Darkest Hour director Joe Wright is receiving the Filmmaker Award at the 54th Annual CAS Awards on Feb. 24th from the Cinema Audio Society. Wright marks the 13th CAS Filmmaker Honoree joining a prestigious list of past recipients: Jon Favreau, Jay Roach, Richard Linklater, Edward Zwick, Jonathan Demme, Rob Marshall, Taylor Hackford, Henry Selick, Paul Mazursky, Bill Condon, Gil Cates and Quentin Tarantino.
The Awards honor Outstanding Achievements in Sound Mixing in seven categories: Motion Pictures, Animated Motion Pictures, Documentary Motion Pictures, Television Movies and Mini-Series, Television Series-One Hour, Television Series-Half Hour and Television-Non-Fiction, Variety, Music Series or Specials.
“The CAS recognized Joe’s commitment to sound when we nominated his film Hanna for Outstanding Sound Mixing Motion Picture,” said CAS President Mark Ulano. “His current film, Darkest Hour, with an amazing performance by Gary Oldman, also exhibits Joe’s passion for all the crafts involved in filmmaking. With the director as conductor, Joe knows how to get the best out of every instrument in the filmmaking orchestra which makes him an excellent choice for Filmmaker.” Darkest Hour may be the film that earns Oldman his first (and long-deserved) Best Actor Oscar.
Wright made his feature film directorial debut in 2005 with Pride & Prejudice which was nominated for four Academy Awards. Wright’s second feature Atonement, based on Ian McEwan’s novel received seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture, and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score. In 2011, Wright directed Anna Karenina from a screenplay penned by Tom Stoppard. The film was nominated for six BAFTA awards and four Academy Awards, taking home both trophies for Best Costume Design.
The CAS will honor Wright with the award at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel at California Plaza in downtown Los Angeles.
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‘Antebellum’ has a ‘Get Out’ vibe, but doesn’t live up to its twist
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definite..
“Antebellum” is built around a provocative twist, and it’s a good one — as well as one that definitely shouldn’t be spoiled even a little. Once that revelation is absorbed, however, the movie becomes less distinctive and inspired, reflecting an attempt to tap into the zeitgeist that made “Get Out” a breakthrough, without the same ability to pay off the premise.
Originally destined for a theatrical run, the movie hits digital platforms trumpeting a “Get Out” pedigree in its marketing campaign, since there’s an overlap among the producing teams.
More directly, the film marks the directing debut of Gerard Bush + Christopher Renz, who have championed social-justice issues through their advertising work. The opening script features a quote from author William Faulkner, whose intent will eventually become clearer: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
If that sounds like a timely means of drawing a line from the horrors of slavery to the racism of today, you’ve come to the right place.
The story begins on a plantation, where the brutal overseers carry out grisly punishments against those tilling the fields. A few have just tried to escape, led by Veronica (Janelle Monae), and they pay a heavy price for their resistance, which does nothing to curb her defiance.
Also written by Bush + Renz, the script take too long before revealing what makes “Antebellum” different, but the middle portion — a “The Twilight Zone”-like phase when it’s hard to be sure exactly what’s going on — is actually the film’s strongest. (Even the trailer arguably gives away too much, so the less one knows, the better.)
The final stretch, by contrast, veers into more familiar thriller territory, and feels especially rushed toward the end, leaving behind a host of nagging, unanswered questions. That provides food for thought, but it’s also what separates the movie from something like “Get Out,” which deftly fleshed out its horror underpinnings.
Although the filmmakers (in a taped message) expressed disappointment that the movie wasn’t making its debut in theaters, in a strange way, the on-demand format somewhat works in its favor. In the press notes, Bush says the goal was “to force the audience to look at the real-life horror of racism through the lens of film horror. We’re landing in the middle of the very conversations that we hoped ‘Antebellum’ would spur.”
“Antebellum” should add to that discussion, so mission accomplished on that level. Monae is also quite good in her first leading film role (she did previously star in the series “Homecoming’s” second season), but otherwise, most of the characters remain underdeveloped.