April 18, 2014

Tag Archives: Human Interest

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Her”

“Her”
Directed by: Spike Jonze
Written by: Spike Jonze
Main cast members: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Amy Adams, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara, and Portia Doubleday
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 5
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Original Screenplay (Jonze), Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Original Screenplay at the Writers Guild of America Awards, Won Best Screenplay at the Golden Globe Awards, and Won Best Film/Best Director from the National Board of Review
Chances at winning Best Picture: It’d be an absolute shock if it managed to win Best Picture, so it’s slim to none here
Chances at other Academy Award wins: It’s the frontrunner for Best Original Screenplay, while it’s not impossible for any of its tech nominations to turn into upset wins.
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
Her is the six film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another nominee that has to consider the nomination itself to be the real reward, at least in this category. That being said, the nod (along with all of its noms overall) is really something to admire. Such a singular and unique movie being nominated for more than a token Oscar or two is a nice change of pace for the Academy. Especially considering that it scored not just a Best Picture citation but a Best Original Screenplay as well, there are voters here who are very fond of this film, and that pleases me to no end. Regardless of anything else, it’s nothing like any other nominee this year, or really in history I’d argue, so kudos to Spike Jonze and company for such fine work. He may not be a serious Best Picture contender, but Jonze is likely to win the Original Screenplay Oscar, so the flick isn’t too likely to go home empty handed regardless.
Working in Her’s favor is just how different and romantic it is. The film has connected with so many people, arguably in a way that no other nominee has been able to do. Members of the Academy were taken by this movie in more than one way, honoring not just the film itself and it’s writing, but the production design and musical components as well. Multiple tech nominations are a sure sign of widespread support. Without it, you have no chance at [...]

The many facets of Leo DiCaprio: The Wolf of Wall Street

By Michael Russnow
As Oscar voters continue to mark their ballots until this Wednesday, I wonder what goes into their thinking? Do they vote specifically for what they believe is the best achievement of last year, a surprising performance and accomplishment or is it a cumulative assessment of someone’s career?
For all these reasons, and not just one, I’m going against the grain of what appears to be the general consensus and strongly suggest that Leonardo DiCaprio deserves the Oscar this year for The Wolf of Wall Street, even more than favorite Matthew McConaughey.
This doesn’t in any way diminish McConaughey’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club. It was terrific, and the subject matter of the film made it that much more compelling. However, DiCaprio’s execution, in my view, was even more powerful, in particular as it was a totally different characterization and portrayal than we’ve ever seen from the actor before.
It’s hard to realize sometimes that Leo has been in filmdom’s consciousness for twenty-one years, since he was elevated from his sitcom supporting role in ABC’s Growing Pains to the wow factor engendered in his major debut role opposite Robert De Niro in This Boy’s Life. Later in 1993 that respect was magnified when he stole What’s Eating Gilbert Grape from Johnny Depp and was rewarded with his first Oscar nomination at the age of nineteen.
For the next several years, he continued to intrigue audiences with a different assortment of characters, sometimes in mixed films such as Basketball Diaries and Total Eclipse, in more respected fare such as Marvin’s Room and Romeo and Juliet, and finally emerging as a superstar in Titanic.
Since then he has won fans and critical plaudits for his work in Catch Me If You Can, a young Howard Hughes in The Aviator, as a South African in Blood Diamond and an undercover policeman in The Departed, sometimes Oscar nominated, more times not and sometimes robbed of a nod as in the case of J. Edgar and last year’s Django Unchained.
Through it all, he has mostly been acclaimed for quirky dramatic performances until finally his well-known personal impishness came forth comedically in The Wolf of Wall Street. In this film, which I mostly liked but not entirely, Leo displayed so many facets, delivering emotional high points while also sometimes hysterically funny, that I wonder if his excellence has become so expected we don’t realize how different the role is and [...]

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Gravity”

“Gravity”
Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Written by: Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón (reportedly with some uncredited collaboration by George Clooney as well)
Main cast members: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney, and Ed Harris (voice)
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 10
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Director (Cuarón), Best Actress (Bullock), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects
Notable precursor wins: Tied for Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America Awards, Won Best Director at the Directors Guild of America Awards, Won Best Director at the Golden Globe Awards, Won Best Director and Best British Film at the BAFTA Awards,
Chances at winning Best Picture: One of the top three contenders for the award and a definite co-frontrunner, if not THE frontrunner
Chances at other Academy Award wins: A sure fire win in Best Director, along with Best Cinematography and Best Visual Effects, though it could legitimately win every technical award that it’s nominated for
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
Gravity is the fifth film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s the other main contender in the category. In fact, it’s probably got the best chance of the bunch to win. Sure, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if 12 Years a Slave took home Best Picture, and I’d be one of the few not surprised by an American Hustle win, but still…Gravity is the most likely of that trio. It tied with Hustle for the most nominations overall, has picked up some strong precursor attention, and will likely dominate the tech categories at the Oscar ceremony. That gives it a leg up on the competition for sure. It’ll likely come down to if voters are opposed to citing a science fiction film as their Best Picture winner. If they don’t mind, then this movie is probably winning the Oscar.
Working in Gravity’s favor is just how significant its wins have been and how rare a split between Best Picture and Best Director is. Alfonso Cuarón has dominated the Best Director race, so his win is a slam dunk. With the flick tied for the most nominations overall and a prime competitor for the top prize, it’ll be all too easy for Academy members to not split their ballot. It may not have won the [...]

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “Dallas Buyers Club”

Dallas Buyers Club
Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée
Written by: Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack
Main cast members: Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn, Dallas Roberts, Griffin Dunne, Michael O’Neill
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 6
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Actor (McConaughey), Best Supporting Actor (Leto), Best Original Screenplay (Borten and Wallack), Best Film Editing, and Best Hairstyling & Makeup
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Actor/Supporting Actor at the Golden Globe Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
Chances at winning Best Picture: A rather long shot contender frankly, though not the absolute longest of shots in the lineup this year
Chances at other Academy Award wins: Frontrunner in Best Actor and Supporting Actor, while also perhaps the frontrunner in Best Hairstyling & Makeup
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
Dallas Buyers Club is the fourth film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another movie that’s not a major contender in this category. That being said, it could wind up being one of the biggest winners overall at the Oscars. Early on in the precursor season, this flick wasn’t thought of as a particularly big contender (outside of Jared Leto, who seemed like a lock for Supporting Actor from the start of the season), but it just kept showing up in all the right places, especially once Matthew McConaughey started to pick up the important Best Actor prizes. Now, it’s among the more highly represented titles of 2013, potentially on the verge of leaving the Academy Awards with the second most statues of any nominated film.
Working in Dallas Buyers Club’s favor is the fact that it’s highly unlikely that this movie goes home empty handed. Best Supporting Actor is almost wrapped up in a bow for Leto, while McConaughey is the odds on favorite to take Best Actor as well, and that doesn’t even take into consideration that Best Hairstyling & Makeup is a crapshoot, so there could be a trio of victories for this movie. Aside from Gravity, no other contender knows it’s going to potentially win that many. That’s an enviable spot to be in. The flick might not be nearly as likely a Best Picture winner as 12 Years a Slave or American Hustle, but it could score more wins overall.
If you’re looking for something that’s not [...]

Jennifer Lawrence to Present at the Oscars®

Oscar® winner Jennifer Lawrence will return to present at this year’s Oscars, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. The Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air on Sunday, March 2, live on ABC.
Lawrence took home the Oscar for her lead performance in “Silver Linings Playbook.” She is nominated this year for her supporting role in “American Hustle.” Previously Lawrence was nominated for her leading role in “Winter’s Bone.” Her other credits include “X-Men: First Class” and “The Hunger Games” series.
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.

Hollywood: Welcome to Hard Times

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
These are strange times in Hollywood. Turbulent times.Grieving times. Warring times. Bieber times. Noah times.
To be sure, Hollywood wouldn’t be Hollywood without being a little off its axis. But the events of recent weeks make Tinseltown seem almostas if the tectonic plates are shifting and we’re all about to be swallowed upin a giant, sucking sinkhole along with those vintage Corvettes.
There was Fast and Furious star Paul Walker dying senselessly in a horrible car crash.
There was the shocking news that the brilliant award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had died. In New York. In his Greenwich Village apartment. In the bathroom. A syringe in his arm. Five empty packets and dozens more full of heroin. The lights of Broadway were dimmed in his honor.
Then, like a Dementor swooping down on the Hogwarts Express,bespectacled Woody Allen found himself dueling with his adopted daughter Dylan Farrow, 28, who accused the celebrated actor/director of molesting her when she was only 7 years old. Allen flatly denied it but the accusations made everyone feel creepy and wondering who wastelling the truth? The feud even spilled over into the Oscars with Best Actressnominee Cate Blanchett, the star of Allen’s Blue Jasmine being singled out by Farrow for professionally associating with Allen. ‘What if it had been your child, Cate Blanchett?’she wrote, listing other celebrities who had also worked with Allen over the years.
It was left to Page Six to supply more details on the untimely death of Julia Roberts’ half-sister Nancy Motes, who is said to have tweeted ‘Just so you all know ‘America’s Sweetheart’ is a B***H’ in the weeks before Motes died of a drug overdose. In October last year Motes also spoke about a family rift, reportedly tweeting: ‘It’s a shame when you get more support from strangers than you do from your family. I can’t wait to officially belong to another family!’ It sounded all the more poignant when you read that Motes had once harbored her own Tinseltown dreams.
The grieving poured forth again this week with the deaths oftwo icons: Shirley Temple and Sid Caesar.
Shirley and Sid were, of course, now elderly so their deathswere not unexpected, but it tugged at the heartstrings because they stillentertain us whenever their films or TV shows are aired on television.
Shirley, arms pumping with that curly top and dimpled chin,couldn’t extend her appeal beyond youth, but in adulthood she managed to [...]

R.I.P. Shirley Temple (1928-2014)

The film world lost a certified legend lat last night as Shirley Temple (or Shirley Temple Black as she was known after she got married to Charles Black and retired from acting in her 20′s) passed away at the age of 85. She died of natural causes and obviously led a long life, much of it spent in front of the camera. Perhaps the most famous child star of all time, Temple Black was a giant in the industry for sure, and made her impact as a young girl, which makes that even more astounding.
One of the biggest box office draws of her time and easily the youngest A-lister ever, Temple Black was able to command a record salary of $50,000 a picture. That might not sound like a huge amount now, but this was the 1930′s, so that was a massive sum of money to earn. That alone puts her in the history books.
Temple Black won a special Oscar in 1935, but once she retired as an actress at the age of 22, she continued to do some noteworthy work, perhaps even affecting the world in a bigger way. She became a diplomat and served in the U.S. delegation to the United Nations from 1969 to 1974. She also was the U.S. ambassador to Ghana from 1974 to 1976, and the U.S. ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989 to 1992. She spent two decades in front of the camera and then nearly three decades serving her country.
In terms of her film work, Temple Black was best known for her performances in movies like Bright Eyes, Curly Top, Fort Apache, Heidi, Little Miss Marker, and The Littlest Rebel, among others. She was the child actor of her time, and probably the most well known child actor ever. Her name will undoubtedly live on in history until the end of time.
She will most certainly be missed by just about everyone. Rest in peace Shirley…
Photo by Shirley Temple Films

Celebs: How Close Is Too Close?

By ROBERT W. WELKOS
Actor Matt Damon enters the green room backstage at NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ and is immediately confronted by comedian and fellow Jay Leno guest Larry the Cable Guy wielding a camera phone.
‘Okay, everybody, I promised, this is my dressing room after the big ‘Tonight’ show, Larry the Cable Guy says, and we zip around and there is my new buddy ‘go Big Red!’ Matty Damon!
‘Go Big Red,’ a pleasant but subdued Damon replies into the camera.
‘My gosh, it’s me and Matt!’ exclaims the clearly awestruck Larry the Cable Guy.
And who’s watching this live video from the green room? Why,anybody anywhere around the world who follows Larry the Cable Guy on a free mobile app called Hang With, or as it’s officially known, Hang W/.
Larry the Cable Guy, the blue collar stage persona created by comedian Daniel Lawrence Whitney, clearly relishes bringing his mini-broadcast to his followers on their iPhone, iPad or Android device.
And he’s not alone.
Rapper 50 Cent and more than 100 other celebrities and athletes have broadcast live on Hang W/. They include singer Paula Abdul,football great Terrell Owens, comedians Cheech and Chong and Jamie Kennedy, and popular DJ’s Chuckie and Kaskade.
Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas used Hang W/ at this year’s Super Bowl to take his followers on a personal tour inside the Broncos’locker room. ‘It’s just a little quick behind the scenes view of the locker room,’ he tells his viewers. Then zooming in on the gear in his locker, heads, ‘It’s what it’s all about right there.’
Record producer and rapper Timbaland (Timothy Zachery Mosley) even did a broadcast while relaxing at home with his adorable little daughter, Reign, as they sang a short rap tune for the hit maker’s fans. Itends with Timbaland asking Reign, ‘That’s it’ That’s all we doing ‘ Say,Goodbye, people.’ And she says, ‘Goodbye. Love you all.’
So what, exactly, is Hang W/?
It’s an app that connects people through live streaming and simultaneous chat, allowing anyone with an iPhone, iPad or Android device tobroadcast live to thousands of viewers. And, it could revolutionize how celebrities connect with their fans, whether it’s live streaming themselves at parties,performances, the red carpet or just taking followers along with them on their daily routines.
But celebrities have to be mindful of what information they put out since anyone can [...]

Oscars: Get to know a Best Picture nominee: “American Hustle”

“American Hustle”
Directed by: David O. Russell
Written by: David O. Russell and Eric Warren Singer
Main cast members: Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, Louis C.K., Robert De Niro, Michael Pena, Jack Huston, Elisabeth Röhm, and Alessandro Nivola
Number of Oscar nominations in total: 10
Other nominations besides Best Picture: Best Director (Russell), Best Actor (Bale), Best Actress (Adams), Best Supporting Actor (Cooper), Best Supporting Actress (Lawrence), Best Original Screenplay (Russell and Singer), Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing
Notable precursor wins: Won Best Ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Best Comedy/Best Actress in a Comedy/Supporting Actress at the Golden Globe Awards, and Best Film/Supporting Actress/Best Screenplay at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Chances at winning Best Picture: One of the top three contenders for the award and a definite co-frontrunner
Chances at other Academy Award wins: Locked in close races for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, with Best Actress, Best Costume Design, and Best Film Editing still in play
ANALYSIS OF OTHER OSCAR NOMINEES: 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and HER.
American Hustle is the second film in my “get to know a Best Picture nominee” series, and it’s another one of the main contenders in the category. Though no film among the nominees has seen the sort of backlash that American Hustle has, the numbers simply don’t lie. It’s a blockbuster hit financially, has some major precursor wins under its belt, is one of the rare films to be able to score a nomination in each acting category, and tied for the most nominations overall this year. That didn’t happen out of thin air. This is a much loved movie, even if the supporters aren’t as vocal about it. A silent majority could still turn out to be a majority though, so this is a top tier Best Picture player for sure.
Working in American Hustle’s favor is just how much it was embraced by the Academy. Last year David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook got all four acting nominations as well (plus a Lawrence win in Best Actress), making him the first director ever to achieve this in consecutive years. It’s obvious that Oscar voters like what he’s doing, considering the ten nominations they gave him. It’d be one of the biggest losses in history if the film went home empty handed, so I just don’t [...]

W EXCLUSIVE: 18 of the Biggest Celebs on Social Get #INBEDWITHW

For W’s first ever Social Media issue, photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggot gathered 18 stars with the biggest followings to get #InBedWithW including Miley Cyrus, Cindy Crawford, Vanessa Hudgens, Naomi Campbell, Pharrell, Tyra Banks, Miranda Kerr, and more.
To see photos go to W EXCLUSIVE: 18 of the Biggest Celebs on Social Get #INBEDWITHW

Page 5 of 1,991« First...34567...102030...Last »