April 17, 2014

Tag Archives: Entertainment/Culture

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 “… Do I think that they deserved to have their Oscar nomination rescinded by the Academy?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, [...]

“Enough Said” with Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette – VOD

Enough Said. Rating: 5 (out of 5). A divorced single parent, Eva, is dreading her daughter’s departure for college. She then meets Albert, a funny, sweet, like-minded man who is also facing an empty nest. As their romance blossoms, Eva meets a new friend in her new massage client, Marianne, who constantly rags on her ex-husband. Eva finds herself doubtful of her new relationship when she learns that Albert is Marianne’s former husband. “Enough Said,” starring James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, premieres on VOD on Tuesday, January 28. The New York Times calls it “one of the best-written American film comedies in recent memory.”
Starring: Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Toni Collette
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy
For more reviews go to www.hereistv.com

“Vanity Fair” 2014 Hollywood Issue. A year of spectacular film with a group of distinguished actors

For the 20th annual Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue, the magazine celebrates a year of spectacular film with a group of distinguished actors. The cover, a three-panel foldout by Vanity Fair contributing photographer Annie Leibovitz, who also shot the first ever Hollywood Issue cover, in 1995, features Oscar nominees Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), and Lupita Nyong?o (12 Years a Slave), as well as Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), George Clooney (Gravity), Michael B. Jordan (Fruitvale Station), Naomie Harris (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Brie Larson (Short Term 12), Chadwick Boseman (42), Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color).
Julia Roberts is an industry veteran who makes a splash with her Oscar-nominated performance in John Wells’s August: Osage County. Though Roberts has been on the cover of Vanity Fair five times, this is her first time on the Hollywood Issue cover.
British actor Chiwetel Ejiofor rivets audiences with his Oscar-nominated portrayal of Solomon Northup, in Steve McQueen?s 12 Years a Slave.
Jared Leto recently won a Golden Globe for his heartbreaking, Oscar-nominated performance as the transgender Rayon in Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club.
Recent Yale Drama School grad Lupita Nyong’o won universal acclaim this year with her Oscar-nominated performance as the beautiful, tortured Patsey in 12 Years a Slave.
British actor Idris Elba brings to life Africa’s greatest hero, in Justin Chadwick?s Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
The perennial matinee idol George Clooney provides a soothing calm to a perilous 3-D space walk in Alfonso Cuarón?s Oscar-nominated Gravity. He was also one of the producers of August: Osage County. This is his first time appearing on the Hollywood Issue cover.
Michael B. Jordan raised the profile of Oscar Grant III, the young man fatally shot by an Oakland transit-police officer, with his performance in Ryan Coogler?s sleeper hit, Fruitvale Station.
Recent Bond Girl Naomie Harris held her own as Winnie Mandela, starring opposite fellow Brit Elba in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Brie Larson breaks onto the scene with her lead role in Destin Daniel Cretton?s Short Term 12.
Chadwick Boseman moved up to the majors with his performance as baseball legend Jackie Robinson, in Brian Helgeland?s biopic 42.
Australian sensation Margot Robbie, the youngest actress to grace this year?s Hollywood cover, metamorphosed into the Duchess of Bay Ridge in Martin Scorsese?s Oscar-nominated The Wolf of Wall Street.
Léa Seydoux [...]

TV Show Recommendations for Sunday, February 2, 2014

A football game, a couple of Billy Wilder films and a comic top our list of TV show recommendations for tonight, Sunday, February 2, 2104.
12 Angry Men
Airs: February 02 at 3:15 PT/6:15 ET
TCM has 12 Angry Men, Sidney Lumet’s 1957 classic in which a single juror tries to convince the other 11 jurors to reconsider their guilty verdict in a murder trial, at 3:15 PT/6:15 ET. Starring Henry Fonda, Martin Balsam, Jack Klugman and Jack Warden.

Super Bowl XLVIII
Airs: February 02 at 3:30 PT/6:30 ET
The Denver Broncos battle the Seattle Seahawks in East Rutherford New Jersey in Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox at 3:30 PT/6:30 ET. Bruce Mars and the Red Hot Chili Pepper perform at halftime.
The Lost Weekend
Airs: February 02 at 5:00 PT/8:00 ET
Four time Oscar winner (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay), The Lost Weekend, Billy Wilder’s 1945 drama about an alcoholic writer, starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman, is on TCM at 5:00 PT/8:00 ET.
To read more go to TV Show Recommendations for Sunday, February 2, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

Very sad news has been confirmed today as the tremendously talented actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead at the much too young age of 46. No cause of death is currently known, but Hoffman has struggled with substance abuse in the past and an overdose is suspected here. Few in the business had a more diverse filmography than him, so as tragic a loss as it always is whenever an entertainer is taken from us, this one just seems all the more depressing and hard to process due what he still had left to share with the world.
A Best Actor Oscar winner for his lead performance in the biopic Capote, Hoffman was also nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his scene stealing turns in Charlie Wilson’s War, Doubt, and last year for The Master as well. Along with multiple BAFTA, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit, and Screen Actors Guild citations, he was easily ranked among the greatest and most deservingly honored of his time. His Academy Award winning performance is often spoken of as one of the better choices that Oscar voters ever made.
Hoffman got his start in 1991 on an episode of Law & Order, and from there, it was onward and upward. He even made his directorial debut in 2010 with the underrated Jack Goes Boating. There’s really no shortage of top notch works of his to marvel at, including 25th Hour, Almost Famous, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, Boogie Nights, The Ides of March, Magnolia, Moneyball, Owning Mahowny, Pirate Radio, The Savages, and we still have a few performances left in the next year or so.
This is certainly a massive loss for the industry, so be sure to value the work he still has to share with us in 2014 and beyond, namely completed roles in A Most Wanted Man, God’s Pocket, and the conclusion of The Hunger Games franchise with Mockingjay. These will no doubt be bittersweet experiences, much like watching Enough Said in 2013 was after James Gondolfini passed away. They’ll once more highlight his talents, but they’ll also be a sad reminder of what we won’t get nearly enough of in the future.
He will be missed in a big way, that’s for sure. Take some time and consider his body of work today, whether you were a fan or not, really noticing the range that he was capable of. The industry is poorer [...]

Alfonso Cuarón Wins DGA Feature Film Award for Gravity

The winners of the Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directorial Achievement Awards for 2013 were announced tonight during the 66th Annual DGA Awards Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles. Alfonso Cuarón won the DGA?s Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for Gravity.
Actor Jane Lynch hosted the ceremony before an audience of more than 1,600 guests. Presenters included (in alphabetical order): Ben Affleck, Debbie Allen, DGA Secretary-Treasurer Michael Apted, DGA President Paris Barclay, Sandra Bullock, Nick Cannon, Don Cheadle, Steve Coogan, Bradley Cooper, DGA Fifth Vice President Jon Favreau, DGA Past President Taylor Hackford, Tom Hanks, Keith Jackson, Anna Kendrick, Allison Liddi-Brown, Sarah Paulson, Rob Reiner, and Kerry Washington.
The 67th Annual DGA Awards will take place on Saturday, February 7, 2015.
The winners of the 2013 DGA Awards for Outstanding Directorial Achievement are:
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN FEATURE FILM

ALFONSO CUARÓN
Gravity
(Warner Bros. Pictures)
Mr. Cuarón’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: David Siegel (Arizona Unit)
· First Assistant Directors: Josh Robertson, Stephen Hagen (Arizona Unit)
· Second Assistant Director: Ben Howard
This is Mr. Cuarón’s first DGA Award.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN MOVIES FOR TELEVISION AND MINI-SERIES
STEVEN SODERBERGH
Behind the Candelabra
(HBO)
Mr. Soderbergh’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: Michael Polaire
· First Assistant Director: Gregory Jacobs
· Second Assistant Director: Jody Spilkoman
· Second Second Assistant Director: Lynn Struiksma
This is Mr. Soderbergh’s first DGA Award and third nomination. He was previously nominated in 2000 for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for both Erin Brockovich and Traffic. He is also the recipient of this year?s Robert B. Aldrich Service Award for extraordinary service to the DGA and its membership.
OUTSTANDING DIRECTORIAL ACHIEVEMENT IN DRAMATIC SERIES
VINCE GILLIGAN
Breaking Bad, ‘Felina’
(AMC)
Mr. Gilligan’s Directorial Team:
· Unit Production Manager: Stewart A. Lyons
· Assistant Unit Production Manager: James Paul Hapsas
· First Assistant Director: Nina Jack
· Second Assistant Directors: Anna Ramey, Louis Lanni
· Second Second Assistant Director: Joann Connolly
· [...]

Screen Actors Guild Awards 2014 Winners Are…

SAG-AFTRA presented its coveted Actor® statuette for the outstanding motion picture and primetime television performances of 2013 at the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® in ceremonies attended by film and television?s leading actors, held Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center. The 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® was simulcast live coast-to-coast by TNT and TBS at 8 p.m. (ET) / 5 p.m. (PT). A live stream of the SAG Awards® was also available for viewing online at sagawards.tntdrama.com and tbs.com, as well as through the Watch TBS and Watch TNT apps for iOS or Android. An encore presentation was telecast on TNT at 10 p.m. (ET)/7 p.m. (PT).
More than 100,000 active members of SAG-AFTRA nationwide were eligible to vote for the recipients. Honored with individual awards were Cate Blanchett, Jared Leto, Matthew McConaughey and Lupita Nyong?o for performances in motion pictures and Ty Burrell, Bryan Cranston, Michael Douglas, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith for performances in television. The Screen Actors Guild Awards originated awards for the outstanding performances by a motion picture cast and by television drama and comedy ensembles. The Actor® for a motion picture cast performance went this year to ‘American Hustle,’ while the Actors® for television drama and comedy ensemble performances went this year to ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Modern Family.’
The honors for outstanding action performances by a stunt ensemble in film and television were awarded to ‘Lone Survivor’ and ‘Game of Thrones.’ The stunt ensemble honors were announced during the SAG Awards Red Carpet Pre-show which was webcast live on sagawards.tntdrama.com, tbs.com and PEOPLE.com
Morgan Freeman presented Rita Moreno with the union’s highest honor, the 50th Annual Life Achievement Award, following a filmed salute. Tom Hanks introduced a filmed ‘In Memoriam’ tribute to the members lost in the past year.
PEOPLE magazine and the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) hosted the Screen Actors Guild Post-Awards Gala for the 18th year. This exclusive event, immediately following the SAG Awards on the back lot of the Shrine Exposition Center, honors the philanthropic causes and good works of the members of SAG-AFTRA. The gala benefits the SAG Foundation.
The complete list of recipients of the 20th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® follows:
20th ANNUAL SCREEN ACTORS GUILD AWARDS® RECIPIENTS
THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY / Ron Woodroof ? ?DALLAS BUYERS CLUB? (Focus Features)
Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading [...]

Congratulations to all Oscar® Nominees

Congratulations to all Oscar® nominees, as well as the Hollywood Film Awards® honorees: Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyer Club),Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyer Club), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Year A Slave), Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater (Before Midnight), Michael De Luca (Captain Philipps), Steve McQueen (12 Year A Slave) Michael Wilkinson and Judy Becker (American Hustle), for their well deserved nominations today. Bravo!
Check below complete list of the 2014 Oscar® nominees:
Performance by an actor in a leading role

Christian Bale in “American Hustle”
Bruce Dern in “Nebraska”
Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Chiwetel Ejiofor in “12 Years a Slave”
Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club”

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Barkhad Abdi in “Captain Phillips”
Bradley Cooper in “American Hustle”
Michael Fassbender in “12 Years a Slave”
Jonah Hill in “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Jared Leto in “Dallas Buyers Club”
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Amy Adams in “American Hustle”
Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine”
Sandra Bullock in “Gravity”
Judi Dench in “Philomena”
Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Sally Hawkins in “Blue Jasmine”
Jennifer Lawrence in “American Hustle”
Lupita Nyong’o in “12 Years a Slave”
Julia Roberts in “August: Osage County”
June Squibb in “Nebraska”
Best animated feature film of the year
“The Croods” Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
“Despicable Me 2” Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
“Ernest & Celestine” Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
“Frozen” Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho
“The Wind Rises” Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki
Achievement in cinematography
“The Grandmaster” Philippe Le Sourd
“Gravity” Emmanuel Lubezki
“Inside Llewyn Davis” Bruno Delbonnel
“Nebraska” Phedon Papamichael
“Prisoners” Roger A. Deakins
Achievement in costume design
“American Hustle” Michael Wilkinson
“The Grandmaster” William Chang Suk Ping
“The Great Gatsby” Catherine Martin
“The Invisible Woman” Michael O’Connor
“12 Years a Slave” Patricia Norris
Achievement in directing
“American Hustle” David O. Russell
“Gravity” Alfonso Cuarón
“Nebraska” Alexander Payne
“12 Years a Slave” Steve McQueen
“The Wolf of Wall Street” Martin Scorsese
Best documentary feature
“The Act of Killing”Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
“Cutie and the Boxer” Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
“Dirty Wars” Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
“The Square” Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
“20 Feet from Stardom” Nominees to be determined
Best documentary short subject
“CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
“Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
“Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens
Achievement in film editing
“American Hustle” Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten
“Captain Phillips” Christopher Rouse
“Dallas Buyers Club” John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
“Gravity” [...]

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