September 17, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Robert DeNiro Rock New York Film Critics Event

By Roger Friedman Brad Pitt was hilarious and touching last night accepting his Best Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle. Joining other honorees Meryl Streep, Albert Brooks, Jessica Chastain and the folks from “The Artist,” Pitt was a little nervous and actually spoke softly from the podium at restaurant. Angelina Jolie was with him, looking more gorgeous than ever, accepting kudos for her underrated film “In the Land of Blood and Honey.” Viola Davis, herself a nominee for “The Help” from many different groups, presented Best Actress to Streep. Davis joked: “I popped a lot of Stress Tabs when we made ‘Doubt’.” Streep was philosophical, having won the same award two years ago: “We do this for love, and for as long as we can.”

Surprise presenters were Robert DeNiro –who had trouble with “Artist” director Michel Hazanavicius‘s name–and Francis Ford Coppola, who came for “Artist” producer Thomas Langmann. The Coppolas, it turns out, have been long time friends of the Langmann family. Famed late French film director Claude Berri (“Jean de Florette”) was Langmann’s father–his real name was Claude Berel Langmann. And Thomas told me something stunning: when Claude Berri won an Oscar in 1966 for a short film, “Le Poulet” but he didn’t have the money to go to Hollywood and claim it. The Academy mailed it to him instead! Sacre bleu!

Anyway, back to Brad Pitt, who’s on track to win the Oscar for his work in “Moneyball.” He said the award was a big deal considering “I’d never been on ap plane til I was 25.” He talked about coming to New York to audition for a soap opera in 1989. “I had to put myself up in an apartment on Christopher Street,” Brad recalled. “My first impression of the city was There are a lot of guys around here. But they’re so nice!” That got big laughs.

He continued: “On set the clock’s ricking, the camera’ rolling. A lot of what we do comes out of instinct and intuition. I am continually surprised about how much I learn about storytelling and filmmaking from your reviews. We are complex, we are industries to ourselves, we are difficult to each other…we live in continual flux, Christians and Muslims, Democrat and Republican, Denby and Rudin…” — a reference to a recent feud between producer Scott Rudin and film critic David Denby. Again more laughs.

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About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to

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