CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards
Author(s): Blonde and Brunette
Photos: Robin Roth
Editor: Sam Smith
Published: April 21, 2013

The CinemaCon Big Screen Achievement Awards took place on the evening of April 18, 2013 at the Coliseum Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. What a star studded exciting Hollywood night in the city of lights it was. The evening was beautifully hosted by Billy Bush from Access Hollywood. The glitz, the glamour, the designer labels… just like the Oscars. However, the evening was about the talented and gifted actors being honored. They were all present and filled with appreciation, humbleness and joy.

One by one the awards were presented to the extraordinary actors that were selected by NATO for CinemaCon. We sometimes put these famous people on such a high pedestal that we forget that they are human just like the rest of us with real emotions, problems, feelings and mountains to climb and overcome. This was all brought home when each and every honoree went up to accept their award. They were not only appreciative and modest but extremely GRACIOUS, DOWN-TO-EARTH AND FUNNNY. So let’s review...


The evening’s ceremony started with Fandango Fan Choice Award of 2012.


The award was given to Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games. This is the ninth year that this consumer driven special award has been presented by Fandango. . . The movie was recognized for being the most popular through voting on the Fandango web site.



Nina Jacobson producer of The Hunger Games


Cinema Icon Award:


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This award was given to one of the most brilliant, legendary, respected and esteemed actors of our time, Morgan Freeman for his portrayal of some of the most memorable characters ever to appear on the big screen. In our opinion, he brings the class, believability, legitimacy and success to all his films. From Driving Miss Daisy, Glory, The Shawshank Redemption to Million Dollar Baby (Academy Award) and The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman) Morgan reigns supreme. The award winning actor exudes his brand of dignity, charm and soul unmatched by any other actor.

 He can currently be seen in the sci-fi action film, Oblivion with Tom Cruise. Later this year, look for Freeman in the comedy, Last Vegas as well as the action-adventure, The Last Knights. Let's not overlook his voice-over in the animated film LEGO:  The Piece of Resistance coming soon.


When asked in a personal interview what his next film will be, Freeman replied, "I am looking forward to doing the Warner Bros' film, Transcendents with Johnny Depp.  Freeman told us that he is often asked, what his favorite starring role and film is. He replied sweetly, "The next one".  He has no aspirations to direct, his passion is to continue his acting career for as long as he can. Morgan spoke at the ceremony that it was in a movie theater that he first fell in love with the movies. “I was 6 and half years old when I went to the movies for the first time and the movie was King Kong.  I was 10 before I got over it. I pride myself on now being a Cinema Icon and I will cherish this award because I love making movies”.


Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year award:

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This award was presented to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for his directorial debut Don Jon. The film was presented at Sundance in January 2013 and has been receiving accolades throughout the film community around the world. Gordon-Leavitt stars with Scarlett Johansson in this funny, fresh and poignant comedy also written and directed by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It will be distributed by Relativity Media this summer.


When we, (The Blonde and The Brunette), asked what it was like to direct yourself in a film, he replied, "It is a little awkward. However, my first experience directing myself was when I was 21 years old; I'm now 31 so after 10 years of practice I'm more comfortable now."  When asked about his advice for young filmmakers, Gordon-Levitt shared 3 points of wisdom: 1."Use 35 mm film.  2. You must have people working with you that you trust.  3. Stay genuine”.  Furthermore, he added, “Just do it, start with a small 30 second film, and grow it to a feature film."

In recent years some of Joseph’s stunning performances are seen in such films as: Lincoln, Looper, 50/50, Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.

What a special man and amazing talent we found Gordon-Levitt to be. We are sure to see a lifetime of brilliant works from him for many years to come.


Director of the Year award: 


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This award went to Justin Lin for his well known action packed blockbusters, the Fast and Furious films. Fast and Furious 6 will be released on May 24, 2013 by Universal Pictures. Born in Taiwan, and a graduate of the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television, Lin's films have grossed more than $1.2 billion worldwide. Lin has announced that this will be his third and last Fast and Furious adventure film. Don’t fret you F and F fans, the franchise has been picked up by someone else and will continue on.

When we asked the brilliant Mr. Lin what he will be directing next, he responded that he is currently developing and producing several new film and television projects. These include the feature film L.A. Riots for Universal Pictures and The Breach for Warner Bros.  Mr. Lin told, ‘yours truly the Blonde and The Brunette’, "I like to explore characters through different techniques with long arcs (storylines)."  You can be sure we will be seeing more of Lin's work for years to come. Bravo!


Lifetime Achievement Award

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This award was given to Harrison Ford for his acting career spanning over 50 years. We feel he could have won this award 4 times over. Harrison Ford has given the movie-goer some of the most memorable film characters of all time such as Han Solo in Star Wars, Indiana Jones in all 3 of the Indiana Jones films, to the President of the United States in Air Force One. These roles will be remembered forever as they are timeless. Several of these movies represent some of the highest-grossing films of their day. 

Just released in the movie theatres is Legendary Entertainment's, ‘42’. Ford plays Branch Rickey, the Major League Baseball executive who, along with Jackie Robinson, shattered baseball's color barrier. Harrison is not only breathtaking in the role but spectacular and Oscar worthy. When asked in the interview what convinced him to star in this movie Ford replied "It's a great story that needed to be retold to those that knew it and to those who were too young to know it." He also stated that The White House recently paid him compliments on his part in the movie. "The First Lady was very kind and gracious", said Ford”. At the ceremony Harrison stated, “I love my work. I have been lucky enough for longer than I can imagine getting away with this job and continuing to work with the wonderful people that I have had the good luck and opportunity to work with. I am very pleased that you have been so kind to me as to present me with this wonderful award”. 


In the fall of 2013, Ford will be starring in the Robert Luketic thriller, Paranoia. On November 1, 2013, Summit Entertainment, a Lionsgate company, will release Ender's Game. Ford said "There is an interesting moral question behind the story." In the previews that we saw, it looks like an important and spectacular unforgettable movie.


We were so humbled ourselves by being in the presence of such an icon as the awesome Harrison Ford. How special and thoughtful of him to even take the time to let us all interview him. You rule!



Award of Excellence in Acting Award:  


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This award went to Elizabeth Banks, who is one of Hollywood's most versatile actresses. She portrays all of her characters to absolute perfection. From First Lady Laura Bush in W, to the eccentric and fashionable Effie in The Hunger Games she is believable and natural.  Look for Elizabeth Banks as Effie Trinket in the Lionsgate release of The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire on November 22, 2013.  Banks shared with us that, "Effie was such a fun character to play and I loved playing this role. She had big hair and makeup, it was a great experience."


Banks was a producer of the film Pitch Perfect. She told us that “It gave me a great sense of accomplishment”.  She went on to state, “I really love my job, I really love acting”

Many fans might not know that Elizabeth Banks does a great deal of theatre performances through the American Conservatory Theatre productions, Guthrie Theater productions and the Williamstown Theatre Festival.


We found Elizabeth Banks to be adorable, witty, sincere, and just an amazing, diversified, talent that deserves all the accolades she gets and without a doubt will continue to get. We are looking for an Oscar win for her in the very near future.

 Male Star of the Year award:

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This award was given to Chris Pine who has emerged as one of Hollywood's hottest and most accomplished young actors. Pine graduated from the University of California, Berkley. His most recent film credits include Dreamworks Animation's, Rise of the Guardians, Touchstone Pictures' drama People Like Us and 20th Century Fox's action comedy This Means War.


On May 17, 2013, the long anticipated Star Trek into Darkness from Paramount Pictures will be released. Directed by J.J. Abrams, this action thriller will bring the crew of The Enterprise back to Earth. Pine commented in the interview that "Captain Kirk has now earned his chair of command and this movie will show his strengths and weaknesses as he leads the crew on a manhunt for a psychological warrior." Chris is perfectly cast for this role.


Later in the year, on December 25, 2013 from Paramount Pictures, watch for Chris Pine starring as Author Tom Clancy's popular hero Jack Ryan. Keira Knightley and Kevin Costner join Pine in this action packed film. This looks spectacular. 


When Chris accepted his award he was so very sweet and humble. He stated, “I am so very blessed to work with the people that I have had the privilege to work with”. He went on to say, “It means so very much to me to share the stage with people who I hold in such great esteem as Morgan Freeman and Harrison Ford. I feel right now like I’m a 5 year old kid waiting in line to see ET”.




Female Star of The Year award: 

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This award was given to Melissa McCarthy who has proven to be the new ‘IT GIRL’ and queen of comedy.  Her most recent releases are Identity Theft and Bridesmaids. These films alone have proved her box office appeal. It has also, shown that she is an actress to watch because she will no doubt have a long and illustrious career. 

McCarthy will star later this summer in the 20th Century Fox release on June 28, 2013 of Heat. She will be starring opposite Sandra Bullock as an uptight FBI Special Agent, Sarah Ashburn. The film was directed by Paul Feig, who also directed McCarthy in Bridesmaids. She commented in the interview that "Paul Feig is a wonderful director who has a good opinion of women. He was great to work with on Bridesmaids and the same was true for The Heat."


This summer, McCarthy will shoot the lead role and serve as the producer of the film Tammy, which she co-wrote with her actor/writer husband, Ben Falcone, who will direct the film.


At the ceremony McCarthy said, “I am very lucky to get to do what I do; which from a girl who grew up in a little farm town in Illinois, it’s not a natural jump, ‘Oh, I’ll probably do movies’. I love it so much and I feel like the luckiest person in the world. To get an award like this just seems too over whelming to comprehend. I’d like to thank everyone from the people who make the popcorn, to the people who sell the tickets, to the theater owners which makes the whole experience special. I would also, like to thank Fox studios and everyone involved there. It is still such a treat to go to the movies. Since I was a little girl I would say, can we just go to the movies. I think it maintains its mystery and amazement for me no matter how old I am and for everyone. My first movie in the theatre was Grease. I thought looking around the theater, ‘Oh my God why haven’t we been here before’. I went 7 times. To this day I still re-see movies. It is magic for me”.


Well, Melissa, you are magic to The Blonde and The Brunette. Congrats on a well deserved award. You rock!



Comedy Duo of the Year award:

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This award was given to 2 hysterical and gifted comedy actors, Vince Vaughn and Owen WilsonThese two actors are known for their work together in Wedding Crashers. The dynamic duo will soon be reunited in the 20th Century Fox and New Regency studio film, The Internship. It will be released on June 7, 2013. Vaughn and Wilson star as salesmen whose jobs become obsolete in today’s high tech world. They find themselves in an internship at Google with young digital world competent college students.   

During the interview, the room lit with laughter from these two unique stars sharing their comic banter. When we asked what antics happened during the filming of The Internship, they both responded, “We were at a different place in our lives then when we filmed Wedding Crashers”. Wilson responded "We each have children now and our focus is on the family. We are not as crazy as we were the last time we worked together."


When they accepted the award at the ceremony, they said. “We want to thank CinemaCon”. Owen said, “Working with Vince, I felt like a jockey who is lucky enough to ride Seabiscuit and a lot of it was just hanging on till we cross the finish line”. Vince said. “We are really excited about the film and thank you so much for thinking of us for the award”.

It was really a joy for us to see them together in person. What a blast this interview was.


Rising Star of 2013 award:


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This award was given to Asa Butterfield, who at the age of 16 has a remarkable film resume with starring roles in Hugo, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang to name just a few. When he was 14 he was directed by the creative genius of Martin Scorsese.

Watch for him on the November 1, 2013 when Summit Entertainments, a Lionsgate company film, Ender's Game is released.  Butterfield will play the lead, Ender, with a prestigious cast including Harrison Ford, Hugo co-star Ben Kingsley, Hailee Steinfeld, Viola Davis and Abigail Breslin.


When we asked him about working with Harrison Ford, he shared, "Harrison is amazing to work with. He was generous with his knowledge and it was truly an honor to work with him." Butterfield commented on working with Scorsese also, by saying, "Marty is a great person. He was kind and generous and open with his advice. He really encouraged me to continue doing films."


At the award ceremony he stated, “I’d like to thank CinemaCon for this honor and it means so much to me. I have had the chance over the last 6 years in this industry to work with the most incredible people like Hailee Steinfeld and Harrison Ford who are here with me today; Also, Sir Ben Kingsley, who has always been such an incredible inspiration to me. I have also worked with some incredible directors and learned so much more than you can imagine”.


We feel that this young actor is in every sense of the word simply tremendous, brilliant and amazing. He will be around forever. We see many Oscars in his future.


Female Star of Tomorrow award:


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This award was presented to Hailee Steinfeld. At 14 years, Hailee received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her debut in True Grit. She has been busy with five new films set to hit the theatres. Steinfeld will star with other awardees, Harrison Ford and Asa Butterfield later this year in Summit Entertainment, a Lionsgate company, Ender's Game.  

In the interview looking very elegant in a Valentino original outfit, Steinfeld commented on working on Ender's Game. "All the components were there to make this movie. It is a great story, and the actors worked together like family. It was an incredible experience."


At the ceremony Hailee said, “Thank you to CinemaCon and all the representatives of the World Wide Motion Picture Theatre Industry, who are here tonight for presenting me with this award. Before I ever got to work in film, I loved going to the movies. I still do. It’s the one thing I do in my spare time. I am such a fan of sitting eagerly in the movie theatre with my friends and family and watching the big screen come to life, captivating us, moving us and entertaining us. There is nothing like it. I am so honored to be accepting this award tonight and to celebrate the movie going experience with all of you. As a young actress, I realize how lucky I am to get to do what I love”.


Other films coming out this year include Can A Song Save Your Life? Steinfeld will star with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo and Catherine Keener. In Hateship, Friendship Steinfeld stars with Guy Pearch, Kristen Wig and Nick Nolte. In Three Days to Kill, Steinfeld stars with Kevin Costner; and last but not least, she will star in the new cinematic adaption of Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, with Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti.


What a delightful actress and young woman Hailee is. She is pretty special!




Male Star of Tomorrow Award:


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This award was presented to Armie Hammer who has proven himself with notable supporting roles and terrific performances in The Social Network, J. Edgar and Mirror Mirror. On July 3, 2013, Disney/Jerry Bruckheimer films will release the highly anticipated action-adventure film, The Lone Ranger. Hammer will be starring as the fictional icon The Lone Ranger, opposite Johnny Depp who stars as his faithful companion, Tonto.  

In the interview, Hammer discussed his extensive research for the role. "My researcher, Amy Hammon, would bring back any info she could find on my character and I would have piles of information to go through. The Lone Ranger was a simple dude doing the right thing. He was 2 dimensional, and that was okay in the past, but modern audiences need more. I gave them more." Hammer went on to state, “I would definitely do a sequel if the opportunity was given”.

At the ceremony Hammer thanked CinemaCon for the award, the theaters for showing his movies, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Director Gore Verbinsk, Disney Pictures, his wife Elizabeth Chambers and his agent. 


Breakthrough Performer of the Year award:


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This award was given to Aubrey Plaza who recently starred in the critically acclaimed feature, Safety Not Guaranteed. Aubrey is also known for television hit series 'Parks and Recreation'. She will soon be starring in the CBS Film, The To Do List which will catapult her to one of the hottest new comedic actresses in Hollywood. 


In the interview Aubrey described The To Do List as, "It will show a girl exploring her sexuality." 


On June 21, 2013 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures will release Monsters University starring Plaza in this animated film. Watch for Plaza’s next film, A Many Splintered Thing, which she stars opposite Chris Evans, Giovanni Ribisi, Anthony Mackie, Luke Wilson and Michelle Monaghan.


2013 Sprite Film Finalists  




Every year Sprite Films returns to showcase the talents of the nation’s next generation of up-and-coming filmmakers. Creative minds with bold imagination and ground-breaking original talent are selected by Sprite to participate in a nationwide film competition. It is a unique opportunity and a spectacular chance to obtain valuable on-the-job experience and to showcase their filmmaking abilities.

The future filmmakers were given a once in a lifetime opportunity at Cinemacon to meet with renown film director Oliver Stone. "Movie goers will be able to view the Sprite Films sixty-second shorts on Sprite.com in August of 2013." said Kimberly Paige, Associate Vice-President of Sprite.

The student filmmakers attended workshops and met one-on-one with well-known film directors to discuss their film projects and future plans in the film industry. This year filmmakers are a diverse group of students from colleges and universities across the United States.  They are Sam Bengtson and Sean Grasse from Columbia College Chicago;  Dean Coots and Michael Tahan from Elon University ; Noah Sterling and Megan Melrose from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) ; and Manhea Kim and Meja Shoba from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).


The students shared with us in the interview that, "It's the technology that we are learning in this project. We are able to use different cameras with a $15,000 budget. We get to use this new equipment which is used for films on the big screen. That was our greatest learning experience."


In closing, this year’s CinemaCon was a smash success in every way! Between the spectacular new films coming out, the new technology, the advanced polarized 3-D, the great new seats for luxury theaters, the new foods at the exhibiters hall down to the talented actors involved, CinemaCon this year was better than ever! Rock on CinemaCon! 

The Blonde and The Brunette would like to take this opportunity to thank Heather Lewandaski, Jessica Erskine and Chris DeHaan from Rogers & Cowan for all their assistance, time and support at CinemaCon and making this article possible!