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How the Oscars affected the weekend box office numbers

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Moviegoers want sure bets. Tickets are expensive, theaters can be a hassle, and time is precious. So while some eager types may turn out in droves after a film is nominated for an Academy Award, nine Best Picture nominees can prove a daunting to-do list, and some might want to wait for the slate to be whittled down. That seemed to be the case this weekend, at least, when Best Picture winner 12 Years a Slave more than doubled its theater count and boasted a 116 percent increase in earnings.

There are a lot of factors that make analysis tricky in this case. Still, the numbers paint an interesting picture on their own. A certain amount of increased awareness post-Oscars can be assumed, after all. Also, many of the winners have been available on DVD and VOD for some time, implying that there is a solid theatrical draw for prestige award-winners. Let’s take a look at the weekend’s results. READ FULL STORY

Oscar analysis: '12 Years a Slave' breaks Academy's trend of playing it safe

Shoulda trusted the coin.

About two weeks ago, sitting in the office of EW assistant managing editor Sean Smith, we were discussing EW’s official Oscar predictions and mulling the reaction I was getting from many voters: Gravity was taking the lead in the tightest Best Picture race in years, and those who favored 12 Years a Slave seemed soft in their support.

For months, ever since the historical drama premiered at the Toronto film festival, it was at the top of my predictions list — a crushing, emotionally resonant film that addressed how we perceive and treat those who appear to be different from ourselves. But it was also an uncompromising film, full of brutality that was often difficult to watch, and we all know the Academy Awards have compromised a lot in the past.

So I switched our pick toward Gravity, which was garnering a groundswell of support in other categories, and seemed to be the popular, more accessible favorite. The graphics people were alerted to make a last-minute adjustment, and I stayed with that through the final round of guessing. It was close enough to give me a stomachache. (Believe it or not, the predictions truly are made based on our best assessment of voters. There’s no advocacy or favoritism. The cold, hard pragmatism of wanting to be right guides those choices.)

The call was made: Gravity it would be, by a hair. But then I flipped a quarter, and Sean called it: Tails, it would be 12 Years a Slave.

Again — shoulda trusted the coin. READ FULL STORY

The Oscars: At last, a show that no one can complain about (though, of course, they still will)

In recent years, grousing about the Oscars, which used to begin and end as water cooler chatter, has turned into a trivially self-serious industry, an annual collective rant in which the Sins of the Telecast are dutifully compiled and picked over and excoriated. “The show was way too long!” “It was boring!” “The host was a bust: unfunny and, at times, offensive!” “He (or she) should never be invited back!” “The musical numbers were terrible, and the In Memoriam segment left out far too many people!” “The tribute to _____ stopped the show dead in its tracks, and so did the montages!” “They were badly done, and there were at least three too many of them!” “______’s gown was hideous!” “The acceptance speeches went on way too long!” “Except for the ones that were cut off by those egregious music cues!” “And what was up with ______? My God, he looked so old!” READ FULL STORY

Oscars 2014 backstage: What the winners didn't say on TV

Sunday night’s Oscar winners had plenty to say onstage (Best Actor champ Matthew McConaughey even snuck in an “Alright, alright, alright”), but there’s always more to express after winning the biggest award in film. That’s where the backstage press room comes in, and EW was there to collect all the best moments and bons mots you didn’t see on TV.

For some, holding a golden statuette put them in a playful mood, including Jared Leto (Best Supporting Actor for Dallas Buyers Club), who passed his new hardware around the press room so everyone could share in his victory, and Best Actress winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), who joked that she was being auctioned off to the highest bidder in the room (“Only 86? I’m worth a little bit more than that!”). Others were reflective, including Best Supporting Actress winner Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave): “What I’ve learned from myself is I don’t have to be anybody else. Myself is good enough.”

Read on for more from behind the scenes: READ FULL STORY

Oscars 2014: How Steven Price created a 3-D score for 'Gravity'

Steven Price was only supposed to work on Gravity for three weeks.

The team brought him in for a quick fix. There was a screening approaching quickly and the film still didn’t have a score, so they asked Price — best known for his work as a music editor at that point — to come in. “I thought I was going to go in just to kind of help them throw things together,” he told EW. “And then I met Alfonso.” READ FULL STORY

'Gravity': See how visual effects put Sandra Bullock in space -- VIDEO

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Wait, so Gravity wasn’t actually filmed in space?

A video that shows some of what went into the stunning visual effects for the Oscar-nominated film surfaced online, and it gives us a look at how many details it took to get to the point where it looks like Sandra and George are really floating in space.

Watch the reel (complete with soaring, dramatic music) below: READ FULL STORY

'12 Years a Slave' and 'Gravity' win big at the BAFTA Awards

12 Years a Slave won the Best Film trophy today at the BAFTA Film Awards in London. The movie’s star Chiwetel Ejiofor was also victorious in the Leading Actor category. Cate Blanchett won the Leading Actress award for Blue Jasmine while Alfonso Cuarón scored Best Director for Gravity, one of six wins for the Sandra Bullock-starring space drama. Jennifer Lawrence won Best Supporting Actress for American Hustle and Barkhad Abdi won Best Supporting Actor for his role in Captain Phillips.

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'Gravity' nabs top visual-effects prize

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Alfonso Cuaron was honored with the Visionary Award last night at the 12th annual VES Awards, recognizing the best in visual special-effects — so it was no surprise that Gravity was also the ceremony’s big winner. Cuaron’s riveting outer-space thriller, starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, won six awards in total, including the top prize for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture.

Frozen won four awards, including Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture; Game of Thrones had three wins as well.

In the last five years, the winner of the top prize at the VES Awards has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Special Effects four times, including last year, when Life of Pi won both awards.

Click below for a complete list of winners:

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PRIZE FIGHTER: 'Frozen' wins Annie Award; 'Gravity' claims cinematography honor

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It was a big night for Disney at the Annie Awards on Saturday, as Frozen took the best picture prize and the retro-futuristic 3-D Mickey Mouse film Get a Horse! claimed the title of best short.

Meanwhile, at the American Society of Cinematographer Awards, Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki collected the top honor for Gravity, a groundbreaking hybrid of real actors, digital visual effects, and 3-D.

All three are leading contenders for the Oscars on March 2.

READ FULL STORY

Directors Guild Awards: Alfonso Cuaron wins for 'Gravity'

UPDATED: Gravity does not seem to be falling on the awards circuit. Alfonso Cuarón walked away with the top honor at the Directors Guild of America Awards Saturday night in Los Angeles, beating out Martin Scorsese, David O. Russell, Paul Greengrass, and Steve McQueen.

“This is truly an honor and I am humbled by it,” Cuarón said to the audience of his peers after last year’s winner Ben Affleck presented him with the award. But Gravity was not the work of just one mind, and no one knows that more keenly than Cuarón. “Directing is about the work of your collaborators,” he said. Earlier in the evening, when Gravity was spotlighted amongst the five Feature Film nominees, Cuarón thanked his team including his first assistant director Josh Robertson, co-writer (and son) Jonas Cuarón, his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, and his visual effects team. Then he said: “I barely understand how we made the film.” The audience laughed uproariously.

The DGA Awards are generally a pretty decent indicator for who will walk away with the Best Director Oscar. Comprised of over 15,000 voting members, the Directors Guild does have a tendency to skew more mainstream when compared with the choices of the 377 voting members of the Directors branch in the Academy. But in the past ten years, the DGA winner has gone on to win the Oscar 90% of the time. In fact, in 65 years, only 7 DGA winners failed to win the Academy Award. Last year, however, was a major outlier when Ben Affleck won the DGA for Argo after he’d failed to pick up an Oscar nomination.

The DGA did deviate from the Oscars in other fairly significant ways last year. The nominees only matched 2 out of the 5 Oscar nominees. This year, it was 4 out of 5. Captain Phillips director Paul Greengrass was the odd man out — the Academy included Alexander Payne for his work on Nebraska instead.

For Cuarón, the win only seems to add to his awards momentum. In addition to a host of Film Critics awards, Cuarón also won a Golden Globe earlier this month.

The DGA doesn’t just honor features, though. Oscar nominee Jehane Noujaim picked up an award for her documentary The Square, Steven Soderbergh won for Behind the Candelabra, and Vince Gilligan was recognized for directing the Breaking Bad finale “Felina.” Check out the full list of winners from the 66th Annual DGA Awards after the jump.

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