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Best Rainmaker for Chicago in Hollywood 

Michael Bay

michaelbay.com

With his announcement that he’ll bring his slow-motion fireball walkaways to town this July for the production of Transformers 3, Michael Bay is edging out favorite sons like Christopher Nolan and Vince Vaughn as the top importer of Hollywood firepower to Chicago—though arguably the crazy Lower Wacker and LaSalle Street Batman-Joker flipping semitruck showdown in Nolan’s The Dark Knight distinguished Chicago as potentially the friendliest big city to the kind of traffic-snarling multiple-day action set pieces that are Bay’s stock in trade.

Reel Chicago (where I’m also a contributor) has reported that Bay will base Transformers 3 at the Ryerson Steel plant at 16th and Rockwell for seven weeks and shoot on the Mag Mile—details Chicago Film Office director Rich Moskal couldn’t confirm at press time. Moskal did say that Bay’s operatives had scouted Chicago industrial landscapes for the first two Transformers movies, balking over budget and schedule issues. But for Transformers 3 “the call was more about downtown Chicago,” Moskal says. “From a script and a production-planning standpoint, it became far more viable.”

Bay’s company Platinum Dunes filmed the $60 million A Nightmare on Elm Street across the metro area for three months in spring 2009, and the $20 million horror flick The Unborn here for two months in 2008. And he directed a series of commercials here in 2005 plugging the AT&T/SBC merger.

Bay “likes the look and feel of Chicago,” Moskal says. “We’re certainly grateful for his repeat business.”

Critics' Picks

Best Dance Party

Chances Dances continue

Best Fashion Watching

School of the Art Institute, Columbia College continue

Best New Musical Group

Bin Laden Blowin' Up continue

Best Michael Jackson Cover

"Billie Jean" by Robbie Fulks continue

Best Mustache in a Local Band

Stavros "Steve" Giannopoulos of the Atlas Moth continue

Best Lawn Seat at Ravinia

Green Bay & Lake Cook 847-266-5100
The little hill that faces the main entrance to the Ravinia pavilion, Highland Park, Illinois continue

Best Microscene

No Coast Collective continue

Best Free Movie Series

Cinema/Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center continue

Best Moonlighting Witch

Jackie Hoffman in Whining in the Windy City: Holiday Edition continue

Best Theatrical Hat Trick

Chris Sullivan in The Hairy Ape, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and The Illusion continue

Best New Play

Agon Trilogy continue

Best New Theatrical Form

One Thing, and Everything Else continue

Best Theater History Collection

Chicago Theater Collection at the Harold Washington Library Center continue

Best Puppeteer

Michael Montenegro continue

Best Place to See a Seven-Man Pyramid Cross the High Wire

Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale continue

Best Variety Show

Impress These Apes continue

Best Improv Group

Cook County Social Club continue

Best Stand-up Comedian

A tie between Beth Stelling and Junior Stopka continue

Best Sketch Show

The Best Church of God continue

Best Commentary on Modern Technology by a Choreographer

Julia Rhoads at Lucky Plush Productions continue

Best UnderĀ­appreciated Chicago Novel

Bertram Cope's Year by Henry Blake Fuller continue
(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)