"Drive" Tops Utah Film Critics Awards 


The Utah Film Critics announced the winners of their annual awards and it's all over the place...in a very good way! Nicholas Winding Refn's "Drive" took home the big prize, the Best Picture award. "Drive" also won Best Cinematography. Refn was the runner-up in the Best Director category which was garnered by Michel Hazanavicius for "The Artist."

There were also some surprises in the acting category. Besides the usual suspects of Michelle Williams as Best Actress for "My Week with Marilyn" and Albert Brooks for Best Supporting Actor for "Drive," Joseph Gordon-Levitt scored the Best Actor Award for "50/50" while Amy Ryan took home the Best Supporting Actress Award for "Win Win."

I told you, the winners are all over the place, but it's a good thing!

Here's the complete list of winners (If you're interested to see the winners/nominees from other award-giving bodies, visit our Awards Avenue coverage right here):

Best Picture
Drive (runner-up: The Artist)

Best Achievement in Directing
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist (runner-up: Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive)

Best Lead Performance by an Actor
Joseph Gordon-Levitt: 50/50 (runner-up: Jean Dujardin, The Artist)

Best Lead Performance by an Actress
Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn (runner-up: Rooney Mara, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Best Supporting Performance by an Actor
Albert Brooks, Drive (runner-up: Christopher Plummer, Beginners)

Best Supporting Performance by an Actress
Amy Ryan, Win Win (runner-up: Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus)

Best Original Screenplay
Will Reiser, 50/50 (runner-up: Mike Mills, Beginners)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants (runner-up: Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets)

Best Cinematography
Newton Thomas Sigel, Drive (runner-up: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life)

Best Documentary Feature
Senna (runner-up: Project Nim)

Best Non-English Language Feature
A Separation (runner-up: 13 Assassins)

Best Animated Feature
Rango (runners-up: The Adventures of Tintin and Kung Fu Panda 2)

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"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" Director to be Honored at Palm Springs International Film Festival 


Stephen Daldry, the guy behind "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," will be presented with the Director of the Year Award at the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). The Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 7, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Awards Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees George Clooney, Glenn Close, Michel Hazanavicius, Gary Oldman, Brad Pitt, Octavia Spencer, Michelle Williams, and the film Young Adult. The Festival runs January 5-16.

Here's the rest of the press release:

“Stephen Daldry has garnered international acclaim as a director, bringing his consummate skill to both the cinema and stage,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In his latest work, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, he directs a virtuoso cast in the story of a young boy who, after losing his father on 9/11, goes on a quest to learn what an unusual key found in his father’s possessions may unlock. This journey then becomes a metaphor for the need of a child to maintain a close bond with a loved one who died tragically and too soon. For this haunting film and for all of his achievements as a “director’s director,” the Palm Springs International Film Festival is honored to present the 2012 “Director of the Year Award” To Stephen Daldry.”

Adapted from the acclaimed bestseller by Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is a story that unfolds from inside the young mind of Oskar Schell, an inventive eleven year-old New Yorker whose discovery of a key in his deceased father’s belongings sets him off on an urgent search across the city for the lock it will open. A year after his father died in the World Trade Center on what Oskar calls “The Worst Day,” he is determined to keep his vital connection to the man who playfully cajoled him into confronting his wildest fears. The Warner Bros. film is directed by Daldry, with a screenplay by Eric Roth, and stars Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and Thomas Horn as Oskar. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was recently nominated for four Critics’ Choice Movie Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Young Actor.

Daldry is an award-winning director of both stage and screen. His first feature film, Billy Elliot, won more than 40 awards worldwide and received three Oscar® nominations, including Best Director. His second feature The Hours received nine Oscar® nominations including Best Picture and Director, 11 BAFTA nominations and won Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes. His other recent feature, The Reader, earned five Oscar® nominations, including Best Director and Best Picture.

Past Director of the Year honorees include Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman and David O. Russell.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival
The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 130,000 attendees each year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who in recent years have included Clint Eastwood, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, Sean Penn, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ron Howard, Anne Hathaway, Jeff Bridges, Danny Elfman and many others.

The Festival’s 23rd Annual Awards Gala is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight. Renewing sponsors of this year’s Festival are Title Sponsor The City of Palm Springs and Presenting Sponsors The Desert Sun, the City of Indian Wells, Spencer’s Restaurant and KPSP Local 2. Major Sponsors include Bank of America, Penfolds, Regal Entertainment, Diageo, Desert Regional Medical Center, Integrated Wealth Management, Wessman Development, Guthy-Renker, Wells Fargo, Chihuly Art Glass, and Ocean Properties Development.

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"The Iron Lady," "We Need to Talk About Kevin" Among Women Film Critics Circle Award Winners 


The Women Film Critics Circle has announced the winner of its annual awards and the list is quite interesting! But as Melissa Silverstein from IndieWire asked, where is the award for Best Woman Director? But I guess by honoring "The Iron Lady" and "We Need to Talk About Kevin," both movies tied and both movies directed by women (Phyllida Lloyd for "Iron Lady" and Lynne Ramsay for "Kevin"), their respective directors are being awarded.

"The Help," directed by a man, Tate Taylor, was given the Best Movie About Women award, while the Best Storyteller went to Abi Morgan, the scriptwriter of "The Iron Lady."

Viola Davis from "The Help" won Best Actress, George Clooney ("The Descendants") took home the Best Actor trophy while his co-star, Shailene Woodley was given the Best Young Actress Award. And Melissa McCarthy continued to get more awards! This time, the "Bridesmaids" scene-stealer won Best Comedic Actress.

Here's the complete list of winners (If you're interested to see the winners/nominees from other award-giving bodies, visit our Awards Avenue coverage right here):

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN: TIE*

The Iron Lady
We Need To Talk About Kevin

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN:

The Help

BEST STORYTELLER:

The Iron Lady: Abi Morgan

BEST ACTRESS:

Viola Davis: The Help

BEST ACTOR:

George Clooney: The Descendants

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS:

Melissa McCarthy: Bridesmaids

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS:

Shailene Woodley: The Descendants

BEST FOREIGN FILM:

The Hedgehog

BEST FEMALE IMAGES:

The Whistleblower

WORST FEMALE IMAGES:

Melancholia

BEST MALE IMAGES:

The Descendants

WORST MALE IMAGES:

Hangover 2

BEST DOCUMENTARY BY OR ABOUT WOMEN:

Semper Fi: Always Faithful

BEST FAMILY FILM:

Hugo

BEST ANIMATED FEMALES

Puss 'N Boots

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES:

The Debt

COURAGE IN ACTING:

Glenn Close: Albert Nobbs

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD: Tie*

Hiam Abbass: Miral
Michelle Williams: Meek's Cutoff

BEST UNRELEASED MOVIE:
Miss Representation

WOMEN'S WORK: BEST FEMALE ENSEMBLE:
The Help

BEST SCREEN COUPLE:
The Artist: Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Tie*

Kathy Bates
Cicely Tyson

ACTING AND ACTIVISM AWARD:
Elizabeth Taylor

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD (For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women)
The Whistleblower

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD (For best expressing the woman of color experience in America)
The Help

KAREN MORLEY AWARD (For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity)
Albert Nobbs

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD
Judi Dench: J. Edgar

The Women Film Critics Circle is an association of 57 women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally, who are involved in print, radio, online and TV broadcast media. We came together in 2004 to form the first women critics organization in the United States, in the belief that women’s perspectives and voices in film criticism need to be recognized fully.

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"The Hobbit" Teaser Trailer is Here! It's An Unexpected Journey! 
"The Hobbit's" unexpected journey from the pages to the big screen almost did not materialize. It was mired with lawsuits, director changes, it almost did not happen...almost. (Check all your "Hobbit" news right here)

But now, director Peter Jackson is taking us there and back again and while the teaser looks awfully like "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, what do you expect? It's Middle Earth, telling the same epic adventure!

I, for one, can't wait next year, Dec. 14th to be exact, when we can witness, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey." For now, feast your eyes on the trailer:



Here's more on "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Trailer" from Yahoo:

Bilbo Baggins is swept into an epic quest to reclaim the lost Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor from the fearsome dragon Smaug.

Genres: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Adaptation
Release Date: December 14th, 2012 (wide)

Cast and Credits

Starring: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Andy Serkis, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Produced by: Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Carolynne Cunningham

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Simon Pegg Talks About “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” 


As expected, Simon Pegg adds humor to the latest “Mission: Impossible” film, “Ghost Protocol.” He was briefly seen in the third installment, but this time around, his character of Benji gets more exposure. And more laughs.

Directed by Brad Bird, a great storyteller, this new “Mission” accomplished an almost impossible mission – to make Tom Cruise cool again! This is the best “Mission: Impossible” yet! (Check out my interview with Brad Bird for "M:I 4" right here)

In this interview, we talked about:

*** His attraction to joining the fourth installment
*** What he liked about his character Benji, and why his character’s relationship with Ethan Hunt is very similar to his relationship with Cruise
*** What did he think when he heard that Brad Bird is directing?
*** How was Bird as a director?
*** Working with Cruise

Have fun!



Here's more info on "Mission Impossible -- Ghost Protocol" from Yahoo:

• GENRES:
Action/Adventure, Adaptation, Sequel and Thriller
IN THEATERS:
December 16th, 2011 (IMAX); December 21st (wide)
MPAA:
PG-13 for disturbing images, violence, sexuality/partial nudity and some thematic elements.

Blamed for the terrorist bombing of the Kremlin, IMF operative Ethan Hunt must clear his agency's name and prevent another attack.

Cast & Crew

STARRING:

Tom Cruise -- Ethan Hunt
Jeremy Renner -- William Brandt
Simon Pegg -- Benji Dunn
Paula Patton -- Jane Carter
Michael Nyqvist -- Kurt Hendricks
Vladimir Mashkov -- Anatoly Sidirov
Josh Holloway -- Trevor Hanaway
Anil Kapoor -- Brji Nath
Lea Seydoux -- Sabine Moreau
Tom Wilkinson -- IMF Secretary

DIRECTED BY: Brad Bird

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