Director Steve Mcqueen has won the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival for his new drama 12 Years A Slave. The movie, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as a free black man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841, landed the People's Choice honour on Sunday (15Sep13).
A statement released by McQueen reads: "At a festival that has shown so many brilliant films, I cannot be more thrilled to receive this award. I am deeply grateful to all the people who have worked on this film, and that their amazing work has been recognised."
The big win has made the film, which also stars Brad Pitt, an early favourite for the 2014 Oscars. Previous People's Choice recipients have gone on to strike gold at the Academy Awards, including The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and last year's (12) Silver Linings Playbook.
Philomena by Stephen Frear and Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal, were named first and second runner-ups, respectively.
The People's Choice Documentary award was handed to Jehane Noujaim for The Square, about the recent protests in Cairo, Egypt, and the People's Choice Midnight Madness prize went to Sion Sono's action movie Why Don't You Play in Hell?.
Sunday's awards ceremony brought the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival to a close after 11 days.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its commemorative poster for the 77th Academy Awards Wednesday--a design created by Brett Davidson, an unknown newcomer who has been on staff at the Academy for 10 years and currently serves as the organization's information systems support specialist.
Davidson's design was chosen through a blind selection process by Academy executives and members of its Board of Governors. "We looked at dozens of designs but there was something about Brett's image that we all were drawn to; it was a unanimous decision," the Academy's executive director Bruce Davis said in the press statement. "It was only after we had made the decision that we found out the designer was one of our own staff. It's great for Brett to have this opportunity."
"I was so excited when I found out my design had been chosen," said Davidson, who studied both film and graphic design at the University of Miami in Florida. "Graphic design has always been my passion, so it's unbelievably gratifying that my work will be used to promote such a prestigious event."
Meanwhile, Variety reports the Academy has picked the 12 finalists who will compete for a coveted nomination in the Best Documentary category, including Morgan Spurlock's Super Size Me, a searing look at the fast-food industry; Stacy Peralta's surfing opus Riding Giants; Mark Wexler's Tell Them Who You Are, a moving portrait of Wexler's father, director Haskell Wexler; and Kevin MacDonald's Touching the Void, a docu based on the book by Joe Simpson about his mountaineering adventures in the Peruvian Andes.
Other titles on the short list were Zana Briski and Ross Kauffman's Born Into Brothels, about impoverished children of prostitutes in Calcutta and Jessica Yu's In the Realms of the Unreal, which follows the life of Henry Darger, a Chicago janitor who penned the 15,000-page children's fantasy novel of the same name.
Michael Moore, who won an Oscar for his previous effort Bowling for Columbine, took his controversial Fahrenheit 9/11 out of the running in the category, contending the move was aimed at opening up the docu race. The film is instead taking a stab at a Best Picture nod.
A handful of other documentaries that should have gotten noticed were disqualified due to having aired on television, either domestically or abroad, including Jehane Noujaim's Control Room, a look at the Al Jazeera's coverage on the Iraq war. Also missing was Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the fascinating portrait of the '80s metal band, who became riddled with internal strife.
Academy Awards will be presented on Feb. 27, 2005, at the Kodak Theatre and televised on ABC.
Rick James' death still a mystery
An autopsy failed to determine the cause of death for funk legend Rick James, authorities told Reuters Saturday. James, 56, who was a diabetic and had had a stroke in 1998, apparently died in his sleep Friday at his home in Los Angeles. His three children--daughter Ty and sons Rick Jr. and Tazman--said Friday through a spokeswoman that they believe their father died of heart failure, Reuters reports.
James also had a history of cocaine addiction that led him to two assault convictions in the 1990s and a two-year stretch in prison. Officials are awaiting results of a toxicology test, which could take several weeks.
Johnson needs to pay the grocery bill
In a midst of filing for bankruptcy, actor Don Johnson has been ordered by an Aspen, Colo., judge to pay a local grocery store nearly $6,000 for an unpaid tab, The Associated Press reports. Johnson, who starred in TV's Miami Vice and Nash Bridges, also put his 17-acre ranch near Aspen up for sale in May, after the Los Angeles-based City National Bank sued the actor in March, seeking to force an auction of the property to recoup $930,000 it claimed Johnson owed.
Hilton sisters report burglary
Celebrity socialite Paris Hilton and her younger sister, Nicky, reported that their Hollywood home had been burglarized, police told Reuters on Friday, adding that jewelry, watches and a laptop were stolen. Nicky Hilton returned home early on Thursday morning to discover the break-in, which apparently occurred sometime after 9 p.m. on Wednesday night, a police spokeswoman said. Police did not put a dollar value on the items stolen, though the spokeswoman described it as "substantial, a high amount." Nicky Hilton, 19, told officers that no suspects were seen, the spokeswoman told Reuters, and the case remained under investigation.
McCready caught in drug fraud
Country singer Mindy McCready was arrested Thursday in Nashville and charged with prescription drug fraud after authorities told AP she used a fake prescription to obtain the pain medicine OxyContin. Authorities say McCready, 28, presented a fraudulent prescription for OxyContin at a pharmacy on Feb. 12, paid for the drugs and then left. Investigators later learned that McCready was not a patient at the doctor's office from which the prescription purportedly originated. McCready was booked into the county jail and held on $10,000 bond, which she posted and was released the same day, AP reports.
Iraqi government shuts down Al-Jazeera station
The Iraqi government ordered Al-Jazeera's employees out of their newsroom Saturday after they accused the Arab satellite channel of inciting violence and closed its office for 30 days, AP reports. Iraqi Interior Minister Falah al-Naqib said the closure was intended to give the station "a chance to re-adjust their policy against Iraq." "They have been showing a lot of crimes and criminals on TV, and they transfer a bad picture about Iraq and about Iraqis and encourage criminals to increase their activities," he said. "We want to protect our people." Al-Jazeera officials said the closure was an ominous violation of freedom of the press. Haider al-Mulla, a lawyer for Al-Jazeera, said the channel would respect the decision but study its legal options. The controversial Arab satellite channel was the subject of a recent searing documentary The Control Room, directed by Jehane Noujaim.
Film editor Peroni dies
Film editor Geraldine Peroni, best known for her work with director Robert Altman, including her Academy Award nomination for Altman's 1992 The Player, died Tuesday at her home in Manhattan, AP reports. She was 51. Her death was ruled a suicide by the city medical examiner's office, but her family is disputing that finding.
Death penalty tackled in reality show
ABC's new reality series In the Jury Room was given permission to shoot in an Ohio jury room in the case of Mark Ducic, who was charged with a double murder that carried a possible death sentence, showing the jury's deliberations in a death penalty case that eventually saw Ducic spared from execution. "What I like to do is take people places they've never been before," producer Michael Bicks told Reuters. "And people have never been taken into a jury room for a capital murder case." The program, shown in hour-long segments on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, follows the Ducic case over a three-month period from pretrial preparations through the trial and the verdict handed down in June.
Besides the elbow-rubbing and power mongering, let's not forget that the Sundance Film Festival is also about the films.
With that in mind, the annual indie film fest announced today its partial list of films for the 2001 powwow.
The lineup for three categories -- dramas, documentaries and the American Spectrum -- have thus far been announced, and other areas such as premiere, international films and short films will be announced Wednesday.
Films at the festival only compete in the dramatic and documentary categories. Top films coming out of Sundance in previous years include Ed Burns' "The Brothers McMullen" and last year's "Girlfight" from director Karyn Kusama.
The Sundance Film Festival takes place Jan. 18-28 in Park City, Utah.
In the meantime, here's the complete list of Sundance films in competition and in the American Spectrum.
"30 Years to Life," directed by Vanessa Middleton "American Astronaut," directed by Cory McAbee "The Believer," directed by Henry Bean "The Business of Strangers," directed by Patrick Stettner "The Deep End," directed by Scott McGehee & David Siegel "Donnie Darko," directed by Richard Kelly "Green Dragon," directed by Timothy Linh Bui "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," directed by John Cameron Mitchell "In the Bedroom," directed by Todd Field "L.I.E.," directed by Michael Cuesta "Lift," directed by DeMane Davis & Khari Streeter "MacArthur Park," directed by Billy Wirth "Memento," directed by Christopher Nolan "Scotland, PA," directed by Billy Morrissette "The Sleepy Time Gal," directed by Christopher Munch "Some Body," directed by Henry Barrial
"Chain Camera," directed by Kirby Dick "Children Underground," directed by Edet Belzberg "Dogtown and the Z-Boys," directed by Stacy Peralta "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic," directed by George Butler "Go Tigers!" directed by Kenneth A. Carlson "Home Movie," directed by Chris Smith "Lalee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton," directed by Susan Froemke, Deborah Dickson with "Albert Maysles Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind," directed by Stanley Nelson "The Natural History of the Chicken," directed by Mark Lewis "Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey," directed by William Greaves "Scout's Honor," directed by Tom Shepard "Scratch," directed by Doug Pray "Southern Comfort," directed by Kate Davis "Startup.com," directed by Chris Hegedus & Jehane Noujaim "Trembling Before G-D," directed by Sandi Simcha Dubowski "An Unfinished Symphony," directed by Bestor Cram & Mike Majoro
"Acts of Worship," directed by Rosemary Rodriguez "After Image," directed by Robert Manganelli "Dancing in September," directed by Reggie Rock Bythewood "Diary of a City Priest," directed by Eugene Martin "The Doe Boy," directed by Randy Redroad "Haiku Tunnel," directed by Jacob Kornbluth & Josh Kornbluth "Invisible Revolution," directed by Beverly Peterson "Jump Tomorrow," directed by Joel Hopkins "Manic," directed by Jordan Melamed "Margarita Happy Hour," directed by Ilya Chaiken "Miss Wonton," directed by Meng Ong "Raw Deal: A Question of Consent," directed by Billy Corben "Roof to Roof," directed by Ara Corbett "Women in Film," directed by Bruce Wagner "Tape," directed by Richard Linklater "Wet Hot American Summer," directed by David Wain.