Friday, November 14, 2014

Oscars 2015: Production team announced, Derek McLane returning as production designer, Greg Berlanti named head writer

First, we got producers. Then, we got a host. Now, we have a production team.

With 100 days to go until the big show, the Academy and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced the team Friday. Meron shared a photo (above) on Twitter Friday.

Just like the producers themselves, there are going to be quite a few familiar faces backstage next year.

Hamish Hamilton is returning for the second consecutive year as director so is Derek McLane as production designer, Michael B. Seligman as supervising producer, Taryn Hurd as talent producer, Robert Dickinson as lighting designer, Rob Ashford as choreographer and Lee Lodge as co-producer.

Among the new faces at the Oscars will be writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green, Seth Grahame-Smith and Andrew Kreisberg.

Stephen Oremus makes his Oscars debut as music director.

Here are bios from the Academy press release:

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Recap and highlights: 6th Governors Awards

“It’s about time we gave him an Oscar.”

Writer-director Philip Kaufman made this remark after his introduction of French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière, who was one of four honored during Saturday’s Governors Awards, also known as the Honorary Oscars.

Kaufman, who earned an Oscar nomination with Carrière for “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” said the writer “has got to be at least 143 years old” after considering all of the art he has put out.

Carrière, 83, has written 139 films, acted in 32 films and directed three films, one of which won an Oscar. Kaufman also noted Carrière’s many theatrical works over more than 30 years.

During his acceptance speech, Carrière said he was grateful for the “truthfully unexpected” recognition.

“This Oscar goes to a screenwriter,” he said. “And I’m very happy of this because very often the screenwriters are forgotten or ignored.”

Carrière compared screenwriters to shadows, “passing through the history of cinema.” They are filmmakers, even if their names are not mentioned in reviews, he said.

“That’s why tonight, I’d like to share this priceless statue with all my colleagues,” he said, “the ones I know, the ones I don’t know, from all over the world. To share with them, so we all thank you.”

Each year, the Academy takes time to honor those who may not have been recognized before.

The 6th Governors Awards, voted on by the Academy’s Board of Governors in August, recognized Carrière, director Hayao Miyazaki and actress Maureen O’Hara with Honorary Awards. Actor and singer Harry Belafonte received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. Each received Oscar statuettes.

Here's All You Need to Know.

Watch videos here from the Academy's YouTube channel:

More information about the Governors Awards can be found on the Academy website.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

All you need to know: 6th Governors Awards (2014)

By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

Jean-Claude Carrière, Hayao Miyazaki, Maureen O’Hara and Harry Belafonte will be honored Saturday night. All four will receive Oscar statuettes. This is the honorary Academy Awards — the 6th Annual Governors Awards, an untelevised, dinner event put on by the Academy to bestow its testimonial awards.

The Board of Governors of the Academy voted Aug. 26 to present Honorary Awards to screenwriter Carrière, director Miyazaki and actress O’Hara, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to actor and singer Belafonte.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Review: Disney continues its winning formula with 'Big Hero 6' — the best animated movie of the year

By James A. Molnar
TGK Editor

A robot is going to make you cry.

Your heart will smile and then melt when you meet Baymax, the billowy white robot at the center of Disney's latest animated film, "Big Hero 6," out Nov. 7.

Just like Olaf in Disney's Brobdingnagian blockbuster "Frozen," these supporting characters are part of a winning formula.

They add heart, laughter and a sense of zaniness to their respective films.

Adding emotion and depth to a robot was part of the Oscar-winning success of Disney/Pixar's "Wall-E." Who knew a robot could fall in love? That was another robot to root for.

In the cinematic universe, audiences have seen a plethora of lovable robots — from C-3PO in the "Star Wars" franchise to Haley Joel Osment's David in "AI: Artificial Intelligence."

Most aren't as huggable as Baymax, designed to be an inflatable "health companion." He's the character audiences will remember long after the 108-minute movie has ended.

However, Baymax is just one of the delightful characters found in this 3-D adventure in the fictional San Fransokyo, a blending of two famous cities hinted in the portmanteau.

The lead character is a boy named Hiro Hamada (voiced by Ryan Potter). He is too smart for his own good. Graduating high school at the ripe age of 13, Hiro has found himself utilizing his engineering skills for robot battles.

His Aunt Cass (voiced by Maya Rudolph) and his older brother Tadashi (voiced by Daniel Henney) help add to the spot-on emotional core of the movie.

At one point in the press screening, one boy declared, "I'm too sad to eat popcorn," after a particularly saddening scene in the first act of the film.

Not wanting to give anything away, suffice it to say that this emotional core is something from which all great Disney films operate: loss as a catalyst for bravery and heroism.

And it works to cement the story and keep the audience engaged.

"Big Hero 6" is the best animated movie of the year. Not since "The LEGO Movie," which came out in February, have audiences been so touched and teary-eyed. "Big Hero 6" is reminiscent of the animated gold standard of Disney/Pixar films like "The Incredibles" and "Toy Story 3."

This animated feature, inspired by Marvel's comic series of the same name, is Disney's big animated follow up to "Frozen," which netted $400 million at the domestic box office and more $1.2 billion globally — not to mention its other lucrative marketing avenues and merchandise. (Yes, "Planes 2: Fire & Rescue" came out in August, but let's ignore that as a real movie from the animation studio.)

"Big Hero 6" may not have the catchy songs or the female-centric bravado of "Frozen," but it's the better overall movie. But neither needs to compete with one another. This reviewer is happy for great-looking, non-franchise, inventive stories with heart.

With impressive 3-D animation and an immersive world that lends itself to more than one viewing, “Big Hero 6” is the must-see fall movie.

/ 5

Official trailer:

Rated PG for action and peril, some rude humor, and thematic elements.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Oscars 2015: Shortlist announced for Animated Shorts

The Academy has been busy. The nonprofit organization has been recently announcing quite a few shortlists and lists submitted films for 87th Academy Awards consideration.

Wednesday was no different.

The field of 58 Animated Short contenders (up slightly from last year and the year before) has been whittled down to 10 films, the Academy announced.

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed the eligible entries and created the shortlist. Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, London (new this year), New York and San Francisco in December, according the Academy.

Notably absent from the list, for the third year, is a submission by Disney-Pixar. (However, Walt Disney Animation Studios had films listed this year and last year.)

The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

  • The Bigger Picture,” Daisy Jacobs, director, and Christopher Hees, producer (National Film and Television School)
  • Coda,” Alan Holly, director (And Maps And Plans)
  • The Dam Keeper,” Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi, directors (Tonko House)
  • Duet,” Glen Keane, director (Glen Keane Productions & ATAP)
  • Feast,” Patrick Osborne, director, and Kristina Reed, producer (Walt Disney Animation Studios)
  • Footprints,” Bill Plympton, director (Bill Plympton Studio)
  • Me and My Moulton,” Torill Kove, director (Mikrofilm in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada)
  • The Numberlys,” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors (Moonbot Studios)
  • A Single Life,” Joris Oprins, director (Job, Joris & Marieke)
  • Symphony No. 42,” Réka Bucsi, director (Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest)

We are less than 71 days away from the 87th Academy Awards nominations announcement on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, at 5:35 a.m. PT.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Oscars 2015: 20 films to vie for Animated Feature

The nominees for Animated Feature for the 87th Academy Awards will be chosen from a list of 20 films, the Academy announced Tuesday. Five could earn Oscar nominations, per Academy rules. The deadline to submit entries for Animated Feature was Oct. 31.

This is up from last year's 19 entries and down from 2012's 21 features that qualified.

The submitted features, listed in alphabetical order, are:
  • “Big Hero 6”
  • “The Book of Life”
  • “The Boxtrolls”
  • “Cheatin’”
  • “Giovanni’s Island”
  • “Henry & Me”
  • “The Hero of Color City”
  • “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
  • “Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart”
  • “Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return”
  • “The Lego Movie”
  • “Minuscule – Valley of the Lost Ants”
  • “Mr. Peabody & Sherman”
  • “Penguins of Madagascar”
  • “The Pirate Fairy”
  • “Planes: Fire & Rescue”
  • “Rio 2”
  • “Rocks in My Pockets”
  • “Song of the Sea”
  • “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”

In order to be eligible for nomination, film must fulfill required Los Angeles qualifying runs, theatrical release requirements and "comply with all of the category's other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process."

If at least 16 or more of the films listed above are eligible, the category may have up to five nominees, per Academy rules. The Animated Feature Film Award Screening Committee(s) "will view all motion pictures entered and mark all entries 10, 9, 8, 7 or 6 with the guidelines of 10 (excellent), 8 (good), 7 (fair) or 6 (poor). Those productions receiving an average score of 7.5 or more shall be eligible for nomination."

For the Animated Feature category to be "activated," at least eight eligible animated features must be theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year. Films submitted for the category may also qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements for those categories.

We are less than 72 days away from the 87th Academy Awards nominations announcement on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, at 5:35 a.m. PT.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Oscars 2015: 134 Doc Features submitted for nomination

The race for the Documentary Feature Oscar is on!

The Academy announced Friday that 134 features have been submitted for consideration in the Documentary Feature category for the 87th Academy Awards. This is down from last year's 147 films submitted, but up from two years ago.

Here are the submitted features, in alphabetical order:

One of the 134 Documentary Features
submitted for the Oscars is "Life Itself,"
a doc about Roger Ebert. 
“Afternoon of a Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq”
“Ai Weiwei: The Fake Case”
“Alive Inside”
“All You Need Is Love”
“America: Imagine the World without Her”
“American Revolutionary: The Evolution of Grace Lee Boggs”
“Antarctica: A Year on Ice”
“Art and Craft”
“Awake: The Life of Yogananda”
“The Barefoot Artist”
“The Battered Bastards of Baseball”
“Before You Know It”
“Bitter Honey”
“Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity”
“Botso The Teacher from Tbilisi”
“Captivated The Trials of Pamela Smart”
“The Case against 8”
“Cesar’s Last Fast”
“Citizen Koch”
“Code Black”
“Concerning Violence”
“The Culture High”
Another one of the 134 Documentary Features
 submitted for the Oscars is "Fed Up,"
a obesity doc from Katie Couric. 
“Dancing in Jaffa”
“Death Metal Angola”
“The Decent One”
“Dinosaur 13”
“Do You Know What My Name Is?”
“The Dog”
“Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me”
“Evolution of a Criminal”
“Fed Up”
“Finding Fela”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
“Food Chains”
“The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden”
“Getting to the Nutcracker”
“Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me”
“Gore Vidal: The United States of Amnesia”
“The Great Flood”
“The Great Invisible”
“The Green Prince”
“The Hacker Wars”
“The Hadza: Last of the First”
“Hanna Ranch”
Another one of the 134 Documentary Features
submitted for the Oscars is
"20,000 Days on Earth," a doc about
Australian musician Nick Cave. 
“Happy Valley”
“The Hornet’s Nest”
“I Am Ali”
“If You Build It”
“The Immortalists”
“The Internet’s Own Boy”
“Ivory Tower”
“James Cameron’s Deepsea Challenge”
“Jodorowsky’s Dune”
“Journey of a Female Comic”
“Keep On Keepin’ On”
“Kids for Cash”
“The Kill Team”
“La Bare”
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“Last Hijack”
“The Last Patrol”
“Levitated Mass”
“Life Itself”
“Little White Lie”
“Llyn Foulkes One Man Band”
“Magician: The Astonishing Life and Work of Orson Welles”
“Merchants of Doubt”
“Mission Blue”
“Mistaken for Strangers”
“Monk with a Camera”
“Nas: Time Is Illmatic”
“National Gallery”
“Next Goal Wins”
“Next Year Jerusalem”
“Night Will Fall”
“No Cameras Allowed”
“Now: In the Wings on a World Stage”
“Occupy the Farm”
“The Only Real Game”
“The Overnighters”
“Particle Fever”
“Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes”
“Pelican Dreams”
“The Pleasures of Being Out of Step”
“Plot for Peace”
“Point and Shoot”
“Poverty Inc.”
“Print the Legend”
“Private Violence”
“Rabindranath Tagore – The Poet of Eternity”
“Red Army”
“Remote Area Medical”
“Rich Hill”
“The Rule”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Shadows from My Past”
“She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry”
“A Small Section of the World”
“Smiling through the Apocalypse – Esquire in the 60s”
“Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon”
“The Supreme Price”
“Tales of the Grim Sleeper”
“Tanzania: A Journey Within”
“This Is Not a Ball”
“Thomas Keating: A Rising Tide of Silence”
“Through a Lens Darkly: Black Photographers and the Emergence of a People”
“True Son”
“20,000 Days on Earth”
“Under the Electric Sky”
“Underwater Dreams”
“Waiting for August”
“Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago”
“Warsaw Uprising”
“Watchers of the Sky”
“We Are the Giant”
“We Could Be King”
“Whitey: United States of America v. James J. Bulger”
“A World Not Ours”

A number of the submitted will still need to have their required Los Angeles and New York qualifying releases, according the Academy news release. "Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and comply with all of the category’s other qualifying rules in order to advance in the voting process."

Watch for a shortlist of 15 films to be announced in early December.

Per Academy Awards rules, films submitted in this category may also qualify in other categories, including Best Picture, as long as they meet the individual category requirements.

We are less than 80 days away from the 87th Academy Awards nominations announcement on Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, at 5:35 a.m. PT.

The 87th Academy Awards, for outstanding film achievements of 2014, will be presented on Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries worldwide.