Argo and Zero Dark Thirty win top WGA Awards

Political thriller Argo continues to sweeps top awards, winning the best adapted screenplay at the Writers Guild of American awards this evening for Chris Terrio. Argo beat Perks of Being a Walilower, Life of Pi, Lincoln and Silver Linings Playbook.

The Best Original Screenplay went to Mark’s Boal’s screenplay for Zero Dark Thirty, topping Flight, Looper, The Master and Moonrise Kingdom.

Both screenplays are nominated for Oscars, where they will be facing other screenplays that were ineligible for WGA awards, such as Amour and Django in the Original Screenplay category and Beasts of the Southern Wild in the adapted screenplay category. Looper, The Master and Perks of Being a fWallflower are not nominated for an Oscar in their respective categories.

In television, Breaking Bad won for best drama and Louie won best comedy, while Girls took the best new series trophy.

Oscar nominated Searching for Sugar Man grabbed the best documentary award for Malik Bendjelloul.

The WGA awards are voted by its 12000 members. Writers represent about 6% of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences votes, hence they are considered a reliable predictor of the Oscars for Screenplays.


Brits Shine at the Golden Globe Awards Nominations

Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt earn Golden Globes nominations for their roles in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

British pictures and talent dominated the 70th Golden Globe Award nominations, which were announced this morning at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Comedies The Best Exotic Hotel and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Tom Hooper’s musical Les Miserables each gained a nomination in Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. They will be competing against Silver Linings Playbook and Moonrise Kingdom in the same category.

Salmon Fishing in The Yemen, also earned two nominations in the Best Performance by An Actor and Actress in Comedy or Musical for British actors Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt respectively. Two dames, Judi Dench and Maggie Smith from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, joined Blunt in the same category, which also included Meryl Streep (Hope Springs) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook).

Ewan McGregor will be competing against Jack Black (Bernie), Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook), Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) and Bill Murray (Hyde Park On Hudson).

British actors were also featured in the Drama section of the Golden Globes nominations. Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) led the nominations in the Best Performance by An Actor, which also included Richard Gere (Arbitrage), John Hawkes (The Sessions), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Denzel Washington (Flight), while a third dame, Helen Mirren (Hitchcock), and Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) were joined by Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Marion Cotillard (Rust and Bone) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible) in the Best Performance By An Actress in A Motion Picture.

There were no surprises in the Best Motion Picture in the drama section, which included Spielberg’s Lincoln, Ang Lee’s  Life of Pi, Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Ben Affleck’s Argo, and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Each one of the above pictures also garnered a nomination for Best Director and Best Screenplay, except Life of Pi, which lost to the script of Silver Linings Playbook.

Django Unchained also took two nominations in the Best Performance By An Actor in A supporting Role for Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio. They were joined by Alan Arkin from Argo, Philip Seymour Hoffman from the Master and Tommy Lee Jones from Lincoln.

The nominations in The Best Performance by Actress in A Supporting Role category were bestowed on Nicole Kidman (Paperboy), Amy Adams (The Master), Sally Field (Lincoln), Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables) and Helen Hunt (The Sessions).

British pop star Adele lead the nomination in the Best Original Song for Skyfall in the recent Bond movie. She was joined by Keith Urban (For You – Act of Valour), Jon Bon Jovi (Not Running Anymore – Stand Up Guys), Claude-Michel Schonberg (Suddenly – Les Miserables) and Taylor Swift (Safe & Sound – The Hunger Games).

Counting nominations per movie this year reveals that Lincoln is the frontrunner with 7 nods, followed by Argo and Django Unchained, both of which have 5 nods.

The Golden Globes also honours TV in similar categories, namely it splits the awards into Drama and Comedy/musical. Like in Films, the TV nominations were dominated by British talent.

British series, Downton Abbey, which won the Golden Globes last year, gained 3 nominations including in the Best Television Series – Drama alongside Boardwalk Empire, Homeland, The Newsroom and Breaking Bad; and in The Best Performance by an Actress in Television Series – Drama for Michelle Dockery, who will be competing against Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Claire Danes (Homeland), Glenn Close (Damages) and Connie Britton (Nashville); and in The Best Performance By An Actress In a Supporting Role for Dame Maggie Smith, who was joined by fellow Brit Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife), Sarah Paulson (Game Change), Hayden Panettiere (Nashville) and Sofia Vergara (Modern Family).

BBC drama The Hour was honoured with a nomination in the Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television alongside Game Change, The Girl, Hatfields and McCoys and Political Animals.

In the same category, Brit Sienna Miller received a nod for Best Performance By an Actress for her role as Tippi Hedren in The Girl. She was joined by Nicole Kidman (Hemingway & Gellhorn), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Asylum), Julianne Moore (Game Change) and Sigourney Weaver (Political Animals). In the meantime, Miller’s co-star Toby Jones earned a nomination for Best Performance by an Actor, as Alfred Hitchcock. He will be competing against fellow Brits Clive Owen (Hemingways & Gellhorn)  and Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock), and  Woody Harrelson (Game Change) and Kevin Costner (Hatfield & McCoys).

British Actor Damian Lewis (Homeland) led the nominations in the Best Performance By an Actor in Television – Drama, which also included Steve Buscemi (Boardwalk Empire), Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Jon Hamm (Mad Men) and Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom).

Musical Smash and Comedies The Big Bang Theory, Episodes, Girls and Modern Family each won a nomination in the Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical.

Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation), who will be hosting the Golden Globe awards show next month, were among the nominees in the Best Performance by An Actress in a Television series, which also included Lena Dunham (Girls), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Veep) and Zooey Deschanel (New Girl).

The Golden Globe Awards are the most important awards in the film industry after the Oscars. They are voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is composed of 90 Hollywood-based journalists, who represent international media outlets. The awards will be announced at the Golden Globe Awards show, which will be broadcast live in the US on NBC on 13 January, 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty triumphs at the National Board of – Review awards

Jessica Chastain in Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty, which dramatises the events leading to the killing of Osama Bin Laden,  won the best picture of 2012 at the National Board of Review awards. It also took the Best Director Award for Kathryn Bigelow, Best Actress for Jessica Chastain. who plays  the CIA agent hunting Bin Laden.

This was the second honouring of the film, having won the best picture, best director and best cinematography at the New York Critics Circle earlier this week.

Zero Dark Thirty’s early successes makes it a front runner in the Oscar race. Kathryn Bigelow’s last movie, The Hurt Locker, won 6 Academy Awards in 2009.

The group bestowed the Best Actor award on Bradley Cooper from Silver Linings Playbook. The director of the movie, David O’Russell, took the trophy for the Best Adapted Screenplay, while Rian Johnson, the director of sci-fi thriller Looper, was awarded for the Best Original Screenplay.

Leonardo Dicaprio won the Best Supporting Actor for playing a slave owner in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.

Argo’s star and director, Ben Affleck received the accolade for Special Achievement in filmmaking, while the cast of the musical Les Miserables won the Best Ensemble award.

The National Board of Review, which was formed in 1930, is the US’s longest-established critics awards. Its accolades are currently voted on by its 150 members, comprising film enthusiasts, film-makers, academics and students.

Rachel Weisz wins Best Actress at the New York Critics Circle Awards

Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea

The New York Critics Circle surprised awards prognosticators by skipping Oscar front-runners Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) and awarding Rachel Weisz the Best Actress for her performance as the unfaithful wife in Terence Davies’ drama The Deep Blue Sea. The film, that earned her the same honour from the London critics a year ago, had a limited release in the US this March.

The group gave the Best Picture of 2012 to Zero Dark Thirty, which follows the true events leading to the killing of Al Qaeda’s leader Osama Bin Laden. The director of the movie Kathryn Bigelow was honored as the Best Director and Greig Fraser as the Best Cinematographer. Bigelow won the same award in 2009 for The Hurt Locker.

The Best Actor award went to British actor Daniel Day-Lewis, who is the favourite to win the Oscar for portraying Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. His co-star, Sally Field was named the Best Supporting Actress for playing the First Lady. The scribe of the movie, Tony Kushner, won the Best Screenplay.

Matthew McConaughey received the Best Supporting Actor for his performances in two movies: as a Texas D.A. in Bernie and a male stripper in Magic Mike.

Michael Haneke’s Cannes Film Festival winner, Amour, about an octogenarian Parisian coping with his wife’s debilitating illness, won the Best Foreign Film.

Tim Burton’s 3-D stop animation comedy-horror story Frankenweenie took the Best Animation. The film tells the story of a boy who brings his dog back to life.

The New York critics group’s choices, which were announced today, are the first of the awards season. Among the strong Oscar contenders missing in their awards were Argo, Flight, Hobbit, Les Miserables, Life of Pi, The Master, Silver Linings Playbook and Rust and Bones.