Universal Orlando Resort And Warner Bros. To Host Second Annual “A Celebration Of Harry Potter” Event In January 2015

“A Celebration of Harry Potter” will Feature Incredible Experiences at Both Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida Jan. 30 – Feb. 1

Vacation Packages with Exclusive Benefits, Including Exclusive Q&A Sessions with Harry Potter Film Talent, Go on Sale Thursday, August 21 at Noon EST

ORLANDO, Fla.Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. announced today that they will host the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” event – a special event for fans celebrating the global phenomenon that is Harry Potter.

Beginning January 30, 2015, fans will enjoy three days of incredible experiences – including the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and more. Special vacation packages, including annual passholder packages, will go on sale August 21 and will include exclusive benefits such as access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.  Full vacation package details are below.

All general admission park guests will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and other special guests (talent attendees will be announced at a later date)
  • Experience and participate in the interactive and unique exhibits of the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Enjoy special discussions regarding various aspects of the Harry Potter franchise
  • Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Plus, ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket.
  • And much more!

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley officially opened in Universal Studios Florida on July 8, 2014 bringing even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life at Universal Orlando Resort. The new land features incredible shops with windows full of magical surprises, authentic dining experiences, a fire-breathing dragon and the new multi-dimensional thrill ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Guests with a park-to-park ticket will also be able to board the iconic Hogwarts Express and enjoy a unique journey as they travel between London and Hogsmeade. The new immersive area expands upon The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, launched in 2010 in Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and doubles the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures to create a spectacularly themed environment across both Universal theme parks.

While most of the activities for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be open to all Universal Orlando park guests and annual passholders, only guests who purchase the exclusive event vacation package or annual passholder package will enjoy certain special benefits and reserved seating for select events. Packages are limited and will go on sale at noon EST on Thursday, August 21, 2014. See below for full package details.

Packages for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort

On Sale at Noon EST on August 21, 2014

On-Site Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at  $219 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night on-site hotel accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal Orlando Resort’s all-new retro-themed moderate & value priced hotel
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to and from both theme parks and Universal CityWalk
  • Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access

On-Site Deluxe Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at   $285 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night on-site hotel accommodations at one of Universal Orlando’s spectacular deluxe on-site hotels:  Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks for all three days – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to and from both theme parks and Universal CityWalk

Universal Partner Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $185 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel near Universal Orlando
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Free scheduled transportation between the hotel and Universal Orlando Resort
  • Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access

 To book special annual passholder event vacation packages, please call 1-888-343-8991 starting August 21, 2014 at noon EST.

Access to select events within “A Celebration of Harry Potter” is included in regular admission to Universal Orlando or with an annual pass. For more information about the event, tickets and vacation packages, visit www.universalorlando.com/celebration.

About the Harry Potter Series
Harry Potter continues to be a global phenomenon. Each of the seven books by author J.K. Rowling has broken sales records, with the series to date having sold over 450 million copies worldwide and translated into 77 languages. The Harry Potter films, produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, have grossed more than $7.7 billion to date worldwide at the box office, making Harry Potter the largest-grossing film franchise in history.

About Universal Orlando Resort
Vacation like you mean it at Universal Orlando Resort – where every heart pounding, jaw-dropping, goose-bumping second counts. It is the only place where you can turn spending time with your family into spending time as a family. Together, you can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, become a Minion in the hilarious and heartwarming Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride, and join Optimus Prime in the fight to save mankind on the new mega-attraction, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride – 3D. And now, you can step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.

Universal Orlando Resort is home to two incredible theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure; four magnificently themed on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and the newest addition, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort; and Universal CityWalk – a unique dining and entertainment complex featuring one-of-a-kind restaurants, shops and nightclubs.  And located just minutes from Universal Orlando Resort is Wet n’ Wild, Orlando’s premier waterpark.

Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.  Follow Universal Orlando Resort on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube.

About Warner Bros. Entertainment
Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR.

Patton Oswalt talks about hosting the 29th Annual Independent Spirit Awards

Back in 2006, the Independent Spirit Awards changed up their trophy system. Before 2006, winners at the awards show would receive an acrylic glass pyramid containing suspended shoestrings that symbolized the thin budget that independent movies would typically have to work with. They then changed it up to show a bird sitting atop of a pole with that the pole wrapped in shoestrings. So obviously the next logical step would be giving the winners a living, breathing bird. Right? Well that’s the plan at this year’s 29th annual awards. The host, Patton Oswald, was able to talk with me and other reporters at a press conference, to go over his avian stunt, comedic or not, as well as talk about what an honor it is to host this prestigious event.

Patton Oswalt is very familiar with the awards process. His first hosting duties were at the 39th annual Annie Awards where he was quick on his feet, especially when something went wrong, “I’m gonna be very, very aware if somebody reads the wrong cards. He read the wrong winner and I’ll try once again try to make a screw-up like that be delightful.” Even though he’s well known as a stand-up comedian, Patton has received recognition for his acting abilities throughout the years. Many people will remember him as the voice of Remy in “Ratatouille”, but his most recent portrayal as Matt Freehauf in “Young Adult,” landed him the New York Film Critics award for best supporting actor. So it’s understandable that Patton Oswalt would be ready to host the Independent Spirit Awards, but not a lot of hosts spend their time leading up to the awards preparing themselves for birds. but that’s what he’s been doing.

“I feel pretty ready. I’ve been down to the park a lot, chasing them around, yelling at them, so we’ll see,” Patton said jokingly. There should be no worries among animal activists or organizations. Patton says the birds will be well taken care of. The real challenge for him however, may actually be having to be around a bird, “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I have a paralyzing fears of birds…I don’t think it’ll affect my performance.” Patton says he wasn’t sure what kind of birds they would have though. Or even if they would be different for each nomination. He was sure that the winners would actually be able to keep their feathered prize, “They can keep them, they can set them free. Trust me, I know actors, I know directors, there’s all kinds of things they could do with birds, some I would rather not go into.” Patton said the birds will be cage free and actually be handled by the presenters and winners. With fears extinguished, Patton returned to the jokes by reassuring everyone that if anyone’s award…I mean bird…died days, months, or years later, the contingency plan would be to give the winner a baby cougar as a replacement.

It’s not odd for a comedian to host the Independent Spirit Awards. Previous hosts have included, Sarah Silverman, Steve Coogan and Eddie Izzard. When putting the jokes aside and getting to the meat of the night, anyone would gladly tell you they really look at the Independent Spirit Awards as a venue to see some great future filmmakers and actors as well as those who are deserving of some praise. Patton was no different. He really divulged a deep passion and appreciation for the awards, “For me, being the kind of film buff I am, this award show digs pretty deep into trying to find movies that took risks and rolled the dice. It rewards people that are clearly emerging that are going to be doing great stuff with their careers. What I also love is that they keep an eye open for veterans like Robert Redford and Bruce Dern who continue to take risks and seek out challenging, different material.”

Patton further proved his love for movies by rattling off some of his favorites at this year’s awards and he was not short of praise, “The crop of films they sent me was pretty stunning. ‘The Spectacular Now’ I thought was fantastic. I hope ‘Enough Said’ wins everything it gets nominated for. The documentary ‘The Act of Killing,’ I thought it was crucial. Hard to watch, but crucial. I really hope that Bruce Dern wins for ‘Nebraska’ because I thought he was just amazing. That guy’s had awards coming for a long time in my opinion, so that would be great.” Patton says he’s spent plenty of time catching up on movies and says that he was able to catch other award nominees like “Dallas Buyer’s Club,” “Short Term 12,” and the documentary “Computer Chess.”

With millions of viewers still choosing to watch the Oscars this year, it only seemed fitting that the last question for Patton Oswalt would be if the Independent Spirit Awards is a good predictor for the Academy. He didn’t shy away from the question, “I think it goes beyond that. I think that the Independent Spirit Awards are an important predictor of who you’re going to be rooting for in the Oscars, like ten years down the road. That’s what makes it so exciting for me, that this is like giving an award to Martin Scorsese in 1971 for ‘Who’s Knocking On My Door.’ You’re seeing people at the beginning of their, I’m going to use the word journey, but it really is. These are the future masters that you’re watching when they’re young and it makes it that much more crucial and stressful for me. I really want to do well by these guys because these are the people that are going to be making movies down the road that we’re going to be fighting over at the Oscars.”

For those interested (and how can you not be?), you can catch the 29th Annual Independent Spirit Awards on IFC, Sunday, March 1st. The fun begins at 10 p.m. EST/PST.

“MovieMike” to Participate in 2nd Annual “Oscar vs. Critics” Free For All

Media Mikes own Mike Smith will join other Kansas City area film critics this Wednesday night, February 26, as they declare their choices for the upcoming Academy Awards at the Screenland Crown Center Theatre.

The annual event, a benefit for CINEMAKC, allows moviegoers to attend a program consisting of clips and trailers from films nominated for the upcoming 86th Annual Academy Awards and then ask their favorite critics what their choices are and why.

The event begins at 7:00 pm, with a “meet the critics” mixer beginning at 6:00 pm.

The Sixth Annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Announces Artist Lineup

ROB ZOMBIE, FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, MASTODON, AMON AMARTH, MACHINE HEAD, CHILDREN OF BODOM, BEHEMOTH AND MANY MORE

Tickets Go On Sale Friday March 22nd at 12 Noon

Tour Starts June 29th In San Bernardino, CA

(BEVERLY HILLS, CA) March 18th – Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the world’s biggest hard and heavy music touring festival announces its electrifying sixth-year lineup. Artists performing on the 2013 thunderous fest include main stage metal and horror legend, festival closer, ROB ZOMBIE, plus, the triple gold certified FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH and a monster lineup that includes additional main stage bands MASTODON and AMON AMARTH. The festival area is led by stage closers CHILDREN OF BODOM and MACHINE HEAD as well as BEHEMOTH, JOB FOR A COWBOY, EMMURE, BORN OF OSIRIS, MOTIONLESS IN WHITE, BUTCHER BABIES, BATTLECROSS, HUNTRESS, THROWN INTO EXILE and CITY IN THE SEA. Four stages will be presented this year for the first time ever and the stages include the ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAIN STAGE, THE JAGERMEISTER STAGE, MUSICIANS INSTITUTE STAGE, as well as, the SUMERIAN RECORDS/HEADBANG FOR THE HIGHWAY CONCOURSE STAGE, (local bands performing on the Sumerian Records/Headbang for the Highway Stage will be announced in June).

All tickets go on sale March 22nd at 12:00 Noon local venue time via
www.rockstarmayhemfest.com or www.livenation.com. The tour will stop in 26 cities across the United States and Canada as it makes its way to the Gexa Energy Pavilion in Dallas, Texas on August 4th, 2013. Dates and venues are listed below.

Get a sneak peak of new FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH music:

A rock icon and auteur filmmaker with insight and unlimited vision, Rob Zombie has continuously challenged audiences as he stretches the boundaries of music, film, and publishing. Now, the seven-time Grammy nominated recording artist releases his fifth solo album, Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor, which streets April 23, and includes the first single, “ Dead City Radio and the New Gods of Super Town,” along with such tracks as “Ging Gang Gong De Do Gong De Laga Raga,” “Lucifer Rising,” “Behold! The Pretty Filthy Creatures” and a heavy-duty cover of Grand Funk Railroad’s “We’re an American Band.” Rob Zombie’s Venomous Rat Regeneration Vendor is the first release on his new label, Zodiac Swan, through T-Boy Records/UME. Zombie’s also written and directed his 6th feature film, “The Lords of Salem”, in theaters April 19th (Anchor Bay).

After three gold albums in a row and ten consecutive top ten radio singles, Five Finger Death
Punch continue their evolution in 2013 by releasing a new single in early May, followed by their fourth studio album in June. FFDP are set to perform live at this year’s Revolver Golden
Gods Awards show in Los Angeles on May 2 and will warm up for Mayhem playing this summer’s most prestigious European festivals, amongst them UK’s Download Festival and
Germany’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park.

The World’s Greatest Freestyle Motocross team THE METAL MULISHA is also confirmed to
perform on most dates.

Sponsors for the 2013 ROCKSTAR ENERGY MAYHEM FESTIVAL include title sponsor ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK and stage sponsors JAGERMEISTER, MUSICIANS INSTITUTE, and SUMERIAN RECORDS. Festival sponsors include IBANEZ GUITARS, ZIPPO, METAL BLADE RECORDS, NAPALM RECORDS, SQUATCH SNACK STICKS, FUCK CANCER and KEEP A BREAST. Media partners include REVOLVER MAGAZINE and ZUUS MEDIA.

In addition to catching their favorite bands live, fans can take part in a number of festival
activities, including playing the newest video games, perusing vendors, attending autograph
signing sessions and a slew of various interactive activities that will only add to the festival
experience.

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK will be sampling their products and providing awesome surprises for all attendees. Rockstar will also present the VIP/Contest winner area designated as THE
ROCKSTAR LOUNGE and the festival area PARTY LIKE A ROCKSTAR TENT where fans can sample ice cold Rockstar and get autographs from their favorite bands.

Addition to the festival’s music and arts, MUSICIANS INSTITUTE and the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival have partnered to create the Rockstar Mayhem Independent Artist Scholarship! This scholarship fully covers tuition and material fees for a two quarter IAP
certificate (Room, Boarding and Travel are not included.) The application period runs from
March 18 until June 1, 2013. Applicants must visit www.mi.edu/mayhem-rock-festivalscholarship
to enter.

Fans can go to www.rockstarmayhemfest.com to keep up with additional details as they are
released.

Make sure to check out this brand new video announcing the official 2013 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival line up and stay tuned to Mayhem TV for more video updates and features coming soon!

Tour dates are as follows:

Date City Venue
6/29 San Bernardino, CA San Manuel Amphitheater
6/30 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
7/2 Boise, ID Idaho Center Amphitheatre
7/3 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheater
7/5 Phoenix, AZ Desert Sky Pavilion
7/6 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheatre
7/7 Denver, CO Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
7/10 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
7/12 Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion
7/13 Scranton, PA Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain
7/14 Darien Center, NY Darien Lake PAC
7/16 Mansfield, MA Comcast Center
7/17 Bangor, ME Bangor Waterfront
7/19 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center
7/20 Saratoga Springs, NY SPAC
7/21 Hartford, CT The Comcast Theatre
7/23 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
7/24 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
7/26 Noblesville, IN Klipsch Music Center
7/27 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
7/28 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
7/30 Atlanta, GA Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood
7/31 Tampa, FL Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds
8/2 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater
8/3 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
8/4 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAYHEM FESTIVAL STAGES AND ARTISTS:

ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MAIN STAGE
ROB ZOMBIE
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH
MASTODON
AMON AMARTH

MUSICIANS INSTITUTE STAGE JAGERMEISTER STAGE
CHILDREN OF BODOM MACHINE HEAD
BEHEMOTH JOB FOR A COWBOY
EMMURE BUTCHER BABIES
BORN OF OSIRIS BATTLECROSS
MOTIONLESS IN WHITE HUNTRESS
THROWN INTO EXILE

SUMERIAN RECORDS/HEADBANG FOR THE HIGHWAY STAGE
CITY IN THE SEA
3 LOCAL OPENERS

Behind the Screen – 84th Annual Academy Awards Wrap Up

Despite an early showing by top nominee “Hugo,” “The Artist” surged ahead and took home it’s anticipated Best Picture award at the 84th Annual Academy Awards tonight. Both films ended up with the lion’s share of awards, each of them taking home five trophies. “Hugo” took most of the technical categories it was nominated in, including Cinematography, Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects. “The Artist” scored for Costume Design, Original Score, Director for Michel Hazanavicius, Actor for Jean Dujardin and, of course, Best Picture. Meryl Streep won her third Oscar for her portrayal of British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.” Supporting awards went to Christopher Plummer for “Beginners” and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.” Plummer’s win made him, at age 82, the oldest winner of an acting award in Oscar history.

Best Animated Feature went to “Rango” while Iran’s “A Seperation” was named Best Foreign Language Film. Ludovic Bource’s score for “The Artist” faced some controversy earlier this month when it was revealed that director Hazanavicius had used a short snippet from Bernard Herrmann’s score for “Vertigo” in the finished film. Hazanavicius defended the sampling, pointing out that his film was a homage to the Hollywood of the past.

Hosted by Billy Crystal, the show flowed over an amazingly fast three hours and ten minutes. Below is a complete list of winners in order of presentation:

Best Cinematography: Robert Richardson, “Hugo”
Best Art Direction: Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schavo, “Hugo”
Best Costume Design: Mark Bridges, “The Artist”
Best Makeup: Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland, “The Iron Lady”
Best Foreign Language Film: “A Separation”
Best Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, “The Help”
Best Editing: Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Best Sound Editing: Phillip Stockton and Eugene Gearty, “Hugo”
Best Sound Mixing: Tom Fleischman and John Midgley, “Hugo”
Best Documentary: “Undefeated”
Best Animated Feature: “Rango”
Best Visual Effects: “Hugo”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Best Original Score: Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”
Best Original Song: Bret McKenzie, “Man or Muppet”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
Best Original Screenplay: Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Best Live Action Short: “The Shore”
Best Documentary Short: “Saving Face”
Best Animated Short: “The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore”
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Best Actor: Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Best Picture: “The Artist”

Behind the Scenes: The 84th Annual Academy Awards

As Oscar time rolls around it’s time to take a look at this years nominees and pick the winners. If you agree or disagree, please feel free to post your comments. Here we go:

BEST PICTURE

The Nominees are:
The Artist, The Descendants, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, The Help, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, War Horse.

Missing: The Way

After going from five nominees to ten a couple of years ago the Academy once again changed their rules. When ballots go out, each voter is allowed to name five films in order of one through five. The new rules state that if a film is named in the first position on at least 10% of the votes, it is a Best Picture nominee. Which means next year we could have eleven nominees….or three!

Should win: The Artist

Will win: The Artist

One of the most original films of the 21st Century, this love letter to the days of early Hollywood should become the first silent film (o.k., there are two words spoken but why quibble) to be named Best Picture since “Wings” won the very first Best Picture Oscar.

BEST ACTOR

The nominees are: Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”), George Clooney (“The Descendants”), Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”), Gary Oldman (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Brad Pitt (“Moneyball”)

Missing: Michael Fassbinder (“Shame”)

Should win: George Clooney

Will win: George Clooney

It’s really a two man race between Clooney and Dujardin, who won the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. But Clooney gets the nod here because his performance here as a man who learns his critically ill wife has cheated on him is unlike anything he’s done before. Plus Hollywood loves him.

BEST ACTRESS

The nominees are: Glenn Close (“Albert Nobbs”), Viola Davis (“The Help”), “Rooney Mara (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”), Meryl Streep (“The Iron Lady”), Michelle Williams (“My Week with Marilyn”)

Missing: Tilda Swinton (“We Need to Talk About Kevin”)

Should win: Meryl Streep

Will win: Viola Davis

Here we have a two women race. This is Streeps’ SEVENTEENTH acting nomination and most people assume she has 5 or 6 Oscars on the shelf. However, she’s only won twice (Best Supporting Actress for “Kramer vs Kramer” and Best Actress for “Sophie’s Choice”) with her last award coming almost three decades ago. She is due for Oscar number three and with her performance as Margaret Thatcher she should win it. However Davis (a past MediaMikes interview subject), in a role that could have easily slipped into stereotype, put so much dignity and soul into her performance that you truly rooted for her.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

The nominees are: Kenneth Branagh (“My Week with Marilyn”), Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), Nick Nolte (“Warrior”), Christopher Plummer (“Beginners”), Max von Sydow (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”).

Missing: Ben Kingsley (“Hugo”)

Should win: Nick Nolte

Will win: Christopher Plummer

Probably the closest race of the bunch, this category features three actors who are often regarded as the greatest in their countries history: Sweden’s von Sydow, Canada’s Plummer and England’s Branagh. There is a great irony in Branagh’s performance. He is often regarded as the successor to the great Laurence Olivier due to his Shakespearean background and his nomination comes from his portrayal of Olivier. In my opinion this award should go to Nolte, who gives one of his best performances ever in “Warrior.” But I think the Oscar will go to Plummer for his rare comedic performance as a man who comes out of the closet to his son after his wife dies in “Beginners.” Both Plummer and von Sydow are 82 and should either win they would become the oldest person to win an acting Academy Award. Currently the title is held by George Burns (Best Supporting Actor for “The Sunshine Boys”) and Jessica Tandy (Best Actress for “Driving Miss Daisy”), who were 80 when they won (though to be fair, Tandy was 200 days older then Burns).

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

The nominees are: Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”), Jessica Chastain (“The Help”), Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”), Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”), Octavia Spencer (“The Help”).

Missing: Shailene Woodley (“The Descendants”)

Should win: Octavia Spencer

Will win: Octavia Spencer

This appears to be the runaway category, with Spencer nabbing pretty much every award she’s been nominated for. Like Viola Davis she took a role that could have easily spun into stereotype and put a humorous yet dignified spin on it. I will say that I am so glad to see Melissa McCarthy nominated. Comedy is so rarely recognized at awards time and she is truly deserving of her nomination.

BEST DIRECTOR

The nominees are: Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”), Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”), Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”), Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”)

Missing: David Fincher (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”)

Should win: Michel Hazanavicius

Will win: Michel Hazanavicius

Even though he made arguably one of the greatest films of the 1980s (“Raging Bull”) and the 1990s (“Goodfellas”), Martin Scorsese did not win a directing Oscar until “The Departed” five years ago. Had he still been Oscar-less “Hugo” would have surely brought him the prize. That being said, the award should go to Hazanavicius for his brilliant recreation of young Hollywood.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

The nominees are: A Cat in Paris, Chico and Rita, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rango.

Missing: The Adventures of TinTin

Should win: Puss in Boots

Will win: Rango

Despite winning the Golden Globe and Producer’s Guild awards for Best Animated Feature, Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of TinTin” was not nominated as apparently the animation branch of the Academy does not consider the motion capture process animation. Phooey! This is the first year that Pixar had a film eligible for a nomination (“Cars 2”) and didn’t receive one. Guess members aren’t big Mater fans. Dreamworks, the studio behind both “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Puss in Boots” has won a couple awards in this category (for “Shrek” and a shared award for “Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”) so the Academy should want to spread the wealth around and give it to “Rango.”

THE REST OF THE WINNERS

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

DOCUMENTARY SHORT: “God is the Bigger Elvis”

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: “A Seperation:

CINEMATOGRAPHY: “The Tree of Life” (yes, you read that right)

MAKEUP: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

ART DIRECTION: Hugo

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: “Midnight in Paris” – Woody Allen

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: “Moneyball” – Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: “La Luna”

LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: “Time Freak”

VISUAL EFFECTS: “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2”

COSTUME DESIGN: “The Artist”

FILM EDITING: “Hugo”

SOUND MIXING: “War Horse”

SOUND EFFECTS: “War Horse”

ORIGINAL SCORE: “War Horse” – John Williams (including this year, Williams has been nominated for an Oscar 47 times! He’s actually competing against himself this year with “War Horse” and “The Adventures of TinTin”).

ORIGINAL SONG: “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets

Check back on Monday for my thoughts on the winners and losers!

“Hugo,” “The Artist” lead list of 84th Annual Academy Awards

“Hugo,” director Martin Scorsese’s loving look at the early history of film, leads all nominees in the race for Oscar gold.  The film received 11 total nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director.
Close behind is “The Artist,” a silent, black and white film that includes Best Picture among its 10 nods.  “War Horse” and “Moneyball” followed with 6 nominations each, including Best Picture.
A total of nine films were nominated for Best Picture.  Last year, in an attempt to quell the outrage that “The Dark Knight” did not grab a Best Picture nod, the Academy increased the number of picture nominees from 5 to 10.  This year the rule was changed to nominate up to 10 films, based on membership voting.  To be eligible for a Best Picture nomination a film must be listed as first on at least 250 membership ballots.  Other nominees for Best Picture:  “The Descendants,” “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” “The Help,” “Midnight in Paris” and “The Tree of Life.”
Besides Scorsese, director nominations went to Michel Hazanavicius for “The Artist,” Alexander Payne for “The Descendants,” “Woody Allen for “Midnight in Paris” and Terrence Malick for “The Tree of Life.”
Best Actor nominees:  Demian Bechir – “A Better Life,” George Clooney – “The Descendants,” Jean Dujardin – “The Artist,” Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” and Brad Pitt – “Moneyball.”
Best Actress nods went to Glenn Close – “Albert Nobbs,” Viola Davis – “The Help,” Rooney Mara – “The Girl in the Dragon Tattoo,” Meryl Streep – “The Iron Lady” and Michelle Williams – “My Weekend With Marilyn.”
Best Supporting Actor nominees include Kenneth Branagh – “My Weekend With Marilyn,” Jonah Hill – “Moneyball,” Nick Nolte – “Warrior,” Christopher Plummer – “Beginners” and Max von Sydow – “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”
Best Supporting Actress choices include Berenice Bejo – “The Artist,” Jessica Chastain – “The Help,” Melissa McCarthy – “Brodesmaids,” Janet McTeer – “Albert Nobbs” and Octavia Spencer – “The Help.”
Look for a special “Behind the Screen” later this week when I give my thoughts on this years nomines.
Here is a complete list of nominees:

Best Picture

“The Artist” Thomas Langmann, Producer

“The Descendants” Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers

“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” Scott Rudin, Producer

“The Help” Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers

“Hugo” Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers

“Midnight in Paris” Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers

“Moneyball” Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers

“The Tree of Life” Nominees to be determined

“War Horse” Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers

Actor in a Leading Role

Demián Bichir in “A Better Life”

George Clooney in “The Descendants”

Jean Dujardin in “The Artist”

Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”

Brad Pitt in “Moneyball”

Actor in a Supporting Role

Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn”

Jonah Hill in “Moneyball”

Nick Nolte in “Warrior”

Christopher Plummer in “Beginners”

Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Actress in a Leading Role

Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs”

Viola Davis in “The Help”

Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”

Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady”

Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn”

Actress in a Supporting Role

Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist”

Jessica Chastain in “The Help”

Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids”

Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs”

Octavia Spencer in “The Help”

Animated Feature Film

“A Cat in Paris” Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

“Chico & Rita” Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

“Kung Fu Panda 2” Jennifer Yuh Nelson

“Puss in Boots” Chris Miller

“Rango” Gore Verbinski

Art Direction

“The Artist” Production Design: Laurence Bennett; Set Decoration: Robert Gould

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan

“Hugo” Production Design: Dante Ferretti; Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

“Midnight in Paris” Production Design: Anne Seibel; Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil

“War Horse” Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Lee Sandales

Cinematography

“The Artist” Guillaume Schiffman

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Jeff Cronenweth

“Hugo” Robert Richardson

“The Tree of Life” Emmanuel Lubezki

“War Horse” Janusz Kaminski

Costume Design

“Anonymous” Lisy Christl

“The Artist” Mark Bridges

“Hugo” Sandy Powell

“Jane Eyre” Michael O’Connor

“W.E.” Arianne Phillips

Directing

“The Artist” Michel Hazanavicius

“The Descendants” Alexander Payne

“Hugo” Martin Scorsese

“Midnight in Paris” Woody Allen

“The Tree of Life” Terrence Malick

Documentary (Feature)

“Hell and Back Again” Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner

“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman

“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

“Pina” Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel

“Undefeated” TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas

Documentary (Short Subject)

“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin

“God Is the Bigger Elvis” Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson

“Incident in New Baghdad”James Spione

“Saving Face” Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen

Film Editing

“The Artist” Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

“The Descendants” Kevin Tent

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

“Hugo” Thelma Schoonmaker

“Moneyball” Christopher Tellefsen

Foreign Language Film

“Bullhead” Belgium

“Footnote”

“In Darkness” Poland

“Monsieur Lazhar” Canada

“A Separation” Iran

Makeup

“Albert Nobbs” Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng

“The Iron Lady” Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Music (Original Score)

“The Adventures of Tintin” John Williams

“The Artist” Ludovic Bource

“Hugo” Howard Shore

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Alberto Iglesias

“War Horse” John Williams

Music (Original Song)

“Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie

“Real in Rio” from “Rio” Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Short Film (Animated)

“Dimanche/Sunday” Patrick Doyon

“The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg

“La Luna” Enrico Casarosa

“A Morning Stroll” Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe

“Wild Life” Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby

Short Film (Live Action)

“Pentecost” Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane

“Raju” Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren

“The Shore” Terry George and Oorlagh George

“Time Freak” Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey

“Tuba Atlantic” Hallvar Witzø

Sound Editing

“Drive” Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” Ren Klyce

“Hugo” Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

“War Horse” Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

Sound Mixing

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson

“Hugo” Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

“Moneyball” Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin

“War Horse” Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson

Visual Effects

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson

“Hugo” Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning

“Real Steel” Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg

“Rise of the Planet of the Apes” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett

“Transformers: Dark of the Moon” Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

“The Descendants” Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash

“Hugo” Screenplay by John Logan

“The Ides of March” Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon

“Moneyball” Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Story by Stan Chervin

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan

Writing (Original Screenplay)

“The Artist” Written by Michel Hazanavicius

“Bridesmaids” Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig

“Margin Call” Written by J.C. Chandor

“Midnight in Paris” Written by Woody Allen

“A Separation” Written by Asghar Farhadi

Comcast Brings Annual “Halloween Moviethon” Collection to Xfinity

COMCAST BRINGS ANNUAL “HALLOWEEN MOVIETHON” COLLECTION WITH
MORE THAN 200 OF THE BEST SILVER SCREEN SCARES TO XFINITY ON DEMAND AND XFINITYTV.COM

WHAT: During the month of October, Xfinity On Demand and XfinityTV.com are serving up more than 200 movies in a comprehensive collection of classic and current horror and monster films, from edge-pushing slasher and giant monster epics to family-friendly animated scares in its “Halloween Moviethon” collection.

Xfinity On Demand

Xfinity On Demand’s “Halloween Moviethon” offers instant access to a bevy of the greatest movies that can get any member of the family into a scary holiday mood, from the vampire-obsessed teens to the 20-somethings and Scooby-Doo loving toddlers.  The films are grouped according to genres, such as: Creepy Classics, Frightful Family Fun, Horror Franchises and Scream with Laughter. Highlights include:

Creepy Classics

  • The Birds
  • Bride of Frankenstein
  • The Shining
  • Carrie
  • Alien

Frightful Family Fun

  • Young Frankenstein
  • Addams Family Values
  • Edward Scissorhands
  • Ghostbusters
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown
  • Men in Black

Horror Franchises

  • Friday the 13th (starts 10/7)
  • Resident Evil
  • Halloween (starts 10/7)
  • Saw
  • Final Destination
  • The Grudge
  • Underworld
  • Human Centipede (starts 10/12)
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (starts 10/7)
  • Romero’s Living Dead (starts 10/7)

In addition, to help make this Halloween even more haunting, Xfinity On Demand will be offering a slew of activity-oriented programming just for kids.  This varied content includes activities such as costume making, pumpkin carving, magic tricks and much more and can be found at Xfinity On Demand>Kids>Kids Picks>Halloween.

XfinityTV.com
XfinityTV.com is also hosting films, including classic creepers like The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror (1979) The Phantom of the Opera, Village of the Damned, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Bride of Chucky along with special Halloween themed TV episodes including HGTV’s Halloween Block Party and VH1’s Scream Queens, to get revelers in the mood for the season of scary.

WHEN: Now throughout the month of October

WHERE: For the “Halloween Moviethon” collection, customers can go to Xfinity On Demand >Top Picks>Halloween Moviethon or visit XfinityTV.com.

For kid-friendly activities customers can go to Xfinity On Demand>Kids>Kids Picks>Halloween.

About Comcast Corporation
Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) (www.comcast.com) is one of the nation’s leading providers of entertainment, information and communications products and services. Comcast is principally involved in the operation of cable systems through Comcast Cable and in the development, production and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and other content for global audiences through NBCUniversal. Comcast Cable is one of the nation’s largest video, high-speed Internet and phone providers to residential and business customers. Comcast is the majority owner and manager of NBCUniversal, which owns and operates entertainment and news cable networks, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, local television station groups, television production operations, a major motion picture company and theme parks.