April 23, 2014

Tag Archives: Entertainment/Culture

Johnny Depp will play Whitey Bulger in Black Mass

An adaptation of the Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob has been in the works for some time now, always intending to have Johnny Depp play the centerpiece role of mob boss Whitey Bulger (the character that Jack Nicholson played in The Departed was loosely based on Bulger, just so you know). Barry Levinson was initially going to be in the director’s chair, with Depp having Joel Edgerton as his main co-star. That never came to pass though, with some reports indicating that Depp wanted more money than was being offered. He officially dropped out at one point, but now that the film has a new director in Scott Cooper, it seems that Depp is back in for this. At this moment at least, Black Mass is a go.

This time around, Depp will have the aforementioned Cooper directing and Edgerton’s Warrior co-star Tom Hardy in the other role. While Depp will undoubtedly have some fun playing the mob boss (or at least more fun than he had with the role of John Dillinger in Public Enemies), Hardy will get the juicy sounding part of FBI John Connolly, who apparently was a longtime friend of Bulger’s. Not your standard issue crime flick, for sure, or at least from the sound of it.
Could this wind up being a return to Oscar contention for Depp? One certainly hopes so, as he’s too talented of an actor to pigeonhole himself into the oddball roles he’s been occupying over the last few years. As for Hardy, he’s been getting closer and closer to his first Academy Award nomination, so perhaps this could do the trick for him as well. We’re only a few months away from production getting underway in May, so most likely this will be a 2015 release. I don’t know about you all, but I’m very curious to see how this one turns out. The pieces are there for an awards contender, that’s for sure!

Paul Bettany will play The Vision in The Avengers: Age of Ultron

One of the biggest box office hits of all time, The Avengers exceeded almost all expectations, so all eyes are on filmmaker Joss Whedon for the upcoming sequel The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Any bit of news that comes out about the film is treated as a major deal, much like any information that leaked about Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise a few years back. Well, today there’s an interesting bit of casting news/character reveal that’s hit the net, and it happens to surround someone who’s a veteran of Marvel’s universe at this point. Yes, not only is Paul Bettany still the voice of Tony Stark’s computer butler JARVIS, but now he’s going to be playing The Vision as well.
Bettany has yet to be seen in person in a Marvel flick to date, but this news suggests that he won’t be just a disembodied voice helping out Iron Man this time around. This is a good upgrade for the actor, who’s immensely talented but doesn’t always seem to get the right roles. This at the very least suggests a continued presence in the Marvel universe, so expect to see Bettany for the foreseeable future of this franchise.
I’m no expert on The Vision, but apparently he’s a character that’s created by the villain Ultron, though eventually The Vision goes from being an opponent of The Avengers to fighting alongside them at some point. I do know that this is a character that fans have been looking to see join the team, even at one juncture hoping that Clark Gregg’s deceased (or I guess not deceased, if that Marvel television show Agents of Shield is to be believed) would be resurrected as The Vision. Well, that’s not happening, but the character is joining the film in some capacity for sure.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron comes out on on May 1st of 2015, so we’ve got over a year to continue speculating on what this movie will wind up being like, but it certainly seems like Whedon and company are not just resting on their laurels. Stay tuned for more on this one, as it’s poised to potentially become the highest grossing film of all time if things break right for it.

Oscar® Nominees to be Honored at Academy Luncheon

More than 150 Oscar® nominees will come together at noon on Monday, February 10, at the Beverly Hilton when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors this year’s Oscar contenders at its annual Nominees Luncheon.
Among the Lead Actor and Actress nominees, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey and Meryl Streep are expected to attend the pre-Oscars® event. Supporting Actor and Actress nominees Barkhad Abdi, Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Julia Roberts and June Squibb also will join in the celebratory lunch.
All five nominees in the Directing category, Alfonso Cuarón, Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, David O. Russell and Martin Scorsese, are expected to attend as well.
Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, March 2, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® and televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars, produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.
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ABOUT THE ACADEMY
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the world’s preeminent movie-related organization, with a membership of more than 6,000 of the most accomplished men and women working in cinema. In addition to the annual Academy Awards–in which the members vote to select the nominees and winners–Academy presents a diverse year-round slate of public programs, exhibitions and events; provides financial support to a wide range of other movie-related organizations and endeavors; acts as a neutral advocate in the advancement of motion picture technology; and, through its Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Film Archive, collects, preserves, restores and provides access to movies and items related to their history. Through these and other activities the Academy serves students, historians, the entertainment industry and people everywhere who love movies.
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www.oscars.org
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www.youtube.com/Oscars
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Channing Tatum Announced the “Team Oscar” winners on The Ellen DeGeneres Show today

A nice little announcement was made earlier today by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (or AMPAS), as they named the winners of the “Team Oscar” contest. This was done on The Ellen DeGeneres Show by actor Channing Tatum, Oscar ceremony producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, along with DeGeneres herself, who will be hosting the show next month.
The “Team Oscar” contest was basically a college search that looked for film fans who could be potential Academy Award winners in the future, with contestants having to make an entry video that could catch the eye of those making the selections. The six students chosen will get to give the Oscar statues to the celebrities who will be presenting those awards during the telecast. That’s pretty cool, if you ask me.
I’m sure these half dozen college students will be buoyed by this pat on the back from AMPAS and use it as fuel/motivation to get their careers going when they graduate. Who knows, maybe we’ll see them accepting an Oscar in the next few decades? Anything is possible…
 

Here’s the press release from The Academy:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Channing Tatum, The Academy, and Oscars Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron today announced the winners of the “Team Oscar” college search on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” along with this year’s Oscars host, Ellen DeGeneres. The winners will deliver Oscar statuettes to celebrity presenters at the Oscars on Sunday, March 2, 2014, live on ABC.
“We created this contest last year to give students who are passionate about film, the opportunity to set their sights on the future,” said Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. “We received so many inspiring submissions this year that it made for a difficult choice, but the talent and stories of these six winners really represent what Team Oscar is all about and convinced us that they are a perfect fit for the Oscar stage.”
The “Team Oscar” winners are:
Zaineb Abdul-Nabi – University of Michigan (MI) – Hometown: Bronx, NY
Tayo Amos – Stanford University (CA) – Hometown: Mountain View, CA
Nathan Flanagan-Frankl – Chapman University (CA) – Hometown: Northbrook, IL
Jeanpaul Isaacs – Rutgers University (NJ) – Hometown: South Brunswick, NJ
Bryson Kemp – Muhlenberg College (PA) – Hometown: North East, MD
Mackenna Millet – Pepperdine University (CA) – Hometown: Laguna Niguel, CA
The winner’s videos can be viewed here.
“I was blown away by the quality of the videos the students created, and more importantly, [...]

Next year’s Golden Globe Awards will air on January 11th, 2015

We’re not even finished with this year’s awards season yet (still just about a month to go until the Oscar winners are revealed), but scheduling is already underway for next year’s big events. Today, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made the announcement that their 72nd annual Golden Globe awards will be held on January 11th of 2015. For comparison, that’s one day earlier than when the 71st Golden Globes were held, so the HFPA is basically keeping the exact same Sunday on the calendar for their big night.
For those who don’t already know, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are once again returning to host, as they’ve proven to be immensely popular choices. There’s no way of knowing what films and performances will be in contention for awards, but over the next 11 months or so, we’ll try and figure that out. In the meantime, we at least now know when one of the big awards shows will be, so there’s that. As always, it’ll be one to certainly look forward to.
Here’s the press release announcing the date:
HOLLYWOOD, CA, February 5, 2014 – The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and dick clark productions (dcp) will present the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, January 11, 2015. Hosted by Golden Globe Award winners Tina Fey and Amy Poehler for the third year in a row, the ceremony will air on NBC live coast-to-coast from 5-8 p.m. (PT) and 8-11 p.m. (ET) from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA.
“Not only do we have the privilege of announcing the date of the 72ndAnnual Golden Globe Awards, we are very appreciative of Tina and Amy for hosting the ceremony for a third year in a row,” said Theo Kingma, president of the HFPA. “There is no doubt they will once again host a memorable Golden Globe Awards celebration!”
“We are delighted to have Tina and Amy back. They create an environment where anything can happen in a room full of the world’s biggest stars,” said Allen Shapiro, Executive Producer of the Golden Globe Awards and CEO of dick clark productions.
“Tina and Amy certainly helped us garner the highest rated audience in over a decade and we are excited to have them back next year,” said Paul Telegdy, President, Alternative and Late Night Programming, NBC Entertainment.
Produced by dick clark productions in association with the HFPA, the Golden Globe Awards are viewed in more than 160 [...]

Seth Gordon will direct Uncharted

An adaptation of the adventure video game Uncharted has been in the works for a while now. For the longest time, it seemed like David O. Russell was going to be the man to bring Nathan Drake’s story to the screen, but that was before Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle made him an Oscar darling. Russell’s involvement then gave way to Neil Burger being tapped to direct, but apparently his stay with the presumed franchise was brief. Now, it’s Seth Gordon’s turn.
Yes, the director of The King of Kong and Horrible Bosses will be directing this video game adaptation now. There’s a script from David Guggenheim, so Gordon will be upping his game and directing an action movie after mostly staying in the comedy realm to date. It’ll be a challenge for him, but this game has its light hearted moments (think an Indiana Jones knock-off of sorts and you’ll be in the ballpark of what the Uncharted games are like), so he won’t be a million miles away from what he’s used to.
It’ll be a while before we get any casting announcements most likely, but a strong choice for the lead role will go a long way towards getting folks excited for this one. Fans of the game had a mixed reaction to Russell’s initial plan to introduce original characters (such as the protagonist’s father), so it’s likely that Gordon and Guggenheim will be keeping this one closer to the stories of the games. That could go either way, but the ingredients are there for a successful summer blockbuster.

I’ve actually played a few of the games in this series, and they have a bit of a cinematic quality to them, so there’s potential here. A movie version is obviously less interactive, but the idea of big set pieces and a wise cracking hero certainly translates. There’s no reason to expect an Oscar player out of this one, but it’s a potentially very entertaining flick in the making.
This one still has a long way to go before it even begins filming, and if its history is any indication, don’t become married to the idea of Gordon directing the film. Still, he’s here for now. This is a production to definitely keep an eye on…

Maureen OHara, Richard Dreyfuss, Mel Brooks and Margaret O’Brien Join Lineup for 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has added an exciting roster of screen legends and beloved titles to the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival, including appearances by Maureen O’Hara, Mel Brooks and Margaret O’Brien, plus a two-film tribute to Academy Award®-winner Richard Dreyfuss.
Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has added an exciting roster of screen legends and beloved titles to the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival, including appearances by Maureen O’Hara, Mel Brooks and Margaret O’Brien, plus a two-film tribute to Academy Award®-winner Richard Dreyfuss. Marking its fifth year, the TCM Classic Film Festival will take place April 10-13, 2014, in Hollywood. The gathering will coincide with TCM’s 20th anniversary as a leading authority in classic film.
O’Hara will present the world premiere restoration of John Ford’s Oscar®-winning Best Picture How Green Was My Valley (1941), while Brooks will appear at a screening of his western comedy Blazing Saddles (1974).O’Brien will be on-hand for Vincente Minnelli’s perennial musical favorite Meet Me in St. Louis (1944), starring Judy Garland. The tribute to Dreyfuss will consist of a double feature of two of his most popular roles: his Oscar®-winning performance in Neil Simon’s romantic comedy The Goodbye Girl (1977) and his Academy Award-nominated role in the music-themed drama Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995).
In addition, the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival will feature a 50th anniversary presentation of Walt Disney’s classic Mary Poppins (1964), plus world premiere restorations of The Beatles’ hit A Hard Day’s Night (1964), the Frank Capra comedy-drama Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), with Gary Cooper and Jean Arthur; the classic musical Stormy Weather (1943), starring Lena Horne and Godzilla: The Japanese Original (1954). The festival will also host recent restorations of Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights (1931) and Alfred Hitchcock’s The Lodger (1927), which will feature the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra performing their original score for the film.
Among the many previously announced events slated for the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival, TCM will honor legendary actor, filmmaker and humanitarian Jerry Lewis with a multi-tiered celebration of his remarkable career. Lewis will have his hand and footprints enshrined in concrete in front of the world-famous TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX. In addition, Lewis will be on-hand for a screening of one of his most memorable [...]

Update: Oscar Song Flap – The Spotlight

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
It was only last July that Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a long-time, behind-the-scenes Hollywood publicist and marketing executive, was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The first African American and third woman to lead the prominent movie industry organization that each year hands out the Oscars, Isaacs’ election provided proof, if any was still required, that the traditionally white and male AMPAS membership was becoming more diversified. An academy veteran, she had served in various posts inside the organization’s hierarchy and produced last year’s Governors Awards.
But now Isaacs tenure as president is being buffeted by controversy over a decision by the academy’s board of governors to disqualify the song Alone Yet Not Alone from a small, faith-based movie of the same name that few have seen. How deftly she navigates the controversy could prevent the dispute from tarnishing the Oscars.
The song is from a film that had a limited release last fall to qualify for Oscar consideration and will be released more widely June 13. The song was recorded by Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic with limited lung capacity, and was one of five songs nominated by the academy on Jan. 16.
The academy’s rare step of rescinding a nomination came after the board of governors determined that composer Bruce Broughton, a long-time academy member himself and former board governor, violated academy rules by sending emails to approximately 70 of his fellow music branch members suggesting they listen to the song, which he wrote with lyricist Dennis Spiegel.
“No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage,” the academy said in a written statement announcing its ruling. The action was designed “to protect the reputation and integrity of the awards process.”
But some have questioned the harshness of the ruling.
For example, Scott Feinberg, the Hollywood Reporter’s awards analyst, wondered if the punishment fit the crime. “… Do I think that they deserved to have their Oscar nomination rescinded by the Academy? “ he wrote. “On the basis of the evidence that the Academy has supplied and in the context of how most contenders campaign for Oscars these days: No, I do not.”
One long-time Academy member, who asked not to be named, said the board’s action seemed “a [...]

Kristin Scott Thomas to quit acting

Some potentially unfortunate news is floating around the web today. Apparently, beloved actress Kristin Scott Thomas has grown fed up with the business and is quitting acting after nearly three decades in front of the camera. In an interview with the U.K. publication The Guardian, Scott Thomas talks about being bored with acting and says that she just can’t do it anymore. One obviously hopes that she reconsiders, but after a career that’s spanned over 60 films, she’s certainly entitled to feel burnt out.
In all likelihood, this will just be temporary, since in the last few years we’ve seen a lot of actors, actresses, and filmmakers say that they were retiring, only to just take a small break to try other things. One notable example of that is Kevin Smith, who notoriously announced his directing career was coming to a close, but in the past couple of months has backtracked and now has a number of new projects in various stages of development. Fingers will obviously be crossed that this is the same sort of case for Scott Thomas, though she seems pretty sincere.
If her claims of retirement hold true, she’ll have a ton of tremendous performances under her belt for cinema fans to appreciate for years to come. Last year even she gave a fantastically underrated performance in Nicolas Winding Refn’s divisive Only God Forgives. This week alone she has a supporting turn in the Oscar nominated (for Best Costume Design) period piece The Invisible Woman that one can appreciate.
Personally, I’m not one to presume that I can tell someone else what to do, so if Scott Thomas wants to quit acting, she should be supported in that endeavor. However, I hope that she does at least leave the door open a little bit ajar for a return. She talks about how the parts she’s getting are being offered to her mainly because she can help the production along, so maybe all it takes is an A-list director to call her up again? One hopes so, since it’d be a shame to lose a talent like this. Stay tuned to see how this one plays out…

12 Years a Slave wins three London Critics Circle Film Awards

Across the pond another in the sometimes seemingly endless stream of precursor awards was given out, and this one was the London Critics Circle Film Awards. Last night, 12 Years a Slave took home three big prizes, including the Film of the Year award. The other wins were for Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o in their respective acting categories (Best Actor and Supporting Actress). The movie was also nominated for Best Director (Steve McQueen), Screenwriter (John Ridley), Supporting Actor (Michael Fassbender), and Technical Achievement.
While McQueen lost to Alfonso Cuaron (for Gravity), Ridley lost to the Coen Brothers (for Inside Llewyn Davis), Fassbender lost to Barkhad Abdi (for Captain Phillips), and Bobbit’s cinematography lost to the special effects of Gravity, it was still a big night for 12 Years a Slave, as it took home more awards than any other film. Especially with the upcoming BAFTA awards the final prize before the Oscars, seeing that the British critics supported this film over Gravity definitely says something.
As for the Academy Awards, it’s still a three way race in Best Picture between 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, and Gravity, with those same three fighting it out for Director as well. The tide was previously thought to have turned in Gravity’s favor, but this could be a sign of 12 Years a Slave making a late push before the Oscar ceremony in March. Time will tell, but it’s an incredibly close and exciting race, that’s for sure!
Here are all of the winners from the London Critics Circle Film Awards:
Film of the Year
12 Years a Slave – Winner
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Blue Jasmine
Frances Ha
Gravity
The Great Beauty
Her
Inside Llewyn Davis
Nebraska
The Wolf Of Wall Street
Foreign-Language Film of the Year
Blue Is the Warmest Color – Winner
Caesar Must Die
Gloria
The Great Beauty
A Hijacking
British Film of the Year
A Field In England
Filth
Philomena
Rush
The Selfish Giant – Winner
Documentary of the Year
The Act of Killing – Winner
Beware Of Mr Baker
Leviathan
Stories We Tell
We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks
Director
Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity – Winner
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Martin Scorsese, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Paolo Sorrentino, The Great Beauty
Screenwriter
Ethan Coen & Joel Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis – Winner
Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope, Philomena
Spike Jonze, Her
John Ridley, 12 Years A Slave
Terence Winter, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Actor
Bruce Dern, Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf Of Wall Street
Michael Douglas, Behind The Candelabra
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave – Winner
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Actress
Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine – Winner
Sandra Bullock, [...]

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