It was a big and varied year for movies in 2012, and this year's LA Film Critics Association's winners and runners-up are proof of just that.
Founded in 1975, The Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA for short and those who like humorous-sounding acronyms) is comprised of Los Angeles-based film critics working in the town's print and electronic media. Every December, these members get together to "vote on the year’s Achievement Awards, honoring screen excellence on both sides of the camera." The group live-tweeted the winners on their Twitter account as they were decided.
This year saw a lot of heavy-hitters coming to play—with huge films such as Argo and Silver Linings Playbook and The Master all bringing major awards-season buzz to the table—as well as more independent fare such as Amour and Holy Motors holding their own. And those accolades proved to be advantageous, as all three films picked up multiple wins and runners-up spots in Sunday morning's "spirited vote." Perhaps the biggest surprise of all, though, was the near-shut-out of Les Misérables, earning no more than a runner-up spot for the much-buzzed-about work of Anne Hathaway in the Best Supporting Actress role of Fantine.
Another surprise? The big-ticket wins for Amour, the Michael Haneke-directed foreign film that snapped up both Best Picture and Best Actress wins: Emmanuelle Riva tied with Playbook's Jennifer Lawrence for the top spot for leading ladies.
Check out the full list of winners and runners-up below:
Runner-Up: The Master
Winner: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Runner-up: Denis Lavant, Holy Motors
Winner (tie): Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook and
Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
Winner: Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Runner-up: Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
Winner: Amy Adams, The Master
Runner-up: Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises and Les Misérables
NEW GENERATION AWARD:
Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Winner: Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master
Runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Winner: Chris Terrio, Argo
Runner-up: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
BEST FOREIGN FILM
Winner: Holy Motors
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN:
Winner: David Crank and Jack Fisk, The Master
Runner-up: Adam Stockhausen, Moonrise Kingdom
BEST MUSIC SCORE:
Winner: Dan Romer and Benh Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild
Runner-up: Jonny Greenwood, The Master
Runner-up: It's Such a Beautiful Day
Winner: The Gatekeepers
Runner-up: Searching for Sugar Man
Winner: Roger Deakins, Skyfall
Runner-up: Mihai Malaimare Jr., The Master
Winner: Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, Zero Dark Thirty
Runner-up: William Goldenberg, Argo
What do you think of this year's winners? Surprised to see who won and who lost? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Warner Brothers]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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With each outing in his evolving filmmaking career actor-turned-director Ben Affleck has amped up the scope. Gone Baby Gone was a character drama woven into a hard-boiled mystery. The Town saw Affleck dabble in action pulling off bank heists many compared to the expertise of Heat. In Argo the director pulls off his most daring effort melding one part caper comedy and two parts edge-of-your-seat political thriller into an exhilarating theatrical experience.
At the height of the Iranian Revolution in 1979 anti-Shah militants stormed the U.S. embassy and captured 52 American hostages. Six managed to escape the raid finding refuge in the Canadian ambassador's home. Within hours the militants began a search for the missing Americans sifting through shredded paperwork for even the smallest bit of evidence. Under pressure by the ticking clock the CIA worked quickly to formulate a plan to covertly rescue the six embassy workers. Despite a lengthy list of possibilities only Tony Mendez (Affleck) had a plan just enticing enough to unsuspecting Iranian officials to work: the CIA would fake a Hollywood movie shoot.
There's nothing in Argo or Affleck's portrayal of Mendez that would tell you the technical operations officer has the imagination to conjure his master plan — Affleck perhaps to differentiate himself from the past plays his character with so much restraint he looks dead in the eyes — but when the Hollywood hijinks swing into full motion so does Argo. Mendez hooks up with Planet of the Apes makeup artist John Chambers (John Goodman) and producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) to convince all of Hollywood that their sci-fi blockbuster "Argo " is readying for production. With enough promotional material concept art and press coverage Mendez and his team can convince the Iranian government they're a legit operation. A location scout in Tehran will be their method of extracting the bunkered down escapees.
Without an interesting lead to draw us in Affleck lets his eclectic ensemble do the heavy lifting. For the most part it works. Argo is basically two movies — Goodman and Arkin lead the Ocean's 11-esque half and Affleck takes the reigns when its time to get the six — another who's who of character actors including Tate Donovan Clea Duvall Scoot McNairy and Rory Cochrane — through the terrifying security of the Iranian airport. Arkin steals the show as a fast talking Hollywood type complete with year-winning catchphrase ("ArGo f**k yourself!) while McNairy adds a little more humanity to the spy mission when his character butts heads with Mendez. The split lessens the impact of each section but the tension in the escape is so high so taut that there's never a moment to check out.
Reality is on Affleck's side his camera floating through crowds of protestors and the streets of Tehran — a warscape where anything can happen. Each angle he chooses heightens the terror which starts to close in on the covert escape as they drift further and further from their homebase. Argo is a complete package with the '70s production design knowing when to play goofy (the fake movie's wild sci-fi designs) and when to remind us that problems took eight more steps to fix then they do today. Alexandre Desplat's score finds balance in haunting melodies and energetic pulses.
Part of Argo's charm is just how unreal the entire operation really was. To see the men and women involved go through with a plan they know could result in death. It's a suspenseful adventure and while there's not much in the way of character to cling to the visceral experience tends to be enough.
Just when you thought that Hollywood might be sick of superhero movies, the boon continued this summer. The Avengers made more green than The Hulk, The Dark Knight Rises raked in the dough despite its tragic opening weekend, and The Amazing Spider-Man showed that even a reboot after five years is not only possible but will make a ton money. By now, every superhero has gotten his own movie. Iron Man was a second tier star until Robert Downey, Jr. made him a hero. We've seen Daredevil, Ghost Rider (and a sequel!), and The Green Lantern, so why can't one of comicdom's marquee stars get a project greenlit? Yes, I'm talking about Wonder Woman.
News came yesterday that there is yet another Wonder Woman project in the works. Vulture reports that The CW has ordered a script for a show called Amazon that would be about the origins of Diana of Themyscira, the Amazonian princess who one day becomes Wonder Woman. I'm sorry, but I'm not holding my breath. We've been burned by Wonder Woman projects before. It was just last year that NBC passed on a Wonder Woman pilot starring Adrianne Palicki and written by David E. Kelley. And, of course, there is the Joss Whedon film version of the comic we've been promised for ages, another movie version by Nicolas Winding Refn , and another new one written by Michael Goldenberg. When it comes to the Lady of Steele we get lots of promises, but no one ever delivers.
The last time we've seen Wonder Woman on screen was the campy '70s version starring Lynda Carter, but nothing in the past three decades. Batman had a campy retro show too, and he's had eight movies made about him since then. What's the problem with Wonder Woman? The conventional wisdom is that her story is hard to tell, that she doesn't have many compelling villains, and that her character isn't especially interesting. All of that is kind of bulls***.
There is a very simple reason that Wonder Woman needs to make it to one of our screens, big or small, in the near future: sexism. Yes. I said it. Wonder Woman may cause more problems than the average superhero in terms of her origin and rogues gallery, but what it looks like is that she is the only one who doesn't have a movie because she is a woman. The writers, directors, and other creatives in the entertainment industry can solve any problem, and they could crack the Wonder Woman code if they really wanted to. These are the people that made a hit out of Disney ride about pirates (and a flop out of a board game about plastic boats). A lady superhero shouldn't be that big of a challenge.
I would like to think that the movie industry isn't sexist, and if Hollywood doesn't want the population at large to think that either, then they need to get their act together and stop wasting Wonder Woman. She's a huge cultural icon, and the fact that she doesn't have her own franchise while so many lesser-knowns do is just plain unfair and reeks of bias. It's bad enough that there aren't many female superheroes to start with, so we can't ignore the biggest one we've got.
And it's not a business decision. We live in the world of Sex and the City: The Movie, Bridesmaids, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. Women have proven that they go to the movies and that they can make something a blockbuster. Hollywood needs to stop acting like it's a fluke every time someone with two X chromosomes buys a movie ticket to something her boyfriend didn't choose. Thanks to Katniss and Angelina Jolie, they've also proven that a female action hero is just as bankable as a male one. It's time that the movie industry has the balls to put someone without any on the marquee.
There is one final reason that we need our very own Wonder Woman, but it probably isn't an argument that is going to get the executives and agents all riled up to fast track either the film or the TV show that we've been continuously promised. It's that we need a hero. All of us. Well, all the rest of us. All the rest of us on the outside. We need someone to look up to. No matter how dark and brooding Batman or Spider-Man or Superman or any of the other "Man"s get, they will always be part of the establishment. They will always be popular. Wonder Woman has always been the hero for everyone else. For the women ignored by the comics industry and the entertainment industrial complex. For the gay kids who identified more with her brand of heroism than the brute strength of Wolverine. For those who dreamed big but didn't think there was anyone out there fighting for them. We had Wonder Woman.
By continuing to ignore her, you're only reinforcing what all of us square pegs already felt: that what we want doesn't matter. Sure, courting the misfits might not seem like a winning box office strategy, but the thing about misfits is there are a lot of us. A lot of little people that add up to a huge opening weekend. And whenever you give us what we want, we'll show up. If you put the energy into making it good, we'll show up and make Wonder Woman a success. We'll show everyone who underestimated us with a sound defeat. After all, that is something we learned from Wonder Woman.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: DC Comics]
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Screenwriter Will Beall must have a thing for mismatched do-gooders joining forces to take on a nefarious force of evil. But, really, who doesn't? The man who scripted the forthcoming crime drama Gangster Squad is applying his knack for spinning tales of heroes banding together to the world of DC Comics: Variety reports that Warner Bros. has hired Beall to write the developing Justice League movie.
For those unfamiliar, the Justice League is comprised of a collection of comic book characters from the DC universe. The most prominent League members include Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, The Flash, and the Martian Manhunter. Additional characters that have been affiliated with the Justice League include Hawkgirl, the Atom, and Plastic Man, among others.
A Justice League movie has been in talks for some time now, with production experiencing a few stalls. The massive success of The Avengers, a film that embraces a similar concept, must serve as provocation for Warner Bros. to pursue this project. Anticipation about the imminent The Dark Knight Rises and the developing Man of Steel film are also fanning the flame of a Justice League flick. On a related note, Warner Bros. has hired Green Lantern writer Michael Goldenberg to handle the script for a Wonder Woman movie,
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According to industry publication Variety, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix writer Michael Goldenberg has been tapped by Warner Bros. studio bosses to begin work on the Green Lantern 2 script.
The first superhero adventure also stars Blake Lively, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard.
Casting details for the follow-up had yet to be released as WENN went to press.
When a movie studio spends $150 million plus on a future film, it needs to ensure that the product has the longest possible revenue-generating lifespan as is commercially possible. That's why companies like Summit Entertainment developed New Moon and Eclipse simultaneously, releasing them just eight months in between one another and guaranteeing maximum profit.
Warner Bros. is exercising this method of rapid development with their latest soon-to-be franchise Green Lantern, an intergalactic superhero space adventure starring Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and Mark Strong. In June, the studio re-hired writers Greg Berlanti, Michael Green and Marc Guggenheim to pen the inevitable sequel to the film and today, they've brought Michael Goldenberg back into the fold.
Variety reports that Goldenberg, who had the most recent pass at the screenplay for the Martin Campbell-directed blockbuster, will also work on the script for the sequel, which is being worked on by the aforementioned trio of screenwriters as you read this. Goldenberg, who is said to have amplified the emotional underscore of the story, will get to work immediately on the script.
The scribe is no stranger to the studio: he penned 2007's Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and 1997's Contact. He also wrote Universal Pictures fundamentally flawed live-action flop Peter Pan and directed Bed of Roses for New Line Cinema. His list of credits suggests a wide range of ability and knowledge of genres that would aid a production of any size and I've personally enjoyed almost all of the films that he has worked on, so I'm very excited to hear that Green Lantern is continuing to attract the kind of talent that the 70 year-old-character deserves.
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As the fifth year at Hogwarts begins most of the wizardry world is having a hard time believing Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has returned further propagated by the Ministry of Magic who refuses to recognize anything evil is brewing and blames all the hullabaloo on Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) and Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). The Ministry even interferes with Hogwarts business by making Ministry employee Dolores Umbridge (Imelda Staunton) the new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor whose outwardly sweet demeanor hides a sadistic streak a mile wide. She thinks the children should only learn about the Dark Arts “theoretically” and tortures all those who disagree. But the Voldemort threat is a reality and Dumbledore has re-formed the Order of the Phoenix a group of witches and wizards that prepares to battle the Dark Lord. Harry is unfortunately being kept in the dark for his protection of course even as his connection to Voldemort grows stronger and he’s royally peeved at being ignored. Urged on by Hermione (Emma Watson) and Ron (Rupert Grint) he forms his own order of Hogwarts students called Dumbledore’s Army to teach them what defenses against the Dark Arts he has already learned. Oh yeah Harry also shares his first kiss but make no bones about it—love is the furthest thing on Harry’s mind when the crap hits the fan. War is imminent. Everyone steps up their game in Order of the Phoenix. Radcliffe Watson and Grint have shed their adolescent whininess and aw-shucks goofiness to give their characters the greatest depth so far. They are forced to grow up pretty quickly in Order with little time for any playfulness and the three actors handle the seriousness with aplomb. Of course both Radcliffe and Grint have already ventured out of the Potter world—Radcliffe shed more than just adolescence on stage in a production of Equus while Grint lost his virginity in the indie Driving Lessons--and their extra experience shows in Order. Also good are Matthew Lewis as the usually clumsy Neville Longbottom who shows his mettle in more ways than one and newcomer Evanna Lynch as the slightly off-kilter Luna Lovegood who proves to be a loyal member of Dumbledore’s Army. But the kids have to keep up with the talented adult cast especially Oscar-nominated Staunton (Vera Drake) as Umbridge. The veteran actress’ interpretation of one of J.K. Rowling’s nastiest characters so far in the Potter lore is spot-on down to the pink wool suits and irritating twitter “ahem” she uses when she wants your undivided attention. Helena Bonham Carter also makes an impression however over the top it is as the evil Voldemort follower Bellatrix Lestrange. Does she ever want to look pretty onscreen? Then there’s the laundry list of Brits whose time onscreen may be short but is nonetheless memorable including Alan Rickman as the sneering Prof. Snape; Gambon as the wise but flawed Dumbledore; Gary Oldman as the kindly Sirius Black Harry’s only real family; and of course Fiennes as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. His late-in-the-game appearance once again throws you for a loop. It stands to reason that at five movies in moviegoers would have a favorite Harry Potter flick by now. Those who love those Triwizard Tournament special effects might feel The Goblet of Fire was the best; or Prisoner of Azkaban for its time-bending action. Yet The Order of the Phoenix may be the one movie that speaks directly to the fans of the books. Without as much wide-eyed wonderment or wizardry flash the story is still chockfull of compelling details that are absolutely pivotal to the continuing Harry Potter saga. Screenwriter Michael Goldenberg (Peter Pan) and director David Yates (HBO’s The Girl in the Café) manage to wade through this volume of information and cut successfully to the chase with great effect. Yates who has signed on to do the sixth movie Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince even shows an affinity for action in the final dramatic confrontation between good witches and wizards and bad ones. But overall Order of the Phoenix may leave audiences not as well-versed in the novels a little itchy for some good old-fashioned wand-waving and Disney special effects. Thing is it’s just going to keep getting darker and darker for Harry and his crew. The days of happy fun playtime are over.