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The New York Film Critics Circle announced that it will postpone its 2022 awards ceremony, which was to take place on Jan. 10, due to the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the country — risking the health and safety of the event’s winners, members and other guests.

“Out of safety concerns for our award winners and our members, we’ve made the decision to postpone our dinner,” stated NYFCC chair Stephanie Zacharek. “But rest assured, we’re going to find a way to celebrate the accomplishments of our winners in the coming months. Even in the midst of an uncertain time, we see this as a positive step forward.”

Films that were awarded this year include: “Drive My Car,” best film; Jane Campion, best director for “Power of the Dog;” Lady Gaga, best actress for “House of Gucci;” Benedict Cumberbatch, best actor for “The Power of the Dog;” Maya Cade, for the creation of the Black Film Archive; Diane Weyermann, posthumously, for supporting impactful filming at Sundance and Participant; and Marshall Fine for his years of service as NYFCC’s general manager and decades on the New York film scene.

The New York Film Critics Circle’s membership includes critics from daily and weekly newspapers, online publications and magazines — with the members meeting to vote on awards for the calendar year’s films.

Denis Villeneuve to Receive 2022 Harold Lloyd Award for Filmmaking at Lumiere Awards

Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve will be presented with the Advanced Imaging Society’s 2022 Harold Lloyd Award for filmmaking at the 12th annual Lumiere Awards at Warner Bros. Studios on Feb. 1.

With his directorial work in “Dune,” based on Frank Herbert’s science fiction novel, the film has garnered critical acclaim as well as having major success at the worldwide box office. The film was recently re-released in IMAX and is a major contender this awards season.

Other works directed by Villeneuve include “Arrival,” for which he was nominated for an Oscar for best director, “Incendies,” “Prisoners,” “Sicario” and “Blade Runner 2049.”

“In his more than 200 films, Harold Lloyd was passionate about using his creative teams and the latest technology to empower his storytelling in the service of entertaining his millions of fans,” said Suzanne Lloyd, Chairman of Harold Lloyd Entertainment. “He was a cheerleader for the groundbreaking directors and creatives who followed him. I know Harold would simply be thrilled that Denis Villeneuve is our 2022 recipient,” she added.

“Denis Villeneuve’s Dune was a priceless reminder this year that nothing replaces the magic of seeing a magnificent movie on a great cinema screen,” said AIS president Jim Chabin. “His mastery in summoning the very best from artists and technologies during an incredibly challenging
time has resulted in a truly awe-inspiring work, which thrilled millions of fans worldwide,” he added.

In addition to awards being presented for motion pictures, episodic and new media content, the society this year will bestow awards for best musical motion picture, best musical scene or performance, and best immersive audio.

Hollywood Critics Association Postpones HCA Film Awards Ceremony

The Hollywood Critics Association announced that it will postpone its fifth annual HCA Film Awards ceremony until Feb. 28 — due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases throughout the country. The event was originally scheduled for Jan. 8.

“The health and safety of our members, nominees, special award recipients and guests will always be our top priority, which is why we have decided to postpone our ceremony to a later date,” said HCA co-founders Ashley and Scott Menzel.

Nicolas Cage, Guillermo del Toro, Jude Hill, Natalie Morales, Alice Brooks, Simu Liu, Greig Fraser, Saniyya Sidney and the cast of CODA were among the special award nominees scheduled to appear.

The fifth annual HCA Film Awards is scheduled to be produced by DIGA Studios and will be live-streamed on the organization’s official YouTube channel. Additional updates about the event will be announced in weeks to come.

Short Film by Columbia College Chicago Students in the Running for Oscar

“Close Ties to Home Country.” a short film by students at Columbia College Chicago  is getting critical acclaim at festivals across the
country, and could be in the running for Oscar.

The film, described as a tragicomedy, features Akanksha, a young Indian immigrant who finds employment as a dogsitter to Timothee, whose owners are themselves traveling to India. Meanwhile, Akanksha’s sister is scheduled to visit the U.S. soon. While she waits, Akanksha bonds with Timothee, enjoys the spoils of white money, has her friend Sophia over to engage in judgy hijinks, and muses over why she stays away from her home country.

The film was written and directed by Akanksha Cruczynski, an MFA Cinema Directing student, and produced by Felicia Ferrara ’20, who received her MFA in Creative Producing. The pair made Close Ties as part of their graduate thesis film project. “Close Ties” will also be featured at the 2022 Sundance Film Festival in January. The film is one of 59 short films featured at Sundance this year; 14 are from the United States.

“This is a moment I could have only dreamed of,” Cruczynski said. “Winning the Student Academy Award already felt beyond incredible. Now getting to go to Sundance, having the film be an Oscar-contender—I’m pinching myself all the time. Historically people like me haven’t gotten to go to film school or make movies. I’m so grateful that we’re getting to prove that immigrant stories matter, and the time for them is now.”

Cruczynski and Ferrara, worked with several Columbia College Chicago alumni to create the short including, Cinematographer, Luke Dyra ’18, Cinema and Television Arts; composer, Brandon Stanley, MFA ’19 Music Composition for the Screen; and Colorist, Matthew Filipek ’17, CTVA.

“On behalf of Columbia College Chicago, we congratulate Akanksha and Felicia on their incredible success, as well as the Columbia alumni who collaborated on the film,” said Thelma Vickroy, Chair of the Department of Cinema and Television Arts. “These women are an asset to the film industry and they have so much more to share and contribute.”

In addition, Close Ties to Home Country was recently honored at The Gotham Awards for having won The Gotham Film & Media Institute’s 3rd Annual Focus Features & JetBlue Student Short Film Showcase. It also received a 2021 Student Academy Award and a 2019 Albert P. Weisman Award. The film was on the BAFTA Student Shortlist 2021 and has played at and won awards at several Oscar-qualifying film festivals, including Telluride Film Festival, the
Audience Award at Aspen Shortsfest, the Chicago Award Honorable Mention at Chicago International Film Festival and the Best Comedy Award at Indy Shorts International Film Festival.

BAFTA Announces Vance Byrd Mentorship Program

The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) announced the participants for its Vance Byrd Mentorship Program, which helps pair students with BAFTA members as personal mentors.

In honor of BAFTA mentee Byrd, who lost his life to gun violence in 2015, the four year mentorship program supports students across L.A. as they transition from high school to college. As part of the program, students will be given access to BAFTA’s new talent programming and special opportunities for internships and scholarships. Additionally, BAFTA will work with the L.A. Unified School District, local schools and teachers to identify potential candidates.

Matthew Wiseman, executive director of BAFTA North America said: “Through the launch of our Vance Byrd Mentorship Program, his legacy will endure and inspire the next generation of promising young talent from the underserved communities of Los Angeles.”

Ron Howard’s ‘Thirteen Lives’ Has a Completed Musical Score

Composer Benjamin Wallfisch announced that he has completed his score to Ron Howard’s upcoming film, “Thirteen Lives,” which the director adapted from the William Nicholson script.

Taking to his Twitter on Dec. 20, Wallfisch tweeted, “Thanks so much for inviting me @RealRonHoward — such an honor to collaborate on this amazing movie. Can’t wait for people to see it,” after Howard tweeted a video of musicians warming up for their final scoring session of the film.

“Thirteen Lives” centers on the real story of 12 members of a soccer team and their assistant coach, who become trapped 1,000 meters underground by monsoon rains flooding Thailand’s Tham Luang cave and blocking their way out. The 2018 rescue effort involved more than 100 divers, representatives from about 100 government agencies, 900 police officers and 2,000 soldiers.

Alongside “Thirteen Lives,” Wallfisch composed “It,” “It Chapter Two,” “Shazam!” “The Invisible Man,” “Mortal Kombat” and was a co-composer of Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner: 2049.”

Makeup Artist Michèle Burke and Hairstylist Joy Zapata To Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards at Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards

Michèle Burke, award winning makeup artist best known for her work on the “Mission Impossible” and “Austin Powers” series, along with Joy Zapata, Emmy-winning hairstylist known for her work on “A Star is Born” and  “Wonder Woman 1984”  will receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Awards at the 9th Annual Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild Awards, (MUAHS, IATSE Local 706).

They will be honored at the MUAHS gala, returning to a live-in-person ceremony at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on Feb. 19, 2022.

The Lifetime Achievement Awards honor an extraordinary spectrum of acclaimed work, exceptional contributions to the motion picture arts and sciences, and outstanding service to their union or the entertainment industry.

“We are thrilled to honor Joy and Michèle, both extremely deserving of this award. Their longevity of successes and achievements are inspiring to us all, and they have created a legacy of characters that are permanently embedded in our memories forever,” said Julie Socash, President of the Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild.