This year's Best Director Oscar race has proven a surprising one, with two of the most-nominated directors at every other awards show being shut out of the big game. We're, of course, talking about Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively. So hopes were high that vindication would be at their backs, guiding at least one of them to gold. And what a victory it was for winner Affleck, who took home the top feature film honors at the ceremony in Hollywood. Affleck's win is just one of many that he's gained for directing the story of Tony Mendez and the six fugitive Americans embassy workers in 1980. At this point, it seems hard to imagine Affleck will miss the Oscar trophy he could've won, had the Academy not snubbed him during nominations. What's one award amongst friends, right?
But it wasn't just a big night for movies. Big names in television — including Lena Dunham, Louis C.K., Bryan Cranston, and Looper's Rian Johnson — were all up for directoral nods on the small screen. But it was the seemingly-unstoppable Dunham that took home the top prize in comedic television for her HBO series Girls — and on her first nomination, to boot! Welcome to 2013: Year of the Dunham. (And you thought it was 2012, pish posh!) Johnson took home the dramatic prize for his work on the Cranston-fronted Breaking Bad. Cranston himself was up for directing an episode of Modern Family. From meth kingpin to primetime comedy director — there's really nothing that man can't do, huh?
Check out the full list of nominees (and winners; bolded) below!
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Argo (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
(Twentieth Century Fox)
(DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series
Political Animals, “Pilot”
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Hatfields & McCoys
Game Change (HBO)
American Horror Story: Asylum, “Dark Cousin”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series
Homeland, "The Choice"
Mad Men, “A Little Kiss”
LESLI LINKA GLATTER
Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One” (AMC)
The Newsroom, “We Just Decided To” (Pilot)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series
Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
The Big Bang Theory, “The Date Night Variable”
Modern Family, “Election Day”
Girls, “Pilot” (HBO)
30 Rock, “Live from Studio 6H”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety
12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief
(Multiple Networks/Cable Outlets)
DON ROY KING
Saturday Night Live with Host Mick Jagger
84th Annual Academy Awards
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, "Episode #17153"
66th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs
America’s Next Top Model, "The Girl Who Becomes America’s Next Top Model"
Face Off, "Scene of the Crime"
Master Chef, “Episode #305” (FOX)
J. RUPERT THOMPSON
Stars Earn Stripes, “Amphibious Assault”
Ink Master, “Pasties and a Cameltoe”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials
Days of Our Lives, “Trapped”
General Hospital, “Bad Water”
General Hospital, “Magic Milo”
General Hospital, “Shot Through The Heart”
One Life To Live, “Between Heaven and Hell” (ABC)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs
Girl vs. Monster
Let it Shine (Disney Channel)
SAVAGE STEVE HOLLAND
Big Time Movie
Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
Searching For Sugar Man
The Invisible War
How To Survive A Plague
The Queen of Versailles
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
What do you think of this year's winners? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Homeland scores double mentions in Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Dramatic Series for Michael Cuesta's The Choice episode and Lesli Linka Glatter's Q&A. They will be competing against Jennifer Getzinger (Mad Men's A Little Kiss), Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad's Fifty-One) and Greg Mottola (The Newsroom's We Just Decided To).
Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston lands his own nomination as a director in the Comedy Series category after taking charge of an installment of Modern Family - he will go head-to-head with Louis C.K. (Louie), Mark Cendrowski (The Big Bang Theory), Beth McCarthy-Miller (30 Rock) and Girls creator and actress Lena Dunham.
Nominees in the Movies for Television and Mini-Series shortlist include Kevin Reynolds for Kevin Costner's Hatfields & McCoys, Jay Roach (Game Change) and Philip Kaufman (Hemingway & Gellhorn), while hit soaps Days of Our Lives (Albert Alarr), General Hospital (Larry Carpenter, William Ludel and Scott McKinsey) and One Life to Live (Jill Mitwell) have earned nods for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials.
The winners of the 65th annual DGA Awards will be unveiled at a ceremony in Hollywood on 2 February (13).
The event will also include the winner's announcement for the Outstanding Directing for film category, which features Ben Affleck (Argo), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) and Ang Lee (Life of Pi). Those nominees were revealed on Tuesday (08Jan13).
Widening the thematic scope without sacrificing too much of the claustrophobia that made the original 1979 Alien universally spooky Prometheus takes the trophy for this summer's most adult-oriented blockbuster entertainment. The movie will leave your mouth agape for its entire runtime first with its majestic exploration of an alien planet and conjectures on the origins of the human race second with its gross-out body horror that leaves no spilled gut to the imagination. Thin characters feel more like pawns in Scott's sci-fi prequel but stunning visuals shocking turns and grand questions more than make up for the shallow ensemble. "Epic" comes in many forms. Prometheus sports all of them.
Based on their discovery of a series of cave drawings all sharing a similar painted design Elizabeth (Noomi Rapace) and Charlie (Logan Marshall-Green) are recruited by Weyland to head a mission to another planet one they believe holds the answers to the creation of life on Earth. Along for the journey are Vickers (Charlize Theron) the ruthless Weyland proxy Janek (Idris Elba) a blue collar captain a slew of faceless scientists and David (Michael Fassbender) HAL 9000-esque resident android who awakens the crew of spaceship Prometheus when they arrive to their destination. Immediately upon descent there's a discovery: a giant mound that's anything but natural. The crew immediately prepares to scope out the scene zipping up high-tech spacesuits jumping in futuristic humvees and heading out to the site. What they discover are the awe-inspiring creations of another race. What they bring back to the ship is what they realize may kill their own.
The first half of Prometheus could be easily mistaken for Steven Spielberg's Alien a sense of wonder glowing from every frame not too unlike Close Encounters. Scott takes full advantage of his fictional settings and imbues them with a reality that makes them even more tantalizing. He shoots the vistas of space and the alien planet like National Geographic porn and savors the interior moments on board the Prometheus full of hologram maps sleeping pods and do-it-yourself surgery modules with the same attention. Prometheus is beautiful shot in immersive 3D that never dampers Dariusz Wolski's sharp photography. Scott's direction seems less interested in the run-or-die scenario set up in the latter half of the film but the film maintains tension and mood from beginning to end. It all just gets a bit…bloodier.
Jon Spaihts' and Damon Lindelof's script doesn't do the performers any favors shuffling them to and fro between the ship and the alien construction without much room for development. Reveals are shoehorned in without much setup (one involving Theron's Vickers that's shockingly mishandled) but for the most part the ensemble is ready to chomp into the script's bigger picture conceits. Rapace is a physical performer capable of pulling off a grisly scene involving an alien some sharp objects and a painful procedure (sure to be the scene of the blockbuster season. Among the rest of the crew Fassbender's David stands out as the film's revelatory performance delivering a digestible ambiguity to his mechanical man that playfully toys with expectations from his first entrance. The creature effects in Prometheus will wow you but even Fassbender's smallest gesture can send the mind spinning. The power of his smile packs more of a punch than any facehugger.
Much like Lindelof's Lost Prometheus aims to explore the idea of asking questions and seeking answers and on Scott's scale it's a tremendous unexpected ride. A few ideas introduced to spur action fall to the way side in the logic department but with a clear mission and end point Prometheus works as a sweeping sci-fi that doesn't require choppy editing or endless explosions to keep us on the edge of our seats. Prometheus isn't too far off from the Alien xenomorphs: born from existing DNA of another creature the movie breaks out as its own beast. And it's wilder than ever.
At the moment there are few greater clichés in the media than the freaking out single woman on the cusp of 30. Of course clichés are clichés for a reason worth exploring even through the lens of just one or two women as in Lola Versus. Unfortunately while the intention behind Lola Versus isn't that we should all be happily married by the age of 30 it still fits into the same rubric of all those "Why You're Not Married" books.
Lola (Greta Gerwig) has a gorgeous fiancé Luke (Joel Kinnaman) and they live in a giant loft together the kind of dreamy NYC real estate that seems to exist primarily in the movies. Just as they're planning their gluten-free wedding cake with a non-GMO rice milk-based frosting Luke dumps her. It's cruelly sudden — although Luke isn't a cruel man. Lola finds little comfort in the acerbic wit of her best friend the eternally single Alice (Zoe Lister-Jones) who is probably delighted to see her perfectly blonde best friend taken down a peg and into the murky world of New York coupling. Lola and Luke share a best friend Henry (Hamish Linklater) a messy-haired rumpled sweetheart who is kind and safe and the inevitable shelter for Lola's fallout. Her parents well-meaning and well-to-do hippie types feed her kombucha and try to figure out their iPads and give her irrelevant advice.
Lola Versus is slippery. Its tone careens between broad TV comedy and earnest dramedy almost as if Alice is in charge of the dirty zingers and Lola's job is to make supposedly introspective statements. Alice's vulgar non-sequiturs are tossed off without much relish and Lola's dialogue comes off too often as expository and plaintive. We don't need Lola to tell Henry "I'm vulnerable I'm not myself I'm easily persuaded" or "I'm slutty but I'm a good person!" (Which is by the way an asinine statement to make. One might even say she's not even that "slutty " she's just making dumb decisions that hurt those around her just as much as she's hurting herself.)
We know that she's a mess — that's the point of the story! It's not so much that a particularly acerbic woman wouldn't say to her best friend "Find your spirit animal and ride it until its d**k falls off " but that she wouldn't say it in the context of this movie. It's from some other movie over there one where everyone is as snarky and bitter as Alice. You can't have your black-hearted comedy and your introspective yoga classes. Is it really a stride forward for feminism that the clueless single woman has taken the place of the stoner man-child in media today? When Lola tells Luke "I'm taken by myself. I've gotta just do me for a while " it's true. But it doesn't sound true and it doesn't feel true.
In one scene Lola stumbles on the sidewalk and falls to the ground. No one asks her if she's okay or needs help; she simply gets up on her own and goes on her way. It's a moment that has happened to so many people. It's humiliating and so very public but of course you just gotta pick yourself up and get where you're going. In this movie it's a head-smackingly obvious metaphor. In one of the biggest missteps of the movie Jay Pharoah plays a bartender that makes the occasional joke while Lola is waiting tables at her mom's restaurant. His big line at the end is "And I'm your friend who's black!" It would have been better to leave his entire character on the cutting room floor than attempt such a half-hearted wink at the audience.
Lister-Jones and director Daryl Wein co-wrote the screenplay for Lola Versus as they did with 2009's Breaking Upwards. Both films deal with the ins and outs of their own romantic relationship in one way or another. Breaking Upwards a micro-budget indie about a rough patch in their relationship was much more successful in tone and direction. Lola Versus has its seeds in Lister-Jones' experience as a single woman in New York and is a little bit farther removed from their experiences. Lola Versus feels like a wasted opportunity. Relatively speaking there are so few movies getting made with a female writer or co-writer that it almost feels like a betrayal to see such a tone-deaf portrayal of women onscreen. What makes it even more disappointing is how smart and likable everyone involved is and knowing that they could have made a better movie.
The God of Legion secular Hollywood’s latest Biblically-inspired action flick is old-school an angry spiteful Almighty with a penchant for Old Testament theatrics. Fed up with humanity’s decadent warmongering ways He’s decided to pull the plug on the whole crazy experiment and start over from scratch.
Fortunately for us the God of Legion is also a rather lazy fellow. Instead of doing the apocalyptic work himself and wiping us out with a giant flood which worked perfectly well last time He opts to delegate the task to His army of angels — a questionable strategy that starts to fall apart when the archangel charged with leading the planned extermination Michael (Paul Bettany) refuses to comply.
Michael who unlike his boss still harbors affection for our sorry species abandons his post and descends to earth where inside the swollen belly of Charlie (Adrianne Palicki) an unwed mother-to-be working as a waitress in an out-of-the-way diner sits humanity’s lone hope for survival. Why is this particular baby so important? Is it the one destined to lead us to victory over Skynet? Heaven knows — Legion reveals little details its script devoid of actual scripture. What is clear is that God’s celestial hitmen want the kid whacked before it’s born.
But Michael won’t let humanity fall without a fight. Armed with a Waco-sized arsenal of assault weapons he hunkers down with the diner’s patrons a largely superfluous collection of thinly-sketched caricatures from various demographic groups led by Dennis Quaid as the diner’s grizzled owner Tyrese Gibson as a hip-hop hustler and Lucas Black as a simple-minded country boy.
Together they mount a heroic final stand against hordes of angels who’ve taken possession of “weak-willed” humans turning kindly old grandmas and mild-mannered ice cream vendors into snarling ravenous foul-mouthed beasts. They descend upon the ramshackle diner in a series of full-frontal assaults commanded by the archangel Gabriel (Kevin Durand) the George Pickett of End of Days generals.
Beneath its superficial religious facade Legion is really just a run-of-the-mill zombie flick a Biblical I Am Legend. Bettany an actor accustomed to smaller dramatic roles in films like A Beautiful Mind and The Da Vinci Code looks perfectly at ease in his first major action role wielding machine guns and bowie knives with equal aplomb. Conversely first-time director Scott Stewart a former visual effects artist does little to prove himself worthy of such a promotion serving up some impressive CGI work but not much else worthy of note.