2018 Oscar Predictions: Best Live Action Short


Two American university film schools are represented on this year’s Oscar shortlist for Best Live Action Short Film, which have to win film festival awards to qualify. The Academy’s Short Films and Animation branch selected 10 live-action shorts (out of 165 qualified submissions) to contend for Oscar nominations. They will now vote for five nominees from the shortlist after attending January branch screenings in Los Angeles, London, New York and San Francisco.

The shorts are listed below in alphabetical order. No film will be deemed a frontrunner until I have seen it.

“DeKalb Elementary”


“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk, director (UCLA)

“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, director (FINCH)

“Facing Mecca,” Jan-Eric Mack, director, and Joël Jent, producer (Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion)

“Icebox,” Daniel Sawka, director, and Camille Cornuel, producer (Iceboxthefilmco)

“Lost Face,” Sean Meehan, director, and Sam McGarry, producer (Soma Films)

“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr., director (New York University)

“Rise of a Star,” James Bort, director, and Boris Mendza, producer (Fulldawa Films)

“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, director, and Rachel Shenton, writer (Slick Films)

“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, director (Hamburg Media School)

“Witnesses,” David Koch, director (Lux for Film, Diez Films and Paradoxal)

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‘Blade Runner 2049’: Inside Denis Villeneuve’s Holographic Joi of Sex


Unlike the stunning CG recreation of Sean Young’s Rachael replicant in “Blade Runner 2049,” the Joi hologram played by Ana de Armas was more of an advanced analog creation. In fact, the directive from Denis Villeneuve was to have Joi alternate between looking realistic and artificial, depending on the emotional context for Ryan Gosling’s K, who customized her as more of a loving companion than pleasure model.

They recorded actress de Armas on set with Gosling from multiple angles with  GoPros and HDRI lighting set up by Roger Deakins. Then Double Negative made a CG version and went through a lot of testing. However, finding the right look was difficult.

“Blade Runner 2049”

“Joi is a volume, a projection, and we looked at conventional holograms and didn’t really like them that much,” said Nelson. “We had to come up with something more subtle yet cooler than that. What we did was a 360-degree transparency,  We had that on her face for a while, but it got in the way of the performance, so we focused on the back transparency.”

The Back-Face Shell Look

Dubbed the back-face transparency, the look got approved by Villeneuve on the last day of shooting. Similar to a bottle, you could see through the front of Joi all the way through the back of her.

“It’s a transparency where you get to see her back shell before you see the background,” added Paul Lambert, Double Negative’s visual effects supervisor. “What that does is you only see the effect when she moves. You suddenly feel as if she’s a hollow volume. And it played perfectly into the idea that she was real and unreal.”

“Blade Runner 2049”

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

To achieve the the back-face transparency Double Negative sliced Joi’s CG model right down the middle and took away the front so you could only see the back shell. Then they put the front of the photographed image back onto the model to create the necessary volume.

For the rooftop scene, they created dry and wet transparency and added flickering. And for the giant pink hologram, they shot the actress wearing pink makeup with a three-story LED screen as the only light source. DNeg then created the CG model and manipulated it with very subtle transparency.

The Three-Way Sex Scene

During the memorable sex scene in which K and Joi “touch,” the hologram merges with replicant prostitute Mariette (Mackenzie Davis). For this, DNeg shot de Armas, Davis, and Gosling separately and then joined the women with their CG models and linked them to Gosling’s model when they interacted with his body. But lining up the two women was intricate.

“After [editor] Joe Walker had done his cut, we saw these magic moments when the eyes lined up, but I was adamant on every shot that we start out of sync but then end in sync, particularly their eyes,” Nelson said.

“Blade Runner 2049”

“It was something incredibly simple yet complex,” added Lambert. “We wanted to preserve Ana’s performance as much as possible except when they had to be in sync.”

That’s because something unusual happened as a result of the merging: ““I wanted them to join and become a third woman,” Villeneuve said. “When we did the test, I loved that this third face had an erotic presence. And what was interesting for me was that when they were off sync, the women had different emotional experiences.

“They were there for different reasons, and, at the end, both were linked by the idea of love. The prostitute gets touched in a lovely way and receives the emotion from K, and, for the first time, Joi gets the impression of being real.”

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Golden Globes 2018 Full TV Nominations List (Updating Live)


The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is currently announcing this year’s Golden Globe Awards nominees. Here’s a live, updated list.

Given its scheduling in January — midway through the TV season — the Hollywood Foreign Press Association finds itself in the unique position of getting to reward hot new TV shows first, before the Emmys.

Last year, however, it was “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” which had already dominated at the Emmys, leading the pack with five Globe nominations, followed by AMC’s “The Night Manager,” which scored four nods. Newcomers “The Crown,” “The Night Of,” “This Is Us” and “Westworld” picked up three nominations each, along with veteran comedy “Black-ish.”

Check out the full list of Golden Globe TV nominations below. For the show’s film picks, head on over to our dedicated film nominations post here.

Best Drama Series

“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“This Is Us” (NBC)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: “The Crown” (Netflix)

Best Comedy or Musical Series

“Black-ish” (ABC)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
“Master of None” (Netflix)
“SMILF” (Showtime)
“Will & Grace” (NBC)


Best TV Movie or Limited Series

“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“Fargo” (FX)
“Feud: Bette & Joan” (FX)
“The Sinner” (USA)
“Top of the Lake: China Girl” (SundanceTV)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (FX)

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)
Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”)
Freddie Highmore (“The Good Doctor”)
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)
Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Billy Bob Thornton (“Goliath”)

Best Actress in a Drama Series

Caitriona Balfe (“Outlander”)
Claire Foy (“The Crown”)
Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Deuce”)
Katherine Langford (“13 Reasons Why”)
Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Claire Foy (“The Crown”)

Best Actor in a Comedy Series

Anthony Anderson (“Black-ish”)
Aziz Ansari (“Master of None”)
Kevin Bacon (“I Love Dick”)
William H. Macy (“Shameless”)
Eric McCormack (“Will & Grace”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Donald Glover (“Atlanta”)

Best Actress in a Comedy Series

Pamela Adlon (“Better Things”)
Alison Brie (“GLOW”)
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”)
Issa Rae (“Insecure”)
Frankie Shaw (“SMILF”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”)

Best Actor in a TV Movie or Limited Series

Robert De Niro (“The Wizard of Lies”)
Jude Law (“The Young Pope”)
Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks”)
Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”)
Geoffrey Rush (“Genius”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Tom Hiddleston (“The Night Manager”)

Best Actress in a TV Movie or Limited Series

Jessica Biel (“The Sinner”)
Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”)
Jessica Lange (“Feud: Bette & Joan”)
Susan Sarandon (“Feud: Bette & Joan”)
Reese Witherspoon (“Big Little Lies”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Sarah Paulson (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”)

Best Supporting Actor in a Series, TV Movie or Limited Series

David Harbour (“Stranger Things”)
Alfred Molina (“Feud: Bette & Joan”)
Alexander Skarsgard (“Big Little Lies”)
Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”)
David Thewlis (“Fargo”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Hugh Laurie (“The Night Manager”)

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, TV Movie or Limited Series

Laura Dern (“Big Little Lies”)
Ann Dowd (“The Handmaid’s Tale”)
Chrissy Metz (“This Is Us”)
Michelle Pfeiffer (“The Wizard of Lies”)
Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies”)

LAST YEAR’S WINNER: Olivia Colman (“The Night Manager”)

Presenters Alfre Woodard, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Bell, and Sharon Stone gathered Monday morning to announce the full list of nominations for this year’s 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards. Also check out the show’s @GoldenGlobes Instagram Stories.

The 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air live across the country on NBC on Sunday, Jan. 7, 2018 at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET from the Beverly Hilton Hotel with host Seth Meyers.

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‘I, Tonya’ is a Hit for Neon, While A24 Thrives With ‘The Disaster Artist’ and ‘Lady Bird’


Over the last six weekends, six new specialized releases have opened to a per-theater average of over $60,000. “I, Tonya” is the latest, and comes at a time when seats at prime theaters are at a premium.

Still, it isn’t necessarily a bad weekend to open. Last year, “La La Land” launched to $881,000 in five theaters, a nearly $170,000-per-theater result. But it had far less competition, ecstatic reviews, top stars, and signs of early appeal that propelled it to over $100 million and much more worldwide.

This year has more strong titles; even better, most show early success with wider audiences. “The Disaster Artist” expanded quickly in its second weekend to place #4 overall, while A24 had a second Top 10 hit again with “Lady Bird.” That film, coming off critics’ group wins, is thriving and easily the leader among fall releases so far. In fact, it already is the second-biggest specialized release of the year in only six weeks, trailing only “The Big Sick.”

“The Shape of Water” in a strong second weekend gives Fox Searchlight, similar to A24, its second breakout initial limited release along with “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” The more limited “Call Me By Your Name,” though expanding more slowly, is showing strong interest.

Not reported here are one-week qualifying runs for the mostly acclaimed “Foxtrot,” which is playing for seven days in New York and Los Angeles.


I, Tonya (Neon) — Metacritic: 74; Festivals include: Toronto, AFI 2017
$245,602 in 4 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $61,400

Excellent opening for this look at the infamous mid-’90s figure skating rivalry involving Tonya Harding. Opening in theaters already crowded with other top limited films, it’s getting good but not quite as ecstatic reviews as some other recent releases (though Margot Robbie is getting consistent praise). It’s an impressive breakout for Neon — even more so at short notice, since they acquired this three months ago at Toronto. (30 West partnered for the acquisition, reported for around $5 million, the biggest sale of the festival).

This had a nine percent Saturday increase, which suggests a good initial response. With all the strong films in play, it likely also saw the gross reduced a bit by limited seating with some sold-out shows. It’s a tough market at the moment, but the film hits its initial marks and then some.

What comes next: The major expansion will be January, where this could be a crossover success based on initial results.

"The Disaster Artist"

“The Disaster Artist”

Week Two

The Disaster Artist (A24)
$6,436,000 in 840 theaters (+821); PTA: $7,661; Cumulative: $8,032,000

James Franco’s homage to the making of cult film “The Room” made a major leap to a national result with strong results. At #4 overall, it’s the biggest single-weekend gross for any A24 title (past successes have included “Ex Machina” and “Spring Breakers,” as well as “Moonlight”) as well as their highest position in any Top 10.

Based on second-day results (down 17 percent, not unusual for a younger-appeal film with strong initial interest), this might not yet be a draw for important older specialized viewers. For now, it’s been a remarkable success with plenty of upside ahead.

The Shape of Water (Fox Searchlight)
$1,100,000 in 41 theaters (+39); PTA: $26,829; Cumulative: $1,331,000

The second weekend of Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy monster romance, aided by its initial Los Angeles dates including Q&As at key theaters, finds it flying high. The numbers come in roughly just lower than the second weekend of Greta Gerwig’s breakout “Lady Bird” (which had far less competition and no pre-holiday doldrums to worry about), and about equal to “Manchester By the Sea.”

These are strong overall results, placing #1 at most of its theaters, including both in Los Angeles (the Arclight is heading to close to $200,000 for the weekend). Overall grosses went up a bit Saturday — not automatic with its younger appeal, and since del Toro’s strong fanbase comes out early.

Wonder Wheel

“Wonder Wheel”

Wonder Wheel (Amazon)

$155,805 in 47 theaters (+42); PTA: $3,315; Cumulative: $321,984

Woody Allen’s latest is struggling against competition as well as consensus mediocre reviews. At slightly more theaters, the per-theater gross is little more than 10 percent of “The Shape of Water” in its second-weekend expansion.

The Other Side of Hope (Janus)

$(est.) 27,000 in 17 theaters (+14); PTA: $(est.) 1,588; Cumulative: $(est.) 52,000

Finnish master Aki Kaurismaki’s latest added other top cities to marginal results as it continues to amass strong reviews.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Lady Bird (A24) Week 6
$3,547,000 in 1,557 theaters (+363); Cumulative: $22,331,000

After six weeks, this has already outgrossed all A24 initial limited-release titles, and will top its biggest success (“Moonlight,” $27.8 million) by Christmas. And with likely awards and nominations ahead, it should top that by a wide margin. This weekend also saw it outdo “Three Billboards,” which is also strong — but not as strong as this.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri””

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Fox Searchlight) Week 5 $2,860,000 in 1,620 theaters (+190); Cumulative: $18,310,000

Martin McDonagh’s Ozarks-set satirical drama continues to thrive. It is likely at its widest point, with enough heft to continue at many of its theaters through the lucrative holidays. Though it opened two weeks later, “Three Billboards” is already $4 million ahead of Fox Searchlight’s 2015 “Brooklyn.” That film made $14 million through its second December weekend, on its way to a $38 million total.

Darkest Hour (Focus) Week 3

$777,000 in 53 theaters (+49); Cumulative: $1,232,000

A credible showing for Joe Wright’s film about Churchill at the most crucial point of his political career. With its audience older and not as likely to come out as quickly as some other top titles, this looks to have a decent future ahead.

The Man Who Invented Christmas (Bleecker Street) Week 3
$687,381 in 720 theaters (+54); Cumulative: $4,325,000

What’s more seasonal than Ebenezer Scrooge? This hasn’t thrived in wider release, but more screens were added this week. Expect continued if lesser play in the weeks ahead.

Call Me By Your Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 3
$291,101 in nine theaters (+5); Cumulative: $1,372,000

The first expansion for Luca Guadagnino’s acclaimed ’80s Italy-set romance showed continued strength as a wider audience gets its initial exposure. Five additional theaters in New York and Los Angeles continued strong results. More top markets open by Christmas, with a wider rollout planned for mid-January.

Loving Vincent (Good Deed) Week 11
$137,574 in 120 theaters (-43); Cumulative: $5,770,000

This Polish origin animated film keeps adding to its already impressive totals.

“My Friend Dahmer”

My Friend Dahmer (FilmRise) Week 6
$130,000 in 110 theaters (+20); Cumulative: $1,129,000

The cannibal killer’s graphic novel adaptation continues to due steady niche business.

The Florida Project (A24) Week 10
$96,177 in 101 theaters (-19); Cumulative: $5,024,000

Sean Baker’s Orlando-set film continues to build awards momentum. Late in its run, it’s already more than $4 million better than his acclaimed “Tangerine.”

Also noted

Last Flag Flying (Lionsgate) – $47,000 in 85 theaters; Cumulative: $922,966

The Square (Magnolia) – $(est.) 45,000 in 42 theaters; Cumulative: $(est.) 1,038,000

Jane (Abramorama) – $42,901 in 42 theaters; Cumulative: $1,323,000

Victoria & Abdul (Focus) – $41,000 in 104 theaters; Cumulative: $22,125,000

Tom of Finland (Kino Lorber) – $28,600 in 11 theaters; Cumulative: $259,733

Novitiate (Sony Pictures Classics) – $23,699 in 90 theaters; Cumulative: $530,867

The Breadwinner (GKids) – $20,074 in 5 theaters; Cumulative: $153,181

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story (Zeitgeist/Kino Lorber) – $19,500 in 5 theaters; Cumulative: $72,648

Thelma (The Orchard) – $17,784 in 40 theaters; Cumulative: $108,530

God’s Own Country (Goldwyn) – $12,079 in 10 theaters; Cumulative: $279,620

Faces Places (Cohen) – $11,942 in 14 theaters; Cumulative: $541,422

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