‘Carol,’ ‘Beasts of No Nation’ get Indie Spirit nods

25 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Spirit Awards Noms Suggest Indie Community Is Uniting Behind ‘Carol,’ ‘Spotlight’ (Analysis).

The 1950s romance ‘‘Carol,’’ starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, has topped the Independent Spirit Awards nominations. Film Independent announced its nominees for its 31st Spirit Awards — which honors American films made for $20 million or less for “uniqueness of vision, original and provocative subject matter” — on Tuesday morning and included among its five best feature nominees a stop-motion animated film (Anomalisa), a Netflix production (Beasts of No Nation) and a film shot entirely on iPhones (Tangerine), as well as two films directed by favorites of the indie community, Todd Haynes’ Carol and Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight.

The Todd Haynes-directed film picked up six nods Tuesday in categories including best feature, director, and actress for both Mara and Blanchett. ‘‘Beasts of No Nation,’’ a fictional account of a child soldier, followed with five nominations, including best feature. ‘‘Spotlight,’’ about The Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into sex abuse by Catholic priests, received four nominations and the Robert Altman Award. But the energy this morning inside the W Hotel where Film Independent rolled out 2016 roster of Independent Spirit Award nominees was muted and even a bit depressed.

The nominations — determined by nominating committees comprised of “writers, directors, producers, cinematographers, editors, actors, critics, casting directors, film festival programmers and other working film professionals” — brought especially encouraging news for Carol, the great hope of The Weinstein Co. this awards season (along with, perhaps, the as-yet-unseen The Hateful Eight). The original Netflix film “Beasts” featured nominations for Cary Joji Fukunaga as best director and best cinematographer, while the film was nominated for best feature. It is noteworthy that the nom-coms categorized both leading ladies as lead actresses, as TWC has, somewhat controversially, been pushing Mara as a supporting actress. Beasts of No Nation, the Netflix release, garnered five mentions, including one for supporting actor Idris Elba and three for filmmaker Cary Fukunaga, who was recognized for his work as a producer, director and cinematographer.

Collectively, this is precisely the sort of badge-of-legitimacy that this day-and-date release needs to convince skeptical voters from other awards groups that the pic, despite being gruesomely violent and released in an unusual way, is worthy of their consideration. Even though word of the nominations began circulating on social media, Film Independent president Josh Welsh still joined actors Elizabeth Olsen and John Boyega for the official announcement in front of invited press and photographers. The Spirit Awards nominees leaking prematurely is becoming an annual tradition: In 2014, PR Newswire broke an embargo and posted the nominees ahead of the announcement.

No film this year has a more impressive ensemble than this one, which is the only Altman honoree ever to also land an editing nom (a nom that is seen as crucial for a film with best picture Oscar hopes). Producers: Jason Michael Berman, Chris Columbus, Jon Coplon, Christoph Daniel, Andrew Kortschak, John Lesher, Ryan Lough, Justin Nappi, Alain Peyrollaz, Gwyn Sannia, Marc Schmidheiny, Victor Shapiro, Ryan Zacaria Ensemble Cast: Billy Crudup, Paul Guilfoyle, Neal Huff, Brian d’Arcy James, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, Jamey Sheridan, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci (Recognizing a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. In explaining what happened this year, Welsh blamed it on a “back-end technical issue,” adding that the list was up only briefly and immediately taken down. “These things happen and you have to roll with it,” Welsh said later on the red carpet. “We wish it hadn’t happened, but it’s not that big of a deal. We’re just so excited to be here today announcing all of the nominees and getting this out to the world.” As the news did make its way into the world, Olsen and Boyega did deliver a jolt of positivity to the festivities by playfully going off-script a few times. Magnolia’s Tangerine, meanwhile, made history in its own way: in addition to its feature and directing noms, it also landed noms for its two leading ladies (lead actress Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and supporting actress Mya Taylor), who happen to be transgender.

Gurney’s ‘‘Sylvia’’ last week pulled in only $317,033 from a potential of $911,820. ‘‘Dames at Sea” did even worse — earning just $127,071 from a $556,860 potential haul. Welsh said that it will be the same tent and the same piece of real estate, just a new location. “Due to changes in regulations and zoning laws south of the Pier, we’re moving. Michael Shannon (99 Homes) and Paul Dano (Love & Mercy) managed to dodge a Segel-like recategorization — but their films otherwise registered rather disappointingly. A few films that face steeper climbs to the Oscars, but got a boost on Tuesday, include The Diary of a Teenage Girl — the leading nom-getter at the other coast’s big celebration of indies, the Gotham Awards, which will be presented on Monday — for best first feature and best actress (Bel Powley); James White for best first feature, best actor (Christopher Abbott) and best supporting actress (Cynthia Nixon); Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (Jesse Andrews) for best first screenplay; Meadowland (Reed Morano) for best cinematography; and recent Emmy nominee Ben Mendelsohn (Mississippi Grind) for best actor. English-language productions of a small-scale that were not eligible for any noms because of their national affiliation included 45 Years, Brooklyn, The Danish Girl, Ex Machina, Suffragette and Youth, among others. (The eligibility of Room, which has an Irish director and English screenwriter, was reportedly approved late in the process, which may have hurt its overall performance.) The Spirit Award winners will be announced at a ceremony in Santa Monica on Saturday, Feb. 27.

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Finding the ‘Joy’ in Jennifer Lawrence

20 Jan 2016 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Joy’ review: Jennifer Lawrence cleans up in enjoyable biopic.

Writer-director David O. Their latest collaboration — following in the footsteps of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle — is a biographical picture about the life and times of Joy Mangano.Jennifer Lawrence groans when she’s asked about singing the classic Nancy and Frank Sinatra duet Something Stupid with co-star Edgar Ramirez in her new film Joy. “David [O Russell, the movie’s director] texted me last night to ask if he could put it on the soundtrack and this is what I texted him back,” the actor says as she digs around for her mobile phone and reads out her response verbatim. “‘David, no!!!’ and it is three exclamation marks.In a very abbreviated nutshell, that actually happened to Joy Mangano, 59, the fabulously successful Long Island entrepreneur/inventor and HSN pitchwoman whose rags-to-riches journey started with the invention of a mop.

Russell has made three kinds of movies: offbeat romances (“Flirting With Disaster”), surreal comedies (“I Heart Huckabees”) and dramas about dysfunctional yet appealing families (“The Fighter”). In real life, Mangano is the Long Island housewife and inventor who became famous and eventually rich after bouts of near-bankruptcy, by creating and marketing her Miracle Mop. Out Boxing Day in Australia, the film stars Jennifer Lawrence in the fictionalised life story of Joy Mangano, a single mum from Long Island who made her fortune selling a mop. On Christmas Day, “Joy,” a movie inspired by her struggles as a divorced, single mother turned mogul by way of that mop, will open at movie theaters across America.

This was before she hooked up with the giant Home Shopping Network, becoming their most effective pitch person and eventually selling her parent company, Ingenious Designs, to HSN. Gross, I can’t listen to it; I have to go to bed.’ And I said yes, but it’s a groaning, reluctant yes.” It’s the kind of unfiltered moment you come to expect when interviewing Lawrence, who may now be one of the most famous actors on the planet but still blurts out whatever she’s thinking with such self-deprecating charm it’s impossible not to be, well, charmed.

Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as Miracle Mop inventor and QVC pitchwoman Joy Mangano glues the movie together, but it threatens to unravel at any time. Lawrence, 25, looks genuinely surprised when complimented about how unchanged she seems from our earlier interviews before the fame and Oscars. “But there would be no reason to change,” she says with a shrug. “I just have a job and I love my job. In the film, Lawrence’s Mangano is a colourful character, a single mom with a unique relationship and friendship with her ex-husband, and an enterprising woman who parlays her creativity into an incredibly successful business.

Mom (Virginia Madsen) stays in her bedroom and watches soap operas, until she falls for a Haitian plumber (Jimmy Jean-Louis) who fixes a hole in her bedroom floor. She landed minor roles on TV shows such as Monk, Cold Case and Medium before her 2010 indie film Winter’s Bone led to her becoming the second youngest best actress Oscar nominee in history. This is true even when the film tilts off its rocker with a bit of Russell-esque madness built into the screenplay, and with the director failing to always keep the energy going. That resulted in not only a string of critically acclaimed films, an Academy Award and another Oscar nomination, but also her very own mega-franchise as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games.

Joy’s grandma (endearing Diane Ladd) delivers messages of empowerment and smooths over constant fights, but she’s opposed by the money-grubbing rich woman (Isabella Rossellini) who dates Joy’s dad and sends negative messages about her. Lawrence’s endearing habit of speaking her mind resulted in a controversial essay she penned on Lena Dunham’s website about her discovery during the Sony hacks that she was being paid less “than the lucky people with dicks” on her recent films, including American Hustle. “I completely understand when people say actors shouldn’t talk about politics and things they don’t know about, but this was my gender at stake and it was being threatened with unfairness and I thought, ‘What is the point of having this voice if it’s not to speak out for myself and for everyone else who can’t?’,” she says unapologetically.

Upon learning that Lawrence would be playing her mom, Miranne says, “I braced myself so I wouldn’t fall on the floor.” As for Mangano, she says Lawrence playing her “made me feel old, number one. Lawrence hangs out with a posse of celebrity girlfriends, including Amy Schumer and singer Adele, but the reason is simple. “The friendship gets expedited a lot when you meet someone you know beyond a shadow of a doubt has no agenda,” she says. Draining her savings and taking out loans, she started off small, selling her mops to local boat owners. “She persuaded QVC to take a thousand, but sales were poor and they tried to send them back,” says Mason. “She suggested letting her demonstrate it herself, and the channel agreed.” Sales skyrocketed and Mangano’s career as a QVC pitch woman was launched. That’s so amazing there aren’t even words.” Mangano and her three children didn’t view “Joy” until the Dec. 13 premiere in Manhattan, though a family outing to see “Trainwreck” included a trailer.

This is, after all, the self-confessed reality-show junkie who confessed in a recent Vogue interview that on the night of her 25th birthday party, friends surprised her with a visit from reality queen Kris Jenner, who presented her with a cake inscribed, ‘Happy Birthday, you piece of shit!’ The only time she seems tongue-tied is when asked about her relationship status, after a four-year stint with X-Men: First Class co-star Nicholas Hoult and a year with Coldplay singer Chris Martin before their breakup earlier this year. “Next!” Lawrence says in a no-nonsense voice, pausing as she decides if she’ll continue that thought. For one thing, Mangano’s childhood is not that interesting for a film, despite some flashbacks to her as a youngster (when she is played by 10-year-old Isabella Cramp, who does actually look like we imagine Lawrence could have at the same age). A satire on the acquisitiveness of the public? (Here, QVC foists unnecessary things on gullible viewers who could better save their money.) Russell doesn’t seem to know. And, of course, the grave ending would be a lie: Mangano is very much alive at the age of 59, still inventing, still pitching products, still a superstar of the American home shopping universe. There’s the Clothes It All luggage system, essentially a rolling suitcase with a removable garment bag, and the Super Chic vacuum, which releases fragrance into the air.

If I even casually say something to a reporter, that quote haunts me for the rest of my life,” she says, “so I am never, ever, ever talking about boys again!” I don’t think any of us brought enough tissues!” A good portion of the film was shot last winter in Boston, and though the always-busy Mangano was twice scheduled to visit the set, snowstorms made travel impossible. He has mixed genres successfully before, as in the anti-war comedy-drama “Three Kings,” but the blender often grinds to a halt in “Joy.” Just as we’re getting used to the realism of Mangano’s fight for respect, Russell photographs Rossellini as if she were a gargoyle.

One of her creations, the thin and velvet-covered Huggable Hanger, remains a bestseller for HSN, at more than 300 million sold, and was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey. Yet in “Silver Linings Playbook,” Cooper, De Niro and Russell all supported her with fine work; here they lay back and make the movie a one-ring circus where she has to be acrobat, bareback rider and clown.

He had a presence all of his own.” At one point, Miranne says, “Jennifer grabbed Joy’s hand and said to David, ‘Look at the nails, a French manicure.’ ” (That manicure is a Mangano signature.) Lawrence revealed that in studying for her part as Joy, she watched recordings of the inventor’s early pitches on HSN, including ones for “Huggable Hangers” and found her so compelling that she wanted to buy them on the spot. There is something special when creative people get together.” Mangano’s take on Lawrence? “She’s beyond her years, so brilliant, hysterical and so talented.

Critically, Russell’s sense of wonder and beauty turns elegiac moments — especially when Joy Mangano becomes fully realized as a woman and as a business executive — into scenes of great beauty. Lawrence recently said on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” that the movie was “half Joy Mangano’s story and half [Russell’s] imagination and other powerful, strong women who inspired him.” The director mined much of his Mangano material by phone.

The cast includes Edgar Ramirez, Diane Ladd, Virginia Madsen, Isabella Rossellini, Susan Lucci (in a mock TV soap opera that gives Joy some of its silliness) and even Melissa Rivers as her late mother Joan Rivers. There’s no situation Joy cannot overcome or circumvent.” At a Newsday photo shoot at Mangano’s luxurious but serene 42,000-square-foot mansion on 11 acres in St. As for parting advice for the ambitious? “If this movie inspires even just one more person to believe in themselves and to go after their dreams, then it’s made a very special impact in this world.

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