The Making of ‘American Sniper:’ Screenwriter Jason Hall’s Journey

Writing a screenplay based on an autobiography is challenging enough. But for Jason Hall, the real-life story of “American Sniper” took a tragic and irreversible turn immediately after he finished the script for the Clint Eastwood-directing film, starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller.

Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, whom Hall had been collaborating with in bringing his story to the screen, had just been murdered, ostensibly by a fellow Iraq war veteran he had been trying to help. (The man goes on trial soon for allegedly gunning down Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a Texas shooting range in February 2013.)

Soon after Kyle’s murder and then the hero’s funeral he received, Hall’s phone rang. It was Taya Kyle, Chris’ widow, and after their four-hour conversation, thus began a new chapter in both of their lives. They spoke daily for hours, similar to how Taya had conducted her marriage to Chris over a period of 10 years during his tours of duty – on the phone.

For Hall, who is nominated for an Oscar and a Writers Guild Award for his adapted screenplay, their conversations were about peeling away the layers of a complex man in a way that only a wife can reveal.

She told of Kyle’s tenderness and how he had charmed her with his sincerity and conviction.

Hall says it’s an honor to be able to tell their story–and at the same time make it not just about one man and one family but about us as a nation and what is sacrificed in our name.

Shortly after the film opened wide on January 16, breaking box office records, we spoke with Hall about his indelible experience with “American Sniper.”

Hillary Atkin: You first met Chris in 2010 less than a year after he got out of the Navy and before he wrote his best-selling book, American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.  What were your impressions of him?

Jason Hall: The big challenge was figuring out who Chris Kyle was and what compelled him to become a soldier and what the toll on him was. He was affected by his experiences in Iraq. It was hard to think of what he had been asked to do. After I first met with him, I saw one moment where his face came alive when he embraced one of his kids and I realized there was another guy in there. My struggle over the next years was knowing who he had been, otherwise his sacrifice would not be known. His book is one-dimensional. If that’s all there was, that was a different story. This guy was someone else before he came a warrior. I wanted to look at what happened and what it cost him.

I did it through Chris initially, and through his book which gave a lot of details. It was unapologetic, kind of angry and boisterous. I knew from him there was a humility that wasn’t represented in the book. Two years into the relationship I felt him changing. The laughter came easier.  I knew he was helping disabled veterans with stress disorders. I got to learn more about him, and started to love him. I turned in the script and he was murdered two days later.

Atkin: I can’t even imagine how shocking, devastating and horrifying that must have been. For him to be killed on U.S. soil after surviving so many enemy threats during combat.

Hall:  I just broke down after he was murdered. I have two kids of the same age, and the thought of them growing up without a father was just heartbreaking. To answer that call from his wife, to face a woman whose husband had just been murdered–I realized that I hadn’t pursued her more. But try asking a NAVY Seal for his wife’s number. The process took on more meaning during my conversations with Taya, 4-5 hours every day for two months. It wasn’t just figuring out Chris and who he was, it was more than just writing, it was very clear. To portray their story with a writer’s detail–how did he smell, their first kiss, the first childbirth–she remembered all of it. In many scenes she remembered exact things that were said and if not, I attempted to create the feelings and to recreate the purpose of their life in the story we tell. She started to process the grief and it took on more meaning, and I was introduced to a beautifully tragic love story that was unlike anything I’d ever known.

Atkin: What else did you learn about Chris’ character from your conversations with Taya?

Hall: She explained the caring side of a guy who had pulled her out of a dark time. I was shocked to find the architecture of this guy before the war, that he was tender in a way. It was hard to comprehend. She walked me through how the war had changed him, hardening his character, which affected him in such a profound way. He struggled with drinking, seeking help, and when he came home, he had to find a purpose and a reason to live. The book enabled him to walk into any VA and talk to fellow vets about what they had faced. He afforded them that opportunity and in doing so found a little bit of grace that began to heal him.

But the importance of the story didn’t start and end with Chris Kyle. The narrative purpose was to try to get the story of every soldier through exploring the archetype of this warrior and to offer up to every family who can identify with it the truth in their experience.

Atkin: The film has obviously struck a huge chord with audiences. What reactions have you been receiving?

Hall: The stories started pouring in, stories from soldiers, wives, grandparents, people who came home from Vietnam 40 years ago. I’ve been told stories about how parents have been affected, and now have an understanding of what they have gone through and how important it is to have a greater understanding. These accolades are nice, but I’ve cried over some of these stories–I am so affected to the bone. I’ve heard about some guys who don’t go out of house, going to see the movie, and then have opened up and finally talked about their experiences. It’s so beautiful.

These guys wanted to serve their country, but here’s what comes home, that we’re asking them to live with some stress injury. It’s important for us to understand this. I’m telling the point of view of one warrior, a personal character of one man. Soldiers don’t get to know the enemy, they get orders. They’re told to take out anyone with a gun. That’s the exact experience of a soldier, that’s what he experiences when he’s in combat. To allow that to occur and not politicize it, you try to be as honest as possible because truth resonates. Through human truth we can access the universal. The point of art is to create and inspire emotion and thought and conversation. This film has done that. It’s important for that to happen. It’s time to have the conversation about how we can welcome them home.   We’re doing a shitty job of it, it’s too painful, and we tell them, “Thank you for your service,” and that ends the conversation. They had to make choices they have to live with through the rest of their lives.

They carry an awareness of how this country feels. There’s a defensiveness, like “You don’t know what I went though.” When Chris called the Iraqis savages in his book, he was six months home from the war. You’re hearing the voice of a soldier, of a psyche still at war, and we ask these guys to do something not natural. They take on characters to take on an ugly job. That was the voice of a shadow character, not the entirely of Chris Kyle. Our job was to tell the entirety of the man he was.

Atkin: What was your biggest takeaway when you first saw the finished film?

Hall: The most important thing is the enormity of what Bradley did and how he inhabited the character of Chris. To watch him bring him back to life gave me goose bumps.  Kaya said, “I don’t understand how he brought my husband back to life.” It’s a testament to Bradley, his spirit and soul. It is a remarkable achievement.



GBK is Golden With Its Luxury Lifestyle Gift Lounge for the Globes

It’s a much anticipated rite of passage into the winter awards season as GBK puts on the biggest – and many say the best—luxury gifting lounge.

This year’s event, held at the “W” Hotel in Hollywood in the days leading up to the 72nd annual Golden Globes Awards, lived up to the acclaim.

In conjunction with Pilot Pen, GBK played host to a number of celebrities, presenters and nominees including  Gina Rodriguez of the CW’s hit show “Jane the Virgin,” Viola Davis, star of ABC’s “How to Get Away with Murder,” Jason Ritter, Lorelei Linklater, Niecy Nash and Alexander Dinelaris, Nicolas Giocobone and Armando Bo, screenwriters of one of the year’s top films, “Birdman.”

Taking over the second floor of the trendy hotel were dozens of vendors who gifted guests with their products and services – everything ranging from jewelry to electronics to skincare, clothing and accessories and luxury vacations.

Pilot Pen’s beautiful booth celebrated the art of self-expression by showcasing one of a kind calligraphy pens as well as those that can be used day-to-day. Their exhibit encompassed 1,000 origami cranes and attendees were invited to write a wish for their charity of choice while sharing it on social media using #pilotwish.

One of the perennial favorites is a gift bag full of handmade creations from members of the Artisan Group, which this year included stunning jewelry from Estylo Jewelry, Megs Broken Wings, Helen’s Adornments, Boy Cherie, Studio Jewel by Lisa Lehman and Nature’s Splendour.

But that wasn’t all, as there were also handcrafted natural bath products from Brosily Bath & Body and Pure Lather and natural cosmetics from Olivu and Smokey Mountain Lacquers.

Some of the other unique products available were beautiful, fashionable jewelry from Brave Chick, Wi-Fi headsets from LG Electronics, laptop bags and tablet cases from Solo; knit caps from Canada Bliss, a three night stay at Puerto Vallarta Beach Club in a private, spacious villa; four nights at Ce Blue Villas Beach Resort in Crocus Bay/Anguilla for two guests from Caribbean Living; an amazing Villa at the Viceroy in Bali.  Also, JetSmarter  gifted one month memberships providing private flights worldwide, electronic cigars from Citizen e-Cig, reusable beeswax food wrap that keeps food fresh naturally from Abeego; the world’s first performance fabric sheets that are ultra-soft and technologically advanced to keep you cool, dry and comfortable from SHEEX; Creeper Crawlers, developmental clothing for babies including their easy grip crawl suit.

And naturally there was a delectable range of refreshments ranging from gourmet chocolate and cupcakes to healthful hummus and specialty wines and cocktails being served throughout the lounge. The bar featured organic, low-calorie, gluten-free Bare Organic Mixers® that are made with juice, water, and agave syrup along with Nuvino, the first premium single-serve pouch wine– eminently transportable to a number of occasions– except obviously not for usage while driving.


GBK always features several non-profit organizations in the lounge, giving them an opportunity to educate guests about their cause. This year’s honored charities were Lambda Legal ( World Vision ( and YES, Beat Liver Tumor, (

DPA Talent Lounge Gets the Party Started for Golden Globes

It takes a certain amount of chemistry to put together a successful gifting suite, and Nathalie Dubois-Sissoko worked her magic once again for the 10th annual DPA Talent Lounge during Golden Globes week.

Held from January 8-10 at the indoor/outdoor penthouse of the Luxe Hotel on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, the festive event was a big hit—despite the big rainstorm the day before the awards.

But there was a bittersweet aspect as well, with tribute paid to the victims of terrorism in Paris that had just occurred. A “Je Suis Charlie” sign greeted guests as they arrived.

Golden Globes nominees, presenters, celebrities and VIP guests were treated to a plethora of products that are personally curated by the DPA team, resulting in a mixture of luxury items, trendy accessories, vacations to exotic locations and always, great food and drink– and a fun atmosphere in which to mix and mingle.

Guests included Golden Globe award-winning director Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) and the film’s young stars Ellar Coltrane and Lorelei Linklater, “Birdman’s” Alex Dinelaris and Antonio Sanchez, “Jane the Virgin” star and Globe winner Gina Rodriguez, producers Ben Silverman and Jennie Urman, Golden Globes presenter – and heartthrob – Colin Firth, Common, Neicy Nash, Keith Stanfield and Omar Dorsey from “Selma,” Kate Flannery, director Lisa Cholodenko, producer Jenji Kohan (“Orange Is the New Black“) producer Lisa Bruce (“The Theory of Everything”), Sia, Mark Feuerstein from “Royal Pains” and “Silicon Valley’s TJ Miller, to name just a few.

Trips are always a big part of DPA’s events, and select guests were offered getaways to Le Taha’a Private Island Resort, Cape Breton Island, and Alila Hotels and Resorts with trips to Bali.

The suite was brimming with beautiful products this year that included items from Icelandic fashion and shoes designer Kron by KronKron, NYC-based jewelry company Arido, Marchon Eyewear, HUM Nutrition’s 21-day detox program called Cleanse to the Rescue that supports a flatter stomach, clearer skin and healthy digestion and Malaysian Omorose Cosmetics, a cruelty-free brand that also creates job opportunities for the disabled.

Other vendors on hand with their products and services included Underground Culture Hair, Serani M, Make up by Andi, Azada, Truth in hand, Madame Nadine Jewelry, Corsi Labe Doli, The Santa Barbara Polo Club, The Thompson Hotel Miami, Flammarion, Aridza Bross, Herzog Wine cellars, Pacific Beach peanut butter, Cake Eater LA, Winestar, Candy Bar Couture, Daily Greens Juices and Highbrew coffee.

The benefiting charity was Lupus LA which brings awareness and helps those with the disease.

Audi Shifts Awards Season Into High Gear at Pre-Globes Bash

It’s one of the most highly anticipated events of the season: the annual Audi pre-Golden Globes party, held at Cecconi’s restaurant in West Hollywood.


The luxury automaker continued its tradition with the sixth annual edition of the festive soirée, which took place on Thursday night before the Globes. And you guessed it, many of the celebrities attending arrived in Audi vehicles like the A8 L TDI, the brand’s fuel-efficient flagship sedan.


Guests included nominees Liev Schreiber, Jessica Chastain, Edward Norton, Christoph Waltz, Allison Tolman and Joanne Froggatt, who went on to take home a Globe for her role in “Downton Abbey.”


Naomi Watts, Kate Walsh, Jessica Szohr, Kathy Bates, Perrey Reeves, Maggie Grace, Jamie Chung, Justin Baldoni, Lesley Nicol, Sarah Rafferty, Missi Pyle, Colin Egglesfield and Matt McGorry also made the scene.

The restaurant’s driveway was transformed into tented rooms that increased the capacity of the venue, which was packed with well-dressed partygoers kicking off the first awards weekend of the season.

Specialty cocktails were served from multiple bars and waiters tray-passed delectable specialties of the restaurant including two kinds of sliders, various flatbreads and pumpkin ravioli.

Watts, there with Schreiber, admitted she doesn’t binge-watch his show, “Ray Donovan,” but catches it live Sunday nights on Showtime. We can’t wait for the next season.


The couple caught up with Chastain, Norton and Waltz, who said he’d just jetted back to LA from Europe.


Norton, who is getting well-deserved kudos for his role in “Birdman,” gushed about “True Detective” being his favorite TV show of the year. Who knows, maybe a role for him awaits in an upcoming season.


DJ Michelle Pesce kept the tunes rocking late into the evening, until it was finally time for the valets to hand over the keys to all those Audis waiting to be driven off into the warm night.

–Hillary Atkin


‘Selma’ Brings MLK and the Civil Rights Movement to Vivid Life

Director Ava DuVernay has said she doesn’t like historical black pictures, and she’s made sure that her “Selma” stands out from the rest in its tone, in its focus and in its style of storytelling. It’s already nabbed four Golden Globe nominations and five Critics’ Choice nods that are a testament to her work.

Unbelievably, although the US civil rights movement has been chronicled extensively, this is the first feature-length film with Martin Luther King Jr.– brilliantly played here by David Oyelowo– as its central character. Even as he contends with FBI surveillance of his home and activities, he is shown dealing with the personal strains of his efforts, which won him the Nobel Peace Prize.

“Selma” focuses on a few critical months in 1965 with Selma, Alabama as the proving grounds for King and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference to fight for blacks being able to register to vote.

Even though they are legally able to, the racist power structure of the newly desegregated South prevents them from actually exercising that right, aided and abetted by Alabama Gov. George Wallace, law enforcement and local politicians and judges.

Tom Wilkinson plays LBJ, who is also resistant to King’s pleas to step in and make things right– until a confluence of events forces him to do so, culminating with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The events of nearly 50 years ago, including the storied march from Selma to Montgomery, are even more resonant in light of current civil rights protests taking place.

“Selma” opened in select cities on Christmas, and goes wide on January 9.

Gwen Stefani, Pharrell and Adam Levine Will Rock the People Magazine Awards

With awards season poised to take a break for the holidays after the recent nomination announcements from the Critics’ Choice, Golden Globes and SAG, along comes—what is to the best of our current knowledge– the very last award show of 2014.

And it’s a first – the inaugural edition of “The People Magazine Awards,” slated to air on NBC Thursday night from the Beverly Hilton.

The two-hour telecast, which will air live on the East Coast and be tape-delayed in other time zones, is billed as a snapshot of the year in pop culture and will be hosted by Nick Cannon. On tap are performances from Grammy Award winners Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5 and 5 Seconds of Summer.

Other talent expected to attend include Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Bridges, Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting, Billy Eichner, Josh Gad, Josh Groban, Diane Guerrero, Ryan Guzman, Jon Hamm,  Sean Hayes, Kevin Hart, Kate Hudson, Mindy Kaling, Michael Keaton, Karlie Kloss, John Krasinski, Lisa Kudrow, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Messina, Chloë Grace Moretz, Elisabeth Moss, Ryan Phillippe and Kate Upton.

Not to be confused with the “People’s Choice Awards,” but similarly populist in nature, “The People Magazine Awards” will present a Hero of the Year Award to recipient Nora Sandigo and a fan-voted award for Best People Magazine Cover of the Year.

As for the inspiration behind the creation of the new awards show, one of the magazine’s editors says it’s a natural extension of the brand. “People has been the go-to brand for all things pop culture for the last four decades,” says Jen Garcia. “Who better to celebrate and bring to life all that happened in 2014 than the leading voice in the industry? Our show is created through the unique lens of the People brand: it’s celebrity, fashion and ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Sandigo is one of those people. She’ll be lauded for her work advocating for the rights of immigrants and their families and helping them adjust to American culture. She is the founder and executive director of American Fraternity Inc., which focuses on U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants facing the threat of deportation. Remarkably, she is the legal guardian of more than 800 such immigration “orphans,” who credit her tireless work with helping them remain in the country.

The two-hour special is being produced by dick clark productions, the industry’s largest producer of televised live entertainment programming whose programs include legacy titles “American Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.”

“The People Magazine Awards” is the latest addition to that portfolio and comes on the heels of two other brand new dcp-produced kudocasts—this past Monday night’s “American Country Countdown Awards” (FOX) and “Hollywood Film Awards,” which aired last month on CBS.

As for the future of this latest entry into the awards canon, Garcia says she hopes it’s the beginning of another pop culture touchstone the magazine is known for creating during its 40 years of publication. “We hope that viewers enjoy the show and we are able to build a franchise like we’ve done so successfully with Sexiest Man Alive and World’s Most Beautiful.”

(“The People Magazine Awards” air on NBC, Thursday, Dec. 18, at 9 P.M. ET/PT.)

–Hillary Atkin

Critics’ Choice Showers ‘Birdman,’ ‘Budapest’ and ‘Boyhood’ with Noms for 20th Annual Awards

“Birdman,” “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Boyhood” lead the pack in the just-announced nominations for the 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards voted on by members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Historically, the awards–which will be broadcast live on A&E on January 15, 2015 with Michael Strahan hosting– are the most accurate predictor of the films and talent that will also receive Oscar nods.

With 13 nominations, the Michael Keaton-starrer “Birdman” tops the list of the critics choices with “Grand Budapest” pulling 11 and “Boyhood” receiving 8 nominations.

During ceremonies taking place at the Hollywood Palladium, Kevin Costner, Jessica Chastain and Ron Howard will receive special awards.

Costner, winner of two Academy Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award, will be honored with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ celebrating more than three decades of incredible work in film.

The LOUIS XIII Critics’ Choice Genius Award, established to honor an icon who has demonstrated unprecedented excellence in the cinematic arts, will be presented to multiple award-winning director, producer and actor Ron Howard.

Chastain will receive the inaugural ‘Critics’ Choice MVP Award,’ which recognizes an extraordinary actor for their work in several standout movies throughout a single year.

“I am excited to host a night honoring some of the most talented people in the industry,” said Strahan. “‘The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards’ show paves the way for the upcoming awards season, and the best part is that the winners are selected by the very people who make a living watching and reviewing films. It doesn’t get much more competitive than that.”

Among the other films topping the nods, “Interstellar” earned seven nominations, followed by “Gone Girl” and “The Imitation Game” each with six.  “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Into The Woods,” “Selma,” and “The Theory of Everything” were each nominated for five awards, while “Edge of Tomorrow,” “Inherent Vice,” “St. Vincent,” “Unbroken” and “Whiplash” are each in the running for four.

“It’s been a great year for movies,” said BFCA President Joey Berlin.  “Filmmakers have demonstrated that riveting, magical and provocative stories can be told in an incredible range of styles and techniques.  The members of the BFCA and our new partners at A&E are proud to salute wonderful films and performances in the traditional categories and a wide variety of popular genres including Comedy, Action and Sci-Fi/Horror.  Audiences love all kinds of movies – and so do we.”


Here is the full list of Critics’ Choice nominations:




Gone Girl

The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game



The Theory of Everything





Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler

Michael Keaton – Birdman

David Oyelowo – Selma

Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything



Jennifer Aniston – Cake

Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night

Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything

Julianne Moore – Still Alice

Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl

Reese Witherspoon – Wild



Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice

Robert Duvall – The Judge

Ethan Hawke – Boyhood

Edward Norton – Birdman

Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher

J.K. Simmons – Whiplash



Patricia Arquette – Boyhood

Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year

Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game

Emma Stone – Birdman

Meryl Streep – Into the Woods

Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer



Ellar Coltrane – Boyhood

Ansel Elgort – The Fault in Our Stars

Mackenzie Foy – Interstellar

Jaeden Lieberher – St. Vincent

Tony Revolori – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Quvenzhane Wallis – Annie

Noah Wiseman – The Babadook





The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Imitation Game

Into the Woods




Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Ava DuVernay – Selma

David Fincher – Gone Girl

Alejandro G. Inarritu – Birdman

Angelina Jolie – Unbroken

Richard Linklater – Boyhood



Birdman – Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo

Boyhood – Richard Linklater

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness

Nightcrawler – Dan Gilroy

Whiplash – Damien Chazelle



Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

The Imitation Game – Graham Moore

Inherent Vice – Paul Thomas Anderson

The Theory of Everything – Anthony McCarten

Unbroken – Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson

Wild – Nick Hornby



Birdman – Emmanuel Lubezki

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Robert Yeoman

Interstellar – Hoyte Van Hoytema

Mr. Turner – Dick Pope

Unbroken – Roger Deakins



Birdman – Kevin Thompson/Production Designer, George DeTitta Jr./Set Decorator

The Grand Budapest Hotel – Adam Stockhausen/Production Designer, Anna Pinnock/Set Decorator

Inherent Vice – David Crank/Production Designer, Amy Wells/Set Decorator

Interstellar – Nathan Crowley/Production Designer, Gary Fettis/Set Decorator

Into the Woods – Dennis Gassner/Production Designer, Anna Pinnock/Set Decorator

Snowpiercer – Ondrej Nekvasil/Production Designer, Beatrice Brentnerova/Set Decorator



Birdman – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione

Boyhood – Sandra Adair

Gone Girl – Kirk Baxter

Interstellar – Lee Smith

Whiplash – Tom Cross



The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero

Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges

Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood

Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard

Mr. Turner – Jacqueline Durran




Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Into the Woods




Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Edge of Tomorrow

Guardians of the Galaxy

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies




Big Hero 6

The Book of Life

The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Lego Movie



American Sniper

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Edge of Tomorrow


Guardians of the Galaxy



Bradley Cooper – American Sniper

Tom Cruise – Edge of Tomorrow

Chris Evans – Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Brad Pitt – Fury

Chris Pratt – Guardians of the Galaxy


Emily Blunt – Edge of Tomorrow

Scarlett Johansson – Lucy

Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

Zoe Saldana – Guardians of the Galaxy

Shailene Woodley – Divergent




The Grand Budapest Hotel

St. Vincent

Top Five

22 Jump Street



Jon Favreau – Chef

Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Michael Keaton – Birdman

Bill Murray – St. Vincent

Chris Rock – Top Five

Channing Tatum – 22 Jump Street



Rose Byrne – Neighbors

Rosario Dawson – Top Five

Melissa McCarthy – St. Vincent

Jenny Slate – Obvious Child

Kristen Wiig – The Skeleton Twins



The Babadook

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes



Under the Skin



Force Majeure



Two Days, One Night

Wild Tales




Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me

Jodorowsky’s Dune

Last Days in Vietnam

Life Itself

The Overnighters



Big Eyes – Lana Del Rey – Big Eyes

Everything Is Awesome – Jo Li and the Lonely Island – The Lego Movie

Glory – Common/John Legend – Selma

Lost Stars – Keira Knightley – Begin Again

Yellow Flicker Beat – Lorde – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1



Alexandre Desplat – The Imitation Game

Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything

Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross – Gone Girl

Antonio Sanchez – Birdman

Hans Zimmer – Interstellar








  1. Best Comedy
  2. Best Actor in a Comedy – Channing Tatum



  1. Best Action Movie
  2. Best Actor in an Action Movie – Bradley Cooper



  1. Best Young Actor/Actress – Quvenzhane Wallis



  1. Best Young Actor/Actress – Noah Wiseman
  2. Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie



  1. Best Song – “Lost Stars” by Keira Knightley



  1. Best Song – “Big Eyes” by Lana Del Rey


BIG HERO 6 (1)

  1. Best Animated Feature



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor – Michael Keaton
  3. Best Supporting Actor – Edward Norton
  4. Best Supporting Actress – Emma Stone
  5. Best Acting Ensemble
  6. Best Director – Alejandro G. Inarritu
  7. Best Original Screenplay – Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr., Armando Bo
  8. Best Cinematography – Emmanuel Lubezki
  9. Best Art Direction -  Kevin Thompson/Production Designer, George DeTitta Jr./Set Decorator
  10. Best Editing – Douglas Crise, Stephen Mirrione
  11. Best Comedy
  12. Best Actor in a Comedy – Michael Keaton
  13. Best Score – Antonio Sanchez



  1. Best Animated Feature



  1. Best Animated Feature



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Supporting Actor – Ethan Hawke
  3. Best Supporting Actress – Patricia Arquette
  4. Best Young Actor/Actress – Ellar Coltrane
  5. Best Acting Ensemble
  6. Best Director – Richard Linklater
  7. Best Original Screenplay – Richard Linklater
  8. Best Editing – Sandra Adair



  1. Best Action Movie
  2. Best Actor in an Action Movie – Chris Evans


CAKE (1)

  1. Best Actress – Jennifer Aniston


CHEF (1)

  1. Best Actor in a Comedy – Jon Favreau



  1. Best Documentary Feature



  1. Best Visual Effects
  2. Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie



  1. Best Actress in an Action Movie – Shailene Woodley



  1. Best Visual Effects
  2. Best Action Movie
  3. Best Actor in an Action Movie – Tom Cruise
  4. Best Actress in an Action Movie – Emily Blunt



  1. Best Young Actor/Actress – Ansel Elgort



  1. Best Foreign Language Film



  1. Best Supporting Actor – Mark Ruffalo
  2. Best Hair & Makeup


FURY (2)

  1. Best Action Movie
  2. Best Actor in an Action Movie – Brad Pitt



  1. Best Documentary Feature



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actress – Rosamund Pike
  3. Best Director – David Fincher
  4. Best Adapted Screenplay – Gillian Flynn
  5. Best Editing – Kirk Baxter
  6. Best Score – Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor – Ralph Fiennes
  3. Best Young Actor/Actress – Tony Revolori
  4. Best Acting Ensemble
  5. Best Director – Wes Anderson
  6. Best Original Screenplay – Wes Andreson, Hugo Guinness
  7. Best Cinematography – Robert Yeoman
  8. Best Art Direction – Adam Stockhausen/Production Designer, Anna Pinnock/Set Decorator
  9. Best Costume Design – Milena Canonero
  10. Best Comedy
  11. Best Actor in a Comedy – Ralph Fiennes



  1. Best Hair & Makeup
  2. Best Visual Effects
  3. Best Action Movie
  4. Best Actor in an Action Movie – Chris Pratt
  5. Best Actress in an Action Movie – Zoe Saldana



  1. Best Hair & Makeup
  2. Best Visual Effects



  1. Best Animated Feature



  1. Best Actress in an Action Movie – Jennifer Lawrence
  2. Best Song – “Yellow Flicker Beat” by Lorde


IDA (1)

  1. Best Foreign Language Film



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor – Benedict Cumberbatch
  3. Best Supporting Actress – Keira Knightley
  4. Best Acting Ensemble
  5. Best Adapted Screenplay – Graham Moore
  6. Best Score – Alexandre Desplat



  1. Best Supporting Actor – Josh Brolin
  2. Best Adapted Screenplay – Paul Thomas Anderson
  3. Best Art Direction – David Crank/Production Designer, Amy Wells/Set Decorator
  4. Best Costume Design – Mark Bridges



  1. Best Young Actor/Actress – Mackenzie Foy
  2. Best Cinematography – Hoyte Van Hoytema
  3. Best Art Direction – Nathan Crowley/Production Designer, Gary Fettis/Set Decorator
  4. Best Editing – Lee Smith
  5. Best Visual Effects
  6. Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie
  7. Best Score – Hans Zimmer



  1. Best Supporting Actress – Meryl Streep
  2. Best Acting Ensemble
  3. Best Art Direction – Dennis Gassner/Production Designer, Anna Pinnock/Set Decorator
  4. Best Costume Design – Colleen Atwood
  5. Best Hair & Makeup



  1. Best Documentary Feature



  1. Best Supporting Actor – Robert Duvall



  1. Best Documentary Feature



  1. Best Animated Feature
  2. Best Song – “Everything Is Awesome” by Jo Li and the Lonely Island



  1. Best Foreign Language Film



  1. Best Documentary Feature


LUCY (1)

  1. Best Actress in an Action Movie – Scarlett Johansson



  1. Best Costume Design – Anna B. Sheppard
  2. Best Hair & Makeup



  1. Best Supporting Actress – Jessica Chastain



  1. Best Cinematography – Dick Pope
  2. Best Costume Design – Jacqueline Durran



  1. Best Actress in a Comedy – Rose Byrne



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor – Jake Gyllenhaal
  3. Best Original Screenplay – Dan Gilroy



  1. Best Actress in a Comedy – Jenny Slate



  1. Best Documentary Feature



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor – David Oyelowo
  3. Best Acting Ensemble
  4. Best Director – Ava DuVernay
  5. Best Song – “Glory” by Common/John Legend



  1. Best Actress in a Comedy – Kristen Wiig



  1. Best Supporting Actress – Tilda Swinton
  2. Best Art Direction – Ondrej Nekvasil/Production Designer, Beatrice Brentnerova/Set Decorator
  3. Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie



  1. Best Young Actor/Actress – Jaeden Lieberher
  2. Best Comedy
  3. Best Actor in a Comedy – Bill Murray
  4. Best Actress in a Comedy – Melissa McCarthy



  1. Best Actress – Julianne Moore



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Actor – Eddie Redmayne
  3. Best Actress – Felicity Jones
  4. Best Adapted Screenplay – Anthony McCarten
  5. Best Score – Johann Johannson



  1. Best Comedy
  2. Best Actor in a Comedy – Chris Rock
  3. Best Actress in a Comedy – Rosario Dawson



  1. Best Actress – Marion Cotillard
  2. Best Foreign Language Film



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Director – Angelina Jolie
  3. Best Adapted Screenplay – Joel Coen & Ethan Coen, Richard LaGravenese, William Nicholson
  4. Best Cinematography – Roger Deakins



  1. Best Sci-fi/Horror Movie



  1. Best Picture
  2. Best Supporting Actor – J.K. Simmons
  3. Best Original Screenplay – Damien Chazelle
  4. Best Editing – Tom Cross


WILD (2)

  1. Best Actress – Reese Witherspoon
  2. Best Adapted Screenplay – Nick Hornby



  1. Best Foreign Language Film

The 20th Annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will be broadcast live on A&E from the Hollywood Palladium on January 15th at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT, the day the Academy Award nominations are announced.  This is the first year that the BFCA will partner with A&E to broadcast the show.

–Hillary Atkin

Christian Bale as Moses Powers ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’

The opulence, sophistication and the sheer spectacle of ancient Egypt as the backdrop for one of the most resonant tales in the Old Testament is brought to vivid, 3-D life by director Ridley Scott in “Exodus: Gods and Kings.”
It’s the story of Moses, played evocatively here by Christian Bale, who was raised into a life of Egyptian privilege and “knighthood” before learning he is actually the son of Hebrew slaves and is exiled to the desert by Ramses, (Joel Edgerton) the Pharoah’s son and a rival for the ruler’s attention and affection.
With a gritty realism and an unexpected depiction of the character of God, Moses takes his place as leader of the Jewish people to deliver them from slavery in Egypt, sacrificing for a time the family life he’s created.
The religious may find the film not faithful enough to scripture. The secular will enjoy the dramatic interpretation of a story for the ages, complete with vivid and haunting imagery of the ten plagues.

Breaking the Code: Benedict Cumberbatch Shines in ‘The Imitation Game’

Opening in just four New York and Los Angeles theaters over the Thanksgiving weekend to extremely strong box office, “The Imitation Game” is clearly making its mark as a Best Picture contender.

Set mainly during World War II, but going back in time to the 1930s and forward into the 1950s, the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the genius mathematician Alan Turing working to break a secret Nazi communications code called Enigma for Great Britain’s intelligence service.
His methodology initially alienates superiors and coworkers but he gets the backing of Winston Churchill and the affection of a rare female math prodigy portrayed by Keira Knightley in one of the most affecting roles she’s ever played.

Directed by Morten Tyldum with a screenplay by Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game” is a riveting biopic that deserves all the attention it will accumulate.
But the Turning story is so much more than a war thriller. It brings to life his contributions to computer science and the sad ending to what more he might have accomplished had he not been persecuted for homosexual acts after the war.

Redmayne, Jones Reach for the Stars in ‘The Theory of Everything’

As we move deeper into the heart of awards season, you will be hearing more and more about British actors Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, and for very good reason. In “The Theory of Everything,” both are equal parts spellbinding, charismatic and heartbreaking as they portray the time and space of a relationship that not only shaped two individuals and their families but the entire universe of astrophysics.

As the legendary, brilliant scientist Stephen Hawking, Redmayne brings to cinematic life the time before he was struck with Lou Gehrig’s disease– and given just two years to live. Playing Jane Wilde, a fellow student, Jones vows to be by his side throughout the unknown challenges that lie ahead, and puts marriage to him and having children into hyperdrive. The rest, as they say, is history.

In reality, Hawking has survived for half a century with the disease, and was married to Jane for 25 years before each moved on to other relationships.

This beautiful film, with stellar performances from its leads, serves to make their lives even more inspirational.