TIME movies

Here Are Some Possible Reasons Why Selma Keeps Getting Snubbed

Colman Domingo, David Oyelowo, André Holland and Stephan James in Selma.
Colman Domingo, David Oyelowo, André Holland and Stephan James in Selma. Atsushi Nishijima—Paramount Pictures

The critically-acclaimed biopic only got two Oscar nominations

The Directors Guild’s list of nominees for top honors this year included some of the usual suspects — favorites this award season including The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman and Boyhood. But one film was conspicuously absent. Despite nearly universal praise from critics (including TIME’s Richard Corliss) and nominations from the Spirit Awards and the Golden Globes, the Martin Luther King Jr. biopic Selma and its director Ava DuVernay seem to have been snubbed again.

The Screen Actors Guild, which released its nominees last month, left Selma out of every category. A week ago, the Producers Guild of America struck another blow to the historical drama’s Oscar hopes when Selma failed to make the cut of its 10-film list. Given that the winners of the three guild awards are often seen as good predictors of who will win at the Academy Awards, it begs the question—what, exactly, is going on?

MORE Why You Should Care That Selma Gets LBJ Wrong

Some observers have pointed to racism or sexism affecting the decision, claims that can’t be altogether discounted. A nomination for DuVernay would have made her the only woman on the all-male list of nominees, and The Celluloid Ceiling, an annual report on women working behind the camera in cinema, shows an alarming gender disparity in the industry that has not improved since the study began in 1998.

Some, like Peniel Joseph, a history professor at Tufts University, have argued that the recent backlash against the film for its supposed misrepresentation of Lyndon Johnson is an attempt by white viewers to maintain control over the Civil Rights narrative. “The real problem many critics have with this film is that it’s too black and too strong,” he writes in an op-ed for NPR. “Our popular reimagining of the civil rights movement is that it’s something we all did together and the battle is over; that’s just not true.”

DuVernay herself responded to claims of historical inaccuracy on Twitter. “Everyone sees history through their own lens and I don’t begrudge anyone from wanting to see what they want to see,” the 42-year-old director said. “This is what I see. This is what we see. And that should be valid.”

MORE Selma‘s Real Story: Read 1965 Reports From the March

But the explanation that has emerged most frequently for Selma’s lack of nods in recent weeks is the production team’s failure to send screeners to the guild voters. Though award shows encourage voters to see the films on the big screen, many rely on delivered DVD copies to keep up.

Variety reports that Paramount, Selma’s production company, decided to send screeners to the BAFTAs and the Oscars this year, but not to the guilds. Representatives from Paramount said that the decision was based on time constraints, and that similar decisions had to be made with last year’s The Wolf of Wall Street. Historically, the Oscars have been held in late March or early April, but now that the ceremony has shifted a month earlier into the year, all the preliminary awards—and the deadlines—shifted, too. With Selma’s release in recent weeks, preparing screeners (a long process that requires special watermarking to deter online leaks) for the minor ceremonies proved impossible. Paramount received Selma on Nov. 26, Variety’s report states, and the winners for the SAGs were announced only two weeks later.

How much does this affect Selma’s chance at a Best Picture nomination? That depends. In the past, both the SAGs and the PGAs have been heavy indicators of Oscar nominees and winners. The voting body of the SAGs overlaps a lot with the Academy, and the PGAs’ nominees have included the Best Picture winner every year since 1995.

But there is some good news for Selma: ever since the Best Picture list grew from five to 10, at least one nominee failed to make the PGA cut. With that, coupled with all the conversation it has been generating, Selma’s Oscar hopes are definitely still alive.

Read next: How Selma Reclaims Hollywood’s Sanitized Versions of Martin Luther King, Jr.

TIME movies

Transformers: Age of Extinction Got Nominated for 7 Razzies

Optimus Prime, from the worldwide blockbuster film "Transformers: Age of Extinction" is unveiled at a handprint ceremony outside the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California on September 30, 2014. FREDERIC J. BROWN—AFP/Getty Images

Saving Christmas and Hercules follow up with six each

The latest installment of the Transformers movie franchise, starring Mark Wahlberg, Kelsey Grammer and Optimus Prime, looks set to win (or lose, depending on how you look at it) big at the 35th Annual Golden Raspberry Awards this year.

Transformers: Age of Extinction featured seven times in the list of nominations for the “Razzies” released on Wednesday, a day before the Oscar nominations are announced. The film is in the running for worst picture, worst screenplay, worst sequel and worst screen combo. Grammer’s performance earned him a worst supporting actor nomination, while Michael Bay could get worst director and Nicola Peltz worst supporting actress.

Saving Christmas and Hercules are the other movies that feature prominently on the list with six nominations each.

But there’s hope. For the first time, the Razzies will also feature a “redeemer” award for past winners who go on to do not-so-terrible things with their careers. Nominees in this category include Ben Affleck, Jennifer Aniston and Keanu Reeves.

The Razzies, instituted in 1980 as a parody of the Oscars, are traditionally given out one day before the movie industry’s biggest night and will take place at Hollywood’s Montalban theatre on Feb. 21.

TIME movies

The Oscar Crystal Ball Gets Clearer With the Golden Globes Nominations

Still Alice
Julianne Moore stars as Alice Howland in Still Alice Sony Pictures

Three near-certainties for Academy award night: Julianne Moore will be named Best Actress, J.K. Simmons will win Best Supporting Actor… and, with all those little movies in competition, hardly anyone will watch

The Oscar nominations won’t be announced until Jan. 15, but on this Golden Globes day we can make an educated guess about some of the finalists for major Academy Awards.

Actor: Steve Carell for Foxcatcher, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Imitation Game, Michael Keaton for Birdman, David Oyelowo for Selma and Eddie Redmayne for The Theory of Everything.

Actress: Felicity Jones for The Theory of Everything, Julianne Moore for Still Alice, Reese Witherspoon for Wild and two others.

Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, Meryl Streep for Into the Woods and three others.

Supporting Actors: J.K. Simmons for Whiplash and four other guys who don’t stand a chance against the prohibitive front-runner.

And Best Picture: Birdman, Boyhood, Foxcatcher, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything and one or two others.

How do we know this — given that, in Hollywood, “Nobody knows anything”? Because in the first two weeks of Dec., three different kinds of groups have handed out their year-end awards or nominations.

First are the critics, who know what they like but don’t care whether the Motion Picture Academy agrees with them. Of the seven critics societies that have named their favorites so far, five chose Boyhood as the No. 1 film; Keaton, Simmons and Arquette were consensus winners in three of the four acting categories; and Marion Cotillard dominated in Best Actress for two films, the American The Immigrant and the Belgian Two Days, One Night. Cotillard, with her potential vote split between two little-seen films, is the longest of long shots to be Oscar-nominated.

Then there are the industry professionals, notably the Screen Actors Guild, whose membership significantly overlaps the Academy voters. SAG announced its nominees Wed., citing all the actors we named in the top paragraph plus a couple of surprises: Jennifer Aniston as a chronic-pain sufferer in Cake and Jake Gyllenhaal as the creepy newshound in Nightcrawler. (“Yaaay for Jake!” says this critic.) The nominees for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, SAG’s version of the Best Picture Oscar, were Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything — but not Foxcatcher or Selma. That isn’t a death notice to those two moves, as the Academy’s Best Picture category allows for as many as 10 nominations. (The list of SAG nominations is here.)

Finally we have two organizations of uncertain provenance but past masters at throwing star-studded awards parties: the National Board of Review and The Hollywood Foreign Press Association. The NBR, which has been around since 1909 with a membership of New York-based film lovers, went a little nuts this year and chose the period melodrama A Most Violent Year as Best Film, with the movie’s Oscar Isaac sharing the Actor citation with Keaton, and Moore taking Actress. Much more attention goes to the HFPA, a collection of L.A.-based showbiz reporters, not critics. Theirs are the only nominations announcements besides the Oscars that are broadcast live on national news shows, and their profligate list of nominees — 30 actors for movies, 40 for TV shows — makes their annual televised banquets a celebrity magnet. (The list of Golden Globe nominations is here.)

At the Globes, Moore will be competing with herself, in a way: she’s nominated for her dramatic role as the early-Alzheimer’s victim in Still Alice and, in the Comedy or Musical category, for her gung-ho turn as a desperate actress in Maps to the Stars. Three nominees got their nominations by doing it the hard way: Witherspoon toted a backpack that weighs more than she does; Aniston ditched her trademark glamour to play a grumpy frump; and Helen Mirren, in The Hundred-Foot Journey, affected a preposterous French accent. With the exception of 11-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis as the star of Annie, the rest of the HFPA’s Actress nominees play wives of various demeanors: Jones and Rosemund Pike (Gone Girl) in the Drama category, and Amy Adams (Big Eyes) and Emily Blunt (Into the Woods) in Comedy or Musical.

A couple dozen more critics groups will weigh in over the next few weeks. Then other industry guilds, from cinematographers to hair stylists, will hand out their own prizes — all in anticipation of Oscar night on Feb. 22. We have one solid prediction for that show too: virtually nobody will watch it.

Oscar broadcasts get their highest ratings when the chief contenders are box-office champions. Over the past two decades, the show scored some of its highest numbers in years dominated by such blockbusters as Titanic, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and Avatar. Last year, audiences could root for big hits like Gravity and American Hustle. This year, no movie likely to secure a Best Picture nomination has earned so much as $60 million at the domestic box office; The Grand Budapest Hotel pulled in $59 million.

Mind you, some films haven’t officially opened yet, and others could build popular momentum through the awards season. But the list of early winners in critics groups and top nominees for SAG and the Globes reads like candidates for the Independent Spirit Awards: niche titles of a serioso bent, made for critics and other bestowers of awards, less so for the mass audiences that bring the industry its annual $11-billion bounty. The tone of the leading contenders is less High Hollywood than off-Broadway and Masterpiece Theatre.

Remember that, five years ago, the Academy expanded the Best Picture category because the previous year’s biggest hit, Christopher Nolan’s widely acclaimed The Dark Knight, didn’t make it into the top five. This time, in an affirmative-action push for “real movies,” voters might actually push Gone Girl, or Nolan’s Interstellar, onto the Best Picture not-so-shortlist, just to include one or two pictures that a lot of people saw. But it will still mostly be a night for films that made only the vaguest impression on the mass market mindscape. No Marvel movie, no Bilbo Baggins, no Harry Potter.

If only J.K. Simmons had been in a movie written by J.K. Rowling.

TIME Books

Tom Hanks Will Publish Short Story Collection

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - October 02, 2014
Actor Tom Hanks on location for "St. James Place" on October 2, 2014 in New York City. (Bobby Bank--GC Images) Bobby Bank—GC Images

Oscar-winning actor was inspired by his typewriter collection

Tom Hanks will soon be able to add “author” to his resumé, having secured a publisher for a collection of short stories inspired by his beloved typewriter collection.

Hanks, who recently published a story in the New Yorker, said his hobby of collecting antique writing machines had motivated him to take to the typewriter keys himself.

“I’ve been collecting typewriters for no particular reason since 1978 – both manual and portable machines dating from the thirties to the nineties,” the Oscar-winning actor said in a statement. “The stories are not about the typewriters themselves, but rather, the stories are something that might have been written on one of them.”

The collection, to be published by Knopf-Doubleday, doesn’t yet have a release date or a title.

TIME movies

Neil Patrick Harris Will Host the Oscars in 2015

Neil Patrick Harris
Reed Saxon—AP

Will be held on Feb. 22 next year

Neil Patrick Harris is to host the Academy Awards next year, reports Variety.

The actor, best known for his work on How I Met Your Mother, has become in recent years a semiprofessional host of sorts, hosting the Emmys twice and the Tonys four times, and exerting a great deal of energy in the process.

His awards-show gigs are, in contrast to last year’s low-key, pizza-slinging Oscar host Ellen DeGeneres, characterized by a wild commitment to song and dance, as in his 2013 Tonys opening number:

Harris appeared to confirm his hosting in a brief video depicting the Oscars gig as the final item on his “bucket list”:

Harris is having a good month; he’s also in the ensemble cast of Gone Girl, one of this year’s Oscar best-picture hopefuls, and his memoir, Choose Your Own Autobiography, was released yesterday (and may now need an extra chapter or two). The 87th Academy Awards will be held Feb. 22, 2015.

TIME movies

Russia Wants to Win at the Oscars With an Anti-Russian Film

Palme D'Or Winners Press Conference - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Russian director and screenwriter Andrey Zvyagintsev, center, winner of the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival for his film Leviathan, attends a press conference in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2014 Vittorio Zunino Celotto—Getty

Leviathan follows a Russian man as he duels with a corrupt, pro-Putin local mayor

Russia is betting on an anti-Russia film to win big in Hollywood this winter.

The country has named Andrey Zvyagintsev’s film, Leviathan, as its submission to the Oscars, even after foreign reviewers described the film as skewering Russia’s corrupt politics, reports the TASS news agency.

“We took the decision after a majority vote. Leviathan is Russia’s pick for the Oscars,” Pavel Chukhrai, a film director on Russia’s Oscar nomination committee, told TASS.

Leviathan, which won best screenplay at Cannes, follows a Russian man as he duels with a corrupt (and pro-Putin) local mayor. The film has been widely reviewed as a grim, satirical take on Russian politics: in a review this spring, the New York Times called it “a scathing indictment of Russia under President Vladimir Putin.”

Zvyagintsev also told reporters at Cannes that Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky had seen the film but “didn’t like it” — though he did call it “talented,” according to the Times.

Zvyagintsev’s films have done well on the international awards circuit: his 2011 movie, Elena, nabbed top awards at Cannes, and his 2003 film, The Return, garnered the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, Agence France-Presse reports.

Leviathan is expected to open in Russia in November — but, AFP says, with its profanities cut.


TIME movies

If You Sell Your Oscar, You’re Going to Get Sued

The heirs of Oscar winner Joseph Wright are being taken to court for allegedly selling the statuette he won for a 1942 musical

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is suing the heirs of the 1942 Oscar winner Joseph Wright, as well as auction house Briarbrook Auctions, for allegedly selling an Oscar statuette, according to the Hollywood Reporter (THR).

In the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, the academy claimed that the trophy’s sale to the anonymous buyer breached the academy’s rules, which prohibits its members — and anyone who inherits an Oscar — from selling or disposing of the statuette without offering the academy a right of first refusal to purchase it for a sum of $10.

Wright won the Oscar for his work on color and art direction for My Gal Sal, a musical starring screen legend Rita Hayworth.

The academy is known for being protective of its golden Oscars and has taken legal action in the past.

Briarbrook Auctions did not immediately respond to THR’s request for comment.


TIME fashion

Melissa McCarthy Started a Plus-Size Clothing Line Because Nobody Would Dress Her for the Oscars

Melissa McCarthy
Actress Melissa McCarthy attends Warner Bros. Pictures' “The Big Picture” at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on March 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Alberto E. Rodriguez—Getty Images

The actress is out to change the industry, or at least make it more relevant to more women

Shame on you, Hollywood designers who refused to dress Melissa McCarthy! The Bridesmaids star recently revealed in an interview with Redbook that she went ahead with her own plus-size clothing line because when she asked fashion designers to dress her for the Oscars, they all said no.

“When I go shopping, most of the time I’m disappointed,” the star told Redbook. “Two Oscars ago, I couldn’t find anybody to do a dress for me. I asked five or six designers—very high-level ones who make lots of dresses for people—and they all said no.”

Names! We want names! Who would dare turn down Melissa McCarthy?

But if that kind of short-sightedness on the part of designers means we will have another influential woman in the fashion industry, it’ll be a win for everyone in the end. Plus we can’t way to see what McCarthy comes up with.


TIME viral

Here’s a Photo of Leonardo DiCaprio Dressed as a Total Hipster

See Leonardo Dicaprio dressed as a hipster.
Undoubtedly an award-winning role. DesignCrowd

And not just any hipster — but a British schoolboy hipster!

Much has been made of the fact that Wolf of Wall Street star Leonardo DiCaprio often comes up short during award season, particularly at the Oscars. While the a 39-year-old actor won a Golden Globe for his role as Jordan Belfort in Wolf, he lost out in the Best Actor category at the Academy Awards to Matthew McConaughey.

But the folks at DesignCrowd recently evened the score a bit when a digitally altered image of DiCaprio won the company’s award for the best “hipsterized” celebrity. Some of the other entries included Meryl Streep, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Dame Judi Dench, but it’s rather difficult to top a bowtie, seersucker suit-shorts (shuits?) and patent leather shoes — even if you do put purple hair and green lipstick on one of England’s most revered actors.

Also, there’s a decent chance that the hipsterized version of Ellen’s Oscar selfie could haunt your dreams. Don’t say you weren’t warned.


TIME Television

Obama Needles Ellen for ‘Cheap Stunt’ Selfie

The president cracked wise about the selfie that beat his election night record for the most retweeted Twitter post ever

President Barack Obama is giving Ellen DeGeneres some playful flack for her selfie-seen-round-the world.

“I heard about that. I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt, myself,” Obama joked during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing Thursday, referring to the massive group selfie she sent when she hosted the Oscars earlier this month. “Getting a bunch of celebrities in the background, you feeding them pizza.”

The selfie beat Obama’s 2012 election-night victory Twitter posting for the most retweets ever, with more than 3.4 million retweets to date.

Obama’s interview came amid a last-minute publicity push to encourage Americans to sign up for health insurance under the new health care reform law, ahead of a critical March 31 enrollment deadline.

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