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Natalie Portman, Nicholas Hoult Join ‘Death and Life of John F. Donovan’

9 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Natalie Portman, Nicholas Hoult and Thandie Newton have joined the ensemble cast of Xavier Dolan’s “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan.”

Previously announced cast members include Kit Harington, Jessica Chastain, Susan Sarandon, Kathy Bates, Michael Gambon, Bella Thorne, Chris Zylka and Emily Hampshire.

Producers are Lyse Lafontaine of Lyla Films, Dolan and Nancy Grant of Sons of Manual. Joe Iacono is the executive producer.

Seville International is selling the film at the Berlin Film Festival with the exception of France, where the producers will jointly handle the rights with Seville International, and in the U.S., where the film will be jointly handled by CAA; eOne and Les Films Seville will directly distribute in Canada.

The film will focus on a young actor who recalls his pen-pal relationship with his American TV idol — played by Harrington — who died 10 years earlier, exploring the hardships of fame and hurdles of the movie business. »

- Dave McNary

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Oscar Favorites Elbowed Aside for Rookie Writers in 2016 Race

10 hours ago | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The Oscars’ current problems are a lot like baseball’s, back in the day. The game is too white, too macho and a little too overloaded with grizzled veterans for many fans’ comfort.

But encouraging signs can be spotted over in the writers’ division, where nine of this year’s 10 screenplay contenders were penned, in whole or in part, by first-time nominees.

Only Nick Hornby of “Brooklyn”; Ethan and Joel Coen of “Bridge of Spies”; Tom McCarthy of “Spotlight”; and Pete Docter of “Inside Out” have previously been named Oscar all-stars. Their writing partners and others, a remarkable 15 in all, are being called up to the Big Show for the first time. And that includes four women, the largest such number since 2007.

Maybe no one broke the color bar this year, but when it comes to new voices being heard, it’s truly the Year of the Rookie.

The rookies »

- Bob Verini

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FILM4 is the Company with 15 Academy Award Nominations Nobody is Talking About but Should Be

11 hours ago | Sydney's Buzz | See recent Sydney's Buzz news »

Titles backed by Film4 this year have a total of 15 Oscar nominations including a Best Picture and Best Director nomination and three of the five Oscar Best Actress Nominees: Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Charlotte Rampling.  The total tally of Film4’s awards nominations and wins across the Academy, BAFTA, critics groups, guilds, etc. in 2015 to date is: 181 wins out of a total 581 nominations (95% of which were in the U.S.) across 11 films -  “Room”, “Carol”, “Suffragette”, “Youth”, “The Lobster", "Ex Machina", "45 Years”,  “Amy”, “Macbeth”, “Slow West”, and “Dark Horse”.

Film4 has already had two Academy Best Picture wins in recent years with "Slumdog Millionaire" and "12 Years A Slave" amid other Academy Award nominations, so we can declare they are a force to be reckoned with.

This year again they have more nominations than most Hollywood Studios!  The New York based Distribution and Production Company A24 has seven nominations, and people are talking about them as serious players in the Oscar race, so let’s talk about Film4

Film4 is known for working with the most distinctive and innovative, both new and established, talent. It develops and co-finances films and is well known for its involvement with “The Last King of Scotland” (2006), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “This is England” (2006), “Seven Psychopaths” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2013) as well as its most recent crop of successes in the current awards season which has also already garnered a record number of BAFTA nominations this year - 22 in all.

Sue Bruce Smith is the head of distribution and brand strategy at Channel 4’s feature film division, Film4.  She supports the building and financing of projects from the U.K. broadcaster. She works in some capacity across most of the Film4 slate but has been particularly associated with films like “Room”, “The Lobster”, “Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Last King of Scotland”, “Tyrannosaur”, “The Imposter” and “Le Weekend”,

Sue has been at Film4 over 12 years. Prior to this she has worked variously in U.K. distribution, broadcaster investment in film, international sales and independent production at Palace Pictures, BBC Films, Littlebird and Film4.

Sl: Can you define what exactly you do at Film4?

Sue Bruce Smith: What I do varies quite a bit from film to film.  Some of the seasoned producers are more adept at finding partners and don’t need much in the way of help putting their finance together.  However, we also work with emerging producers and directors who require more guidance so I am on hand to help them access the right co-production or distribution partners to ensure the film is built in the best possible way.  Once the film is completed, I again get involved in the strategy for the launch of the film and I oversee the distribution activity.  Protecting and maximizing the strength of our Film4 brand is a key consideration in everything I do.  We are also the only free-to-air channel dedicated to film in the U.K. so this really helps define our strong brand.


Sl: How are productions greenlit at Film4?

Sue Bruce Smith:The creative and commercial team within Film4 will guide a project through development to final greenlight.  David Kosse, Director of Film4 is a key part of the whole progression of the film and his final decision, based very much on the soundings he gets from his senior team, also obviously draws heavily on his valuable experience and understanding of film investment and the international marketplace.  The Film4 team is a very inclusive team of about 23 people working across development, production, finance and distribution.  it is also able to draw upon additional resources within the Channel4, most specifically in marketing and press.

Sl: Do you do co-productions?

Sue Bruce Smith: If you mean financial co-productions, yes lots.  These tend to be U.S. set financial co-productions or they might come out of Europe.  But official co-productions are relatively rare as it is more difficult and takes longer to set up.  “Room”, however, was an official co-production with Telefilm Canada and “The Lobster” was the result of a wonderful collaboration of over five different European co-producers.

Sl: What sort of budget parameters do you work with?

Sue Bruce Smith: We span from the very low to sometimes quite high.  We try not to limit ourselves and allow the project to find its optimum level.   When we developed “Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk” with Ink Factory, in the course of looking for partners we found a fan in Tom Rothman who at that time was in the process of rebuilding production at TriStar and we have ended up, as a result, being involved in an Ang Lee film!  However these are the exceptions and the range is usually between Us $3m to Us$15m.

Going forward, we are keen to be bolder in how Film4 invests especially when we feel a film is a potential break out.  We operate a cross subsidy model where the bigger, more commercial investments allow us to generate revenue that then supports the new emerging talent.  It is worth noting that absolutely everything we earn from our films goes straight back into more development and film investment.

Sl: Do you have special “strands” for particular types of films?

Sue Bruce Smith: We don’t really distinguish films in strands we just work across many levels and genres. First time filmmakers tend to have smaller budgets - around Us$3m and they are built in a slightly different way.  For our larger projects I’d say our sweet spot is $10 – 15 million. 

Sl: How do you find projects?

Sue Bruce Smith:: We are constantly scouting for interesting new talent, watching shorts like “Robots of Brixton” where we found Kibwe Tavares, culling talent from our TV arm (like Yann Demange who worked with us on the TV series “Top Boy” before making “'71”) from theater (Lucy Kirkwood who we are making a short film with and developing a feature), the arts (which is where Steve McQueen originated and is still very active) and writing (Alex Garland who adapted “Never Let Me Go” for us and went on to make his striking debut “Ex Machina”)

Sl: I notice you don’t do international sales like you used to in the 80s.

Sue Bruce Smith: Yes we shed the international sales division and the U.K. Distribution arm back in 2002 and brought the focus back to our core development and co-financing activities.  We currently work with a wide range of sales agents like Protagonist, Hanway, Cornerstone, FilmNation, Westend, Pathe, Studio Canal, Independent and others.

Sl: In the early days in the 1980s operations were different.

Sue Bruce Smith: David Rose, in 1982, was the real visionary behind Film4.  He decided Channel4 would be different from all other TV channels.  Channel4 was the first U.K. broadcaster, through its film arm, Film on Four, to develop and co-finance films and, crucially, to allow these films to play in cinemas before their television transmission on Channel4. Our theatrical model became Film on Four and HBO, Sbs and Arte followed this lead. “Walter” by Stephen Frears followed this route in 1982.   Frear's next film “My Beautiful Laundrette” followed shortly after in 1985

(An aside here by Sydney Levine):

If my readers will indulge me for a little history lesson in how films change with technological change, I want to point out that in the early days of home video, in 1985, Sue and I (a couple of the pioneer women in the modern business) shared in the good fortune resulting from the shift in the movie and TV business.  

Working for the biggest TV production house in U.S. in the days of “Dallas”, I came to Lorimar to buy for home video, the fastest growing new technological distribution tool yet.  We put up $175,000 advance to acquire home video rights to the Film4 feature “My Beautiful Laundrette” for U.S.  $75,000 of that was to be used as P&A by theatrical distributor Orion Pictures Classics’ platform theatrical release – to platform first in N.Y. and L.A for critical reviews, and then, if profitable, to expand across the nation.  It was the first British film to come to U.S. in many a year (except of course for the James Bond franchise).  Orion Classics was headed by Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Donna Gigliotti who paid no advance but used the P&A allotment wisely and well.  It was a happy association that we shared a couple of more times before they moved on to form Sony Pictures Classics and I moved on to Republic Pictures, reconstructed by Cnb’s Russell Goldsmith, former CEO of Lorimar. This Film4 picture, “My Beautiful Laundrette” was by complete unknowns in the U.S. and was a first for us all.  We did not know it would go on to gross $7 million at the box office (a huge amount at that time for an independent film) and would sell 75,000 video units (at $50 wholesale a piece = $3,750,000).  We at Lorimar made a $1 million profit and overages of $1 million went to Channel 4 and $1 million went to Working Title.  I got a $100 bonus, and we were all delighted.  My association with Film4 was followed by many loyal and loving years and reunions, but that is another lesson.  

To quote Adam P. Davies, the writer of the U.K. Film Finance Handbook 2005/6: How to Fund Your Film:

Stephen Frears’s 1985 “My Beautiful Laundrette” signalled a change in direction for the industry in that TV backed film investment started to feed local productions.  The Channel4 film encouraged the broadcasters to increase investment in filmmaking over the late 80s and also launched Working Title, initially run by Tim Bevan and Sarah Radcliffe (who left in 1992 to run her own company) and later Eric Fellner, with whom Bevan runs the company today [in a longstanding deal with Universal-Focus].  Video distributor and producer Palace Pictures, run by Nik Powell and Stephen Woolley, followed the success in 1985 of Neil Jordan’s “Company of Wolves” with “Mona Lisa” in 1986.  The British Film Commission launched in 1992 [when “The Crying Game” had its world success]. 

Sue was at Palace Productions when I was at Lorimar and Republic and our paths crossed many times and so I was quite eager to share the latest good fortune of the 2016 Academy Awards at a time when the Academy is being besieged by negative publicity.  At that time, back in ’85, I suggested to Michael and Tom that they put up Daniel Day Lewis for Best Actor Nomination and as I recall, they told me British films or British actors in British films were not acceptable to the Academy, and so neither he nor the film was put up for nomination. 

My Beautiful Laundrette” obviously had Asian actors; it was about a gay skinhead and a Pakistani.  Diversity was at its core, but it did not get past the British line of demarcation the Academy had drawn in ’85.  Its ethnic boundaries might have existed if anyone had tried to test them but that was not even an issue in 1985. “Diversity” in those days did not exist as a word one used and the very idea of diversity was even more limited than today.  

Film4 has had a key role in proactively promoting different voices and stories since the 1980s. And today diversity is a crucial consideration in the decisions Film4 makes about its developments and productions with the aim of increasing diversity across all areas of the business.  They have several films currently in development with Bame writers and directors and are successfully working with many female directors such as Andrea Arnold, Debbie Tucker Green, Susanna White, Clio Bernard, Sarah Gavron and Lynne Ramsay.

In January last year parent company Channel4 launched the 360 Degree Diversity Charter which is all about a commitment to implementing diversity on and off screen and to measuring its progress.  It is tied to Project Diamond, an industry-wide diversity monitoring system.  Its results will be published in the next few months. 

Film4 has developed and co-financed many of the most successful U.K. films of recent years, Academy Award-winners such as Steve McQueen’s "12 Years a Slave", Danny Boyle’s "Slumdog Millionaire", Phyllida Lloyd’s "The Iron Lady” and Martin McDonagh’s "In Bruges" in addition to critically-acclaimed award-winners such as Mike Leigh’s "Mr. Turner", Chris Morris’ "Four Lions", Shane Meadows’ "This is England", Ben Wheatley’s “Sightseers", Clio Barnard’s "The Selfish Giant" Jonathan Glazer’s "Under the Skin" and David Mackenzie’s "Starred Up".

Film4’s recent releases include; Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room", Todd Haynes’ “Carol", Sarah Gavron’s “Suffragette", Justin Kurzel’s “Macbeth", Yorgos Lanthimos’ "The Lobster", Asif Kapadia’s box office record breaking documentary “Amy", Andrew Haigh’s "45 Years", Alex Garland’s "Ex Machina", Paolo Sorrentino’s “Youth", Peter Strickland’s "The Duke of Burgundy", Daniel Wolfe’s "Catch Me Daddy" and John Maclean’s "Slow West".

Forthcoming releases include; Ben Wheatley’s "High-Rise" and "Free Fire", Ang Lee’s "Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk", Benedict Andrews’ “Una" and Andrea Arnold’s "American Honey".

For further information visit, but for now, here is the Cheat Sheet on Film4’s 2016 Total Oscar Nominations numbering 15.  It will be at my side as I watch the Awards on February. Parenthetically, I am also looking forward to watching the fashions before the show, and inside the show, to catching that one loose cannon who will deliver the only inspirational speech in a rather inspirationless, basically boring, but still worthy traditional show.

3 of 5 Oscar Best Actress Nominees – Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Charlotte Rampling

Nomination tally by film:

Room” – 4 - Picture, Actress, Director, Best Adapted Screenplay

Carol” – 6 –Actress, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Costume Design, Original Score

Ex Machina” – 2 –Original screenplay, Visual Effects

Amy” – 1 – Documentary Feature

“45 Years” – 1 – Actress

Youth” – 1 – Original Song

Film4-backed films Oscar® nominations in full:


Actress in a Leading Role: Cate Blanchett

Actress in a Supporting Role: Rooney Mara

Adapted Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy

Achievement in Cinematography: Ed Lachman

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original score): Carter Burwell

Achievement in Costume Design: Sandy Powell


Best Motion Picture of the Year: Ed Guiney

Achievement in Directing: Lenny Abrahamson

Actress in a Leading Role: Brie Larson

Adapted Screenplay: Emma Donoghue

Ex Machina

Original Screenplay: Alex Garland

Achievement in Visual Effects: Andrew Whitehurst, Paul Norris, Mark Ardington and Sara Bennett

“45 Years”:

Actress in a Leading Role: Charlotte Rampling


Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original song): Simple Song # 3, music and lyrics by David Lang


Best Documentary Feature: Asif Kapadia, James Gay-Rees


- Sydney Levine

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Watch: 9 Oscar-Nominated Screenwriters on How They Got Their Start, Their Writing Process, and Much More

13 hours ago | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Representing eight of the 10 films nominated for Original and Adapted Screenplay at this year's Oscars, there's a very good chance that at least one of the nine screenwriters on the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's "It Starts with the Script" panel will be on stage at the Kodak Theatre later this month.  This is always my favorite panel of the year, where we get to hear from the year’s most lauded and gifted screenwriters. This year's was the biggest group ever: Writer-directors Pete Docter ("Inside Out") and Charlie Kaufman ("Anomalisa") are both nominated for Best Animated Feature. Novelist-turned-screenwriter Alex Garland ("28 Days Later," "Sunshine") made his directing debut on sci-fi breakout "Ex Machina," starring Domhnall GleesonAlicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac. Irish-born novelist Emma Donaghue decided to adapt her bestseller "Room" and then find a director; »

- Anne Thompson

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Film4's David Kosse set to take "bigger swings" with budget boost

16 hours ago | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

Ahead of today’s announcement that Film4’s 2016 budget has been increased from $22m to $36m (£15m to £25m), Film4 CEO David Kosse sat down with Screen to discuss what the extra investment will mean to the company.

The significant boost in investment from Film4’s parent company, Channel 4, comes a little over a year into Kosse’s tenure and is a huge vote of confidence in his vision and strategy for Film4’s future.

Can you begin by sharing your pitch to Channel 4 in terms of securing this significant boost in investment for Film4?

It’s really building on what we’ve done in the past - looking at what we’ve done and saying, “Okay, we’re obviously choosing talent well and choosing projects well”.

But in many cases, we’re not making money on [Film4-backed] movies that are making money. Other people are making money. So we’re choosing the projects, we’re developing »

- (Matt Mueller)

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Focus Features Shake-Up: What's Behind Peter Schlessel's Abrupt Exit

22 hours ago | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

In late 2011, British filmmaker Alex Garland was on the hunt for financing for Ex Machina, his indie scifi-thriller. He sent the script to David Kosse, then the London-based head of Universal Pictures International, who agreed to put up the money in exchange for Universal nabbing worldwide sales rights with an eye toward releasing Ex Machina in key foreign territories. Fast-forward to 2014. The $15 million British film was finished and looking for a U.S. distributor. Universal had first right of refusal, but the quirky Ex Machina wasn't necessarily an obvious fit for a big Hollywood studio. The

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- Pamela McClintock, Tatiana Siegel

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The Academy Celebrates The 88th Oscar Contenders At Annual Luncheon

8 February 2016 6:31 PM, PST | | See recent news »

More than 150 Oscar nominees came together at noon on Monday at the Beverly Hilton as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored this year’s Oscar contenders at its annual Nominees Luncheon.

From Left to Right:

Seated: Adam Benzine, Paul Massey, Michael Standish, Chris Jenkins, Randy Thom, Jason Smith, Josh Cooley, Maryann Brandon, Richard Williams, Patrick Vollrath, Ed Lachman, Mary Parent, David Acord, Anders Langland, Henry Hughes, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Tom Yellin

First Row: Rosa Tran, Jacqueline West, Ed Guiney, Evgeny Afineevsky, Matthew Shumway, Amy Hobby, Jonas Rivera, Gregg Rudloff, Signe Byrge Sorensen, Love Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Courtney Marsh, Nomi Talisman, Mark Ruffalo, Diane Warren, Paco Delgado, Bryan Cranston, Jistin Wilkes, Blye Pagon Faust, Roger Guyett, Basil Khalil, Drew Kunin, Sian Grigg, Andrea Berloff,

Second Row:Adam Stockhausen, Tom McArdle, Keith Redmon, Damian Martin, Ale Abreu, Matthew Heineman, Matt Damon, Bernhard Henrich, Cameron Waldbauer, Alan Robert Murray, »

- Michelle McCue

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Alejandro G. Iñárritu & Alex Garland Win 2016 Directors Guild Awards

7 February 2016 12:00 PM, PST | | See recent news »

This is an awards season unlike any other. Last night, the 68th DGA Awards were held in Los Angeles and for the second year in a row, Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the top prize in feature filmmaking. Iñárritu won the DGA Award last year for directing Birdman, and won this year for directing The Revenant, which is still playing in theaters nationwide. Iñárritu won over industry favorites George Miller (of Mad Max: Fury Road) and Adam McKay (of The Big Short). Both of these guys could've/should've won and it would've been just as worthy. In addition to Iñárritu's, writer-turned-filmmaker Alex Garland won the inaugural award for Best First-Time Director for Ex Machina, which is the best new addition to the DGA Awards this year. The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2016 were announced on Saturday, February 6th, during the 68th Annual DGA Awards »

- Alex Billington

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Alejandro G. Inarritu wins DGA Award for The Revenant, full list of winners here

7 February 2016 10:56 AM, PST | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

For the second year in a row (and the first time they’ve ever handed out back-to-back awards), the Directors Guild of America has honoured Alejandro G. Inarritu with the top prize at the Directors Guild of America Awards, with Inarittu collecting Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Revenant.

Inarritu won the DGA Award last year for Birdman, and went on to collect the Best Director award at the Oscars. Should he repeat the feat this year with The Revenant, he’d become only the third director in history to win back-to-back Best Director Academy Awards after John Ford and Joseph Mankiewicz.

And, should The Revenant also win Best Picture, it would be the first time a director has ever won back-to-back Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture.

Here’s the full list of winners from last night:

Feature Film

Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant

Tom McCarthy »

- Gary Collinson

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Alejandro G. Iñárritu Wins DGA Feature Film Award For The Revenant

7 February 2016 9:01 AM, PST | | See recent news »

Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio on location for The Revenant.

The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2015 were announced on Saturday evening during the 68th Annual DGA Awards at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. In a historic win, Alejandro G. Iñárritu won the DGA’s Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for The Revenant.

Mr. Iñárritu is the first director to win the award in back-to-back years. He won this Award last year for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance).

Outstanding Directorial Achievement of a First-Time Feature Film Director went to Alex Garland for Ex MacHina, while Cartel Land director Matthew Heineman brought home the DGA for Best Documentary. This is Heineman’s first DGA Award win.

As far as the Oscars go, Kristopher Tapley over at Variety says “we have a bona fide sprint on our hands. »

- Michelle McCue

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The Revenant's Alejandro González Iñárritu Wins Second Consecutive DGA Award

7 February 2016 4:54 AM, PST | Vulture | See recent Vulture news »

The Revenant might have been left out in the cold by a few initial Oscar predictors, but ever since that Globe win, it's been slowly crawling its way back into the race. Alejandro González Iñárritu won his second consecutive Directors Guild of America Award for Feature Film for his work on The Revenant last night, pushing the snowy revenge picture into the heart of the Oscars race, in a mirror of Birdman's slow flight to Oscar certainty. Still, we're far from unanimity, even among the usually predictive guild categories. With Spotlight's win at the SAG Awards, and The Big Short's win at the Producers Guild, this race could go in any direction. Meanwhile, the Directors Guild highlighted work from HBO on television, with awards for Bessie, Game of Thrones, and Veep, while the first ever Best First-Time Feature Film Director award went to Alex Garland of the mind-bending Ex Machina. »

- Jackson McHenry

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Directors Guild Awards predictions: Tom O'Neil (Gold Derby) tops all Experts with best score'

7 February 2016 1:05 AM, PST | Gold Derby | See recent Gold Derby news »

Congratulations to Gold Derby's very own founder Tom O'Neil for having the top score of 63% predicting the 2016 Directors Guild Awards winners on Saturday. In fact, he was the only pundit to correctly pick Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("The Revenant") over the frontrunner George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road") for the top prize of Best Film Director. O'Neil correctly picked "Game of Thrones" (drama series), "Bessie" (tv movie), "Saturday Night Live 40th Anniversary" (variety special), and Alex Garland for "Ex Machina" (First-Time Film Director). Related: Complete list of 2016 DGA Awards winners and nominees -Break- For the other 13 Experts predicting DGA winners, second place is a tie between Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), and Tariq Khan (Fox News) with 50% right. Up next are six people with 38% accuracy: Pete Hammond (Deadline), Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood), Nicole Spe...' »

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Oscar leader Iñarritu in DGA win

6 February 2016 11:58 PM, PST | ScreenDaily | See recent ScreenDaily news »

The Mexican has become the firm favourite to win the Oscar later this month after walking away with the Directors Guild Of America’s top prize for the second time in two years on Saturday.

Iñarritu won for The Revenant, beating a tough field of nominees that included Ridley Scott for The Martian, Adam McKay for The Big Short, Tom McCarthy for Spotlight, and George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road.

All are in the running for the Academy Award on February 28 except Scott, whose place is taken by Lenny Abrahamson for Room.

The DGA’s top honour is a highly reliable predictor of Academy Awards success. In the last 10 years the winner has gone on to claim the Oscar every year except in 2013, when DGA winner and Argo director Ben Affleck fell at the last hurdle to Ang Lee for Life Of Pi.

Iñarritu earned the DGA and the Oscar last year for Birdman.

The »

- (Jeremy Kay)

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Alejandro G. Inarritu’s ‘Revenant’ DGA Win Keeps Oscar Guessing Game Going

6 February 2016 11:26 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

The only thing Alejandro G. Inarritu really had going against him heading into this year’s Directors Guild of America awards ceremony was that he just won a year ago for “Birdman.” Apparently, that wasn’t enough.

The “Revenant” director became the first filmmaker to ever win back-to-back DGA honors for feature filmmaking Saturday night, and really, beyond the simple unlikely nature of that prospect, it’s difficult to call it a shock. After all, it’s not a hard sell to the guild’s 13,000 members that production on “The Revenant” was no walk in the park. That’s certainly been the overbearing linchpin of the film’s campaign these last several weeks, a narrative that is helping to propel Leonardo DiCaprio to his first Oscar. But moreover, voters in this group, they know very well what it takes to pull off a project like this. So they voted accordingly. »

- Kristopher Tapley

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"Revenant," "Ex Machina" Top The DGA Awards

6 February 2016 8:37 PM, PST | Dark Horizons | See recent Dark Horizons news »

"The Revenant" director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has won the top honor at the Directors Guild of America awards.

This marks the second year in a row Inarritu won the DGA trophy following last year's "Birdman". Inarritu beat out Tom McCarthy ("Spotlight"), George Miller ("Mad Max: Fury Road"), Adam McKay ("The Big Short") and Ridley Scott ("The Martian") for the honor.

Another big winner was Alex Garland who took home the First-Time Feature Film Director honor for "Ex Machina" ahead of Joel Edgerton ("The Gift"), Laszlo Nemes ("Son of Saul"), Fernando Coimbra ("A Wolf at the Door") and Marielle Heller ("The Diary of a Teenage Girl"). Matthew Heineman won the documentary award for "Cartel Land".

On the TV side, David Nutter won the Directors Guild drama series award for the "Game of Thrones" episode "Mother's Mercy," Chris Addison won the comedy series award for the "Veep" episode "Election Night". Dee Rees »

- Garth Franklin

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Alejandro G Inarritu Wins DGA Award

6 February 2016 6:50 PM, PST | | See recent AwardsDaily news »

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Wins DGA Award Winner – DGA Documentary Award – Matthew Heineman, Cartel Land Winner – DGA Award for TV Movie/Miniseries – Dee Rees, Bessie Winner – DGA Comedy Series Award – Chris Addison, »

- Sasha Stone

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The Winners Of The 68th Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards

6 February 2016 6:49 PM, PST | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

The 68th annual Directors Guild of America Awards have just concluded with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu winning the guild’s top prize for his brilliant work on The Revenant, officially making him the new frontrunner for the Best Director Oscar (the winner here goes on to win the Oscar about 90% of the time).

This is quite a welcome and monumental event, as it makes Inarritu the first director ever to win the DGA’s Feature Film award twice in a row. However, what’s more pressing is what this means in the context of the awards race. As I noted earlier, in the instances where the PGA, DGA, and SAG have split their top awards, and the DGA winner is popular enough to go on to win the corresponding Oscar, their film has also gone on to win Best Picture. Not only would this make Inarritu the first director to win »

- Jeff Beck

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Directors Guild of America Celebrates First-Time Filmmakers With New Award

4 February 2016 10:00 AM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Five first-time feature filmmakers discovered they’d been nominated for a prestigious new Directors Guild of America award they didn’t even know existed.

“I was surprised,” says “Son of Saul” director Laszlo Nemes. “I didn’t expect the call. I didn’t know about the category. It’s a big deal, I guess.”

The DGA’s latest award, which recognizes the directorial achievement of a first-time feature director, includes one woman, Marielle Heller, among the nominees.

“The DGA is making a major effort to reach out to young filmmakers and make the union accessible to indie filmmakers and first-time filmmakers — and women,” says “The Diary of a Teenage Girl” director and recently minted DGA member.

Industry-wide pressure to diversify has impacted the insular guild whose director membership is only 14% female, 3.6% African-American and 2.7% Latino. With this new category, the guild expanded its reach, softening the blow that the traditional feature film nominees are all male. »

- Thelma Adams

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2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Original Screenplay

4 February 2016 6:35 AM, PST | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Read More: Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight  "Spotlight" and "Inside Out" were always the two surefire nominees in this category, and now that they've made the cut they are certainly the two frontrunners.  Below is Anne Thompson's take on how things might shake down in the race for Best Original Screenplay. Check out Thompson on Hollywood's Oscar predictions pages for more awards season analysis. Click here for more category breakdowns on Indiewire. Nominees:Matt Charman, Joel & Ethan Coen ("Bridge of Spies")Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley ("Inside Out") Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer ("Spotlight")Alex Garland ("Ex Machina")Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff ("Straight Outta Compton") Predicted Winner: "Spotlight" Potential Spoiler: "Inside Out" For more insight into the 2016 awards season, visit the Indiewire Awards Season Spotlight homepage here. »

- Indiewire

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Exclusive: Oscar Contenders from 'The Big Short' to 'Spotlight' Highlight Santa Barbara's Screenwriters Panel

2 February 2016 11:37 AM, PST | Thompson on Hollywood | See recent Thompson on Hollywood news »

Representing eight of the 10 films nominated for Original and Adapted Screenplay at this year's Oscars, there's a very good chance that at least one of the nine screenwriters on the Santa Barbara International Film Festival's 2016 "It Starts with the Script" panel will be on stage at the Kodak Theatre later this month.  Moderated by Toh!'s Anne Thompson, the panel features Pete Docter ("Inside Out"), Emma Donoghue ("Room"), Alex Garland ("Ex Machina"), Drew Goddard ("The Martian"), Jonathan Herman ("Straight Outta Compton"), Charlie Kaufman ("Anomalisa"), Phyllis Nagy ("Carol"), Charles Randolph ("The Big Short"), and Josh Singer ("Spotlight").  Read our coverage of the panelists' films at the links above, and check out the full schedule of Sbiff Tributes below. This year's festival runs from February 3-13.  Read More: "Santa »

- Matt Brennan

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