Awards Tracker

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Category: Venice Film Festival

Oscar update: Beware, 'The Ides of March' and George Clooney


Release of the trailer for George Clooney's "The Ides of March" comes at a fortuitous time — just as news breaks that it will open the Venice Film Festival in a few weeks. Often that's a flag that the film will be a major Oscar contender ("Black Swan" opened the 2010 fest), but sometimes not ("Burn After Reading," 2008).

Too bad Clooney recently confessed that Oscar campaigning makes him feel "unclean." He's got quite a bit of that ahead of him this season. The upcoming Oscar derby looks a lot like Clooney's dash in 2005 when he had two ponies in the race –- one that he co-wrote and directed (best picture/director/screenplay nominee "Good Night and Good Luck") and "Syriana," which earned him the Academy Award for supporting actor.

Clooney directed "The Ides of March" and cowrote it with his "Good Night" partner Grant Heslov. It's a drama about a liberal politician (Clooney) and his idealistic campaign worker (Ryan Gosling) in the race for U.S. president and will premiere in theaters just as the real presidential race heats up. Clooney also stars in director Alexander Payne's "The Descendants" as a man struggling to reconnect with his daughters after his wife is in a boating accident.


George Clooney, Brad Pitt highlight Toronto film festival lineup

Venice Film Festival lineup: Polanski, Friedkin, Cronenberg

Oscar pundits in our forums back 'Ides of March' and 'War Horse'

Oscar campaigning made George Clooney feel 'unclean'

Photo: "The Ides of March." Credit: Sony Pictures.

Al Pacino to receive a special award at this year's Venice Film Festival

AlJust a day after his Tony nomination for lead actor in a play for "The Merchant of Venice," Al Pacino was named this year's recipient of the Jaeger-LeCoultre Glory to the Filmmaker 2011 Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, which takes place Aug. 31-Sept. 10.

The prize is given to a filmmaker who has left "an original mark" on contemporary cinema. Previous winners include Takeshi Kitano, Agnes Varda and Abbas Kiarostami.

Over the past four decades, Pacino, 71, has starred in such classics as "The Godfather" trilogy, 1973's  "Serpico" and  1975's "Dog Day Afternoon." He won a lead actor Oscar for 1992's "Scent of a Woman," Emmy awards for 2003's "Angels in America" and  2010's "You Don't Know Jack" and is a two-time Tony Award winner.

Pacino is also a filmmaker, earning a Directors Guild of America Award for his 1996 feature documentary, "Looking for Richard."  His latest directorial effort, the feature documentary "Wilde Salome," will premiere at the festival.

Pacino will receive his honor at the awards ceremony on Sept. 4.

-- Susan King

Photo: Al Pacino. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times

Weinstein Co. picks up 'A Single Man'

SingleManStory Variety is reporting that the Weinstein Co. has purchased the U.S. and German rights to Tom Ford's "A Single Man." The buy is the first significant purchase of the Toronto International Film Festival, which is described in the article as a "dealmaking logjam," with no major purchases prior to the Weinstein move on Monday. The Weinstein deal came after the film's premiere that day, which was populated with distributors. A round-the-clock negotiating session between Weinstein and Ford's reps at Creative Artists Agency resulted in the film's pick-up for a limited 2009 run for Oscar qualification. A more substantial theatrical release will follow in 2010.

Adapted from the novel by Christopher Isherwood, "Single Man" stars Colin Firth as a gay man dealing with the loss of his partner in 1964. Firth won the Volpi Cup at this year's Venice Film Festival for his performance.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo: Colin Firth, left, and Matthew Goode star in "A Single Man." Credit: Toronto International Film Festival

Film fest update: Venice, Telluride and Toronto


As the light of summer fades into the somber moods of fall (assuming, of course, that said season actually occurs in your part of the country), we take time to not only reflect on the passage of time and the end of carefree days, but on the absolute orgy of film festivals that erupt around the globe from September through the following spring. We offer the following as a round-up, if you will, of what's happened at Venice and Telluride, and what to expect at Toronto and elsewhere in the weeks to come. Score cards are not necessary, but they do help. 

More after the break, of course.

Continue reading »

Venice Film Fest embraces 3-D with Persol Award


The 66th Venice Film Festival will include the first-ever award for best stereoscopic 3-D film in this year's competition. The Persol 3D Award is seen as another sign of Europe's growing commitment to 3-D technology in film. Nominees for the inaugural award are largely Hollywood-grown -- "Up" (pictured), "Coraline," "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," the world premiere of Joe Dante's "The Hole" and, most amusingly, "My Bloody Valentine" -- but Continental features in 3-D will be screened at the fest's Orrizonti 3-D presentation, including "Daimon" and "Cock-Crow," both by Italian directors David Zamagni and Nadia Ranocchi (also a Persol 3D Award judge). An article in today's Variety notes that 3-D is slowly catching on with European productions, including the Spanish animated feature "O apostalo."

-- Paul Gaita

Image: Disney-Pixar

Venice Film Festival underway; stars include Michael Moore, Nicolas Cage, Matt Damon


A diverse host of international figures from every aspect of cinema will descend on the Venice Film Festival, which opens today to slightly grander fanfare than last year's scaled-down edition.

Seventy-one features are in competition for this 66th edition of the festival. "Taking Woodstock" director Ang Lee leads the jury that will judge, among many others, Werner Herzog's controversial "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" with Nicolas Cage; John Hillcoat's "The Road," with Viggo Mortensen as the hero of Cormac McCarthy's post-apocalyptic novel; Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story"; Todd Solondz's "Life During Wartime," which is described as a return to his "Welcome to the Dollhouse" days; and Jacques Rivette's "36 Vues du Pic Saint Loup," which marks the 81-year-old director's first visit to the festival.

Giuseppe Tornatore's comedy "Baaria," which opens the festival, is also in competition, as are such eclectic projects as Shinya Tsukamoto's "Tetsuo the Bullet Man," an English-language remake of his cyberpunk cult classic "Tetsuo the Iron Man"; and "Survival of the Dead," George A. Romero's fifth entry in his series of zombie films.

Films out of competition include an intriguing selection of filmmakers as well. Joe Dante makes a welcome return with his family comedy "The Hole," and Abel Ferrara's presence with "Napoli Napoli Napoli" should make for some tense moments on the red carpet, given his violent (literally) reaction to news of Herzog's remake of his "Bad Lieutenant."

Matt Damon will lend some star power with his appearance to support Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!" and Alex Cox brings his offbeat career full circle with "Repo Chick," a sequel to his much-loved 1984 feature "Repo Man." The Cox picture vies for most offbeat entry at the fest with Fruit Chan's "Chengdu, I Love You," a comedy that ping-pongs between a 1976 earthquake and an alternative version of 2009 China as seen through a "Matrix"-style landscape.

-- Paul Gaita

Photo credit: AFP/Getty Images


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