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Diverse Independent Spirit Nominations Boost Some Oscar Contenders, Not Others

21 November 2017 1:12 PM, PST

The always-idiosyncratic Film Independent Spirit Awards juries are not in the awards-season business. While other entities may take pride in how their selections mirror Oscar nominations down the line, the Spirits have a different agenda. It gives credit where it thinks it’s due, and raises awareness for many low-budget independent titles. If that happens to help your Oscar game, so much the better.

Read More: Save the Dates: Here’s the 2017-2018 Awards Calendar

No need to worry about Spirit top dogs “Call Me By Your Name” (six nods, Sony Pictures Classics), “Get Out” (five nods, Blumhouse/Universal), and “Lady Bird” (four nods, A24) which are well on their way to Oscar recognition and dominated the Indie Spirit field with multiple nominations including the crucial Best Feature.

A24 blazed with an astounding 17 nominations over eight features: “Lady Bird” and “Good Time” took four including Feature, “The Florida Project” and »

- Anne Thompson

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Producers Guild of America Documentary Nominations Don’t Foreshadow the Oscars

20 November 2017 6:13 PM, PST

With a wide field of potential contenders, the Producers Guild of America made some surprise picks and snubs for its seven nominees for Best Feature Documentary on Monday. The films nominated for the Award for Outstanding Producer of Documentary Motion Pictures are listed below in alphabetical order:

Chasing Coral” (Jeff Orlowski, Netflix)

City of Ghosts” (Mattew Heineman, Amazon)

Cries from Syria” (Evgeny Afineevsky, HBO)

Earth: One Amazing Day” (Peter Webber, Lixin Fan, Richard Dale, BBC Earth)

Jane” (Brett Morgen, NatGeo)

Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower” (Joe Piscatella, Netflix)

“The Newspaperman: The Life and Times of Ben Bradlee” (John Maggio, HBO)

Among the lauded documentaries left off the 2017 PGA nominations were Cannes documentary winner “Faces Places,” directed by Agnes Varda and Jr, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady’s portrait of Brooklyn Hassidim, “One of Us,” and popular Turkish cat documentary “Kedi.”

While the PGA’s feature nominees often align with Oscar contenders, »

- Anne Thompson

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Gary Oldman, Joe Wright, and ‘Darkest Hour’: How to Make a Nontraditional, Oscar-Ready, and Prescient Biopic

20 November 2017 2:31 PM, PST

Four years ago, Oscar-nominated “The Theory of Everything” screenwriter Anthony McCarten sat down for a pint with an old chum in a country pub. What next? his friend asked. McCarten threw out a few ideas — no response. What else do you have?

Well, there was one that was really intimidating, McCarten said, about Winston Churchill. His friend replied, “Do that one. We need a portrait of leadership.”

That was before Brexit, before Trump, so it seems incredibly prescient. But really, when have we not needed leadership? “We’re living in extraordinary times, all the time,” McCarten said. “The issues that assail us are perennial. They haven’t changed since the Greeks picked up a pen.”

A hit at the fall festivals (Metascore: 72), “Darkest Hour” (Focus Features, November 22) is poised to deliver Gary Oldman a Best Actor Oscar as Winston Churchill. But as a World War II talky companion piece to silent action epic “Dunkirk, »

- Anne Thompson

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