language Film, Toy Story 3 for Best Animated Feature, and Exit Through the Gift Shop for Best Documentary.

The  Chicago Film Critics Association consists of some well-known and respected critics such as Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, Scott Tobias and Nathan Rabin.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

15th Annual Satellite Awards - winners

The International Press Academy handed out the trophies for their 15th annual Satellite Awards at a gala awards ceremony at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. The Social Network came out on top with three awards for Best Motion Picture - Drama, Best Director (David Fincher) and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). Inception, which had led with 11 nominations, also won three awards but in the more technical categories of Original Score (Hans Zimmer), Cinematography (Wally Pfister) and Art Direction & Production Design (Guy Hendrix Dyas, Luke Freeborn, Brad Ricker and Dean Wolcott).

The award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical went to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which also won Best Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical for its star Michael Cera. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was named Best Foreign Language Film, and its star Noomi Rapace was declared Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama. The Best Animated Feature award went to Toy Story 3, while Best Documentary went to the gritty war film Restrepo.

The King's Speech was a double winner for Best Actor (Colin Firth) and Best Original Screenplay (David Seidler). Alice in Wonderland also took two prizes for Costumes and Visual Effects. Other acting prizes went to Anne Hathaway (Love and Other Drugs) for Best Actress - Comedy or Musical, Christian Bale (The Fighter) for Best Supporting Actor, and Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom) for Best Supporting Actress.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The inaugural Österreichischen Filmpreis (Austrian Film Award) - nominations

On Friday, December 17 the Akademie des Östereichischen Films (Academy of Austrian Film) announced the nominees for the first ever edition of the Österreichischen Filmpreis (Austrian Film Award). Der Räuber (The Robber) directed by Benjamin Heisenberg dominated with seven nominations for Best Feature Film, Director, Actor, Screenplay, Camera, Editing and Sound. The movie is based on the true story of an Austrian champion marathoner who led a secret double life holding up banks in the 1980s.

Two films received four nominations each. They were Jessica Hausner's multi-award winning film Lourdes and Oskar Roehler's Austria-German film Jud Süss – Film ohne Gewissen (Jew Suss: Rise and Fall). But Jud Süss – Film ohne Gewissen did not receive a Best Feature Film nomination which instead went to Andreas Prochaska's Die unabsichtliche Entführung der Frau Elfriede Ott (The accidental kidnapping of the Woman Elfriede Ott).

The Österreichischen Filmpreis was founded in March 2009 by the Akademie des Östereichischen Films (Academy of Austrian Film). They are likely intended to be a more serious alternative to the Romy Awards. 41 feature films released in Austrian cinemas between October 1, 2009 and November 30, 2010 were eligible for nominations. For a film to be nominated, it had to satisfy at least two of the three criteria: 1) the original version of the film is German; 2) the director is from Austria, or lives in Austria; or 3) the producer is an Austrian or resides in Austria. Three nominees were determined in each of the 13 categories.

Friday, December 17, 2010

34th Japan Academy Prize - nominations announced

Today, the Nippon Academy-shō Association for Excellence in Japanese Film announced 34th Japan Academy Prize nominees at the Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Each of the five nominees in each category is in fact prize-winner and receives an award of "excellence." Winners of the "best" awards in each category will be revealed at a ceremony on February 18. Sang-il Lee’s Akunin (Villain) received the most awards, with 15 awards in 13 categories.

Two films tied with 11 awards - Tetsuya Nakashima's Kokuhaku (Confessions) and Yoji Yamada'a Otôto (Younger Brother). Nakashima's Kokuhaku is Japan’s submission to AMPAS for the Best Foreign Language Oscar. Next with nine nominations was Takashi Miike's samurai film Jûsan-nin no Shikaku (13 Assassins) followed by Izuru Narushima's Kokô no Mesu (A Lone Scalpel) which received five. Each of these five films was nominated for both Picture of the Year and Director of the Year.

All films that had their Japanese premiere between December 5, 2009 and November 27, 2010 were eligible for an award. This made for a small field this year as 198 Japanese (9 less than the year before) and 207 foreign films (32 less than before) met the eligibility requirement.

Call for applicants: imagineNATIVE & LIFT 7th Annual Mentorship Program

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) are offering an opportunity for emerging Indigenous filmmakers in the Toronto region to create a 5-minute short film. You'll be given mentorship by LIFT staff, access to their facilities and equipment, 1200 feet of film stock from Kodak, post-production services and a bursary for production costs.

To apply, all you will need to provide are a one-page short film idea, a half to one-page statement on why you want to participate and how you'd benefit, a short bio, and your contact info. Successful applicants will have an opportunity to screen their films at the 12th Annual imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival in Toronto, which will take place October 19-23, 2011.

The deadline for applications is Friday, January 7, 2011 at 6pm.

Mysteries of Lisbon wins 68th Prix Louis-Delluc

The winner of the 68th Prix Louis-Delluc (Louis Delluc Prize) was announced at a ceremony on Friday at Hotel Fouquet's Barriere in Paris. The prize went to Mystères de Lisbonne (Mysteries of Lisbon) by Franco-Chilean Raoul Ruiz. Mystères de Lisbonne had its world premiere at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival. The the four-and-a half hour drama has been turned into a six-hour television miniseries.

It beat the five-and-a-half hour drama/mini-series Carlos by Olivier Assayas. In addition to Carlos, the other nominees for the Louis Delluc prize were Des filles en noir (Girls in Black) by Jean-Paul Civeyrac, Des hommes et des dieux (Of Gods and Men) by Xavier Beauvois, La princesse de Montpensier (The Princess of Montpensier) by Bertrand Tavernier, The Ghost Writer by Roman Polanski, Tournée (On Tour) by Mathieu Amalric, and White Material by Claire Denis.

The Prix Louis-Delluc du premier film was won by Belle Epine (Beautiful Thorn), a coming-of-age drama by Rebecca Zlotowski. Belle Epine stars the young actress Lea Seydoux who also appears in Mystères de Lisbonne.

2010 Premios Sur from Argentina - winners

The Academia de las Artes y Ciencias Cinematográficas de la Argentina (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences of Argentina) announced their Premios Sur (literally "South Awards") for film. Leading the field was Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat's drama El hombre de al lado (The Man Next Door) which won six of its nine nominations, taking Best Picture, Director, Actor and Breakthrough Actor (both to veteran television actor Daniel Aráoz in his film debut), Original Screenplay and Music.

Pablo Trapero’s Carancho had led with eleven nominations but surprisingly it went home empty-handed. Carancho had earlier been selected by the Academy to compete as Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Last year, Argentina's entry El secreto de sus ojos (The Secret in Their Eyes) by Juan Jose Campanella won the Best Foreign Film Oscar.

Daniel Burman's Dos hermanos (Brother and Sister) also went home without any awards after receiving the same number of nominations (nine) as El hombre de al lado.

El mural (The Mural) about the José David Alfaro Siqueiros mural "Ejercicio Plastico" currently on display at the Casa Rosada museum was also a big winner, taking home five technical awards for Cinematographer, Editor, Art Director, Costume and Makeup.  

Igualita a mí (Just Like Me) by Diego Kaplan won two awards in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Claudia Fontán) and Best Sound (José Luis Díaz). Miguel Cohan's Sin retorno (No Return) also won two awards for Best First Feature and Best Supporting Actor (Martín Slipak).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Call for submissions: Virgin Radio 95.3 Fake Film Festival (Vancouver)

Vancouver’s Virgin Radio 95.3 recently launched its first ever Fake Film Festival. They are asking participants to submit a video which recreates an existing movie in 60 seconds or less. They don't want just a single scene though, but the entire film to be encapsulated. It is a bit like a lightning fast version of the "Sweding" done by the characters in the Michel Gondry film Be Kind Rewind.

The deadline for entries is January 25, 2011 at 12 p.m, when entries must be uploaded to the Virgin Radio 95.3 website. Movies will be judged by Virgin Radio's staff on accuracy, quality and the contestant's self-promotion.

Ten finalists will be selected and invited to walk the red carpet at the Fake Film Festival on January 28, 2011 at Five Sixty (650 Seymour Street), where the selected films will be screened. Then a winning film will be chosen to receive a prize of $10,000 in cash and the Fake Film Festival trophy.

Festival submissions are open to all residents of British Columbia.

17th annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards - nominations

This morning, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) announced their nominations for the 17th annual SAG Awards. The King's Speech and The Fighter led with four nominations each, including Best Ensemble, the SAG equivalent of a Best Picture award. The King's Speech also received nominations for lead actor Colin Firth as well as supporting actor and actress Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter respectively. The Fighter, however, failed to received a nomination for lead actor Mark Wahlberg, instead taking three supporting nominations for Christian Bale, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams.

Black Swan and The Kids Are All Right were next with three nominations, including Best Ensemble. Black Swan also received nominations for Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis, while Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo received nominations for The Kids Are All Right, but not Julianne Moore.

Although The Social Network has been a hit with various critics' groups, it only received two nominations. Fortunately, it took the final Best Ensemble spot as well as one for lead actor Jesse Eisenberg. Sasha Stone from Awards Daily pointed out that Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire and The Departed also only received two SAG nominations yet went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. However, actors make up a sizable portion of the Academy membership and their thinking can be a bellwether, as it was at the 12th SAG Awards in 2006 when the winner was Crash.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

41 qualifiers for Best Original Song at the 2011 Oscars

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the 41 songs eligible in the Original Song category for the 83rd Academy Awards. On January 6, 2011, the members of the Music Branch in Los Angeles will screen the clips from each film that feature the song. Then the members assign each song a score out of ten, and the scores are tallied.

An average score of 8.25 must be achieved by at least one song for there to even be any nominees in this category. If only one song reaches or exceeds 8.25, then it and the next highest ranking song will be the two nominees. If two or more up to five manage 8.25 or more, then they will be the nominees. But a maximum of two songs per movie are eligible for nomination. If more than two from the same film reach 8.25, then the two highest scoring songs will be selected.

According to Academy rules, "An original song consists of words and music, both of which are original and written specifically for the motion picture. There must be a clearly audible, intelligible, substantive rendition (not necessarily visually presented) of both lyric and melody, used in the body of the motion picture or as the first music cue in the end credits." You can read the their complete rules here.

Call for Submissions: Musical Works in Concert, SummerWorks Festival

The Summerworks Theatre Festival in Toronto also has a series called Musical Works In Concert which showcases new works by artists working with musical theatre models but in a more simplified concert format. The selected works will be performed over two evenings on Sunday, August 7th, and Monday, August 8th, 2011.

They are now seeking applications from artists working in conventional and unconventional musical models. The work must have both live musical and dramatic elements, and be unproduced. They encourage all manner of artists to apply, nut just theatre artists, but also indie musicians, dancers, video artists, etc. The minimum length of the work is forty-five minutes. It may be a complete work, or an complete first act of an unfinished work.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Franklin Leonard's 2010 Black List of the best unproduced screenplays

Universal Pictures' Franklin Leonard has released his 2010 Black List of unproduced screenplays with the greatest buzz. He has been polling film industry colleagues from Hollywood, New York and London since 2005 to produce the list. He asks them to name up to ten scripts that they rate highly and have not yet been made. Past listed scripts which then went on to be produced include Oscar-winners Juno and There Will Be Blood. Last year's list included current awards favourite The Social Network. Other films that appeared on the list before being made include Lars and the Real Girl, The Kite Runner, State of Play, and Things We Lost in the Fire.

This year's list of 76 films was topped by College Republicans by Wes Jones, about Karl Rove running a dirty college campaign with campaign manager Lee Atwater. It received 49 mentions from the nearly 300 executives. Next with 47 votes was Jackie by Noah Oppenheim, about Jacqueline Kennedy's battle to save her husband's legacy after his assassination.

10th annual Canada's Top Ten - features and short films

The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled their selection for the top ten Canadian feature films and short films earlier today. Their top feature films were Les Amours imaginaires (Heartbeats), Barney’s Version, Curling, The High Cost of Living, Incendies, Last Train Home, MODRA, Splice, Trigger, and Trois temps après la mort d’Anna (Mourning for Anna). Last Train Home is the lone documentary in the list. 

Although Quebec accounts for 7 of the 10 features, the selection is nonetheless diverse and represents a broad spectrum of Canadian society. Three of the films are French-language (Les Amours imaginaires, Curling and Trois temps après la mort d’Anna) while Incendies, my favourite film of the year, is French and Arabic. Deborah Chow's The High Cost of Living captures the true multilingual flavour of Montreal with French, English and Chinese. On the other hand, Barney's Version is an English-Montreal story. The documentary Last Train Home by Montreal-based Lixin Fan was filmed entirely in China. MODRA is an English/Slovakian film shot mostly in the titular Slovakian town of Modra.

Toronto Film Critics Association 2010 Awards

The Social Network continues its winning ways with critics' groups as the Toronto Film Critics Association announced its awards today. David Fincher's drama took five prizes - Best Picture, Best Director (Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Best Supporting Actor (Armie Hammer). The win by Hammer is a surprise, as the runners-up Geoffrey Rush and Christian Bale are considered favourites going into the Oscars. Using the similar technology that he used in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Fincher had Hammer play the Winklevoss twins and often placed Hammer's face over a body double to create the effect.

The runners-up for Best Picture were
Black Swan and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives did, however, win for Best Foreign Language Film. Exit Through the Gift Shop was named both Best First Feature and Best Documentary. The winner for Best Animated Feature was How to Train Your Dragon.

Bruce McDonald received a special citation for making four features in 2010. They were This Movie is Broken, Trigger, Music from the Big House and Hard Core Logo 2.

68th Annual Golden Globe Awards - nominees announced

The nominees for the 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards were announced this morning in Los Angeles by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The King's Speech led with 7 nominations for Best Picture - Drama, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Actor - Drama (Colin Firth), Best Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Best Supporting Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), Best Screenplay (David Seidler), and Best Original Score (Alexandre Desplat).

Close behind with six nominations each were The Fighter and The Social Network. Black Swan, Inception and The Kids are Alright followed with four nominations each. The Coen brothers were strangely absent from the nominees list with their acclaimed remake of True Grit. Other respected films that didn't receive any recognition include Hereafter, Fair Game and Another Year. Meanwhile, the critically panned films The Tourist and Burlesque each received three nominations, including Best Picture - Musical or Comedy. Who knew The Tourist was a comedy or musical? Red and Alice in Wonderland rounded out the Best Picture nominees.

Johnny Depp received two nominations in the same category, Best Actor in a comedy or musical for Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist. He's the first to receive two nominations in the same category since Jack Lemmon in 1963.

Monday, December 13, 2010

New York Film Critics' Circle Vote 2010 awards

The New York Film Critics Circle selected their year-end awards choices. Like the New York Online critics and most other critics' awards, they favoured The Social Network for Best Picture. It also won Best Director for David Fincher, but Aaron Sorkin's script lost out to Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg's The Kids Are All Right. Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo won acting awards for The Kids Are All Right, giving it the most wins with three awards.

The other acting awards went to Colin Firth for The King's Speech, and Melissa Leo for The Fighter. The Non-fiction award went to Inside Job, while the winner in the Animated Film category was The Illusionist. The Foreign Language winner was the five-and-a-half Carlos, which is not contending for the Oscars as it aired on television first.

16th Annual BFCA Critics' Choice Movie Awards - nominees announced

The Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) has announced the nominees for the 16th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Black Swan received a record 12 nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup, Best Sound and Best Score. True Grit and The King's Speech were not far behind with 11 nominations each, while Inception received 10 nominations.

Critical darling The Social Network was next with nine nominations. The other nominees for Best Picture were 127 Hours, The Fighter, The Town, Toy Story 3, and Winter's Bone.   

The Broadcast Film Critics Association represents 250 television, radio and online film critics. The winners will be announced at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards ceremony on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 9:00 PM ET/PT at the Hollywood Palladium. VH1 will broadcast the gala live for the fourth year in a row, and for the first time internationally.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Boston Society of Film Critics: 2010 Award Winners

The Boston Society of Film Critics has announced their 2010 award winners. The Social Network dominated with five awards for Picture, Actor (Jesse Eisenberg), Director (David Fincher), Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin) and Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross).

Other acting prizes went to Natalie Portman for Black Swan, Christian Bale for The Fighter, and surprise winner Juliette Lewis for Conviction. The Best Ensemble Cast award went to The Fighter.

Jeff Malmberg's Marwencol not only won Best Documentary, but also claimed Best New Filmmaker. Marwencol is not on the short list for the Best Documentary Oscar, however, as it wasn't eligible this year. Best Foreign Language Film was Mother, and Toy Story 3 was named Best Animated Film.

Complete list of 2010 Boston Society of Film Critics award winners

American Film Institute (AFI) Top 10 films and television shows of 2010

The American Film Institute (AFI) revealed their list of top 10 films and television shows of the year for 2010.
AFI does not rank the films or shows nor do they choose a top pick. Their ten Movies of the Year for 2010 were Black Swan, The Fighter,  Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3, True Grit and Winter's Bone.

The AFI also gave a special award to the British film The King's Speech, and the documentary Waiting for 'Superman.' Both films were ineligible for the main top ten list, which recognizes only narrative American fiction films. Bob Gazzale, AFI President & CEO, recognized this and said, “This year and moving forward, in addition to honoring American storytelling in the narrative format, the juries may name Special Awards and it is AFI’s honor to shine a proper light on these artists and their achievements.”

The lists are selected by juries of scholars, critics and artists. This year's juries included Diablo Cody, Steven Bochco, Lee Daniels and Leonard Maltin.

2010 New York Film Critics Online award winners

The 2010 New York Film Critics Online (NYFCO) award winners have been announced. The Social Network led the with three awards for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay. The acting award winners were James Franco, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. Noomi Repace won for Breakthrough Performer.

The winner in the Documentary category was the Banksy film Exit Through The Gift Shop. For their Foreign Language film award, the online critics selected I Am Love starring Tilda Swinton. Toy Story 3 was named the top Animated Feature.

Full list of the 2010 New York Film Critics Online award winners

2010 Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) Awards

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) Awards were announced on Sunday and The Social Network was named Best Picture. It also won Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). It also shared Best Director (David Fincher) with Olivier Assayas (Carlos), and also shared Best Music/Score with The Ghost Writer.

Interestingly, non-American films were well represented in the acting categories, with British Colin Firth winning for The Kings Speech and Kim Hye-Ja winning for Mother. The supporting acting awards went to Niels Arestrup for A Prophet and Animal Kingdom's Jacki Weaver from Australia.

Carlos was declared Best Foreign Language Film, and the Best Documentary prize went to Last Train Home, while Best Animated Film was Toy Story 3.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

2010 AFI (Australian Film Institute) Awards - winners announced

The Australian Film Institute has concluded the second of two days of its 2010 Samsung Mobile AFI Awards taking place at Melbourne's Regent Theatre. The crime family drama Animal Kingdom came out on top with 10 awards. It had led with 18 nominations. It won awards for Best Film, AFI Members’ Choice Award, Readers’ Choice Award, Best Direction, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Original Music Score, Best Lead Actor (Ben Mendelsohn), Best Lead Actress (Jacki Weaver), and Best Supporting Actor (Joel Edgerton). Jacki Weaver was the recent winner ofthe National Board of Review's Best Supporting Actress Award.

Bright Star won AFI awards for best cinematography (Greig Fraser), best production design (Janet Patterson) and best costume design (also Janet Patterson). Tomorrow When The War Began won two awards for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Sound. The AFI International Awards for successful Australians abroad went to Sam Worthington for James Cameron's Avatar, and Mia Wasikowska for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Best Visual Effects Oscar short list of 15 films announced

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has selected their short list of 15 contenders for nominations for the Visual Effects Oscar at the 83rd annual Academy Awards. The list contains all the usual effects-heavy suspects for this category and the dramas Shutter Island and Hereafter thrown in for good measure. 5 of the 15 selections are or were converted into 3D format.

The members of the Academy's visual effects branch executive committee, who were responsible for selecting the semifinalists, will narrow the list further to seven in early January. On January 20, 2011 the effects teams screen 15-minute show-reels of the seven remaining films to demonstrate how they created their effects. Then the members of the Academy's visual effects branch executive committee will hold a vote on the final five nominations for the Oscars.

The Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 25, 2011, at 5:30 a.m. PT. The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony takes place on Feb. 27 at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Playback Magazine announces their Top 10 Canadian films of the decade

The Canadian trade magazine Playback polled its readers to determine the top ten Canadian films of the decade and have announced their results. They held their best-of-the-decade survey a full year after most others because clearly they know how to count (there was no year zero A.D., so the decades were 1-10, 11-20, etc. with the decades ending with the zeros).

The results ended with a tie for the number one spot between Sarah Polley's Away From Her and Jean-Marc Vallée's C.R.A.Z.Y. They also made the unusual decision to extend the list to 12, so that there are a full 10 fiction films - as if the two documentaries (The Corporation and Manufactured Landscapes) that made the list somehow might not count.

Four Quebec films made the list. In addition to C.R.A.Z.Y. were Les Invasions Barbares (The Barbarian Invasions), J’ai tué ma mère (I Killed My Mother) and Polytechnique. Two of the films were made in India - Deepa Mehta's Water and Amal by Richie Mehta (unrelated).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

70mm presentations at TIFF Bell Lightbox

Since the opening of the TIFF Bell Lightbox during the 2010 festival, they have not let up with the fantastic programming and curation. Beginning today, Lightbox will begin screening some classic films in their original 70mm format. Tonight's screening will be the seminal Stanley Kubrick film 2001: A Space Odyssey which will continue showing until January 5, 2011. These films will all be shown in Theatre 1, the largest theatre in the Lightbox (550 seats) and the only one with the capability of projecting 70mm film prints.

For those unfamiliar with formats, typical movies now are filmed and then shown on 35mm film. 70mm is the higher quality comparable to IMAX but with the proper widescreen aspect ratio. This represent the highest film resolution and quality you're going to see in a theatre (which is already much higher resolution than television, whether HD or not).

After 2001: A Space Odyssey begins its today, Jacques Tati’s Playtime begins Thursday, December 23 and David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia begins Thursday, December 30

Time Magazine's Top 10 Films of 2010

TIME Magazine has released its annual list of top ten films and heading the list is the animated hit Toy Story 3. Critic Richard Corliss wrote, "Why are Pixar films so often at or near the top of annual best-picture lists? Because, we say with some exasperation, nobody these days makes better movies. With each iteration, John Lasseter and his gang of divinely arrested preadolescents find new solutions to the eternal artistic challenges of storytelling, to the mixture of comedy and angst."

Director Lee Unkrich responded on his twitter account @leeunkrich today with, "Wow. Time Magazine's Richard Corliss just named Toy Story 3 the best film of 2010. I'm speechless."

Personally, I enjoyed Toy Story 3 very much but did not find it as deeply moving as many others apparently did. Perhaps it was because I had heard too much that men would cry before I saw it and was a little underwhelmed. Perhaps it was because I didn't have enough toys to play with as a kid. Who knows.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blue Valentine's NC-17 rating overturned, MPAA finally shows some sense

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Goethe-Institut Toronto - free movie screenings

The Goethe-Institut Toronto presents two free screenings next week on December 13 and 14. The screenings are to introduce Canadians to the Atelier Ludwigsburg-Paris, a one-year post-graduate program that is a French-German film initiative. The Atelier's director Jan Schütte will be attending the event.

Both nights will begin with short films made by Atelier students before the main feature film. The feature on Monday night is Takva (Gottesfurcht) by Özer Kiziltan, a German-Turkish film. This screening will be followed by discussion with Jan Schütte, producers Falk Nagel and Christophe Bruncher, and the Canadian Film Centre's Greg Klymkiw. Tuesday's film is L'Intouchable by Benoît Jaquot.

The screenings begin at 6:30pm each night and take place at Innis Town Hall at 2 Sussex Avenue, on St. George between Bloor St. West and Harbord St.

Theatre Passe Muraille's next 5 Minute Pitch Blitz, Dec. 15

Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille regularly hosts an open event called the 5 Minute Pitch Blitz, in which applicants are invited to make a direct pitch to Artistic Director Andy McKim. It doesn't have to be specifically a show, but it is an opportunity to make a case for your idea or offer in a quick, efficient manner.

The next 5 Minute Pitch Blitz will take place on December 15, 2010. There is a simple one-page application form which will help to give them an idea of what to expect. They will select which pitches will be scheduled on the day, but there will also be a time set aside for people to crash the event on a first-come, first-served basis.

Theatre Passe Muraille is located at 16 Ryerson Avenue, one block north and east of Queen Street West and Bathurst Street. Their phone number is 416.504.7529.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Canadian Film Centre - upcoming deadlines

The Canadian Film Centre is a leading national film school which can help filmmakers with some experience make the jump to the next level. They have a variety of programs, including not just fiction filmmaking but also documentary, television, acting and new media. In the next short while, they have some deadlines for several of their exciting initiatives.

The CFC Media Lab TELUS Interactive Art & Entertainment Program (IAEP) is Canada's first post-graduate training and production program based on a philosophy that compelling content is created though a collaborative process harnessing a wide range of creative skills and talents. Team-based, self-directed and project-driven, the TELUS IAEP merges collaborative exploration with the fundamentals of new media, with a particular emphasis on narrative theory and storytelling. Residents learn from a variety of perspectives including academic, industrial, artistic, technological, and practical. The deadline is December 15, 2010.
TELUS Interactive Art and Entertainment Program

2010 Angel Film Awards, Monaco - winners

The Monaco International Film Festival 2010 concluded this weekend with a ceremony to present their 8th Angel Film Awards to promote non-violent films. The Jordanian historical romance Cherkess led the awards winners with seven prizes. It claimed the Angel Film Awards for Best Film, Best Director (Mohydeen Quandour), Best Producer, Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor (Muhadin Komakhov), and Best New Talent (Sahar Bishara). 

The Feature Documentary section was led by What Does Your MP Do? and Sounds of Beirut. What Does Your MP Do? is an examination of the life of a British MP and won awards for Best Feature Documentary and Best Narration. The USA/Lebanon co-production Sounds of Beirut about Lebanese music won Best Director of a Documentary Feature and Best Cinematography. 

The British short film All the Way Up also was a multiple winner, taking Best Short Film Award for producers Shane Hamill and Ben Sweet, and Best Director of a Short for Sir David Jason. Jason was also given a Lifetime Achievement Angel Film Award for his body of work.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Film review: Kings of Pastry

Writer/Director: Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker
Producer: Frazer Pennebaker and Flora Lazar
Documentary, 1 hour 24 minutes
English, and French with English subtitles

“All-you-can-eat -- that doesn’t exist in France. The idea is to eat the best possible food, but in small quantities.” So says Alsace-born pastry chef Jacquy Pfeiffer, who runs the French Pastry School in Chicago with Sébastien Canonne. Pfeiffer manages to become one of the 16 finalists in a three-day competition to be one of a small handful who are named Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Craftsman of France). The competition in Lyon, France is held every four years like the Olympics and winners earn the privilege of wearing a tricolour collar -- red, white and blue like the French flag.

With Kings of Pastry, veteran documentarians Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker (The War Room) follow Pfeiffer and two other finalists (Régis Lazard and Philippe Rigollot) in their quest to achieve this title. All three are very likable and are already masters of their craft. But the goal of being named M.O.F. is a monumental challenge in which they not only have to be great chefs, but also chemists, architects and athletes.

2011 Sundance Film Festival Short Film Program

The Sundance Film Festival has announced the remainder of its programming schedule with the announcement of its Short Film Program. They received a record 6,467 submissions and their team of programmers (Sundance Film Festival Programmer Kim Yutani, Short Film Programmer Todd Luoto; shorts programmers Emily Doe, Ernesto Foronda, Jon Korn, Katie Metcalfe, Hebe Tabachnik and associate shorts programmer Lisa Ogdie) had to whittle that down to 81 selections for the festival. 44 of them were U.S. selections and 38 were international selections from 21 countries.

Canadian films selected to the International group include The Legend of Beaver Dam which played at TIFF as the accompanying short for the Midnight Madness opening gala. The International Documentary section includes Edmonton filmmaker Trevor Anderson's The High Level Bridge, and Winnipeg-based Matthew Rankin's Negativipeg. The newly-launched Indigenous Short Showcase features three Canadian women - Helen Haig-Brown (The Cave), Michelle Latimer (Choke), and Danis Goulet (Wapawekka).

The New Frontier Shorts group includes two Canadian co-productions. Jonathan Caouette returns after making the breakthrough film Tarnation with All Flowers in Time (Canada/U.S.), starring Chloe Sevigny. Tao Gu's On the Way to the Sea (Canada/China) is a beautiful, meditative portrayal in black-and-white of the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake.

38th Annual Annie Awards - nominations announced

Today, the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, announced their nominees for their 38th Annual Annie Awards. The five nominees for Best Animated Feature are Despicable Me, How to Train Your Dragon, Tangled, The Illusionist and Toy Story 3. Interestingly, Toy Story 3 and Tangled were nominated despite Disney-Pixar's withdrawal from the International Animated Film Society.

How to Train Your Dragon led overall with 15 nominations. However, they received multiple nominations in some categories and thus cannot win more than ten awards. They also received an additional nomination in the Best Animated Television Commercial category for a related commercial. Despicable Me got seven nominations while Megamind received six nominations and The Illusionist received five.

Nominations for this year's Best Short Subject were Coyote Falls (Warner Bros. Animation), Day & Night (Pixar), Enrique Wrecks the World (House of Chai), The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger (Plymptoons Studio) and The Renter (Jason Carpenter).

2010 Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) Awards

The Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) announced 2010 award winners today. The Social Network came out on top and was awarded Best Film as well as Best Director (David Fincher) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). Inception took four awards but leaning more towards the technical categories, with Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction and Best Score.

Best Actor went to Colin Firth for his performance in The King's Speech, while young newcomer Jennifer Lawrence received Best Actress for Winter's Bone. Best Supporting Actor and Actress went to Christian Bale and Melissa Leo respectively for The Fighter. Ben Affleck's Boston crime drama The Town was named Best Acting Ensemble.

British graffiti artist Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop claimed the Best Documentary award. The Best Foreign Film prize went to Alejandro González Iñárritu's Biutiful. Pixar's Toy Story 3 was named the winner of Best Animated Feature.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Call for applications: Crazy 8s 2011 - Dec. 12 signup

The Crazy 8s filmmaking competition is back for another year and the deadline for applications is next week on December 12. A great opportunity for filmmakers, the Crazy 8s is a very popular annual competition in Vancouver to make a film in 8 days.

Applicants are first invited to make a 5-minute pitch of their movie idea. 40 people are then selected to pitch live to a jury of industry professionals. The jury will select 12 finalists are paired with professional story editors who will workshop their scripts in a day-long workshop. The scripts are then submitted to the jury which selects 6 winners to make a film. The winners will be given $800 and eight days to make a short film.

They will also receive a support package which includes an HD Camera, sound recording equipment, a lighting and grip package, the services of a casting director, full production insurance, free location permits, discounts on vehicle/props/costume rental, a binder with all required paperwork, access to edit suites if required, on-line editing including title generation, colour correction, and a professional sound mix.

13th annual Moet British Independent Film Awards - winners

The 13th annual Moet British Independent Film Awards were handed out tonight at Old Billingsgate in London. The King’s Speech had led with eight nominations and as expected dominated the evening with five awards, for Best Film, Best Screenplay, and acting prizes for Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush (who beat co-star Guy Pearce in the Supporting Actor category).

Helena Bonham Carter also picked up the honourary Richard Harris Award for outstanding contribution by an actor to British Film. Director Tom Hooper, however, was beaten by Monsters director Gareth Edwards. Monsters also picked up awards for Best Achievement in Production and Best Technical Achievement.

The other acting award went to Carey Mulligan for her work in Never Let Me Go. It was her second BIFA acting award in a row, having won last year for An Education Enemies of the People was named Best Documentary, while Best Foreign Film was Un Prophète (A Prophet). Prominent British films Four Lions, Kick-Ass, Another Year and Made In Dagenham were shut out of the awards altogether.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

23rd European Film Awards - winners announced

A month after presenting their nominations, the 23rd European Film Awards announced their winners on Saturday night in Tallinn, Estonia, European Capital of Culture 2011. The Ghost Writer had led with seven nominations, and they dominated the evening by taking six of them, all except for cinematography. It won awards for Best European Film, Director, Actor, Screenwriter, Production Designer and Composer. Because of Polanski's legal troubles in the U.S., he was unable to travel to the ceremony and accepted his awards live via Skype from his Paris home.

Lebanon took the cinematography prize denied to The Ghost Writer, and also Discovery - Prix Fipresci. Sylvie Testud won the Actress award for her work in Lourdes. The team of Luc Barnier and Marion Monnier won the editing award for their work in the epic 5-and-a-half hour Carlos. The Documentary award went to Patricio Guzmán's Nostalgia for the Light.

Stephen Sondheim Film Festival, Dec 4 - 5

Toronto will be visited by Stephen Sondheim on Monday, December 6. Prior to his arrival, Mirvish Productions is presenting a group of his films at the Bloor Cinema (506 Bloor St. West, at Bathurst St.) in a Stephen Sondheim Film Festival. Each film will be introduced by an expert including Toronto theatre critics Richard Ouzounian of the Toronto Star and Robert Cushman of the National Post.

The screenings will also giveaways and prizes, such as tickets to Monday's An Evening with Stephen Sondheim, or tickets to the Stratford production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

2010 International Documentary Association (IDA) Documentary Awards - winners announced

On Friday night, the 2010 International Documentary Association (IDA) Documentary Awards were handed out at a ceremony at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles. Lucy Walker's Waste Land came away with the big prize, the Feature Documentary Award. It had been up against another art-themed nominee Exit Through The Gift Shop among others. Waste Land also claimed the IDA Pare Lorentz Award which is given in honour of Lorentz's filmmaking legacy to a film that explores "one or more of Lorentz's central concerns – the appropriate use of the natural environment, justice for all and the illumination of pressing social problems." The IDA Pare Lorentz Award prize had been announced earlier in the week.

Other award winners included For Once in My Life which took the IDA Music Documentary Award. Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara's excellent film Bhutto won the ABCNews Videosource Award. Presumed Guilty and The Oath tied for the IDA Humanitas Award. The Short Documentary Award was given to Woman Rebel.