Bust out those awards season scorecards because we’ve got a string of winners to report that could very well predict which films and filmmakers walk off with an Oscar come March 2nd. In addition to the Academy Award nominations and the SAG, PGA and Critics Choice wins, we’ve also got the latest out of Sundance and the details on the double dose of Ant-Man coming our way on July 31, 2015.
Ready to dig into all of that and loads more? Let’s get to it with this week’s Movie News Cheat Sheet.
1. Academy Award Nominations: The time has finally come. The Academy Award nominations are here and even though almost all of the choices are worthy of the honor, there are a number of deserving films and filmmakers that didn’t make the cut, proving 2013 really was a particularly strong year. Tom Hanks got bumped from the Best Actor in a Leading Role category with Christina Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey taking the nods while Hanks’ “Saving Mr. Banks” co-star, Emma Thompson, lost the Best Actress in a Leading Role nomination to Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Meryl Streep. Jonah Hill snuck into the Best Actor in a Supporting Role race and will go up against Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Michael Fassbender and Jared Leto while Sally Hawkins snagged a surprise nod in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category where she’ll face Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts and June Squibb. Even though Pixar has taken seven Best Animated Feature wins since the category was created in 2002, their latest release, “Monsters University,” didn’t even earn a nomination. “Frozen” is certainly the frontrunner, but it’ll have to fend off “The Croods,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Ernest & Celestine,” and “The Wind Rises” in order to secure the win. Click here for the full list of nominees for the 86th Oscars and then find out who wins when the ceremony airs on Sunday, March 2nd.
2. Sundance: We’re only a few days into the Sundance Film Festival, but distributors are already busy snatching up the top performers. Lionsgate and CNN Films took the North American rights to Todd Miller’s documentary, “Dinosaur 13,” while Sony Pictures Classics went after the Miles Teller-starrer, “Whiplash.” Zach Braff’s Kickstarter-funded film, “Wish I Was Here” sold to Focus Features, which paid top dollar for the project while A24 is considering making a similar move in the bidding war for Lynn Shelton’s “Laggies.” The horror comedy “Cooties” may not have secured distribution just yet, but the film is getting lots of love from critics. THR goes as far to say, “It’s been a while since the zom-com genre saw an entry as strong as ‘Cooties,’” and HitFix suggests, “I suspect some distributor is going to have a field day cutting together a campaign for this one, and when they do, I highly recommend you give yourself a circle-circle-dot-dot and head out to catch ‘Cooties’ for yourself.” Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett’s latest is being showered with praise as well. Crave Online calls “The Guest” “genuinely great filmmaking” and Twitch Film writes, “Equal parts creepy, slow-burn horror and bloody, balls-out actioner, Wingard and Barrett again prove that best kind of genre movie is the one with which you can have the most outright fun.” Slash Film claims “Infinitely Polar Bear” marks Mark Ruffalo’s best performance yet and Variety praises Josh Wiggins’ feature debut, writing, “More sensitive than sensational, [Kat] Candler’s debut doesn’t add much in the way of insight to the juvenile delinquency genre, but boasts a stunning breakthrough performance from newcomer Josh Wiggins as the troublemaker in question.” Clearly this year’s crop of films is brimming with promise, so it’s a good thing we’ve until January 26th to take them all in – or at least take them in via reviews, interviews and festival features.
3. Screen Actors Guild Winners: Looking for a sense of what to expect at the Academy Awards in terms of the acting honors? Check out the winners from the 20th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. The ensemble honor went to the cast of David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” but Jennifer Lawrence lost in the Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor in a Supporting Role category to frontrunner Lupita Nyong’o. Jared Leto earned another win for his work in “Dallas Buyers Club,” further suggesting there could be an Oscar in his future and the same goes for his co-star, Matthew McConaughey, who now has the SAG honor in addition to his Golden Globe. In the Outstanding Performance By a Female Actor in a Leading Role category, Cate Blanchett beat out Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench and Emma Thompson for the win, putting her in prime position to take home an Oscar come March 2nd. Click here to check out the full list of SAG honorees, including the winners in the television categories.
4. Critics Choice Winners: The Broadcast Film Critics Association also doled out their honors this week, giving seven of them to “Gravity.” Not only did Alfonso Cuaron walk away with the Best Director title, but “Gravity” also won in the Best Cinematography, Best Editing, Best Visual Effects, Best Actress in an Action Movie, Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie and Best Score categories. Just like the SAG awards, Best Actor went to Matthew McConaughey, Best Actress went to Cate Blanchett, Best Supporting Actor went to Jared Leto and Best Supporting Actress went to Lupita Nyong’o. The BFCA also honored Adele Exarchopoulos for her work in “Blue is the Warmest Color” with the Best Young Actor/Actress award. “Frozen” took home the Best Song and Best Animated Feature wins and “Lone Survivor” finally got a little awards season love, winning Best Action Movie and Best Actor in an Action Movie for Mark Wahlberg’s work. You can check out the full list of 19th Annual Critics Choice Movie Awards winners right here.
5. Razzie Nominations: Amidst all this talk of the best of the best comes a little time in the spotlight for the worst of the worst – the Razzie nominations. “After Earth” will go up against “Grown Ups 2,” “The Lone Ranger,” “A Madea Christmas” and “Movie 43” for Worst Picture. “Grown Ups 2” and “Lone Ranger” will also vie for a “win” in the Worst Remake, Rip-Off or Sequel category against “The Hangover Part III,” “Scary Movie 5” and “Smurfs 2.” Johnny Depp, Ashton Kutcher, Adam Sandler, Jaden Smith and Sylvester Stallone took the Worst Actor nominations while Worst Actress will come down to Halle Berry, Selena Gomez, Lindsay Lohan, Tyler Perry and Naomi Watts. All 13 of the directors behind “Movie 43” snagged Worst Director nominations and, as a collective, they’ll have to beat out Dennis Dugan for “Grown Ups 2,” Tyler Perry for “A Madea Christmas” and “Temptation,” M. Night Shyamalan for “After Earth” and Gore Verbinski for “Lone Ranger” if they’re going to turn those 13 nods (or anti-nods?) into 13 statuettes. Click here for the full list of Razzie nominees and then find out who claims the dishonors when the year’s biggest losers are announced on Oscar Eve, March 1st.
6. Producers Guild Winners: “American Hustle” should have had an Oscar edge after claiming SAG’s Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture honor, but the Producers Guild threw two other films into the mix – “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave.” Yes, both features walked away with the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures and considering this win has been in line with the Best Picture selection 17 times in the past 24 years, now it seems as though there’s a good chance “American Hustle” could get bumped and either “Gravity” or “12 Years a Slave” could claim the top honor. However, the Directors Guild Awards are still on the way, so don’t lock in your bets just yet. Click here to check out the rest of the PGA’s honorees.
7. Michael Douglas is Also Ant-Man: Oh, you thought Paul Rudd was playing Ant-Man? Well, you’re right, but apparently so is Michael Douglas. Marvel just announced that Douglas would be stepping in to portray the Hank Pym version of the hero and to confirm that Rudd’s character will be the Scott Lang iteration. The funny thing is, this isn’t really new news. Edgar Wright actually mentioned this to Super Hero Hype way back in July of 2006. He told the outlet, “The idea that we have for the adaptation is to actually involve both … Henry Pym and Scott Lang.” He also added, “So you actually do a prologue where you see Pym as Ant-Man in action in the 60’s, in sort of ‘Tales to Astonish’ mode basically, and then the contemporary, sort of flash-forward, is Scott Lang’s story, and how he comes to acquire the suit, how he crosses paths with Henry Pym, and then, in an interesting sort of Machiavellian way, teams up with him.” The official Marvel press release doesn’t break it down so explicitly, but that plot progression does still seem like a sensible format for the July 31, 2015 release.
8. Release Date Changes: Get out the calendars, iPhones, iCals, etc., because we’ve got a number of release date changes worth noting. The big one is “Batman vs. Superman.” The film was scheduled to arrive on July 17, 2015, but Warner Bros. just announced that it’s being pushed back to May 6, 2016 instead because it’ll allow “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.” Warner Bros. moved their upcoming Peter Pan film from June 26, 2015 into that vacant July 17, 2015 slot. The Weinstein Company was busy making moves this week as well. It bumped “Vampire Academy” up from its original Valentine’s Day debut to a February 7th release where it’ll face off against “The Lego Movie” and “The Monuments Men.” Both are potential heavy hitters, but “Vampire Academy” is probably better off because those make for less direct competition than the holiday fair. TWC also gave “One Chance” a nudge back, moving it from February 7th to March 14th and plucked “Grace of Monaco” from its March 14th slot entirely without giving it a new debut date. Also worth noting, “Despicable Me 3” is officially locked for June 30, 2017, the third “Planet of the Apes” movie will hit on July 29, 2016 and the “Poltergeist” remake is now due out on February 13, 2015. (via Box Office Mojo)
9. Trailers: “The Quiet Ones,” “Walk of Shame,” “A Haunted House 2:” “Devil’s Due” didn’t do it for you? “The Quiet Ones” doesn’t arrive until April 25, 2014, but based on the film’s new trailer, it could be worth the wait. The film is based on true events and features Jared Harris as a university professor who assembles some of his best and brightest for a rather unorthodox assignment – to try to create a poltergeist. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, we’ve got the Elizabeth Banks-starrer, “Walk of Shamehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTHZEFo7JsY.” Banks still exhibits that undeniable charm, but it isn’t enough to overpower the goofy slapstick to earn a laugh and the same goes for the new trailer for “A Haunted House 2.” Clearly Marlon Wayans has something here because the first film scored nearly $60 million worldwide on a $2.5 million budget and earned a sequel, but perhaps I just don’t get it because I find the jokes featured here rather grating and totally predictable.
10. Box Office: “Ride Along” was expected to win the weekend, but it went above and beyond, decimating the competition. The film kicked off its run with a highly impressive $15,621 per theater average and $41.6 million opening weekend total. “Lone Survivor” managed to hold strong, dropping just 41.7% making the move from its first to its second wide weekend out, letting it take another $22.1 million to the bank. The third position went to animated newcomer, “The Nut Job.” No doubt “Frozen” stole some of its thunders, but “The Nut Job” still managed to score a solid $5,662 per theater for a $19.4 million first weekend total. “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit,” on the other hand, had a tougher first go-around, especially because the movie cost $60 million to make. Even though “Jack Ryan” opened in the most theaters, it only managed to take $15.6 million all together and that landed it in fourth place. Finally we’ve got “Frozen,” which continues to show off those incredibly long legs. It only dipped 19.5% moving from weekend eight to nine, taking in another $11.9 million and bringing its domestic grand total to just over $332 million. (via Box Office Mojo)