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The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has announced this year's slate of nominees for excellence in directing, and chalk another guild citation up for David Fincher, who somehow got in for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." Also nominated was Woody Allen for "Midnight in Paris," while Steven Spielberg and Tate Taylor were snubbed for Best Picture contenders "War Horse" and "The Help," respectively (both of which I had expected to get in). So was respected auteur Terrence Malick for "The Tree of Life."
This announcement is largely considered the most important harbinger of Oscar, as the 14,000-member organization often taps directors of films that go on to receive Best Picture nominations from the Academy. With the expanded Best Picture field, first to 10 and this year to anywhere between five and 10, the odds get even better, of course, but this is a good way of whittling the field down to the pulpy center of industry favorites.
The DGA announces theatrical nominees today (in under an hour). It will be a big announcement, but as I perused the Guild's website this morning killing a little time, I delighted in F.X. Feeney's lengthy chat with director Michael Mann currently being featured there.
Mann is my favorite working director and I can't wait to dive into the new series he's been working on with David Milch (another personal god), HBO's "Luck." So I leap at any chance to read someone picking his brain. And Feeney has a nice history with the director, having edited that handsome Taschen book on the films of Mann and offered up some quality interviews over the years.
A lot of ground is covered, from Mann's "I-want-to-make-movies" moment (seeing Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" in college) to his new task managing directors on "Luck." I was having trouble deciding which bit I wanted to quote. It's all good stuff. Ultimately, though, a passage on Mann's view of camaraderie with his fellow directors seemed particularly applicable today.
From the moment NBC's primetime schedule was announced last spring, it seemed only a matter of time before "Up All Night" got moved to Thursdays at 9:30 in place of "Whitney." From the single camera format to Lorne Michaels' presence as a producer to the wattage of stars Christina Applegate, Maya Rudolph and Will Arnett, it just seemed a more obvious fit for Thursday nights. And when it debuted in the fall to solid reviews and better-than-expected ratings given its placement in NBC's no-man's-land Wednesday lineup, it seemed even more clearly destined to do the timeslot switcheroo with "Whitney."
Well, the move has finally happened, and "Up All Night" gets the post-"Office" timeslot this week. Though we're now a couple of weeks into 2012, this week's episode is called (and about) "New Year's Eve," and features Reagan and Chris spending the holiday night with their friends, including Ava and her new boyfriend Kevin. (Adding Jason Lee as Kevin was one of the smartest moves creator Emily Spivey has made to date, as it creates a more natural bridge between Reagan's work and home lives and allows Ava to appear more frequently on the home front.)
In this clip from the episode - exclusive to HitFix for the next few hours - we are reminded of just how competitive Reagan can get, and also of how good Applegate is at playing crazy. Enjoy.
Credit where it's due to the Academy: when the high number of egregious omissions in this year's documnentary Oscar longlist (from "Senna" to "The Interrupters" to "Tabloid") made it clear that something in the system was broken, they didn't waste too much time attempting a fix. Whether their solution works remains to be seen: in future, any doc hoping to compete will need to be reviewed in either the New York Times or Los Angeles Times to qualify, spelling the end of phantom qualifying runs. Some are protesting that this discriminates unfairly against smaller works with sketchier distribution, though I don't think it's unreasonable to limit the competition to films that have, at some point, been made available to the public in a theatrical context: it's no different from how the general Oscar categories work, after all. Perhaps the Best Foreign Language Film award should go the same way? [New York Times]
The Visual Effects Society has announced its list of nominees for the organization's 10th annual ceremony, and leading the way wasn't one of the live action blockbusters on the whittled-down slate of 10 advancing Oscar contenders. It was Steven Spielberg's animated offering "The Adventures of Tintin," which landed six nominations across the feature film categories.
The animated films are segregated by the Society, though, (and "Tintin" was not shortlisted by the Academy), so leading the way for live action entries was the year's one-two franchise punch (and perhaps not-so-coincidentally the top two domestic grossers of the year) "Harry Potter and Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Each picked up five nominations.
"Rise of the Planet of the Apes" wasn't far behind with four. All three are considered frontrunners for the Best Visual Effects Oscar race.
'Harry Potter,' 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' Game of Thrones' lead 2012 Visual Effects Society Awards Nominations
The Visual Effects Society (VES) today announced the nominees for its 10th Annual VES Awards and the surprise was the exclusion of Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." Short-listed for the Oscar for Visual Effects, "Life" didn't land any film-centric nominations.
On the film side, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2" and "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" each landed five nominations. "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" found four nominations, "Hugo" received three while "Thor" and "Captain America: The First Avenger" landed two nods respectively. "The Adventures of Tintin" had the most film nominations - animated or live-action - with six.
On the television side, "Boardwalk Empire"lead the way with four nominations, "Game of Thrones" found three nominations and "Pan Am" and "Terra Nova" each landed two.
As previously announced, Stan Lee will be honored with the VES 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award and Douglas Trumbull with the Georges Méliès Award.
I posted my review of NBC's "The Firm" sequel earlier this week. Now it's your turn. Did this feel like a worthy successor to either the John Grisham book or Tom Cruise movie? Did Josh Lucas make a good Mitch McDeere? Did the presence of both Callum Keith Rennie and Tricia Helfer make you wonder whether this new firm is some kind of elaborate Cylon plot? Did you care at all about the case involving the kids and the vengeful father? And do you intend to continue watching when the show moves to Thursdays at 10 later this week?
Have at it.
I posted my review of Showtime's "House of Lies" earlier this week. Now it's your turn. Those of you who had watched the online version of tonight's premiere episode didn't seem to enjoy it very much, though some were willing to give the show more time given the presence of Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell and Ben Schwartz. How did those of you who just saw it tonight feel? Will you stick around a while?
Any and all plot/joke discussion is now kosher. Have at it.
I posted my review of the early part of "Shameless" season 2 earlier this week. Now it's your turn. How did you feel about the shift from winter into summer? Were any of the 5 fans of "Lone Star" happy to see James Wolk? Did you miss Steve? Did Frank reach a new low with what happened with Liam? And would you, like me, not object to an ongoing story arc where Fiona returns to track & field full-time?
In terms of ongoing coverage plans, my feeling from last year and from what I saw of these first four episodes is that "Shameless" is a show better served by me dipping in and out on and only writing something if an episode is notably different from the ones before or after. That said, I'm going to be watching the whole season, so I may do weekly (or bi-weekly) open threads for the episodes, depending on the level of interest.
What did everybody else think of the premiere?