WEEK IN WOMEN news roundup: Angelina Jolie and Loung Ung receive Hollywood Film Award for ‘First They Killed My Father,’ ‘Wonder Woman’ becomes top-grossing superhero origin film, The Guardian proposes new cinematic canon chosen by women

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Sareum Srey Moch appears in "First They Killed My Father." Netflix photo

Sareum Srey Moch appears in “First They Killed My Father.” Netflix photo

Filmmaker, actor and activist Angelina Jolie and author-activist Loung Ung will receive the Hollywood Foreign Language Film Award at the 21st Annual Hollywood Film Awards for their critically-acclaimed film “First They Killed My Father,” which has been selected by Cambodia’s Oscar submission for Best Foreign Language Film.

Jolie directed the film and co-wrote the screenplay with Ung, who also serves as executive producer and whose gripping memoir the film is based upon.

Loung was 5 years old when the Khmer Rouge came to power, and the story is told through her eyes, from 1975 through 1978, depicting the indomitable spirit and devotion of her family as they struggle to stay together.

Acclaimed Cambodian director and producer Rithy Panh, who is himself a survivor of the Khmer Rouge, and produced “First They Killed My Father” together with Jolie, said in a statement, “We are grateful for this recognition by the HFA. In Cambodia, the film was welcomed with such success, a success beyond the normal commercial measure, with a much deeper and with lasting impact. This film comes at a time where 70% of the Cambodian population is under 30 years old. This generation is just starting to ask questions about the history of the country.  This film serves as a bridge to connect them with their history.”

The 2017 Hollywood Film Awards will be hosted by actor and comedian James Corden for the third consecutive year and will take place tonight at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

The ceremony, which honors the most acclaimed films and actors while previewing highly anticipated films and talent for the upcoming year, also acknowledges artists in the categories of Cinematography, Visual Effects, Film Composing, Costume Design, Editing, Production Design, Sound and Makeup & Hairstyling. In its 21-year history, more than 120 of the Hollywood Film Awards honorees have gone on to garner Oscar nominations and/or wins, according to a news release.

This year’s ceremony will benefit MPTF, which supports the entertainment community in living and aging well, with dignity and purpose, and in helping each other in times of need.

Other honorees include Roger Deakins, who will receive the Hollywood Cinematography Award for “Blade Runner 2049”; Thomas Newman, who will receive the Hollywood Film Composer Award for “Victoria & Abdul”; Sidney Wollinsky, who will receive the Hollywood Editor Award for “The Shape of Water”; Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Dan Barrett and Erik Winquist, who will receive the Hollywood Visual Effects Award for “War of the Plant of the Apes”; Jacqueline Duran, who will receive the Hollywood Costume Design Award for both “Darkest Hour” and “Beauty and the Beast”; Jenny Shircore, who will receive the Hollywood Make-Up & Hair Styling Award for “Beauty and the Beast.”

Also, Dennis Gassner will receive the Hollywood Production Design Award for the new “Blade Runner”; Addison Teague and Dave Acord will receive the Hollywood Sound Award for “Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2”; Gary Oldman will receive the Hollywood Career Achievement Award highlighting his work in “Darkest Hour”; Adam Sandler will receive the Hollywood Comedy Award for “The Meyerowitz Stories”; Joe Wright will receive the Hollywood Director Award for “Darkest Hour”; Kate Winslet will receive the Hollywood Actress Award for the film “Wonder Wheel”; Jake Gyllenhaal will receive the Hollywood Actor Award for the film “Stronger”; the cast of “The Big Sick,” including Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano will receive the Hollywood Comedy Ensemble Award; Jamie Bell will receive the New Hollywood Actor Award for “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”; musicians Diane Warren, Common and Andra Day for the original song, “Stand Up For Something” with music by Diane Warren, lyrics by Diane Warren and Common and performed by Andra Day featuring Common from the film “Marshall,” will receive the Hollywood Song Award.

Other recipients include, “Blade Runner 2049” producers Andrew S. Kosove, Broderick Johnson and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin for Hollywood Producer Award; “The Disaster Artist” screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber for Hollywood Screenwriter Award; “Coco” for Hollywood Animation Award; the cast of “Mudbound” including Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, Jason Clarke, Rob Morgan and Jonathan Banks for the Hollywood Breakout Ensemble Award; Sam Rockwell for Hollywood Supporting Actor Award for his role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”; Allison Janney for Hollywood Supporting Actress Award for her role in “I, Tonya”; Mary J. Blige for Hollywood Breakout Performance Actress Award for her work in the film “Mudbound”; Timothée Chalamet for Hollywood Breakout Performance Actor Award for his role in the film “Call Me By Your Name”; and the cast of “I, Tonya,” including Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser, Julianne Nicholson and Caitlin Carver for the Hollywood Ensemble Award.

Gal Gadot stars in "Wonder Woman." Warner Bros. photo

Gal Gadot stars in “Wonder Woman.” Warner Bros. photo

‘Wonder Woman’ officially becomes top-grossing superhero origin film

“Wonder Woman” continues to wow with her record-breaking ways.

According to Forbes, Patty Jenkins’ critically acclaimed blockbuster saw updated international receipts Nov. 1 that finally pushed her fantastic film’s box office totals to $821.74 million, topping the cumulative take of 2002’s Spider-Man and giving Jenkins’ Gal Godot’s Amazon warrior the title of top-grossing superhero origin film of all time.

In this golden age of superhero films, ushered in by the 2008 blockbuster success of Marvel’s “Iron Man,” it’s impressive (and I would argue fitting and gratifying as well) that “Wonder Woman” was the one to surpass “Spider-Man’s” longstanding record $821.7 million haul.

Forbes contributor Mark Hughes notes that, adjusting for inflation, Spider-Man made the equivalent of $1.1 billion in today’s dollars. But that film didn’t face the kind of competition “Wonder Woman” did, not just from other superhero films but also home entertainment competition from Internet and streaming services as well as the vast global piracy of movies nowadays.

The new box-office record for “Wonder Woman” comes as Warner Bros. is giving the critically beloved film a stout Oscar push, including campaigning for Best Picture and Best Director. The latter is especially noteworthy, as Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman winner in that category, for 2008’s “The Hurt Locker.”

The innkeeper's daughter, Adeline Ravoux (played by Eleanor Tomlinson), folds napkins at the Ravoux Inn, where Vincent van Gogh was staying when he died, in a scene from the animated film "Loving Vincent." A fictionalized biopic about the life and death of the legendarily brilliant artist and troubled soul is considered the world’s first fully oil-painted feature film. Good Deed Entertainment photo

The innkeeper’s daughter, Adeline Ravoux (played by Eleanor Tomlinson), folds napkins at the Ravoux Inn, where Vincent van Gogh was staying when he died, in a scene from the animated film “Loving Vincent.” A fictionalized biopic about the life and death of the legendarily brilliant artist and troubled soul is considered the world’s first fully oil-painted feature film. Good Deed Entertainment photo

‘Loving Vincent’ marks a stunning cinematic achievement

Thousands of paintings come to dazzling life in “Loving Vincent,” an animated period piece that must be one of the most visually striking and innovative films in cinema history.

Writer-directors Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman deserve fervent praise for their cinematic achievement, having spent six years on the Polish-U.K. labor of love, and it isn’t hard to see why: Every one of the film’s 65,000 frames is an actual oil painting hand-painted by one of 125 professional oil painters.

As I noted in my review on BAM’s Blog, it is considered the world’s first fully oil-painted feature film. “Loving Vincent” is a fictionalized biopic of legendarily brilliant artist and troubled soul Vincent van Gogh told in a way that uniquely showcases his instantly recognizable masterworks.

As with the Richard Linklater films “A Scanner Darkly” and “Waking Life,” “Loving Vincent” was first shot as a live-action film. It was then hand-painted over frame-by-frame, with the artists not only emulating van Gogh’s distinctive style but actually reproducing specific paintings. There are 94 of the Dutch master’s paintings featured in forms close to the originals, plus 31 additional van Gogh works that are substantially or partially featured.

Even more impressive, the painters managed to create cinematic portraits that are not only recognizable as van Gogh’s subjects but also as the actors playing the characters in a sort of detective story based on the controversial circumstances surrounding van Gogh’s tragic death at the age of 37. Although it has been widely accepted that the disturbed artist committed suicide, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith made the case in their 2011 best-seller “Van Gogh: The Life” that the painter may actually have been shot by a teenage boy.

The film stars Douglas Booth, Chris O’Dowd, Saoirse Ronan, Eleanor Tomlinson, Helen McCrory and Robert Gulaczyk as Vincent van Gogh. To read my full review, click here.

Noah Wiseman, left, and Essie Davis star in "The Babadook." IFC Films photo

Noah Wiseman, left, and Essie Davis star in “The Babadook.” IFC Films photo

The Guardian proposes new film canon picked by women

USA Today has compiled a list of all the Hollywood power players accused of sexual assault or harassment since Harvey Weinstein’s stunning ouster last month after decades of alleged sexual harassment and assault were detailed in bombshell reports from the New York Times and New Yorker.

The consequences for Weinstein – including being fired from the Weinstein Company and having his membership in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences revoked – seem to have finally marked a sea change and opened the floodgates for the airing of allegations against other Hollywood power players. USA Today lists Bret Ratner, James Toback, Andy Dick, Kevin Spacey and several others among those men who have been accused of sexual assault or harassment since the Weinstein scandal broke.

In light of the turmoil in Hollywood, The Guardian argues that now is the time for a new cinematic canon and asked women in film such as Amma Asante, director of A United Kingdom; Emily V Gordon, screenwriter of The Big Sick; and Gurinder Chadha, director of Bend It Like Beckham, to nominate the movies that should be hailed alongside the Scorsese and Spielberg titles so often listed.

Although I don’t think any such list can be considered complete without a Bigelow title, The Guardian’s list includes great picks such as Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook,” Barbra Streisand’s “Yentl,” Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” and Andrea Arnold’s “Red Road.”

This isn’t the first time that a new cinematic canon chosen by women has been proposed. In 2007, the members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists selected our Top 100 Films List in response to the 10th anniversary edition of AFI’s 100 Years … 100 Movies list, a roster that was very short on movies directed by women. Check out the AWFJ’s Top 100 Films List here.


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