Now in their 34th year, the FILMINDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS took place in Santa Monica this past weekend, celebrating the achievement in Independent Film over the past year. Taking top honours was Barry Jenkins’ IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK, winning Best Feature. The Adaptation of the Novel by James Baldwin also was awarded Best Director and Supporting Actress, Regina King who the next day, would win an Oscar for the same performance.
As is consistent with most of this Awards Season, we’ve seen a split in the recognition of Films and the Spirit Awards were on-trend. CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME? and SUSPIRIA received two awards each, the former winning for Best Supporting Actor, Richard E. Grant and Best Screenplay, Jeff Whitty and Nicole Holofcener. Grant shared some inspiring words about his experience playing Jack Hock, himself having seen several of his friends die victims of HIV. He dedicated his award in memory of those who passed away as a result of the disease.
The Cast of SUSPIRIA received the prestigious Robert Altman Award, honouring its Female Ensemble including Chloë Grace-Moretz, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth, Dakota Johnson and more. Its Cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom also was awarded for her work.
Hosted by Aubrey Plaza, the audience were treated to her expletive-filled dead-pan humour where several including Netflix nor even THE FAVOURITE Director Yorgos Lanthimos (equating the sound of his name to a Harry Potter spell, “You just shout Yorgos Lanthimos and someone gets fingered in a corset!”) were safe from her jokes. Kidding aside, she points out that 60% of Director nominees at the Spirit Awards this year were women, stating “Don’t get too excited, in this case 60% just means three women, but calling it 60% makes it sound way scarier to your uncles.”. On the growing phenomenon of Films getting digital releases over theatrical, she says, “I truly believe people should see movies how they’re meant to seen in the theatres.”.
Plaza‘s amazing Opening Monologue
Not only did Best Actress winner Glenn Close rule at the Awards, she and her adorable Havanese dog Pip charmed on the Blue Carpet, she dressed in a shimmery pink lamé suit, before getting her own private dinner hosted by Chanel at STK. Pip also attended.
The Cast of Suspiria also ruled the Blue Carpet with Mother Suspiriorum herself, Dakota Johnson, leading the charge and giving her time generously to fans who queued on the sand for a chance to see the stars.
See some of our Snaps:
Glenn Close x Pip
Barry Jenkins and “If Beale Street Could Talk” Team
Josh Hamilton, Elsie Fisher x Bo Burnham
Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth and the ladies of Suspiria
Chloë Grace Moretz x Riley Keough
Ray Romano x Mark Duplass
Yalitza Aparicio x Javier Bardem
Taraji P. Henson x Shangela
You also cannot miss Shangela’s daring performance
We attended together with our friends at Hollywood Suite, the exclusive broadcaster of the Spirit Awards and will never forget this amazing journey. Their Cam Maitland did an awesome job interviewing talent on the Blue Carpet which will air at later points. You can subscribe via your television provider at $6 per month, plus basic cable. Hollywoodsuite.com.
Nominations for the 91st annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and the race still very much is wide-open without a clean-cut choice for Best Picture… and no host set for ceremony itself.
Tying at ten nods apiece are Alfonso Cuarón‘s ROMA and Yorgos Lanthimos’ THE FAVOURITE. Best Picture nominees include:
Best Picture Black Panther BlacKkKlansman Bohemian Rhapsody The Favourite Green Book Roma A Star Is Born Vice
Continuing on its Golden Globes success, we see Bohemian Rhapsody continue to be a major force into the Oscars with Rami Malek up for the highly-competitive Best Actor alongside Bradley Cooper, Viggo Mortensen, Willem Dafoe and Christian Bale.
The Best Actress category also is hotly-contested with screen veteran Glenn Close up against Lady Gaga, Melissa McCarthy, Olivia Colman and aboriginal Mexican Actress Yalitza Aparicio, who stars in ROMA.
Marina de Tavira who also stars in ROMA, pops-up as a bit of a surprise candidate for Best Supporting Actress. The category also includes favourite Regina King, Amy Adams, plus The Favourite Co-Stars and previous Oscar winners, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz.
Best Supporting Actor sees Mahershala Ali in contention with Adam Driver, Richard E. Grant, Sam Rockwell after a snub at the Golden Globes,Sam Elliott for A STAR IS BORN.
Many are shocked that after a presence in the Directing category most of Awards Season, that Bradley Cooper was omitted in the Oscars race for his directorial debut in A STAR IS BORN. Up for Best Directing are Spike Lee, Adam McKay, Pawel Pawlikowski, Yorgos Lanthimos and favourite Alfonso Cuarón.
Another noticeable omission is Morgan Neville’s Mr. Rogers Documentary WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? which has been present through much of the season. Nominated for Best Documentary are Free Solo, Hale County, This Morning, This Evening, Minding the Gap, Of Fathers and Sons and RBG.
The Animated Feature category sees Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse pitted against Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs, Mirai and Ralph Breaks the Internet.
Toronto’s Domee Shi is up for Animated Short with Disney•Pixar’s BAO.
As Awards Season kicks into high gear, the 2018 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards were held tonight, honouring the year’s best in Cinema as decided by that esteemed Association. Taking place at the Four Seasons Hotel, the site of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association‘s InStyle Magazine Bash at TIFF, Film Critics and industry celebrated what was a stellar year both critically and commercially in Film, seeing a record $11.8 billion grossed at the Box Office in North America last year.
Honoured tonight were the best in Canadian and International Cinema with previous winner Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier’s ANTHROPOCENE: THE HUMAN EPOCH winning the Association’s Rogers Best Canadian Film Award. Given a hefty prize of $100k, the Duo decided spontaneously to split the money with runners-up MAISON DU BONHEUR Director Sofia Bohdanowicz and AVA Director Sadaf Forough, whom also received $5,000 from Rogers Communications.
Other winners announced tonight include Director Molly McGlynn who won the $10,000 Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an Emerging Artist for her debut, MARY GOES ROUND which premiered at TIFF ’18 to raves.
Native Canadian Trailblazer Tantoo Cardinal also was awarded the $50,000 Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award for her achievements in Canadian Cinema, presented by fellow First Nations Actress Tanaya Beatty (The Twilight Saga). Cardinal chose to donate the funds to First Nations Filmmaker Darlene Naponse, who directed FALLS AROUND HER in which Cardinal stars.
Director Morgan Neville was given the $5,000 RBC Allan King Documentary Film Award for Mr. Rogers Pic, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?.
Genevieve Citron was named recipient of the inaugural TFCA Emerging Critic Award, a $1,000 prize.
Announced earlier were double Golden Globe-winning ROMA for Best Picture and Best Director (Alfonso Cuarón), plus Ethan Hawke for Best Actor in First Reformed and Olivia Colman for Best Actress in The Favourite. Regina King won Best Supporting Actress for her work in If Beale Street Could Talk, doubling-up with her Golden Globes success this past weekend and Steve Yeun won Best Supporting Actor for his work in Best Foreign-Language Film winner, BURNING.
After stops at Venice (where it won the prestigious Golden Bear) and Telluride, Oscar-winning Director Alfonso Cuarón has brought ROMA to TIFF. The Film takes place in the early 1970s, revolving around live-in maid Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) and the middle-class family she works for in Mexico City’s Roma district.
The story at the heart of ROMA is important to the Film, but it comes secondary to the feeling and nostalgia Cuarón evokes in every frame of his stunningly-beautiful Film. He wears multiple hats here, acting as Writer, Producer, Director, Editor, Cinematographer – so this is very much his Film through and through. The spectacular look he creates comes from shooting on 65mm Black and White film, giving the picture an aura of authenticity. Each scene looks like a work of art, with multiple elements working altogether at once to produce a very real portrait of life in Mexico City. While I wish ROMA was more briskly paced and had more going on (beyond the lively third act), I was too busy trying to spot everything happening on-screen to notice.
ROMA screens on Monday, September 10 at 5:30PM at Princess of Wales Theatre, and on the following days/times atTIFF Bell Lightbox: Tuesday, September 11 at 8:45AM, Wednesday, September 12 at 12:00PM, Thursday, September 13 at 11:30AM, Friday, September 14 at 9:15AM, Saturday, September 15 at 8:45 PM and Sunday, September 16 at 2:45 PM.
Alfonso Cuarón is back after the masterpiece known as GRAVITY, with TIFF ’18 selection ROMA!
Synopsis: ROMA chronicles a turbulent year in the lives of a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City. Cuarón, inspired by the women from his childhood, delivers an artful ode to the matriarchy that shaped his world.
A vivid portrayal of domestic strife and social hierarchy amidst political turmoil, ROMA follows a young domestic worker Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) from Mixteco heritage descent and her co-worker Adela (Nancy García), also Mixteca, who work for a small family in the middle-class neighborhood of Roma. Mother of four, Sofia (Marina de Tavira), copes with the extended absence of her husband, Cleo faces her own devastating news that threatens to distract her from caring for Sofia’s children, whom she loves as her own. While trying to construct a new sense of love and solidarity in a context of a social hierarchy where class and race are perversely intertwined, Cleo and Sofia quietly wrestle with changes infiltrating the family home in a country facing confrontation between a government-backed militia and student demonstrators.
Taking place at Los Angeles’ Nokia Theatre, the Stars electrified the Red Carpet tonight at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards. Honouring the year’s best in Film and Television, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association selected their most deserving, unveiled at the Ceremony, seen by many as a Precursor to the Oscars.
Hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey a second time, the Funnywomen brought-out big laughs from the Celebrity-filled Audience including pokes at George Clooney on his habit of dating younger Women to Matt Damon jokingly being called a “Garbage Man” amidst the high caliber Talent which filled the room. An aloof Julia Louis-Dreyfus, nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Motion Picture Comedy, played-up her new-found Movie Star status, donning sunglasses as the Camera panned her with Reese Witherspoon playfully trying to take a Selfie with her. Poehler after several nominations, finally won her first Golden Globe tonight for Best Lead Actress in a TV Series Comedy with Parks and Recreation.
American Hustle walked away the big Winner tonight winning three Awards, including Best Motion Picture Comedy, Best Lead Actress in Motion Picture Comedy (Amy Adams) and Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture (Jennifer Lawrence). The ’70s-set Dramedy directed by David O. Russell, who received a Nomination in the same Category last year with Silver Linings Playbook, is garnering commercial success in addition to acclaim, exceeding the $100-million mark in North America.
12 Years a Slave, directed by Steve McQueen, regarded as a Frontrunner for Best Picture at the Oscars next month, was awarded one single win for Best Motion Picture Drama. The Film which received the coveted People’s Choice Award at TIFF ’13 in September.
Breaking Bad, Behind the Candelabra and Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the Television Categories each took home two Golden Globes apiece, winning Best Actor with Bryan Cranston, Michael Douglas and Andy Samberg respectively. Each Series also won Best Series in each Category: Best Television Series Drama, Best Television Mini-Series or Movie and Best Television Series Comedy.
Auteur Filmmaker Woody Allen was given lifetime achievement distinction with a Cecil B. DeMille Award despite being in absentia. Accepting on his behalf was his Annie Hall Muse Diane Keaton whose heartfelt Speech was highlighted by song and laughter.
Red was a highlight on the Red Carpet tonight with some of the Evening’s best looks coming from eventual Winner Amy Adams in a two-toned red Valentino Number and Country-Pop Sensation Taylor Swift stunning in a cherry-red and black Dress by Carolina Herrera. Also, Newcomer Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave dazzled in a red caped Piece by Ralph Lauren.Another Fresh Face, The Wolf of Wall Street Star Margot Robbie wowed in a white Gucci dress and surprisingly was overlooked for her work in the acclaimed Martin Scorcese Film.
Toronto’s Tatiana Maslany despite being nominated for BestLead Actress in a TV Series Drama with Orphan Black, still represented our City proudly despite losing-out to a deserving Robin Wright of Netflix‘s House of Cards. Fans avidly supported Maslany online with the Hashtag #TATIANAPOCALYPSE.
Complete List of Winners below:
BEST MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
“12 Years a Slave”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – DRAMA
Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
BEST MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
BEST TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
BEST DIRECTOR – MOTION PICTURE
Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Poehler, “Parks & Recreation”
BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
“The Great Beauty”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Andy Samberg, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
BEST SCREENPLAY – MOTION PICTURE
Spike Jonze, “Her”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Robin Wright, “House Of Cards”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE – COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Amy Adams, “American Hustle”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
BEST ORIGINAL SONG – MOTION PICTURE
“Ordinary Love,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
Music by: Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen, Jr., Brian Burton
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE – MOTION PICTURE
Alex Ebert, “All Is Lost”
BEST TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A TELEVISION SERIES – DRAMA
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Elisabeth Moss, “Top of the Lake”
BEST MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
“Behind The Candelabra”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jacqueline Bisset, “Dancing on the Edge”
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE IN A MOTION PICTURE
Jennifer Lawrence “American Hustle”
Mr. Will and some of the 2014 Golden Globe Winners:
The Academy Awards air on CBS Sunday, March 2, 2014.
With great sadness, we must say farewell to another TIFF. And with fatigue, a limp in my right foot and great pain in my neck today after a gruelling run these past 11 days, I look back at the happy times, the regrets and what TIFF ’14 might hold. Despite all these mixed emotions, I know it won’t be long before I’m begging for more! I live for the Toronto International Film Festival – the greatest in Film Festival the World – and wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
Here’s a look back at some of the Highlights for me of the Festival in Compiled Lists:
MR. WILL’S MOST GRACIOUS 10
Anyone who encountered these Stars up-close and personal during TIFF ’13 can vouch that they deserve a warm round of applause for the respect, appreciation and courtesy they’ve shown our City. Whether it be Jessica Chastain‘s consistent grace and humility towards her Fans, Brad Pitt‘s surprise Red Carpet appearance in which he took several Photos with Fans at the 12 Years a Slave Premiere, Hugh Jackman stopping in the rain outside the Press Conference for Prisoners to meet and great all his Supporters individually – these Stars understand exactly what the Festival is all about for us Fans!
1. Jessica Chastain
2. Sandra Bullock
3. Tom Hiddleston
4. Daniel Radcliffe
5.. Brad Pitt
6. Josh Brolin
7. Hugh Jackman
8. Jennifer Aniston
9. Nicolas Cage
10. Emma Thompson
MR. WILL’S SUCCESSFUL 6
These six Films gained a great amount of buzz and momentum coming out of TIFF ’13 in advance of their forthcoming Awards Season Best Picture Campaigns. Sadly, August: Osage Country didn’t wind up getting critical love universally (I enjoyed it much!) hoped for, but it still remains a major Contender in the Acting categories – especially for a heartbreakingly-absent Queen Meryl Streep.
1. 12 Years a Slave
2. Labor Day
3. Dallas Buyers Club
MR. WILL’S EMERGING 5
These five up-and coming Stars caused quite a stir wherever they spotted around TIFF ’13. This time next year, expect to know them pretty much on a first name-basis.
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Emilia Clarke
3. Daniel Brühl
4. Jai Courtney
5. Taylor Schilling
MR. WILL’S NAUGHTY LIST
Although we try to keep things positive here, we remain hopeful that next time these Stars visit our City, they show us a bit more Fan Appreciation – not just only when the Cameras are on – than they showed this year. Little things like picking-up a Sharpie or taking time to pose for Photos with Fans, or maybe not distancing themselves a 15 feet from the Barricades where their Fans had queued for hours to see them, would be a first step. In all fairness, some had hyper-assertive Handlers or lateness to blame.
1. Benedict Cumberbatch
2. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
3. Scarlett Johansson
4. Mila Kunis
5. Emilia Clarke
MR. WILL’S FASHIONABLE 5
These Stars certainly made a Statement whether it be out and about in our City or on the Red Carpet. I still cannot get over Kitsch‘s gray-on-gray Suit he wore at the Premiere of The Grand Seduction and certainly was a bit obsessed with Toni Collette‘s new Bangs. Julia Roberts was a Vision in her Dolce & Gabbana Dress at the Premiere of August: Osage County too, but my favourite look was Sandra Bullock at the Gravity Premiere in Narciso Rodriguez!
1. Sandra Bullock
2. Julia Roberts
3. Taylor Kitsch
4. Toni Collette
5. Jessica Chastain
And who exactly did Mr. Will got a Photo-with at TIFF ’13?
Ben Cotton, Dane Cook, Jason Reitman, Josh Brolin, Nicole Kidman, Anika Noni Rose, Bill Condon, Donnie Wahlberg, Paul Wahlberg, Jack Huston, Tom Arnold, John Torturro, Lauren Lee Smith, Sami Gayle, Mary Walsh, Saoirse Ronan, Michael C. Hall, Tye Sheridan, Katie Boland, Aaron Abrams, Kelly Rowan, Daniel Radcliffe, Taylor Schilling, Effie Exarchopoulos, Dan Stevens, Daniel Brühl, Alicia Vikander, Tom Hiddleston, deadmau5, Carice Van Houten, Tom Welling, Vanessa Paradis, Michael Bolton, Alice Cooper, Taylor Kitsch, Toni Collette, Dakota Fanning, Jai Courtney, Ciaran Hinds, Jessica Chastain, Emilia Clarke, Jared Harris, Adelaide Kane, James Lafferty, Jennifer Morrison, David Arquette, Alfre Woodard, Ryan Kwanten, Catherine O’Hara, Mark Boone Junior, Will Forte, Emma Thompson, Cara Gee, Demian Bichir, Jude Law, Tom Wilkinson, Alfonso Cuaron, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Thompson (again!), Lea Seydoux, Robert Baker, Amanda Walsh, Adam Driver, Keanu Reeves and Nicolas Cage.
To re-visit some of the amazing names that I snapped in the City over the Festival, click here.
To read some of my Reviews of the Films that premiered at TIFF ’13, click here. More Reviews to come over the next day or two as I play catch-up after all the madness.
…until next year, Wongsters!
(Photo credit: Mr. Will Wong)
*Photos taken on Samsung Galaxy S4 and Olympus E-PL5
Okay, they’ve definitely got our attention. After it being confirmed for a Premiere at TIFF ’13 on Tuesday, we’ve all been googling Alfonso Cuarón‘s Sci-Fi Thriller, Gravity, starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. The Film centers on Astronauts who attempt to return to Earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in orbit.
Watch the gripping (pardon the pun!) Teaser below: