The Independent Spirit Awards are an annual award given in the name of independent film, featuring plenty of those little indies which deserve the honor and recognition that they usually don't receive - celebrating their 31st year. The 2016 winners of the Spirit Awards were announced Saturday before the Oscars at a ceremony out in Santa Monica. The big winner this year was Spotlight, awarded Best Feature, but that's not all - there were plenty of interesting, surprising, exciting wins during the night. Carol finally won something this season - Ed Lachman picked up Best Cinematography. Tangerine's Mya Taylor won Best Supporting Female, and Beasts of No Nation took both Best Male performance awards. You have to love it when the Spirit Awards shake things up like this! Read on for the list of Indie Spirit Awards results.
Finally, the truth comes out. No, 10 Cloverfield Lane is not a Cloverfield sequel. In fact, it has nothing to do with Cloverfield (the original 2008 monster movie), producer J.J. Abrams finally admits: "This movie is very purposefully not called Cloverfield 2, because it's not Cloverfield 2." However, what he's getting at here is the "bigger picture" concept behind why Cloverfield is in the title and what they're going for: "there is a bigger idea at play for us with these movies and this connection." Essentially, movies made by Bad Robot that end up with "Cloverfield" in the title or synopsis are part of a series of "monster movies" that deal with a big sci-fi threat - not specifically the same monster. Abrams finally cleared the air about what to expect.
Briefly: Fox Searchlight has announced an official release date for Nate Parker's feature directorial debut, and the Sundance Film Festival double award winner, The Birth of a Nation, starring Nate Parker. The film will open in theaters "nationwide" (that's what it says!) on October 7th, 2016 later this fall. Parker plays Nat Turner, a former slave that organizes an uprising movement in 1831 to free African-Americans in Virgina. The cast includes Armie Hammer, Aunjanue Ellis, Jackie Earle Haley, Gabrielle Union, Penelope Ann Miller and Aja Naomi King. The film won both the Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize at Sundance in January, and was picked up by Fox Searchlight in a record-setting deal. Check back soon for any trailers.
This is a bit of a surprise considering we thought a sequel was on hold, but good news for those anxiously awaiting the next Pacific Rim movie. Deadline is reporting that Legendary Pictures has found a new director to take on the fantasy sci-fi action sequel Pacific Rim 2, leaving Gullermo del Toro free to work on other projects while the movie is still being made. The production company has hired Steven S. DeKnight to make his feature directing debut after creating the show "Spartacus" and working on other TV shows prior, including recently executive producing and writing for Marvel's "Daredevil" on Netflix. Del Toro confirmed the news on his Twitter, saying he met with DeKnight and they are on the same page as for what to expect.
Some good news to report regarding one our favorite filmmakers. Deadline is stating that Disney has set Ava DuVerney, director of Selma and Middle of Nowhere, to direct an adaptation of the 1963 Newbey Medal-winning book A Wrinkle In Time. Ever since Selma received a Best Picture nomination, DuVernay has been in-demand at various Hollywood studios, being considered for projects like Marvel's Black Panther among others. However, apparently she is eyeing two specific projects at Disney - one is this adaptation of the classic fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle, the other is a sci-fi screenplay by Colin Trevorrow & Derek Connolly titled Intelligent Life in the works at DreamWorks. Both films seem like a good fit for DuVernay.
As another film festival comes to an end, it's time to celebrate and commemorate with the announcement of the awards. The 66th Berlin Film Festival just ended (my own recap is coming soon), and the winners were announced at the Closing Ceremony, including the winner of the coveted Golden Bear for Best Film. That top prize was given to a film called Fire at Sea, a documentary from filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi about migrants crossing the Mediterranean and the refugee crisis affecting Europe and the Middle East. A very political choice, considering how important the issue is right now, but not unexpected. French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve won a Silver Bear for Best Director for the film Things to Come. See all winners below.
Two release dates have been announced for two of our most anticipated movies coming up in the next few years. First up, the action sequel John Wick 2 has been scheduled for release starting on February 10th, 2017 - a little less than a year from now. The film has already finished shooting, partially in New York City, and apparently the plot takes Keanu Reeves to Rome to kick some more ass. Stuntman Chad Stahelski from the first one is back again to direct this one. Next up, Warner Bros has officially set a release date for Denis Villeneuve's Blade Runner sequel, untitled now, known simply as Blade Runner 2. That movie will open on January 12th, 2018, a few weeks after Episode VIII hits theaters in late 2017. I'm very excited for both.
Wait, wait, wait! Someone made an 8-bit video game about Leonardo DiCaprio's pursuit of Oscar glory?! Get out of town. This is totally awesome! The video game was made by The Line Animation at Electric Theatre Collective, and involves controlling various Academy Awards contenders on a race down the red carpet to nab that glorious golden statuette before anyone else does. It was obviously inspired specifically by the well-known fact that Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated five times for an acting Academy Award, but has yet to win one. Until the Oscar ceremony comes around in a few weeks - this is definitely worth playing. Watch a game trailer and click below to visit the site to play Leo's Red Carpet Rampage. Have fun.
Last night, the United Kingdom had their big night for Hollywood at the 69th BAFTA Awards, honoring the best in film from last year (2015). These awards don't really have a major influence on the Oscars, but it's always interesting to see who our friends across the pond decide to hand out awards to. The selection of winners this year is quite diverse, with all of the best films from last year winning at least once in different categories. The Big Short won for Best Screenplay, Brooklyn won for Best British Film, The Hateful Eight won for Best Soundtrack, Inside Out won for Best Animation, Mad Max: Fury Road won for Best Hair & Make-Up, and The Revenant won for Best Film, just to start. Read on for the full list of 2016 winners below.
With just a few weeks left until the 88th Academy Awards, the Writers Guild of America has announced the winners of the 2016 WGA Awards. Last year, the big WGA winners were The Imitation Game, written by Graham Moore, and Grand Budapest Hotel, written by Wes Anderson, with The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz winning for Best Documentary. What have fellow writers determined to be the best scripts of 2015? This year's top prizes go to Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy for writing Spotlight, as well as to Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for writing The Big Short. Tough break for Aaron Sorkin.
Briefly: This is exactly what we expected, and it's good to see Warner Bros making a smart move. WB has shifted and pushed back the release date of Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One adaptation from its original slot in December 2017 to spring of 2018 - specifically March 30th, 2018. This is mainly because Disney recently changed the release of Star Wars: Episode VIII (being directed by Rian Johnson) back to December 15th, 2017 (from May) - which was the exact same day that Ready Player One was originally set for release. It's always hard to tell whether Spielberg will make his release anyway, but this is just a big sigh of relief because there would be no point in seeing WB and Disney go head-to-head with these two massive sci-fi / fan-oriented projects. I'm excited to see both Star Wars and Ready Player One - three months apart.
This is an awards season unlike any other. Last night, the 68th DGA Awards were held in Los Angeles and for the second year in a row, Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the top prize in feature filmmaking. Iñárritu won the DGA Award last year for directing Birdman, and won this year for directing The Revenant, which is still playing in theaters nationwide. Iñárritu won over industry favorites George Miller (of Mad Max: Fury Road) and Adam McKay (of The Big Short). Both of these guys could've/should've won and it would've been just as worthy. In addition to Iñárritu's, writer-turned-filmmaker Alex Garland won the inaugural award for Best First-Time Director for Ex Machina, which is the best new addition to the DGA Awards this year.
Good news to report, Nolan fans! Nolan's new favorite cinematographer is coming back to work on his next film. Christopher Nolan is reteaming with Swiss cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema for his next film currently titled Dunkirk, about the Allied evacuation from Dunkirk, France during the early part of WWII. This isn't surprising at all and it's exactly what we expected for this production, but this is the first time we've seen confirmation. The news is from a report on the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) website via The Film Stage announcing that van Hoytema is a now a member of the ASC (he's also part of the FSF and NSC in Sweden and The Netherlands). Hoytema last worked with Nolan to shoot Interstellar.
Onward to the sea! Deadline is reporting that director Bryan Singer is the latest to push forward on the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea movie. 20th Century Fox is working on this remake, and they've been developing it for a long time. For years, David Fincher was working on a remake, and McG was attached early on with Will Smith as Captain Nemo. The report says that Singer, having finished worked on X-Men: Apocalypse, is "moving toward a fall production start [on 20,000 Leagues], and Singer will begin casting, full speed ahead." No more delays or problems? Will this actually go into production? It seems the answer is yes, Singer is even credited on the story for the new movie being co-written by Rick Sordelet & Dan Studney.