The Oscar race is wide open this year, with plenty of contenders, and recent attention of Silver Linings Playbook at the International Press Academy helped spotlight that unconventional film.
Part of the reason for that is the early awards show started 17 years ago by longtime Sherman Oaks resident Mirjana Van Blaricom, who writes entertainment pieces for Scandinavian newspapers and is a film critic for European outlets.
“We are the first show of the season, and we have a voice of entertainment writers and critics from both domestic and foreign journalists, so we are a good cross section to know what is good out there,” said Van Blaricom.
“We are the only show that covers movies, television, Internet and games, and we have a diverse panel of judges,” said Van Blaricom.
Her group of more than 100 news and entertainment writers teamed up this year with the Federation of European and Mediterranean Film Critics (FEDEROA) that started at the Cannes Film Festival.
In the past, the Satellite Awards was known as a raucous and rather rowdy party that celebrities had fun attending (see last year’s story with Cloris Leachman).
“It is important now that everyone is looking at what we are honoring and paying attention to, because we sometimes honor what is forgotten at the other awards shows,” said Van Blaricom.
That is why Variety and The Hollywood Reporter noted that the International Press Academy refocused a spotlight on the performances of Silver Lining Playbook, which took many of the major awards, and that Rise of the Guardians took best Animated Feature even though it’s box office receipts has been less than stellar when compared to other contenders.
Les Miserable, Lincoln, The Master, Life of Pi and Anna Karenina were among the top nominees, but the winners by the Press Academy were:
Motion Picture: Silver Linings Playbook
Actress in a Motion Picture: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Actor in a Motion Picture: Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Director: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook
Best Film Editing: Jay Cassidy, Silver Linings Playbook
It’s not as if the Press Academy is necessarily indicative of what will win at the Oscars (which is decided on by artists of their peers, not journalists). Last year, for example, The Descendants won at the IPA awards while the Academy Awards picked The Artist.
“Nobody has a monopoly on covering entertainment anymore and we pride ourselves in having a unique show, and unique outcome,” said Van Blaircom. “Due to the rise of bloggers, people who never read reviews are now part of the audience for commentary on the industry. This is not only local, but global, and we are making adjustments in our membership to realign the parameters of what a press association means in the world today. It’s including a lot of new voices and views.”
Terence Stamp was given the Mary Pickford Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution, Paul Williams won the Auteur Award, Bruce Davison won an Honorary Satellite Award and acclaimed Beast of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhane Wallis won the Newcomer Award. The cast of TV’s Walking Dead won best ensemble acting.
“I don’t like to look back, I try to be in the moment,” said Stamp when looking over his past work including Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, The Limey and much more. But, he said, “The last award I ever won was a Golden Globe for the first movie I ever did (Billy Budd).”
Davison said he was honored for his award and joked, “It’s better than getting a gold watch.”
Williams, who is the subject of a documentary Paul Williams is Still Alive, talked about his cocaine and alcohol abuse and how he was in rehab not too far from the Intercontinental Hotel where the ceremonies were being held in Beverly Hills. “I am proud of my 23 years of sobriety, where only a few blocks away I was next door to Robert Mitchum in rehab and I can proudly say, ‘Recovery works!’ “
In other awards, Anne Hathaway was named best supporting actress for her role in Les Misérables, which also won best song and best sound. Javier Bardem nabbed the best supporting actor award for Skyfall. Mark Boal's Zero Dark Thirty was named best original screenplay. And David Magee's adaptation of Life of Pi was named best adapted screenplay.
Top TV winners include Homeland and The Big Bang Theory, which claimed three awards each, with best drama series and best comedy series respectively, and Claire Danes and Damien Lewis, and Kaley Cuoco and Johnny Galecki winning best drama actress/actor and best comedy actress/actor respectively.
Click here at the official IPA site for the full list of winners.
* 2011 Awards: International Press Academy Awards Show Turns Raucous
* 2010 Awards: International Press Academy Honors a Few Locals
(Studio City Patch editor Mike Szymanski has been vice president of the International Press Academy.)