Why Moviegoing Matters More Than Ever in the Trump Era (Guest Blog)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With the 91st Academy Awards upon us, the time feels right to recognize the crucial role that movies have played in our lives, particularly in troubled times.

The first decade of the Oscars brought both the Great Depression and the so-called Golden Age of Hollywood. This was no coincidence. During that bleak period in America, millions would skip a meal and spend their last dime to sit in the dark and be transported to a saner, safer, happier place.

Movies have served as an escape and a refuge ever since. The best of them can also inspire and motivate us. And we desperately could use some inspiration right now.

As this New Year began, a headline in The New Yorker posed the stark question: “Is Optimism Dead in the Trump Era?” The piece went on to note that a combination of factors is undermining that “clean slate” feeling we usually experience in January: the government shutdown, trade tensions, a volatile stock market and the never-ending flow of divisive rhetoric flowing from the White House.

Also Read: 2018 Domestic Box Office Finishes With Record $11.85 Billion

Overall, our nation seems polarized, unmoored and adrift. And we still don’t know what’s in that Mueller report.

In the dark, cynical age of Trump, we need positive, illuminating films more than ever. They served as vital therapy to a hurting nation ninety years ago, and can perform the same function now.

Beyond just entertaining us, in uncertain times great movies remind us of fundamental values that may get lost in all the commotion but that time and again have seen us through. Qualities that sound almost quaint when you name them, like integrity, courage and compassion.

From our first bedtime story, we’re taught about heroes. Our need for them never really goes away. And when authentic heroes are missing from our lives — whether at home, school or work, whether in the halls of Congress or the Oval Office — movies provide them. These onscreen heroes tend to be real people like ourselves, people we relate to. By communing with them, we rediscover the best in ourselves and perhaps glimpse a brighter future.

Also Read: Inside Black Filmmakers’ Record $1.5 Billion Year at the Box Office, From ‘Black Panther’ to ‘First Purge’

Happily, these cinematic paragons never die. Think of Gary Cooper in “High Noon.” Henry Fonda in “12 Angry Men,” Gregory Peck in “To Kill a Mockingbird.” These familiar characters are like old, reliable friends, offering support and solace whenever we need it.

Today, our onscreen heroes are no longer just principled white men. True to life, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They can be young (Elsie Fisher in “Eighth Grade”), old (Charlotte Rampling in “45 Years”), gay (Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”) or transgender (Daniela Vega in “A Fantastic Woman”).

We may see the best or worst of ourselves in them. Regardless, we care about them, because like us, they are trying to make their way in a complex, unpredictable, often unforgiving world.

The films these characters populate may require a bit more of our focus and attention, but they offer rich rewards in return. They entertain and enlighten. They make us feel smarter for having watched them. And they stay with us; we wake up thinking about them.

Also Read: Did Andy Griffith Pave the Way for Donald Trump? (Guest Blog)

Our best movies both reflect their time and transcend it. Sometimes (spoiler alert!) movies even predict the future. Elia Kazan’s “A Face in the Crowd,” released more than 60 years ago, seems positively prescient today, with Andy Griffith’s ruthless Lonesome Rhodes rising to power by manipulating a gullible TV audience he secretly has contempt for.

Movies also bring history alive, providing an immediacy no other medium can match. It’s one thing to read about Watergate, quite another to experience it with a screening of Alan J. Pakula’s “All the President’s Men” or Steven Spielberg’s “The Post.” You likely followed the hunt for Osama bin Laden in the news, but watching Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” actually takes you there.

It’s not just about older films, of course. As hard as it is to make a movie, much less a great one, new “instant” classics get released each and every year. Movies big and small, domestic and foreign, narrative and documentary.

Also Read: 11 Best Documentaries of 2018, From ‘Minding the Gap’ to ‘Monrovia, Indiana’ (Photos)

This year alone, we have a bumper crop, starting with the triumphant “Black Panther,” a movie that signals a greater consciousness of diversity and racial inclusion in the industry, while demonstrating that a superhero film can be not only exciting, but also intelligent and distinctive.

Then there’s the not-so-small miracle of “A Star Is Born,” where first-time director Bradley Cooper manages to make a story filmed four times before bracingly new. Meanwhile Alfonso Cuarón’s autobiographical “Roma” gives us a master class in evocative filmmaking, in gorgeous black-and-white no less.

While the industry still needs more female directors and studio executives, movies built around female characters are on the rise — among them, the fabulous “Twentieth Century Women,” “Hidden Figures,” “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “My Happy Family” and “On the Basis of Sex.”

The movies we turn to for inspiration or evasion need not be serious affairs. After all, what better tonic for troubled times than laughter? Comedies soothe and reassure us. They make us laugh at — and with — ourselves. Nothing could be healthier.

Though I treasure the wit and style of old screwball comedies like “My Man Godfrey” and “Bringing Up Baby,” more recent releases like “Silver Linings Playbook,” “Superbad,” “Bridesmaids” and “The Big Sick” remind us that smart cinematic comedy — which provides a much-needed diversion from the dramas of the day — is alive and well.

Also Read: 11 Best Movies of 2018, From ‘Paddington 2’ to ‘Eighth Grade’ (Photos)

Old or new, all these titles are worthy of repeat viewings — especially if your faith in a just world has been torpedoed by (choose one) the government shutdown, the border wall or this week’s latest political fiasco. Fifteen years ago, I got to interview director Robert Altman at Stamford’s Avon Theatre. Right before we went on stage, he passed on some valuable wisdom. “It’s always better to see a great movie again than an average one the first time,” he told me. “Because even though the movie hasn’t changed, you have, and you always see something new.”

Amid all the debate on how technology is transforming our lives, one indisputable benefit is our ability to access so much quality content on-demand. We can go back and watch the movies we’ve loved whenever we choose to, an advance the industry pioneers who attended that first Oscar ceremony could never have imagined.

Great movies also generate stimulating discussion and debate, one reason they’re best experienced as a group. Over the years, I’ve hosted countless movie screenings and interviews with directors and actors at a variety of venues. There’s always electricity in the air at such events. And bearing out Robert Altman’s insight, people are actually surprised at how much an older movie they’ve seen before can affect them. Beyond this, we all share a fascination with how the film got made and why it still works.

As an exhibitor, I believe that theaters remain the best way to see films. Not only is the experience of sitting in a quiet, unlit screening arena immersive, but somehow a film’s impact is augmented when experienced with an audience. It also creates community, which is in itself both reassuring and necessary. And if there ever was a time when we needed community, it is now. (Movie theaters as brick-and-mortar envoys of peace and good will? I’ll take it!)

Grim prognostications about the future of movie theaters abounded at the end of 2017. Box office revenue was down 2 percent from the prior year, particularly disconcerting since both the population and ticket prices rise every year. The number of tickets sold dropped 6 percent, the lowest level of movie tickets sold in nearly a quarter century.

Also Read: Mark Cuban’s Landmark Theatres Sold to Cohen Media Group

Then 2018 brought a comeback, with domestic box office revenue rising an astonishing 8 percent. Several factors were at play, including better movies that people wanted to see and, I maintain, a profound need for distraction and downright escape from the news of the day.

Will movie theaters ultimately survive? The current consensus seems to be yes, yet the “Netflix effect” is undeniable. Streaming is not only convenient, but gives consumers greater control over the experience of watching films. It is, undeniably, the future.

Recent Netflix titles like “Roma,” “Private Life,” “Mudbound,” “The Kindergarten Teacher,” and “Sunday’s Illness” should make movie lovers optimistic about what’s to come.

Every year, the run-up to the Oscars gives us the chance to celebrate the power and infinite variety of cinema. We watch past Oscar winners, and catch up on current nominees we may have missed. We honor The Best.

On Sunday, February 24, during the Academy Awards broadcast, we will have even more reason to do so, as the powerful and motivating films of 2018 provide the emotional sustenance we need to get through this dispiriting moment in our country’s history. Through the stories they tell and the heroes they present, we take strength in our shared humanity once more, and regain that most precious commodity: hope.

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Karlovy Vary Film Festival to Honor Tim Robbins

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Academy Award winner Tim Robbins will be honored by the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival, Central and Eastern Europe’s top annual film event.
The multi-hyphenate star will take the Crystal Globe Award for his “contributions to world…

All 26 Ron Howard Movies Ranked, From Worst to Best (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ron Howard grew up in front of the camera, but he came of age as an artist behind it. The actor-turned-filmmaker has directed well over 20 movies throughout his career, taking an unostentatious approach to popcorn flicks and prestige pictures alike. Wi…

Independent Spirit Awards: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

“Get Out” emerged as the big winner of the 2018 Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday on the beach in Santa Monica, Ca.

Jordan Peele’s racially charged thriller — which captivated the country and became an unlikely indie blockbuster — took Best Feature at the annual show put up by Film Independent. Peele also took Best Director.

Top acting prizes went to Frances McDormand for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and Timothee Chalamet for “Call Me by Your Name.” Best Supporting Male went to Sam Rockwell for “Three Billboards,” and Best Supporting Female went to Allison Janney of “I, Tonya.” That makes it a virtual clean sweep for the latter two actors on the eve of the Academy Awards.

Also Read: Kroll and Mulaney Roast Harvey Weinstein, Louis CK, Kevin Spacey in Spirit Awards Monologue

Greta Gerwig won Best Screenplay for her coming-of-age darling “Lady Bird,” while Emily V. Gordon and Kumail Nanjiani took Best First Screenplay for their autobiographical comedy “The Big Sick.”

Notable below-the-line prizes went to Tatiana S. Riegel, who took Best Editing for
“I, Tonya.”  Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, director of photography on “Call Me by Your Name,” won Best Cinematography.

Comedians Nick Kroll and John Mulaney (“Big Mouth,” “Oh, Hello”) returned to host the ceremony, an annual splashy gathering of Hollywood stars and indie film luminaries willing to brave the natural lighting of  a rare daytime awards show.

Also Read: Independent Spirit Awards: In a Stormy Year, It’s Up to Jordan Peele to Keep the Streak Alive

The complete winners list:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“The Florida Project”
“Get Out” *WINNER
“Lady Bird”
“The Rider”

“Ingrid Goes West,” Director Matt Spicer *WINNER 
“Oh Lucy!”
“Patti Cake$”

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. (Award given to the writer, director and producer. Executive Producers are not awarded.)
“A Ghost Story”
“Life and nothing more” *WINNER
“Most Beautiful Island”
“The Transfiguration”

Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Jonas Carpignano, “A Ciambra”
Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me by Your Name”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out” *WINNER
Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie, “Good Time”
Chloé Zhao, “The Rider”

Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird” *WINNER
Azazel Jacobs, “The Lovers”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Jordan Peele, “Get Out”
Mike White, “Beatriz at Dinner”

Kris Avedisian, Kyle Espeleta, Jesse Wakeman, “Donald Cried”
Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani, “The Big Sick” *WINNER
Ingrid Jungermann, “Women Who Kill”
Kogonada, “Columbus”
David Branson Smith, Matt Spicer, “Ingrid Goes West”

Thimios Bakatakis, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Elisha Christian, “Columbus”
Hélène Louvart, “Beach Rats”
Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, “Call Me by Your Name” *WINNER
Joshua James Richards, “The Rider”

Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie, “Good Time”
Walter Fasano, “Call Me by Your Name”
Alex O’Flinn, “The Rider”
Gregory Plotkin, “Get Out”
Tatiana S. Riegel, “I, Tonya” *WINNER

Salma Hayek, “Beatriz at Dinner”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *WINNER
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Shinobu Terajima, “Oh Lucy!”
Regina Williams, “Life and nothing more”

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name” *WINNER
Harris Dickinson, “Beach Rats”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Robert Pattinson, “Good Time”

Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya” *WINNER
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Lois Smith, “Marjorie Prime”
Taliah Lennice Webster, “Good Time”

Nnamdi Asomugha, “Crown Heights”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Barry Keoghan, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” *WINNER
Benny Safdie, “Good Time”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast

Director: Dee Rees
Casting Directors: Billy Hopkins, Ashley Ingram
Ensemble Cast: Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan

“The Departure”
“Faces Places” *WINNER
“Last Men in Aleppo”

“BPM (Beats Per Minute)”
“A Fantastic Woman” *WINNER
“I Am Not a Witch”
“Lady Macbeth”

Chloé Zhao *WINNER


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Sue Barton Dies: Publicist And Marketer For Major Studios Was 79

Read on: Deadline.

Sue Barton, who helmed the rollout of more than 50 studio films, including Academy Award-winner Ghandi and Tootsie, has died. She was 79 and passed away Jan. 5 in Monterey, California of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to her friend, producer Carolyn Pfeiffer Bradshaw.
The publicity and marketing veteran worked for Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, MGM and director Robert Altman, appearing in a cameo in his film Nashville.
Born November 26th, 1938 in…

Nicole Kidman, Ed Lachman to Receive Tributes at the Gotham Awards

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Nicole Kidman and revered cinematographer Ed Lachman (“Carol”) will receive the Actress and Cinematographer Tributes, respectively, at the 2017 Independent Filmmaker Project Gotham Awards.

“It is truly an honor to present Nicole Kidman with the Actress Tribute this year. Her choices in projects throughout her career have been bold and carefully selected, ranging from thought-provoking independent films and studio blockbusters to unique and original television series. She has consistently sought out roles of complex characters and delivered them with unforgettable, iconic performances that have unequivocally placed her amongst one of the greatest actresses of our lifetime. We are delighted to celebrate her lasting contributions to the art of film and television,” said Joana Vicente, Executive Director of IFP and the Made in NY Media Center, in a statement.

“Likewise, we are thrilled to present Ed Lachman with the Cinematographer Tribute,” she added. “His creative contributions to independent films along with his collaborations with countless filmmakers are legendary. His talent to transform what viewers see on screen is one of a kind and worthy of recognition.”

Also Read: Al Gore, Jason Blum to Receive Tributes at 2017 IFP Gotham Awards

Kidman first broke onto the scene in Philip Noyce’s critically-acclaimed thriller, “Dead Calm” in 1989. She was honored with her first Oscar nomination for her performance in Baz Luhrmann’s “Moulin Rouge!” In 2003, she won an Academy Award, Golden Globe Award and BAFTA Award for her role in Stephen Daldry’s “The Hours,” and in 2010, she received an Academy Award nomination for her role in John Cameron Mitchell’s “Rabbit Hole,” which she also executive produced. In 2006, Kidman was awarded Australia’s highest honor, the Companion in the Order of Australia. She also continues to serve as Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Development for Women.

Most recently, Kidman starred in The Weinstein Company’s “Lion” alongside Dev Patel, and Sofia Coppola’s “The Beguiled,” as well as in HBO’s limited series “Big Little Lies,” for which she received her second Emmy nomination. She will next be seen in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” and Neil Burger’s “The Upside,” which just premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Lachman is best known for his collaborations with filmmakers Todd Haynes, Coppola, Werner Herzog, Jean-Luc Godard, Paul Schrader, Steven Soderbergh and Robert Altman. His work with Haynes scored Lachman Emmy and Academy Award nominations.

Also Read: Independent Filmmaker Project Selects 10 Documentaries for 2017 IFP Filmmaker Labs

The IFP Gotham Awards, which will be held this year on Nov. 27 in New York City, also honors selected film industry icons as tributes each year. IFP recently announced that former Vice President Al Gore will receive the Humanitarian Tribute, while founder of Blumhouse Productions Jason Blum will receive the Industry Tribute. Additional tributes will be announced in coming weeks.

Previous honorees include Amy Adams, Helen Mirren, Robert Redford, Haynes, Ted Sarandos, Bob & Harvey Weinstein, Roger Ebert, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, David O. Russell and Gus Van Sant.

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Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and ‘Big Little Lies’ Stars Detail Show’s ‘Tricky’ Journey

‘The Beguiled’ Review: Sofia Coppola, Nicole Kidman Deliver a Southern Gothic Hoot

‘Killing of a Sacred Deer’ Cannes Review: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell Get Dark and Freaky

Paul Dooley On Robert Altman, Mike Nichols And A Character Named Paul Dooley

Read on: Deadline.

Writers are warned never to give away the ending of a movie or play. But beginnings are fair game. this is how Paul Dooley opens his one-man show, Movie Dad:

‘I am a character actor. That’s the definition of me. For the past 60 years, I’ve been pretending to be other people. Tonight, I’m going to pretend to be myself. The character actor is never the star of the movie or the TV show. The audience may feel his face is familiar, but have no idea what his name is. Some of…

Inside Cannes Festival Jury Deliberations: Snubs, Feuds and ‘Passionate’ Abstentions

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

A version of this story first appeared in the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

With the enjoyably goofy Pedro Almodovar serving as president and the cheerful likes of Will Smith, Jessica Chastain and Paolo Sorrentino also sitting on the panel, jury deliberations at this year’s Cannes Film Festival should be a breeze, right?

Maybe. But last year, at the festival-opening press conference for the Cannes jury, director George Miller had this to say about his task of heading the panel: “Leading the jury is like a parent taking children on a film holiday … It’s a real pleasure because we have nothing else to do. Our job is to watch films which we know nothing about and then think about them.”

A week and a half later, at a fest-closing press conference, Miller admitted that things might have been tougher than he expected. “I called it the nine-headed beast,” he said. “It was a collective experience, a hard one over many hours. It was incredibly vigorous and rigorous.”

Also Read: Pedro Almodovar Named Cannes Film Festival Jury President

We don’t know yet if this year’s panel will have its differences, and if so how heated the discussions will get. (And even if they have screaming arguments, they probably won’t tell us about it afterwards.) But we do know that in the past, jury conflicts have not been uncommon.

Here are some highlights over the years:

1977: One of director Robert Altman’s most ardent champions was critic Pauline Kael, so the filmmaker was no doubt happy to find her on the jury when he took his 1977 film “3 Women” to the festival. But the Palme d’Or went to Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s “Padre Padrone” instead, with Ettore Scola’s “A Special Day” reportedly also in the running. The perceived snub at the hands of his old supporter caused Altman (who’d won the Palme in 1970 for “M*A*S*H”) to scream obscenities at Kael when he ran into her in the Nice airport as they were both leaving town.

1981: French author Françoise Sagan headed the Cannes jury. During the festival and immediately afterwards, she publicly accused then-festival president Robert Favre le Bret of pressuring her panel to make Francis Coppola’s work-in-progress “Apocalypse Now” the co-winner of the Palme d’Or with “The Tin Drum,” which she thought should have won the award outright. In retaliation, according to reports, the festival rejected Sagan’s 10,000-franc expense bill.

Also Read: Cannes: Will Smith, Paolo Sorrentino Join Main Jury

1988: Screenwriter and novelist William Goldman devoted an entire book, “Hype and Glory,” to the year in which he served as a Cannes juror and a judge at the Miss America pageant. The jury decision, he revealed, came only after some old-fashioned horse-trading: Bille August’s “Pelle the Conqueror” won over Chris Menges’ “A World Apart” in a 6-4 vote, but jury president Ettore Scola only got the “World Apart” supporters to stop arguing when he offered to not only give that film the Grand Jury Prize (second prize), but also let its lead actresses share the best-actress award, making it the only film to win more than one prize. The losing jurors, he said, “were satisfied. They hadn’t won, but it was clear the movie was considered something special.”

1996: Jury president Francis Ford Coppola reportedly hated David Cronenberg’s “Crash,” which won a special jury prize. When he presented the award at the closing ceremony, Coppola took the unusual step of pointing out that the award was not unanimous and that some jurors “did abstain very passionately.” That rather graceless disclaimer didn’t sit well with Coppola’s fellow juror (and Cronenberg’s fellow Canadian) Atom Egoyan, who called it “an odd thing to do.”

2007: British director Stephen Frears was the president of a jury that, for the only time since 1968, did not include any Americans. They gave the Palme d’Or to the Romanian drama “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,” and few found reason to quibble with that selection. But one member of the panel told TheWrap that deliberations were contentious, as a couple of panelists — among them Canadian actress-director Sarah Polley — fought to keep the American contenders, which included the Coen brothers’ “No Country for Old Men” and David Fincher’s “Zodiac,” from winning anything. In the end, American artist/director Julian Schnabel did win the best-director prize for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” a film entirely in French.

Also Read: Jessica Chastain Joins Jury of 2017 Cannes Film Festival

2015: The famously outspoken (and occasionally bratty) Canadian director Xavier Dolan has been competing at Cannes since he was a teenager, so it’s natural that the festival asked him to serve on the jury two years ago. But Dolan was apparently not the most congenial panelist, getting on some of his fellow jurors’ nerves as he lobbied feverishly — and perhaps rudely — for his favorites and against the likes of Todd Haynes’ subdued love story “Carol.” At the jury press conference that followed the awards ceremony, Dolan said, “I somehow feel like a better person.” Sitting nearby, jury co-president Ethan Coen audibly muttered, “You’re not.”

Click here to read more from the Cannes issue of TheWrap Magazine.

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Independent Spirit Awards: The Complete Winners List (Updating Live)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Independent Spirit Awards are underway on the beach in Santa Monica, Ca.

“Moonlight” was an early winner in the editing category, as was Ben Foster, who took Best Supporting Actor for “Hell or High Water.”

Read the full winners list updating live, indicated as *WINNER:

Also Read: Indie Spirit Hosts Nick Kroll, John Mulaney Talk Trump, Tuxedos and Tonys

“American Honey”
“Manchester by the Sea”

Andrea Arnold, “American Honey”
Barry Jenkins, “Moonlight”
Pablo Larraín, “Jackie”
Jeff Nichols, “Loving”
Kelly Reichardt, “Certain Women”

“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Fits”
“Other People”
“Swiss Army Man”
“The Witch” *WINNER

Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
Isabelle Huppert, “Elle”
Sasha Lane, “American Honey”
Ruth Negga, “Loving”
Natalie Portman, “Jackie”

Casey Affleck, “Manchester by the Sea”
David Harewood, “Free In Deed”
Viggo Mortensen, “Captain Fantastic”
Jesse Plemons, “Other People”
Tim Roth, “Chronic”

Edwina Findley, “Free In Deed”
Paulina Garcia, “Little Men”
Lily Gladstone, “Certain Women”
Riley Keough, “American Honey”
Molly Shannon, “Other People” *WINNER

Ralph Fiennes, “A Bigger Splash”
Ben Foster, “Hell or High Water” *WINNER
Lucas Hedges, “Manchester by the Sea”
Shia LaBeouf, “American Honey”
Craig Robinson, “Morris from America”

“Moonlight” *WINNER
“Manchester by the Sea”
“20th Century Women”
“Little Men”
“Hell or High Water”

“The Witch” *WINNER
“Other People”
“Jean of the Joneses”

“Free In Deed”
“The Childhood of a Leader”
“The Eyes of My Mother”
“Moonlight” *WINNER
“American Honey”

“Swiss Army Man”
“Manchester by the Sea”
“Moonlight” *WINNER
“Hell or High Water”

ROBERT ALTMAN AWARD – (Given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast)

Director: Barry Jenkins
Casting Director: Yesi Ramirez
Ensemble Cast: Mahershala Ali, Patrick Decile, Naomie Harris, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monáe, Jaden Piner, Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders

JOHN CASSAVETES AWARD – Given to the best feature made for under $500,000. Award given to the writer, director and producer.

“Free In Deed”
“Hunter Gatherer”
“Spa Night” *WINNER

“I Am Not Your Negro”
“O.J.: Made in America”
“Under the Sun”

“Aquarius” (Brazil)
“Chevalier” (Greece)
“My Golden Days” (France)
“Toni Erdmann” (Germany and Romania) *WINNER
“Under the Shadow” (Iran and U.K.)

20th ANNUAL PIAGET PRODUCERS AWARD – The 20th annual Producers Award, sponsored by Piaget, honors emerging producers who, despite highly limited resources, demonstrate the creativity, tenacity and vision required to produce quality, independent films. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Piaget.
Lisa Kjerulff
Jordana Mollick
Melody C. Roscher & Craig Shilowich

23rd ANNUAL KIEHL’S SOMEONE TO WATCH AWARD – The 23rd annual Someone to Watch Award, sponsored by Kiehl’s Since 1851, recognizes a talented filmmaker of singular vision who has not yet received appropriate recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant funded by Kiehl’s Since 1851.

Andrew Ahn, director of “Spa Night”
Claire Carré, director of “Embers”
Anna Rose Holmer, director of “The Fits”
Ingrid Jungermann, director of “Women Who Kill”

22nd TRUER THAN FICTION AWARD – The 22nd annual Truer Than Fiction Award is presented to an emerging director of non-fiction features who has not yet received significant recognition. The award includes a $25,000 unrestricted grant.

Kristi Jacobson, director of “Solitary”
Sara Jordenö, director of “Kiki”
Nanfu Wang, director of “Hooligan Sparrow”

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All 25 Ron Howard Movies Ranked, From Worst to Best (Photos)

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Ron Howard grew up in front of the camera, but he came of age as an artist behind it. The actor-turned-filmmaker has directed well over 20 movies throughout his career, taking an unostentatious approach to popcorn flicks and prestige pictures alike. With Inferno out this week, here’s a look back at the good, the bad, and The Dilemma.


24.) The Dilemma: What at first appears to be Howard’ attempt at a Woody Allen-style film about crisscrossing relationships gradually instead turns out to be an inert romantic dramedy. Vince Vaughn and especially Kevin James are taken well beyond their comfort zones, but Winona Ryder and Jennifer Connelly acquit themselves about as well as possible. Howard’s style isn’t as instantly identifiable as someone like Tarantino, but The Dilemma barely even feels like it was made by him.


23.) How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Dr. Seuss has rarely translated well onscreen, and Howard’s take on one of the author’s best-known works is no exception. (It’s also no Cat in the Hat, and for that we can be grateful.) Jim Carrey is expectedly hammy in the title role, but watching this movie isn’t likely to grow anyone’s heart by three sizes.


22.) In the Heart of the Sea: This semi-adaptation of Moby-Dick fails to capture the sweeping power of its source material; more damning, it never tells a compelling story of its own. The sea is a cruel mistress indeed, and for now a truly epic silver-screen version of Herman Melville’s novel remains a white whale.


21.) The Da Vinci Code: The greatest mystery in this adaptation of Dan Brown‘s once-ubiquitous novel is whose idea it was to style Tom Hanks‘ hair that way. Howard’s most frequent leading man is reduced to an exposition-delivery device here, and there’s never any chance to get caught up in a story that explains every bit of would-be intrigue just as soon as it’s introduced.


20.) Gung Ho: Like a lot of other ’80s movies, Gung Ho would like you to know how funny Asian people are. An east-meets-west comedy about an auto manufacturing plant that gets bought by a Japanese company — whose strange, rigid ways are just too much for Michael Keaton and his co-workers to handle — this one doesn’t deserve a bailout.


19.) Grand Theft Auto: Howard’s feature debut also finds him in front of the camera — the only time he’s made more than an uncredited cameo in any of his films. This feature-length car chase between L.A. and Vegas might not be as memorable as your first car, but it isn’t exactly a lemon.


18.) Angels and Demons: The source material is nothing to write home about, and Howard’s second adaptation of a Dan Brown novel (which was actually published before The Da Vinci Code) fails to elevate it. Though a modest improvement over its predecessor, this is essentially two hours of Tom Hanks playing tour guide as the Vatican descends into chaos.


17.) The Paper: You’d be forgiven for not remembering (or, depending on how old you are, even knowing) that Spotlight wasn’t the first newspaper movie starring Michael Keaton, as The Paper didn’t exactly stop the presses back in 1994. Not that Howard’s portrayal of a fictional New York City rag using the powers of journalistic integrity to make the world a slightly better place is bad, mind — it just isn’t especially headline-worthy.


16.) The Missing: Howard’s violent, semi-revisionist western is the other side of the Far and Away coin: where that film shows the promise and potential 19th-century America offered newcomers, The Missing displays the grim realities for those who were already here — including and especially the actual natives.


15.) Ransom: Howard hasn’t made a lot of movies like Ransom, whose kidnapping narrative explores the fine line between justice and revenge. He does well with the darker material, however, once again showing his skill for floating between genres with ease.


14.) A Beautiful Mind: The film that won Howard the Academy Award for Best Director — he beat out David Lynch, Robert Altman, Woody Allen, and Peter Jackson — as well as Best Picture was neither the best film of 2001 nor of Howard’s career. But it is satisfying in exactly the way you’d expect a biopic about a tortured genius to be, with Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly turning in fine performances.


13.) The Beatles: Eight Days a Week: It’s little surprise that the Baby Boomer star of Happy Days and American Graffiti would have such a fondness for the Fab Four. Howard’s documentary on the Beatles’ touring years (1962-66) abounds in concert and archival footage, making for an experience as friendly to devotees as it is to those who’ve yet to be won over by Paul, John, George, and Ringo.


12.) Parenthood: This family dramedy’s most lasting legacy may be NBC’s television adaptation, which surpassed its source material sometime in its second season. That said, Parenthood is, like a great many of the director’s films, hard to object to and easy to get into; that Howard and Steve Martin never collaborated again feels like a missed opportunity.


11.) Night Shift: Years before Tom Hanks entered the picture, Michael Keaton was Howard’s go-to leading man. Their three-film collaboration began with this workplace comedy about two morticians. If a morgue doesn’t sound like the ideal setting for a comedy, that’s sort of the point; still, Howard’s Happy Days co-star Henry Winkler works well alongside Keaton, with the two injecting more than enough shenanigans into the proceedings to keep Night Shift lively.


10.) Far and Away: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman set course from Ireland and experience their own version of the American Dream circa the late 19th century. Even if it loses steam when it gestures toward grand statements, though, Far and Away is overlooked as a romantic adventure — and a fine showcase for its two leads.


9.) Rush: Though seemingly intended as a star vehicle for Chris Hemsworth, Rush ended up serving as a showcase for Daniel Bruhl, who leaves his co-star in the dust. Both Hemsworth and the film itself fare much better than In the Heart of the Sea, at least, and the racing sequences are a genuine thrill ride.


8.) Backdraft: Backdraft is a modest blockbuster by today’s standards, which is part of its charm. The firefighter drama serves to remind of a simpler time when summer movies weren’t all based on pre-existing properties and didn’t lead to a number of increasingly disappointing sequels. (It did inspire a ride at Universal Studios which, in a telling sign of the changing times, was replaced by a Transformers attraction five years ago.)


7.) Cocoon: The mid-to-late-’80s turned out to be one of Howard’s most fruitful periods, and he first demonstrated his penchant for heightened realities with Cocoon. He has a knack for this kind of material, as further demonstrated by Splash and Willow, as it brings out his kindness toward his characters and gift for classical storytelling.


6.) EDtv: This one gets points not only for its prescience — its vision of the reality-TV era is even more accurate than The Truman Show‘s — as well the deftness with which Howard blends his skills for comedy and drama. 17 years later, it’s also a reminder that Matthew McConaughey had plenty of worthwhile roles long before the McConaissance.


5.) Willow: Howard’s skills are so well suited to the fantasy genre that it’s strange and even unfortunate he’s never returned to it. Warwick Davis, in the title role, is his most sympathetic protagonist. Despite being an original screenplay, Willow has the feel of a classic fairy tale.


4.) Cinderella Man: Howard can be hit-or-miss when in prestige-picture mode, but at its best this boxing drama is a reminder that that term needn’t be a pejorative. He wisely brings the story’s Depression elements to the fore, almost to the point of minimizing the in-ring sequences, and wrangles a better performance out of Russell Crowe than he did in A Beautiful Mind.


3.) Splash: A bridging of the gap between the director’s earlier, less serious fare and the more dramatic work that followed, Splash is a pleasing middle ground for both Howard and his leading man Tom Hanks. Howard excels at infusing lighthearted stories with gravity and more serious narratives with moments of levity; the balance here is as good as it’s ever been.


2.) Frost/Nixon: Howard presents the fateful interview that helped secure Tricky Dick’s legacy as a verbal sparring match between journalist and interviewee, turning what could have been a flat series of conversations into a genuinely tense procedural. On the strength of Frank Langella‘s performance, it also pulls off an even more impressive feat: evoking sympathy for Richard Nixon.


1.) Apollo 13: Houston, we have a favorite. Howard’s tendency to lionize his characters (see also Backdraft and A Beautiful Mind) is most deserved in this account of the astronauts who almost didn’t make it home from the moon. Like theirs, this is a bumpy ride with high stakes that sticks the landing.