Houston Film Critics Choose "The Descendants" for Best Film! Check Out Their Worst! Hint: It's Not "Twilight!" 

When the nominations for the Houston Film Critics awards were announced Monday, Michel Hazanavicius' "The Artist" led the pack with 7 nominations. But in the end, the black-and-white silent film gave way for "The Descendants" for the Best Picture win. "The Artist" only captured 1 award and that's for Best Score.

Here's the complete list of winners (highlighted) and nominees of the Houston Film Critics Awards (Check out other award-giving bodies in our Awards Season coverage right here):

Best Picture
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close"
"The Help"
"Midnight in Paris"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"
"Win Win"

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, "The Artist"
Alexander Payne, "The Descendants"
Nicolas Winding Refn, "Drive"
Woody Allen, "Midnight in Paris"
Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"

Best Actor
George Clooney, "The Descendants"
Jean Dujardin, "The Artist"
Michael Fassbender, "Shame"
Brad Pitt, "Moneyball"
Michael Shannon, "Take Shelter"

Best Actress
Viola Davis, "The Help"
Elizabeth Olsen, "Martha Marcy May Marlene"
Meryl Streep, "The Iron Lady"
Tilda Swinton, "We Need to Talk About Kevin"
Michelle Williams, "My Week with Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor
Albert Brooks, "Drive"
Armie Hammer, "J. Edgar"
Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"
Andy Serkis, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes"
Alex Shaffer, "Win Win"

Best Supporting Actress
Jessica Chastain, "The Help"
Melissa McCarthy, "Bridesmaids"
Janet McTeer, "Albert Nobbs"
Octavia Spencer, "The Help"
Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"

Best Screenplay
"The Artist"
"The Descendants"
"Midnight in Paris"
"Win Win"

Best Cinematography
"The Artist"
"The Tree of Life"
"War Horse"

Best Score
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"The Artist"
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"
"War Horse"

Best Song
"Lay Your Head Down" from "Albert Nobbs"
"Star Spangled Man" from "Captain America: The First Avenger"
"The Living Proof" from "The Help"
"Life's a Happy Song" from "The Muppets"
"Think You can Wait" from "Win Win"

Best Animated Film
"The Adventures of Tintin"
"Happy Feet Two"
"Kung Fu Panda 2"
"Puss in Boots"
"Winnie the Pooh"

Best Foreign Film
"The Artist"
"Elite Squad: The Enemy Within"
"I Saw the Devil"
"The Skin I Live In"
"13 Assassins"

Best Documentary
"Cave of Forgotten Dreams"
"The Elephant in the Room"
"Project Nim"

Worst Film of the Year
"Jack and Jill"
"Red Riding Hood"
"The Sitter"
"The Smurfs"
"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn -- Part 1"
"Your Highness"

Humanitarian Honor: Joanne Herring

Lifetime Achievement: Jeff Bridges

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"The Artist," "Hugo" Top Phoenix Film Critics Awards Nominations 

In what's shaping up to be the showdown of the awards season, Michel Hazanavicius' "The Artist" and Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" continue to duke it out at various critics awards. This time, the Phoenix Critics Awards blessed both films with multiple nods -- "The Artist" received 11 while "Hugo" got 10.

Here's the complete list of winners of the Phoenix Film Critics Awards (Check out other award-giving bodies in our Awards Season coverage right here):

Top 10 Films of 2011
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Help”
“Midnight in Paris”
“My Week With Marilyn”
“Super 8"
“The Tree of Life”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michael Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
Tate Taylor, “The Help”

Best Actor
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist
Michael Fassbender, “Shame”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week with Marilyn”
Albert Brooks, “Drive”
John Hawkes, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”

Best Supporting Actress
“Bérénice Bejo, “The Artist”
“Bryce Dallas Howard, “The Help”
“Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
“Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
“Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

Best Ensemble
“Margin Call”
“Midnight in Paris”
“Super 8"

Best Adapted Screenplay
“The Descendants”
“The Help”

Best Original Screenplay
“The Artist”
“Midnight in Paris”

Best Cinematography
“The Artist”
“Tree of Life”

Best Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Best Film Editing
“The Artist”
“Super 8"
“Tree of Life”

Best Original Score
“The Artist”
“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
“Super 8"

Best Original Song
“Star-Spangled Man" from “Captain America: The First Avenger”
“The Living Proof" from “The Help”
“I Believe In You" from “Johnny English Reborn”
“Life’s a Happy Song" from “The Muppets”

Best Production Design
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″

Best Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2″
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”

Best Animated Film
“The Adventures of Tintin”
“Winnie the Pooh”

Best Documentary
“African Cats”
“The Greatest Movie Ever Sold”
“Page One: Inside the New York Times”
“Project Nim”

Best Foreign Language Film
“Point Blank”
“The Skin I Live In”

Best Live Action Family Film
“Dolphin Tale”
“The Muppets”
“We Bought a Zoo”

The Overlooked Film of the Year
“A Better Life”
“The Conspirator”
“Texas Killing Fields”

Best Stunts
“Fast Five”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2"

Breakthrough Performance on Camera
Elle Fanning, “Super 8″
Thomas Horn, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
Elizabeth Olsen, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Shailene Woodley, “The Descendants”

Breakthrough Performance Behind the Camera
Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Michael Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Tate Taylor, “The Help”

Best Performance by a Youth (Male)
Asa Butterfield, “Hugo”
Joel Courtney, “Super 8"
Thomas Horn, “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”

Best Performance by a Youth (Female)
Elle Fanning, “Super 8"
Amara Miller, “The Descendants”
Chloe Grace Moretz, “Hugo”
Saoirse Ronan, “Hanna”

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Toronto Film Critics Pick "The Tree of Life" for Best Picture 

Terrance Malick's "The Tree of Life" won big at the Toronto Film Critics Association's annual awards. The film starring Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, and Jessica Chastain took home the Best Picture and Best Director Prizes.

In the acting categories, Michael Shannon won Best Actor for "Take Shelter," along with Chastain for Best Supporting Actress. The fantastic Michelle Williams won Best Actress for "My Week with Marilyn" while Christopher Plummer received the Best Supporting Actor award for "Beginners."

Here's the complete list of winners at the Toronto Film Critics Association (Check out other award-giving bodies in our Awards Season coverage right here):

Best Picture: "The Tree of Life"

Best Director: Terrence Malick, "The Tree of Life"

Best Actor: Michael Shannon, "Take Shelter"

Best Actress: Michelle Williams, "My Week With Marilyn"

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, "Beginners"

Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, "Take Shelter"

Best Screenplay: "Moneyball"

Best First Feature: "Attack the Block"

Best Animated Film: "The Adventures of Tintin"

Best Foreign Language Film: "Mysteries of Lisbon"

Best Documentary: "Nostalgia for the Light"

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Behold the New "Rock of Ages" Trailer!  
I kinda, sorta want to see this "Rock of Ages!" The original Broadway production received five Tony nominations including Best Musical. The heavy metal musical also got noms for two Drama League awards and two Outer Critics Circle awards. It didn't win any but the cast set a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Air Guitar Ensemble! Reason enough to watch the movie adaptation :happy

Now, "Rock of Ages" the movie is getting lots of buzz because of Tom Cruise's participation as rock star Stacee Jaxx. Predictably, the new trailer limited the showing of Cruise in glam metal mode. But all the stars are fully wigged in the film including Alec Baldwin!

Here's more details on "Rock of Ages" from Yahoo:

It's the late 1980s and the final countdown is on for a legendary Hollywood rock club facing its demise at the hands of eager developers. When a young rocker hungry for his big break and a small town girl chasing her dreams land on the scene at this infamous venue, how far will ambition drive them?

Genres: Musical/Performing Arts and Adaptation
Cast and Credits
Starring: Tom Cruise, Mary J. Blige, Russell Brand, Julianne Hough, Alec Baldwin
Directed by: Adam Shankman
Produced by: Matthew Weaver, Tobey Maguire, Carl Levin

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"Young Adult" to Receive Vanguard Award at Palm Springs International Film Festival 

I had a great time interviewing the cast and crew of "Young Adult," and it's fitting that the film is being honored at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which is right in my hood! :happy

I will post my interviews shortly with Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser, Patton Oswalt, writer Diablo Cody, director Jason Reitman, and star Charlize Theron. The film also received three nominations at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards for Best Writing, Best Supporting Actor for Oswalt, and Best Actress for Theron.

Here's the complete press release:

Palm Springs, CA (December 13, 2011) – The 23rd annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present the film Young Adult with the Vanguard Award recognizing its outstanding creative ensemble. Cast members from the film including Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody will attend to accept the award. Presented by Cartier, the Awards Gala will be held Saturday, January 7, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Hosted by Mary Hart, the Awards Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees George Clooney, Glenn Close, Michel Hazanavicius, Octavia Spencer and Michelle Williams. The Festival runs January 5-16.

This is the second Vanguard Award for Cody and Reitman, who first received the honor in 2008 for Juno. Reitman recently garnered the 2010 PSIFF Best Director Award for Up in the Air, and Theron previously earned the 2006 Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award for North Country.

“What is more bittersweet than realizing that your glory days, particularly those in high school, when everything was possible, may truly be a thing of the past,” said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In Young Adult, a writer of teen literature gets a major reality check when her plan to reclaim a former high school sweetheart goes awry, but leads her to forge an unlikely bond with a former classmate who is similarly time warp-challenged. It is a particular pleasure for the Palm Springs International Film Festival to present the 2012 Vanguard Award to Young Adult, a truly unique and utterly enjoyable film. The filmmakers and cast represent the some of the best and most exciting filmmaking work of the year and have delivered a biting black comedy as deeply poignant as it is funny. It’s a pleasure to welcome for an ‘encore’ the film’s screenwriter Diablo Cody, director Jason Reitman and accomplished star Charlize Theron, all previous winners at the Festival, who continue to demonstrate the scope of their cinematic talents.”

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