From ‘Carol’ to ‘Tangerine’: This Year’s Independent Spirit Award Nominees

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This morning, Independent Spirit Award nominations were announced, boasting a diverse group of emerging artists and acclaimed filmmakers from Todd Haynes and Ed Lachman to Sean Baker and Cary Joji Fukunaga. The awards will be presented on February 27st so check out a selection of the nominees below and for the full list head here.

Best Feature
Anomalisa
Producers: Duke Johnson, Charlie Kaufman, Dino Stamatopoulos, Rosa Tran

Beasts of No Nation
Producers: Daniel Crown, Idris Elba, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Amy Kaufman, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Riva Marker

Carol
Producers: Elizabeth Karlsen, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley

Spotlight
Producers: Blye Pagon Faust, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Michael Sugar

Tangerine
Producers: Sean Baker, Karrie Cox, Marcus Cox, Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou

Best Director
Sean BakerTangerine
Cary Joji Fukunaga, Beasts of No Nation
Todd Haynes, Carol
Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson, Anomalisa
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
David Robert Mitchell, It Follows

Best Screenplay
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Donald Margulies, The End of the Tour
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight
S. Craig Zahler, Bone Tomahawk

Best First Feature
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Director: Marielle Heller
Producers: Miranda Bailey, Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit

James White
Director: Josh Mond
Producers: Max Born, Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, Melody Roscher, Eric Schultz

Manos Sucias
Director: Josef Kubota Wladyka
Producers: Elena Greenlee, Márcia Nunes

Mediterranea
Director: Jonas Carpignano
Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Chris Columbus, Jon Coplon, Christoph Daniel, Andrew Kortschak, John Lesher, Ryan Lough, Justin Nappi, Alain Peyrollaz, Gwyn Sannia, Marc Schmidheiny, Victor Shapiro, Ryan Zacarias

Songs My Brothers Taught Me
Director/Producer: Chloé Zhao
Producers: Mollye Asher, Nina Yang Bongiovi, Angela C. Lee, Forest Whitaker

Best First Screenplay
Jesse Andrews, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Joseph Carpignano, Mediterranea
Emma Donoghue, Room
Marielle Heller, The Diary of a Teenage Girl
John Magary, Russell Harbaugh, Myna Joseph, The Mend

Best Male Lead
Christopher Abbott, James White
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind
Jason Segel, The End of the Tour
Koudous Seihon, Mediterranea

Best Female Lead
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Bel Powley, The Diary of A Teenage Girl
Kitana Kiki Rodriquez, Tangerine

Best Supporting Male
Kevin Corrigan
Results
Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Richard Jenkins, Bone Tomahawk
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes

Best Supporting Female
Robin Bartlett, H.
Marin Ireland, Glass Chin
Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
Cynthia Nixon, James White
Mya Taylor, Tangerine

Best Documentary
(T)error
Directors/Producers: Lyric R. Cabral & David Felix Sutcliffe
Producer: Christopher St. John
Best of Enemies
Directors/Producers: Robert Gordon and Morgan Neville

Heart of Dog
Director/Producer: Laurie Anderson
Producer: Dan Janvey

The Look of Silence
Director: Joshua Oppenheimer
Producer: Signe Byrge Sørensen

Meru
Directors/Producers: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Producer: Shannon Ethridge

The Russian Woodpecker
Director/Producer: Chad Gracia
Producers: Ram Devineni, Mike Lerner

Best International Film
Embrace the Serpent
(Colombia)
Director: Ciro Guerra

Girlhood
(France)
Director: Céline Sciamma

Mustang
(France, Turkey)
Director: Deniz Gamze Ergüven

A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence
(Sweden)
Director: Roy Andersson

Son of Saul
(Hungary)
Director: László Nemes 

Best Cinematography
Beasts of No Nation, Cary Joji Fukunaga
Carol, Ed Lachman
It Follows, Michael Gioulakis
Meadlowland, Reed Morano
Songs My Brothers Taught Me, Joshua James Richards

Helen Mirren Calls Out Sam Mendes and Hollywood’s Boys Club

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Yesterday, Empire magazine held its annual Empire Awards in London, handing out honors for last year’s crop of movies. It was a typical British affair, with Skyfall winning Best Picture, Martin Freeman winning Best Actor for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (that’s a burn, Daniel Day-Lewis), and Jennifer Lawrence winning Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook The Hunger Games. (Ha ha, what? Alright, sure. Whatever.) And it seems that two winners sparked some controversy. First, Sam Mendes picked up Best Director for Skyfall, and in his acceptance speech he gave a short list of his cinematic inspirations. Helen Mirren, who received the Empire Legend award (code for: "You’re old"), blasted Mendes and his list, complaining that he forgot to mention any women.

According to The Guardian, Mendes name-dropped four big names: Paul Thomas Anderson, François Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, and Ingmar Bergman. Mirren wasn’t too pleased that those names all belong to men. 

"I don’t want to unduly pick on Sam Mendes, but when he spoke about his inspirations earlier this evening, I’m afraid not a single one of the people he mentioned was a woman," said Mirren, to cheers from the audience. "Hopefully in five or 10 years, when Sam’s successor is collecting their Inspiration award, the list will be slightly more balanced in terms of its sexual make-up. In the meantime, this one is for the girls."

OH YEAH, HELEN MIRREN? NAME SOME GIRLS, THEN! Just kidding: making lists of women who should be honored isn’t the right response, because, come on, there are plenty of female filmmakers who are responsible for great movies. Of course, they tend to be overlooked for several reasons, which is a shame, especially since one could argue that Kathryn Bigelow’s work on Zero Dark Thirty was probably better than Mendes’s direction in Skyfall. Having said that: good for Helen MIrren for making a statement. Calling out the rampant sexism in Hollywood is surely seen as, well, complaining, but it’s at the same time encouraging to the women who are working hard to make excellent films and not getting the recognition they deserve.

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Jennifer Lawrence’s ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Costumes Up For Auction

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Think of all of the classic costumes from Hollywood history. That gigantic dress that Bette Davis wears in the party scene in All About Eve! Gene Kelly’s rain-soaked suit! Vivien Leigh’s Gone With the Wind dress—the one made from curtains! All of those suits that Diane Keaton wore in Annie Hall! Dorothy’s ruby slippers! Such classics! Such fashion! And now think of the crap that Jennifer Lawrence wore in Silver Linings Playbook. Wouldn’t you, you collector of movie memorabilia, want to own those? Like, for example, the sports bra she wore. It’s from the Gap! Well, now you can buy it, as long as you’re willing to participate in an auction, probably pay hundreds of dollars, and also look like a reeeeeeeal dummy.

[via People]

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NYT Writer Surprised Actresses Sometimes Act Like Actual People

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Man, the Oscars really brought out the worst in people last night, huh? In addition to all your amateur comedian friends trying to outsnark each other while live-tweeting the thing, some dudes who actually contributed to the making of a really good movie got played off by the “Jaws” theme music while the cast of Chicago got to go up there like five times. There was Seth MacFarlane’s entire hosting gig, which played like the open-mic comedy set of a frat boy who finds himself saying “it’s okay, some of my best friends are…” a lot. Someone who should never be allowed near a computer or smartphone again made a @HathawaysNipple novelty Twitter account because we are the worst generation and let this happen. Really a race to the bottom last night, everyone.

But Alessandra Stanley at The New York Times (On It!) had a much different take on the evening. She rather enjoyed MacFarlane as the host, or, at least, didn’t see him as the core problem. She saves quite a bit of her ire for a perhaps undeserving target, Best Actress winner Jennifer Lawrence, for doing human things that most people do literally every day. She writes:

“Ms. Lawrence tripped on her way to the stage but didn’t make any faux pas in her acceptance speech. She was less guarded on the red carpet, complaining to one interviewer that she was hungry and moaning presciently that the show is too long. With another, she let fly a profanity that ABC barely bleeped in time.

It wasn’t the first time she’s flouted awards-show etiquette: At the Golden Globes, she began her acceptance speech by dissing Meryl Streep. (Mr. MacFarlane referred to the gaffe in a joke, saying that he heard Ms. Lawrence say that win or lose, “it’s just an honor that Meryl Streep wasn’t nominated.”) It could be a rebellious streak in her, but mostly it’s a reminder of how young and unworldly some stars are, despite all the coaching, minders and Dior gowns.”

So first of all, we’re all on the same page on this and I don’t even need to go into about how there’s no way Stanley would have written those same words, or dedicate that much space and indignation to Lawrence if she were a dude, right? Right. And you’d think with the high standards of quality the NYT tries to hold itself to or whatever, she would have at least run a Google search and seen the literally dozens of nearly identical blog posts about how Lawrence’s “I beat Meryl!” line was a First Wives Club reference and not in any way an actual slight at Meryl herself. It’s not that hard, guys. 

The Oscars have kind of developed this presence where they’re really just an expensive, self-congratulatory mess, especially in the last few years, where a Best Picture win for Crash and Billy Crystal in blackface can somehow coexist amid glittery montages celebrating how great and envelope-pushing the movies are. And you know what? If Jennifer Lawrence can see through the pageantry and keep it real, then more power to her. She looked great and she won a damn Oscar and made a lot of really GIF-able side-eyes. God forbid lady actors sometimes swear or trip or are honest about wanting to eat food.  

These actions don’t make Jennifer Lawrence “unworldly,” they make her a person. And this may be getting off-message a bit, but I know as a culture we don’t like to think celebrities are real people, but they are, and losing that reminder that they’re human is what leads to dumb Rihanna domestic violence jokes and snark about the Kardashians’ body hair and comments about stars’ weight that young, impressionable tweens see and think about their own bodies with that same scrutiny. And you know what? The show was way too damn long. Jennifer Lawrence was right.

So, to recap, Stanley just chastised an actress for expressing a desire to eat on the red carpet but sort of praised a dude who made a really tasteless eating disorder joke while hosting. Great job, everyone! You’re all the worst.

Trolling the Oscars: Why None of These Movies Deserve to Win Best Picture

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Welcome to the internet, where all of my opinions are right. You know what’s so great about being able to log into a CMS account and self-publish my thoughts and ideas? No matter how I actually feel, everything I write online comes across as completely sincere and competent, even when the things I write are neither of those things! It’s a brave new world we’re living in, when tweets can be art and art can be criticized by any person with an idea for a clever hashtag. Naturally, it’s time to harness this power by showing you exactly why none of the nine nominees for Best Picture deserve to win a goddamn thing. Let’s go!

Amour

Oh, come on. You didn’t see Amour. You know how I know this? Because I didn’t see Amour. I didn’t see this movie because I could just call my grandparents and ask them to speak to me in French for two hours. At least the phone call would be free! And hey, maybe I’d get twenty bucks out of it or somewhere, whereas Amour would cost me at least thirteen dollars and bring with it a lot of emotional anxiety. Anyway, this movie should not win, but I kind of wish it would if only so I can quickly take screenshots of midwestern teenagers tweeting about how they don’t know what Amour is. That’s how blogging works!

Argo

Ugh, Argo. Argofuckyourself, indeed, Argo! The major point about Argo was that Ben Affleck can direct a movie, which comes as a surprise to literally no one because he has already directed two movies that people liked a lot. The other reason Argo was made was so Ben Affleck could take off his shirt in another movie. Oh, and you know another thing that sucked about Argo? The fact that none of the women in Argo were allowed to speak to each other on camera. Sorry, Clea Duvall; you get to be in a Big Motion Picture, but you may only open your mouth when in the presence of Victor Garber. And don’t you dare make eye contact with Ben Affleck! 

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I do love a movie with a precocious child as much as the next guy, but how awkward do you feel about the fact that some white people from New York City went down to New Orleans to make a movie about magical negroes? I’m surprised there weren’t any animated bears and foxes floating along the river, or that those giant titular beasts didn’t burst into "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." 

Django Unchained

This one is simple: Django Unchained should not win Best Picture because it is not Jackie Brown and Jackie Brown is the only Quentin Tarantino movie that deserves to win Best Picture. 

Les Misérables

A friend of mine described this movie with the following: "It was like in acting classes when one person started crying and then everyone else in class cried harder and louder and uglier." This is one of the few movies in which everyone was dead at the end and I thought, "You know what? I’m OK with this." That is until the ghost of Anne Hathaway showed up again with that chopped-off hair and sad dress, which made me depressed. I really hate that it’s a known fact that your apperance when you die is what you’ll look like in Heaven. Really sucks for people who get run over by trucks, huh? 

Life of Pi

Spoiler alert: Pi is the tiger, and the tiger is Pi, and the eggman is Paul, I think, and maybe we ought to remake Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band but with 3D CGI, but I’m getting distracted. Life of Pi is a cartoon movie for adults who are still making their way through Oprah’s Book Club.

Lincoln

Oh, I’m sorry, is this category called Best Way to Nap? Lincoln was terrible. Remember how fun TV miniseries used to be? They were long, yes, but they were campy as hell, had a lot of awkward sex not normally seen during primetime, and were stuffed with lots of recognizable people who were not really famous but still possessed a certain level celebrity that you’d still be excited if you saw them on the street. Lincoln was just a really expensive TV-miniseries, but without the sex. Or the fun. And with overwritten dialogue by Tony Kushner. I got a screener of Lincoln, and it’s best uses so far have been as a coaster and as a substitute for Ambien.

Silver Linings Playbook

I can’t for the life of me figure out why people love this movie so much. Is it because we’re so desperate to see Ben Stiller act in a dramatic performance that we could substitute in Bradley Cooper and just go with it? Is it because it’s nice to see Julia Stiles back in action? Is it because of Jacki Weaver saying "crabby snacks and homemades?" Is it because of Dancing With the Stars? Is it because As Good as It Gets was too subtle and we needed a subpar version of that to really hone in the idea of what mental illness is? Or is it because everyone is crazy? If everyone is crazy, no one is crazy. 

Zero Dark Thirty

JUST KIDDING! While you were all being emotionally waterboarded by the rest of what Hollywood had to offer, you guys completely missed the fact that this was the best movie of the year. Jessica Chastain! She could act circles around everyone else on this planet, and she wouldn’t be exhausted because she’s, like, a healthy vegan. And you know she’s on track for world domination. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE. it doesn’t even matter if this loses to, say, Argo, because Kathryn Bigelow will have her revenge on all of you. Especially you, Ben Affleck. 

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See Another Video of Young Bradley Cooper Asking Thoughtful Questions on ‘Inside the Actors Studio’

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To most of the world, Bradey Cooper: Serious Actor is a rather new concept. But to Cooper himself, I am assuming that has been his intention all along. And by now, we’ve all seen images from a less-polished but adorable young student Coop asking Robert De Niro a very acterly queston on Inside the Actors Studio

bf

Bradley: How you doing Mr De Niro, my name is Bradley Cooper and my question is regarding Awakenings. You talked about your research and how you, you interviewed a lot of patients and people who had the different diseases. There was one mannerism you had during the interview process when they were asking you when you wanted to go outside the building and go for a walk and you went like this with your finger and you sort of made up for it by rubbing your eyebrow and I was wondering, is that something that you saw people do, trying to make up for their ticks or was that something that happened in the moment?
Robert De Niro: That’s a good question.

I had seen that clip in my past obsessive James Lipton phase, so after seeing Silver Linings Playbook for the first time, my immediate reaction was immensive pride for Bradley Cooper—which is a weird feeling to be consumed by. Anyway, as the Oscars are this Sunday, it’s interesting to see Hollywood come full circle as Cooper and De Niro are nominated alongside one another for Silver Linings like the good father-son duo they are. It was De Niro afterall who championed Cooper for the role.

But that wasn’t his only time on the show. In another episode—new to me—we see a long-haired and tie-clad inquisitive Cooper propose a question to Sean Penn and then watch him very intently as he answers. All y’all acting students out there…take notes?

‘Argo’ Wins BAFTA for Best Picture, Best Director

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While you were watching the Grammys, the BAFTAs, the U.K. version of the Oscars, was aired on BBC America. And hoo boy, what a mess of an awards show. I didn’t watch it, so I can only imagine the British humour happening all over the place, but I can tell you that I’ve got a pretty stiff upper lip this morning as I look at the list of winners. Argo won Best Picture and Best Director. Ben Affleck. The best director. Of the year! Ben Affleck is a better director than Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, et al. None of those chumps can possibly live up to the magnificent director Ben Affleck. Also, both Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Chastain lost out to Emmanuelle Riva for Amour. Christolph Waltz won for Django Unchained, and Daniel Day-Lewis surprised no one when he won another award for Lincoln. And, of course, little Annie Hathaway likely annoyed people in England, too, with her insincerity upon winning Best Supporting Actress.

The full list of winners below, via EW.

Best Film: Argo
Best Director: Ben Affleck, Argo
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Best Actress: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Best Supporting Actor: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Best Original Screenplay: Django Unchained
Best Adapted Screenplay: Silver Linings Playbook
Best British Film: Skyfall
Best Film Not in the English Language: Amour
Best Animated Film: Brave
Best Documentary: Searching for Sugar Man
Best Editing: William Goldenberg, Argo
Best Costume Design: Jacqueline Durran, Anna Karenina
Best Cinematography: Claudio Miranda, Life of Pi
Best Original Music: Thomas Newman, Skyfall
Best Make-Up & Hair: Lisa Wescott, Les Misérables
Best Visual Effects: Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, Donald R. Elliott, Life of Pi
Best Production Design: Eve Stewart, Anna Lynch-Robinson, Les Misérables
Best Sound: Simon Hayes, Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson, Jonathan Allen, Lee Walpole, John Warhurst, Les Misérables
Best British Debut: Bart Layton and Dimitri Doganis, The Imposter
Orange Rising Star Award: Juno Temple
Best Animated Short: The Making of Longbird
Best Live-Action Short: Swimmer

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It’s Time We Stop Playing “Ho Hey”

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I always think it’s a little depressing when a band hits that one-hit-wonder territory. Remember Carly Rae Jepsen? Will we ever hear from that Canadian lass again? Probably not. And as overplayed as "Call Me Maybe" was, it is such a great song, one that somehow transcended annoyance and was an all-around great summer jam. Meanwhile, The Lumineers’ “Ho Hey” has turned into the most rage-inducing one-hit-wonder of 2013. People, we have got to stop playing this song.

As of this writing, I have heard “Ho Hey” three times today. Generally, I hear it on the office speakers about five or six times. Then there’s the chance that I’m in a cab and I hear it on the radio. Or at a fast-food restaurant at lunch. (Yeah, I could be eating healthier. Orrrrr they could just stop playing “Ho Hey” on the radio.) And then there are the Silver Lining Playbook TV spots. I think it’s safe to say that if I hear “Ho Hey” one more time today, I will probably attempt to assassinate the entire Silver Linings Playbook cast with banjo strings. Sorry, Chris Tucker. Blame The Lumineers. 

Join me in my "Ho Hey" rage, won’t you?

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Bradley Cooper Attends a SoulCycle Class, Chaos Ensues

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Well guys, it looks like running in a garbage bag really pays off! Bradley Cooper and his abs are apparently sweeping through Manhattan and causing a ruckus. With the Oscars on the horizon and his film, Silver Linings Playbook, nominated for just about every award, the man’s got to look good in his tux. So yesterday, Cooper decided to squeeze in an early morning workout at the Tribeca location of cultish cycling club, SoulCycle—much to female riders delight, causing not only a rush of adrenaline but a possible hazard! 

According to the New York Post, Cooper was "trying to be incognito and wore a long-sleeved shirt for most of the ride," but as many know, when engaging in that ridiculous level of exercise, how can one’s clothing possibly stay on?! Nautrally, Coop ripped off his shirt by the end of class. "Girls were literally falling off their bikes," a source told the Post. If that mental image is not hilarious, I don’t know what is. 

Oh, and when class was finished and everyone was sweating in places you didn’t even know could excrete bodily fluids, some confident fans approached him. And being the kind gentleman he is, he graciously introduced himself and "even congratulated the girls on a great class." Thanks, Coop.