Who is ‘Dick Poop’ — er, Dick Pope? ... Damien Chazelle or Paul Thomas Anderson Could Become Fifth Adapted Screenplay Winner to Also Direct the Film ... Most Adapted Screenplay Winners Are Adapted From Books ... Santa Barbara Film Festival Kicks Off with U.S. Premiere of ‘Desert Dancer’ ... Best Picture Winners Based On or Inspired By Real People and Events ... Oscar-Winning Original Songs Split Between Part of Plot and End Credits ... SAG Awards: ‘Birdman’ Weekend Continues As Eddie Redmayne Shocks the World (Analysis) ... PGA Awards: ‘Birdman’ Upsets ‘Boyhood,’ Creating a Real Oscar Race (Analysis) ...
Countdown to Oscars

Friday, January 30, 2015

Who is ‘Dick Poop’ — er, Dick Pope?


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor

Nothing could stop ‘Dick Poop’ from becoming a Twitter ‘Trending Topic’. The site exploded with clever responses to the Academy Award nominations Jan. 15 — from surprises to snubs to the unfortunate pronunciation of one cinematographer.

This flub occurred when Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences, announced Dick Pope as a nominee for achievement in cinematography.

So who exactly is Dick Pope?

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Damien Chazelle or Paul Thomas Anderson Could Become Fifth Adapted Screenplay Winner to Also Direct the Film


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Adapted screenplay nominees Damien Chazelle and Paul Thomas Anderson have been nominated for films that they also directed.

Chazelle’s Whiplash, about an aspiring jazz drummer and his sadistic instructor, is his second feature film and is adapted from a short film of the same name that he also wrote and directed. The short won the jury award for short films at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Whiplash was nominated for four other awards, including best picture.

Anderson received his second adapted screenplay nomination for Inherent Vice, based on Thomas Pynchon’s novel of the same name. The film was also nominated for costume design. Anderson previously received an adapted screenplay nomination for 2007’s There Will Be Blood, which he also directed. He received a best director nomination, and the film was nominated for best picture.

If either wins, they will become the fifth adapted screenplay winner in the 21st century to also direct the film, joining Joel and Ethan CoenPeter Jackson and Alexander Payne, who won twice.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Most Adapted Screenplay Winners Are Adapted From Books


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor

Only one of this year’s adapted screenplay nominees isn’t adapted from a book, and that’s Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash, which is adapted from his short film of the same name that took home the jury prize for short film from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. The other four adaptations all come from books, three non-fiction and one fiction.

American Sniper is based on Chris Kyle’s (portrayed in the film by Bradley Cooper) autobiography of the same name, which he wrote with Scott McEwan and Jim DeFelice.

The Imitation Game is adapted from Alan Turing: The Enigma, written by Andrew Hodges, a mathematician and author. Turing is played by Benedict Cumberbatch in the film.

Adapted from Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen Hawking by Jane Hawking, The Theory of Everything explores Stephen Hawking’s relationship with his ex-wife. The couple is played by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones.  

Director Paul Thomas Anderson earned his second adapted screenplay nomination for Inherent Vice, his adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s detective novel of the same name.

If Whiplash wins, it will become the third 21st century adapted screenplay winner based on something other than a book.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Santa Barbara Film Festival Kicks Off with U.S. Premiere of ‘Desert Dancer’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

The 30th Santa Barbara International Film Festival kicked off on Tuesday night with the North American premiere of Richard Raymond’s feature directorial debut Desert Dancer, a drama based on the true story of a young aspiring dancer in present-day Iran, where dance is banned. (Think Rosewater meets Footloose or Dirty Dancing, in the best sense.)

More than 2,000 moviegoers packed Santa Barbara’s historic Arlington Theatre for the screening, which was attended by Raymond and his stars Reece Ritchie (who looks and dances like a young Michael Jackson), Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) and Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey) — and was very well received.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Best Picture Winners Based On or Inspired By Real People and Events


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor

The Imitation Game features Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a mathematician and computer science pioneer who, along with his fellow code-breakers, broke the Nazi Enigma code to help end World War II. Though Turing was hailed as a hero, he was eventually arrested and prosecuted for homosexuality, along with 49,000 other British men and women. Turing chose to be chemically castrated rather than face imprisonment, so he could continue his work, and it is believed that he committed suicide a few years later. Queen Elizabeth II posthumously pardoned Turing in 2013.

On Jan. 21, Stephen Fry led a discussion about the The Imitation Game following a screening of the film for BAFTA voters, discussed Queen Elizabeth’s pardon and suggested that the 49,000 persecuted men and women should be as well. Chad Griffin, the president of Human Rights Campaign, which is honoring The Imitation Game at its Human Rights Gala on Jan. 31, also endorsed the campaign with an ad which ran in The New York Times on Jan. 22.

The Imitation Game is one of eight best picture nominees for the 87th Academy Awards and is one of four films to depict real people and events. American Sniper depicts the life of Chris Kyle, America’s deadliest sniper; Selma is based on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights marches from Selma to Montgomery; and The Theory of Everything portrays the love story between Stephen Hawking and his ex-wife Jane Hawking.

The remaining films — Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Whiplash — are entirely fictional, though director Damien Chazelle did say he was inspired by real-life experiences to write Whiplash.

Four of the past 14 best picture winners are based on actual people and events, two of which won last year and the year before, and three others were inspired by real events.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

Oscar-Winning Original Songs Split Between Part of Plot and End Credits


By Anjelica Oswald
Managing Editor 

Of the five Oscar-nominated original songs for the 87th Academy Awards, Selma’s “Glory” and Beyond the Light’s “Grateful” are the only songs that solely play over the end credits of their respective film. The other three songs — “Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie, “Lost Stars” from Begin Again and “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me — are all performed at some point during the film.

Now, that’s not to say that the end-credits songs aren’t relevant to the plot. Both “Grateful” and “Glory” stick with the themes of their respective films and summarize relevant events, even if they aren’t integral to each plot’s progression.

“Everything is Awesome” from The LEGO Movie is featured in the film as a popular song in the LEGO universe, one the characters sing along to, but the complete song plays over the end credits.

In Begin Again, ”Lost Stars” is performed three times in the film. Gretta, (Keira Knightley) is a singer-songwriter who wrote the song “Lost Stars” as a folky love song she composed for her ex-boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) one Christmas. Dave, a pop star, ‘popifies’ the song and creates a commercial hit, but Gretta thinks the song has lost its meaning. Later, Dave tells her to come listen to him play the song, and he then performs her version.

Glen Campbell’s “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” is featured at the end of the documentary on his life, which chronicles his final tour as he struggles with Alzheimer’s. The final clip unites him with former players of The Wrecking Crew.

Is a song that is part of the plot more likely to win an Oscar? For songs that have won in the 21st century, there isn’t a particular benefit for songs that appear in the film versus songs that played over the credits.

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Monday, January 26, 2015

SAG Awards: ‘Birdman’ Weekend Continues As Eddie Redmayne Shocks the World (Analysis)


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

What a weekend! Less than 24 hours after Birdman upset Boyhood to win the top prize at Saturday’s 26th PGA Awards, Alejandro G. Inarritu’s quirky dramedy held serve by topping Richard Linklater’s unprecedented 12-year project to win the top prize at Sunday’s 21st SAG Awards, as well. And, in a development just as surprising as Birdman’s PGA win, The Theory of Everything’s Eddie Redmayne upended Birdman’s Michael Keaton — the heavy favorite — to win the best actor SAG Award, stopping in its tracks any real threat to his Oscar hopes.

The other winners on the film side were all heavy favorites: Still Alice’s Julianne Moore won best actress, Whiplash’s J.K. Simmons won best supporting actor and Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette won best supporting actress.

Why does any of what happened on Sunday tell us anything about what will happen at the 87th Oscars on Feb. 22?

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

PGA Awards: ‘Birdman’ Upsets ‘Boyhood,’ Creating a Real Oscar Race (Analysis)


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

The Golden Globe Awards, Critics’ Choice Awards and Hollywood Film Awards, like the many other awards ceremonies that took place this season prior to Saturday night, were fine and dandy, but their winners were chosen by foreign journalists, film critics and an unnamed committee, respectively. They were not chosen by people who actually make movies, like those who are represented in the Academy. The people who work in the business tend to reveal their leanings at the various guild awards that precede the Oscars. And the first of those — the 26th Annual Producers Guild of America Awards — took place in Century City on Saturday night.

And that is why it is big news that the PGA awarded its Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures to Birdman, not Boyhood, which had previously won just about everything for which it was eligible. In just 24 hours, the 21st Screen Actors Guild Awards will follow the PGA Awards, and the result could be the same.

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry Call for Pardons for Gays Persecuted Alongside ‘Imitation Game’ Subject


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

If the presumptive best picture Oscar frontrunner Boyhood has an Achilles’ heel, it is that its story, about 12 years in the life of a fictional family, is not about anything of a greater social or historical import, as most previous recipients of the prize have been. The same, of course, is true of Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Whiplash, The Theory of Everything, in that they focus on imagined stories or, in the case of Theory, the personal life of a historical figure — but not, most would argue, Selma, American Sniper or The Imitation Game. And with Selma and Sniper immersed in controversy about the accuracy of their depictions of historical events, that may leave an opening for The Imitation Game.

To that end, a number of developments in recent days — largely organic, and then subsequently amplified by the savvy Weinstein Co. — have served to remind people about the social and historical significance of Imitation Game subject Alan Turing, the gay British mathematician-turned-war hero who died in 1954, disrespected or forgotten by many of the countrymen whose lives his code-breaking saved.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Debbie Reynolds Reveals Another Family Connection to ‘Star Wars’


By Scott Feinberg
The Hollywood Reporter

This story first appeared in the Jan. 30 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Announcing Debbie Reynolds as this year’s recipient of the SAG Life Achievement Award, SAG-AFTRA president Ken Howard saluted her as “a tremendously talented performer with a diverse body of screen and stage work, live performances and several hit records.” But that’s something of an understatement. Reynolds, 82, has been performing since age 16, when she won the title of Miss Burbank. That led to a contract at Warner Bros., where she spent two years before she was scooped up by MGM, the mecca of musicals. On Jan. 22, Turner Classic Movies will salute her by airing five of her films, and Jan. 25, it’s a safe bet her fellow actors will rise to their feet to applaud her, and her longevity, at the SAG Awards.

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