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  • Independent Spirit Awards Liked ‘Birdman’ Too

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    birdman

    The big story about this year’s Oscars winners may very well be what else they’ve won—namely, the Independent Spirit Awards. The ceremony, as usual, was held the day before the Academy Awards, and rewarded films with smaller budgets and not supported by Hollywood’s largest studios. The show typically has a looser, more fun vibe where its celebrities mingle and goof off, similar to the Golden Globes. This year’s show was hosted by Fred Armisen and Kristen Bell.

    Like the Academy Awards, Birdman walked away with Best Feature. However, in one of the biggest differences from the Oscars, Richard Linklater was awarded Best Director for Boyhood. Julianne Moore, Patricia Arquette, and J.K. Simmons all foreshadowed their Oscar wins with acting awards, though Michael Keaton scored the win he couldn’t get Sunday for his starring role in Birdman. Citizenfour presaged its Best Documentary Oscar with a Spirit Award win in the same category. Even the Best Cinematography and Best Editing awards mirrored the Oscars, going to Birdman and Whiplash, respectively. Best Foreign Film winner Ida also got its Spirit Award equivalent for Best International Film.

    With nearly every major winner of the Spirit Awards going on to win their categories at the Academy Awards this weekend, the Oscars overwhelmingly went to films not directly produced or financed by the major studios. Is this a sign of the times, a decentralization of film’s powerhouse auteurs, or just a fluke? Evidence seems to point to the former—after all, five years ago Spirit winner The Hurt Locker beat out Avatar for the Best Picture, but only time will tell. Basically, let’s start the 2016 Oscar predictions!

    Here’s a full list of the winners:

    BEST FEATURE

    Birdman
 Producers: Alejandro G. Iñárritu, John Lesher, Arnon Milchan, James W. Skotchdopole

    BEST MALE LEAD

    Michael Keaton, Birdman

    BEST FEMALE LEAD

    Julianne Moore, Still Alice

    BEST DIRECTOR

    Richard Linklater, Boyhood

    BEST SUPPORTING FEMALE

    Patricia Arquette, Boyhood

    BEST SUPPORTING MALE

    J.K. Simmons, Whiplash

    BEST SCREENPLAY

    Dan Gilroy, Nightcrawler

    BEST DOCUMENTARY

    Citizenfour
 Director/Producer: Laura Poitras

    Producers: Mathilde Bonnefoy, Dirk Wilutzky

    BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM

    Ida (Poland), Director: Pawel Pawlikowski

    BEST FIRST FEATURE

    Nightcrawler
 Director: Dan Gilroy; Producers: Jennifer Fox, Tony Gilroy, Jake Gyllenhaal, David Lancaster, Michel Litvak

    BEST FIRST SCREENPLAY

    Justin Simien, Dear White People

    BEST EDITING

    Tom Cross, Whiplash

    BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

    Emmanuel Lubezki, Birdman

    JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD

    Land Ho!

    Writers/Directors: Aaron Katz & Martha Stephens; Producers: Christina Jennings, Mynette Louie, Sara Murphy

    LENSCRAFTERS TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD
  The Kill Team, Director: Dan Krauss

    PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD
 Chris Chison

    KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD
 H., Directors: Rania Attieh & Daniel Garcia

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    February 23, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 5056

  • Birdman Wins Top Cinematography Award

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    birdman cinematography

    This weekend, Emmanuel Lubezki picked up the American Society of Cinematographers Award for Best Feature Cinematography for his work on the Alejandro G. Iñárritu film, Birdman. Lubezki also made history, tying the record of most ASC wins with Conrad L. Hall, with an impressive four victories in the category. Lubezki won previously for shooting the Alfonso Cuaron films Gravity and Children of Men as well as the Terence Malick film The Tree of Life.

    Like Gravity, Birdman features long takes that are not just tricky for actors but for cinematographers who must carefully choreograph and execute the shots. Birdman seamlessly edits the long takes to give the impression the film is one extended shot for the entire feature.

    The win gives more momentum to Birdman as it heads into the final stretch of the Oscar season. Many consider Birdman a close second favorite to Boyhood, with the competition hard to predict outright. With the ASC win, Lubezki has a solid chance at scoring the Oscar for Best Cinematography, though he faces tough competition from the other contenders, with Ida, Mr. Turner, Unbroken and The Grand Budapest Hotel competing in the category.

    Among the other ASC awards given out, Boardwalk Empire’s Jonathan Freeman beat out presumed favorite Game of Thrones for the television prize, and Barbra Streisand accepted the annual Governors Award.

    If you dream of maybe winning the ASC Award one day, check out our cinematography school programs here.

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    February 16, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 4616

  • Birdman Becomes Oscar Front-Runner Following PGA and SAG Awards

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    Birdman cast accepts ensemble award at SAG awards

    (From left) Birdman’s Amy Adams, Naomi Watts, Emma Stone, Edward Norton, and Michael Keaton accept the award for outstanding cast in a motion picture at Sunday’s SAG Awards. (Photo: Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images)

    This weekend’s double-header of the Producers Guild of America Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards continued to vex Academy Awards predictors as Birdman upset Best Picture front-runner Boyhood in both ceremonies, nabbing the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures at the PGA Awards and the Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture award at the SAG Awards. While Boyhood is still a likely candidate to take the top prize at the Academy Awards on February 22, these two victories for Birdman have placed it firmly in the front-runner category.

    Elsewhere, the other major upset from this weekend’s awards marathon came from Eddie Redmayne who beat Michael Keaton for the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role at the SAG Awards. While early predictions have placed Keaton as the front-runner for best actor at this year’s Oscars, his status now seems much less assured as the relative newcomer continues to scoop up awards.

    As actors make up the largest branch of the Academy—accounting for 19% of the voting membership—the SAG Awards offer Oscar analysts a significant insight into how the Academy Awards might shape up.

    In the other major film acting categories at the SAG Awards, things went as expected with Supporting Actor front-runners as Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons and Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette continued to clean up awards season. Arquette took her SAG award as a chance to salute her family’s long lineage of acting, stating “I’m a fourth generation actor.”

    Meanwhile, Best Actress frontrunner Julianne Moore picked up the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role, cementing her status as the category’s likely Oscar winner.

    Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba, who plays the unforgettable Crazy Eyes on the series, provided the SAG Awards with its most emotional moment when she gave a tearful acceptance speech for winning the Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series, informing the audience that “the day I got this job was the day I had stopped acting.”

    In other memorable speeches, How to Get Away With Murder’s Viola Davis earned her first SAG Award for TV as an actress in a drama series, expressing her appreciation to ABC executives and the show’s creator for believing that her role as a sexual and conflicted heroine could be played by “a 49-year-old, dark-skinned African-American woman who looks like me.”

    And seemingly making amends for its Best Animated Feature snub at the Academy Awards, The Lego Movie won the award for Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures at the PGA Awards.

    Awards season will continue its build-up to Oscar night with the DGA Awards slated for February 7. The full list of SAG Award winners can be seen here while the PGA winners can be viewed here.

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    January 26, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 5052

  • And This Year’s Oscar Nominations Are…

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    A collage of the 2015 Oscar Best Picture Nominees

    The 2015 Best Picture Oscar nominees, clockwise from left: The Theory of Everything, Boyhood, The Imitation Game, Selma, Whiplash, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, American Sniper

    The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced Thursday, Jan 15 with all of the nominees being announced live for the first time, with directors J.J. Abrams and Alfonso Cuarón announcing the first batch and actor Chris Pine and Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs announcing the second group of nominees. And while this year had predictors preparing for a by-the-numbers slate of nominees, the Academy threw more than a few curveballs our way, with Selma getting largely snubbed and Boyhood and Birdman cementing their likely domination come Oscar night with The Grand Budapest making a surprisingly strong showing with nine nominations, tying with Birdman for most nominations.

    Starting at the top, the nominees for Best Picture dropped to eight candidates from nine in the previous years with American Sniper, Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Whiplash competing for the main prize. While this category largely came down as expected, one can’t help but wonder if Foxcatcher was dropped to make it an even eight, not to mention the surprise that both Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel maintained momentum throughout the year despite early releases and buzz (the Academy tends to favor films released during the Fall).

    In the Best Actor category, the five nominees had all been favorites throughout awards season, though Bradley Cooper’s turn in American Sniper seemed to take out late-season favorites David Oyelowo in Selma and Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. The full list of nominees are Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, Bradley Cooper in American Sniper, Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything, Michael Keaton in Birdman, and Steve Carell in Foxcatcher.

    Competing for best actress, the nominees, similar to their male counterparts, were mostly favorites throughout the season though one can’t help but imagine how Marion Cotillard managed to squeeze out Cake’s Jennifer Anniston for her turn in the Belgian film Two Days, One Night. One thing is for sure, both actresses gave incredible performances and as there can only be five, someone is always going to get the short stick. The nominees are Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore in Still Alice, Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night, Reese Witherspoon in Wild, and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl.

    However, the big shocker came in the Achievement in Directing category as Selma’s Ava DuVernay was snubbed, seemingly in favor of relative newcomer Morten Tyldum and his The Imitation Game. Also, for American Sniper making such a surprisingly strong showing, one can’t help but wonder if Bennett Miller and Foxcatcher pushed out Clint Eastwood. The nominees are Alejandro G. Iñárritu for Birdman, Bennet Miller for Foxcatcher, Morton Tyldum for The Imitation Game, Richard Linklater for Boyhood, and Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel.

    One of the bigger surprises came in the form of Robert Duvall for his turn in The Judge, a role that had seemingly zero Oscar buzz going into the nominations. J.K. Simmons was of course nominated for Whiplash, where he continues to be the front-runner, with Edward Norton in Birdman, Ethan Hawke in Boyhood, and Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher rounding out the category.

    Finally, in the Best Supporting Actress category, the nominees were largely as expected, though Laura Dern’s flashback-heavy role in Wild edged out other late contenders like Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year and Rene Russo in Nightcrawler. Dern will be competing against Emma Stone in Birdman, Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game, Meryl Steep in Into the Woods, and Patricia Arquette in Boyood.

    A few of the other big surprises coming out of LA this morning was The Lego Movie not even being included in the Best Animated Feature category, which was long considered to take the award. On the bright side, the fantastic “Everything is Awesome” was included in the Best Song category. Furthermore, while Rosamund Pike did score a Best Actress nom for Gone Girl, this early awards season heavyweight joined Selma in the snubbed category. Finally, in the Best Documentary category, the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, also considered to be a lock for the award, failed to even score a nomination.

    All in all, Oscar night just got a lot more interested and we hope you’ll join us when we Live Tweet the ceremony on February 22nd.

    Click Read More to see the full list of nominees below.

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    January 15, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 6845

  • #MyBoyhood: How Would You Have Aged in ‘Boyhood’?

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    Michael Keaton

    Michael Keaton

    As the groundbreaking Richard Linklater film Boyhood continues to pick up steam with its Golden Globe Award for Best Picture, Drama, we at the New York Film Academy thought it’d be fun to see what other nominees and actors would look like as a child, compared to today. Imagine having twelve years of your life documented into an award-winning film. Pretty cool, right?

    We’ve compiled several famous actors “boyhood” or “girlhood” photos and placed them beside a current photo to start off the trend.

    How do your boyhood comparisons pair up to these celebs? Post your child photo alongside of a current photo and share it with us on Twitter or Instagram with #MyBoyhood.

    Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Benedict Cumberbatch

    Channing Tatum

    Channing Tatum

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    Jake Gyllenhaal

    jennifer aniston

    Jennifer Aniston

    Michael Keaton

    Michael Keaton

    Reese Witherspoon

    Reese Witherspoon

    Rosamund Pike

    Rosamund Pike

    Steve Carell

    Steve Carell

    You’re next! Don’t forget to tag your picture comparison with #MyBoyhood. Look forward to seeing your posts on social media!

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    January 12, 2015 • Acting, Community Highlights, Entertainment News • Views: 9078

  • This Year’s Golden Globes Points to Likely Oscar Winners

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    tina fey and poehler

    Photo: Paul Drinkwater, AP

    With last night’s 72nd annual Golden Globes taking place in Los Angeles, the ceremony continued to cement its reputation as the best indicator of who will likely be taking the top awards at this year’s Academy Awards. And while co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler—hosting the awards for their third and final time—offered plenty of laughs and well-meaning digs, the winners of the night gave the best insight on how this awards season will likely play out.

    To that effect, Boyhood continued to clean up the awards circuit, nabbing the Best Picture, Drama award along with a Best Supporting Actress award for front-runner Patricia Arquette and the Best Director award for Richard Linklater. While Ava DuVernay is still widely believed to be receiving a nomination for Best Director on Thursday when the Academy Award nominees are announced, making her the first African-American woman to ever receive the honor, last night’s win for Linklater seems to indicate that it is his category to lose. However, with The Grand Hotel Budapest picking up the Best Picture, Comedy or Musical category, this dark horse seems more likely than ever to earn a few nominations on Thursday and add some intrigue to an increasingly predictable awards season.

    While Boyhood was widely believed to be a lock for those three awards, the other likely Oscar front runners also got their due last night with Julianne Moore winning the award for Best Actress, Drama for her turn in Still Alice while Michael Keaton picked up his award for Best Actor, Musical or Comedy. However, as the Globes breaks up the best picture and actor categories into Drama and Musical or Comedy, both Keaton’s and Moore’s main competitors also walked away with awards, with Amy Adams winning for Big Eyes and Eddie Redmayne picking up a Best Actor, Drama for his turn as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. However, both the Best Actor and Actress categories remain highly competitive with actors like Jennifer Anniston, Reese Witherspoon, Jake Gyllenhall, and David Oyelowo making these categories the least predictable.

    The same cannot be said of the Best Supporting Actor category, with JK Simmons accepting the award for his terrifying turn in Whiplash. Simply put, at this point it seems hard to imagine any actors other than Arquette and Simmons cleaning up the Supporting categories when the Oscars air on February 22nd.

    What did you think of last night’s telecast and who would you like to see walking away with nominations on Thursday? What films do you think might end up giving Boyhood a run for its money?

    A full list of last night’s winners can be viewed here.

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    January 12, 2015 • Entertainment News • Views: 5223