2019/2020 Key Dates
Film Critics Update: Today, December 5 - Winners from New York FCC.

Thursday, December 05, 2019

2019 New York Film Critics Circle Award Winners

Yesterday the first major critics group announced their annual winners for current edition and there is no clear trend after Gotham and NBR announcemnts as winners are very dispersed, except for Parasite in foreign-language and The Irishman in best film.

Group is know for both honoring major Oscar players and also making unconventional and beloved choices; examples of the later is this year selecting Lupita Nyong'o for best actress or two-years ago selecting Tiffany Haddish for best supporting actress.

Below there is a quite interesting group of honorees as for example last year among the winners there were only two foreign language films (Roma and Cold War) while this year there are six films and all except two (Portrait of a Lady on Fire and I Lost My Body) are submission to Oscars International Feature Film category; as well as, one (Honeyland) is also for consideration in the Oscars Documentary category and another (I Lost My Body) in the Animated Film category.  Group honored submissions from Senegal, Atlantique; South Korea, Parasite; North Macedonia, Honeyland; and, Spain, Pain and Glory.  Interesting and unexpected but I'm glad these movies are being honored by members of the American market as stimulates its local viewership.

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

2019 National Board of Review Awards

Yesterday the NBR announced its winners and their choices gives us a brief sight into what current awards season could look like as we have to recall that the NBR is made up of film enthusiasts, industry professionals, academics and filmmakers which undoubtedly makes organization a quite interesting blend from all walks of life.

The 2019 awards continue the NBR's tradition of recognizing excellence in filmmaking, going back 110 years.  This year 285 films were viewed by a select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics, and students, many of which were followed by in-depth discussions with directors, actors, producers and screenwriters.

Tuesday, December 03, 2019

25th Prix Lumières Nominations

A few minutes ago L’Académie des Lumières announced the nominations for the 25th anniversary edition of the awards that honors French and Francophone films since 1995 when Daniel du Plantier and Edward Behr created the award.

The award is voted by some 130 international correspondents hailing from 40 countries from all continents offering a particular vision of how French cinema is perceived overseas.

Ladj Ly's debut film and Cannes Jury Prixe winner Les Misérables leads with seven (7) nominations followed by J'accuse and Grâce à Dieu with five (5) each, Portrait de la jeune fille en feu and Roubaix, une Lumière with four (4) each and with three (3) Atlantique, La Belle Epoque, Alice et le maire and Perdrix.

29th Annual IFP Gotham Awards Winners

Last night, December 2nd, the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP) announced the winners of the current edition of the annual Gotham Awards at a ceremony held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

The awards ceremony had a live stream and today, December 3rd, there is a taped version still available which its included at the end of this post.

The big winner of the night is a movie I'm looking forward to watch soon, very soon, as in a few days will be available on Netflix, Marriage Story.  Me, sincerely wish ALL great films could be available in any of the streaming services as where I live know there are not many cinemas and the few show mainly commercial movies.   By-the-way I'm not a Scorsese fan, his Leonardo Dicaprio movies are insufferable, his Daniel Day-Lewis films more watchable; so, no surprise to say that find The Irishman more on the insufferable side of the scale and yes, a bit boring (but not because length as have seen even longer but great movies).  What killed the movie for me were the special effects as faces absolutely lost their expressions and looked like any expressionless character in those cartoonish popular movies. Sigh.

Monday, December 02, 2019

2019 British Independent Film Awards Winners

The awards ceremony for the 22nd edition of the BIFA's was hosted by actress and comedian Aisling Bea and held at London's Old Billingsgate last night, December 1st.

Cannes 2019 Documentary Golden Eye Award winner For Sama became top award winner by winning four main awards: Best British Independent Film, Best Documentary, Best Director, and Best Editing; it's the first time a documentary wins BIFA's top award.

The Personal History of David Copperfield won five awards: Best Supporting Actor, Best Screenplay, Best Casting, Best Costume Design and Best Production Design which makes film the most awards winner of this edition.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards Nominations

This edition awards ceremony on February 8, 2020 marks the 35th anniversary of the Spirit Awards and what started as a casual industry luncheon in small West Hollywood eatery has become a larger event in a much nicer tent in Santa Monica, just the day before the Oscars ceremony. So, congratulations are in order.

On November 21st, Zazie Beetz and Natasha Lyonne announced the nominees in Los Angeles and there are not many surprises as two of 2019 indie favorites, Uncut Gems and The Lighthouse top the nods with five each; but what can be surprising is Uncut Gems getting noms almost in all major categories while The Lighthouse not. Indie films I have been monitoring, Marriage Story and The Farewell got nominations and according to me, those are in the right categories; unsurprisingly The Hustlers also landed a few noms and makes Jennifer Lopez Oscar nomination more probable but still wonder if will be in lead or supporting actress category.

Friday, November 22, 2019

13th Asia Pacific Screen Awards Winners

Yesterday the 2019 APSA awards ceremony took place in Brisbane, Australia and as expected Palme d'Or winner and already collector of several prestigious awards, Parasite by Bong Joon Ho won top award.  Yes, this is the film that most of us expect to win the Oscar for Best International Feature Film and unless something odd happens will get it.

By-the-way Parasite was one of the six APSA-winning films that are their countrie's submissions for consideration in that Oscars category. Other international feature film Oscars entries are Russia's Beanpole which was the only film to take two awards, best cinematography and best screenplay.  Australia's entry, Buoyancy won Best Youth Feature, Japan's Weathering With You won Best Animated Feature, Philippine's Veredict won Best Actress and fabulous Elia Suleiman's It Must Be Heaven, is Palestine's entry, won a special Jury Grand Prize. Also the Cultural Diversity Award winner Rona, Azim's Mother, was Afghanistan's 2018 Oscars entry.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

2019 Film Critics Awards - In Progress

Today, November 19 the post becomes alive for another year and activity will become intense until a week before Christmas when will quiet a bit; then, January activity will gain full force to end quietly around the first weeks of February 2020.

Buy now all the fuzz and buzz about #Oscars2020 International Feature Film category is over as we assume there will not be more disqualifications.  Industry attention turns now to what film critics and journalists will honor as certainly gives us an idea of which films could gather honors among Academy members.  We all know that not very often great films win AMPAS high honors, best example is 2019, so if you wish to guess right your Oscars office pool or any of the many online polls -some with good prices- then here will find info for better guessing.  Enjoy!

Post is a work in progress until the last critics group announces their winner which usually happens in early February.  Most critics' groups are American but there are groups from Canada, Ireland, UK and France.  As in previous years the first group to announce was FIPRESCI who this year gave the award to outstanding Roma; award is voted by film critics from all over the world.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

#Oscars2020 International Feature Fillm Entries Comments

Next Oscars show is on February 9, 2020 and one of the most interesting categories for me is the one that used to have the name "Foreign Language Film" and now has a more hybrid name, "International Feature Film".

My interest comes because truly love World Cinema and usually this Oscars category lists the best of the best in cinema from each country; also is a list that undoubtedly helps to identify films that skipped anybody's radar.

Not every year have time or energy to dissect the list but seems this year have time to spare so will explore some fun facts from the list that can be found here.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

76th Venice Film Festival Award Winners

16th Giornate degli Autori Award Winners

Yesterday the 28 Times Cinemas jury voted for the GdA top award between three finalists, La LLorona by Jayro Bustamante, Only the Animals by Dominik Moll and Corpus Christi by Jan Komasa.

According to the event live video, the race was between La LLorona and Corpus Christi.  At the end it was La LLorona the one that got more votes and became the Venice Festival parallel section top winner.  The following is organizers statement about the winning film.

Bustamante, one of Latin American cinema's most unique voices, weaves a portrait of Guatemala's tragic history and its open wounds inspired by the legendary folk-tale of the same name. The combination of poetics and politics forges a haunting and acute fable not only about the past but of the present. La Llorona is an intimate ghost story told through a vivid female figure. It expends on the themes of loss, denial and acceptance. As the song 'La Llorona' says: Dicen que no tengo duelo, Llorona, porque no me ven llorar. Hay muertos que no hacen ruido, Llorona !Y es mas grande su penar! May the weeps of sadness but also of strength be felt across the world."

Friday, September 06, 2019

34th Venice International Film Critics Week Award Winners

Today, Friday September 6, the Venice International Film Critics' Week, the independent and parallel section organized by the National Union of Italian Film Critics (SNCCI) during the 76th Venice International Film Festival conferred the awards for its thirty-fourth edition.

The BIG winner is All This Victory by Ahmad Ghossein as film collected not only the Grand Prize but also the Audience Award plus the Best Technical Contribution award a trifecta that suggest film is appreciated by the industry and audiences plus seems will also have high production values.  Not bad at all.

There is one more feature films award Verona Film Club Award that went to Scales by Shahad Ameen.  Also there are three awards for short films.

13th Queer Lion Award Winner

The 2019 Queer Lion Award goes to Chile in a co production with Argentina and Belgium, a movie by Sebastián Muñoz that premiered in the always "strange" section of the Venice Film Festival, Settimana Internazionale della Critica.  El Príncipe (The Prince) wins with the following motivation from the jurors.

"El Príncipe is a passionate portrait of life in a Chilean prison on the eve of Allende’s rise to power in 1970. The savage brutality of prison life is contrasted by intensely emotional relationships between prisoners. Led by a towering Alfredo Castro, the excellent ensemble cast give stirring performances of a powerful script which conveys the paradoxical acceptance of gay attachments in prison at a time when it was not socially acceptable. Sebastián Muñoz’s directorial debut is a bold and erotically charged exploration of recent history which reveals an unexpected tenderness at its heart."

Awards ceremony will be tonight at 6:00pm at the Sala Tropicana in the Italian Pavilion of Hotel Excelsior.

Friday, July 26, 2019

76th Venice International Film Festival Lineup

Somehow was able to enjoy yesterday's press conference as even if rhythm was on the slower side, eventually the end was near and finally were able to learn the films in La Mostra competition. My very-spontaneous reaction was feeling this year fest will be as exciting as last year and yes, more interesting than Cannes. This is great but you know me, I'm crazy about French cinema, so wish the French festival will pickup the past glory, leave controversies behind to become more "independent", sigh. Well, but for now, is all about the Italian festival with great movies from around the world becoming not only the Oscars predictor but the one to be consider as the leading force in world cinema

Before getting into post matter, wish to share an extraordinary and outstanding fact about a country with no cinema continuous-trajectory that suddenly is catapulting into remarkable milestones. As far as was able to check from historic info, this is the first time Guatemala has one movie in each of the three major film festivals in the world in the same year. First was Berlinale in Panorama Section with Temblores by Jayro Bustamante, then Cannes Semaine de la Critique and Camera d'Or winner, Nuestras Madres by Cesar Diaz and now is Jayro Bustamante's La Llorona in Venice Days. Remarkable!!!

Because I find it rather inspiring here is an excerpt from Alberto Barbera, Director of the Venice International Film Festival, introduction the fest and his part of his opening remarks at yesterday's press conference.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

92nd Academy Awards International Feature Film Submissions

November 12 Update

Seems yesterday Monday, November 11, the Academy notified the Austrian selection committee their verdict regarding the Austrian submission, Joy by Sudabeh Mortezai and it's bad news as AMPAS claims film dialogue is only 33% non-English.

So it's the second disqualification and perhaps there could be more as news mention AMPAS is currently in the process of reviewing all the films submitted for current edition.

With this disqualification tally goes down to ninety-one (91), one below the record established two years ago.

Just noticed from the list below that there are 3 films strikethrough, two are disqualifications and one was not in AMPAS published list, but what's remarkable is that all three films are directed by female directors! I'm sure is just a coincidence but can't help from imagining the worst scenario, lol.

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