"Carol" Leads Austin Film Critics Association 2015 Awards Nominations! 

Todd Haynes' "Carol" led the pack of the Austin Film Critics Association (AFCA) 2015 awards nominations. The film received seven nomination including for Best Picture, Best Director (Todd Haynes) and Best Actress (Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara).

Winners, as well as the Top 10 films of 2015 will be announced on Dec. 29.

Here's the complete list of nominees of the Austin Film Critics Assocation 2015 awards nominations:

Best Film:
Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Director:
Todd Haynes, Carol
Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Adam McKay, The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Actor:
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Michael B. Jordan, Creed
Jacob Tremblay, Room

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett, Carol
Brie Larson, Room
Rooney Mara, Carol
Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Supporting Actor:
Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
Oscar Isaac, Ex Machina
Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress:
Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Original Screenplay:
Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley, Inside Out
Alex Garland, Ex-Machina
Taylor Sheridan, Sicario
Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Emma Donoghue, Room
Charlie Kaufman, Anomalisa
Phyllis Nagy, Carol
Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, The Big Short
Aaron Sorkin, Steve Jobs

Best Cinematography:
Roger Deakins, Sicario
Edward Lachman, Carol
Emmanuel Lubezki, The Revenant
Robert Richardson, The Hateful Eight
John Seale, Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Score:
Carter Burwell, Carol
Michael Giacchino, Inside Out
Tom Holkenborg (as Junkie XL), Max Max: Fury Road
Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
Rich Vreeland (as Disasterpeace), It Follows

Best Foreign-Language Film:

Son of Saul
The Tribe

Best Documentary:
Best of Enemies
Cartel Land
The Look of Silence
Where to Invade Next

Best Animated Film:
The Good Dinosaur
Inside Out
The Peanuts Movie
Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best First Film:
Bone Tomahawk
The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Ex Machina
Son of Saul

The Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award:
Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
Mya Taylor, Tangerine
Jacob Tremblay, Room
Alicia Vikander, Ex-Machina

Best Austin Film:
Arlo and Julie (dir: Steve Mims)
A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story (dir: Sara Hirsh Bordo)
Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (dir: David Zellner)
Peace Officer (dir: Brad Barber, Scott Christopherson)
Two Step (dir: Alex R. Johnson)

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"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Among AFI's Movies of the Year Selections! 

Now that "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has been released, we can all go back to Awards Season chatter. First stop, oh wait, it's about "Star Wars" again! The J.J. Abrams flick is one of the chosen ones by the American Film Institute for their yearly AFI Awards! According to them, AFI Awards "aren’t like other accolades about the art form — they acknowledge the importance of the collaborative nature of film and TV production and bring together the community’s creative teams, both in front of and behind the camera."

And now, without further adieu, here are the AFI Awards 2015 Official Selections:







And here's the rest of the press release:

The landmark series MAD MEN, which aired its final episodes this year, has been recognized with an AFI Special Award for its contributions to America’s cultural legacy. During its run, the series made the AFI AWARDS list a total of seven times — more than any other TV program in the history of the awards.

Honorees will gather on January 8, 2016 at the AFI AWARDS private luncheon, a noncompetitive and intimate event where AFI will reveal the jury rationales for each selection.

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Why I'm Saying "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" Is Among the Best Movies of the Year! 

I tried my best to keep this review as spoiler-free as possible! You have to see “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” with a fresh perspective to truly admire J.J. Abrams’ craftsmanship! But I’m so glad that Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford are back in their respective roles as Leia, Luke, and Han Solo. And Oscar Isaac (Poe Dameron), Adam Driver (Kylo Ren), Domnhall Gleeson (General Hux), John Boyega (Finn), and Daisy Ridley (Rey) are welcome additions to the cast.

So is the force strong with “Star Wars: The Force Awakens?” Take a look at my review:

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Just Saw "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" and Here's What I Think! 
Our reviews are embargoed until tomorrow, Wednesday, so meanwhile, here's what I think of the J.J.Abrams-directed film! I saw the movie early in the morning at the Walt Disney Studios Lot in Burbank. So here's my non-verbal reaction to "Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

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Matt Damon to Receive Chairman's Award at 27th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival Awards Gala 

Matt Damon, who was so good in carrying "The Martian," is being honored at the upcoming Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF). He will join previously announced honorees Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Rooney Mara, Tom McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander. Here's the full press release from PSIFF:

Palm Springs, CA (December 15, 2015) – The 27th annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF) will present Matt Damon with the Chairman’s Award at its annual Awards Gala. This year’s Awards Gala will be hosted by Mary Hart on Saturday, January 2 at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The Festival runs January 1-11.

“Since his breakthrough role in Good Will Hunting, Matt Damon has taken on a series of challenging roles through his career,” said Film Festival Chairman Harold Matzner. “In his latest film, The Martian, Damon dazzles yet again as Mark Watney, an astronaut desperately trying to survive on Mars, yet still finding a way to laugh and bring hope to an impossible situation. It is an honor to present Matt Damon with the 2016 Chairman’s Award.”

The Martian director, Ridley Scott, will present Matt Damon with his award.

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

In The Martian, a manned mission to Mars is aborted and astronaut Mark Watney (Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm. Left behind by his crew, however, Watney has improbably survived and must draw upon his ingenuity and spirit to subsist and find a way to send a signal back to Earth. Once aware that he is alive, NASA works to overcome the challenges of both physics and public relations, enlisting his crewmates in a daring if not impossible rescue mission. Directed by Ridley Scott from the best-selling novel by Andy Weir, The Martian features a star-studded cast including Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Donald Glover, Mackenzie Davis and Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Matt Damon has been honored for his work on both sides of the camera. For his role in The Martian, he recently received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor - Musical or Comedy and a Best Actor honor from the National Board of Review. Previously he received an Emmy Award, Golden Globe Award and SAG® and BAFTA® nominations for his performance in Stephen Soderbergh’s Behind the Candelabra. Damon also earned numerous nominations, including for an Academy Award® and Golden Globe, for his portrayal of South African rugby hero Francois Pienaar in Invictus, as well as a Golden Globe nomination for his starring role in Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! Damon won the Academy Award for Best Screenplay and received a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his breakthrough feature Good Will Hunting.

His other film credits include Monuments Men, The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy, The Bourne Ultimatum, the Ocean’s Eleven trilogy films, Elysium, Promised Land, We Bought a Zoo, True Grit, The Adjustment Bureau, Happy Feet 2, Contagion, Hereafter, Green Zone, The Departed, The Good Shepherd, Syriana, Mystic Pizza, School Ties, Geronimo: An American Legend, The Good Old Boys, Courage Under Fire, The Rainmaker, Saving Private Ryan, Rounders, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Dogma, The Legend of Bagger Vance, All the Pretty Horses and The Brothers Grimm.

The Gala will also present awards to previously announced honorees Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Rooney Mara, Tom McCarthy, Saoirse Ronan and Alicia Vikander.

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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