'Gravity' Director Alfonso Cuaron Wins Golden Globe

By Oliver Gettell, Los Angeles Times

Alfonso Cuaron was named best director at the Golden Globes for "Gravity," his eye-popping sci-fi film about an astronaut stranded in space.

The award was Cuaron's first Golden Globe on his first nomination.

The director spent four years working on the film, which he wrote with his son Jonas. The film's setting brought plenty of technical challenges.

To portray stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney floating through space, Cuaron and his team strapped the actors into mechanized rigs that could spin them around on command, while a camera was similarly mounted on a giant robotic arm.

In the end, the technical achievements helped Cuaron to beat out Paul Greengrass for the hijacked-at-sea thriller "Captain Phillips," Steve McQueen for the biographical drama "12 Years a Slave," Alexander Payne for the father-son road movie "Nebraska," and David O. Russell for the Abscam-inspired con story "American Hustle."

Many consider the Globes' director prize to be a more exclusive filmmaking honor than that of best picture, because the category contains just five nominees. Best picture is split into two prizes - drama and comedy or musical.

The 71st Golden Globes are being held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, at a ceremony hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

'Gravity' Soars in Visual Effects Society Nominations

By Steve Pond, The Wrap

"Gravity" led all films in nominations for the 12th annual VES Awards,  according to a Tuesday morning announcement by the Visual Effects Society that should surprise no one.

Alfonso Cuaron's groundbreaking space thriller picked up eight nominations for its visual effects in eight live-action feature-film categories. "Pacific Rim" received six, while "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" and Iron Man 3" received five each.

Also read: How 'Gravity' Revolutionized Visual Effects and Blasted Sandra Bullock Into Space

"Frozen," "The Croods" and "Epic" led all animated features with four nominations each, while HBO's "Game of Thrones" topped the TV nominations with four.

The most surprising and telling of the "Gravity" nominations may have come in the Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture category. Alongside the dragon Smaug from "The Hobbit," China Girl from "Oz the Great and Powerful" and the alien monster Leatherback from "Pacific Rim," VES members in eight cities voted for Ryan, the "Gravity" character played by Sandra Bullock (apparently with the help of four VFX artists).

Further proof of just how thoroughly "Gravity" dominated the 2013 visual-effects field: Even before VES voters made the film the year's top nominee, the society selected Cuaron to be the recipient of its Visionary Award at the ceremony on Feb. 12 at the Beverly Hilton.

In addition to "Gravity," nominees in the Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture, the VES Awards category that most closely corresponds to the Oscar visual-effects category most years, included "Iron Man 3," "Pacific Rim," "Star Trek: Into Darkness" and "The Hobbit."

All of the nominated films are on the Oscar shortlist for visual effects.

Also read: Academy Announces 9 Films That 'Gravity' Will Beat for the VFX Oscar

The VES Awards give out prizes in eight categories for live-action feature films, four for animated features, three for broadcast television programs, two for commercials, four for either commercials or broadcast, and one each for videogames, special venue projects and student projects.

In the animated-feature categories, "Frozen," "The Croods" and "Epic" scored four nominations each, while "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2" and "Monsters University" received two and "Despicable Me 2" landed one.

"Game of Thrones" led a group of televison nominations that were spread among more than a dozen programs. The miniseries "Inseparable" was the only other TV program to receive multiple nominations, with two.

Other TV nominees included "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.," "Battlestar Galactica," "DaVinci's Demons," "Mob City," "The Borgias" and "Hawaii 5-0."

Effects pioneer John Dykstra will receive the group's Lifetime Achievement Award at the Feb. 12 ceremony.