Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Oscar Nominations

Two extravagant comedies, "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," tied for the most Oscar nominations Thursday morning with nine nods each, including best picture.
They were joined in best-picture nominations by "Boyhood," ''Whiplash," ''The Theory of Everything," ''The Imitation Game," ''American Sniper" and "Selma." Nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards were announced from Beverly Hills, where they were broadcast and streamed live.
World War II code-breaker thriller "The Imitation Game," about unsung hero Alan Turing, trailed close behind with eight nominations. Clint Eastwood's Navy SEAL drama "American Sniper" did especially well, landing six nods including best actor for Bradley Cooper.
Also with six nominations was Richard Linklater's coming-of-age epic "Boyhood," which remains the best-picture favorite. On Sunday, the 12-years-in-making drama won best drama at the Golden Globes.
But Wes Anderson's old Europe caper "The Grand Budapest Hotel," which also won best comedy or musical at the Globes, has emerged as the most unexpected awards heavyweight. With $59.1 million at the North American box office (opening all the way back in March), it's also the most money-making best-picture entry in an especially modestly sized batch of nominees. That, however, is likely to change soon after "American Sniper" expands nationwide this weekend.
"The Grand Budapest Hotel" managed nine nominations without a single acting nod. Instead, it was repeatedly cited for Anderson's meticulous craft in categories like directing, production design, makeup and screenplay.
The nominees for best actor are: Cooper, Steve Carell ("Foxcatcher"), Benedict Cumberbatch ("The Imitation Game"), Michael Keaton ("Birdman") and Eddie Redmayne. David Oweloyo, who stars as Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma," was left out.
Ava DuVernay's civil rights drama, at one point considered a major contender, faded even after its late debut. The film, which has been nagged by criticism over its portrayal of President Lyndon Johnson, managed just two nominations. (The second was for best song.)
Marion Cotillard for the French-language "Two Days, One Night" was the surprise nominee for best actress. She was joined by Felicity Jones ("The Theory of Everything"), Julianne Moore ("Still Alice"), Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl") and Reese Witherspoon ("Wild"). That left Jennifer Aniston's pained and grieving performance in "Cake" on the outside.
The eight best-picture nominees left out two wild cards that might have added a dose of darkness to the category: the creepy Jake Gyllenhaal thriller "Nightcrawler" and the tragic wrestling drama "Foxcatcher." In the three previous years since the category was expanded (anywhere between five and 10 film may be nominated), there were nine movies contending for best picture.
"Foxcatcher" helmer Bennett Miller (previously nominated for "Capote") did squeak into best director. Joining him and Anderson are Linklater ("Boyhood"), Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Birdman") and Morten Tyldum ("The Imitation Game").
One of the most notable snubs came in the best animation category, usually a particularly staid category. Despite critical love and major box office, "The Lego Movie" failed to join nominees "Big Hero 6," ''The Boxtrolls," ''How to Train Your Dragon 2," ''Song of the Sea" and "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya."
This year's smaller sized but much-beloved favorites — "Boyhood," ''Birdman" — have been largely locked in as front runners throughout much of the ever-expanding industrial complex of Hollywood's lengthy awards season. As studios have focused more and more on easily marketed blockbusters, Oscar season increasingly exists apart from the regular business of the movies, in its own highfalutin, red-carpeted realm.
Ratings, though, are on the rise. Last year's Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, drew 43 million viewers, making it the most-watched entertainment telecast in a decade. "12 Years a Slave" took best picture. This year's ceremony on Feb. 22 will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
The nominees for best foreign language film are: "Ida" (Poland), "Leviathan" (Russia), "Tangerines" (Estonia), "Timbuktu" (Mauritania) and "Wild Tales" (Argentina).
Best documentary nods went to "CitizenFour," ''Finding Vivian Maier," ''Last Days in Vietnam," ''The Salt of the Earth" and "Virunga." The last gave Netflix its second Oscar nomination. (It last year released the nominated documentary "The Square.")

Monday, January 12, 2015

Golden Globes Winners

The 2015 Golden Globes have (finally) arrived, and we can't wait to see what happens.
With big names like Reese Witherspoon, Julianne Moore, Jennifer Aniston, Jake Gyllenhaal, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Matthew McConaughey up for awards, and some big movies, like "Boyhood," "The Imitation Game," "Selma," "Foxcatcher," and "Birdman," vying for the top prize, this year's ceremony is as competitive as ever.
Best Motion Picture, Drama
"Boyhood" - WINNER
"The Imitation Game"
"The Theory of Everything"
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama
Benedict Cumberbatch, "The Imitation Game"
Steve Carell, "Foxcatcher"
David Oyelowo, "Selma"
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler"
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama
Reese Witherspoon, "Wild"
Rosamund Pike, "Gone Girl"
Felicity Jones, "The Theory of Everything"
Jennifer Aniston, "Cake"
Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
"Into the Woods"
"St. Vincent"
Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Michael Keaton, "Birdman" - WINNER
Bill Murray, "St. Vincent"
James Corden, "Into the Woods"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Inherent Vice"
Christoph Waltz, "Big Eyes"
Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama
Ruth Wilson, "The Affair" (Showtime) - WINNER
Julianna Marguiles, "The Good Wife" (CBS)
Robin Wright, "House of Cards" (Netflix)
Viola Davis, "How to Get Away With Murder" (ABC)
Claire Danes, Homeland (Showtime)
Best Director - Motion Picture
Alejandro González Iñárritu, "Birdman"
Ava DuVernay, "Selma"
Wes Anderson, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
David Fincher, "Gone Girl"
Best Actor in a TV Series, Drama
Kevin Spacey, "House of Cards" (Netflix) - WINNER
Liev Schreiber, "Ray Donovan" (Showtime)
James Spader, "The Blacklist" (NBC)
Clive Owen, "The Knick" (Cinemax)
Dominic West, "The Affair" (Showtime)
Best TV Series, Drama
"The Affair" (Showtime) - WINNER
"Downton Abbey" (PBS)
"The Good Wife" (CBS)
"House of Cards" (Netflix)
"Game of Thrones" (HBO)
Best Actress in a Mini-series or TV Movie
Maggie Gyllenhaal, "The Honourable Woman" (SundanceTV) - WINNER
Jessica Lange, "American Horror Story: Freak Show" (FX)
Frances McDormand, "Olive Kitteridge" (HBO)
Allison Tolman, "Fargo" (FX)
Frances O'Connor, "The Missing" (Starz)
Best Foreign Language Film
"Leviathan" - WINNER
"Tangerine Mandarin"
"Force Majeure"
"Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem"
Best Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Jeffrey Tambor, "Transparent" (Amazon) - WINNER
William H. Macy, "Shameless" (Showtime)
Don Cheadle, "House of Lies" (Showtime)
Ricky Gervais, "Derek" (Netflix)
Louis C.K., "Louie" (FX)
Best Screenplay - Motion Picture
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo, "Birdman" - WINNER
Richard Linklater, "Boyhood"
Graham Moore, "The Imitation Game"
Wes Anderson & Hugo Guinness, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Gillian Flynn, "Gone Girl"
Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Meryl Streep, "Into The Woods"
Keira Knightley, "The Imitation Game"
Emma Stone, "Birdman"
Jessica Chastain, "A Most Violent Year"
Best Animated Feature Film
"The Boxtrolls"
"The LEGO Movie"
"Big Hero 6"
"The Book of Life"
Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy
Amy Adams, "Big Eyes" - WINNER
Julianne Moore, "Maps To The Stars"
Emily Blunt, "Into The Woods"
Quvenzhane Wallis, "Annie"
Helen Mirren, "The Hundred Foot Journey"
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Matt Bomer, "The Normal Heart" (HBO) - WINNER
Bill Murray, "Olive Kitteridge" (HBO)
Alan Cumming, "The Good Wife" (CBS)
Jon Voight, "Ray Donovan" (Showtime)
Colin Hanks, "Fargo" (FX)
Best Original Song - Motion Picture
"Glory" (Selma) - WINNER
"Big Eyes" (Big Eyes)
"Mercy Is" (Noah)
"Opportunity" (Annie)
"Yellow Flicker Beat" (Hunger Games)
Best Original Score - Motion Picture
Johann Johannsson, "The Theory of Everything" - WINNER
Alexandre Desplat, "The Imitation Game"
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, "Gone Girl"
Antonio Sanchez, "Birdman"
Hans Zimmer, "Interstellar"
Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy
"Transparent" (Amazon) - WINNER
"Girls" (HBO)
"Orange is the New Black" (Netflix)
"Silicon Valley" (HBO)
"Jane the Virgin" (CW)
Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Veep" (HBO)
Lena Dunham, "Girls" (HBO)
Edie Falco, "Nurse Jackie" (Showtime)
Taylor Schilling, "Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix)
Best Actor in a Mini-series or TV Movie
Billy Bob Thornton, "Fargo" (FX) - WINNER
Matthew McConaughey, "True Detective" (HBO)
Woody Harrelson, "True Detective" (HBO)
Martin Freeman, "Fargo" (FX)
Mark Ruffalo, "The Normal Heart" (HBO)
Best TV Movie or Mini-series
"Fargo" (FX) - WINNER
"The Normal Heart" (HBO)
"True Detective" (HBO)
"Olive Kitteridge" (HBO)
"The Missing" (Starz)
Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Movie
Joann Froggatt, "Downton Abbey" (PBS) - WINNER
Allison Janney, "Mom" (CBS)
Kathy Bates, "American Horror Story: Freak Show" (FX)
Uzo Aduba, "Orange is the New Black" (Netflix)
Michelle Monaghan, "True Detective" (HBO)
Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
J.K. Simmons, "Whiplash" - WINNER
Edward Norton, "Birdman"
Mark Ruffalo, "Foxcatcher"
Ethan Hawke, "Boyhood"
Robert Duvall, "The Judge"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

12th Annual 168 Film Festival Winners

Los Angeles, CA - 168 Film this evening announced the winners of its short filmmaking competition at the 12th Annual 168 Film Festival. The gala award ceremony - presented as an international celebration of faith in film - took place at the Aratani Japanese Theater in Downtown Los Angeles.

The 168 Film Festival showcases short films that have been shot in 168 hours (7 days); each based on a selected Bible verse tied into this year's theme, "The Gift." The event is presented by 168 Film, an organization founded by John David Ware in 2003 to train and equip filmmakers in the how-to's of making God-honoring films.

This year's winners were selected from among dozens of international submissions and were saluted by a host of celebrity presenters, including four-time Emmy Winner Michael Learned (The Waltons, Nurse); Nathan Kress (iCarly, Into the Storm), Kelsey Scott (12 Years a Slave) and twice Emmy nominated actor Max Gail (Barney Miller, 42).

2014 Winners List

Making of 168 Award
Making of Tula Tula, Diane Vermooten
Best Student Film
DG, Rachel Martin
Best Sound Design
Tula Tula, Chris van der Burgh
Best Original Score
What Showers Bring, Sean Massey
169 Award
Steve and David Puffenberger
Best Hair and Makeup
The Mantle of Granny Belle, Dayna Miller
Best Scriptural Integration
The Ranch, Richard Lee Warren, Writer
Evangelista Award
McKenzie's Gifts, Nancy Bethea, Writer
Best KidVid
Gift of Grace, Mark Baird, Writer
Best Screenplay Comedy
The Parcel, April Manor and Liz Hewes, Writers
Best  Production Design
Skywatch: The Duster of Doom,
Shar-Lee Jessica Nel
Best Editor
Insulin, Shaun Wood
Best Actor
J. Patrick Wise as Tyus Cain in Ayaan
Best Actress
Kelli Goss as Rachel in What Showers Bring
Best Supporting Actor
Anele Matoti as Dr Zolani in Tula Tula 
Best Supporting Actress
Pumeza Matoti as Allile in Tula Tula
Best Screenplay Drama
Tula Tula, Diane Vermooten, Writer
Best Documentary
Identity, Arthur Delgado, Producer
Best Write of Passage Spotlight Film
Stuck, Aaron Kamp, Producer
Best International Film
Tula Tula, Diane Vermooten, Producer
Best Comedy
Unplugged, James Runcorn, Producer
Best Cinematography
Cipta Gelar, Fredrik Wattimena, DP
Best Director
Tula Tula, Shane Vermooten
Best Film
What Showers Bring, Daniel Furukawa, Producer
Friday Audience FavoriteRemnant, Joe Osborn, Producer
Saturday Audience Favorite
Tula Tula, Diane Vermooten, Producer

Among this year's winners are the super talented husband and wife team, Anele Matoti and Pumeza Matoti, who pulled in Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards, respectively, for the South African entry Tula Tula. The film, which also features the debut of the couple's infant, picked up the Best International Film award.

Before news of his win, Anele Matoti said "My wife Pumeza Nolumanyano Rashe Matoti and I are at it again! Now we are both nominated for supporting roles in the socially relevant short film Tula Tula, produced by Media Village. Here is to continuing to do what we love!"

The 12th Annual 168 Film Festival featured an "all-star" Presenter line-up including four-time Emmy winner Michael Learned (The Waltons, Nurse); Nathan Kress (iCarly, Into the Storm); Kelsey Scott (12 Years a Slave); this year's Host, comedian Kerri Pomarolli (The Tonight Show, Comedy Central, Lifetime); Vincent Irizarry (All My Children, Heartbreak Ridge, Homeland); twice Emmy nominated actor Max Gail (Barney Miller, 42); Writer, Director Sean McNamara (Soul Surfer, Hoovey); Melissa Biggs (Baywatch, Dreamz: The Movie); Kim Estes (NCIS, Law & Order: L.A.; The Closer, The Matador, Rake); Denise Grayson (The Social Network, Shameless); Melissa Disney (As Told By Ginger; Superman: Unbound); and Bryan E. Miller (film composer America, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Next Top Model, Access Hollywood.)

This year's festival took on additional importance as the press declared 2014 as "The Year of Christian Film," following a host of box-office hits that grossed record numbers while dealing with faith-based themes (God's Not Dead; Heaven Is For Real, Son of God, Noah.) 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The American West

The American West from Harold Hay on Vimeo.

Gary Wheeler on Christian Movie Connect

Gary Wheeler of Level Path Productions is a multi-award winning director, producer, and writer from North Carolina who has produced numerous television projects and films globally. Many know him for his adaptations of several legal thrillers by Christian author, Robert Whitlow including the recently released “Jimmy”, “The Trial”, and “The List”. “Mountain Top”, starring Barry Corbin, Coby Ryan McLaughlin, Valerie Azlynn, and Sydney Penny, is the latest Whitlow film; the release date is still pending at this time.
In this interview Wheeler chats with CMC host, Cheryl Ariaz Wicker, about several of his past and present projects, including “Jimmy” and “Mountain Top” and the televised movies, “The Heart of Christmas” and “Somebody’s Child”. There is also mention of another film in the works that sounds very interesting.
To learn more about his past and current movies, and to learn more as new ones are added, visit his website at