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Category: Hugo

Oscars 2012: ‘Hugo’ costume designer on her 10th Oscar nom

January 24, 2012 | 11:57 am

Sandy Powell OscarThe Oscar nominations were announced early Tuesday morning, but the day was heading into night in England, where costume designer Sandy Powell ended up learning the news of her Academy Award nod for Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" while she was stuck in traffic.

“I was in a car being driven by a friend in a traffic jam on a rainy London afternoon,” Powell said. “David [Davenport], my [costume] supervisor, sent me a message saying, ‘You better start looking for a dress!’”

This is Powell’s 10th Oscar nomination. She has won the costume design award three times, including for Scorsese’s Howard Hughes biopic,“The Aviator.” The opportunity to work again with the director, a frequent collaborator, was a major motivation for her to sign on to the lavish 3-D family movie, but so was its source material, the illustrated children’s novel “The Invention of Hugo Cabret.”

PHOTOS: Oscar nominees react

“We used the book as a starting point and a reference point," Powell said. "I think everyone on the movie captured the essence of the illustrations in the book without just re-creating it.”

Allegiance to “Hugo” aside, Powell is “convinced” that “The Artist” is going to take home the best picture award come Oscar night next month. In a noteworthy coincidence, both movies pay homage to silent filmmaking.

“It’s the exact same period [as 'Hugo'], and they’re both films about film, but they couldn’t be more different. But I’m really happy that they’re so different,” Powell said.

Speaking to 24 Frames on her cellphone from a London store, she said the exciting news hadn't kept her from “trying to do my normal working day,” she said. There hasn’t been time yet to talk with fellow “Hugo” filmmakers -– the film earned 11 nominations, more than that of any other film for the year -– but she’s eager to celebrate with them later.

“I’m only disappointed that it didn’t get a makeup nomination. That would have been nice. Costumes and makeup -– it’s all part of the same thing,” Powell said.

The London native will be celebrating her own nomination during dinner tonight.

“I already had dinner plans with a good girlfriend,” she said. “So now we have a nice excuse to order a bottle of champagne.”


And the nominees are...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

–- Emily Rome

Photos: Sandy Powell winning a best costume design Oscar for "The Young Victoria" in 2010. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times; Powell's sketch for Sasha Baron Cohen's "Hugo" costume. Credit: Paramount Pictures

Oscars 2012: 'The Help' has biggest box office among nominees

January 24, 2012 |  7:09 am

The Help has sold more tickets at the box office than any other best picture nominee
Of this year's best picture nominees, "The Help" has been seen by the most American moviegoers.

The civil rights drama released last August has sold $169.6 million in ticket sales -- more than double the domestic gross of any of the other eight films nominated for the top prize at the Oscars.

The Brad Pitt baseball film "Moneyball" takes the runner-up position with $75.5 million, while Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" -- a World War I epic still in many theaters nationwide -- has so far collected $72.3 million.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscar nominations

Martin Scorsese's  "Hugo" and Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" each have a tally of around $56 million. The family drama "The Descendants," meanwhile, just crossed the $50 million mark at the box office last weekend.

The nominees with the least commercial appeal include "The Tree of Life" ($13 million) and "The Artist" ($12 million) -- although the latter, a silent picture, has yet to expand beyond 700 theaters. "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" has grossed only $10 million, but it just opened in cinemas across the country last weekend.

When the Academy Award nominations were announced in 2011, the eventual best picture winner "The King's Speech" had grossed about $57 million. The film featuring Colin Firth ended up with $138.8 million in sales. The year before, "The Hurt Locker" saw far less of a box office boost from its win, collecting an underwhelming $17 million in all.


And the nominees are...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

--Amy Kaufman


Photo: Viola Davis, left, stars with Octavia Spencer in "The Help." Credit: Walt Disney Studios

'Hugo,' 'Tree of Life' among shortlisted films for visual effects Oscar

January 4, 2012 |  1:34 pm


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Wednesday afternoon that 10 films remain in contention for the visual effects Academy Award. They are: "Captain America: The First Avenger,"  "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2," "Hugo," "Mission: Impossible –- Ghost Protocol," "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," "Real Steel," "Rise of the Planet of the Apes,"  "Transformers: Dark of the Moon,"  "The Tree of Life"  and  "X-Men: First Class."

The entire membership of the visual effects branch of the academy will be able to see 10-minute excerpts from the films on Jan. 19. After the screenings, these members will vote to nominate five films for the 84th annual Academy Award.

The Oscar nominations will be announced on Jan. 24; the awards will be handed out during a live telecast on ABC on Feb. 26 at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland.


'Bridesmaids,' 'Tree of Life,' "Hugo' in AFI's top 10 films of 2011

 -- Susan King


Photo: "Hugo" is shortlisted for the visual effects Oscar. Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures

Golden Globes: Producer Graham King hits a triple

December 15, 2011 | 11:25 am


Producer Graham King has won an Oscar ("The Departed"), worked on any number of critical and commercial hits ("The Town," "Traffic," "Rango") and supports one of the better soccer teams in Barclays Premiere League (Chelsea). But the feat he pulled off in Thursday's Golden Globe nominations bears special mention, because King's productions were nominated in three top categories: drama, animated movie and foreign language film.

"It was quite a morning," King said. "It was surprising to have all three — three filmmakers doing three totally different genres. I'm not sure when it's been done before."

PHOTOS: Golden Globe top nominees

King financed "Hugo," which not only was nominated for dramatic motion picture but also for director (Martin Scorsese) and score (Howard Shore). King produced  "Rango," nominated as best animated film, and co-financed "In the Land of Blood and Honey," a foreign-language movie directed and written by first-time filmmaker Angelina Jolie.

"It's so wonderful for Angie to get this recognition," King said of Jolie, whose 2010 movie "The Tourist" was produced by King. "It's the first time she's directed anything."

FULL COVERAGE: Golden Globes

While "Hugo" is doing steady business at the box office and "Rango" was a solid hit with global receipts of more than $245 million, "In the Land of Blood and Honey" does not arrive theaters until Dec. 23. But the film, shot largely in Hungary and set in the Bosnian war, did not qualify for Academy Award foreign-language film consideration.

"This was a true collaboration and I am forever indebted to our cast and crew, who experienced their own personal tragedies in the Bosnian War and gave me an authentic  perspective into the conflict," Jolie said in a statement.


Golden Globes: The complete list of nominees

Golden Globes: Gore Verbinski finds first time is a charm with 'Rango'

Golden Globes: 'Extremely Loud,' 'Tinker Tailor' snubbed

 — John Horn

Photo: Producer Graham King, left, Brad Pitt and producer Tim Headington arrive at the premiere of "In the Land of Blood and Honey" held at ArcLight Cinemas on Dec. 8 in Hollywood. Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images.

'Hugo,' 'The Artist' top nominees for Critics Choice Awards

December 13, 2011 |  3:00 am

The Artist

Martin Scorsese's lavish 3-D family film "Hugo" and the black-and-white ode to silent cinema "The Artist" topped the list of nominees for the 17th Critics Choice Awards, earning 11 nominations each from the Broadcast Film Critics Assn., the organization announced Tuesday. Both films were nominated for the best picture prize, along with "The Descendants," "Drive," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Help," "Midnight in Paris," "Moneyball," "The Tree of Life" and "War Horse."

Scorsese and "The Artist's" Michel Hazanavicius also will face off in the directors' race, where they will be competing against Stephen Daldry for his Sept.11-themed literary adaptation “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” Alexander Payne for the George Clooney-led family drama “The Descendants,” Nicolas Winding Refn for the modern noir thriller “Drive” and Steven Spielberg for his World War I-era film “War Horse.”

Continue reading »

Jessica Chastain wins L.A. Film Critics Assn. award

December 11, 2011 | 12:11 pm

Tree of life chastain
The L.A. Film Critics Assn. has started handing out its annual awards Sunday morning. Here’s a look at the first five categories it has chosen winners in so far.

Best supporting actress: Jessica Chastain, who was recognized for her work in six films -- "Coriolanus," "The Debt," "The Help," "Take Shelter," "Texas Killing Fields" and "The Tree of Life."

Runner-up: Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs."

Best supporting actor: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners."

Runner-up: Patton Oswalt, "Young Adult."

Best cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, "The Tree of Life."

Runner-up: Cao Yu, "City of Life and Death."

Best music/score: The Chemical Brothers, "Hanna."

Runner-up: Cliff Martinez, "Drive."

Best production design: Dante Ferretti, "Hugo."

Runner-up: Maria Djurkovic, "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy."


What will win the LA film critics' top award?

National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

-- Julie Makinen

Photo: Jessica Chastain and Tye Sheridan in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." Credit: Merie Wallace/Fox Searchlight 

Martin Scorsese to be honored for film and music work

December 7, 2011 |  7:30 pm

Martin Scorsese Hugo
Martin Scorsese, the director of such films as “Goodfellas,” “Raging Bull” and the recently released “Hugo,” will receive the Music+Film Award at this year’s Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, according to a recent announcement by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. The award honors a filmmaker whose use of music heightens the impact of their cinematic storytelling.

The BFCA cited Scorsese’s dramatic films such as “Mean Streets” and “The Departed” as well as his documentary and concert films, including “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” and “The Last Waltz,” as examples of his skill in combining film and music.

Joey Berlin, president of the BFCA, called Scorsese “one of the greatest filmmakers of all time” in a prepared statement.

Scorsese has been on a roll lately. The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures recently named “Hugo” the best film of the year, and the 3-D tale about an orphan living in a Parisian train station is anticipated as an Oscar contender.

The nominees for this year’s Critics' Choice Movie Awards will be announced Tuesday. The awards ceremony takes place at the Hollywood Palladium on Jan. 12 and will air on VH1 at 8 p.m.


National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

Scorsese rousingly endorses 3-D, says holograms next

Scorsese's 'Hugo' stepping up as a true Oscar contender

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Martin Scorsese directs Chloe Moretz and Asa Butterfield on the set of "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures

Scorsese's 'Hugo' stepping up as a true Oscar contender

December 1, 2011 |  5:48 pm

Asa Butterfield stars in Hugo
We don’t put much stock in critics groups that vote before A) the calendar turns to December and B) actually seeing all the movies they should be considering.

Up until this year, when the New York Film Critics Circle decided to make itself irrelevant by voting before their Thanksgiving dinners had fully digested, it was left to the National Board of Review to put the first … shall we say … “critical” stamp on the awards season. But because nobody knows who exactly comprises the NBR’s self-described “select group of knowledgeable film enthusiasts, filmmakers, academics and students,” their scattershot selections (Everyone’s a winner! Now please buy a table at our dinner!) are typically greeted with a collective shrug.

But today’s announcement that Martin Scorsese’s crowd-pleasing masterwork “Hugo” has taken the NBR’s top prize nicely dovetails with academy members’ passionate response to the film at screenings over the past couple of weeks. Yes, many dig “Hugo” for its film-geek, up-with-George-Melies element. But what most voters are really connecting to is the deep desire of Melies (played beautifully by Ben Kingsley) to be remembered for his work. For the academy’s older members (and this is a group that skews toward the elders), that kind of sentiment hits home in a profound fashion.

Looking at the below-the-line categories, “Hugo” seems a strong bet to win nominations for Dante Ferretti’s dazzling art direction, Sandy Powell’s costume design, Howard Shore’s score and Thelma Schoonmaker’s editing, as well as nods for makeup, sound editing and mixing and visual effects. These contributions come from Scorsese’s longtime collaborators, who, between them, have dozens of Oscar nominations and quite a few trophies. They’re people the academy loves, and they’re doing work that ranks with the best of their careers.

So, if “Hugo” receives that much below-the-line love, a best picture nomination would seem a logical next step, even if, outside Kingsley, it doesn’t have much heat in the acting categories. (Again: Actors branch members are connecting with the movie’s themes.) And if you think about Scorsese’s bold, visual storytelling and the extraordinary way he uses 3-D, a director’s nod would appear a no-brainer as well.

Few people had “Hugo” on their lists before the award season heated up. But, in a wide-open year like this, come Oscar-nomination morning, it may well be leading the conversation.


National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

New York critics picks: Will the academy get behind 'The Artist' too?

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Asa Butterfield stars in "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures

National Board of Review names 'Hugo' best picture

December 1, 2011 | 12:52 pm


"Hugo," director Martin Scorsese's family film reflecting his love of cinema, was named the best film of the year Thursday by the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. The lavish 3-D fantasy set in a Paris railway station in 1931 also won best director for Scorsese.

Ironically, the black-and-white silent film "The Artist," which won the New York Film Critics Circle honor Tuesday, was shut out of the list of awards, though it was named one of the top 10 films of the year by the National Board of Review.

Lead actor honors went to George Clooney as the father of two in Alexander Payne's Hawaii-set "The Descendants," and Tilda Swinton was named lead actress as a mother of a troubled son in "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

Veteran Christopher Plummer won supporting actor as a widower who comes out of the closet in "Beginners," and Shailene Woodley won supporting actress honors as Clooney's rebellious teenage daughter in "The Descendants." The film also won best adapted screenplay for Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash, with Will Reiser winning the original screenplay prize for the cancer-themed film "50/50."

"Rango" took best animated feature honors, and two actresses were recognized for breakthrough performance honors: Felicity Jones for "Like Crazy" and Rooney Mara for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." J.C. Chandor won best debut director for "Margin Call," and the cast of "The Help" earned best ensemble.

The Spotlight Award went to Michael Fassbender for a quartet of performances -- in "A Dangerous Method," "Jane Eyre," "Shame" and "X-Men: First Class."

The National Board of Review, which was founded in 1909, is made up of film professionals, educators, historians and students.

Though considered by some to be a bellwether for the Academy Awards, NBR and the Oscars haven't seen eye-to-eye on the best film selections since 2008's "Slumdog Millionaire." Two years ago, NBR chose "Up in the Air" as the best movie of 2009, while the Academy Award went to "The Hurt Locker." Last year, "The Social Network" was the organization's top choice, but the Oscar went to "The King's Speech."

The NBR awards will be presented Jan. 10 at Cipriana's 42nd Street in New York City.

Other winners announced Thursday:

NBR Freedom of Expression: "Crime After Crime"

NBR Freedom of Expression: "Pariah"

Best Foreign Language Film: "A Separation"

Best Documentary: "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory"

Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise  -- A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film


 New York critics name 'The Artist' best film of the year

-- Susan King

Photo: Chloë Grace Moretz and Asa Butterfield star in the movie "Hugo." Credit: Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures / GK Films LLC

Will 'Hugo' lose the sprint but win the marathon?

November 28, 2011 |  7:46 am

'Hugo's' strong reviews have already positioned the Martin Scorsese film nicely among filmgoers who pay attention to critics. A substantial amount of time spent this holiday weekend with preschoolers shed some light on Family Bowl -- a.k.a. the battle among "Arthur Christmas," "The Muppets" and "Hugo" over Thanksgiving (won, of course, by the Hensonites).

To wit: "The Muppets" played very well among the fingerpainting set -- one 5-year-old who may or may not be related to this blogger enthusiastically summarized the story as being about "how Frog is trying to get back the office." A few of the parents informally surveyed were a little less effusive, which makes the new muppets film an inversion of the original movies and television series, which  appealed more heavily to the grown-up set.

But an even more curious case comes with "Hugo," the expensive 3-D family film set in period Paris and from the unlikely domain of Martin Scorsese. (At the premiere last week, the "Goodfellas" auteur deadpanned that he'd like to issue "a warning" -- namely, that "this is a family film.")

Premiering in a comparatively modest 1,250 theaters, "Hugo" did decent but not overhwhelming business (just over $15 million). On its face the movie has its work cut out for it. In a crowded holiday season, it opened in just fifth place. And with more family product pouring in over the coming weeks, it won't get easier as the film goes into wider release Dec 9. For all its creative virtues, the movie is, in marketing terms, a bit of a tweener -- it could seem too arty for a family audience and too family-ish for an arty audience.

But there are also the early rustlings of a longer-running sleeper success, the kind of success that happens infrequently in Hollywood and even more rarely in the family film realm.

Continue reading »


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