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Tag: Prize Fighter (1-10 of 136)

SAG nominations: Big day for 'Boyhood,' 'Birdman,' and Aniston

It should really come as no surprise that the film that tracks the travails of fame and tries to understand the psyche of an actor took home the most nominations Wednesday morning from the Screen Actors Guild. In fact, it would have been ridiculous to bet against Birdman: The Alejandro G. Iñárritu film landed four nominations including Best Ensemble, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), and Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone.)

Yet Boyhood, The Imitation Game, and The Theory of Everything all got close with three nominations each, affirming that there really isn’t a frontrunner in this race yet. READ FULL STORY

PrizeFighter: What the Gothams, NYFCC and NBR really mean for the Oscar race

In the last 24 hours, the filmmakers behind Boyhood, Birdman and A Most Violent Year have had a lot to celebrate. Boyhood walked away from the New York Film Critics Circle with three top prizes—for film, director Richard Linklater and actress Patricia Arquette. Meanwhile, the Gotham Independent Film Awards crowned Birdman its best feature and Michael Keaton its best actor. (Seriously, how could the Gothams resist awarding film’s first Batman? Keaton went with the joke, quipping, “It’s good to be back home.”) Then there’s A Most Violent Year, which isn’t on most Oscar predictors’ lists—but was named best picture of the year by the National Board of Review anyway.

So, does this mean Boyhood, Birdman, and A Most Violent Year are the frontrunners in the Oscar race? Not exactly. READ FULL STORY

EW's PrizeFighter checks out the Best Director race, which just got more interesting

If 2014 is the year of the auteur, with filmmakers driving their independent visions onto the screen without the ­benefit of megabudgets—I’m not talking to you, Christopher Nolan—the battle for Best Director will come down to who executed that vision most successfully. And it’s sure to be a hell of a race.

The locks, in my opinion, go to four directors with distinct, incisive points of view: ­Richard Linklater for his 12-year effort Boyhood, one of the year’s best-reviewed movies, which excels in transcending what could have been little more than a ­gimmick (it also nabbed prizes for director, picture and supporting actress from the New York Film Critics Monday); Alejandro G. Iñarritú, the brooding Mexican who lightened up (finally) this year with Birdman, a dark comedy that feels like a bright jazz riff; David Fincher, who turned the pitch-black best-seller Gone Girl into a $160 million juggernaut that mixes ­stylized pulp with impeccable craft; and Ava DuVernay, the rising filmmaker who is stunning audiences with her grand-but-intimate portrait of Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Adding oomph to her odds, she would be the first African-American woman—and only the fifth woman ever—to land a directing nod. READ FULL STORY

EW's PrizeFighter analyzes the Best Actress race, brought to you by Reese Witherspoon

Thank goodness for Reese ­Witherspoon.

Despite a recent surge in strong roles for women (e.g., Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine, Jennifer ­Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook), Hollywood really dropped the ball when it came to showcasing interesting roles for actresses in 2014. If it weren’t for Witherspoon’s newfound strength as a producer, two of this year’s likely ­nominees wouldn’t exist—and the Best Actress race would look even more dire than it currently does.

Witherspoon herself is one of the primary contenders, of course, for her portrayal of a novice hiker looking for redemption in the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild (which the actress produced). But she also optioned and developed the box office hit Gone Girl, which should land a nomination for Rosamund Pike, playing the iciest (and scariest) wife in modern ­cinema. Neither of them is the front­runner, however. READ FULL STORY

Let the Oscar race begin! EW's PrizeFighter analyzes the Best Actor race

It’s only natural to begin our four-month Oscar discussion with what’s sure to be the most contentious race of all: the Best Actor category. Though it’s only November, this is already one crowded arena, filled with performances that span continents, explore disease, and wrestle with failure. And unfortunately, the race can’t hold them all. READ FULL STORY

The Oscar race takes shape: Sure things, contenders, and wild cards

It’s September, so why wouldn’t we start predicting an Oscar race that won’t finish for another five months?

To be fair, Venice, Telluride, and the Toronto film festivals have all concluded. Many films have screened. Many films have connected with audiences, and a rough draft of the Oscar race is beginning to come into focus. Sure, no Academy member will even begin popping in those screener DVDs for another couple of months, but it’s still worth discussing what has buzz and what is likely to still be on voters’ minds once the weather finally begins to cool off.

Here’s a very early look at what the race looks like now. READ FULL STORY

Oscars set dates for 2015 award season

Mark your calendars, Oscar-watchers.

After a slightly later presentation this year due to the Winter Olympics, the 2015 Academy Awards telecast has returned to its usual domain on Sunday, Feb. 22 of next year.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made the announcement today, along with a list of other significant dates that form the backbone of backslapping season.

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

Prize Fighter Analysis: BAFTA wins for '12 Years a Slave' and 'Gravity' further muddle a tight Oscar race

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Will it be Gravity or 12 Years a Slave? We keep looking for clarity, but this year’s award season is not forthcoming.

The BAFTA awards — think of them as the British Oscars — are considered a major Academy Award indicators, and this year 12 Years a Slave won Best Film. But … Gravity claimed the award for “Outstanding British Film” (since it was mostly produced there.)

So there.

READ FULL STORY

Philip Seymour Hoffman's film breakthrough, remembered by 'Nebraska' Oscar-nominee June Squibb

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One great pleasure of watching an old movie is spotting famous actors doing bit parts, back before anyone could have known what they’d become.

Philip Seymour Hoffman provided a litany of these, having paid his dues over many years as a working actor — making even small roles seem impressive. That’s how we eventually came to know his name.

After his death yesterday, EW began looking back through some of these early performances — his debut as a wise-ass street kid on a 1991 episode of Law & Order, and his supporting role as the morally ambiguous best friend of Chris O’Donnell’s character in 1992’s Scent of a Woman.

Looking up that particular part, we spotted something surprising in one of his early scenes. In the game of finding a future film star in a background role, this scene from Scent of a Woman turned out to be a double.

Hoffman is not just sharing the screen with O’Donnell, as they try to distract an older teacher from witnessing a prank being set up over the headmaster’s parking space. Hoffman is also acting opposite a current Oscar-nominee: Nebraska‘s June Squibb.

We reached out to her via her son, filmmaker Harry Kakatsakis, to see if she had any memories of Hoffman to share.

READ FULL STORY

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