FEINBERG FORECAST: Updated Projections (With 12 Weeks Until the 85th Oscars)
FEINBERG FORECAST: Updated Projections (With 12 Weeks Until the 85th Oscars)
Every Sunday through the Oscars on Feb. 24, The Hollywood Reporter's awards analyst Scott Feinberg will release a new "Feinberg Forecast," a post in which he recaps the most noteworthy awards-related news of the past week and shares his latest assessment of the standings in each of the major awards categories. (For more information about Feinberg and how he arrives at his projections, see the bottom of this post.)
NOTEWORTHY DEVELOPMENTS SINCE LAST WEEK'S FORECAST:
- This year's last two Oscar hopefuls to screen for the press -- Warner Bros.' The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and The Weinstein Co.'s Django Unchained -- are finally being unveiled, with just days to go until the start of Oscar nominations voting Dec. 17. The Hobbit premiered in New Zealand, to great fanfare and acclaim, on Nov. 28, and started screening for the U.S. press Nov. 30 in both the cutting-edge 48 frames-per-second format and the more traditional 24 fps. Django, meanwhile, began screening for members of the various guilds Dec. 1 and began screening for the U.S. press Dec. 4.
- The weekend box office, as is usually the case a week after the big Thanksgiving weekend, was dominated by holdovers. For the second week in a row, Summit's Twilight: Breaking Dawn -- Part 2 came in first with a weekend take of $17.4 million, Sony's Skyfall finished second with $17 million, and DreamWorks' Lincoln placed third with $13.5 million. Other noteworthy news: Warner Bros.' Argo has passed thje $100 million milestone in North America; The Weinstein Co.'s Killing Them Softly tanked in its opening weekend, finishing seventh with a gross of just $7 million and a rare F CinemaScore grade from moviegoers; but Weinstein's Silver Linings Playbook continued to perform strongly as it platforms into a wider release, registering $3.1 million in ticket sales from fewer than 400 theaters and recording the best hold/lowest drop of any film now in release.
- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held its fourth annual Governors Awards ceremony Dec. 1. This year's installment attracted an unprecedented turnout of current Oscar hopefuls -- at least one key contributor from virtually every serious contender was in attendance to mingle with Oscar voters. Two even participated in the ceremonies: Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained) delivered a colorful toast to Hal Needham, and Tom Hanks (Cloud Atlas) handed off the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Jeffrey Katzenberg.
- The Academy's documentary branch revealed its shortlist of 15 films from which it will choose its five nominees for the best documentary feature Oscar. Somewhat surprising exclusions: Sundance Selects/IFC Films' The Central Park Five, Music Box Films' Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present, Abramorama's Paul Williams: Still Alive, Magnolia's The Queen of Versailles, Oscilloscope's Samsara and Sony Pictures Classics' West of Memphis.
- The Academy's visual effects branch revealed its shortlist of 10 films from which it will choose its five nominees for the best visual effects Oscar. Somewhat surprising exclusions: Battleship, The Bourne Legacy, Men in Black 3 and especially The Impossible -- which, I maintain, lost votes because of the oft-repeated talking point that the tsunami sequence was achieved without the use of CGI, which, fairly or not, has become almost synonymous with visual effects.
- The New York Film Critics Circle on Dec. 3 released the results of its membership's vote to determine the winners of the 78th annual NYFCC Awards, which was conducted that same day. Sony's Zero Dark Thirty, directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was voted best film -- four of the past 10 NYFCC winners also won best picture at the Oscars -- and Bigelow was voted best director. DreamWorks' Lincoln won best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), best supporting actress (Sally Field) and best screenplay (Tony Kushner). The group's two most surprising -- but widely welcomed -- choices were Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) for best actress and Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike) for best supporting actor. Disney's Frankenweenie was voted best animated film, and IFC Films' The Central Park Five was voted best documentary.
- The big headlines out of the Gotham Independent Film Awards on Nov. 26: Fox Searchlight's indie darling Beasts of the Southern Wild had an unexpectedly up-and-down night -- the film somehow lost the audience award to Jared Leto's virtually unseen doc Artifact, and the film's 9-year-old phenom Quvenzhane Wallis was upset in the best breakthrough actor category by fellow best actress Oscar hopeful Emayatzy Corinealdi (Middle of Nowhere); however, Beasts' best director/adapted screenplay Oscar hopeful Benh Zeitlin Southern Wild) was voted best breakthrough director and received the inaugural Bingham Ray Award. The always-eccentric Gothams also gave its best ensemble award to IFC Films' Your Sister's Sister over Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom and The Weinstein Co.'s Silver Linings Playbook. But Moonrise Kingdom held off Silver Linings Playbook to claim the top prize, best feature.
- The nonprofit arts organization Film Independent announced the nominees for its 28th Spirit Awards on Nov. 27. Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom and The Weinstein Co.'s Silver Linings Playbook lead the field with five nominations each, including best feature, best director and best screenplay. The films that most exceeded expectations: Music Box Films' Keep the Lights On, which scored noms for best feature, best director (Ira Sachs), best actor (Thure Lindhardt), and best screenplay (Sachs), and Middle of Nowhere, which scored noms for best actress (Emayatzy Corinealdi), best supporting actor (David Oyelowo), best supporting actress (Lorraine Toussaint) and the John Cassavetes Award for best feature made for under $500,000. The Oscar implications of these nominations? Still to be determined.
- The Producers Guild of America announced its five nominees for its documentary award: Sony Pictures Classics' The Gatekeepers, Samuel Goldwyn Films' The Island President, Lionsgate's The Other Dream Team, A People Uncounted (which is still seeking domestic distribution) and Sony Pictures Classics' Searching for Sugar Man.
- The International Animated Film Society, which is composed of members of the ASIFA-Hollywood animators guild, announced the nominees for its 40th Annie Awards on Dec. 3. Eight films were nominated for the top prize, best animated feature: Disney/Pixar’s Brave, Disney's Frankenweenie, Sony Pictures Animation’s Hotel Transylvania, Focus Features' ParaNorman, Sony Pictures Animation's The Pirates! Band of Misfits, GKIDS' The Rabbi's Cat, DreamWorks Animation’s Rise of the Guardians and Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph. Brave, Guardians and Ralph led the field with 10 total nominations each. But, somewhat surprisingly and inexplicably, the directors of Brave (Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman) and Guardians (Peter Ramsey) were not nominated for best director; the films marked the feature directorial debuts of Andrews and Ramsey, respectively.
- The International Press Academy, a group of U.S. and international journalists, announced the nominees for its 17th annual Satellite Awards, which cover 31 film and TV categories, on Dec. 3. Its 10 nominees for best motion picture: Warner Bros.' Argo, Fox Searchlight's Beasts of the Southern Wild, Universal's Les Miserables, 20th Century Fox's Life of Pi, DreamWorks' Lincoln, Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom, Fox Searchlight's The Sessions, The Weinstein Co.'s Silver Linings Playbook, Sony's Skyfall and Sony's Zero Dark Thirty.
- Argo director-actor Ben Affleck was named "Entertainer of the Year" by Entertainment Weekly, which placed him on its cover and printed a flattering essay about him from Argo producer George Clooney.
- Open Road Films announced that two of its most acclaimed 2012 films, End of Watch and The Grey, both of which opened at No. 1 at the box office, will be re-released in select Los Angeles-area theaters Dec. 7. (Also this week, influential film critic Roger Ebert suggested that End of Watch may score a best picture Oscar nomination.)
- The Santa Barbara International Film Festival announced that it will honor best actress Oscar hopeful Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook) with its Outstanding Performer of the Year Award on Jan. 26, during the fest's 28th installment. Previous recipients of this award include Charlize Theron, Kate Winslet, Heath Ledger, Helen Mirren, Angelina Jolie, Penelope Cruz, Colin Firth, James Franco and Viola Davis.
- The Palm Springs International Film Festival announced Nov. 28 that it will honor best director Oscar hopeful Robert Zemeckis (Flight) with its Director of the Year Award on Jan. 5, during the fest's 24th installment. Previous recipients of this award include Stephen Daldry, Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Alexander Payne, Sean Penn, Jason Reitman and David O. Russell. (Zemeckis' Oscar prospects have also been boosted by his omnipresence on the Q&A circuit this season.)
- Best actress Oscar hopeful Naomi Watts (The Impossible) was the guest of honor at a screening of The Impossible that was hosted in New York by Edward Norton, Watts' friend and co-star from The Painted Veil (2006). Norton told the gathered crowd, which was largely composed of actors who are members of the Screen Actors Guild and, in some cases, also the Academy, as well as Watts' partner, actor Liev Schreiber, who was seeing the film for the first time: “Since many of us here are in the trade, I think everybody knows it’s not an unsubtle thing to actually represent trauma. People do trauma really badly and some people do trauma really, really well, and it is a very tough thing to not overdo and to do in a credible and beautiful and emotionally revealing way. I was really knocked out by Naomi and Ewan and the children, who are amazing in the film. I think it’s really special, and Naomi’s really special."
- Best actress Oscar hopeful Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) received a tribute at the Gotham Independent Film Awards on Nov. 26 (the 37-year-old previously received similar career tributes at the Telluride and AFI film festivals) and was also the subject of a Nov. 26 USA Today cover-story profile.
- Best actor Oscar hopeful Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson), who is usually quite press-shy, was the subject of a typically quirky but surprisingly revealing Nov. 28 New York Times profile.
- Best director Oscar hopeful Ang Lee (Life of Pi) will receive two special awards: first, for his employment of 3D technology on Pi, the Harold Lloyd Award from the International 3D Society, which will be presented at the society’s annual Creative Arts Awards on Feb. 6; and second, for his use of Dolby Atmos to guide the emotional experience of Pi, the 2013 Filmmaker Award from the Motion Picture Sound Editors, which will be presented at the organization’s 60th MPSE Golden Reel Awards on Feb. 17.
- Best original screenplay Oscar hopeful Martin McDonagh (Seven Psychopaths) seems to be gaining steam for his quirky and ultraviolent screenplay. The Irishman, whose films and the performances within them have long been championed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which votes to determine the nominees and winners of the Golden Globe Awards, snagged a Spirit Award nomination for best original screenplay to go along with the Midnight Madness award that he won at September's Toronto International Film Festival.
- The results of this year's Sight & Sound best-of-the-year poll, conducted by the U.K.-based publication, have been revealed. Several best picture Oscar hopefuls made it into the top 10: The Weinstein Co.'s The Master topped the list, Sony Pictures Classics' Amour came in third, Fox Searchlight's Beasts of the Southern Wild placed fifth, and Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom is seventh.