To say that “Star Trek” is an underdog to make Oscar’s top ten is an major understatement, but that doesn’t mean the blockbuster Sci-Fi flick isn’t finding awards season love.
Monday night found J.J. Abrams’ reboot winning the Artios Award for best casting for a studio feature (drama) to April Webster and Alyssa Weisberg. The 25th Artios Awards are staged by the Casting Society of America in simultaneous ceremonies in both Los Angeles and New York. This isn’t a major award towards the road for Oscar except that it shows the casting directors saw “Trek’s” ensemble as one of its strong points. That could be a sign the film might sneak into the SAG Award’s Best Ensemble race which would be another nice recognition for the rejuvinated franchise. Other winners on the cinema side this year included “Tropic Thunder’s” Francine Maisler for studio feature (comedy), “Milk’s” Francine Maisler and Nina Henninger for independent feature (drama/comedy), “Sunshine Cleaning’s” Avy Kaufman for low budget feature (drama/comedy) and “Up’s” Kevin Reher and Natalie Lyon for “Up.”
“Star Trek” hits DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 17.
In other news, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the presenters for the organizations first annual Governors Awards. The Nov. 14 event will take place at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland and “should” replace the traditional acceptance of the special awards during the Academy Awards telecast. This year Quentin Tarantino, Anjelica Huston, Kirk Douglas and Jonathan Demme will be on hand to salute the honorees. Legendary producer and studio executive John Calley will be presented with the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and honorary awards will be given to actress Lauren Bacall, producer-director Roger Corman and cinematographer Gordon Willis. The black-tie event has a tight guest list and its unclear if any video footage will be allowed.
Some quick bits:
– Sony Pictures Classics acquired domestic distribution rights to Rodrigo Garcia’s “Mother and Child.” The Toronto Film Festival melodrama was a serious disappointment to this pundit after his previously underrated “Nine Lives,” but SPC sees art house potential with the star power of an ensemble that includes Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Samuel L. Jackson, Jimmy Smits and Kerry Washington. It’s expected to be hit theaters sometime in 2010.
– Respected cinematographer Caleb Deshcanel will receive this year’s American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony to be held on Feb. 27, 2010. It’s a crime that Deschanel has never won an Academy Award despite five nominations and a resume that includes “The Right Stuff,” “The Natural,” “The Passion of the Christ” and “The Black Stallion.” The 65-year-old DP most recently shot the melodrama “My Sister’s Keeper.”
– Longtime Oscar beat writer Steve Pond surveys how films such as “Amelia” and “An Education” are playing in Academy screenings. Intriguing insights, but worth noting this matters much more deep into November and December. Additionally, many consultants have been misled by overly enthusiastic screenings only to find themselves come empty nomination morning, but it’s one part of the larger puzzle for sure.
For constant updates on awards season and entertainment news follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter at Twitter.com/HitFixGregory