All posts by Mr. Clevland

About Mr. Clevland

MrClevland has been a cartoon fan since, well, infancy. He has been writing nearly that long. Opinionated, yes, but backed with a wealth of personal knowledge on the subject. You can give r. C a piece of your mind here.

Aardman’s Lord to visit Toronto kids’ film fest

Peter Lord

Peter Lord

Peter Lord, producer, director and co-founder of the Academy Award–winning Aardman Animation, will engage with audiences at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival during the Canadian premiere of his latest film, The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

Running from April 10 through 22, the TIFF Kids International Film Festival (formerly the Sprockets Toronto International Film Festival for Children and Youth) celebrates 15 years as one of the most important film festivals in North America, with special programming and activities for children aged 3 to 13.

Released in 3D, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, is directed by Lord and co-directed by Jeff Newitt.

In the British-American co-production, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain — a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side, and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award. It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!

Lord will conduct a master class at 10 a.m. Thursday, April 19. New this year, the TIFF Kids Master Class is an exclusive opportunity for industry delegates and students to learn from Lord. The session focuses not only on the trademark work of the Aardman feature studio, but also on the trailblazing projects of its commercials and digital divisions.

Among the animated feature films to be seen in Toronto at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival:

The Blue Tiger (Modry Tygr) (dir. Petr Oukropec; Czech Republic)
International Premiere
In a city ruled by a diabolical mayor, only one thing can save the old botanical garden from demolition: the magical blue tiger. Now it’s up to friends Johanka and Matyas to protect the tiger from the evil clutches of the mayor and his henchmen and save the garden from becoming an entertainment centre. They’ll have to rely on their intelligence and imagination, not to mention the mysterious powers of the blue tiger to save the day. Combining live action and clever animation flourishes, The Blue Tiger is a visually stunning tale of heart and hope, encouraging us to care for our local environment while respecting the past. Age recommendation 8 and up.

Émilie Jolie (dirs. Francis Nielsen and Philippe Chatel; France; French with English subtitles).
Toronto Premiere
Nervous about starting at a new school in the morning, eight-year-old Émilie finds comfort in a book that her mother gives her about a little blue rabbit named Gilbert who is kidnapped by a witch. Falling asleep with the book in her hands, Émilie is awakened by the Great Bird from the story, who asks for her help and promises to grant her one wish in return. Based on the acclaimed French musical of the same name, this charming and beautiful animation takes audiences on a magical journey as Émilie discovers the value of courage, friendship and love. Age recommendation Grades 1 and up.

The Great Bear (Den kaempestore bjørn) (dir. Esben Toft Jacobsen; Denmark; Danish with English subtitles)
Toronto Premiere
It’s summer vacation, and 11-year-old Jonathan is excited about spending some time at his grandfather’s house — though he’s less than happy that his little sister Sophie has to come along, too. When Sophie disappears while exploring a mysterious forest, Jonathan plunges into the woods to find her and discovers a fantastical realm populated by mythical animals, including a giant, thousand-year-old bear who has made himself Sophie’s friend and protector. But the siblings’ new friend needs protection himself when an obsessed hunter, armed with a rifle, sets out to take the legendary creature as a trophy. A gorgeous animated adventure from first-time feature director Ebsen Toft Jacobsen, The Great Bear also highlights the importance of family, teamwork, friendship and protecting the environment. Age recommendation 10 and up.

Le tableau (dir. Jean-François Laguionie; France; French with English subtitles)
Canadian Premiere
A delightful and innovative CG-animated fable, Le tableau is set within the world of an unfinished painting whose artist has abandoned his incomplete creations. In his absence, the finished drawings (Alldunns) take over governance of the painting, relegating the partially completed Halfies to second-class citizenship and declaring a war of extermination against the thinly outlined Sketchies. But when an Alldunn, a Halfie and a Sketchie wind up sharing a journey downriver to parts unknown, they discover other paintings, other beings, and learn that the world beyond their own frame is richer and more diverse than they ever imagined. Returning from their adventure, they must persuade the others to learn acceptance, to see the bigger picture and to realize that everyone is, in their own way, a unique work of art. Age recommendation 11 and up.

Light of the River (dir. Tetsuo Hirakawa; Japan; Japanese with English subtitles)
When their riverbank home is destroyed by a construction project, a family of rats is forced to flee to the city, where they must learn to navigate unfamiliar territory, make new friends and ward off dangers as they search for a new place to call home. This delightful animated adventure offers valuable lessons of friendship, family and the delicate balance of life, and reminds us that we all share the same world. Age recommendation grades 7 and up.

Lotte and the Moonstone Secret (Lotte ja kuukivi saladus) (dirs. Heiki Ernits and Janno Poldma; Latvia/Estonia; dubbed in English)
Canadian Premiere
In this beautifully animated and charming follow-up to Lotte from Gadgetville (Sprockets 2008), Lotte — our favourite female dog — and her friends return. One night, two small hooded moon rabbits try to steal the magical and mysterious stone that Lotte’s Uncle Klaus brought back from a secret temple in the mountains. Lotte thwarts the theft and vows to uncover the moonstone’s mystery by encouraging Uncle Klaus to track down his old friends, Fred and Ville, who own stones exactly like his. With the moon rabbits in hot pursuit of their stone, Lotte and her uncle must unlock the moonstone secret before it’s too late. Age recommendation 4 and up.

Snowflake — The White Gorilla (Copito de Nieve) (dir. Andrés G. Schaer; Spain; dubbed in English)
North American Premiere
When Snowflake, a rare white gorilla, arrives at the zoo, he becomes the star attraction for both the public and the other animals — with the exception of his fellow gorillas, who view him with suspicion and disdain. With the help of Ailur, a Buddhist red panda who believes that he is the reincarnation of a black panther, Snowflake escapes the zoo and heads for the city in search of a powerful conjuror who can transform him into a “normal” gorilla. Inspired by the famous real-life Snowflake, who lived at the Barcelona Zoo in the late 1960s, this rousing adventure is an ingenious blend of computer animation and live action that addresses serious issues like animal rights, diversity and acceptance. Age recommendation 8 and up.

Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes (dir. Dennis Jackson; Canada; English)
Talon and Raven are heartbroken to learn they must leave their hometown of Wapos Bay in northern Saskatchewan after their father accepts a job in the city. While Talon sets off to complete a “bucket list” of adventures before they leave, Raven conspires with the town elders to secretly elect their father as chief, forcing him to stay. But when Raven’s scheme ends in a hurtful smear campaign against their uncle, and Talon’s thrill-seeking leads to dead ends, the siblings realize they must turn their energy towards doing something positive for the community they love. Based on the Gemini Award-winning, stop motion-animated TV series, Wapos Bay: Long Goodbyes is a funny and moving portrait of a First Nations community where ancient traditions and modern life meet. Age recommendation grades 4 and up.

SHORTS PROGRAMME: CANADA FOR KIDS

From the backyard ice rink to the playground jungle, with trips to places far, wide and in between, Canadian filmmakers have plenty of great stories to tell. Age recommendation: 7 to 11.

Ormie (dir. Rob Silvestri, Canada)
In this hilarious, award-winning animation, Ormie the Pig tries everything he can think of — and then some! — to get at the cookies that sit just out of reach on top of the fridge.

Vistas: Dancers of the Grass (dir. Melanie Jackson, Canada)
Traditional hoop dance is explored using stop-motion animation in this fascinating look at a native Canadian ritual.

SHORTS PROGRAMME: LOOT BAG — LAUGH AND A HALF!

From the jungles of Africa to the woodlands of England and the castles of Germany, this collection of hilarious, animated adventures traverses the globe. Age recommendation: 7 to 11.

Floyd the Android: Teleporter and Dim Bulb (dir. Jonathan Lyons; U.S.A.)
Floyd the Android finds everyday life isn’t always quite so simple in these slapstick shorts.

The Sparrow Who Kept his Word (Vorobej kotoryi umel dergat’ slovo) (dir. Dmitry Geller; Russia)
Canadian Premiere
An honest, little sparrow braves the cold, wind and rain in order to hold true to his noble and kindhearted promise.

The Princess’ Painting (Das Bild der Prinzessin) (dirs. Klaus Morschheuser and Johannes Weiland; Germany)
Toronto Premiere
A rather entitled young princess learns a valuable lesson in the appreciation of art — and life.

Jungle Beat: Somewhere Over the Rainbow (dir: Brent Dawes; South Africa)
A colourful chameleon meets a rainbow on a dazzlingly bright summer day in the jungle.

The Beet Party Pilot: Double Your Celery (dirs: Paul Brown and Paul Hunt; Canada)
World Premiere
The beets are just chillin’ in the fridge, keepin’ things fresh with some beat-tastic break dancing.

Paint Showers (dir. Miguel Jiron; U.S.A.)
Toronto Premiere
The pitter-patter of little paint drops swells into a torrential rainstorm of colour and imagination that’s sure to wash you away.

Mouse for Sale (dir. Wouter Bongaerts; Belgium)
Toronto Premiere
A little mouse in a pet store who is desperate for a new home perks up and performs when a young boy enters the picture. But will anyone take notice?

Shaun the Sheep: Pig Trouble (dir. Lee Wilton;, United Kingdom)
When Bitzer the dog needs a timeout for bed rest, the pesky pigs get up to no good. Only loyal Shaun the sheep can somehow outsmart them and restore order.

Hooked (dir. Friedl Joost; South Africa)
Canadian Premiere
A little fish finds out there might be something strange going on above the surface in this sweet and clever short that’s guaranteed to reel in some laughs.

At the Opera (dir. Juan Pablo Zaramella; Argentina)
Toronto Premiere
It’s hard to not come to tears in this highly dramatic operatic (and aromatic) short.

The Gruffalo’s Child (dirs. Uwe Heidschötter and Johannes Weiland; United Kingdom)
Canadian Premiere
The long-awaited sequel to author Julia Donaldson’s Academy Award–nominated The Gruffalo sees the youngest member of the Gruffalo clan boldly venturing into the woods one snowy night in search of the legendary big, bad mouse.

SHORTS PROGRAMME: LOOT BAG — FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS

Featuring several of the year’s best 3D animated shorts across a variety of animation styles, this shorts program will whisk you away on otherworldly flights of filmic fancy. Age recommendation: 9 to 13.

The Bicycle Animation (dir. Katy Beveridge; United Kingdom)
Paper craft and cycling unite to produce this delightful real-time animation that’s sure to leave you geared up to try something crafty at home!

The Magic Piano, 3D (Zaczarowany Fortepian) (dir. Martin Clapp; Poland/China/Norway)
Canadian Premiere
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Chopin’s birth, this stop-motion animation unfolds to the sounds of world-renowned classical pianist Lang Lang’s sublime interpretations of Chopin’s Études.

The Big Brother (Der Grosse Bruder) (dirs. Jesús Pérez and Elisabeth Hütterman; Switzerland/Germany)
Toronto Premiere
When an animator is called away from his drawing pad, his half-finished sketches come to life and decide to write their own story.

Origin of Mass (dir. Aleksandar Rodic; U.S.A.)
Canadian Premiere
This abstract animation about the origin of mass is a particle-ularly stimulating kaleidoscope of colour, form and energy.

Burning Stage (dir. Sunoki Yang; South Korea)
In this mesmerizing re-enactment of Swan Lake, magnificent water droplets dance across the screen until they begin to clash with the elements.

Orange O Despair (Orange Ô Desespoir) (dir. John Banana; France)
Canadian Premiere
A hopeful young orange can’t help but dream that life is sweeter outside of the fruit stand.

Where There Here (dir. Soyeon Kim; South Korea)
Canadian Premiere
Inspired by African sound and design, black sand moves effortlessly, continually morphing into new images until nothing is left.

The Boy in the Bubble, 3D (dir. Kealan O’Rourke, Ireland)
Canadian Premiere
Doesn’t life seem like it would be easier if we could just while away the days in an impenetrable, problem-proof bubble?

Runout (Durchgebrannt) (dirs. Thomas Schienagel and Michael Haas; Germany)
Canadian Premiere
Facing the dim prospects of obsolescence, a plucky light bulb gets a bright idea and heads off on an adventure with his uplifting friend, the moth.

Tuurngait, 3D (dirs. Paul-Emile Boucher, Remy Dupont, Benjamin Flouw, Mickaël Riciotti and Alexandre Toufaili; France)
Toronto Premiere
This absolutely stunning film about a boy, his stone bear and the mysterious ice formations near his home will leave audiences breathless, exhilarated and inspired.

“Meet the Animators” takes place at 12 noon Tuesday, April 17. It’s A great opportunity for up-and-coming animators, filmmakers, game developers and content producers to meet established animators and show-runners working in the Canadian children’s entertainment industry. Guests include Brad Ferguson, director (Almost Naked Animals) at 9Story Entertainment; Jason Lin, animation director at 9Story Entertainment; and Kevin Micallef, director (Detentionaire) at Nelvana. Additional speakers are to be announced.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 14 and 15, TIFF Kids will participate in the National Ballet of Canada’s Tutu Project -– a community outreach initiative launched in celebration of the National Ballet’s 60th anniversary. Attendees at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival will get the chance to contribute their artistic flair to the TIFF Tutu design by participating in the festival’s Drawing On Film activity. Taking markers to clear 16mm film leader, the colourful, camera-less animations created by participants will be woven together to form the tutu that represents TIFF when the entire collection goes on display at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in June and the Design Exchange in Toronto later this summer.

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival takes place at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The TIFF Kids school program runs April 10 to 13 and April 16 to 20, and public programme from April 13 to 15 and April 21 to 22. TIFF Members and the general public may also purchase tickets to school program screenings subject to availability.

Tickets for TIFF Kids are currently on sale to TIFF members, and will be available to the general public on Wednesday, March 14. Prices range from Adult $12, Student/Senior $9.50 and Children (13 and under) $8.50. Opening night is $25 per person.

Family packs of 10 tickets are available for $75. Entry to the TIFF Kids digiPlaySpace is $5 or $2.50 with paid screening ticket. Some activities are free.

For more information on screenings and activities, or to purchase tickets, visit tiff.net/kids; call (416) 599-TIFF (8433) or 1-800-599-TIFF; or visit the box office at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

“Rango” wins editing award for animated feature

Rango

Rango

The American Cinema Editors named “Rango” as 2011’s Best Edited Animated Feature Film on Saturday night, giving it one of this year’s ACE Eddie Awards.

Edited by Craig Wood, A.C.E., Rango defeated challengers The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn (Michael Kahn, A.C.E.) and Puss In Boots (Eric Dapkewicz). Gore Verbinski’s movie has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film.

The 62nd annual ACE Eddie Awards were presented at the Beverly Hilton.

The Descendants, edited by Kevin Tent, A.C.E., was named Best Edited Feature Film (Dramatic). The Artist (Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius) won the Eddie for Best Edited Feature Film (Comedy or Musical).

“Tangled” tune by Menken and Slater gets a Grammy

Tangled

Tangled

A song from the Disney movie “Tangled” received one of those mini-phonographs Sunday night at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, held at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

I See The Light” (from Tangled) won for Best Song Written For Visual Media. Alan Menken and Glenn Slater were the songwriters for “I See The Light,” performed by Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi.

Other nominees in the category included “So Long” (from Winnie The Pooh) and “Christmastime Is Killing Us,” from the TV series Family Guy.

For Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media, Tangled (Various Artists; Walt Disney Records) lost to Boardwalk Empire: Volume 1 (Various Artists; Elektra).

Fox forges new unit for Saturday night animation

Fox Animation Studios

Fox Animation Studios

Building on its more than 20 years of animation domination, Fox Broadcasting Company has created a new unit to oversee the development and production of alternative animated series, shorts and user-adapted material for a brand new late-night animated programming block and new digital multi-platform network, FOX president of entertainment Kevin Reilly announced Sunday.

To run this new unit, FOX has inked an exclusive deal with Nick Weidenfeld, former head of program development for Adult Swim and executive producer of acclaimed series Children’s Hospital and The Boondocks. The network has also tapped producer Hend Baghdady (Warren The Ape, The Andy Milonakis Show) as the executive in charge of production for the new division.

Under their leadership, the unit will develop and produce an ambitious slate of original animated shorts and series to run both on-air and online. The late-night programming block will air Saturdays (11 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. ET/PT) on FOX and will feature four new animated series per season, starting in January 2013.

The digital channel will extend across platforms such as Web, mobile apps, game consoles and Video on Demand. It kicks off this year and will feature 50 original short-form pieces per year, online windows of FOX animated shows, and user-adapted content.

It will create a unique opportunity for fans and up-and-coming talent to engage with professional FOX-curated content, which they could possibly platform into their own series. FOX will also use its expertise and cross-promotional power to nurture these new assets through this pipeline.

“This may be the first time a network is building a clear bridge for talent to develop and grow ideas in the digital/alternative arena and organically move them into the mainstream,” said Reilly. “These new late-night series will be assets in their own right — but the clear possibility exists for a breakout digital success to graduate to primetime.

“Nick had an incredible track record at Adult Swim and is a dynamic guy with the instincts to cultivate and produce inventive and irreverent series that animation fans love. Together with Hend, they are the perfect partners for us in this exciting new venture,” Reilly continued.

Prior to teaming with FOX under his Friends Night production company banner, Weidenfeld served as the head of program development for Adult Swim. Over the last eight years, Weidenfeld helped grow the late-night block of programming on Cartoon Network — featuring breakout hits such as Robot Chicken and Aqua Teen Hunger Force — into the No. 1 cable entertainment channel among young men. He executive-produced a variety of animated and live-action shows, including the Peabody Award-winning The Boondocks, Children’s Hospital, NTSF:SD:SUV::, Metalocalypse, Superjail! and China, IL.

In 2009, Weidenfeld co-created and co-wrote the animated hour-long cartoon Freaknik: The Musical, starring Grammy Award-winning singer T-Pain as well as Cee Lo, Lil Wayne, Andy Samberg and Bill Hader. The musical is currently being adapted for the stage. Most recently, he adapted the feature film Black Dynamite into an animated series and built a sketch show around the rap group and Internet sensation Odd Future.

Baghdady began her career in New York working on the first season of Crank Yankers with Jackhole Industries. Since then, she has developed, produced and created production formats and templates for live-action and animated comedy series for MTV, Comedy Central and Adult Swim. Her most recent credits include the Community stop-motion Christmas special “Abed’s Uncontrollable Christmas”; the first strip animated show, DJ & The Fro; The Andy Milonakis Show; Warren The Ape; and Kanye West’s pilot Alligator Boots.

Rod Parkes, 70, was animator on “Charlotte’s Web”

Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web

Rodney Barton “Rod” Parkes, an animator on the 1973 feature film Charlotte’s Web and other Hanna-Barbera Studios productions, died Tuesday. He was 70.

Parkes worked on the series Hardy Boys (1969); Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies, Will the Real Jerry Lewis Please Sit Down and Archie’s Fun House (all 1970); Hong Kong Phooey (1974); and Dynomutt Dog Wonder (1976).

He was also an animator on the 1973 half-hour special All About Me. Released by Animated Cartoon Productions, it ran on NBC Children’s Theatre.

After working at H-B, Parkes moved back to Waterloo, Iowa, where he was an animator at an advertising studio.

Born in Franklin County, Iowa on August 21, 1941, Parkes was a 1960 graduate of East High School in Waterloo, Iowa. He participated in wrestling and baseball while in school. After graduating, he moved to Los Angeles, California to study at an art institute.

Following his animation career, he moved to Arizona to pursue a career in telephone contracting. From this venture, he went back to Iowa and started up Rio Communications with his brother. He then ended up in Indiana, taking Rio Comm. with him. For the next 15 years, Parks built upon his cable splicing business.

After shutting down operations at Rio Comm., he became employed by Communication Products Inc., where he worked with fiber optic cable. He retired from this position in 2007.

In his spare time, he enjoyed reading and watching movies about the old West. His favorite actors were always John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. He was also a fan of classic horror movies like Jaws and Halloween. He later took up the hobby of remote control airplanes, not so much flying them, but building them.

He took mind to every detail involved in the building process. Fishing was also a favorite pastime that Rodney he especially enjoyed with his younger son, Spenser.

Rod Parkes was precedeased by son Rod R. Parkes and and brother Bobby Ward.

Survivors include children Jessica Fritz of Brownstown, Iowa, Monique Toppe of Vallonia, Iowa and Spenser Parkes of Evansville, Iowa; grandchildren Hudson, Olivia, Beau, Molly, Dylan and Rhonda; sisters Beverly Becker of Dysart, Iowa and Connie Nation of Waterloo; twin brother Richard Parkes of Bullhead City, Arizona; and many nieces, nephews, great- and great-great-nieces and -nephews.

Arrangements were made through Hagarty-Waychoff-Grarup Funeral Service in Waterloo.

Donations can be made to the Jackson County Community Foundation for Brownstown Fund for the Arts.

It’s okay to say gang suspect looked like a Smurf

Smurf

Smurf (Not the actual one)

A robbery suspect may be feeling blue after an appeals court said Tuesday that a Yakima County, Washington judge could allow testimony that he was dressed like a Smurf.

Ernesto Ruiz Cervantes, 21, is currently serving eight years in prison for attacking another youth in Wapato in a 2009 robbery.

The victim testified that he was riding his bike home just after midnight on New Year’s Day when a car roared up behind him, causing him to crash.

A young man he knew as “Smurf” jumped out the vehicle and, holding a knife, demanded, “What do you bang?”

The unnamed victim denied being in a gang. He testified that “Smurf” robbed him of his iPod and other possessions and punched him in the head. Cervantes was prosecuted after the victim later identified him as “Smurf.”

Besides being identified with the cartoon Smurfs, blue is widely associated with Sureo gang members.

Cervantes complained in his appeal that testimony about his nickname and blue clothing was prejudicial. Superior Court Judge Michael McCarthy allowed it, thus, he lamented, constituted an abuse of discretion.

Usually, gang affiliation would be protected free speech, but might not be it it went to motive, said the Division III Court of Appeals in Spokane.

Prosecutors used the testimony about Cervantes being called “Smurf” only to establish the identity of the robber, the court added.

The victim and the police alike knew Cervantes as “Smurf.” He seems to dress like one as well, with blue shoes and a blue belt. Mushrooms similar to those in Smurfs engraved on his belt buckle.

“The fact that the defendant was also dressed in Smurf attire when arrested further established the identity of the robber,” appeals court Judge Kevin Korsmo wrote.

“The evidence was admissible and highly probative. The prejudicial impact was comparatively slight,” he added.

“Tintin” up for two British Academy Film Awards

The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn

Steven Spielberg’s “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” has received two nominations for this year’s Orange British Academy Film Awards, Daniel Radcliffe and Holliday Grainger announced Tuesday at BAFTA’s London headquarters.

Besides being up for Animated Film, the motion-capture The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn is nominated in the Special Visual Effects category alongside the live-action Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The other two nominees in the Animated Film category are Arthur Christmas and Rango.

The Short Animation nominees are Abuelas, Bobby Yeah and A Morning Stroll.

The Artist has received 12 nominations. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nominated in 11 categories, Hugo has nine nominations, My Week with Marilyn has six nominations, and The Help and War Horse are each nominated five times.

Drive, The Iron Lady and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 have four nominations. The Descendants, Moneyball, Senna and We Need to Talk about Kevin all have three nominations apiece, and Shame, The Ides of March, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Bridesmaids each receive two.

The Artist is nominated in the following categories: Best Film, Original Screenplay, Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Make Up & Hair, Costume Design, Sound and Production Design. Michel Hazanavicius is nominated for Director, and Jean Dujardin is nominated for Leading Actor. His co-star Bérénice Bejo is nominated for Leading Actress.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is nominated for Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Adapted Screenplay, Original Music, Cinematography, Editing, Production Design, Costume Design and Sound. Tomas Alfredson is nominated for Director and Gary Oldman for Leading Actor.

Completing the Best Film lineup are The Descendants, The Help and Drive.

The Orange British Academy Film Awards take place Sunday, February 12 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London. This is the 15th year of Orange’s sponsorship of the Film Awards.

The ceremony will be hosted by Stephen Fry and will be broadcast exclusively on BBC One. Red carpet coverage will be hosted by Edith Bowman on BBC Three.

“Beauty and the Beast” return with $18.5 million

Beauty And The Beast

Beauty And The Beast

Walt Disney’s 3-D revamped version of its 1991 animated classic Beauty And The Beast opened in second place in North American theaters this weekend with $18.5 million, researcher Hollywood.com Box-Office said in an e-mailed statement Sunday.

Researcher BoxOffice.com said that the film was expected to make $17.5 million over the weekend. However, the results topped its forecast.

“What we’re finding is some of those Disney titles were blockbuster titles to begin with, and they lend themselves to some 3-D adaptations,” said Paul Sweeney, an analyst at Bloomberg Industries in Skillman, New Jersey. “The expectation is that Hollywood’s going to bring out some of those animation films that did well in years past.

“I think we’ve had a couple of weeks in a row now that were a little better than expected here in the first couple of January,” he added, calling the box office “welcome news” for Hollywood after a “disappointing” year.

First place went to Universal Pictures’ action film Contraband, starring Mark Wahlberg. It collected $24.1 million at United States and Canadian theaters.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was in eighth spot with $5.8 million. Internationally, it made $14.4 million to take fifth place, according to Rentrak.

Overseas, Puss In Boots took fourth with $14.6 million, while Disney’s partly animated The Muppets came ninth with $3.5 million. Tied for 10th at $3.4 million was The Adventures Of Tintin: Secret Of The Unicorn.

North American revenue for the top 12 films this weekend fell 1% to $114.5 million from the same time a year ago, Hollywood.com said.

Revenue and attendance this year have risen 14% and 15%, respectively, through Sunday.

“Rango” wins Critics’ Choice Award for animation

Rango

Rango

Yet again, Paramount Pictures’ “Rango” has won an award from movie critics.

Rango was named best animated feature on Thursday night at the 17th Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

“Thanks for this tonight, it’s a tremendous honor,” director Gore Verbinski said in accepting the award.

It defeated other nominees The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots.

The award for best song went to “Life’s a Happy Song” from the partly animated The Muppets, written by Bret McKenzie and the Muppets. It was performed by Jason Segel, Amy Adams and Walter.

Two other tunes from The Muppets had been nominated for best song: “Man or Muppet,” written by McKenzie and performed by Segel and Walter; and “Pictures in My Head,” written by Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis and Chen Neeman and performed by Kermit and the Muppets. Also nominated was “Hello Hello,” written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin, and performed by John and Lady Gaga in Gnomeo & Juliet.

The big winner of the evening was the silent, black and white The Artist. Michael Hazanavicius’ film was named best picture. It also won for best score, costume design and director.

The Help won three awards for acting: Viola Davis as best actress, Octavia Spencer as best supporting actress and the film’s cast as best acting ensemble.

George Clooney was named best actor for The Descendants, while Christopher Plummer was declared best supporting actor for his role in Beginners. Thomas Horn won for best young actor for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.

Thursday’s awards ceremony was held at the Hollywood Palladium.

The Broadcast Film Critics Association is made up of over 250 TV, radio and online critics.

Cartoon voice actors nominated by ACTRA Toronto

ACTRA Awards

ACTRA Awards

Five actors from three cartoon series have been nominated for Outstanding Performance – Voice in time for the 10th Anniversary ACTRA Awards in Toronto, to be presented at the Carlu on Saturday, February 25.

Performers from Radical Sheep Productions’ Stella and Sam received two nominations. Robbie Fitzroy is up for the role of the Box Builders in the series, while Rachel Marcus and Miles Johnson received a joint nomination for their portrayal of the Night Fairies.

Stacey Depass of The Adventures of Chuck and Friends, a co-production of Nelvana and Hasbro Studios, is up for an ACTRA Award for voicing Boomer the Snowplow. Miklos Perlus of Sidekick, another Nelvana series, was recognized for his role as Eric Squared.

A nomination also went to Billy MacLellan as the voice of The Promise in CBC Radio’s award-winning drama Afghanada.

“The nominees this year range from age 7 to age 82 and include a diversity of performers as well as some of Canada’s biggest names and greatest actors,” ACTRA Toronto president Heather Allin said Tuesday. “It’s a strong year and will make the final jury selection a difficult task. It’s an impressive snapshot of the current depth and breadth of Canada’s acting talent.”

Rick Mercer will be presented with ACTRA Toronto’s 2012 Award of Excellence at the awards celebration. The Award of Excellence recognizes an exceptional body of work and a commitment to advocacy on behalf of all performers.

The awards gala will be hosted by comic Elvira Kurt and will feature live musical performances by blues band Raoul and The Big Time, fronted by Raoul Bhaneja.

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing over 15,000 of Canada’s 21,000 professional performers working in the country’s English-language recorded media.