Today was a big day for Room, which received four nominations: Best Picture, Best Director (Lenny Abrahamson), Best Actress (Brie Larson), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Emma Donoghue). It was an even bigger day for A24, the rising distributor and production company, which just nabbed its first Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Released on October 16, 2015, Room reached a peak of 198 theaters the weekend of December 11–13, and has been gradually dropping its theater count since then.
Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation scored five nominations, with Spotlight taking four and the Robert Altman Award for its ensemble cast. By Hilary Lewis The nominations for the 31st Film Independent Spirit Awards were announced on Tuesday morning, with Todd Haynes’ 1950s-set lesbian love story Carol scoring a leading six nominations. Netflix’s first original feature film, Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, landed five nominations. Spotlight, about the Boston Globe’s investigation into years of child sex abuse by Catholic priests and the subsequent cover-up scored four nominations and is set to receive the Robert Altman award for its ensemble cast.
In many ways, Jacob Tremblay is exceptional, earning early Oscar buzz for his performance as boy born in captivity in the acclaimed indie drama Room, which expands in select theaters this weekend. In other ways, he’s just like any other 9-year-old — buzzing over the latest Star Wars trailer and eager to discuss the time he flipped his entire body performing a stunt in the acclaimed film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson and starring Brie Larson as his kidnapped mother. The brown-haired kid, a Canadian from Vancouver, is just one year older than the youngest-ever Best Actor Oscar nominee, Justin Henry, who was 8 when he scored a nod for Kramer vs. Kramer in 1980.
In the devastating new drama Room, Brie Larson plays a young woman held captive in a tiny backyard shack with her son. “So the typical things that you do in a day like, ‘Oh I’ll just zone out and watch [the Food Network reality show] Chopped for 30 minutes’ isn’t enough with something like this.” (Watch the full interview above.) Related: The Movie ‘Room’ Really Made a Super-Small, Prison-Like Room. She found that easy with her 9-year-old co-star Jacob Tremblay, who she bonded with over Star Wars. “So I’d get off work, I’d go to a karaoke place, I’d sing one song — I’d sing like an Usher song or a Mariah Carey song — and then I’d go home.” What songs would Larson (who has also been a professional recording artist since 2005) belt out?
The nominations for the 2015 Gotham Independent Film Awards were unveiled Thursday morning, with Diary of a Teenage Girl receiving four noms, including one for best feature. Other films receiving multiple nominations included Carol, Heaven Knows What, James White, Love & Mercy, Spotlight and Tangerine. A full list of the 2015 IFP Gotham Independent Film Award nominations follows. Best Feature Carol Todd Haynes, director; Elizabeth Karlsen, Tessa Ross, Christine Vachon, Stephen Woolley, producers (The Weinstein Company) The Diary of a Teenage Girl Marielle Heller, director; Anne Carey, Bert Hamelinck, Madeline Samit, Miranda Bailey, producers (Sony Pictures Classics) Heaven Knows What Josh and Benny Safdie, directors; Oscar Boyson, Sebastian Bear-McClard, producers (RADiUS) Spotlight Tom McCarthy, director; Michael Sugar, Steve Golin, Nicole Rocklin, Blye Pagan Faust, producers (Open Road Films) Tangerine Sean Baker, director; Darren Dean, Shih-Ching Tsou, Marcus Cox & Karrie Cox, producers (Magnolia Pictures) Best Documentary Approaching the Elephant Amanda Rose Wilder, director; Jay Craven, Robert Greene, Amanda Rose Wilder, producers (Kingdom County Productions) Cartel Land Matthew Heineman, director; Matthew Heineman, Tom Yellin, producers (The Orchard and A&E IndieFilms) Heart of a Dog Laurie Anderson, director; Dan Janvey, Laurie Anderson, producers (Abramorama and HBO Documentary Films) Listen to Me Marlon Stevan Riley, director; John Battsek, RJ Cutler, George Chignell, producers (Showtime Documentary Films) The Look of Silence Joshua Oppenheimer, director; Signe Byrge Sørensen, producer (Drafthouse Films) Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award Desiree Akhavan for Appropriate Behavior (Gravitas Ventures) Jonas Carpigano for Mediterranea (Sundance Selects) Marielle Heller for The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics) John Magary for The Mend (Cinelicious Pics) Josh Mond for James White (The Film Arcade) Best Screenplay Carol, Phyllis Nagy (The Weinstein Company) The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Marielle Heller (Sony Pictures Classics) Love & Mercy, Oren Moverman and Michael Alan Lerner (Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate, and River Road Entertainment) Spotlight, Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Open Road Films) While We’re Young, Noah Baumbach (A24) Best Actor* Christopher Abbott in James White (The Film Arcade) Kevin Corrigan in Results (Magnolia Pictures) Paul Dano in Love & Mercy (Roadside Attractions, Lionsgate, and River Road Entertainment) Peter Sarsgaard in Experimenter (Magnolia Pictures) Michael Shannon in 99 Homes (Broad Green Pictures) Best Actress* Cate Blanchett in Carol (The Weinstein Company) Blythe Danner in I’ll See You in My Dreams (Bleecker Street) Brie Larson in Room (A24 Films) Bel Powley in The Diary of a Teenage Girl (Sony Pictures Classics) Lily Tomlin in Grandma (Sony Pictures Classics) Kristen Wiig in Welcome to Me (Alchemy) Breakthrough Actor Rory Culkin in Gabriel (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Arielle Holmes in Heaven Knows What (RADiUS) Lola Kirke in Mistress America (Fox Searchlight Pictures) Kitana Kiki Rodriguez in Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures) Mya Taylor in Tangerine (Magnolia Pictures) * The 2015 Best Actor/Best Actress nominating panel also voted to award a special Gotham Jury Award jointly to Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Brian D’Arcy James for their ensemble work in Spotlight.
Creating a small, simple room turned out to be the biggest challenge of production designer Ethan Tobman’s career. The 36-year-old Montreal native, whose credits include the recent Jack Black comedy The D Train, faced a daunting task when he joined the new drama Room, about a young mother, Ma (played by Brie Larson), who’s kidnapped by an abductor known only as “Old Nick” and then trapped in a tiny bedroom with her 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob “Jake” Tremblay).
Brie Larson knew she had to forge a tight bond with Jacob Tremblay, her precocious young costar in the tense thriller Room. “We went to a pizza parlor and he had these little Star Wars Lego figurines, and I asked him some questions about Star Wars,” Larson told Yahoo Movies (watch above). “And once he knew that I could talk shop regarding Star Wars, then it was easy.” The two actors are now both drawing major kudos (and awards buzz) for the Lenny Abrahamson-directed film based on Emma Donoghue’s novel about a young woman who, along with her 5-year-old son, is held captive in the backyard shed of a kidnapper.
Room star Brie Larson never had to endure the nightmarish circumstances forced upon her character Ma, who, when the movie opens, has been held prisoner for seven years in a backyard shed. But the 26-year-old actress was able to tap into personal experiences from her childhood while playing the resilient heroine in the adaptation of the best-selling Emma Donoghue novel.
Three film festivals in three countries over the course of three weeks kick Hollywood’s awards season into gear: Italy’s Venice Film Festival, the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado, and the Toronto International Film Festival, which wraps up this weekend in Canada. The Buzz: After mostly positive early reviews from Venice and Telluride, the film got a huge reaction at TIFF.
Two of the best received titles at the Toronto International Film Festival are agonizingly tough-to-watch movies featuring kids in peril, Beasts of No Nation and Room. You could even argue that Abraham Attah and Jacob Tremblay gave two of the finest performances of the entire fest. The 14-year-old Attah was working as a street vendor in his native Ghana when he was tapped by director Cary Fukunaga (True Detective) to star in the Netflix release Beasts, an adaptation of the Uzodinma Iweala book.