Sunday, December 22, 2013


The New York Times has been singling out the great film performers of the year regularly for a while now but this is the first time that they have commissioned the writers of some of the most fascinating scripts of 2013 (which many of these actors made their appearance) to contribute to this project. These scribes, which include Sarah Polley ("Stories We Tell"), JC Chandler ("All Is Lost"), Danny Strong ("Lee Daniels' The Butler"), Evan Goldberg & Seth Rogan ("The End") and Jeff Nichols ("Mud"), were asked to write one compelling line for these acting honorees to recite. Academy-Award winning cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski directs each actor in a segment of this short film.

The eleven performers selected range from a beloved Hollywood veteran (Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"), a television institution (Oprah Winfrey, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"), a stunning ingenue (Adele Exarchopoulos, "Blue is The Warmest Color"), the next major film star (Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station", Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis") to cinema royalty (Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine").

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


An impressive collection of American shorts, documentaries and feature films have been selected by the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress. Every year, twenty-five motion pictures are decided to be preserved that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and are at least ten years old. Some titles, such as "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf", "The Magnificent Seven" and "Pulp Fiction" may be very familiar to audiences but others like "Bless Their Little Hearts", an African-American drama from the '90's or "The Lunch Date", a ten-minute short film that won a student Academy Award may be less well-known. The Librarian makes the annual selections to the registry after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and conferring with library film curators and members of the National Film Preservation Board.

Here is the complete list of films selected for the 2013 National Film Registry:

“Bless Their Little Hearts” (1984)

“Brandy in the Wilderness” (1969)

“Cicero March” (1966)

“Daughter of Dawn” (1920)

“Decasia” (2002)

“Ella Cinders” (1926)

“Forbidden Planet” (1956)

“Gilda” (1946)

“The Hole” (1962)

“Judgment at Nuremberg” (1961)

“King of Jazz” (1930)

“The Lunch Date” (1989)

“The Magnificent Seven” (1960)

“Martha Graham Dance film” (1944)

“Mary Poppins” (1964)

“Men & Dust” (1940)

“Midnight” (1939)

“Notes on the Port of St. Francis” (1951)

“Pulp Fiction” (1994)

“The Quiet Man” (1952)

“The Right Stuff (1983)

“Roger & Me” (1989)

“A Virtuous Vamp” (1919)

“Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966)

“Wild Boys of the Road” (1933)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


With the passing of each day, more cinematic gifts are being handed out. The American Film Institute, Boston Society of Film Critics, Los Angeles Film Critics announced their picks for the best of the year in film while the Screen Actor Guild have released their nominees. As usual, these groups are all over the place. The AFI selections were safe and predictable while the LA critics did a big cop-out by having a tie in three (!!!) categories. The strangest of all were the SAG Award nominations where the overrated "Lee Daniels' The Butler" received not only a nod for Best Cast but Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey received acting noms. This is very surprising to me as this was hardly the "best" work of any of these noted actors. And how did Daniel Bruhl of the little-seen "Rush" make it on enough people's radar did receive a nomination? At least the great Judi Dench made the cut for her amazing performance in the wonderful, "Philomena".

The 10 AFI Movies of the Year:
"12 Years a Slave,"
"American Hustle,"
"Captain Phillips,"
"Fruitvale Station,"
"Inside Llewyn Davis,"
"Saving Mr. Banks"
"The Wolf of Wall Street."

2013 Boston Society of Film Critics Winners:
Best Picture: "12 Years a Slave"
Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Best Supporting Actor: James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"
Best Supporting Actress: June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Best Director: Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
Best Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener, "Enough Said"
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, "Gravity"
Best Documentary: "The Act of Killing"
Best Foreign-Language Film: "Wadjda"
Best Animated Film: "The Wind Rises"

2013 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Winners:
Best Picture (tie): "Gravity" and "Her"
Best Actor: Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Best Actress (tie): Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine" and Adele Exarchopoulos, "Blue Is the Warmest Color"
Best Supporting Actor (tie): James Franco, "Spring Breakers" and Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Best Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke, "Before Midnight"
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, "Gravity"
Best Foreign Film: "Blue Is the Warmest Color"
Best Documentary: "Stories We Tell"
Best Animation: "Ernest & Celestine"

2013 Nominations for The Screen Actor Guild Awards (Film)

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
"12 Years a Slave"
"American Hustle"
"August: Osage County"
"Dallas Buyers Club"
"Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Bruce Dern,"Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Forest Whitaker, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Judi Dench, "Philomena"
Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Brühl, "Rush"
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"
James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o, "12 Years a Slave"
Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Oprah Winfrey, "Lee Daniels' The Butler"

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


The glut of awards to honor some of the most impressive and compelling movies, performers and film technicians of the year have begun to be rolled out. The National Board of Review announced their picks today while the New York Film Critics Circle and the Spirit Award nominations were released last week. Some of the expected names that had been buzzed about for months were chosen but there were a few, nice surprises among the selections:

2013 National Board of Review Winners:

Best Film: "Her"
Best Director: Spike Jonze, "Her"
Best Actor: Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Best Actress: Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"
Best Supporting Actor: Will Forte, "Nebraska"
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, "Fruitvale Station"
Best Original Screenplay: Joel and Ethan Coen, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Best Adapted Screenplay: Terence Winter, "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Best Animated Feature: "The Wind Rises"
Breakthrough Performance: Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"
Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, "Blue Is The Warmest Color"
Best Directorial Debut: Ryan Coogler, "Fruitvale Station"
Best Foreign Language Film: "The Past"
Best Documentary: "Stories We Tell"

2013 New York Film Critics Circle Winners:

Best Picture: "American Hustle"
Best Actor: Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Best Director: Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
Best Screenplay: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, "American Hustle"
Best Cinematographer: Bruno Delbonnel, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Best Foreign Film: "Blue Is the Warmest Color," directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
Best Animated Film: "The Wind Rises," directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Best Non-Fiction Film: "Stories We Tell" by Sarah Polley
Best First Film: Ryan Coogler, "Fruitvale Station"

2013 Nominations For The Independent Spirit Awards

Best Feature: 
"12 Years a Slave"
"All Is Lost"
"Frances Ha"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"

Best Director:
Shane Carruth, "Upstream Color"
J.C. Chandor; "All Is Lost"
Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
Jeff Nichols, "Mud"
Alexander Payne, "Nebraska"

Best Screenplay:
Woody Allen, "Blue Jasmine"
Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke & Richard Linklater, "Before Midnight"
Nicole Holofcener, "Enough Said"
Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber, "The Spectacular Now"
John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"

Best First Feature:
"Blue Caprice"
"Fruitvale Station"
"Una Noche"

Best First Screenplay:
Lake Bell, "In A World"
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, "Don Jon"
Bob Nelson, "Nebraska"
Jill Soloway, "Afternoon Delight"
Michael Starrbury, "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete"

Best Female Lead:
Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
Julie Delpy, "Before Midnight"
Gaby Hoffmann, "Crystal Fairy"
Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"
Shailene Woodley, "The Spectacular Now"

Best Male Lead: 
Bruce Dern, "Nebraska"
Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station"
Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford, "All Is Lost"

Best Supporting Female:
Melonie Diaz, "Fruitvale Station"
Sally Hawkins, "Blue Jasmine"
Lupita Nyong’o, "12 Years a Slave"
Yolonda Ross, "Go For Sisters"
June Squibb, "Nebraska"

Best Supporting Male:
Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave"
Will Forte, "Nebraska"
James Gandolfini, "Enough Said"
Jared Leto, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Keith Stanfield, "Short Term 12"

Best Cinematography: 
Sean Bobbitt, "12 Years a Slave"
Benoit Debie, "Spring Breakers"
Bruno Delbonnel, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Frank G. DeMarco, "All Is Lost"
Matthias Grunsky, "Computer Chess"

Best Editing: 
Shane Carruth & David Lowery, "Upstream Color"
Jem Cohen & Marc Vives, "Museum Hours"
Jennifer Lame, "Frances Ha"
Cindy Lee, "Una Noche"
Nat Sanders, "Short Term 12"

Best Documentary:
"20 Feet From Stardom"
"After Tiller"
"Gideon’s Army"
"The Act of Killing"
"The Square"

Best International Film:
"A Touch of Sin" (China)
"Blue is the Warmest Color" (France)
"Gloria" (Chile)
"The Great Beauty"(Italy)
"The Hunt" (Denmark)