January 20, 2017

Tag Archives: up in the air

George Clooney: His best performances to date

When it comes to movie stars, few actors in Hollywood better encapsulate what you want out of a veteran A-lister than George Clooney. Not only is he an accomplished actor with an Academy Award on his mantle, he’s a highly regarded writer and director, with an Oscar for producing under his belt as well. He’s a jack of all trades, and with a new star vehicle out on Friday in Money Monster (which I actually see tomorrow), I thought it was high time to go over his best performances to date. There’s no shortage of quality on Clooney’s permanent record, so finding his top works so far won’t be hard, on top of being a pleasure. He’s had a great career that’s only about at the midway point, so there’s not only tons to look at, but plenty more to come as well!
Below you will find a list of what Clooney has done so far that I consider to be his top tier of work. Without overtly spoiling things, the ten spots will include all of his Oscar nominated performances, as well as the one that actually won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Also included are performances within a few of the films he wrote/directed as well. Without question, Clooney is talented in multiple realms, so it wasn’t easy to figure out which movies go in which slots here. I even had to include an honorable mention category as well as a bonus list, which you’ll see momentarily. It’s a tribute to the man’s body of work so far that there’s so much to choose from, without even factoring in Money Monster, which seems very promising…
Here now are what I find to be Clooney’s ten best performances so far:
10. Syriana
9. Out of Sight
8. Michael Clayton
7. The American
6. Solaris
5. Three Kings
4. The Descendants
3. Good Night, and Good Luck
2. The Ides of March
1. Up in the Air
Honorable Mention – Burn After Reading, Gravity, The Men Who Stare at Goats, The Monuments Men, Ocean’s Eleven, and The Perfect Storm
Special Citation – Fantastic Mr. Fox (voice acting)

Basically, Clooney has been consistently impressing for some time now, and there’s lots more to look forward to. I really hope that he chooses keep up the pace of directing every few years while taking interesting acting jobs in between. Clearly, I find Up in the Air to be his crowning achievement so far, but […]

“Unbroken” by Angelina Jolie: Best Adapted Screenplay contender

As you fine folks all must know by now, it’s one thing entirely to read early Academy Award predictions in order to see what pundits like myself think will happen this winter, but it’s a whole separate thing to actually know something about who and what will be in contention. To help out in that specific regard, I’m continuing to run down some of the major contenders in each Oscar category in order to prep you all for the season to come. Basically, the format will have me saying a few words about what or who I feel are the top tier contenders right now in said categories, along with a longer list afterwards of many of the other hopefuls that the Academy might potentially take a shine to. Consider this a sort of before the awards season cheat sheet to have in your back pocket.
Today I’m continuing on from the acting categories and hitting the writing ones…starting with Best Adapted Screenplay
Here are the ten particular films/scripts that I have in play for Best Adapted Screenplay, with the top five cracking the unofficial lineup at this point:
1. Unbroken – Angelina Jole’s World War II epic has a heavyweight group of writers involved, namely Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, William Nicholson, and Richard LaGravenese. That’s perhaps the most A list screenplay ever, and one of the many reasons why I have this as a huge Oscar contender. Right now, it has to be one of the top players in Adapted Screenplay. I have it winning right now, but some other options could certainly wind up heavily challenging it before all is said and done.

2. Inherent Vice – Filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson has never won an Oscar, despite having a few screenplays in contention previously, but maybe this is the year for him. PTA seems like more of a hopeful in Best Director usually, but his move from Original to Adapted (There Will Be Blood was his first) screenplays might give him a new and better opportunity. If the movie winds up a big player, I can see him potentially getting the win here.
3. Rosewater – Can Jon Stewart write a film? We know he can write comedy, but this is something completely different. I’m cautiously optimistic, since if he hits this one out of the park, it’s a surefire contender. We won’t know for a while now about this hopeful, but once […]

Oscars®: Draft Day – What’s up with the 2015 Awards Race

Directed by: Ivan Reitman
Written by: Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman
Main Cast: Kevin Costner, Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, Denis Leary, Tom Welling, and many others
Past Oscar relations: Ivan Reitman was nominated for co-producing Up in the Air and Kevin Costner won Best Picture and Best Director Oscars for Dances with Wolves
Here now we have the next article in this series on 2014 contenders hoping to compete for Oscar attention at the 2015 ceremony. Next up is Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day, which hopes to essentially be the next Moneyball, just with the NFL Draft as its focus. That film was a bit of an aberration, but this one has a bit in common with it, so perhaps the Academy is more open to sports movies than they have been in the past? Reitman has sports film icon Kevin Costner in the lead role, so that’s certainly a plus, along with a strong ensemble that includes Chadwick Boseman, Jennifer Garner, Frank Langella, and Denis Leary, to name a few. They’re in the service of a fine film, one of the better ones to come out this year so far, in my humble opinion. Being a quality bit of cinema is the first step towards becoming a contender.
What this flick has going in its favor is a crowd pleasing plot and a top notch script, not to mention a great role for Costner to sink his teeth into. Costner always is great in sports films, and this is no exception. Reitman also shows an able hand at drama, something he’s rarely attempted during his illustrious career. As for the screenplay, Black List winning scribes Rajiv Joseph and Scott Rothman have crafted something that both hardcore football fans like myself and newbies can enjoy equally. Moneyball was able to do this, and that screenplay damn near won an Oscar, so especially in the writing field, this movie should have a chance to contend for a nomination.
Working against Draft Day is that it is a sports movie without an awards centric pedigree. Yes, it has a Black List winning script, but that doesn’t always make a huge difference. Costner also has never been nominated for one of his sports outings, so it’s likely that he won’t break that trend here. That makes it Best Original Screenplay or nada in all likelihood, and having that narrow a focus makes it a dicey proposition. Draft Day […]

Jason Reitman bringing Oscar-winning classic to TIFF 2012

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Canadian native Jason Reitman has become a staple of the Toronto International Film Festival, premiering his award-winning “Juno” and “Up In the Air” at the annual fest. Reitman’s returning for the 2012 festival, but he isn’t bringing a film. Well … he isn’t exactly bringing a film.
Reitman revealed on Sunday that he’ll accompany an all-star cast at the famed Ryerson for a live table read of Alan Ball’s “American Beauty” screenplay. With no rehearsal, the actors will come together for a one-take read-through and will revisit this Academy Award-winning script, with Reitman narrating stage direction.
Reitman announced on Twitter that he’d start revealing the names of his cast members on Monday.
“This is one surprise we couldn’t wait to share with Toronto,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO, TIFF. “Jason Reitman is like family to us and the Ryerson Theatre is his Festival home.”
“We’re excited to offer Festival audiences the opportunity to watch the creative process unfold in front of their eyes,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “With actors of this calibre being guided by Jason Reitman through Alan Ball’s Oscar-winning screenplay, this will be a unique experience to remember.”
The table read will be held at the Ryerson Theatre on Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. Tickets went on sale on Sunday, and cost $19.69 for adults and $15.04 for age 25 and under.
Purchase Festival tickets online at tiff.net/festival, by phone at 416.599.TIFF or 1.888.599.8433, and in person at the Festival Box Office located at 225 King St West. TIFF prefers Visa. The 37th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 6 to 16, 2012.
Jason Reitman created the “Live Read” in October 2011, in collaboration with Elvis Mitchell for the film society of Los Angeles County Museum of Arts (LACMA). The six month hit series featured “Breakfast Club” (Jennifer Garner and Aaron Paul), “The Apartment” (Steve Carell and Natalie Portman), “The Princess Bride” (Paul Rudd), “Shampoo” (Bradley Cooper and Kate Hudson), “The Big Lebowski” (Seth Rogen), and “Reservoir Dogs,” featuring an all-African American cast with Laurence Fishburne and Terrence Howard.
The LACMA series will begin again this October 2012, with all movie titles and cast as a last-second surprise.
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Oscars: Can George Clooney upset Jean Dujardin in the Best Actor category? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: With the Oscars on the horizon, only a handful of races remain up in the air … at least, if you pay attention to the “experts.”
Michel Hazanavicius’ “The Artist” appears to be this year’s Best Picture frontrunner, with momentum still swinging between “The Descendants” and “The Help.” Martin Scorsese could steal a few key votes away from Hazanavicius in the Best Director race. And if you put your ear to the ground, you’ll hear more than a few people asking if George Clooney can prevail over Jean Dujardin in the Best Actor category.
Why not? Clooney is beloved, and few are better on the Oscar campaign trail than the endlessly charming actor. He’s also won a few choice awards along the way, from the Critics Choice Movie Awards for Best Actor to a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. Tide seems to be sweeping up Dujardin as “The Artist” marches to the podium, and Dujardin – as well as his winning co-star Berenice Bejo – are working the circuit. Hard. So anything’s possible.
Clooney’s performance in Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” has stood above the fray from the minute this rewarding drama world premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in September.
“There’s plenty to chew on regarding family connections, heritage, loyalty to one’s location in life, the cycles we go through when confronting death, and the challenge of being a stable force during trying times,” I wrote from the Toronto International Film Festival after seeing Payne’s film. “But Clooney’s an outstanding guide on this journey, and I’m confident we’ll see his name in the Best Actor race as the marathon continues.”
“The Descendants” is a special film. An honest film. It addresses personal issues, and offsets them with Payne’s quirky humor. And it boasts a jaw-dropping performance by Clooney, who somehow ignores every trick in his acting arsenal yet still wins our heart with a vulnerable side that solidifies him as one of our strongest working actors.
If you ask him, though, he’s just lucky.
That was Clooney’s message when he accepted the Hollywood Actor Award for his “Descendants” performance in October. It’s an extremely humble speech, one laced with wit and self-awareness. Just like the man, himself.
Here’s exclusive video of Clooney from that gala, as his latest film, “The Descendants,” competes for the Oscar.

Awards Alley brings you […]

Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody talk Charlize Theron, Patton Oswalt and “Young Adult” – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: The last time Jason Reitman directed a Diablo Cody script, audiences were treated to the goofily hip “Juno,” and the Academy was charmed. They went in different directions afterward – he to direct George Clooney through “Up In the Air,” and she to flex her inner demons for “Jennifer’s Body” – but are back together this month with a brutally honest and deceptively funny adult comedy with a teenage-friendly name.
“Young Adult” stars Charlize Theron as a bitchy YA ghost writer knocked off her axis by the announcement that her old flame (Patrick Wilson), now happily married, had a baby. She heads back to her tiny home town to win the poor sap back, and goes toe-to-toe with an ex-classmate (Patton Oswalt) who sees her for who she really is.
With the film preparing to open on Dec. 9 (before going wider a week later), Reitman and Cody met me in New York City to discuss music selections, mirror characters, Mavis Gary and the power of Patton Oswalt:
HollywoodNews.com: Whom do I have to thank for both Teenage Fanclub AND Suicidal Tendencies being used in the same film?
Diablo Cody: The Suicidal Tendencies, I think that was Jason. Teenage Fanclub is all me.
HollywoodNews.com: I honestly thought I was the only person who loved both bands. They wouldn’t run in the same circles, and yet, here they are. And I love Fanclub’s song, “The Concept” …
Cody: I love that song, too. The funny thing is, Jason doesn’t like that song, but he acquiesced to me and put it in there. I could listen to it over and over, just like Mavis.
Jason Reitman: Yeah, those songs were both in the screenplay, and I don’t like either of those songs. But you have to recognize when something is right for the movie.
HollywoodNews.com: That’s actually a bold move for a director, though. It’s the opening of the film. And it’s such a significant part later in the film.
Cody: I have to say, that even surprised me. I thought, “Wow, you really believe in my choices!”

HollywoodNews.com: I relate to Mavis in the movie, and I feel strange admitting that. It makes me feel … I don’t know, mean or nasty. Does that makes sense?
Reitman: Well, Mavis is a mirror for the audience. And hopefully … there are a lot of movies that you look at and you see all sorts of aspirational values in […]

Jason Reitman reveals focus of his next Live Read

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Jason Reitman’s Live Read series is so simple, and yet, so brilliant. He recasts classic works of cinema with inspired acting choices, and has them read the script for live events that have been held at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (or LACMA).
To date, he has attempted Live Read stagings of John Hughes’ “The Breakfast Club” and Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment.” (And if you ever doubted Wilder’s influence on Reitman’s directorial efforts, just wait until you’re able to see “Young Adult” in a few weeks.) While attending the Gotham Independent Film Awards in New York City Monday night, Reitman revealed to EW the next planned Live Read project.
He’ll tackle Rob Reiner’s “The Princess Bride.”
The “Up in the Air” director wouldn’t spill his cast, though he did say the “Bride” roster was almost complete and his roster is “perfect, it’s just perfect.”
On being able to reimagine these classics, Reitman added to EW, “It’s kind of a film nerd’s dream to be able to cast these movies with modern day actors and listen to them read out live in front of audiences. It really makes my heart swell to do it.”
If you are in the L.A. area, the Live Read of Reiner’s “The Princess Bride” will be held on Thursday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m.
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Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody film “Young Adult” gets first poster – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: I’m still surprised — make that shocked — that Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult,” with a script by “Juno” collaborator (and Oscar winner) Diablo Cody, is skipping the fall film festival circuit. Even if Reitman had decided to hold his film out of Telluride and Venice, a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival – practically the filmmaker’s backyard – seemed like a no-brainer.
But Paramount is keeping “Adult” under wraps until we get closer to its Dec. 9 opening. We’re hearing all sorts of explanations why, most centering around the fact that Cody’s story isn’t afraid to get very dark. Reitman’s film centers on a thirtysomething adolescent (Charlize Theron) sent into an tailspin when she returns home and fails to win back her ex-boyfriend (Patrick Wilson). Emotionally battered, Theron’s character strikes up an unlikely friendship with Patton Oswalt, playing another ex-classmate who also has refused to let the high-school glory days fade.
The decision to bypass the fall festivals set off internal alarms. If “Young Adult” was as good as we’d hoped, Paramount would bring it to TIFF, where Reitman would be guaranteed solid reviews. Right?
Lest we think the studio’s not prepared to make an awards push, however, Paramount strategically released a one sheet exclusively to THR, helping to put the film on readers’ (and writers’) radars right as we head into the awards-season push. We have it below.

The poster’s clever. It looks like the cover of a young adult novel, which Theron’s character reportedly pens in the movie. But the photo also captures Theron’s arrested development.
I still can’t figure out why Paramount skipped Toronto, where Reitman collected accolades for all three of his films, including eventual Oscar nominees “Up In the Air” and “Juno.” TIFF seems like a slam dunk for a movie like this that needs to build buzz. But Paramount has a plan. Let’s see how it unfolds.
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Charlize Theron spotted in Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult” – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: From an awards perspective, I’m still trying to figure “Young Adult” out.
A collaboration between “Juno” teammates Jason Reitman (director) and Diablo Cody (writer) should be enough to get the Awards Alley’s juices flowing. Then you factor in the success Reitman had with his “Juno” follow up, “Up In the Air,” and “Young Adult” sounds like a slam dunk.
Then, the warning signs started lighting up. At the moment, “Young Adult” isn’t on the Venice or Toronto schedules. The latter is a true headscratcher as Reitman, a Canadian, is a favorite son at TIFF, and he rode the fall festival circuit (Telluride, included) with great success for both “Juno” and “Air.”
But “Adult,” from what we’re hearing, isn’t as much of an awards slam dunk as Reitman’s other two. It’s reportedly darker, as scripter Cody pens an original story about a 30-something slacker (Charlize Theron) who travels back to her hometown after she learns her childhood boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) is about to have a baby. Reitman and Cody have done a few early interviews, and both make it known this material is not the feel-good stuff of their previous work.
That doesn’t mean the film won’t work. “Air” had it’s own dark side, as did “Juno” (buried beneath a layer of forced pop culture references). I wouldn’t mind seeing Reitman trying darker material … but it still feels like Paramount is hiding the film a little ahead of its Dec. 16 release.
The studio isn’t hiding this first look at Theron in character. They released this a few hours ago. It’s all we’ve got on “Young Adult” for the time being. I’m still holding out hope that the title is on the next wave of TIFF announcements. We shall see.

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Will Meryl, Jason and Clint ride the film festival circuit? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Three titles were conspicuously absent from the recently announced programming at this fall’s Venice and Toronto film festivals: Jason Reitman’s “Young Adult,” Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Iron Lady” and Clint Eastwood’s “J. Edgar,” all of which are expected by most pundits to make some noise in the upcoming awards race.
And while it’s possible Clint’s biopic, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, could appear at one fall fest (more on that in a minute), it’s looking more and more likely that Reitman will hold his film back from the publicity circuit until he gets closer to the film’s announced Dec. 9 release date.
That’s a surprise. Reitman’s last two films – “Juno” and “Up In The Air” – benefitted from splashy bows at TIFF, Telluride and Venice, the launch pads for pictures with Oscar hopes. But HollywoodNews.com columnist Pete Hammond writes for Deadline that Reitman “definitely won’t be riding the fest circuit” with his picture this year. Speculation over on The Playlist says it’s because the film – written by Diablo Cody – is darker than either “Juno” or “Air,” with Charlize Theron playing a woman forced to move back home when life doesn’t go the way she planned. But it’s also believed that Paramount will follow the same release pattern as David O. Russell’s “The Fighter,” which strategically picked its spots in last year’s awards race and parlayed that into seven nominations and two wins at the Academy Awards.
As for Eastwood’s J. Edgar Hoover picture, Hammond speculates that Warner Bros. might be angling for the opening or closing slot at the New York Film Festival, which would lead right into the film’s announced release date of Oct. 21. As Hammond notes, NYFF “demands complete exclusivity for their opening-night film,” which might explain why Eastwood’s film isn’t at Venice or Toronto … yet. But Clint ventured to TIFF with “Hereafter” last year, and could return to the Great White North with another winner underneath his arm of things don’t quite work out in Manhattan.
As for Lloyd’s “Iron Lady,” which stars Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher, Hammond figures (rightfully so) that The Weinstein Company will follow the formula they established with “The King’s Speech” last year, bringing the film to Telluride and Toronto … so long as it’s ready in time. Lloyd’s film isn’t due out until Dec. 16, but can ride a wave of positive buzz if […]

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