James' Blog

Alejandro González Iñárritu Deserves to Win the Oscar for Best Director

Honestly, I’m quite surprised by the number of awards pundits thinking Linklater deserves Best Director. For me, Alejandro González Iñárritu winning Best Director makes more sense.


To be clear, I like BIRDMAN and I like BOYHOOD, but there was a greater degree of difficulty directing BIRDMAN than BOYHOOD. Iñárritu made a conscious choice to make a movie with numerous long takes, basically giving himself very little room for error (if any) in the editing room. And not only didhe pull it off, he directed a film that’s pretty

Read more

BOYHOOD is the Big Winner at the 2014 Golden Globes


Overall, I was happy with the Golden Globes’ film winners.


BOYHOOD was the big winner with three awards. It won Best Drama Film, Richard Linklater won Best Director, and Patricia Arquette won Best Supporting Actress.


BIRDMAN (Best Screenplay and Michael Keaton, Best Musical/Comedy Actor) and THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING (Best Score and Eddie Redmayne, Best Drama Actor) both won two awards apiece.


The biggest surprise of the night was THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL winning Best Musical/Comedy Film over BIRDMAN. For me, BIRDMAN is the best film of the

Read more

Academy Unveils the 2014 Documentary Shortlist

Oscar Documentary Feature shortlist has been announced!


ART AND CRAFT, Purple Parrot Films
THE CASE AGAINST 8, Day in Court
CITIZEN KOCH, Elsewhere Films
KEEP ON KEEPIN’ ON, Absolute Clay Productions
THE KILL TEAM, f/8 filmworks
LAST DAYS IN VIETNAM, Moxie Firecracker Films
LIFE ITSELF, Kartemquin Films and Film Rites

Read more

Annie Schulhof’s National Board of Review Announces Year-End Awards Today

Annie Schulhof’s (she is the NBR Board President) National Board or Review announces their year end awards today.


My expectation is that she will honor one of the following with Best Film: AMERICAN SNIPER (WB), UNBROKEN (Universal) or SELMA (Paramount). All three of those films open on Christmas day. It comes down to free advertising for the organization as the studio promotes their film as the “National Board of Review’s Best Film” in print, television, and internet ads. That amount of press exposure generated is very much needed by

Read more

Oscar Contender SELMA Screens in NYC for the First Time


Director Ava DuVernay receives a hug after her very successful first screening of her film SELMA at the AMC Empire 25.

Last night my wife and I attended the first New York City screening of SELMA. If the audience’s reaction during and after the screening were any indication, this film should do well at the box office.


The film is about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in early 1965 leading a peaceful protest in Selma, Alabama, that ends with a march from Selma to the state’s capital in Montgomery. The protest is an attempt by Dr. King to force President Lyndon Baines Johnson (Tom Wilkinson) to introduce the Voting Rights

Read more

NYWIFT Announces their 2014 Muse Awards

I have the utmost respect for the New York Women in Film and Television (NYWIFT) organization. It has over 2,000 members (I’m a member–yes, they accept men into the organization) and is one of the best non-profit film organizations in New York. If you are a young filmmaker and want to be a part of a great organization that cares about its members, then you should consider joining NYWIFT.


Yesterday NYWIFT announced its 2014 Muse Awards. This year they are honoring Mary Bailey, Abigail Disney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dawn Ostroff and Wanda

Read more

IFP Membership Drive and Gotham Awards

Independent Feature Project (IFP) is a great New York City film organization. I’ve been a member for years, and I always recommend to my SVA film students that they should join the organization. Right now there is a 20% discount to join. Keep in mind that the discount ends November 19, 2014.




And if you join now you can vote for the 5th Annual Gotham Independent Film Audience Award with nominees comprised of the 15 nominated films in the Best Feature, Best Documentary,

Read more

Upcoming Q&A with Zeitgeist Films Co-Founders

I am proud to announce that I’ll be moderating a Q&A with Nancy Gerstman and Emily Russo, the Co-Founders and Co-Presidents of Zeitgeist Films, on Thursday, November 11, at 6:30 p.m. at the NYIT Auditorium on Broadway, 1871 Broadway between, 61st and 62nd Streets.


We will be discussing the challenges of movie distribution in a digital age.


It is free and open to the public. I hope to see you there!


Here is a link to sign-up to attend the event:  http://www.cencom.org/ecom-prodshow/Distribution-Zeitgeist.html

Read more