Invites are in the mail as awards season kicks off in a big way with the 4th annual The Contenders Presented By Deadline, an all-day event Saturday, November 1 showcasing 12 participating studios and distributors and a record 37 films in the hunt for gold in 2014.

Due to overwhelming response, the popular invitation-only event — open to Academy Of Motion pete_hammond_300x100Picture Arts & Sciences members as well as those of key guilds — is moving to a larger venue, the DGA theatre at 7920 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. The event will run from 8:45 AM-4:30 PM.

'Captain Phillips' actor Barkhad Abdi and Deadline's Pete Hammond
‘Captain Phillips’ actor Barkhad Abdi and Deadline’s Pete Hammond

Deadline Hollywood’s The Contenders event has become a must-stop on the awards circuit and this year the response from studios and distributors is bigger than ever. Several stars, directors, producers, writers, studio heads and crafts artists from the films will participate in the individual presentations (each participating studio gets a half hour ) and footage from the Oscar contending movies will be interspersed. Sponsors are Dell, Paradigm, Final Draft and Screen Engine as well as two new sponsors this year:  Keurig Coffee and Terry Hines & Associates.

'Inside Llewyn Davis's T-Bone Burnett, Oscar Isaac & Deadline's Mike Fleming
‘Inside Llewyn Davis’s T-Bone Burnett, Oscar Isaac & Deadline’s Mike Fleming

Studios and distributors participating and their films are The Weinstein Company/Radius with St. Vincent, The Imitation Game,  Big Eyes, Begin Again and The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby; DreamWorks Animation with How To Train Your Dragon 2; Focus Features with The Theory Of Everything, The Boxtrolls and Kill The Messenger; Universal Pictures with Unbroken and Get On Up!; Paramount Pictures with Noah, Transformers: Age Of Extinction, Men, Women & Children,  Interstellar, Top Five, The Gambler and Selma; Fox Searchlight Pictures with Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Wild; Warner Bros with American Sniper, The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies, Inherent Vice, The Judge and The Lego Movie; Sony Pictures with Fury; Sony Pictures Classics with Mr. Turner and Whiplash; Walt Disney Pictures with Big Hero 6  and Into The Woods; IFC Films with Boyhood; and 20th Century Fox with Gone Girl, The Fault In Our Stars, Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes and Exodus: Gods And Kings.

I will be moderating Printmany of these panels along with Deadline’s co-Editor-in-Chief Mike Fleming and Dominic Patten. There will also be raffle prizes given out during the day including Dell Tablets; a trip to the Four Seasons Maui; spa treatments; tickets to The Forum, The Wallis and Pasadena Playhouse; a four day stay at the Golden Door Spa; and more surprises that will make some lucky winners happy.

Awards voters have found the unique event to be extremely helpful and now make it a part of their annual pre-voting fact-finding process. As one Academy member told us, “In one day I learn all about all the potential Oscar contenders. Hearing directly from the people who made them makes this event relevant and important.”