September 03, 2015

Tag Archives: Biographical films

Cate Blanchett in “Carol”: Our first big Oscar contender from Cannes 2015

Over the past week or so, the 2015 Cannes Film Festival has slowly unveiled some big time releases. Some, like Woody Allen’s Irrational Man and Gus Van Sant’s The Sea of Trees, have turned out to be longer shots for any Academy Award attention. On the other hand, Cannes has seen Todd Haynes’ Carol launch towards the top of quite a few Oscar contention lists. Yes, while the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Joaquin Phoenix, Parker Posey, and Emma Stone saw their chances fade, Cate Blanchett, Kyle Chandler, Rooney Mara, and Sarah Paulson certainly had their stock rise. Carol is the cream of the Cannes crop so far…
As a primer, the film is an adaptation of the Patricia Highsmith novel The Price of Salt (later retitled Carol). In it, Blanchett plays a married older woman who begins a flirtation and then an affair with a younger woman, played by Mara. Chandler plays Blanchett’s possessive husband, while the cast also includes the aforementioned Paulson in a vital role, alongside the likes of Carrie Brownstein, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, and more. Haynes directs, obviously, while the adaptation of Highsmith’s book has been penned by Phyllis Nagy. In some ways, this sounds like similar material to Far From Heaven, but if that is the case, that doesn’t mean that Oscar won’t be very interested, regardless.

I think that this one has some huge awards potential, both at Cannes and beyond as we move towards Oscar season. For starters, it’s certainly a contender now for the Palme d’Or prize as well as citations for Haynes and Blanchett at the fest. At the end of the year, when The Weinstein Company puts it out, it’ll likely be one of the bigger Academy Award players as well. This is one that you really can’t ignore, especially after the glowing reviews from the festival. Before that, it was still a strong possibility given its pedigree, but now…well, things are all that much better for Harvey Weinstein’s likely big shot at Oscar gold.
How good could this one do? Well, I don’t think Carol will wind up leading the field, but Best Picture, Best Director (for Haynes), Best Actress (for Blanchett and/or Mara), Best Supporting Actor (for Chandler), Best Supporting Actress (for Mara and/or Paulson), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score represent potential nominations. Yes, a double digit total is something that […]

When will Liam Neeson go back to consistently making awards contenders?

Like many of you, I was pretty surprised and more than a little bit delighted when Liam Neeson made the next act in his illustrious career an action packed one. No one expected Taken to be a hit, or as satisfyingly enjoyable as it was, but it signaled a new trajectory for Neeson. That’s been all well and good, but one thing that it’s cost us is his performances in Oscar fare. Since Taken, Neeson has more or less dropped off of the Academy’s radar, with only one upcoming project hopefully set to return him to prestige territory. I like when he kicks ass, like he does in Friday’s new release Run All Night, but I prefer it when he contends for awards.
Neeson is a very strong dramatic actor and certainly very solid as an action hero, but it’s the former where he’s really been able to shine. Think of the performances that you truly remember him for…they’re dramas, not action movies, right? Hell, I’d even argue that something like Love Actually makes better use of Neeson. Again, this isn’t to say that I don’t like when he saves the day, because I do, especially in the first Taken and the action/drama hybrid The Grey, but those other action flicks are a bit more touch and go, quality wise. His dramas (and occasional comedies) have been traditionally more reliable.
For example, these are the action movies he’s done since the first Taken came out, nearly a decade ago: Clash of the Titans, The A-Team, The Next Three Days, Unknown, The Grey, Wrath of the Titans, Battleship, Taken 2, Non-Stop, A Walk Among the Tombstones, Taken 3, and this weekend’s Run All Night. Unless you count his cameo in The Dark Knight Rises, The Grey is really the only one of undisputed quality in that lot. Even when it comes to comedies, at least he has The Lego Movie to fall back on, even if A Million Ways to Die in the West underwhelmed many.
If you look at his dramas though, Neeson has an Academy Award nomination and a trio of Golden Globe nominations to his credit, which should say something. Those nods came for Schindler’s List (also Oscar nominated), Kinsey, and Michael Collins. You could also claim that he’s been in play more than once for other films (Gangs of New York, as one example), but Schindler’s List especially shows just […]

Oscars: Amy Adams to be nominated by Academy Awards

We are keeping our fingers crossed. So, that our frontrunner, Amy Adams, can be nominated for “Best Supporting Actress,” for her great performance in “The Master.”
A three-time Academy Award-nominated actress, Amy Adams can currently be seen starring in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” opposite Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The critically acclaimed film broke art house box office records in its opening weekend. Adams can also presently be seen in Robert Lorenz’s “Trouble with the Curve” opposite Clint Eastwood. Later this year she will have a cameo in director Walter Salle’s adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s seminal beat generation novel, “On The Road,” and in 2013, Adams will be seen in Zack Snyder’s “Superman” reboot for Warner Bros., “Man of Steel” where she will play “Lois Lane,” as well as the “Untitled Spike Jonze Film.”
Adams previously starred in David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” opposite Mark
Wahlberg and Christian Bale. The role garnered Adams Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA nominations, as well as her third Academy Award nomination in five years. Her previous Academy Award nominated roles include John Patrick Shanley’s “Doubt,” opposite Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Phil Morrison’s “Junebug.” Adams is also noted for her performances in box office hits, including “Julie and Julia,” “Enchanted,” and “Sunshine Cleaning.” Behind the camera, Adams has teamed with Maven Pictures’ Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray to produce “Object of Beauty,” which she is also set to star in.

The 2012 Hollywood Film Awards has also announced that it will honor producers Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner with the “Hollywood Producers Award,” writer/director Judd Apatow with the “Hollywood Comedy Award,” actor John Hawkes with the “Hollywood Breakout Performance Award” for “The Sessions,” and Quvenzhané Wallis with the “New Hollywood Award” for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” Other honorees include cinematographer Wally Pfister and visual effects supervisors Jane Sirrs and Jeff White. In addition, director Peter Ramsey’s “Rise of the Guardians” will be honored with the “Hollywood Animation Award,” along with additional honorees to be announced in the coming weeks.
The Hollywood Film Awards Gala honors cherished stars, filmmakers and up-and-coming talent, and traditionally kicks off the film awards season with the biggest stars and top industry executives in attendance.
“We are very proud to be the first stop of the awards season. In the last nine years, a total of 85 Oscar® nominations and 32 Oscars® were given to the honorees of the Hollywood Film […]

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” unveils first official trailer – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Steven Spielberg and Joseph Gordon Levitt introduced the first full trailer for the director’s highly anticipated “Lincoln” during a unique Google+ event in New York City.
The full clip gives us an excellent view of Daniel Day-Lewis as our nation’s 16tht president, who is grappling with his administrators during the closing moments of the Civil War (and, as it turns out, his last few weeks on this Earth).
Sight unseen, it’s widely believed that Spielberg’s “Lincoln” will be an Oscar player. It certainly has the awards pedigree. Spielberg, an Oscar winner, has been recognized when he study’s humanity’s history in films such as “Munich,” “Saving Private Ryan” and “Schindler’s List.” And his cast is littered with Oscar winners (as the trailer) points out: Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones, Sally Field, etc.
The constant fade-in-fade-out of this new trailer gives me a headache. I’d prefer one long shot, instead of 100 snapshots. But from what we can see, “Lincoln” delivers stunning historical production values and an as-expected mesmerizing performance by Day-Lewis. His voice is so modestly pitched – as Lincoln’s was rumored to be – that you almost don’t recognize him. Is it too soon to call his Best Actor nomination a lock?
“Lincoln” opens in limited release on Nov. 9, before expanding on Nov. 16. Here’s the trailer. Share your thoughts below:

Read more of our exclusive Awards coverage:
Our “Silver Linings Playbook” review
Ben Affleck’s “Argo” scores
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat
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“Gangster Squad” starring Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, and Josh Brolin to be released January 2013

HollywoodNews.com: In the wake of the Aurora, Colorado tragedy, Warner Brothers has decided to move Ruben Fleischer’s Gangster Squad starring Ryan Gosling, Sean Penn, and Josh Brolin to January 2013.
The film, which tells the story of the LAPD trying to keep the East Coast mafia out of Los Angeles during the 40s and 50s, has been reported to have scenes of a shooting inside a movie theater. Some pundits have speculated if the move is truly based on the tragedy or was it a sign of the lack of faith in the project.
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Hollywood lost a significant voice – Nora Ephron

Hollywoodnews.com: Hollywood lost a significant voice. Screenwriter/director Nora Ephron, a three-time Oscar nominee, lost her battle with leukemia. She was 71.
A prolific writer, Ephron’s first credits stretched back to the 1973 television series “Adam’s Rib.” Ten years after, she struck it big on the silver screen when she collaborated with screenwriter Alice Arlen on Mike Nichols’ “Silkwood,” earning Ephron the first of three Oscar noms.

Though she continued to write, penning such scripts as “Heartburn,” “Julie & Julia” and “When Harry Met Sally.” Ephron transitioned to the director’s chair in 1992 with the Julie Kavner vehicle “This Is My Life.” She’d have arguably her biggest hit the following year with 1993’s “Sleepless in Seattle,” starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
“Nora was an era,” Ryan said of her director, in a statement. “We pictured ourselves inside her dreams and they became ours. All wisdom, wit and sparkle lights, what a treat she was, what a blessing. I marvel again and again, what a life… To have created simple happiness in people, to have added to the sum of delight in the world.”
Ephron is survived by her two sons, Jacob and Max Bernstein, and her third husband Nicholas Pileggio.
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Gary Oldman retrospective planned for ArcLight Hollywood – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Gary Oldman has been receiving some of the finest reviews of his career for playing retired spy George Smiley in Tomas Alfredsson’s “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” … and when you think about the performances Oldman has turned in over the years, that’s saying a mouthful.
So, it’s appropriate that the ArcLight Hollywood will honor Oldman’s legendary contributions to film history with a 6-movie retrospective early next year. Oldman even plans on being at the ArcLight on Wednesday, Jan. 11, following a showing of Focus Features’ “Tinker, Tailor” for a special Q-and-A hosted by Matt Holzman of KCRW’s “Matt’s Movies.”
More information, from a release:
Focus is co-hosting the free-admission 3-night series with radio station KCRW (www.kcrw.org), 89.9-FM in Los Angeles. Matt Holzman, host of KCRW’s Matt’s Movies screening series, will conduct the live Q&A with Mr. Oldman on the final night of the retrospective, following the 8:00 PM “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” screening on the 11th.
The free tickets will be available only via RSVP through www.OldmanRSVP.com. KCRW will also be offering its listeners a limited number of giveaway tickets to the screenings.
The other films being screened in the series are “Sid and Nancy” (1986), which starred Oldman as punk-rock legend Sid Vicious, on Monday, Jan. 9 at 6:30 PM; “JFK” (1991), in which Oldman played the infamous Lee Harvey Oswald, on Monday, Jan. 9 at 9:00 PM; “The Contender” (2000), with Oldman as U.S. Congressman Shelly Runyon, on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 6:00 PM; “Dracula” (1992), starring Oldman as the title character, on Tuesday, Jan. 10 at 9:00 PM; and “Prick Up Your Ears” (1987), with Oldman as celebrated playwright Joe Orton, on Wednesday, Jan. 11 at 5:30 PM.
The celebration also should shine additional light on Oldman’s Oscar campaign, particularly as “Tinker” steps up its numbers at the box office. The moody spy thriller – already an international hit – has opened in limited release here in the States and is performing admirably in select theaters.
Awards Alley brings you the best Oscar coverage. Click below to read our exclusive interviews with:
– Harvey Weinstein
– The cast of “The Artist.”
– Kenneth Branagh for “My Week With Marilyn.”
– Sir Ben Kingsley and Chloe Grace Moretz for “Hugo.”
– Tilda Swinton for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.”
– David Fincher, Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara on “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”
– Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer for “The Help.”
– Tate […]

Angelina Jolie’s ambitious In the Land of Blood and Honey is the very definition of a noble failure – AWARDS ALLEY

by Scott Mendelson
HollywoodNews.com: Angelina Jolie’s director debut is caught between two very specific goals. On one hand, it wants to be a thoughtful, adult romantic drama that happens to be set during a period of rather ghastly civil war. On the other, because there really hasn’t been a major motion picture set during the Bosnian war that raged primarily from 1992-1995, writer/director Jolie feels a need to craft a somewhat definitive account of the conflict. As a result, much of the picture feels like a glorified book report, with characters ham-fistedly explaining the nature of the conflict, the living conditions of the victims, and character arcs. The film constantly violates the ‘show-don’t-tell’ rule, with lead characters explicitly stating their emotions and their character arc. Like Atom Egoyan’s Ararat (which dealt with the 1915 Armenian genocide), the film spends much time feeling less like a movie and more like a verbal power-point presentation. The film earns kudos for revealing a bit of somewhat forgotten history, and it deserves plaudits for telling its story from the point of view of actual participants, rather than ‘an outsider looking in’. But no matter how noble its intentions, the film fails as a history lesson and a stand-alone drama.

The film, in brief, concerns a very tricky romantic relationship that develops between a conflicted Serbian soldier (Goran Kostic) and a young Bosnian woman (Zana Marjanovic) who ends up living in captivity under his watch during the civil strife. While somewhat manufactured controversy erupted last year over rumors that Jolie’s script involved a woman falling in love with her rapist, the actual movie is both more and less complicated. While Danijel is not a rapist, he and Ajla have not a prior romantic relationship but a mere flirtation before war sets in. As a result, the relationship truly does develop while Ajla is Danijel’s prisoner. Does Ajla truly fall for Danijel, or is she merely pretending to love him for his protection and/or grateful for his protection to the point of affection? The film never outright states Ajla’s feelings on the subject, which is actually impressive. So while the film may indeed draw controversy for its would-be romance, Jolie admirably doesn’t tell the audience how to feel about this most unusual love story. Their relationship is presented in a coldly objective fashion, and […]

Charlize Theron glares in latest “Young Adult” poster – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Any time you’re able to make Charlize Theron look marginally ugly, it’s newsworthy. In fact, the last time she attempted it, she won the Academy Award for the hideous transformation in the serial-killer drama “Monster.”
Theron’s character doesn’t murder anyone in “Young Adult” (at least, I don’t think so), but she gives a glare that positively kills on the film’s new poster, which Paramount just put out (via InContention). We have it below.
The studio has been making the rounds with the picture, which reunites director Jason Reitman with his “Juno” screenwriter, Oscar winner Diablo Cody. It stars Theron as a self-centered princess who heads back to her small home town to win back her ex, even though he’s married with a child.
The story swirling out of the “Young Adult” screenings is that co-star Patton Oswalt delivers a jaw-dropping performance that completely goes against type. I see the film this weekend in New York City, and will be bringing you interviews with the entire cast and crew.
In the meantime, here’s the poster. “Young Adult” will be in theaters on Dec. 9, expanding to more theaters on Dec. 16. Bring baggage.

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Hollywood Film Festival Honors “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Lubezki, Mirrione, and Murakami

HollywoodNews.com: 2011 Hollywood Film Festival Honors “Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Lubezki, Mirrione, and Murakami
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon,” Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Editor Stephen Mirrione, Production Designer James Murakami and Visual Effects Supervisor Scott Farrar will be honored at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony.
The 15th Annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards, presented by Starz, have announced that Academy Award nominated cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki will be honored with the “Hollywood Cinematographer Award,” Oscar-winning editor Stephen Mirrione will be presented with the “Hollywood Editor Award,” Academy Award-nominated production designer James Murakami will receive the “Hollywood Production Designer Award,” and Paramount Pictures’ “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar will receive the “Hollywood Visual Effects Award” at the festival’s Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony.
The gala ceremony will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills on October 24, 2011.
The announcement was made today by Carlos de Abreu, Founder and Executive Director of the Hollywood Film Festival. “It is a great pleasure to recognize the extraordinary talent of Emmanuel Lubezki, Stephen Mirrione, James Murakami and Scott Farrar,” said Mr. de Abreu, “and to honor their achievements and contributions to filmmaking.”
ABOUT EMMANUEL LUBEZKI
A four-time Academy Award-nominated cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, most recently was the cinematographer of Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life,” a film that has received great acclaim. It stars Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain in a riveting story about a Texas family in the 1950s finding themselves seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life. Emmanuel’s remarkable work has alternated between edgy and art-house fare (“Like Water for Chocolate,” “A Little Princess,” “Sleepy Hollow,” “The New World,” and “Children of Men” among others). Presently Emmanuel is filming Alfonso Cuarón’s “Gravity” starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.
ABOUT STEPHEN MIRRIONE a.c.e.
Academy Award winner, Stephen Mirrione, recently completed editing both George Clooney’s “The Ides of March” (2011) and Steven Soderbergh’s “Contagion” (2011). This marks Mirrione’s sixth collaboration with Soderbergh, having first worked with the director on “Traffic” (2000). That film won four Academy Awards including Best Film Editing for Mirrione. Other films with Soderbergh include “The Informant!” (2009), “Ocean’s Eleven” (2001) and its two sequels “Ocean’s Twelve” (2004) and “Ocean’s Thirteen” (2007).
Mirrione has edited all of the films directed by Clooney beginning with “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” (2002) and including the acclaimed political drama “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005), and the period football […]

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