And the Countdown officially begins! The Nominees for the 86th annual Academy Awards were unveiled this morning at Samuel Goldwyn Theatre with expecting-Father Chris Hemsworth and Academy President Cheryl Isaac Boone on-hand to make the announcements. Leading the way each with ten nominations are Gravity and American Hustle. 12 Years a Slave certainly wasn’t far behind with nine nominations. American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave are seen as being in close contention after each winning a Golden Globe Award this past weekend for Best Motion PictureComedy and Drama respectively.
There was little dispute that this year’s Nominees for Best Picture this year aren’t a deserving bunch, that eclectic List including: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Her, Dallas Buyers Club, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street, Captain Phillips, Nebraska and Gravity. Some are surprised the highly-buzzed Inside Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks lacked recognition from the Academy. Canada received a Nod with Director Jean-Marc Vallée responsible for Dallas Buyers Club.
Even more heated a battle is the Category of Actor in a Leading Role, where again there are no major surprises, but the question now exactly is who will be victorious. Up for the Oscar are: Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club), Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Christian Bale (American Hustle).
Actress in a Leading Role also again presents few surprises, although Fans of the well-receieved Saving Mr. Banks might make a case that its Star Emma Thompson was snubbed. Nominated this year are: Amy Adams (American Hustle), Judi Dench (Philomena), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County). Indeed a tough Category with the exception of Adams is filled by previous Winners, with Blanchett regarded as a Favourite to take it all despite her Film being released far in advance of Awards Season.
For Actor in a Supporting Role, we see repeat Nominees Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle) up against a trio of first-time Nominees in Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) and definitive Choice Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).
The Actress in a Supporting Role Category also is an immensely-talented Group including a Newcomer in Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), in addition to Screen Veteran June Squibb (Nebraska) and previous Golden Globe Winner Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) being recognized. Previous Winners Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) and Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) add mega-watt Starpower to the Race. Much controversy came of Nyong’o‘s loss to Lawrence in the same Category at last weekend’s Golden Globes and this outcome will be highly-watched by Award Pundits and Fans.
Up for Directing this year are first-time Nominee Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), two-time Nominee Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), three-time Alexander Payne (Nebraska), five-time Nominee David O. Russell (American Hustle) and eight-time Nominee/one-time Winner Martin Scorcese (The Wolf of Wall Street).
Watch the Nominations below courtesy of The Telegraph:
Incredible! For the third week in-a-row, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug tops the North American Box Office, albeit narrowly with $29.9 million for Warner Bros., placing it just ahead of the stalwart Frozen in second with $28.8 million for Disney. The former has earned over $190 million now in its domestic run, while the latter in five weeks has grossed $247 million.
Anchorman 2 in its second week finds itself in third spot with $20.2 million for Paramount Pictures, already earning $85.3 million.
American Hustle in its second week of wide expansion to 2,507 theatres, earns $19.6 million for Sony Pictures/eOne Films for a two-week total of $60.4 million.
Martin Scorcese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street after opening on Christmas Day, earns $18.5 million this weekend for Paramount Pictures from 2,537 theatres. Since its opening, it has grossed $35 million – not at all bad considering its R-rating. Critics gave the Film based on the Memoir by Jordan Belfort, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, a 76% rating on the Tomatometer. Audiences surprisingly gave it only a C CinemaScore.
Saving Mr. Banks plays in 2,110 theatres for Disney and earns $14 million this weekend, a two-week total of $37.8 million domestically.
Also opening on Christmas Day, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty opens in sixth with $13 million from 2,110 theatres this weekend for 20th Century Fox. The Film received some mixed reviews with 57% on the Tomatometer, while Audiences gave it a much more promising B+ CinemaScore.
47 Ronin opened in 2,689 theatres across North America on Christmas Day for Universal Pictures, garnering $9.8 million. Audiences gave it a B+ CinemaScore, while Critics were far less forgiving on the Action-Adventure starring Keanu Reeves, only 17% on the Tomatometer.
Grudge Match rounds-out the Top Ten with $7.3 million from 2,838 theatres for Warner Bros., also opening on Christmas Day. The Boxing-Comedy starring Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro didn’t receive critical love with 21% on the Tomatometer, while Audiences enjoyed it much more with a B+ CinemaScore.
In its second week out, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug continues to perform phenomenally at the Box Office with $31.4 million from 3,928 theatres for Warner Bros. In just two weeks, the second in the Peter Jackson-helmed Trilogy has grossed over $128 million.
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues in its debut certainly is no slouch only getting bested narrowly with $26.8 million from 3,507 theatres for Paramount Pictures. Critics loved the Sequel to the 2004 Box Office Hit, which also opened with a similar $28 million in its debut. Critics gave it positive Reviews, coming-in at 75% on the Tomatometer and an on-par B CinemaScore.
Oscar Contender American Hustle expands in its second week to third spot with $19.1 million from 2,507 theatres. . The ’70s-set Dramedy from David O. Russell (The Fighter) comes with astoundingly good Reviews (94% on the Tomatometer), although Audiences were a little less enthused with a B+ Cinemascore. This ties with former Champ Frozen in third spot, now in its sixth week as it has its eyes set on that $200-mark domestically.
Saving Mr. Banks expands in fifth spot with $10 million, coming also with very strong Reviews, sitting at 81% on the Tomatometer. Audiences gave it a fair A CinemaScore.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire finds itself in sixth with $9.5 million, now in its fifth week of release, just surpassing the $370-million mark in North America for Lionsgate Films/eOne Films.
Walking With Dinosaurs opens in eighth spot with $7.3 million from 3,231 theatres for eOne Films/20th Century Fox. Critics panned the Family Flick voiced by Justin Long and John Leguizamo, getting 21% on the Tomatometer, while Audiences enjoyed it much more with a B+ CinemaScore.
Thor: The Dark World pulls-in $1.2 million for Disney/Marvel in its sixth week of release, just surpassing the $200-million mark in North America.
It was a desolation indeed at the Box Office as The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug obliterated the Competition in its debut for Warner Bros.! Bringing-in $73.6 million from 3,903 theatres, the second instalment in The Hobbit Trilogy debuted below its Predecessor, which opened last December with $84 million. Critics respected it, giving it a decent 74% on Rotten Tomatoes‘ Tomatometer and it garnered an A- CinemaScore from Audiences. This makes the Film the fourth-highest December opening of all time – the Record of course was set by the first in the Trilogy.
In its fourth week out, Disney’s Frozen still is solid in second with $22.8 million, gaining lots of word-of-mouth in a time when there are few Family options in theatres. In its run, it has grossed $166 million already.
Although other Films in its Franchise have fared better, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas debuts in third with $16 million from 2,194 theatres for Lionsgate Films/eOne Films. The highest debut in the Madea Series of Films still is 2009’s Tyler Perry’s Madea Goes to Jail which opened with $41 million. The Audience gave it an A- CinemaScore despite a 20% from Critics on the Tomatometer.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire certainly hasn’t been forgotten, in fourth spot with $14 million for Lionsgate Films/eOne Films. To date it has earned $357 million domestically in its Run.
In a distant fifth is Thor: The Dark World with $3 million for Disney/Marvel. It is about to surpass the $200-million mark in North America in this its sixth week.
Philomena may have received a bit of a boost with Judi Dench getting a Best Actress in a Drama nod at the Golden Globe Nominations this week, in eighth spot with $1 million from only 835 theatres.
Bubbling-under are America Hustle, which opens wide next week, earning a healthy $690k from only six theatres as a Sneak Preview, and fellow Oscar Contender Saving Mr. Banks earned $421k from only 15 theatres.
It was a memorable year indeed! Join me as I recall some of 2013’s brightest moments in Celebrity, Film and Music with a Toronto twist! As a true Connoisseur of Pop Culture, I certainly was spoiled with several delights this year on all three fronts. Toronto witnessed what could well be the strongest years this City ever has seen in terms of Star Power. Also, as an experienced Digital Photographer of sorts, I am sharing some of my favourite Snaps taken around the City this year too. If you’re a #NOFILTER kinda Guy or Gal, I apologize! A few of them are Horse-related, spending many of my weekends at scenic Woodbine Racetrack, my fave Place since Childhood to escape and recharge from the City. Come Wongsters, let us walk down this luminous Memory Lane together!
TOP TEN SONGS OF 2013
2013 was solid for Pop Music and I was thrilled to hear a return to great, strong melodies. What a year it was for Miley Cyrus who not only wowed us with We Can’t Stop, but slayed us hard with Wrecking Ball! Coming in like a Wrecking Ball she managed to turn all eyes her way in a year which saw Albums released from some Marquee names like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Rihanna and more. Lana Del Rey put us in a state of euphoria this Spring with her chilling Ballad for The Great Gatsby, Young & Beautiful. Flawless and timeless. Mariah Carey and Miguel provided much of the Soundtrack for my early Summer with their gorgeous Collabo #Beautiful, while Robin Thicke undisputedly had the Song of Summer 2013 with Blurred Lines. His Album of the same name easily is my favourite Disc of 2013.
1. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball 2. Lana Del Rey – Young & Beautitul 3. Mariah Carey ft. Miguel – #Beautiful 4. Justin Timberlake – Mirrors 5. Miley Cyrus – We Can’t Stop 6. Robin Thicke ft. Pharrell & T.I. – Blurred Lines 7. Capital Cities – Safe and Sound 8. Katy Perry – Roar 9. Icona Pop – I Love It 10. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Same Love
Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball
TOP TEN FILMS OF 2013
I don’t recall a year in recent memory where the Films were quite as strong as this year. It is as if Filmmakers have studied critiques, knew precisely what to avoid and owned it. Time after time I’d make it out to the morning Media Screenings and just when I thought I’d seen my favourite Film of 2013, another would come along and usurp the throne. In all, AIDS Drama Dallas Buyers Club would leave the strongest imprint with Jared Leto touching the core of my soul with his phenomenal performance. 12 Years a Slave left me shaken and speechless and made it really tough to decide a Fave. Saving Mr. Banks truly affected and inspired me, moving me to tears and I could never forget Cate Blanchett‘s empathic portrayal of a Woman battling her own demons in Woody Allen‘s Blue Jasmine. And yes, I really loved Spring Breakers. James Franco is just on another level.
1. Dallas Buyers Club 2. 12 Years a Slave 3. American Hustle 4. Blue Jasmine 5. Saving Mr. Banks 6. Gravity 7. 42 8. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 9. Enough Said 10. Spring Breakers
Watch the Trailer for Dallas Buyers Club below:
TOP CELEBRITY MOMENTS
It was a good bloody amazing year. My experience in New York City seeing the Met Gala is unforgettable, as a revolving door of Celebrities came my direction. I didn’t even know which way to go or who to ask first for a Photo! TIFF ’13 brought me several amazing memories finally getting to meeting one of my favourite Actresses, Nicole Kidman – not to mention getting to meeting personal Heroes Seth McFarlane, Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Baz Luhrmann and several more throughout the year. My ultimate Highlight however was finally after 15 tries, getting my Lady Gaga moment in November!
As seen top to bottom, left to right in the above Collage are:
Supermodel Cara Delevingne, Shoe Visionary Christian Louboutin, Actress Mia Wasikowska, Actor Jesse Eisenberg, Actor Kit Harington, Astronaut Chris Hadfield, Singer/Songwriter Lorde, Singer/Songwriter Robin Thicke, Television Personality/Actress Kelly Ripa, Domestic Goddess Martha Stewart.
Director Baz Luhrmann, Actress Emma Thompson, Singer/Actress Ariana Grande, Actress Léa Seydoux, Actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, Actress Toni Collette, Singer/Songwriter Lady Gaga, Singer Kylie Minogue, Actress Nicole Kidman, Actress/Singer Selena Gomez.
Writer/Actor Mike Myers, Comedian, Writer/Actor Seth MacFarlane, Writer/Actor Seth Meyers, Writer/Actor Jim Carrey, Actress Dakota Fanning, Actress Taylor Schilling, Singer/Songwriter/Fashion Mogul Pharrell, Television Personality/Actress Rosie O’Donnell, Kentucky Derby-winning Jockey Joel Rosario, Breeders Cup Classic-winning Jockey/Actor Gary Stevens.
Spice Girl/Actress Mel B., Actor Armie Hammer, Actress Kerry Washington, Actor Sam Rockwell, Actor Nicholas Hoult, Actor Tom Hiddleston, Actor Adam Driver, Actor Josh Brolin, Actor Daniel Radcliffe, Actress Dakota Fanning, Actor Sam Claflin, Actress Jena Malone.
And now the ten best Photos of 2013 snapped through my lenses (Samsung Galaxy S2, Samsung Galaxy S4 and Olympus E-PL5):
Clarence Square Park
My Balcony – Yorkville
My Balcony – Yorkville
I truly am blessed and can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for us here in this sight-filled City of Tastemakers!
Awards Season officially is here with the 71st annual Golden Globe Award nominations being announced earlier this morning by Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde and Aziz Ansari out of the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
No real surprises this year as American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave each lead the way in the Film categories with seven nominations apiece, the former up for Best Comedy or Musical and the latter up for Best Drama. Although both Films are touted as Favourites to win in their respective categories, both likely will vie each other for Best Picture at the Oscars. The Stars of each Film, Christian Bale (American Hustle), Amy Adams (American Hustle) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) are all up for Best Actor and Best Actress for their respective Comedy and Drama categories. Nebraska starring Bruce Dern and Will Forte follows closely behind with five nominations, with the former up for Best Actor, and the Film itself also being up for Best Comedy.
HBO‘s Behind the Candelabra ties with with Netflix‘s House of Cards in the Television Categories, each garnering four nominations each, although they will not be in direct competition with one another with the former up for Best Mini-Series or TV Movie and the latter in the running for Best Television Series – Drama. Candelabra stars Michael Douglas and Matt Damon however are both vying for Best Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or TV Movie.
A now-concluded Breaking Bad received three nods for AMC and it will receive stiff competition from House of Cards in its Series and Best Actor categories especially – the latter soon to be in its second season through ground-breaking Internet-based service Netflix.
Surprising omissions this year from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who determine the Nominees, are the lack of a Best Drama acknowledgement for Dallas Buyers Club despite its Stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto getting nods; it is thought to be in the Oscar race. Also, the excellent Saving Mr. Banks, shockingly only received one nomination for Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins Author P.L. Travers. Many also are scratching their heads at the classifying of August: Osage Country, an emotionally-heavy Film which deals with death, addiction and mental illness within a Family, as a Comedy or Musical. Its Stars Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts are up for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical and also Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
The 71st annual Golden Globe Awards will be televised on NBCSunday, January 12, 2014 at 8:00 PM EST.
Disney‘s D23 Expo 2013 took place this weekend in Anaheim, California, giving Attendees unparalleled access to Disney Films, Movies and Theme Parks! D23, known as the official Disney Fan Club, dates back to 1923 when Walt Disney started with humble beginnings at his then-fledgling Hollywood Studio.
The Stars were out in full force this weekend presenting some of Disney‘s most exciting Films to be released soon including: Angelina Jolie for Maleficent; Tom Hiddleston, Anthony Hopkins & Natalie Portman for Thor: The Dark World; Chris Evans & Anthony Mackie for Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Ty Burrell for Muppets Most Wanted and Jason Schwartzman for Saving Mr. Banks and of course, George Lucas for Star Wars: Episode VII. See some of the Photos of the excitement above!
Learn more about D23right here and maybe next year we’ll be there?
(Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
We’re all awaiting the release of Saving Mr. Banks, at this stage a major Contender for Best Picture at the Oscars based on buzz alone. Telling the Story of how Walt Disney persauded P.L. Travers to have her classic Novel Mary Poppins adapted to the Big Screen and the 20-year-long struggle involved with that, Disney releases the Drama on December 13, 2013 in limited release, expanding the following week on December 20, 2013.
Starring in the Film are: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker and Colin Farrell.
See the brand new official Artwork for Saving Mr. Banks below:
(Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)
At long last, a Trailer has arrived for Saving Mr. Banks, and if this isn’t bait for an Oscar, I don’t know what is!
Chronicling Walt Disney‘s 20-year struggle to bring Author P.L. Travers’Mary Poppins to the big screen, the Disney (I know, how meta!) Drama stars Tom Hanks as the famed Animator and Emma Thompson as Travers; John Lee Hancock directs.
Saving Mr. Banks also stars: Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths and Kathy Baker.
See the official Synopsis below:
When Walt Disney’s Daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite Book, P.L. Travers’Mary Poppins, he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood Machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the Adaptation.
For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls-out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman Brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp.
It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing Films in Cinematic History.
See the Trailer below:
Saving Mr. Banks gets a Limited Release on December 13, 2013 and a Wide Release December 20, 2013, making this a prime choice for Families this Christmas!
(Photo/video credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Canada)