Boyhood grew on New York critics who also honor Cotillard, Spall

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .



The New York Film Critics Circle has crowned “Boyhood” best picture and Richard Linklater best director. (Above, Ellar Coltrane.)

The Circle, founded in 1935, is an organization of film reviewers from New York-based publications. It honors excellence in the U.S. and world cinema. A year ago, it crowned “American Hustle” its top film.  

Other awards announced today:

3lywnR  mrturner 02 o3  8022080  1406663970Best actress: Marion Cotillard, for two movies, “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night.”

Best actor: Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner.” (at right)

Best supporting actress: Patricia Arquette, "Boyhood.”

Best supporting actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash.”

Best animated movie:  “The LEGO Movie.”

Best screenplay: “The Grand Budapest Hotel.

Best non-fiction film:  “Citizen Four.”

Best foreign film: “Ida.”

Best first film: Jennifer Kent, “The Babadook” (opening in Pittsburgh on Friday).

Best cinematographer: Darius Khondji, “The Immigrant.”

Special award:  Adrienne Mancia, former film curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

lifeitself01In other news, the Producers Guild of America announced its nominees for best documentary: “Life Itself” about Roger Ebert, “Merchants of Doubt,” “The Green Prince,” “Particle Fever” and “Virunga.” Still to come are the nominees for best feature which often prove a good indicator of Oscar love.

And the Annie Awards, honoring animation, will narrow this list of nominees to one for its best feature honor:  “Big Hero 6,” “Cheatin’,” “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Song of the Sea,” “The Book of Life,” “The Boxtrolls" (below) “The LEGO Movie” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.”







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Conner, Boyd and Clemmings named first-team all-ACC

Written by Sam Werner on .

20141101lfPittSports08-7While Pitt may have had an up and down season in terms of on-field results, the Panthers had no shortage of individual talent.
That star power was recognized by the ACC Monday as Pitt had three players named first-team all-conference, as voted on by the Atlantic Sports Coast Media Association.
Running back James Conner, wide receiver Tyler Boyd and right tackle T.J. Clemmings were all selected to the all-ACC first team. Right guard Matt Rotheram was also named to the league's third team.
Conner finished the regular season as the ACC's leading rusher, with 1,675 yards and 24 touchdowns on the season. He set a new conference single-season record for most rushing touchdowns, and also broke Tony Dorsett's 38-year-old Pitt record for rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns in one season.
"It's a heck of a record because of who did it," Pitt coach Paul Chryst said following the Panthers' 35-23 win against Miami Saturday, in which Conner set the record.
"There's a great history of running backs at Pitt."
Conner received the most votes of any player at any position in the all-ACC voting, even more than Florida State quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston
Boyd, meanwhile, only built on his spectacular freshman campaign as a sophomore this year. He finished the regular season with 69 receptions for 1,149 yards and eight touchdowns. He is the first player in ACC history to record 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first two seasons, and just the second Pitt player to do so, joining Larry Fitzgerald.
Boyd was also named as an all-ACC "specialist" for his kick return exploits on the league's second team.
Finally, Clemmings was named the ACC's lineman of the week three times this season, and, along with Rotheram, helped pave the way for the ACC's third-leading rushing attack.
Pitt joined Florida State, Duke and Clemson as the only schools with three players on the all-ACC first team, yet the Panthers finished the year just 6-6. Part of the problem may be that Pitt was the only ACC school that did not have any players selected — even as an honorable mention — on the defensive side of the ball.
The Panthers finished up the regular season Saturday, and now spend the week waiting to find out what bowl they will finish the year in.

Full teams, along with vote totals, after the jump...

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Bortuzzo's skating can be surprising - 12-01-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


At 6-4 and 215 pounds, defenseman Robert Bortuzzo is the Penguins' largest player. Never afraid to drop the gloves or slam an opponent into the boards, he's also arguably their most physical player.

Given his size and reputation for physical play, Bortuzzo probably surprised more than a few people, including those on the Hurricanes, when he took advantage of a Carolina line change and burst from behind his own blue line, through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone for a dazzling goal during Saturday's 3-2 road win.

"If you don't know him, it definitely surprises you how quick he is and how fast he is out there," said Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta. "That's probably what happened. He made a great move the last game. He just skated right by [Hurricanes defenseman John-Michael Liles].”

Earlier today, Bortuzzo talked about his skating ability.

How much of an emphasis do you put on your skating in terms of training and workouts?

"It's something my dad kind of preached to me when I was a kid. He thought I was going to be a bigger guy and skating was going to be a big part of my game. It's something you're continually evolving with. In terms of skating with the puck, I think that's just something that's been preached a lot the last couple of years. Get your feet going. That's something they preach and that's what I did."

As a bigger guy, do you think some opponents are surprised when you do attack the offensive zone with speed?

"I'm not sure. I think once you get to this level, it's hard to underestimate anyone's skating level. The game's so fast. Maybe they just see a big guy and they're anticipating maybe the puck being moved or chipped or whatnot. ... My skating can get me out of trouble sometimes as well as having a long stick. "

Explain in basic terms the difference between how someone like Kris Letang skates and how you skate.

"[Letang] is probably one of the purer skaters in the league so it's definitely a big difference. I think it looks different too. If you've ever seen [former Penguins center] Jordan Staal skate, he's a great skater but sometimes doesn't look like he's going as fast as someone like [Letang] but he definitely is moving at a high pace. There's definitely a difference in what it might look like."

What happened with the goal you scored Saturday night?

I think I might have been at the end of my shift too. My first thought was what they preach. Kind of just get your feet going. I looked up and I had some space. I think I had some flanker guys coming to my right and left. My first thought was get the [Carolina blue] line and maybe make a play to one of them. Space just kept opening and then I took the ice. I was fortunate to get one by the goalie.

(Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

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All-America Selections announced. New impatiens immune to downy mildew disease!

Written by Doug Oster on .

Impatiens BouncePinkFlame-AAS2015-2Impatiens Bounce Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink' is one of the 2015 AAS winners. It won't succumb to downy impatiens mildew. Photos courtesy of All-America Selections

Winter is for dreaming about the garden.

It's always exciting when AAS announces their winning varieties for the season. Since 1932, All-America Selections has been testing plants and choosing their favorites..

They have trial grounds all over the country where new varieties are grown and tested. There's one in South Park run by my friend Denise Schreiber, the greenhouse manager for Allegheny County Parks. During the season you can stop by and see how next year's plants are doing. It's always fun to get a sneak peak at what's being grown.

Some of my favorite plants are AAS selections including 'Torch' tithonia (1951), 'Juliet' tomato (1999) and many more. The fact that they are grown in many different regions under a variety of conditions. Until this year all plants were started from seed, but now AAS has started testing plants which are propagated vegetatively. In some cases it's easier for growers to make more plants through cuttings and other techniques.

The first two winners grown this way are impatiens. Impatiens SunPatiens 'Spreading Shell Pink' and Bounce Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink.'

I've grown the SunPatiens series, it's performed well for me. Even though SunPatiens are bred to take more light than standard impatiens, I find them a perfect substitution in shady areas. They are immune to downy impatiens mildew, a disease which has become virulent across the country.

The Bounce series is also immune. They are bred to look like the Impatiens walleriana we normally grow as a bedding plant but will not succumb to the disease like walleriana does. The bounce series is named for its ability to return to form with watering after a dry period.

Pepper HotSunSet-2014AAS-logo1Pepper 'Hot Sunset' is an AAS winner that brings the heat and flavor.

There were 10 varieties grown from seed which also won this year. One regional winner which sounds interesting is a thick walled hat wax pepper called 'Hot Sunset.' It's brings the heat, but also offers great flavor, sets early and produces all season long. There are some other interesting peppers which won too.

Basil DolceFresca  AAS2015-1-crop1Basil 'Dolce Fresca' is another 2015 AAS winner. This variety is compact and pretty.

Basil 'Dolce Fresca' stays pretty all season and is compact, only reaching two feet tall maximum. After harvesting, the plant rebounds quickly and retains its compact shape. I'm always looking for plant like this which can be planted in corners and other tight spots in the vegetable garden. Basil is a wonderful ornamental plant too. I've grown them in hanging baskets in consort with flowers.

Salvia SummerJewelWhite-AAS2015-2-cropWho wouldn't want white flowers like this is the garden? Salvia 'Summer Jewel White' is tough and prolific.

Another plant I'm intrigued with is salvia 'Summer Jewel White.' I saw red and pink varieties of this plant last year, they were beautiful and prolific. This is a great way to get a tough sun lover with white flowers in the garden.

All of the winners will be available locally or through the Internet. Adding something new to grow along side old favorites is one of the fun things about gardening.

The AAS website has a complete list of this year's winners and every plant which has ever one the coveted title of All-America Selection. You might be surprised to find how many of your favorites are listed. I love to look through the older listings to find plants which have gone out of fashion. I know any plants which capture my attention will perform well in the garden.

There's also an AAS display garden at Schenley Plaza which I did a story and video on last season. Spending time in that garden is a great way to get ideas for your own plantings.

Winter is for garden dreams, planning and making lists for next year's season. There are plenty of cool AAS winners to consider.




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Empty Netter Assists - 12-01-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .


-The Penguins are 12-3-2 when they score first this season.

-Christian Ehrhoff (above) snapped a skid of 46 games without a goal Saturday.

-Today would have been the 48th birthday of former Penguins forward Roger Belanger. Along with Doug Bodger and some other guy, Belanger was one of three first-round picks for the Penguins in 1984. His Penguins career amounted to 44 games and eight points in 1984-85. After spending most of the next four seasons with the club's minor league affiliates in Baltimore and Muskegon, Belanger retired in the 1988 offseason due to injuries. He die September 16, 2011 at the age of 45.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins forward Ryan Malone (right). A fourth-round pick in 1999, Malone, the son of former Penguins forward and executive Greg Malone, spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2003-04, Malone saw action in 81 games and scored 43 points, including a team-leading 22 goals. After spending the 2004-05 lockout in Finland and Italy, Malone returned to the Penguins in 2005-06 and appeared in 77 games while scoring 44 points. Injuries limited Malone in 2006-07 to 64 games and 31 points. In the 2007 offseason, Malone played in five games but failed to record a point. Arguably Malone's best NHL season was in 2007-08. While playing primarily on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora, Malone appeared in 77 games and set career highs in goals (27) and points (51). In that spring's playoffs, Malone played in 20 games and contributed 16 points while helping the franchise reach its third Stanley Cup final. During the 2008 offseason, Malone and Gary Roberts were traded to the Lightning in exchange for a draft pick. In 299 regular season games with the Penguins, Malone scored 169 points, 46th-most in franchise history. In 25 postseason games, he scored 16 points. He is currently a member of the AHL's Hatford Wolfpack.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Steve Dykstra. Claimed prior to the 1988-89 season in a waiver draft from the Oilers, Dykstra's Penguins career amounted to 65 games and seven points that campaign. In the 1989 playoffs, Dykstra saw action in one game and failed to record a point. During the 1989 offseason, Dykstra joined the Hartford Whalers as a free agent.

-After the Jump: Vincent Lecavalier isn't playing that much.

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