Reese Witherspoon to Receive Chairman's Award from Palm Springs International Film Festival 

Reese Witherspoon was so good in the upcoming "Wild" that she's being honored for the movie at the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. She will be joining previously announced recipients Richard Linklater ("Boyhood"), Julianne Moore ("Still Alice"), Eddie Redmayne ("The Theory of Everything"), Rosamund Pike ("Gone Girl"), and J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash"). The gala will be held Saturday, January 3 at the Palm Springs Convention Center.

Here's the rest of the press release:

“Reese Witherspoon delivers one of her finest performances in Wild,” said Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “Witherspoon brilliantly brings to life the true story of Cheryl Strayed, adding yet another iconic performance to her impressive 20-year span of characters including June Carter, Tracy Flick and Elle Woods. The Palm Springs International Film Festival is proud to present Reese Witherspoon with the Chairman’s Award.”

Past recipients of the Chairman’s Award include Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Richard Gere, Tom Hanks, Dustin Hoffman and Nicole Kidman.

In Wild, director Jean-Marc Vallée, Witherspoon and Academy Award nominated screenwriter Nick Hornby bring bestselling author Cheryl Strayed’s extraordinary adventure to the screen. After years of reckless behavior, a heroin addiction and the destruction of her marriage, Strayed makes a rash decision. Haunted by memories of her mother Bobbi (Academy Award nominee Laura Dern) and with absolutely no experience, she sets out to hike more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail all on her own. Wild powerfully reveals her terrors and pleasures --as she forges ahead on a journey that maddens, strengthens, and ultimately heals her. Fox Searchlight Pictures presents, a Pacific Standard production, Wild starring Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Thomas Sadoski, Michiel Huisman, Gaby Hoffmann, Kevin Rankin, W. Earl Brown, Mo McRae, Keene McRae. In addition to starring in Wild, Witherspoon also produced the film through her Pacific Standard Films banner, optioning the rights to Strayed’s memoir prior to its release.

This year, in addition to Wild, Reese Witherspoon appeared in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Philippe Falardeau’s The Good Lie, and through her production banner Pacific Standard Films, set up the adaptation of the bestselling novel Gone Girl. Her other film credits include Mud, Water for Elephants, Election, Legally Blonde, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, Sweet Home Alabama, Vanity Fair, Pleasantville and The Man in the Moon. In 2006, her performance as June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, earned her the Academy Award for ‘Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role,’ as well as the BAFTA Award, Golden Globe® Award, Screen Actors Guild Award™, New York Film Critics Award, Broadcast Film Critics Award, People’s Choice Award, along with eleven other awards.

About The Palm Springs International Film Festival

The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) is one of the largest film festivals in North America, welcoming 135,000 attendees last year for its lineup of new and celebrated international features and documentaries. The Festival is also known for its annual Black Tie Awards Gala, honoring the best achievements of the filmic year by a celebrated list of talents who, in recent years, have included Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bradley Cooper, George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis, Leonardo DiCaprio, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey, Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Kate Winslet.

The Awards Gala of the 26th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival is presented by Cartier and sponsored by Mercedes Benz and Entertainment Tonight. The City of Palm Springs is the Title Sponsor of the Film Festival. Presenting Sponsors are Wells Fargo, The Desert Sun and Spencer’s. Major sponsors are Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians, Wessman Development, Bank of America, Wintec, Regal Entertainment Group, Ignition Creative, Desert Regional Medical Center, Windermere Real Estate, Eisenhower Medical Center, Guthy-Renker, Integrated Wealth Management,, Ocean Properties, Chihuly and Telefilm Canada.

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15 Documentary Films Advance in Oscar Race 

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that 15 films in the Documentary Feature category will advance in the voting process for the 87th Oscars®.

Out of 134 films, 15 movies have been chosen! Out of these 15 films, Documentary Branch members will select the final 5 nominees!

The 87th Academy Awards® nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 15, 2015, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater with the Oscars being held on Sunday, February 22!

The 15 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:

"Art and Craft," Purple Parrot Films
"The Case against 8," Day in Court
"Citizen Koch," Elsewhere Films
"CitizenFour," Praxis Films
"Finding Vivian Maier," Ravine Pictures
"The Internet’s Own Boy," Luminant Media
"Jodorowsky’s Dune," City Film
"Keep On Keepin’ On," Absolute Clay Productions
"The Kill Team," f/8 filmworks
"Last Days in Vietnam," Moxie Firecracker Films
"Life Itself," Kartemquin Films and Film Rites
"The Overnighters," Mile End Films West
"The Salt of the Earth," Decia Films
"Tales of the Grim Sleeper," Lafayette Film
"Virunga," Grain Media

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British Film Institute's Readers Choose "Under the Skin" 

The British Film Institute asked its readers to choose the best films of the year and "Under the Skin" came on top. Starring Scarlett Johansson and directed by Jonathan Glazer, "Under the Skin" is getting lots of Awards Season love even though it opened during the non-award-season-friendly month of April!

I also love that the BFI readers chose "Nightcrawler" as one of the year's best! Take a look at the complete list:

1. "Under the Skin"
2. "Boyhood"
3. "Ida"
4. "The Wolf of Wall Street"
5. "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
6. "Frank"
7. "Nightcrawler"
8. "Horse Money"
9. "Goodbye To Language"
10. "Two Days, One Night"

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"A Most Violent Year" Tops National Board of Review Awards 

J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" is the Best Film of the Year according to the National Board of Review. Its president, Annie Schulhof, said "'A Most Violent Year' is an exhilarating crime drama with a compelling story, outstanding performances, and an elegant cinematic style." Oscar Isaac took home the Best Actor trophy he tied with Michael Keaton for "Birdman."

Jessica Chastain won Best Supporting Actress for "A Most Violent Year" with Edward Norton receiving the Best Supporting Actor award for "Birdman."

The National Board of Review annual Awards Gala will be held on January 6, 2015.

Here's the full list of winners of 2014's National Board of Review Awards:

Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood – American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE): Oscar Isaac – A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton – Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton – Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller – The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson – Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance: Jack O’Connell – Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut: Gillian Robespierre – Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
Best Documentary: Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble: Fury
Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing, and starring in – Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma

Top Films
American Sniper
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!

Top 5 Documentaries
Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films
Blue Ruin
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice

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"Birdman" Soars High with Gotham Independent Awards! 

Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman" tops the Gotham Independent Awards winning Best Picture and Best Actor for Michael Keaton. Richard Linklater's "Boyhood," my favorite film of the year, took home the Audience Award.

Gotham Award Tributes were given to Tilda Swinton, Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, and "Foxcatcher" director Bennett Miller. Much like the Independent Spirit Awards, "Foxcatcher's" Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, and Channing Tatum were given a special Gotham Jury Award.

Here's the full list of winners for the 2014 Gotham Independent Film Awards:

Best Feature

"Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"

Best Documentary


Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award

Ana Lily Amirpour for "A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night"

Best Actor

Michael Keaton in "Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)"

Best Actress

Julianne Moore in "Still Alice"

Breakthrough Actor

Tessa Thompson in "Dear White People

Gotham Independent Film Audience Award

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