Alejandro G. Inarritu to Receive Special Oscar for His Virtual Reality Installation “Carne y Arena”

Alejandro G. Inarritu is getting a special Oscar…

The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted to give a special honorary Oscar to the 54-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s extraordinary virtual reality installation Carne y Arena

Alejandro G. Inarritu

It will be presented at the upcoming Governors Awards on November 11 at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland.

This joins previously announced Governors Award honorees this year including actor Donald Sutherland, director Agnes Varda, cinematographer Owen Roizman and filmmaker Charles Burnett.

In making the announcement of the Oscar to this unique achievement — full name: Carne y Arena (Virtually Present, Physically Invisible) — the Academy said it was in recognition of a visionary and powerful experience in storytelling. It was first unveiled at this year’s Cannes Film Festival in May in a nearby airport hangar where I was among the lucky ones to experience it. And experience is the word.

“The Governors of the Academy are proud to present a special Oscar to Carne y Arena, in which Alejandro Iñárritu and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki have opened for us new doors of cinematic perception,” said Academy president John Bailey. “Carne y Arena, Iñárritu’s multimedia art and cinema experience, is a deeply emotional and physically immersive venture into the world of migrants crossing the desert of the American southwest in early dawn light. More than even a creative breakthrough in the still emerging form of virtual reality, it viscerally connects us to the hot-button political and social realities of the U.S.-Mexico border.”

Los Angeles residents currently have the opportunity to see Carne y Arena as it is on display at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as well as at Fondazione Prada in Milan, and Tlatelolco Cultural Center in Mexico City. It’s a collaboration between Iñárritu, Lubezki, producer Mary Parent, Legendary Entertainment, Fondazione Prada, ILMxLAB, and Emerson Collective.

The Oscar will be Inarritu’s fifth Academy Award. He won three for Birdman including Best Picture, Director, and Screenplay as well as becoming only the second helmer in 65 years to win back-to-back awards when he won Director again for 2015’s The Revenant.

Gonzalez Inarritu Developing Virtual Reality Short About Immigrants Crossing the U.S./Mexico Border

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is planning to shed some light on immigrant experience…

The two-time Mexican Oscar-winning director is working on a virtual reality short, one that he’s been developing for four years.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

The short is being produced and financed by Legendary Entertainment and Fondazione Prada, which announced it. ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s recently established Immersive Entertainment division, will build the virtual world and characters.

Gonzalez Inarritu will work once again with Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki in what is described as an experiment for their first time within a space narrative in this new visual medium.

The immersive virtual reality piece will explore the intense and excruciating experience of a group of immigrants and refugees crossing the border between Mexico and the U.S.

The companies haven’t disclosed their plans for releasing the project.

del Toro Partners with Legendary Entertainment & YouTube Spaces for a Horror Talent Search

Guillermo del Toro is ready to welcome new talent into his House of Horrors…

Legendary Entertainment will combine a talent hunt with promotion of the 49-year-old Mexican filmmaker’s upcoming horror film Crimson Peak.

Guillermo del Toro

The contest has been announced in concert with Google’s YouTube Spaces, which provide production and post-production facilities for YouTube creators in four big cities.

As part of the deal, Gothic-horror sets “inspired by” del Toro’s work on Crimson Peak will be installed in YouTube Spaces in Los Angeles, Tokyo, London and the soon-to-open New York locale. The sets will vary by site, but are billed as the sorts of creepy backdrops worthy of any Gothic horror film, including “a Great Room from an old manor house,”  “a sinister staircase and Gothic windows that lead out to a haunted garden,” and “an abandoned Solarium cluttered with over-grown plants, birdcages and weathered tools.”

YouTube creators at each site will be invited to make video shorts with horror themes using the sets between September 22 and October 28. The videos will go live between October 21 and Halloween, and will run on each creator’s YouTube site along with the channels for YouTube Spaces and Legendary.

del Toro will pick the best videos from each site, and consult with the creators on further fine-tuning.

Legendary will offer a development deal to the creator behind the best resulting short to further flesh out their project into a possible film. If it all works, Legendary could find a ultra-low-budget creator similar to Jason Blum, whom Universal recently signed to a long-term deal after a lucrative run of cheap and extremely profitable horror pics.

Here’s a video of del Toro introducing the YouTube House of Horrors project:

Rapace to Co-Star Opposite Will Smith in “Brilliance”

Noomi Rapace is ready to show her brilliance on the big screen once again… 

The 34-year-old half-Spanish actress is in talks to star opposite Will Smith in Brilliance, the adaptation of the Marcus Sakey novel being made by Legendary Entertainment.

Noomi Rapace

Directed by Julius Onah and written by David Koepp, the film takes place in a world where a minority set of people are born with extraordinary abilities and are called “brilliants.” A panic sets in among the human majority, bringing the world to a civil war, which is exactly what a nefarious faction wants.

Smith is playing a federal agent, a brilliant with great hunting gifts who is drafted to hunt down a terrorist, another such brilliant who intends to start the civil war.

Rapace will portray a tattooed and pierced brilliant that is identified as a terrorist by the government.

Universal Pictures will release the feature project, which is aiming to start production on the film this summer.

Rapace rose to acclaim as the tough and tattooed hacker Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo movies. She was last seen in Dead Man Down with Colin Farrell and has the crime thriller Child 44, with Tom Hardy and Joel Kinnaman, in the can.