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Well, the Indie Spirit Award nominees have just recently been announced, and some fine films were recognized: everything from awards frontrunners like “Carol” and “Spotlight” to slightly lesser-known but equally rich works like the trans drama “Tangerine” and the shattering coming-of-age tale “James White.” 2015 has been a wonderful year for independent cinema, a fact that is reflected in the many nominations garnered by fantastic films (other films to receive positive attention were Cary Fukunaga’s “Beasts of No Nation” and Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room”). One film that quietly made a splash at the Indie Spirit awards that you might not have heard much about is Charles Poekel’s “Christmas, Again.” Shot by Sean Price Williams (who also lensed Alex Ross Perry's “Queen of Earth”) and starring indie stalwarts Kentucker Audley, Hannah Gross and Jason Shelton, “Christmas, Again” tells the story of Noel, a Christmas tree salesman for whom the »
- Nicholas Laskin
From “Room” to “Beasts of No Nation,” some of this year’s most powerful performances came from actors in smaller—but never small—roles. Joan Allen, “Room”“Room” is the kind of no-fuss indie that hinges on emotionally riveting—and, in this case, devastating—performances. Stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay deliver twofold, and they’ve got a bevy of critical plaudits to match. But sometimes a film’s quietest moments and characters can make for an unexpected punch to the gut. That’s where veteran actor Allen comes in. Director Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel is the story of Ma (Larson) and Jack (Tremblay), who are held captive for seven years in a dilapidated toolshed. Ma is the only person in the world—a world that Jack doesn’t know expands beyond the shed he calls Room—who’s looking out for her son. After their escape, »
Just in time for Thanksgiving Oscar voters have a bounty of screeners to watch over the holiday. The most recent arrivals are two of our top 10 Best Picture contenders: "Bridge of Spies," Steven Spielberg's Cold War thriller with two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks as James Donovan, a lawyer defending accused Soviet spy Rudolf Abel (three-time Tony winner Mark Rylance); and "Room," Lenny Abrahamson's dark drama with rising star Brie Larson as a kidnap victim and newcomer Jacob Tremblay as the son she conceived in captivity. -Break- Subscribe to Gold Derby Breaking News Alerts & Experts’ Latest Oscar Predictions Also arriving this week were three biopics about a trio of fascinating fellows: "Pawn Sacrifice," with Tobey Maguire as world chess champ Bobby Fischer; "Trumbo," in which Emmy and Tony champ Bryan Cranston plays the Oscar-winning scripter Dalton Trumbo who was blacklisted during the Red Sca »
[Editor's Note: This article is presented in partnership with Shinola in support of Brit Takes, our monthly dispatch on the UK film scene. As makers of modern watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals, Shinola stands for skill at scale, the preservation of craft and the beauty of industry. Learn more about Shinola handcrafted goods.] Read More: 2016 Oscar Predictions Best Picture Dublin-born director Lenny Abrahamson has been making the rounds this awards season with "Room," the acclaimed kidnapping drama starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay. But Abrahamson has been making films for years before he was a major contender in the Oscar race. In this week's Brit Takes column, he discusses his early days in the Irish film scene and how it continues to impact his career. In what ways has your Irish background influenced your professional decisions? I'm Irish, I grew up in Ireland, and it's impossible to separate my background from who I am as »
- Elle Leonsis
The film, an adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel, tells the story of a young mother and her 5-year-old son who are held captive in a small room. Lead actress Brie Larson has already received nominations at the Gotham Awards and yesterday’s Independent Spirits for her performance, and is a favourite for the Academy Awards next year.
The festival will be closed by Adam McKay’s The Big Short, which has an ensemble cast featuring Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Christian Bale and Brad Pitt, and recently premiered at Los Angeles’ AFI Fest (Nov 5-12).
Rising indie distributor A24 harbors high awards hopes for Lenny Abrahamson's intense prison escape drama "Room," and so they took the film to world premiere at Telluride, where it popped with audiences and critics, and then to Toronto, where it took home the coveted audience award, which often presages a strong Oscar contender. It's holding its own at the box office with $3 million in the till so far. The film's rising star, Brie Larson, has landed both Gotham and Indie Spirit nominations, with more kudos sure to follow. Read More: 'Room' Wins Toronto's Audience Award, Oscar Bellwether Finally, with "Room" (October 16) Larson, who was so fine as a conflicted social worker in "Short Term 12," after supporting roles in "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World," "The United States of Tara," "The Spectacular Now," "21 Jump Street," and "Don Jon," gets a role worthy of her abilities (unlike »
- Anne Thompson
It would probably be more surprising if there weren't some shockers among the Spirit Award nominations, which annually seem to offer many unexpected inclusions and omissions. Even so, this year is exceptional in that regard, particularly after a few years that heavily correlated with the eventual Oscar nominations. Check out 10 big surprises below. A full list of nominations is available here. Not Much Room for "Room"It wasn't entirely clear whether Lenny Abrahamson's "Room" would be eligible at the Spirits, given that it's a Irish/Canadian co-production with an Irish director. It turned out that it was, but didn't grab nearly the amount of attention most expected would result. The film — which has seemed like a safe bet for many major Oscar nominations — was shut out of both the best feature and best director categories, with "Anomalisa," "Beasts of No Nation," "Carol," "Spotlight" and "Tangerine" getting »
- Peter Knegt
Somehow, we’re almost done with the month of November. There’s only about six weeks or so left in 2015, which means the awards season is in full swing. As you all know, we’re awaiting the final big three releases of the year in The Hateful Eight, Joy, and The Revenant (which I’ll actually be seeing early next week, though under embargo until December), but the picture is starting to clear up, slowly. Winners are still hard to figure out in many of the categories, but the likely (or at least more likely) nominees are starting to become less and less vague to the trained eye. As such, it’s the perfect time for a new set of my Academy Award predictions, right? Right. So let’s have at it! I’ll keep it short and sweet here and just reiterate that Spotlight is in the best position right now, »
- Joey Magidson
By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter
Brie Larson, the 26-year-old actress whose performance as a young woman held hostage with her son in Lenny Abrahamson’s Room has earned her the best notices of her young career, has been tapped by the Palm Springs International Film Festival for its Breakthrough Performance Award.
She will pick up the honor at the 27th annual Psiff Awards Gala on Jan. 2. The fest runs Jan. 1-11.
“Brie Larson breathes vibrant life into the character of Ma from Emma Donoghue’s best-selling novel Room,”said Psiff chairman Harold Matzner. “Larson delivers a performance of great warmth, deep reserves of courage and strong empathy as a committed parent determined to make sure her son is taken care of under unimaginable circumstances.”
Read the rest of this entry…
- Patrick Shanley
Lenny Abrahamson's intense family drama "Room" (A24, October 16) world premiered at Telluride, where it popped with audiences and critics, and then built more awards buzz in Toronto, where it took home the audience award, which signifies a strong Oscar contender. And it's holding its own at the crowded fall box office with $2.2 million in the till so far. Read More: 'Room' Wins Toronto's Audience Award, Oscar Bellwether Leading the Best Actress race is Brie Larson, 25, who was so fine as a conflicted social worker in "Short Term 12" after multiple supporting roles and with "Room" finally digs into another role worthy of her abilities. She subsumes herself as Ma, a kidnap victim who has given birth while imprisoned in a single room for seven years. She struggles to raise her son Jack (Jacob Tremblay) without damaging him by revealing how depressed and traumatized she is. On Jack's »
- Anne Thompson
Awards season frontrunner Brie Larson will join the list of honorees at the 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival as the recipient of the breakthrough performance award, the Psiff announced Friday.
Larson is being feted for her intense, Oscar buzz-generating performance as Ma in Lenny Abrahamson’s “Room.” Her character mothers a young boy whom she’s forced to raise in captivity. The film follows the harrowing journey of the mother-son duo’s struggle to adapt to freedom after years of being held in confinement.
“Larson delivers a performance of great warmth, deep reserves of courage and strong empathy as a committed parent determined to make sure her son is taken care of under unimaginable circumstances,” festival chairman Harold Matzner said.
- Alyssa Sage
1. "Room": How do you make a 10 x 10 foot space actor- and camera-friendly for Lenny Abrahamson's harrowing drama about a mother (Brie Larson) and son (Jacob Tremblay) held captive in a shed for seven years? You ingeniously make it modular to fit the crew and cameras, sliding pieces in and out. It was end result of a unique challenge for production designer Ethan Tobman. He studied prisons and tiny Hong Kong apartments and personalized the space down to every detail. He experimented with doors, surfaces, and the skylight, altering orientation in different ways until every object became a character. Tobman also tested cork, dirtying it, bleaching it, and drying it, trying to create a tapestry of browns and ochres that might approximate seven years of cooking and breathing and living. Except for the boy, who's never been outside the confines of Room, it's a comfortable, joyous, fairy tale-like place. »
- Bill Desowitz
Although Lenny Abrahamson’s movie is named “Room,” that title could have just as easily gone to Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight.” Both dramas are set in confined spaces. For “Spotlight,” that’s the Boston Globe newsroom in 2001 during the reporting of a story (by Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams) about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. “Room,” based on Emma Donoghue’s novel, centers on a mother (Brie Larson) and her 5-year-old son (Jacob Tremblay) held hostage in a shed. On a recent afternoon, Abrahamson and McCarthy grabbed lunch in downtown New York, where they both ordered roast beef sandwiches.
Abrahamson: In my case, that’s the point. When we were designing the room, we had the dimensions as described in the novel. We built a mock-up first to see how it feels. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
When you’re making a film, half of which takes place within the confines of a 10×10-foot space, featuring a child actor who can only work eight hours a day, not to mention a 70-person crew that needs access to that space, it’s safe to say necessity becomes the mother of invention. That’s just what helmer Lenny Abrahamson and his team experienced when they went about shooting “Room.”
“From the beginning, I was keen that we had one set,” the director says. There was early talk of conceiving different versions of the film’s eponymous containment cell — built to imprison a 17-year-old girl and the son she conceived while trapped as a sex slave — for different purposes, but Abrahamson felt that would blow the integrity of the experience for 7-year-old star Jacob Tremblay. Similarly, moving out whole walls for shooting might have shattered the illusion and impacted the performance. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Jason from Mnpp here with a bit of exciting news today - Lenny Abrahamson, the director of this year's Oscar hopeful Room, is lining up his next project and it sounds fascinating. Based on the non-fiction book A Man’s World: The Double Life Of Emile Griffith, which was just published this past September (anybody read it?), it'll tell the story of the titular boxer, described by all with words like "gentle" & "innocent," who nonetheless beat his opponent Benny “The Kid” Paret into a coma (and death 10 days later) in a televised match after Paret called him "maricón" (Spanish for approximately "faggot") during a live weigh-in.
Thing is Griffith was in fact bisexual, and Abrahamson says that "he never seemed conflicted about his sexuality; indeed he found joy in it." Until he was called out in public, apparently. (Then again, it being 1962 when all this went down I suppose he »
Irish director Lenny Abrahamson is attached to direct a film based on the life of Emile Griffith, a professional boxer from the U.S. Virgin Islands who became a world champion in the welterweight and middleweight classes, and who also happened to be bisexual, and was public about it (keep in mind that this was during the 1950s to 1960s). His best known contest was a 1962 title match with Benny Paret. At the weigh in, Paret infuriated Griffith by touching his butt, and making homophobic remarks. Griffith won the bout by knockout. Paret, who, it's said, was vulnerable due to the beatings he took in his previous three fights leading up to the title match with Griffith (all of which »
- Tambay A. Obenson
With the buzz continuing to build for Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award winner “Room,” director Lenny Abrahamson is using that momentum to get his next gigs going. In September he signed up to direct “The Little Stranger,” reteaming him with “Frank” star Domhnall Gleeson. And now he’s got a fascinating, true story pugilist picture brewing. The filmmaker will helm an adaptation of Donald McRae’s book “A Man’s World: The Double Life Of Emile Griffith.” The movie will tell the story of the titular boxer who lived secretly as a bisexual, and killed Benny “The Kid” Paret in the ring, after he called him a homosexual during a weigh-in before the fight. Here’s the book synopsis: On 24 March 1962, when Emile Griffith stepped into the ring in Madison Square Garden to defend his world title against Benny Paret, he was filled with rage. During their weigh-in, »
- Kevin Jagernauth
“Room” and “Semana Santa” were among the winners at the fourth Los Cabos Film Festival, which wraps Sunday. The prizes were presented Saturday night at a ceremony that also honored Ewan McGregor with the Protagonist acting award.
“Last Days in the Desert” director Rodrigo Garcia presented McGregor with the award, saying, “He lowers a director’s anxiety level,” then joked, “He’s also done a lot of full-frontal nudity, for which we’re all grateful.”
McGregor said he first met Garcia in Mexico and has developed a love for the country, travelling to many different areas. “Last Days in the Desert,” in which McGregor plays both Jesus and Satan, screened in Cabo after premiering at Sundance.
- Pat Saperstein
The sweet natured Griffith won world titles in two weight classes, but is mostly remembered for his vicious brawl with Benny 'The Kid' Paret. Paret grabbed Griffith's ass during the weigh-in and called him homosexual.
Griffith was actually bisexual, but that was taboo in 1962 - especially in the macho culture of boxing. Soon after Griffith beat Paret into a coma in the ring during a live nationwide TV broadcast - Paret ultimately dying from his injuries. Griffith, and boxing, were vilified.
The film will be based on Donald McRae's book "A Man's World: The Double Life Of Emile Griffith". Abrahamson intends to adapt it with a co-writer and direct the film as soon as possible.
Source: Deadline »
- Garth Franklin
With “Room” largely revolving around the relationship between a mother and her son, getting the casting right was one of the biggest challenges facing director Lenny Abrahamson. But Abrahamson and producer Ed Guiney, who previously collaborated on 2014’s “Frank,” went into it with a plan: cast the mother first, then, at the last minute before the start of filming, cast the son. The thinking was that because children change so quickly, if the production were to be pushed back, they would have to recast. So they set out to find their star with a very short of actresses in mind, »
- Reid Nakamura
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