Another must-see! Mr. Washington has had another extraordinary achievement with August Wilson’s “Fences.” Denzel Washington is set to receive the Maltin Modern Master Award at the 32nd SBIFF! Washington will be honored for his longstanding contributions to the film industry culminating with Paramount’s upcoming Fences which he directs, produces and stars in. Leonard Maltin, for who the award was recently renamed after, will return for his 26th year to moderate the evening. The award will be presented on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre. Open the link for tickets.
“La La Land,” the musical “dramedy” following a jazz musician’s romance with an aspiring actress, takes a whopping 12 nominations heading into tonight’s presentation of the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s 22nd annual Critics’ Choice Awards, formally kicking off the Hollywood awards season.
These prizes bestowed by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. (BFCA) are renowned as one of the best barometers for predicting the Oscars. Over their 21-year history, these awards have previewed 13 Best Picture Oscar winners as well as 16 Best Director, 14 Best Actor, 12 Best Actress, 11 Supporting Actor and 14 Supporting Actress champs.
The complete list of winners from tonight’s awards are as follows:
The sci-fi adventure “Arrival” and the coming-of-age drama “Moonlight” each have 10 nominations.
“La La Land,” which reunites Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as romantic interests, is nominated for best picture, actor, actress, director, original screenplay, cinematography, production design, editing, costume design, score and two best song nods.
The best picture nominees are “Arrival,” “Fences,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Hell or High Water,” “La La Land,” “Lion,” “Loving,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight” and “Sully.”
Denzel Washington is one of several double-nominees heading into the ceremony, for his work as an actor and as the director of the best picture nominee “Fences.”
Competing with Washington for best actor will be Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea,” Joel Edgerton for “Loving,” Andrew Garfield for “Hacksaw Ridge,” Gosling for “La La Land” and Tom Hanks for “Sully.”
Nominated for best actress are Amy Adams for “Arrival,” Annette Bening for “20th Century Women,” Isabelle Huppert for “Elle,” Ruth Negga for “Loving,” Natalie Portman for “Jackie” and Stone for “La La Land.”
On the television side of the awards, FX’s miniseries “The People v. O.J. Simpson” has a leading six nominations, while HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” AMC’s “The Night Manager” and Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” have five each.
Netflix’s “House of Cards,” History’s “Roots” and HBO’s “All the Way” and “Veep” all have four nominations in the television categories.
Nominated for best drama series are “Better Call Saul,” `”Game of Thrones,” “Mr. Robot,” “Stranger Things,” “The Crown,” “This is Us” and “Westworld.”
Competing for best comedy will be “Atlanta,” “Black-ish,” “Fleabag,” “Modern Family,” “Silicon Valley,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Veep.”
The ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica and televised by A&E.
Denzel Washington is set to receive the Maltin Modern Master Award at the 32nd annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Washington will be honored for his longstanding contributions to the film industry culminating with Paramount’s upcoming Fences, a story adapted from August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. Washington directs, produces and stars in the saga about a 1950s Pittsburgh sanitation worker and former Negro League baseball player, Troy Maxson (Washington), as he deals with racism while struggling to provide for his family.
Fences hits theatres on Christmas Day.
Leonard Maltin, for whom the award was recently renamed after, will return for his 26th year to moderate the evening. The award will be presented on Thursday, February 2, 2017 at Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre.
SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling stated, “Denzel Washington directing, producing and acting in Fences defines the Modern Master for the 21st Century.”
The Modern Master Award was established in 1995 and is the highest accolade presented by SBIFF. Created to honor an individual who has enriched our culture through accomplishments in the motion picture industry, it was re-named the Maltin Modern Master Award in 2015 in honor of long-time SBIFF moderator and renowned film critic Leonard Maltin. Past recipients include Michael Keaton, Bruce Dern, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, James Cameron, Clint Eastwood, Cate Blanchett, Will Smith, George Clooney and Peter Jackson.
FENCES, a new film from Paramount Studios, is scheduled to open in theaters December 25, 2016. The film is directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson, adapted from Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play. See trailer below.
The film stars Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sydney.
The film is produced by Denzel Washington, Todd Black and Scott Rudin.
Early Oscar speculation has a best actor nom for Washington for his lead role as a failed baseball player who faces discrimination as a garbage collector.
In 1960, Director John Sturges made the original Magnificent Seven, starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen, as an American Western. Sturges based his work on legendary Japanese director, Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai. So in addition to being an end-of-summer blockbuster, Fuqua’s Magnificent Seven is a remake of a remake. Like Seven Samurai a good portion of Fuqua’s work takes place indoors and is evidenced by low-key lighting, heavy shadows and blackness.
This was Fuqua’s first attempt at a western although he claims to having had an affinity for them having watched many with his grandmother during his formative years. So when Metro Goldwyn Mayer approached him about making a western, Fuqua jumped at the opportunity. However, he wanted to make this his film with a theme to resonate with today’s audience. He didn’t have to look far to find a strong actor to lead up his core group of seven. Fuqua proposed Denzel Washington for the film’s lead, bounty hunter Sam Chisolm, having worked with Washington on Training Day and The Equalizer. Washington won an Oscar for Best Actor for his Training Day role and his on-screen partner, Ethan Hawke, received a Best Actor in a Supporting Role nomination. Like Fuqua Washington had never done a western and looking back at the success the two have had together quickly came on board. Chris Pratt was identified to play gambler Josh Faraday, Chisolm’s sidekick and first to join the seven. Pratt, too, leaped at the opportunity to play a cowboy.
Soon Fuqua had an idea for his version of The Magnificent Seven as he and Washington performed research into the Old West. They discovered a wide-range of nationalities including Russians, Mexicans, and Irish. Fuqua wanted his seven to reflect this so he collaborated with screenwriters Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk to create an authentic cast of characters utilizing a diverse group of young actors in addition to Washington and Pratt: Ethan Hawke plays Goodnight Robicheaux; Vincent D’Onofrio plays Jack Horne, Native-American Martin Sensmeier plays Red Harvest; Mexican-American actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo plays Vasquez; and South Korean headliner Byung-hun Lee plays Billy Rocks.
The film is set in the town of Rose Creek where a ruthless industrialist, Batholomew Bogue, played convincingly by Peter Saarsgaard, is attempting to roust the entire town with threats, murder and mayhem for his own personal gain. The desperate town folk are at wits end when a woman, Emma Cullen, played by a tough Haley Bennett, reaches out and convinces the seven hired guns to protect and defend them from Bogue’s army of mercenaries. The men come together and find within themselves not only the will to fight and win but also the moral fortitude to do something because it is right.
Interestingly, like Kurasawa, Fuqua employs a number of camera techniques to highlight his film’s narrative. Many of his Hollywood closeups are shot just below the chin emphasizing the actors’ strong jawlines. Mauro Fiore is credited as the Cinematographer. In addition, impressive, expansive panning landscape shots are used to introduce the film with a non-diagetic score started by the iconic film score composer James Horner. Horner had over 75 projects to his name, along with two Academy Awards, and worked with Hollywood heavyweights like James Cameron, Oliver Stone, George Lucas, Ron Howard and Steven Spielberg. Horner did not live to see the completed product before his untimely death in June of 2015. However, he did manage to complete seven themes based on the film’s script and his conversations with Fuqua. Composer Simon Franglen finished the film’s impressive score in a manner and style of James Horner as a tribute to Horner.
Throughout The Magnificent Seven Antoine Fuqua attempts to comment on today’s society and what he sees as overt acts of tyranny as he keeps with the Kurosawa thematic element of programming a film with societal mirrors and a political undercurrent. Notwithstanding, while Kurosawa used the unemployed samurai to form his seven, Fuqua finds a group of fringe characters with diverse backgrounds and nationalities. Still, both film’s characters do what is right and help those in need in spite of their own self-interest. My hat goes off to Director Fuqua for a valiant and noble effort. The Magnificent Seven is a fun film. It is well done technically with plenty of action and color. And, it is made in a similar vein as a world cinema masterpiece. Highly recommended.
(Featured photo courtesy of ASAC Images/Biennale Cinema di Venezia)
LOS ANGELES, Sept 25 ― What were the films and who were the actors who stood out at the latest film festivals? In the wake of the Venice, Toronto and Telluride festivals, here is an update on the movies and players potentially in the running for the 2017 Oscars.
In the period from September to December, the pace of superhero epic and action blockbuster releases slows down to make way for potential Oscar-winning works. This year is no exception with studios and distributors preparing to launch the movies they feel stand the best chance in the 89th Academy Awards at a time when they will still be fresh in the minds of the 2017 jury. What are the movies that will benefit from this Hollywood marketing strategy?
Top favourite ‘La La Land’
Having won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival, La La Land is now a serious contender for the 2017 Oscar for Best Picture. The Canadian accolade should not be overlooked. In fact it is a more than reliable indicator for the likely winner of a much-coveted gold statuette, having been awarded to such previous Oscar winners as Twelve Years a Slave, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty.
But it would be unwise to bet on the musical comedy which features Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling without evaluating the chances of some of the other movies that have come to light in the latest festivals: notably Manchester by the Sea, which is buoyed by a remarkable performance by Casey Affleck, Jeff Nichols’ Loving, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Nocturnal Animals by Tom Ford, which won the Silver Lion at the 73rd Venice Mostra, and the biopic of Jackie Kennedy, Jackie, which could harvest a second Oscar for Natalie Portman.
However, competition for Best Actress in a Leading Role looks set to be fierce this year. Having garnered an award in Venice, Emma Stone has every chance of gaining a nomination. Ruth Negga (Loving), Amy Adams (Arrival), Viola Davis (Fences) and Taraji P. Henson (Hidden Figures) are other likely contenders, as is French actress Isabelle Huppert for her much-noted performance in Paul Verhoeven’s Elle. As for Best Actor in a Leading Role, Casey Affleck (Manchester by the Sea), Joel Edgerton (Loving), Jake Gyllenhaal (Nocturnal Animals), Denzel Washington (Fences), Dev Patel (Lion) and Tom Hanks (Sully) could all be in the running.
A more diverse Oscars?
Several films that stand to be selected could also turn the page on the controversy surrounding the 2016 Oscars which was judged to be too “white.” Even if The Birth of a Nation does not currently look to be a competitor, the film which tells the story of a slave revolt may nonetheless be nominated. Other films that look likely to garner nominations include Moonlight, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival. The story of an African-American growing up in a Miami neighbourhood has already been hailed as major work of independent cinema.
Hidden Figures which casts Octavia Spencer and Taraji P. Henson as mathematicians who, in spite of being overshadowed by their male colleagues, contributed to the success of the Apollo space program, and Denzel Washington’s Fences, which features Viola Davis, have also been tipped for Oscar nominations.
However, we will still have to wait close to five months to see which way the jury votes in the 2017 Academy Awards which will be held on February 26 in Los Angeles. The nominations for the Oscars will be announced on January 24. ― AFP-Relaxnews