We’re already at the point in the award season where a few films have been solidified as the big winners and prime Oscar candidates. Zero Dark Thirty, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, and Lincoln have been awards frontrunners for weeks, and will likely continue to dominate slates of official accolades until the season ends with Oscars being handed out on February 24.

The Best Picture category in the Oscars is based around the efforts of producers, and so the Producer’s Guild of America nominations are a pretty good indicator of what we’re likely to see as a nomination slate for the Best Picture Oscar when AMPAS announces noms next week.

Today the PGA announced its nominations (one day early) and the ten films that were highlighted for what amounts to the PGA’s “best picture” award are: Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall, Zero Dark Thirty.

Nothing there for The Master, but that isn’t even much of a surprise at this point, given how things have been going. The inclusion of Skyfall is a bit of a surprise, but mostly for the fact that it is the big commercial outlier rather than The Avengers. Marvel’s The Avengers was a success on many levels, but if any one position should get a sage nod in appreciation of a job well done on that movie, it’s the producers. Same goes for Skyfall, however, so even that “surprise” is a small one.

The press release featuring all of the nominations is after the break.

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2012 didn’t want for long-awaited blockbuster releases, what with The Dark Knight Rises, The Avengers, Skyfall, The Hunger Games, and The Hobbit all opening this year. But the one YouTube visitors spent most time poring over, it turns out, wasn’t a movie at all.

The website has released its list of the 10 most popular trailers of the year, with a spot for the video game Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 in first place. And second. And eighth and tenth. Among films, The Dark Knight Rises comes out on top, though Skyfall makes a strong showing as well. Meanwhile, NBC’s Revolution was the only TV show to make the cut. Read the complete list and watch all ten trailers after the jump.

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2012: A Year in Movie Mistakes

At their core, all narrative features are lies. We can will ourselves to believe we’re watching superheroes save Manhattan, but we know deep down that what we’re really seeing is costumed actors zipping around on wires and jumping in front of green screens. And like all great, big whoppers, the more moving parts there are, the more difficult it gets to keep everything straight.

The folks at MovieMistakes.com delight in pointing out the tiny mistakes that slip through, whether it’s a costume that’s been sloppily rearranged between takes or an anachronistic prop that’s been dropped into a period piece. Just as they did in 2011, they’ve just released a list of their favorite goofs of the year, as well as a tally of the most error-prone films of the year. Read them both after the jump.

[UPDATE: One of the filmmakers mentioned, Rian Johnson, has since responded to Looper's inclusion at #8 on the list. Hit the jump to see his tweet.]

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Movies, in general, have happy endings. The hero triumphs over adversity and the audience leaves the theater feeling good. But what if the bad guy won? What if the bomb went off? While the happy ending dominates cinema, some of the best movies of all time have taken the ‘dark ending’ route, and now some that did not have been reimagined with new conclusions.

Alternate Endings is a brand new art show presented by the Silver Screen Society and opening December 14 at the Bottleneck Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Each artist in the show picked one of their favorite movies and created a piece of art showing an “alternate ending.” So, for example, Godmachine surmised that Tetsuo won in Akira. Mark Englert reimagined James Bond’s childhood in Skyfall. Others changed the endings of Home Alone, RoboCop, The Dark Knight Rises and more.

After the jump, check out a few images from the show and get all the pertinent info. Read More »

VOTD: Revisit the ‘Skyfall’ Opening Credits

The Bond films have a rich tradition of elaborate opening credits sequence featuring ever-more complex blends of animation, graphics, and film footage. For Skyfall, director Sam Mendes went to Daniel Kleinman, who created a long credits sequence featuring a procession of underwater images, shadow combat, and, naturally, women.

Kleinman has been with Bond since Goldeneye, with the exception of Quantum of Solace, which went to a different design house, MK 12. Here Kleinman does a great job underscoring the simplicity of the movie that follows, melding his own notions and the thematic underpinnings of Skyfall with some of the ideas original Bond title designer Maurice Binder established for the series.

Revisit the Skyfall credits — without any actual credits overlaid — below. Read More »

Why wait for DVD? The “bonus features” on many older DVD releases (and laserdiscs, for the ’90s folks) pale in comparison to some of the effects breakdowns and other filmmaking explanations that are available in video form all over the internet. The entire internet is now a cache of info about the creation of films, even as they’re in theaters.

So here are a few choice bits of info. One is an effects overview for Robert Zemeckis‘ new film, Flight, in which a drunk pilot played by Denzel Washington narrowly pilots a plane away from certain doom. The featurette goes into some of the general effects used for the film, before detailing that crash sequence. You might be surprised at how much practical photography was used to create the views of the inside of the plane during that sequence.

Then there’s a piece on Dredd, and just as parts of Flight required extensive digital alteration or augmentation to present the view the filmmakers wanted, Dredd digitally altered the landscape of Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa to generate the film’s sprawling Mega-City One. FInally, get some details on how a real Aston Martin was preserved for Skyfall, even as the filmmakers had a real product to damage. Read More »

Part way into the new James Bond film, Skyfall, 007 is led to a deserted island, wherein waits the film’s villain, Silva. But this isn’t your typical deserted island — it’s no sandy outcrop with a couple palm trees and a few buried, empty bottles of rum. No, this is a portrait of urban blight in miniature, a place where everyone’s luck ran out, but the city-like structures they built still stand.

And it’s a real place. Or, at least, it is based on a real place. The island in the film gets its own fictional backstory, but the look of the place is based in great detail on an island called Hashima, on which thrived a tiny but densely populated company mining town. Abandoned in the ’70s, Hashima stands now as one of the strangest ghost towns on Earth. Read More »

Odds are if you’ve been to the movies in the past four weeks, you saw Wreck-It Ralph, Argo, Flight or Skyfall. They’re the top four movies at the box office at the moment and each have their own merits. One is great family fare with fun geeky spin. The next is a taut thriller in the mold of old Hollywood. The third is a well-done, but slightly preachy, character study and the last one is a crowd-pleasing addition to an action-packed franchise.

Basically, the current wide releases having something for everyone. Each is very distinctive, and if you’ve seen any of them, videos about each title, from the SoundWorks Collection, are a must see. The fantastic site has posted very cool videos on all four films, detailing their sound mix, scores and more. Check them out below. Read More »

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