Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Written by: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Armando Bo, and Alexander Dinelaris
Main Cast: Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, and more…
Past Oscar relations: Iñárritu was nominated for directing and co-producing Babel, Norton has been nominated twice (Best Supporting Actor for Primal Fear and Best Actor for American History X), Ryan has been nominated once (Best Supporting Actress for Gone Baby Bone), and Watts has been nominated twice (Best Actress for 21 Grams and The Impossible)
Today we have another article in this particular series of mine concerning certain 2014 releases hoping to compete for some sort of actual Oscar attention as a contender at the upcoming 2015 ceremony. Next up for here for us is a festival favorite in Birdman that’s looking to take its sensational festival screenings and use that buzz in order to appeal to the Academy. Can it actually do it in the face of myriad competition? Let us discuss that possibility a little bit now below…
This dramedy is a real change of pace for the normally super serious Iñárritu. It surrounds an actor who used to play a superhero and is trying to stage a comeback through a broadway production of a Raymond Carver story. Michael Keaton stars as the actor, with the supporting cast including Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan, Andrea Riseborough, Damian Young, and others. All of whom are fantastic from top to bottom, with special praise so far being given to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and his work. Now, it hopes to become an Oscar nominee.
What this film has going in its favor is how technically proficient and well acted it is. It’s also perhaps the most overtly funny Academy Award contender of the year, which never hurts either. Keaton, Norton, and Stone are almost surefire acting nominees (Best Actor for Keaton, Best Supporting Actor for Norton, and Best Supporting Actress for Stone), while Iñárritu is locked into Best Director and likely Best Original Screenplay as well. Lubezki could very well win Best Cinematography and Antonio Sanchez is likewise in play for Best Original Score. Across the board, Birdman is looking like a really heavy player. A winner? Well, that could be a harder sell, but a nominee seems like a pretty sure thing in a number of categories.
Working against Birdman is that it’s not exactly a traditionally […]
Tag Archives: Amy Ryan
Directed by: Alejandro González Iñárritu
Believe it or not, we’re now three full months into the 2014 movie calendar, which means we’re a quarter of the way through. That got me thinking about what the best of the bunch so far this year has been. Since now is the time when the film slate begins to transition into summer flicks and counter programming independent fare, I thought it was the perfect time to praise the best of 2014 so far. Basically, anything that hit screens between January 1st and March 31st will be up for grabs here for my personal honors. There are some April and May releases that are wonderful too and would have otherwise cracked my top ten to date, but I’m excluding them here since they’re not first quarter releases.
Below you’ll find my top ten of the year so far, along with my awards for the the first quarter of 2014. Here you go:
10. Bad Words – Jason Bateman’s directorial debut is one of the funnier movies of the year so far. Hardly a masterpiece, but thoroughly enjoyable, it shows that he has a future as a comedic filmmaker. Crude and intentionally lowbrow at times, this is still a very fun flick.
9. Like Father, Like Son – A fascinating look at Japanese fatherhood, this was at one time considered a potential Best Foreign Language Feature contender at the Oscars last year. That never came to pass, but this is still one of the better things to hit theaters this year.
8. Noah – I’ve yet to dislike a Darren Aronofsky flick, and this alternate take on the biblical story continues that perfect record for him. Incredibly ambitious and visionary, the good far outweighs the bad here. Though far from perfect, it’s the first must see epic of 2014 in my mind and a great conversation starter as well.
7. The Grand Budapest Hotel – I’m not usually a big Wes Anderson fan, but something about this latest film of his really clicked for me and I fully embrace it. Ralph Fiennes is really terrific here, while the scope of the work really managed to catch my eye and appreciation. His quirkiness finally found a proper outlet, at least according to my tastes.
6. Breathe In – Drake Doremus is one of the more interesting young filmmakers in the business, and he continues to show why with this domestic drama. With a strong visual palate and […]
Directed by: Drake Doremus
Written by: Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones
Main Cast: Felicity Jones, Guy Pearce, Mackenzie Davis, Amy Ryan, Matthew Daddario, Ben Shenkman, Kyle MacLachlan, and others
Past Oscar relations: Amy Ryan was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Gone Baby Gone
Here now is the next article in this new series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention. Next up is Drake Doremus’ Breathe In, which hopes to build on his previous indie contender Like Crazy. That film ultimately fell short, so armed with some goodwill from that movie, can this one do better? Doremus once again has Felicity Jones in a main role, this time with Guy Pearce, Amy Ryan, and newcomer Mackenzie Davis among her costars. It’s a romantic drama with strains of the dysfunctional family genre thrown in, but it’s the way that this admittedly well worn story is told that sets it apart, particularly in what it allows its cast to do.
What this flick has going in its favor are the performances, particular the one from Jones. She’s phenomenal, perhaps even better than she was in Like Crazy. Veteran actor Pearce is very good too, while newcomer Davis makes an impression as well. Ryan is again a useful supporting player too, but Jones is the one you really remember when all is said and done. If anyone where to come out of this movie in terms of awards hopefuls, it’s her.
Working against Breathe In is that the movie has an almost total lack of buzz. It debuted a year ago at the Sundance Film Festival, so all that time waiting to come out didn’t do it any favors. It literally took over a year to begin screening for critics, playing a few other festivals, but mostly sitting on the shelf, and that creates the perception of something that’s not exactly top notch. The quality is there for this film, but I have my doubts that most voters will wind up even seeing it later on in 2014 when they begin thinking about awards and nominations.
So, can this be a player at all? Simply put, the odds aren’t at all in its favor. I’d be shocked if it held on until the end of awards season, but crazier things have happened, I suppose. The flick will really have an uphill battle, but Breathe In deserves to be seen regardless of that, so hopefully people find […]
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Ben Affleck’s “Argo” has been building a steady stream of buzz behind the scenes from people in the know claiming that the seasoned actor and full-fledged filmmaker had a third consecutive hit on his hands. This afternoon, the political thriller held a not-so-secret debut screening at the Telluride Film Festival, and the response was off-the-charts positive.
“Terrific,” “outstanding,” “amazing,” “smart” and “absorbing” were the adjectives tossed around Twitter by scribes from sites like Variety, HitFix and The Playlist. Best Picture and Director nods seems very possible at this early stage of the game, as Affleck earned Academy cred with “The Town” (a Best Supporting nod for co-star Jeremy Renner) and “Gone Baby Gone” (a win for the great Amy Ryan).
By all accounts, Affleck has hit another home run with this true-but-strange story of a CIA operative cooking up a bizarre scheme to help extradite U.S. hostages from a compromised embassy in Iran. Affleck stars, and surrounds himself with an awards-worthy ensemble that includes John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Bryan Cranston, Kyle Chandler and Victor Garber.
The Telluride screening was a warm up for Affleck’s Gala screening in Toronto. That’s when I plan to get my first look at what sounds like a winner. We hope to cover “Argo” through the bulk of the awards season. Could this be the one that earn Affleck his well-deserved seat at the Best Director’s table? We shall see.
Read more of our exclusive Awards interviews:
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat
“Writers” director Josh Boone
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By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: The greatest American play? Quite possibly Arthur Miller’s “Death of a Salesman,” set in 1949 and revived last night on Broadway in a production that is outstanding. Mike Nichols directed and reinvented Miller’s classic, with Philip Seymour Hoffman as Willy Loman, Andrew Garfield (the new movie Spider Man) as Biff, Linda Emonds as Willy’s wife Linda, and Finn Wittrock as Happy. This is a historic production, quite possibly the best ever (and there have been many great ones starring Dustin Hoffman, Brian Dennehy, Lee J. Cobb, George C. Scott). Thursday night’s star studded opening was the second time I’ve seen this production, and it’s only gotten more devastating, deep, emotional, and overwhelming. Philip Seymour Hoffman is our generation’s Jason Robards. He is perfection as Willy Loman in all aspects–from Willy’s wrestling with his past (the father and brother who left him) to his denial about more current events, and his increasing mental in capacities. PSH has an Oscar for “Capote” but this is his Tony Award. He cannot be missed.
The whole cast is spot on. Considering it’s a play about fathers and sons, I was particularly moved by Andrew Garfield’s father’s reaction to seeing his son as the angry ne’er do well, Biff. At the party following the opening night at Bryant Park Grill, Mr. Garfield and Andrew just kept hugging and crying. The cast is extremely worn out emotionally after each performance. Even last night Mike Nichols, who’s sat through every preview to give “notes,” told me he was overwhelmed. Arthur Miller’s famous actress sister, Joan Copeland, t0ld me it was the best production she’d seen since the original. Martin Short told me that Tom Hanks had seen it a few days ago and declared it “the best thing he’s ever seen, period.” Columbia Pictures’ Amy Pascal came to congratulate her upcoming Spider Man.
Scott Rudin produced this extravaganza, and it made for quite a glittering night. In the audience were Nichols and Diane Sawyer, Paul Simon, Barbara Walters (who came with David Geffen), Julianna Margulies, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich, Catherine Keener, Amy Ryan, Spike Lee, Anjelica Huston, Meryl Streep and Don Gummer, and Garfield’s actress gf Emma Stone, Julia Roberts, plus “Saturday Night Live” star Bill Hader, who said he almost fainted when Nichols complimented his “SNL” work. It was kind of funny at one point seeing Streep, Gummer, Nichols, Sawyer and Huston all dining […]
By Pete Hammond
HollywoodNews.com: Ben Affleck has had a career of ups and downs but to his credit he hasn’t let critical brickbats or tabloid fodder derail him from living up to the promising talent he showed as an actor and writer in 1997’s Good Will Hunting which won Ben and buddy, Matt Damon a Best Original Screenplay Oscar. Since then Ben has mixed success in big Hollywood projects like Armageddon (1998) , Pearl Harbor ( 2001) and The Sum Of All Fears (2002) with genuinely interesting acting turns in meatier material like the highly underrated Changing Lanes (2002) and Hollywoodland (2006). Unfortunately there was also his “Bennifer” phase when he and then -fiancée Jennifer Lopez were the talk of the tabs and their joint co-starring venture, Gigli (2003) crashed and burned. By that point most pundits had written off the early promise of Good Will Hunting and dismissed him until his feature directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007) showed that initial talent was just hitting it’s stride. This weekend’s critical acclaim and number one box office ranking for his latest writing/directing/acting achievement, The Town has quieted the doubters and clearly set Ben off on a new career path that buddy Matt Damon says will turn him into “the new Clint Eastwood”, meaning a triple threat talent that is one to watch. The common denominator between Good Will, Gone Baby Gone and The Town is the general location, Ben’s hometown of Boston. When I talked to him a couple of weeks ago he mentioned it was a concern that he get pidgeonholed as the “Boston” guy but that this material was just too tempting to pass up. With its estimated $23.8 million haul, The Town proved that decision to be the right one, beating pre-release predictions, drawing a solid B+ Cinemascore rating and an absolutely stellar 94% fresh score on the Rotten Tomatoes critics meter. What’s particularly heartening about all of this is that The Town falls into that endangered species known as ADULT DRAMA. It’s a time-honored genre that the big studios were thought to be abandoning. Warner Bros. is to be congratulated for a smart marketing and distribution strategy and Ben Affleck is back on top of the movie world with the first significant release of the more serious Fall season.
Speaking of actors-turned-directors, another Oscar winner Philip […]
By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: We’re officially one week away from the 35th Toronto International Film Festival, and we still have so much left to discuss in our “Road to Toronto” feature.
The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and HollywoodNews.com will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race.
To read our previous preview columns, punch “TIFF” into our search window. Today, we’re on a boat — and in a handful of difficult New York relationships — as Philip Seymour Hoffman makes his anticipated directorial debut.
Jack Goes Boating
The Plot: A lonely guy (Philip Seymour Hoffman) learns to swim when the girl he starts dating (Amy Ryan) asks to go boating. As their relationship improves, the marriage of Jack’s closest friends falls apart.
The Director: Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Cast: John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Amy Ryan and Philip Seymour Hoffman
The Scoop: After years spent dazzling audiences with his work in front of the camera, Hoffman climbs behind the lens and into the director’s chair to adapt Bob Glaudini’s Off-Broadway play. The film played Sundance earlier this year and received good reviews, with Variety and The Hollywood Reporter singing its praises. It’s easy to see why. Hoffman convinced Glaudini to write his own screenplay, then surrounded himself with talent like Ryan, Ortiz and Rubin-Vega. I can’t wait to see if “Jack” sinks or swims, but with Hoffman at the helm, I think the latter is a safe bet.
Awards Potential: Oscar veterans Hoffman (won for “Capote”) and Ryan (nominated for “Gone Baby Gone”) could attract the Academy’s eye. And while it’s unlikely Hoffman will work his way into the Best Director race, Glaudini certainly could make some noise in the Screenplay category if “Boating” sails away from TIFF on waves of positive buzz.
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By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Patty Clarkson–that’s what her friends call her, not Patricia–is the elegant, sexy, smart actress who’s gotten her first lead role at age 50. Well, she shot “Cairo Time” when she was 48, but it’s being released next Friday after she’s rounded that infamous corner.
I wish she would stop telling people she’s 50, but she’s proud of it. Some people just grow into an age. If you saw her Oscar nominated performance in “Pieces of April” or her award winning work in “The Station Agent” or her hilarious, triumphant turn in Woody Allen’s “Whatever Works” you know age doesn’t matter.
And it runs in the family: her mom, Jackie Clarkson, was just re-elected to the New Orleans City Council for the 5th time since 2000. She’s been a popular Louisiana lawmaker for 20 years.
We got to meet Jackie, and one of Patty’s four sisters, Jacquelyn, at the premiere dinner for “Cairo Time” Monday night at the Plaza Athenee. The swanky dinner included New York Daily News publisher Mort Zuckerman, plus Patty’s bff Amy Ryan, Amy’s husband Eric Slovin, as well as the great Hoda Kotb from the Today Show, travel writer Peter Greenberg (who should still be on the Today show but isn’t), filmmaker Ken Burns, casting director and producer Amanda Mackey, actor Giancarlo Esposito, Laurie Dhue, writer extraordinaire Joan Juliet Buck, Pace Gallery owners Arne and Millie Glimcher and Al Roker and Deborah Roberts. (It was all put together by Peggy Siegal by remote control; she’s somewhere on a yacht in the Aegean!)
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Image by PR Photos
By Roger Friedman
HollywoodNews.com: Steve Carell is so startlingly good in Jay Roach’s hilarious “Dinner for Schmucks” you can see why he’s ready to leave “The Office.”
“I do think it’s time,” Carell told me last night at the Schmucks party at the aka Boom Boom Room atop the Standard Hotel. The cool event followed a socko premiere screening at the Ziegfeld. He’s right, too: better to leave on top.
Carell also said he’s looking forward to seeing Amy Ryan when “The Office” resumes shooting next month for his seventh and last season. Ryan, who plays Holly, his sometime love interest, will (presumably) help usher Carell’s Michael Scott out the door.
After seeing “Shmucks,” you know it’s time for Carell to leave “The Office” to others. He’s a movie star.
In the film, he plays a kind of savant who makes dioramas using dead mice in costumes. This is considered so weird,and his character is so odd, that Paul Rudd wants to bring him to a dinner for idiots his boss (the as usual terrific Bruce Greenwood) organizes for the upper echelon of his company. Everyone has to bring a fascinating idiot whom the diners can mock.
If this sounds like an odd premise, it is: the first 20 minutes of the movie, including the setup, are funny but weird. And then Roach settles down to tell what is really a story with a lot of heart and soul. And laughs, Lots of laughs. When you realize Carell’s Barry is no idiot at all, the film kicks in. Carell’s performance is his most nuanced ever.
I told him Barry reminded me a little of Jerry Lewis from his early films.
“Jerry Lewis?” he countered. “I didn’t know I was channeling him!”
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HollywoodNews.com: Anthony Bregman of Likely Story and Peter Saraf and Marc Turtletaub of Big Beach announced that Paul Rudd has signed on to star in “My Idiot Brother,” a comedy about family and the sacrifices it takes to deal with them. Based on a screenplay by Evgenia Peretz and David Schisgall, “My Idiot Brother” will be directed by Jesse Peretz. Production is slated to begin in July in New York. Bregman, Saraf and Turtletaub will produce for their respective companies. Caroline Jaczko, Stefanie Azpiazu and Aleen Keshishian will executive produce. Rudd and Peretz have worked together previously on “The Château.” Rudd will next be seen starring in Jay Roach’s “Dinner for Schmucks” opposite Steve Carell and James Brooks’ “How Do You Know” opposite Reese Witherspoon. He will also be producing (alongside Judd Apatow, Wain, and Ken Marino) and starring in David Wain’s “Wanderlust” opposite Jennifer Aniston.
Ned (Rudd) is an idealist. His three sisters are ambitious. His mother is overbearing. Ned crashes at each of their homes, in succession, and brings truth, happiness and a sunny disposition into their lives. In other words, he wreaks havoc.
Producer Anthony Bregman stated, “We love this movie because it’s a universal theme. Everyone on earth who has a brother has an idiot brother. I come from a family of three brothers, so I know that better than anyone. And what could beat the prospect of working with Jesse and Paul –who are like brothers to each other– to bring that message out into the world.”
Producer Peter Saraf added, “Paul Rudd with this script and Jesse Peretz directing is a perfect combination of brilliant ingredients to make a flat out funny movie full of heart.”
Brillstein Entertainment Partners and UTA negotiated on behalf of Paul Rudd and Jesse Peretz. Rena Ronson at UTA is handling domestic and international sales for the film.
Likely Story is a New York-based production company founded by Anthony Bregman in October 2006. The company recently wrapped production on “The Oranges” starring Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Leighton Meester, Allison Janney, Oliver Platt, Alia Shawkat, Adam Brody and Sam Rosen; directed by Julian Farino and written by Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss. This year, the company premiered Nicole Holofcener’s “Please Give” and Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman’s “The Extra Man” at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. “Please Give” was released in April 2010 by Sony Pictures Classics and “The […]