Hollywood studios are known for dumping truckloads of money into their summer blockbusters, but if a script lands on their laps that screams "Oscar," they'll give the movie the same treatment. Scanning the Best Picture nominees, you'll find plenty of movies with budgets of hovering around eight or nine figures. Bigger can often translate to "best," if the equally expensive Oscar campaigns are to be believed.
As mammoth as the Academy Awards and their winning films have become, the show still has cracks that let the smallest endeavors slip through and take the spotlight. And at the 2013 Oscars, those starless, relatively unknown efforts might be the most important winners of the year.
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With do-it-yourself filmmaking technology continuing to evolve, simplify, and decrease in cost, more and more creatives are finding ways to bring their movies to life. And they're Oscar worthy: the 2013 ceremony marks the first time a film funded by the crowdsourcing site Kickstarter took home one of the show's coveted statues. Sean and Andrea Fine's film Inocente tells the story of a 15-year-old girl who struggles as an undocumented immigrant living homeless in San Diego but continues to pursue her dream of becoming an artist. The film raised over $50,000 on Kickstarter before going on to win the award for "Best Documentary Short."
Inocente tapped into power of the Internet to reach people who would be compelled by the film's message, giving life and exposure to an issue even before the Fine couple's efforts were complete. When many Oscar viewers learned of the Short Documentaries for the first time during the Sunday night telecast, thousands of people were already in-the-know on the film.
Technology is opening doors for filmmakers like never before, both in developing awareness and in the physical making of a movie. On Sunday night, director Malik Bendjelloul won the "Best Documentary Feature" Oscar for his documentary Searching for Sugar Man. The movie follows two fans from Cape Town, South Africa as they follow any lead that may connect them with elusive legendary musician Sixto Rodriguez. Bendjelloul began shooting his film on 8mm film — a pricey option, especially for the footage-heavy art of documentary filmmaking. When he ran out of cash to finish the movie, he turned to a considerably less illustrious camera option: his iPhone.
"One day I realized that there was this $1 app here on my iPhone and I tried it and it was basically the same as the real stuff," Bendjelloul in an inspiring interview from ABC.
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Not every filmmaking option has to be as lo-fi as Bendjelloul's creative solution, nor does making a great film require $100 million worth of talent, crew, and effects. Although Beasts of the Southern Wild didn't take home any awards at this year's Oscars, the fact that director Benh Zeitlin was rubbing shoulders with Steven Spielberg and the Sundance Film Festival premiere was in contention for Best Picture meant something to both Hollywood executives and those dreaming of becoming the next big name director. With a little creativity, and with relatively no money, one could make a movie with elaborate sets, epic imagery, and a cast of wild aurochs. The idea of putting together a film on the scale of Beasts seems impossible, but Zeitlin's team used every technological avenue they had to pull the thing off on the cheap.
That computer sitting in front of you, that phone in your pocket, that next tweet you're about to cast off into the Internet ether — as this year's Oscars prove, what looks insignificant can actually be a seed to the next Academy Award winning movie. It's all a matter of what you do with it.
Follow Matt Patches on Twitter @misterpatches
[Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Classics]
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Sunday night saw the best and brightest of this year's cinematic achievements battling it out for top honors at the 2013 British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The nominees this year relied heavily on the work of a few: namely Argo, Skyfall, Les Misérables, Lincoln, and Life of Pi. Other notably-present films also included Zero Dark Thirty, Anna Karenina, and Silver Linings Playbook — making the winners across the pond a solid foreshadower of things to come when our own academy doles out top honors later this month.
Hosted by Stephen Fry, the Brits seem to echo the same sentiment as everyone else giving out awards this year: The Academy messed up. Big time. Ben Affleck took home yet another Best Director win for Argo, proving that sometimes even the people in charge make big mistakes that cause them to look a bit out of touch. Other continuining trends included Christoph Waltz and Anne Hathaway scoring additional supporting actor and actresss wins, and Amour shutting out the competition when it comes to foreign films.
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Overall the awards were distributed fairly evenly amongst the top contenders, though one of the top nominees — Lincoln, with its 10 nominations — was nearly shut-out of actually winning anything. Daniel Day-Lewis' untouchable performance as Honest Abe gave them the film its only win of the night.
Check out the complete list of winners bleow:
OUTSTANDING BRITISH FILM
The Making of Longbird
MAKE UP & HAIR
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Life of Pi
Django Unchained (Quentin Tarantino)
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained
OUTSTANDING DEBUT BY A BRITISH WRITER, DIRECTOR OR PRODUCER
Bart Layton (Director), Dimitri Doganis (Producer) The Imposter
SPECIAL VISUAL EFFECTS
Life of Pi
Anne Hathaway, Les Misérables
Silver Linings Playbook
FILM NOT IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE
EE RISING STAR AWARD
Searching For Sugar Man (Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn)
Argo, Ben Affleck
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Emmanuelle Riva, Amour
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
What did you think of this year's winners? Sound off in the comments!
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes.
The actor/moviemaker missed out on a Best Director Oscar nod last month (Jan13) but he has since picked up honours at the Critics Choice Awards and Golden Globes, among other events - and on Saturday he added a DGA gong to his haul.
Still stunned by his success, Affleck took to the stage at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood to accept the nomination for Argo just before his name was called as the category winner, and told the audience, "I look out and see all these great directors. I feel I should be auditioning."
It was also a big night for Hollywood 'it' girl Lena Dunham, who took home the prize for Best Comedy Series (Girls), and Jay Roach, who picked up the Best Movies for Television & Mini-Series honour for political drama Game Change.
The winners list is:
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in a Feature Film - Ben Affleck (Argo)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Documentary Film - Malik Bendjelloul (Searching For Sugar Man)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Movies for Television & Mini-Series - Jay Roach (Game Change)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Dramatic Series - Rian Johnson (Breaking Bad)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Comedy Series - Lena Dunham (Girls)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Musical Variety - Glenn Weiss (66th Annual Tony Awards)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Reality Programs - Brian Smith (Master Chef)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Daytime Serials - Jill Mitwell (One Life To Live)
Outstanding Directing Achievement in Children's Programs - Paul Hoen (Let it Shine)
DGA Lifetime Achievement Award - Milos Forman
Robert B. Aldrich Service Award - Michael Apted
Lifetime Achievement in News Direction Award - Eric Shapiro
Frank Capra Achievement Award - Susan Zwerman
Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award - Dency Nelson
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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As if we needed any more proof that America was mad for the CIA in 2012, Saturday night's Producers Guid Awards gave further credibility to the mania by handing out some of its highest honors to Ben Affleck's fake-CIA-movie film, Argo and Showtime's jazzy runaway hit, Homeland.
The guild's 24th annual awards for excellence in film, television, and digital media were announced during a ceremony at the Beverly Hilton. Argo's snapping up of top film honors (the Darryl F. Zanuck Award) puts it at the forefront of the Oscar race for Best Picture. The PGAs have a fairly decent track record when it comes to selecting the film that takes home Academy Award gold — 73% accuracy, to be exact, which includes the 5-year streak the Guild has been on since 2008.
Homeland secured itself yet another gold for Best Drama Series during the night as well, reminding us all (yet again) that we love a jazzy biopolar super-CIA-genius more than anything else. (Especially if it involves Mandy Patinkin!) For an agency so shrouded in secrecy and mystery, it sure is popping up in our entertainment a heck of a lot.
But there was more than just covert operations and genius secret agents winning awards: both Brothers Weinstein (Bob and Harvey) accepted the Milestone Award in a teary-eyed speech from presenters Quentin Tarantino, Robert De Niro, and Robert Rodriguez. Future Star Wars helmer J.J. Abrams also accepted an award of his own: the Norman Lear Achievement Award. Not too shabby for a man with undoubtedly much of his already-impressive career still ahead of him
Check out the full list of winners, below!
Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures
Argo (Warner Bros.)
Producers: Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov
Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures
Wreck-It Ralph (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Producer: Clark Spencer
Outstanding Producer of Documentary Theatrical Motion Pictures
Searching For Sugar Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Producers: Malik Bendjelloul, Simon Chinn
Norman Felton Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Drama
Producers: Henry Bromell, Alexander Cary, Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Chip Johannessen, Michael Klick, Meredith Stiehm
David L. Wolper Award for Outstanding Producer of Long-Form Television
Game Change (HBO)
Producers: Gary Goetzman, Tom Hanks, Jay Roach, Amy Sayres, Steven Shareshian, Danny Strong
Danny Thomas Award for Outstanding Producer of Episodic Television, Comedy
Modern Family (ABC)
Producers: Cindy Chupack, Paul Corrigan, Abraham Higginbotham, Ben Karlin, Steven Levitan, Christopher Lloyd, Jeff Morton, Dan O’Shannon, Jeffrey Richman, Chris Smirnoff, Brad Walsh, Bill Wrubel, Danny Zuker
Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television
American Masters (PBS)
Producers: Prudence Glass, Susan Lacy, Julie Sacks
Outstanding Producer of Competition Television
The Amazing Race (CBS)
Producers: Jerry Bruckheimer, Elise Doganieri, Jonathan Littman, Bertram van Munster, Mark Vertullo
Outstanding Producer of Live Entertainment & Talk Television
The Colbert Report (Comedy Central)
Producers: Meredith Bennett, Stephen Colbert, Richard Dahm, Paul Dinello, Barry Julien, Matt Lappin, Emily Lazar, Tanya Michnevich Bracco, Tom Purcell, Jon Stewart
Outstanding Sports Program
Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel (HBO)
Outstanding Children’s Program
Sesame Street (PBS)
Outstanding Digital Series
30 Rock: The Webisodes
[Photo Credit: Gregg DeGuire/WireImage]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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