Alicia Vikander to Receive Rising Star Award at 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Gala 

Alicia Vikander, who gave two memorable performances this year for "Ex Machina" and "The Danish Girl" is receiving the Rising Star Award at the 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival. She will be joining previously announced honorees Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Tom McCarthy, and Saoirse Ronan.

So thrilled to have Vikander visit us in my lovely desert neighborhood!

Here's the complete press release:

Palm Springs, CA (December 8, 2015) – The 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Alicia Vikander with the Rising Star Award at its annual Awards Gala. The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Tom McCarthy, and Saoirse Ronan. The Awards Gala will be hosted by Mary Hart with presenting sponsor Entertainment Tonight on Saturday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 1-11.

“In The Danish Girl, Alicia Vikander delivers a superb performance as Gerda Wegener, the wife of transgender pioneer Lili Elbe,” said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “She projects so much love and pain as she goes on a journey with Lili during an era when there was no precedent for it. Gerda’s own transformation as a character speaks to the story’s themes of courage and self-acceptance. For her astonishing screen presence and masterful performance, we are delighted to present Alicia Vikander with the 2016 Rising Star Award.”

Past recipients of the Rising Star Award include Jessica Biel, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Bryce Dallas Howard, Terrence Howard, Anna Kendrick, Jennifer Lawrence, and Scarlett Johansson. In the years they were honored Howard, Kendrick, and Lawrence went on to receive Academy Award nominations.

The Danish Girl is the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, portrayed in the film respectively by Academy Award winner Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, directed by Academy Award winner Tom Hooper. The film also stars Ben Whishaw, Sebastian Koch, Amber Heard, and Matthias Schoenaerts. For her role in the film, Vikander received a Breakthrough Performance honor from the New York Film Critics Online.

Following her breakthrough performance in the film Pure, Vikander was named one of the Shooting Stars, representing her native Sweden, for the 2011 Berlin International Film Festival. Her other film credits include A Royal Affair, Anna Karenina, Ex Machina, Testament of Youth, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Hotell. Her upcoming movies include The Light Between Oceans, Tulip Fever, and Paul Greengrass’ new action thriller, opposite Matt Damon as Jason Bourne.

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, Julianne Moore, Brad Pitt, Eddie Redmayne, Julia Roberts, David O. Russell, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon.

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"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Among Twenty Movies Advancing to Preliminary Oscar Best Visual Effects Shortlist! 

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is among the movies advancing to the preliminary shortlist in the Visual Effects category for the 88th Oscars! Is the Oscar force strong with this film? We'll see later in the month if the science fiction film will be included in the final shortlist before the January 14th nomination announcement.

Here's the complete press release from the Academy with the twenty films advancing to the preliminary shortlist.

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 20 films are in the running in the Visual Effects category for the 88th Academy Awards®.
The films are listed below in alphabetical order:

“Avengers: Age of Ultron”
“Bridge of Spies”
“Ex Machina”
“Furious Seven”
“The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2”
“In the Heart of the Sea”
“Jupiter Ascending”
“Jurassic World”
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
“The Martian”
“Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation”
“The Revenant”
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
“Terminator Genisys”
“The Walk”

The Academy’s Visual Effects Branch Executive Committee determined the preliminary shortlist. This year, in the Visual Effects category, the number of eligible films initially shortlisted for further consideration was increased to a maximum of 20 titles. The number of films that will be shortlisted for nominations voting remains at 10, which will be announced later this month.

The 88th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Thursday, January 14, 2016, at 5:30 a.m. PT at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 88th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.

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Your Awards Season Guide -- All the Winners We Have So Far! 

Here's your guide to Awards Season 2015/2016. The ones highlighted have been announced already. Let the games begin!

Academy Awards -- The 2014 Oscars!
ACE Eddie Awards -- Best Editing
African-American Film Critics
Alliance of Women Film Journalists -- EDA Awards
American Film Institute
American Society of Cinematographers
Annie Awards
Art Directors Guild Awards
Austin Film Critics Association
Boston Online Film Critics Association
Boston Society of Film Critics
British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA)
British Independent Film Awards
Chicago Film Critics Association
Cinema Audio Society
Cinema Eye Honors
Costume Designers Guild
Critics' Choice Movie Awards
Dallas Fort-Worth Film Critics Association
Detroit Film Critics Society
Directors Guild of America
Dorian Awards (Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association)
European Film Awards
Film Comment Poll
Florida Film Critics Circle
Golden Globe Awards
Gotham Awards
Houston Film Critics Society
Independent Spirit Awards
Indiana Film Journalists Association
International Cinephile Society
International Documentary Association (IDA)
Israeli Film Critics
Las Vegas Film Critics Society
London Film Critics' Circle
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
National Board of Review
National Society of Film Critics
New York Film Critics Circle
New York Film Critics Online
Online Film Critics Society
Phoenix Film Critics Society
Producers Guild of America
San Diego Film Critics
San Francisco Film Critics
Satellite Awards
Screen Actors Guild Awards
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association
Toronto Film Critics Association
USC Scripter Awards (Best Adapted Screenplay)
VES Awards (Visual Effects)
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association
Writers Guild Awards

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More Wins for "Spotlight," "Mad Max: Fury Road" 

More signs of "Spotlight" and "Mad Max: Fury Road" duking it out for the awards season! Much like the winners of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards, "Spotlight" won best picture while George Miller won best director for "Mad Max: Fury Road" at this year's Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association awards.

Miller's "Fury Road" received the most honors including production design and editing while "Spotlight" received two including best ensemble.

Here's the complete list of nominees and winners (highlighted) of the 2015 Washington, D.C. Area Film Critics Association awards:

Best Film:
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Revenant
Spotlight -- WINNER

Best Director:

Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Todd Haynes (Carol)
Alejandro G. Iñárritu (The Revenant)
George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road) -- WINNER
Ridley Scott (The Martian)

Best Actor:
Matt Damon (The Martian)
Johnny Depp (Black Mass)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Revenant) -- WINNER
Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs)
Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl)

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett (Carol)
Brie Larson (Room)
Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn) -- WINNER
Sarah Silverman (I Smile Back)
Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road)

Best Supporting Actor:
Paul Dano (Love & Mercy)
Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) -- WINNER
Tom Hardy (The Revenant)
Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Sylvester Stallone (Creed)

Best Supporting Actress:
Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight)
Rooney Mara (Carol)
Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl)
Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina) -- WINNER
Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs)

Best Acting Ensemble:
The Big Short
The Hateful Eight
Spotlight -- WINNER
Steve Jobs
Straight Outta Compton

Best Youth Performance:
Abraham Attah (Beasts of No Nation)
Raffey Cassidy (Tomorrowland)
Oona Laurence (Southpaw)
Güneş Şensoy (Mustang)
Jacob Tremblay (Room) -- WINNER

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Nick Hornby (Brooklyn)
Phyllis Nagy (Carol)
Drew Goddard (The Martian)
Emma Donoghue (Room) -- WINNER
Aaron Sorkin (Steve Jobs)

Best Original Screenplay:
Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen (Bridge of Spies)
Alex Garland (Ex Machina)
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve and Josh Cooley (Original Story by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen) (Inside Out) -- WINNER
Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer (Spotlight)
Amy Schumer (Trainwreck)

Best Animated Feature:
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out -- WINNER
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best Documentary:
Best of Enemies
Cartel Land
Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
The Look of Silence

Best Foreign Language Film:

The Assassin
Goodnight Mommy
The Second Mother
Son of Saul -- WINNER

Best Production Design:
Production Designer: François Séguin, Set Decorators: Jennifer Oman and Louise Tremblay (Brooklyn)
Production Designer: Judy Becker, Set Decorator: Heather Loeffler (Carol)
Production Designer: Dante Ferretti, Set Decorator: Francesca Loschiavo-Ferretti (Cinderella)
Production Designer: Thomas Sanders, Set Decorators: Jeffrey Melvin and Shane Vieau (Crimson Peak)
Production Designer: Colin Gibson, Set Decorator: Lisa Thompson (Mad Max: Fury Road) -- WINNER

Best Cinematography:

Yves Bélanger, CSC (Brooklyn)
Ed Lachman, ASC (Carol)
John Seale, ASC, ACS (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Emmanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC (The Revenant) -- WINNER
Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (Sicario)

Best Editing:
Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road) -- WINNER

Pietro Scalia, ACE (The Martian)
Stephen Mirrione, ACE (The Revenant)
Joe Walker, ACE (Sicario)
Elliott Graham, ACE (Steve Jobs)

Best Original Score:
Michael Brook (Brooklyn)
Carter Burwell (Carol)
Ennio Morricone (The Hateful Eight)
Tom Holkenborg aka Junkie XL (Mad Max: Fury Road)
Jóhann Jóhannsson (Sicario) -- WINNER

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"Straight Outta Compton" Gets Love from African American Film Critics 

The African American Film Critics Association has announced the winners of their annual awards and F. Gary Gray's "Straight Outta Compton" won for Best Picture with "Creed's" Ryan Coogler deservingly winning the Best Director award. "Straight Outta Compton" also took home the Best Ensemble and Best Supporting Actor (Jason Mitchell) awards.

Here's the complete list of winners of the 2015 African American Film Critics Association:

Best Picture: "Straight Outta Compton"
Best Director: Ryan Coogler "Creed"
Best Ensemble: "Straight Outta Compton"
Best Actor: "Concussion"
Best Actress: Teyonah Parris "Chi-Raq"
Best Supporting Actor: Jason Mitchell "Straight Outta Compton"
Best Supporting Actress: Tessa Thompson "Creed"
Best Independent Film: "Chi-Raq"
Best Screenplay: Rick Famuyiwa "Dope"
Breakout Performance: Michael B. Jordan "Creed"
Best Animation: "The Peanuts Movie"
Best Documentary: "A Ballerina’s Tale"
Best Song: “See You Again”, "Furious 7"
Best TV Comedy: "Black-ish"
Best TV Drama: "How to Get Away with Murder"
Best Cable/ New Media TV Show: "Survivor’s Remorse"

AAFCA's Top Ten Films of 2015:

1. "Straight Outta Compton"
2. "Creed"
3. "Mad Max: Fury Road"
4. "Beasts of No Nation"
5. "The Martian"
6. "3-1/2 Minutes"/ "Dope"
7. "Chi-Raq"
8. "Carol"
9. "The Big Short"
10. "The Danish Girl"

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