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Category: November 2011

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Will an NC-17 rating help or hurt 'Shame?'

November 30, 2011 |  8:36 pm


There are a number of reasons why a dark movie about sex addiction might encounter obstacles in its quest to become a broad crowd-pleaser or a popular Oscar choice. But could a severe rating be one of them?

It’s far from a hypothetical question as Fox Searchlight opens “Shame” this weekend. Steve McQueen’s drama, a movie whose artistic virtues we've been touting in this space since the movie premiered at the film festivals of late summer, tells of Brandon (Michael Fassbender) and his struggles to find emotional connection while engaging in emotionless sexual activity with seemingly every woman, real and virtual, in the New York metro area.

The movie is also rated NC-17, one of the rare films to be released with the Motion Picture Assn. of America's harshest grade. (Fox Searchlight didn’t have the option of going unrated because it’s part of the MPAA.)

Although movies like “Midnight Cowboy” and “Last Tango in Paris” kicked up a storm when they received the MPAA’s most severe rating (an X) for sexual content four decades ago, McQueen believes the issue is as out of date as the Nixon administration. Filmgoers and voters aren’t scandalized by the rating anymore, he says.

“What we did in this film is tame compared to what you can get on the Internet,” he told 24 Frames. ‘The debate [about sex] should not be about cinema.”

Of course, it cuts the other way too: “Last Tango” and “Midnight Cowboy” attracted ticket sales and Oscar heat precisely because they seemed taboo and edgy; with sexual content as prevalent as it is now, “Shame” might not be able to ride those same coattails. (There’s a certain irony in this, because one of the reasons McQueen made the movie in the first place was to comment on a world in which sex was ubiquitous.)

Still, it would be an exaggeration to say there isn’t any resistance from theater owners. John Fithian, who runs the National Assn. of Theater Owners, said that he doesn’t believe the stigma exists.  “There’s a myth perpetuated over and over again by the media that members won’t play an NC-17 movie, and that’s patently untrue,” he told 24 Frames.

But Fithian did acknowledge that a top-10 chain did have a formal ban on  showing NC-17 films. 

As my colleague John Horn reports in tomorrow’s Times, that company is Cinemark, the nation’s third-largest chain, which issued a statement in response to his query that it, indeed, doesn't play any NC-17 film as a matter of policy.

In fact, even an art-house theater owned by Cinemark near the Northwestern University campus in Evanston, Ill., won't be showing it; students interested in the film will have to go to Chicago instead. (Incidentally, representatives of another chain, Carmike, declined to comment, but also did not appear to be playing “Shame” at this time.)

While “Shame” is about sex, the film’s producer  said  that he thought the way it depicted the two sides of addiction would generally strike a nerve with filmgoers. “In a sense this movie is about the drunk you have a good time with at the Christmas party,” said producer Iain Canning. “Then you see he has to drink a bottle of vodka to get through the day and it’s not funny anymore.”

And that may be the toughest issue. The NC-17 isn’t as taboo as it once was. But in the case of “Shame,” it signals a movie that could prove difficult to watch for reasons having nothing to do with nudity.


Fox Searchlight faces tough sell with NC-17 "Shame"

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender in "Shame." Credit: Fox Searchlight

My feud with Oscar host Billy Crystal: It's time to bury the hatchet

November 30, 2011 |  4:48 pm

Billy crystal

I am a huge supporter of comedians, which is why I’ve said over and over that the Oscars should hold a great comic performance in the same high regard as a dramatic one. Nonetheless, there’s a long list of comic heavyweights who have about as much love in their hearts for me as the average Dodgers fan has for Frank McCourt.

Judd Apatow has never forgiven me for writing, even before I’d seen the movie, that “Funny People” was, at 146 minutes, way, way, really way too long to ever be a good comedy. Rob Schneider once bought full-page ads in the trades to chastise me for saying that his film “Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo” was “sadly overlooked at Oscar time because apparently nobody had the foresight to invent a category for best Running Penis Joke Delivered by a Third-Rate Comic.”


And then there’s Billy Crystal, who stepped in several weeks ago to replace Eddie Murphy as host of next year’s Oscars. Even though I’d been a fan of his early Oscar gigs, a chill has been in the air since we had a lively dust-up a decade ago. In a 2001 column praising the movie parody sketches in the MTV Movie Awards, I wrote that the MTV show’s production team believed Crystal and his Oscar show writers had lifted a movie parody sketch that opened the Oscars from them.

MTV Films chief Van Toffler didn’t mince words, saying, “We’re not suing, but they not only stole the idea, they stole Troy Miller, one of our original producers, to do the Oscars.” MTV even did a sketch with a wild-haired, T-shirt-wearing “patter writer” named Brice Kapants — clearly a spoof of veteran Oscar gag man Bruce Vilanch.

The story did not go over well with Crystal. He penned a lengthy response that we ran in The Times, arguing that movie parodies have been around forever, at least as far back as Sid Caesar’s inspired spoof of “From Here to Eternity” on his “Your Show of Shows” variety program. Crystal said he’d been opening his live HBO specials with movie parodies as far back as the mid-1980s.

He called my piece “a nasty attack on my character,” adding “to insult my integrity like this is a very cheap, low blow, something you are well known for. Good writers do research; good writers investigate and can substantiate their accusations. Not you.” Citing a variety of parodies that had inspired his own, Crystal ended by saying: “Who inspired you? My guess would be Roy Cohn.” (For any under-50 readers, Cohn was a widely reviled mob lawyer who made his name working for Red Scare monger Sen. Joe McCarthy.)

Was I unfair to Crystal? Looking back at the story a decade later, I think the answer is yes. I was writing on deadline, but it was wrong for me to not give him equal time to rebut the accusation. He had every reason to be royally ticked off.

As penance, I took time out the other day to watch an hourlong conversation Crystal had with Bob Costas on the MLB Network. The talk was about sports and films, including “61*,” the 2001 baseball movie Crystal directed about the year Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle vied to break Babe Ruth’s home run record. Crystal was in rare form, displaying the same deft comedy timing he has utilized to woo Oscar audiences.

He showed off his great Muhammad Ali impression, told hilarious Yogi Berra stories and reminisced about his boyhood idolatry of Mantle (who could be seen in an old video clip, taking batting practice off, of all people, Johnny Carson). When Crystal turned 60 a few years ago, the Yankees let him have an at-bat in a spring training game. The opposing pitcher struck Crystal out using a pitch that’s known in baseball parlance as a cutter, prompting Crystal to quip: “Worst cutter since my bris.”

It was an apt demonstration of why the academy, after all of its messy hirings and firing, has again turned to Crystal to host its show. In baseball, when you’re trying to squelch a late-inning rally, you bring in your closer. The ball has been handed to Crystal. Come Feb. 26, we’ll see if his fastball still has any heat.

--Patrick Goldstein


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

The Oscar race: Is it time for a luxury tax on studio spending?

Photo: Billy Crystal performing his monologue at the start of the 72nd annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles in 2000. Credit: Gary Hershorn/Reuters 


Sundance Film Festival unveils its 2012 competition lineup

November 30, 2011 |  1:00 pm

Safety Not Guaranteed

This post has been corrected, as indicated below.

The programmers of the Sundance Film Festival, the nation's top showcase for movies made outside the studio system, have sorted through more than 4,000 features to select the 32 movies that will compete for the festival's grand jury prizes in narrative and documentary filmmaking.

While the final roster of films for the U.S. dramatic and U.S. documentary competition -- 16 movies in each category -- features some familiar names both in front of and behind the cameras, the lineup is heavily larded with newcomers and any number of people in the midst of career switches: actors (including "Scott Pilgrim's" Mark Webber) and a publicist ("The Help's" Ava DuVernay) who are becoming directors.

Last year's festival sparked a number of big sales for independently financed features, including "LIke Crazy," but few of those films turned into art-house hits, and some, like "Another Earth," fizzled fast. Festival organizers say the bulk of high-profile sales in January's festival will likely come from Sundance's premiere lineup, which will be announced Monday.

The full lineup for the Sundance competition, including the 26 films in the world cinema dramatic and documentary competitions, follows, with descriptions from the festival:

Continue reading »

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

November 29, 2011 |  4:35 pm

The artist
The New York Film Critics Circle has spoken, giving its best picture nod to "The Artist." Was that a surprise? Hardly. Does it make the film the leading contender for the best-picture Oscar? In short: It's way too early to tell. 

In the past 25 years, only five NYFCC picks for best picture have gone on to win the Oscar, most recently in 2010, when "The Hurt Locker" took home both prizes. At last year's Oscars, "The King's Speech" won the big enchilada after "The Social Network" landed the NYFCC prize. For the most part, the New York critics pick a film that has played far better with critics than with a broader audience, as in 2009, when the academy went with the big crowd pleaser, "Slumdog Millionaire," while the NY critics went with "Milk," the art-house favorite. Ditto for 2007 when the academy picked "The Departed" while the NY critics chose "United 93."


So the real question is: Can "The Artist" appeal to both constituencies, as "The Hurt Locker" and "No Country for Old Men" did when they won both awards? The answer lies with the academy. If given a choice, it will pick a more commercial film, as long as there is a commercial film that also has strong artistic credibility. That's what happened last year when there were two films with artistic cred to pick from--the critics went with the edgier "The Social Network" while the academy went with the more distinguished and old-fashioned "The King's Speech."

"The Hurt Locker" won both prizes because its only serious rival, "Avatar," was ultimately judged by the academy as being more like an animated film than a true dramatic picture, which sunk its chances, since animated films never win best-picture Oscars. "No Country" won both prizes because its only serious competitor was "Juno," which out-performed it at the box office but played too young for the academy, which, with a median age of 65, skews older than the audience of any CBS procedural crime show.

So "The Artist's" Oscar chances depend on whether a rival picture emerges that has most of "The Artist's" artistic credentials, but even more commercial clout. That would seem to limit the possible contenders to David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," if it hits pay dirt and doesn't make voters too squeamish, or Steven Spielberg's "War Horse," if it has box-office legs without coming off as too trite and emotionally manipulative. My favorite film, "The Descendants," remains a plausible threat but only if it can out-perform "The Artist" at the box office.

Nearly all of the other contenders have something else going against them: "Moneyball" is too much of a broad entertainment, "The Help" is too cliched and sentimental, while "J. Edgar" and "The Iron Lady" won't have the box-office goods to make a run. No one's seen "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" yet, but it can't be a good sign that its studio didn't make the film available to show to the NY critics before they made their picks.

In other words, "The Artist" has the pole position in the Oscar race. Some film will have to make a strong stretch run to catch it before it goes wire-to-wire.


The Oscar race: Is it time for a luxury tax on studio spending?

Ricky Gervais and the Golden Globes: Let the insults begin!

--Patrick Goldstein

Photo: Jean Dujardin, right, stars in the Oscar contending film, "The Artist." Credit: Peter Iovino/The Weinstein Co.

Comedian Aziz Ansari on which movie cracked him up this year

November 29, 2011 |  3:46 pm

Aziz Ansari
Although comedian and actor Aziz Ansari's popular blog is titled Aziz Is Bored, it seems unlikely he has much time for boredom these days. Earlier this year Ansari starred in the buddy bank robbery comedy "30 Minutes or Less" with Jesse Eisenberg, and he's a fixture on the small screen, playing Tom Haverford, a cocky government drone with big entrepreneurial dreams, on the NBC series "Parks and Recreation." He also performs stand-up and delivers a never-ending stream of funny tweets.

Occasionally, Ansari even finds himself on the receiving end of some good comedy. He recently told 24 Frames which movie had him laughing this year:

" 'Bridesmaids' was great. Kristen [Wiig] was incredible in that, showing such a range of attitudes. She's doing pretty well for herself. I remember when the movie first came out there were all those articles saying,  'It's your responsibility to go see "Bridesmaids" so there can be more female-centric comedies.' I wanted to write a joke that, what, it's everyone's responsibility to go see 'Fast Five' so there can be more movies with fast cars in them?"

Wiig also co-wrote the film, a likely contender for a Golden Globe nomination, in which she plays a maid of honor leading a colorful crew of bridesmaids on a wild ride. Like Ansari, Wiig is well known for her role on a comedy series, in her case "Saturday Night Live." Down the line, she will reunite with many of her "Bridesmaids" cast mates, including John Hamm, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd, in the parenthood dramedy "Friends With Kids" (a release date has not been set).

What did you think of Wiig in "Bridesmaids," and what other comedies impressed you this year? And just what will it take to get more movies with fast cars in them? Let us know in the comments below.


Comedy 'Friends With Kids' recalls 'Bridesmaids'

Ralph Fiennes on which movie he can't wait to see next

'30 Minutes or Less': This time, Aziz Ansari has more than a cameo

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Comedian and actor Aziz Ansari. Credit: Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

The Oscar race: Is it time for a luxury tax on studio spending?

November 29, 2011 | 11:31 am

Deathly hallows
When it comes to big-time Oscar campaigns, Warner Bros. is the New York Yankees of the movie world. The studio spent a jaw-dropping amount of money unsuccessfully pursuing a best picture nomination for “The Dark Knight” during the 2009 Oscar derby. Now the studio is pulling out all the stops for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2,” the final installment in the studio’s multi-billion-dollar Potter series.

Warners believes that even though Oscar voters have roundly ignored the past “Potter” movies, the final installment will be buoyed by the same kind of wave of affection that propelled the third film in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy to a best picture victory in 2003. So it’s spending money like a drunken sailor. Several veteran Oscar campaigners I spoke to recently say they’ve never before seen an Oscar campaign this early in the contest with the sheer volume of ads that Warners has unleashed in recent weeks.

Warners has even taken the unprecedented step of running “for your consideration” ads for “Hallows” on L.A.-area video billboards. This last weekend I found myself staring at one of them on a billboard stationed above an International House of Pancakes in my neighborhood. In an era when Oscar ads are targeted to run in publications specifically geared toward academy voters, I had to wonder — just how many academy members had I ever seen tucking into the blueberry pancakes at my local IHOP?


When I asked Warners marketing chief Sue Kroll if the studio’s “Hallows” video campaign was too lavish, she was unapologetic. “You can call it lavish, but I think it’s simply a way of getting people, at a time when they are forming opinions, to think about our film,” she said, noting that the film had recently arrived on DVD, so the cost of the billboard ads was shared with the studio’s home video wing. “Because ‘Hallows’ came out in the summer, we wanted to remind people of the merits of the film, which was one of the best-reviewed movies of the year. In an industry town, you sometimes need to do things that have never been done before to get everyone’s attention.”

If you’re an Oscar libertarian, you’re probably saying: So what? Why shouldn’t Warners be allowed to spend as much as it wants? I agree. But I think it’s time the academy, which is always passing rules to promote fairness, got serious about studio campaign spending. My modest proposal: a luxury tax.

If a studio’s expenditures soar over a certain ceiling — I’ll leave it to the academy to decide what’s an appropriate number — the studio would pay a luxury tax that would go to a good cause, whether it’s helping to fund the academy’s ambitious museum project or providing film school scholarships for underprivileged kids.

By publicly identifying the biggest spenders, a luxury tax could serve as a disincentive for crass studio excess. It might also help level the Oscar playing field. The vast majority of recent Oscar best picture nominees have been films that were either financed by a major studio or one of its specialty film divisions, which, if necessary, can draw on the resources of the parent conglomerate. (The 2007 best picture nominee “Babel” from Paramount Vantage is a good example.) Given the new formula for picking best picture nominees, if Warners’ ad spree earns “Hallows” 5% of the first-place votes for best picture, it could knock a smaller movie out of the running. Even though indie movies can still earn a best picture win, as Summit’s “The Hurt Locker” did in 2009, most Oscar insiders say that when it comes to vaulting your film into the awards season conversation, money talks.

Take the case of “Margin Call,” a tiny, $3.4-million movie made by Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate that is belatedly trying to get an academy campaign off the ground. So far, it’s gotten little traction from most of the Oscar pundits despite a treasure trove of great acting turns from its cast, notably Kevin Spacey, whose performance as a conflicted Wall Street trader is as good as anything you’ll see all year. Roadside co-president Howard Cohen isn’t crying foul, noting that the academy has “a long tradition of recognizing independent films.” But he admits that big studio films have an edge, saying the “star-driven, prestige studio films can definitely nose out an independent picture.”

The academy itself has made it clear it wants a more level playing field. That’s the major impetus behind a set of new rules announced earlier this year that puts a squeeze on campaigning once the Oscar nominations are announced in late January. The academy felt the extravagant parties and movie star screening appearances were giving studios an unfair competitive advantage.

Under President Tom Sherak, the academy has made a serious effort to change with the times. The results have largely been admirable. Even bolder moves may be coming, with insiders buzzing about online voting and a plan to move the 2013 Oscars up into January.

A luxury tax would be another step in the right direction. It’s no pie-in-sky theory. In fact, it’s exactly the way business is run today in Major League Baseball, the great American pastime. Any team whose payroll goes over the luxury cap limit pays a percentage of the amount it went over the cap, the penalty increasing each year the team topped the cap. The Yankees have forked out roughly 95% of the tax payments, which MLB uses to fund player benefits and baseball programs in developing countries.

It’s not a panacea. But if you’re a baseball fan, you’ve surely noticed that the Yankees are no longer going to the World Series every year, while small-market teams like the Tampa Bay Rays and the Milwaukee Brewers — baseball’s equivalent of Lionsgate or Summit — managed to make the playoffs this year.

I suspect the academy would have a host of concerns, starting with the fact that baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has a lot more sway over the 30 teams than Sherak has over the major studios. But if the academy can require studios to abide by all sorts of arcane rules about campaigning and film eligibility, surely it could exercise similar control over the budgetary excesses of Oscar campaigns. It may not be as easy to track ad buys as it is the number of appearances Leonardo DiCaprio makes at Q&A screenings, but it only took me a couple of email inquiries to get a range for the cost to buy a month’s worth of airplay at video billboards around town.

Money is what fuels the entire Oscar merry-go-round. I’m not enough of a wacko idealist to try to make it disappear entirely, especially since some of that advertising money helps my own newspaper keep the lights on. But if the academy is changing its rule book to promote fairness, it should use its rulebook to remind the industry’s biggest spenders that when it comes to winning Oscars, the focus should be on the movies, not the money.


Oscars 2012: Is Pixar's animation streak finally over?

'A Better Life's' Demian Bichir: Time for his moment in the spotlight

-- Patrick Goldstein

Photo: Arthur Bowen, left, and Daniel Radcliffe in a scene from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2." Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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

November 29, 2011 | 10:50 am

The artist

"The Artist," a black-and-white silent movie, was named best picture of 2011 Tuesday morning by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film's director, Michel Hazanavicius of France, also earned best director for his valentine to the early days of Hollywood.

It is the first time the critics have given its top award to a silent film. Earlier in the morning, the film earned five nominations for the Spirit Award.

Meryl Streep was named best actress for her performance as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady," which opens in L.A. on Dec. 30. It is the fifth time the New York circle has honored Streep. The last time was two years ago for "Julie & Julia."

Brad Pitt took home best actor honors for his performances as Oakland A's manager Billy Beane in "Moneyball" and as a stern father in Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life." It is his first honor from the critics' group. Steve Zallian and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for "Moneyball."

This year's golden girl, Jessica Chastain, was named best supporting actress for her roles in "The Tree of LIfe," "The Help" and "Take Shelter." Albert Brooks won best supporting actor for a rare dramatic turn in the film noir "Drive."

Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams' won best nonfiction film, while "Margin Call," written and directed by J.C. Chandor, was awarded best first feature. Cinematography honors went to Emmanuel Lubezki for "Tree of Life."

Foreign-language film honors went to Iran's  "A Separation," which has already won multiple awards and is the country's submission for the foreign-language film Oscar. The Chilean filmmaker Raoul Ruiz, who died in August, got a special posthumous award.

The awards will be handed out in a ceremony in Manhattan on Jan. 9.

The New York Film Critics Circle, which was founded in 1935, is the first major critics group to announce its picks for the best of the year. The organization, made up of critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and online sites, traditionally voted after the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. But in October, the 33-member group announced it would move its awards selection ahead two weeks.

The voting was supposed to have happened on Monday, but the group didn't have the chance to screen David Fincher's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," which opens Dec. 23, until Monday morning, so the voting was delayed until Tuesday. The film received no awards.

Over the decades, the New York critics' selections and those of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have differed. Last year, the circle chose "The Social Network" as the top film and the academy gave "The King's Speech" the best film Oscar. The two groups agreed two years ago on "The Hurt Locker."

The National Board of Review of Motion Pictures announces its selections Thursday morning.


"New York Film Critics movies awards dates to see 'Dragon Tattoo'"

-- Susan King

Photo: Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

'Take Shelter,' 'The Artist' top contenders for Spirit Awards [Updated]

November 29, 2011 |  9:32 am

Take ShelterWriter-director Jeff Nichols' apocalyptic drama "Take Shelter" and the black-and-white silent film "The Artist" emerged as top contenders for Film Independent's 2012 Spirit Awards on Tuesday morning, earning five nominations each. Both films were nominated in the feature category, along with "50/50," "Beginners," "Drive" and "The Descendants."

The Spirit Awards, in their 27th year, reflected the wide-open nature of this awards season, with "Beginners," "The Descendants," "Drive" and "Martha Marcy May Marlene" all collecting four nominations apiece.

In the female lead category, Michelle Williams was nominated for her role in "My Week With Marilyn," along with Elizabeth Olsen for "Martha Marcy May Marlene," Lauren Ambrose for "Think of Me," Rachael Harris for "Natural Selection" and Adepero Oduye for "Pariah."

Ryan Gosling was nominated for male lead in "Drive," as were Demian Bichir for "A Better Life," Jean Dujardin for "The Artist," Woody Harrelson for "Rampart" and Michael Shannon for "Take Shelter."

In the directing category, Film Independent acknowledged Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist"), Mike Mills ("Beginners"), Nichols ("Take Shelter"), Alexander Payne  ("The Descendants") and Nicolas Winding Refn ("Drive").

J.C. Chandor's "Margin Call" received the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film for director, casting director and ensemble cast.

The Film Independent committee evaluated 270 movies, all of which had budgets less than $20 million.

Last year's Spirit Awards top nominees were "Winter's Bone" and "The Kids Are All Right." Both films went on to be nominated for four Academy Awards, including best picture.

The Spirit Awards will take place Feb. 25 in Santa Monica.

[Updated at 10:55 a.m. Nov. 29] A full list of the nominees follows on the jump:

Continue reading »

"Beginners," "Tree of Life" tie for Gotham Film Awards

November 28, 2011 |  8:07 pm

Mike Mills' semi-autobiographical drama "Beginners," about a young man whose widower father comes out of the closet, and Terrence Malick's mystical family epic "Tree of LIfe" tied for best film of 2011 at the 21st annual Gotham Independent Film Awards given out Monday evening in New York City.

"Beginners," which stars Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer, also won for ensemble cast. Felicity Jones took home the breakthrough actor award for her role as a lovestruck British woman in 
"Like Crazy." Breakthrough director honors went to Dee Rees for "Pariah." The documentary prize went to "Better This World."

Other awards given out included:

The Best Film Not Playing At a Theater Near You: "Scenes of a Crime"

Festival Genius Award, which is voted on by filmgoers online: "Girlfriend"

Spotlight on Women Filmmakers "Live the Dream" Grant: Lucy Mulloy, "Una Noche"

The awards are presented by the Independent Filmmaker Project, which is the oldest and largest U.S. organization of indie filmmakers. It is one of two key awards given to independent films. Nominations for the other, Film Independent's Spirit Awards, will be announced Tuesday.

PHOTOS: 21st Gotham Film Awards arrivals

Besides the competitive awards, career achievement awards were given out to actors Charlize Theron and Gary Oldman, director David Cronenberg and co-chair and chief executive of Fox Film Entertainment Tom Rothman.

Last year's top winner, "Winter's Bone," went on to receive four Oscar nominations including for best picture and lead actress (Jennifer Lawrence). The Gotham's 2009 selection, "The Hurt Locker," won the Academy Award for best picture, director and original screenplay.


"Descendants," "Beginners" among Gotham Independent Film nominations

Gotham Awards give top prize to 'Winter's Bone'

— Susan King

Photo: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners." Photo credit: Andrew Tepper.

Tribeca names Cannes' Frederic Boyer artistic director

November 28, 2011 |  4:05 pm

The Tribeca Film Festival has named the Cannes Film Festival veteran Frederic Boyer to its newly created position of artistic director. Boyer had previously run Cannes’ directors’ fortnight program, serving as its artistic director and head of programming.

Tribeca's move comes in the wake of the departure of its longtime director of programming, David Kwok, earlier this month. As part of the reshuffling, the organization has promoted senior programmer Genna Terranova to the director of programming position.

In announcing the Boyer hire, it also said that Geoff Gilmore, the Sundance veteran who for the past several years has served as chief creative officer of Tribeca’s parent company Tribeca Enterprises, will now ”take on a more active role in overseeing the [Tribeca] program.”

Tribeca, which was created in 2002 by Robert De Niro and producing partner Jane Rosenthal, takes place every spring in New York and showcases a range of documentary and feature programming. Over the years it has been a launching pad for independent-film hits such as "Let the Right One In" and "Transamerica." Boyer is expected to bring a world-cinema bent to the festival's slate.


Tribeca 2011: Five movies to watch after the festival ends

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Frederic Boyer. Credit: Tribeca Film Festival


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