April 17, 2014

Tag Archives: The Wizard of Oz

Oscars®: The Top 25 (Best Original Song)

Continuing on with this weekly series I’m doing here at the site, we’re talking the top 25 Oscar winners in just about every single one of the Academy Award categories out there for us to discuss. Aside from the short categories and likely something harder to rank like Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing as I’ve mentioned, I’ll be hitting them all over the coming weeks, including of course the big eight categories, two of which have already received this treatment. I’m also potentially going to do one that doesn’t exist (a fictitious Best Ensemble category), but that’s just an idea I currently am toying with. We’ll see about that one, but for now, we’ll stick to reality.
Today I’ll be knocking off another one of the technical categories, with this one being the formerly popular and now kind of bemoaned Best Original Song field. Depending on the category in question, I may wind up discussing the individual winners I’m citing specifically or just giving a broad overview of the winners. Like I said over the past few weeks though, in all honesty, you mostly just want to see the list anyway, so I have no problem obliging you there in that regard. All you have to do is just be patient over the next couple of paragraphs…
This time around, I’m just going with the overview route, since hearing the individual songs for this category is more effective than anything else. Also it really just depends on what sort of music you prefer on a personal level. We’ve got songs here that sound like show tunes, power ballads, rock anthems, and basically everything in between. Some folks might be partial to the older winners, while some really prefer the newest winners. Me? Well, I’m caught somewhere in between, but I definitely appreciate the various Disney songs, as you’ll see on the list. They more or less dominate the top 25.
I’ll just discuss my top ten a bit now before getting to the list. To me, the best winner of this category so far to date is Once, which had the memorable song Falling Slowly. It was just beautiful for me. Some other winners in my top echelon include Disney tunes from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Frozen, and The Lion King, as well as tracks from Crazy Heart, Philadelphia, Shaft, Skyfall, and The Wizard of Oz. They’re what constitutes my [...]

James Franco’s OZ will bring $70 million plus

Critics are divided about Sam Raimi’s “Oz, the Great and Powerful.” But audiences love it. Last night, “Oz” took in more than $24.1 million. For the weekend, it will bring in $70 million plus. That includes rotten weather on the east coast last night, so today and tonight may be bigger than thought. “Oz” is coming to a third biggest ever March opening.
Bravo! The movie looks great, and the actors are all terrific starting with James Franco and the three witches–Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, and Mila Kunis. Moreover, Disney has ordered up the sequel. I don’t know what some people thought the movie would be–the actual “Wizard of Oz” cannot be duplicated and no one tried to do it. The movie was made in 1938, kids. That this “Oz” approximated its charm in a modern way is the accomplishment.
For those who want to see Franco in a less conventional role, wait til you see him in “Spring Breakers.” Harmony Korine’s wild saga is a week away. Franco is a rapper-drug dealer into three-ways. He steals the movie from all the so- called “kids.” A couple of white rappers are already say they inspired his look. But the character is all original, and very adult. In “Spring Breakers,” we are not in Kansas anymore.
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James Franco updates progress of “Oz, the Great and Powerful”

By Adam Frazier
Hollywoodnews.com: James Franco (“127 Hours”) recently spoke with the press about “Oz” while promoting his new film, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” in Los Angeles.
Franco told Access Hollywood that Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful” currently is filming in Michigan.
“I’ve been in Detroit for almost a month now and we were rehearsing for quite a while and we’ve been shooting for about a week and it’s going very, very well,” he told Access.
The film, which is a prequel to Frank L. Baum’s 1900 novel, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” stars Franco as the titular character before he becomes the Wizard of Oz.
“The Wizard in the original 1939 film is an older man, so it’s another great opportunity to kind of do a new rendition on a franchise or a tradition, but it’s in a fresh way.”
“There are no real expectations of how the younger version of Oz should be,” he explained. “I do follow a tradition, but I also have a certain amount of freedom to create the character.”
“Oz: The Great And Powerful,” also starring Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Michelle Williams, will hit theaters in 2013.
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James Franco Back to General Hospital?

HollywoodNews.com: Is Oscar nominee James Franco really returning to “General Hospital” this fall for an extended stay? That was the word that went out yesterday after TV Guide reported it. But I’m told that Franco was a little surprised by the announcement. He’s in Detroit filming a $100 million movie, “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” directed by Sam Raimi and taking up most of his time for the next few months. “Oz” is billed as a prequel to the “Wizard of Oz,” with co-stars Zach Braff, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis.
Unless “GH” is coming to Detroit, it’s unlikely that Franco can be too involved in the soap opera beyond a cameo. And that’s not all on his plate. He’s got his Yale PhD program in New Haven, poetry classes in North Carolina, and two art shows in New York scheduled for August–one at PS1 and the other at a small gallery in Soho. Plus, his many indie directed films–like “Sal” and “The Broken Tower” (which Focus Features expressed interest in)–are in various stages of preparation.
Franco told a friend of the “General Hospital” news: “I don’t know what that is about. Maybe down the road.” Maybe he can go back and forth from Detroit to Los Angeles in a hot air balloon, just like Oz the Magnificent!
Photo by PRPhotos
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Disney sets “Oz” for 2013; Will Franco take the lead?

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: It has become a full-time job watching studios jockey for move release date real estate. You could write an entire column about the battle for placement between rival “Snow White” features, which keep moving their dates forward with no regard for legitimate production schedules. And not tentpole pictures are circling key dates … in 2013!
That’s when Disney plans to release Sam Raimi’s “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” according to THR, even though no one has been cast in the lead role. James Franco reportedly is circling the project, a 3D prequel to “The Wizard of Oz,” that would cast the one-time Oscar host as a young wizard swept up in a tornado and transported to the magical realm of munchkins and warring witches. But no casting has been announced.
As for “Oz,” it’s penciled in for a March 8 release date. Does that mean the summer season is shifting from May to March, because if you are signing Raimi to do an “Oz” prequel, this better be to blockbuster size.
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James Franco, Mila Kunis heading to “Oz” with Sam Raimi

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: James Franco and Mila Kunis have been signed to star in Sam Raimi’s “The Wizard of Oz” prequel “Oz, The Great and Powerful,” it is being reported.
The two actors, both with ties to Oscar-nominated films, will play roles that have been attached to multiple A-list talents over the past few months. Franco will appear as a young illusionist who hops into a hot air balloon as he’s fleeing from a traveling circus and ends up in the land of Oz. At one point, Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp were in consideration for the part that eventually went to Franco.
Kunis, meanwhile, will move from demonic ballerina to the role of witch Theodorah, who eventually goes on to be come the green-skinned Wicked Witch Of The West, who we know (and hate) so well.
Nymag.com is reporting that Kunis “chose Raimi’s movie over the Hughes’ brothers’ forthcoming live-action remake of 1988 Manga movie ‘Akira.’ It was rumoured that Franco would appear in that remake too.”
Oddly enough, Franco and Kunis shared screen time in the Steve Carell-Tina Fey comedy “Date Night,” playing a criminal couple who had reservations at a New York eatery but skipped them, triggering Fey and Carell’s wild night on the town.
Raimi’s film, not to be confused with the oft-discussed adaptation of the Broadway hit “Wicked,” is expected to be in theaters in 2013.
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Mila Kunis to play the Wicked Witch?

HollywoodNews.com: Mila Kunis may be taking on a very big role with her next possible film as it is rumored that she will be involved in Sam Raimi’s ‘Oz, The Great and Powerful.’
Kunis is rumored to be joining James Franco (who is rumored to have finally agreed to be cast) in the film where she would be cast as the Wicked Witch of the East, states New York Magazine. The film would be a prequel to the 1939 classic ‘The Wizard of Oz.’
Kunis’ character, Theodorah, is best known for wearing the ruby slippers as she has been crushed under a house.
Do you think this would be a good role for Mila Kunis?
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Johnny Depp may replace Robert Downey Jr. in “Oz”

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Robert Downey Jr. is clicking his heel three times and following the yellow brick road away from “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” Disney’s prequel to the “Wizard of Oz” that finds a young illusionist whose hot air balloon carries him over the rainbow to the magical realm. Downey was set to play the man behind the magic curtain. Sam Raimi was tapped to direct.
But Downey has walked away from the project, and the studio is hoping Johnny Depp might want to step into his role, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“Oz,” says THR, is a high-priority project for Disney. And Depp has a deep relationship with the studio. He’ll reprise his famous Jack Sparrow role for a fourth “Pirates” movie this May, and he’s on board to play Tonto in a “Lone Ranger” movie with Gore Verbinski for Disney. If Depp were to commit to “Oz,” it would push “Ranger” back a bit. THR says Disney would like to start production on “Oz” in the second half of 2011.
As for Downey, this is the second project he has separated himself from in recent months (the other being Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” which went to George Clooney). Is he enjoying some free time before the grind that will be Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers?” Or will Downey announce another project in coming weeks?
We’ll see.
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Warner Bros. bolsters Smithsonian theater with substantial gift

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Big news from the realm of film preservation this afternoon.
Warner Bros. Entertainment today made a $5 million donation to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to establish a new theater to present the history of American film.
The gift will enable the museum to transform its 46-year-old auditorium into a modern theater with 3-D capability. The auditorium will be renamed the Warner Bros. Theater when it opens next year.
From the release:
The existing 270-seat Carmichael Auditorium will become a film theater with the installation of new technology, including digital 3-D projection. The theater will also have equipment to showcase films still in their original 35-mm reel format. The Warner Bros. Theater will be used for lectures, symposia, concerts and other programs and events as well.
In recognition of the gift, the Smithsonian will rename Carmichael Auditorium the Warner Bros. Theater when it opens. Leonard Carmichael, the seventh Secretary of the Smithsonian, will be recognized with a plaque in the theater’s lobby and in a small display about the history of the museum. The display case will be located at the National Mall entrance and will highlight the role of Carmichael and Frank Taylor — founding director of the museum; it is expected to open in December 2010.
“For more than a century, American movies have provided a strong and enduring national cultural connection that crosses generations,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “It continues to shape how we perceive ourselves and how people around the world understand our country.” American film deserves a special home at our museum and the Warner Bros. partnership expands our capacity to tell this unique story and allow museum visitors to explore the legacy of American cinema.”
“Warner Bros. has a rich legacy of entertaining audiences for almost 90 years and truly realizes the importance and value of that history,” said Barry M. Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. “This partnership with the Smithsonian, whose very name is the gold standard for the preservation and presentation of all things with historical significance, is a great step reminding people that movies and television shows are an important part of our shared culture. The Warner Bros. Theater will be a state-of-the-art venue for highlighting filmed entertainment and programs that are important to people.”
While the theater is under renovation, museum staff will develop public programming focused on the historical and cultural legacy of [...]

“Wizard of Oz” turns 71, earns serious Internet love

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: You might find yourself following the Yellow Brick Road as you trip through cyberspace this morning.
The reason for these “Oz” online happenings? Victor Fleming’s beloved musical masterpiece turns 71, prompting several popular sites to dedicate valuable space to “Oz.”
Google, for instance, has a “Wizard of Oz” graphic adorning its search-engine home page. The Guardian has collected 71 facts you might not have known about “Oz.” (For instance, were you aware that the actors playing Munchkins earned $50 a week, while the dog playing Toto took home $125 a week?!) And MTV’s “Wake-Up” video this morning is an Oz-inspired video for De La Soul’s “Oooh.” You haven’t lived until you’ve seen the Wicked Witch of the West melted after being sprayed by a bottle of Cristal.
“The Wizard of Oz” came out in 1939. It won two Oscars (for music and song), but lost Best Picture to Fleming’s other picture, “Gone With the Wind.”
Celebrate “Oz” this morning somehow. Click the links. Pop the movie into your nearest player and journey once again with Dorothy to a whimsical place over the rainbow. And pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
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