Cuesta Receives Directors Guild Award Nomination…

He helped kickoff Showtime’s Homeland with a bang, making it one of this season’s hottest new shows… And, now Michael Cuesta is getting kudos for his exceptional work behind the camera.

Michael Cuesta

The 48-year-old Latino filmmaker has received a DGA Award nomination from the Directors Guild of America in the dramatic series category for helming Homeland’s pilot episode.

Homeland

Homeland—which stars Claire Daines as a CIA officer who believes an American Marine, who was held captive by Al-Qaeda as a prisoner of war, was turned by the enemy and poses a significant risk to national security—has been renewed for a second season of 12 episodes. Production is scheduled to begin in spring 2012.

“The caliber of work being done on television these days is incredible, and our director nominees in each category are an indispensable element to the success of every project — establishing and enhancing the vision and tone, eliciting outstanding performances and furthering the narrative arc through their creative choices,” said Directors Guild of America president Taylor Hackford. “That they are able to create excellence regardless of obstacles like tighter schedules and in an environment in which audiences have more entertainment options to choose from — is a true testament to the importance of directorial skill in television.”

Cuesta, who has perviously directed television episodes of Dexter, Six Feet Under, Blue Bloods and True Blood, will face off against the directors of episodes of Friday Night Lights, Game of ThronesThe Killing and Breaking Bad.

The winners will be announced at the 64th Annual DGA Awards Dinner on Saturday, January 28, 2012.

Sheen Receives Nod for Ireland’s IFTA Awards

He’s earned a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award… But Martin Sheen could soon be the proud recipient of Ireland’s IFTA Award.

The 71-year-old half-Spanish/half-Irish actor, best known for his turn as the U.S. President on The West Wing, has received a leading actor in a film nomination from the Irish Film & Television Academy.

Martin Sheen

Sheen earned the nod for his role as Irish priest father Daniel Barry in the Irish film production Stella Days, a film about a small town cinema in rural Ireland that becomes the setting for a dramatic struggle between faith and passion, Rome and Hollywood and a man and his conscience.

He faces some tough competition from Michael Fassbender (Shame), Brendan Gleeson (The Guard) and Ciaran Hinds (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) in the category.

The Irish Academy’s awards are handed out annually, aiming to celebrate Irish talent in both film and television.

“Ireland’s economic struggles have been well documented, but against this pressure it’s heartening to see how Ireland’s hard-working creative community continues to punch above its weight and really deliver,” says Irish Academy CEO Aine Moriarty.

This year’s awards will be presented in Dublin on February 11.

Domingo Receives Israel’s Prestigious Wolf Prize

Plácido Domingo has plenty to sing about!

The acclaimed tenor has become the first vocal artist ever to win Israel’s Wolf Prize.

Placido Domingo

The Wolf Foundation named the 70-year-old Spanish legend one of eight recipients of the nation’s prestigious award on Tuesday. From 1962 to 1965, at the beginning of his career, Domingo sang with the Israeli opera company.

Each year the Wolf Foundation awards $100,000 prizes in five fields. About three dozen winners have gone on to receive Nobel Prizes.

Domingo shares the award with seven other American, British and Israeli recipients, including English conductor Sir Simon Rattle.

Israeli physicist Jacob D. Bekenstein won the physics prize. The others went to U.S.-based scientists, including chemists A. Paul Alivisatos and Charles M. Lieber, mathematicians Michael Aschbacher and Luis Caffarelli, and in medicine, Ronald M. Evans.

Almodóvar’s “The Skin I Live In” Receives Major Goya Awards Love

He was recently celebrated for his remarkable career by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City… And, now Pedro Almodóvar is receiving love from Spain’s Film Academy

The 62-year-old Spanish director’s latest film, The Skin I Live In, received 16 Goya Awards nominations on Tuesday, including nods for Best Film and Best Director.

Pedro Almodovar

In all, Almodóvar’s latest film led the pack with nods in 16 of the 28 categories. The Skin I Live In was followed closely by Enrique Urbizu’s thriller No Rest for the Wicked with 14 and Kike Maillo‘s directorial debut Eva with 12.

The film’s 16 nominations may help put an end to a period of icy relations between Almodovar and Spain’s Film Academy, which he quit years ago citing irregularities in voting and repeated snubs.

“Pedro will be delighted with the news of so many nominations,” Skin producer and Pedro’s brother Agustin Almodovar told the Spanish daily El Pais, following the announcement. “The Academy has given us a generous welcome. It’s like a big hug.”

The Skin I Live In Poster

The Skin I Live In’s high-profile star Antonio Banderas received a nod in the lead actor category, while Elena Anaya was nominated in the lead actress category.

Meanwhile, Salma Hayek, who will soon be knighted in France, received a best actress nomination for her role in Alex de la Iglesia’s As Luck Would Have It.

Click here for a complete list of nominees.

Bichir Declared a Film Virtuoso

It’s turning out to be a better life for Demián Bichir after his starring role as a an East L.A. illegal immigrant gardener.

The 48-year-old Mexican actor, who has received a Spirit Award nod and a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, will receive one of the Virtuosos Awards at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival next month for his inspired work in A Better Life.

Demian Bichir

The critically acclaimed film centers on an illegal immigrant father’s love and details the lengths he’ll go to give his child the opportunities he never had.

Along with Bichir, Virtuosos Awards will be presented on Friday, February 3 to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara, Bridesmaids’ Melissa McCarthy, Young Adult’s Patton Oswalt, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes’ Andy Serkis and The Descendants’ Shailene Woodley.

In addition, The Artist’s Bérénice Bejo and her co-star Jean Dujardin will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award at the festival on Saturday, February 4, 2012.

The 27thAnnual Santa Barbara International Film Festival will take place from January 26 through February 5.

Saporta & Michele Nominated for Top PETA2 Libby Award…

Call them the great liberators! Lea Michele and Gabe Saporta have been touted for being animal-friendly celebrities…

The 25-year-old part-Spanish Glee star and 32-year-old Uruguayan Cobra Starship front man have been nominated for the top Libby award, by PETA’s youth division, peta2.

Gabe Saporta & Lea Michele Libby Award Nominees

Michele and Saporta are both nominated in the Top Animal Friendly Celebrity category. The other nominees are Jackass star Steve-O, Victorious star Daniella Monet

Michele is recognized for her efforts to raise awareness about the cruel mistreatment of horses used for carriage rides in New York City.

Meanwhile, Saporta has been hailed peta2’s Sexiest Vegetarian in the past.

Other nominees in the various categories for the 6th annual Libbys, or Liberation Awards, include Ke$ha and Justin Bieber.

“Our nominees have all worked hard to shine their spotlights on a variety of important animal issues,” says peta2 Division Manager Marta Holmberg. “As our accomplished stars demonstrate, compassion isn’t just a virtue – it’s also a road to success.”

Fans can vote for their favorite animal-friendly stars at peta2.com until this Friday, December 23. The winners will be announced on January 17, 2012.

Click here for a complete look at this year’s nominees.

Spanic Receives National Award for Being an Inspiring Woman

In her 20-year entertainment career, including her 13-years appearing in some of Spanish-television’s most popular telenovelas, Gabriela Spanic has come a long way… And, now she’s being recognized for that incredible artistic trajectory.

The 38-year-old Venezuelan telenovela star has received the Premio Nacional de la Mujer from Mexico’s Cámara Nacional de la Mujer, A. C. (Canadem), an organization
that recognizes people and companies that positively impact society, women in particular.

Gabriela Spanic

“For me this recognition says many things, because no one can deny that I have worked a lot to deserve it,” says Spanic. “That I love my career, that I make an effort, put my all into it and respect the public that has supported me the length of my career, including my work as a protagonist in Emperatriz and La usurpadora, among many more.”

Asked about how hard it is to be a woman, parent and mother at the same time, Spanic said: “I am a single mother with a lot of honor, my son is my motor and my force, and I [fight] for him, although I believe every parent fights for their by its children, with all my energy.”

Spanic thanks God and the Virgin Mary for having life, health and work, as well as the strength to face her any obstacles that come her way.

The London Film Critics’ Circle’s Latino Nominees…

The London Film Critics’ Circle has showered praise on several Hispanics this awards season.

The Critics’ Circle announced its nominees this Tuesday, with the Cold War drama Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the heist-gone-wrong film Drive leading the pack with six nominations each.

Film Reel

Even though no Hispanics were nominated in the acting and directing categories, two films directed by Latinos were nominated in the Foreign-Language Film of the Year category.

Spanish-director Pedro Almodóvar’s The Skin I Live In, which stars Antonio Banderas, will face off against the late Chilean filmmaker Raúl Ruiz’s Mistérios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon), the winner for best foreign film at this year’s Satellite Awards.

Meanwhile, three Latinos have been nominated for The Sky 3D Award, which recognizes technical achievements in film.

Manuel Alberto Claro was nominated for his exceptional cinematography in Melancholia, about two weeks after receiving the Carlo Di Palma European Cinematographer Award at the European Film Awards.

Alberto Iglesiaswho received the Hollywood Film Composer Award this year for his body of work—received a nod for his work on the original score for The Skin I Live In.

Cliff Martinez was cited for his work on the original score for Drive. He’s also received a Satellite Award nomination and a Critics’ Choice nod for his work on Drive.

The London Film Critics’ Circle winners will be announced on January 19, 2012.

Ruiz Receives Satellite Award Posthumously…

He may be gone, but Raúl Ruiz is not forgotten, as the acclaimed director’s last completed project picks up another award.

The prolific and enigmatic Chilean filmmaker’s Mistérios de Lisboa (Mysteries of Lisbon) received the best foreign film award at the International Press Academy‘s 16th annual Satellite Awards on Sunday.

Chilean Filmmaker Raul Ruiz

Ruiz’s Portuguese-language melodrama is a masterful adaptation of the 19th-century novel by Camilo Castelo Branco.

It follows a jealous countess, a wealthy businessman and a young orphaned boy across Portugal, France, Italy and Brazil where they connect with a variety of mysterious individuals.

Mistérios de Lisboa, which Ruiz had called one of his most theoretical films, had already picked up prizes at the São Paulo International Film Festival, San Sebastián
International Film Festival
, Prix Louis Delluc and at the Portuguese Golden Globes.

Ruiz, who passed away at the age of 70 this past August, was a highly regarded director of more than 100 films in several languages.

Bérénice Bejo: “Golden” Girl

It’s a “golden” day for Bérénice Bejo, if not a golden year…

The 35-year-old Argentine actress has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Berenice Bejo The Artist

It’s the latest in a string of award nominations, including a SAG Award nom from the Screen Actors Guild, for Bejo’s scene-stealing work in the critically acclaimed black-and-white, silent film The Artist.

Bejo portrays Peppy Miller, a young dancer on her way to stardom, in the film, which received six Golden Globe nominations—the most for any of this year’s nominated pictures.

Meanwhile, legendary Spanish director Pedro Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In, starring Antonio Banderas, received a nod for Best Foreign Language Film.

In the television category, Sofia Vergara received a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Supporting Actress in TV Series, Mini-Series, or Made-for-TV Movie
 category.

It’s the 39-year-old Colombian actress’ second straight Golden Globe nomination for her role as Gloria Delgado-Pritchett on ABC’s Modern Family. And her second nomination this week after receiving a SAG Award nomination on Wednesday.

The 69th Golden Globe Awards will take place on Sunday, January 15, 2012.

Click here to see the complete list of nominees.