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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Portis’

Monday January 24th, 2011

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 1/24/11

  • The Race: Tim Appelo compiles reactions to the Producers Guild of America’s completely unexpected announcement on Saturday night that the producing team behind “The King’s Speech” (Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, and Gareth Unwin) — and not the one behind “The Social Network” (Dana Brunetti, Cean Chaffin, Michael De Luca, and Scott Rudin) — had won its PGA Award. While PGA and Oscar winners correspond considerably less often (67% of the time over the 21 years in which both have been rewarded, including each of the past three years but none of the three years before that) than DGA and Oscar winners (79% of the time over the 62 years in which both have been awarded), and while producers account for only a small segment of the Academy (8%, as opposed to actors, who make up 22%), it is still a noteworthy development because the PGA, like the Academy, now nominates 10 films and then determines its winner through a preferential balloting system, unlike most other awards groups. It will be interesting to learn on Tuesday how closely the Academy’s 10 best picture nominees line up with the 10 nominated by the PGA; if there is a lot of overlap, then that would seem to indicate that the PGA is, in fact, very in tune with the Academy this year… but if there is not, then who knows?!
  • New York Times: Frank Rich, one of the paper’s op-ed columnists (and one of its former theater critics), compares “True Grit,” Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s adaptation of Charles Portis’s 1968 novel of the same title, with the 1969 adaptation of Portis’s novel and with another 2010 Oscar contender, “The Social Network.” He writes, “In our current winter of high domestic anxiety, as in the politically tumultuous American summer of 1969, it is a hit with the national mass audience and elite critics alike… attracting an even larger audience than ‘The Social Network,’ a movie of equal quality with reviews to match and more timely cultural cachet.” He goes on, “It turns out that ‘True Grit’ is as much an escape for Americans now as it was in the Vietnam era… Talk about Two Americas. Look at ‘The Social Network’ again after seeing ‘True Grit,’ and you’ll see two different civilizations, as far removed from each other in ethos as Silicon Valley and Monument Valley.”
  • TechCrunch: Mike Butcher passes along the first public reaction from Facebook founding president Sean Parker to “The Social Network” — the film in which he is portrayed by the actor Justin Timberlake — as expressed at the European tech-entrepreneur conference DLD. Parker dismissed it as “a complete work of fiction,” especially when it comes to his depiction. “I kind of wish my life were that cool,” he said. “But I’m a geek from Silicon Valley and there are no Victoria Secret models in Silicon Valley… If you walked down the street in San Francisco with a model, there would be people there laying down at your feet.” He further vents, “The part of the movie that frustrated me is actually the scene at the end where the character played by Justin Timberlake — who happens to have my name — basically writes a check to Eduardo [Saverin] — who I’m also, I consider Eduardo a friend of mine, and I’m one of the few people at Facebook who still interacts with Eduardo — and throws it in his face and has security escort him out of the building. And I mean, that’s just rude. This guy in the movie is a morally reprehensible human being.”
  • The Guardian: Sophie Heawood profiles Amy Adams, one of the two best supporting actress hopefuls for “The Fighter,” and jokes that “all anybody seems to really know about Adams is that she was raised a Mormon but then worked at Hooters — the American pub chain famous for its busty barmaids.” (Adams chuckles, “I owe it all to the boob bar.”) That’s not quite true, though. “I am known for playing characters with something of an innocence to them,” she notes — which made her anything but an obvious choice for the part of the worldly-wise bartender Charlene in David O. Russell’s film. Adams explains, “There’s no real way to tell a director you can play a tough role. You go, ‘I’m tough!’ And then you sound like an idiot. Or you’re polite and say, sweetly, ‘Oh yes I can play tough,’ and then you don’t sound like you can play tough at all. Many of my previous roles had a certain energy which people call naivety, and which I think of as curiosity. But Charlene isn’t curious — Charlene doesn’t give a shit. So the only way to do it was to do it.”
  • YouTube: Adam Davenport shares episode one of “Life with Leo,” which features great behind-the-scenes footage of Melissa Leo, the other best supporting actress hopeful for “The Fighter,” getting ready for a L’Uomo Vogue photo shoot the day after she won the Critics’ Choice Award and the day before she won the Golden Globe Award.

Photo: Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech.” Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Thursday January 20th, 2011

INTERVIEW: HAILEE STEINFELD, A “TRUE”-LY GREAT YOUNG ACTRESS

On Saturday afternoon, I had the opportunity to spend a half-hour at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills with Hailee Steinfeld, the 14-year-old best supporting actress SAG Award nominee/Oscar hopeful for her performance as a young firebrand in Ethan Coen and Joel Coen’s “True Grit” (Paramount, 12/22, PG-13, trailer), which ranks among the greatest big screen debuts of all-time. The night before we met, we both attended the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, which are determined by the Broadcast Film Critics Association, of which I am a member. I had voted for Steinfeld in the category of “best young actor/actress,” and sure enough she won, prompting a loud ovation from the audience and a charming speech from her. When I walked into her hotel suite for our interview the next day, she was still on a high from the excitement of attending her first awards show — and winning her first acting award — but laughingly noted that she could do without having to wear super-tight dresses like the beautiful one she wore — sans shoes — during our time together.

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Thursday January 6th, 2011

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 1/6/11

  • Entertainment Weekly: Dave Karger speaks with Julia Roberts after a special screening of “Biutiful” at CAA that she hosted for industry insiders to help call attention to the performance of her “Eat Pray Love” co-star Javier Bardem. (Robert Forster, Kyle MacLachlan, and Bardem’s pregnant wife Penelope Cruz were among the attendees.) Roberts explains, “I think the movie hasn’t gotten the exposure. You don’t know where it is. It’s like this hidden little jewel… I just have a great appreciation for what he went through to show us all this.”
  • Deadline Hollywood: Mike Fleming interviews producer-extraordinaire Scott Rudin, who this week became the first producer to receive PGA Award nominations for two features in the same year (for “The Social Network” and “True Grit”), and who will also be receiving the David O. Selznick Achievement Award at the PGA Awards ceremony. Rudin credits his “great [producing] partners on both” and emphasizes that while “the Oscar stuff is fantastic, rewarding and in some ways exciting… it’s not why you do it. You do it because you want to hold your own work to a standard of excellence.” He also notes that while he was heavily involved with the pre-production of both films (he worked closely with the screenwriters, for instance, while they formulated their scripts), he stayed out of the way of the directors during the filmmaking process itself.
  • Awards Tracker: Tom O’Neil advises those who believe that “True Grit” is now the best picture favorite just because it has done well at the box-office ($91.5 million and counting) to “hold your horses.” He submits that “financial success isn’t as important as it used to be to Oscar victory,” citing the fact the best picture Oscar winner went to films that earned at least $100 million domestically 75% of the time between 1986 and 2005, but that 60% of those since have gone to films that did not, including “Crash” ($54 million), “No Country for Old Men” ($74 million), and “The Hurt Locker” ($14 million, or $746 million less than it’s fellow nominee “Avatar”).
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells passes along an andorsement of the work of the cinematographer Hoyt Van Hoytema on “The Fighter” from legendary cinematographer Michael Chapman, who lensed perhaps the greatest boxing movie of all-time, “Raging Bull” (1980), among other classics. Chapman writes, “The movie struck me as doing the basic thing that cinematography does when it’s done well, which is to present a three-dimensional stage in which the actors can move.”
  • The Carpetbagger: Larry Rother mourns the fact that the French film “Carlos,” one of the most critically-beloved movies of 2010, is ineligible for Oscar consideration in any category this year “because of a quirk in the rules set by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences.” The film “was initially broadcast on French television before it was packaged and sold abroad for distribution, in two different versions, one long and one short, as a feature film,” which constitutes a violation of an Academy rule that states, “Films that, in any version, receive their first public exhibition or distribution in any manner other than as a theatrical motion picture release will not be eligible for Academy Awards in any category.”
  • Vulture: Jordana Horn asks Quentin Tarantino why he omitted Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” — the film to which the Venice Film Festival jury, over which he presided, awarded the Golden Lion back in September — from his year-end top 20 film list. “I’m a little embarrassed by it, actually,” Tarantino says, explaining, “It was never meant to be a dig against ‘Somewhere,’ or Sofia. I simply didn’t consider any of the films I’d seen in Venice for the list.” I put them in a separate box — I was on official duty at that time, not seeing the films theatrically, independently… Now I wish I’d put it on there — I didn’t think anyone would pay attention.” He adds, “I’d have put it in my top 10.”

Photo: Javier Bardem and Julia Roberts. Credit: Entertainment Weekly.

Saturday December 25th, 2010

“DEEP VOTE” ON “BLUE VALENTINE,” “THE FIGHTER,” AND “TRUE GRIT”

Deep Vote,” an Oscar winning screenwriter and a member of the Academy, will write this column — exclusively for ScottFeinberg.com — every week until the Academy Awards. He will help to peel back the curtain on the Oscar voting process by sharing his thoughts about the films he sees and, ultimately, his nomination and final ballots, as well. His identity must be protected in order to spare him from repercussions for disclosing the aforementioned information.

Thus far, he has shared his thoughts in column one about his general preferences; column two about Winter’s Bone” (Roadside Attractions, 6/11, R, trailer) and Solitary Man” (Anchor Bay Films, 5/21, R, trailer); column three about Alice in Wonderland” (Disney, 3/5, PG, trailer), “Toy Story 3” (Disney, 6/18, G, trailer), and “Mother and Child” (Sony Pictures Classics, 5/7, R, trailer); column four about Get Low” (Sony Pictures Classics, 7/30, PG-13, trailer), “The Kids Are All Right” (Focus Features, 7/9, R, trailer), and “The Social Network” (Columbia, 10/1, PG-13, trailer); column five about “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight, 11/5, R, trailer), “Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions, 12/17, R, trailer), and “Shutter Island” (Paramount, 2/19, R, trailer); column six about Inception” (Warner Brothers, 7/16, PG-13, trailer), “Made in Dagenham” (Sony Pictures Classics, 11/19, R, trailer), and “Somewhere” (Focus Features, 12/22, R, trailer); and column seven about Another Year” (Sony Pictures Classics, 12/29, PG-13, trailer), “Fair Game” (Summit, 11/5, PG-13, trailer), and “Rabbit Hole” (Lionsgate, 12/17, PG-13, trailer).

This week, he assesses three more awards hopefuls: “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company, 12/29, R, trailer), “The Fighter” (Paramount, 12/10, R, trailer), and “True Grit” (Paramount, 12/22, PG-13, trailer)

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Thursday December 23rd, 2010

INTERVIEW: MATT DAMON, AT 40, AN UNCONVENTIONAL MOVIE STAR

Last week, I had the opportunity to spend about 15 minutes at New York’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel with Matt Damon, who is not only one of the biggest movie stars of his generation but also a genuine actor’s actor who not infrequently takes on smaller parts in outstanding films. The latest and greatest example of this is his role as the verbose, cocksure Texas Ranger Mr. LaBoeuf in the Coen brothers’ newly-released Western “True Grit” (Paramount, 12/22, PG-13, trailer), for which he is now in the running for a best supporting actor Oscar nod.

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Monday December 13th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/13/10

  • Wall Street Journal: Roger Ebert writes — less than a week after the MPAA overturned the NC-17 rating that it had initially bestowed upon “Blue Valentine” for a sex scene — that “The MPAA should have changed its standards long ago, taking into account the context and tone of a movie instead of holding fast to rigid checklists.” He notes, “In the 42 years since Jack Valenti proudly unveiled his new [MPAA] ratings system, our national standards of taste have changed. Some might say they’ve become more vulgar, others might say more relaxed, but grade school students now talk like truck drivers did in 1970… The rise of cable TV, home video and the Internet also means that many American children have pragmatic knowledge of what the human body looks like unclothed and what it can do while in that state. This may be unfortunate, but it is a fact.” He suggests, “Only three categories are needed: “G,” for young audiences, “T” for teenagers, and “A” for adults. These categories would be not be keyed to specific content but would reflect the board’s considered advice about a film’s gestalt and intended audience… It’s time to admit we’ve lost our innocence.”
  • Showbiz411: Roger Friedman reports that Sofia Coppola features seven members of the “notoriously unprofessional” Hollywood Foreign Press Assocation, the organization which determines the winners of the Golden Globe Awards, in her new film “Somewhere.” (They make cameos as journalists asking foolish questions of a movie star during a film press conference.) Friedman believes that this is an “unethical and laughable” conflict of interest, whether or not they were compensated, which remains unclear. The HFPA will announce this year’s Golden Globe nominations tomorrow morning.
  • New York Times Magazine: Frank Bruni explores the impressive resume of 12-year-old best supporting actress hopeful Elle Fanning (“Somewhere”), who already has “more than 15 movies behind her and a few prominent, career-accelerating roles straight ahead.” Elle, the younger sister of the 16-year-old actress Dakota Fanning, already has friends in high places: former child star Jodie Foster saw her in “Phoebe in Wonderland” (2008) and says, “I was blown away by that performance — blown away. She should have been nominated for an Oscar. I think Elle Fanning is just so amazing.”
  • New York Times: Carlo Rotella profiles Charles Portis, the author from Arkansas “who politely declines to promote himself or his work,” and whose 1968 work “True Grit” — which Rotella calls “the great comic Western novel” — inspired this year’s Ethan Coen and Joel Coen film of the same title. According to Rotella, “Portis’s characters have a self-conscious manner, a homespun formality of speech, that comes from the effort to inhabit grandiose roles: lone avenger on a quest; nefarious outlaw; besieged moral exemplar. If that sounds like a description of Cormac McCarthy’s characters, the great difference is that Portis finds comedy in the aspiration to heroism, and his characters are forever plagued by a suspicion of their own ridiculousness.”
  • National Public Radio: Bob Mondello analyzes “The Company Men,” a film which stars Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, and Tommy Lee Jones as white-collar workers who lose their jobs as a result of the recent economic downturn. Mondello correctly notes that people usually try “to get away from real-world concerns” when they go to the movies, and that “Up in the Air” “plumbed this same well” last awards season, but he feels that this one is worth a look nonetheless. “Yes, the film’s a little didactic as it lays out the issues,” he writes, “But when it comes to the emotional state of those being laid off, of their families and even of those doing the laying off, it gets things right enough to make audiences squirm.”

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in “Inception.” Credit: Warner Brothers.

Tuesday October 19th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/19/10

  • The Odds: Steve Pond gathers reactions from members of the National Association of Theater Owners to the 10 upcoming films that were screened for the group during last week’s ShowEast conference in Orlando, and concludes that “the news is good for ‘The Fighter,’ ‘Tangled,’ and ‘Morning Glory,’ but not so much for ‘Due Date’ and ‘Fair Game.'” (The event “marked one of the first times anyone outside of Paramount” had seen “The Fighter,” and Pond’s sources reiterated what Scott has been indicating for weeks on his projection charts: the film’s strongest awards prospects are Christian Bale for best supporting actor and Melissa Leo for best supporting actress.)
  • USA Today: Anthony Breznican previews the reunion of actor Jeff Bridges with directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen on “True Grit” 12 years after they collaborated on “The Big Lebowski” (1998). He reports that the Coen brothers told Bridges not to think about the 1969 John Wayne film of the same title while formulating his performance, but rather to draw inspiration from the Charles Portis novel that inspired it.
  • WENN: Sources reports that actress Rooney Mara has not only dyed her hair black and gotten a lip ring but also pierced her nipples as part of an effort to “fully transform herself” for her starring role in the upcoming “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” which will reunite her with her “The Social Network” director David Fincher. (A spokesman for the film would not comment on the story other than to say, “She’s going to look like the character as described in the novels.”) Talk about commitment to a part!
  • Awards Daily: Ryan Adams passes along a reader’s list of 40 contenders for this year’s best cinematography Oscar based on the lensers’ “industry status or specific films that call for impressive camera and lighting work.” Likely nominees include the never-before-nominated Jeff Cronenweth (“The Social Network”), and Danny Cohen (“The King’s Speech”), perennial bridesmaids Wally Pfister (“Inception”) and Roger Deakins (“True Grit”), and 2008 winner Anthony Dod Mantle (“127 Hours”).
  • The Big Picture: Patrick Goldstein notes a stunning correlation that “has be to be bad news for Clint Eastwood’s Oscar chances, not to mention Western Civilization in general” — namely, that the aforementioned director’s spiritual drama “Hereafter” and the tomfoolery-packed “Jackass 3-D” have received matching on Metacritic and nearly identical scores on Rotten Tomatoes.
  • USA Today: Maria Puente, inspired by the infiltration of Davis Guggenheim’s education doc “Waiting for ‘Superman’” into the mainstream (it has been discussed everywhere from “Oprahto the Oval Office, and in limited-release earned more per-theater than any other film last weekend), asked historian Betsy McLane to identify the “Top 11 Docs That Shook the World.” Her picks span from Thomas Edison’s “Wrecking of the Battleship Maine, Burial of the Maine Victims” (1898) through Guggenheim’s own “An Inconvenient Truth” (2006).
  • Awards Daily: Sasha Stone surveys the wide open best supporting actress field and wonders if Marion Cotillard (“Inception“) and/or Michelle Williams (“Shutter Island“), who both played “crazy wives married to Leonardo DiCaprio” in early releases, might manage to make the cut; if “Another Year” star Lesley Manville might be pushed in this category, rather than best actress, against her co-star Ruth Sheen; and even floats the idea of Rooney Mara (“The Social Network“) for her short but sweet scenes, while acknowledging that a nomination for her is likely “all but an impossibility.”
  • All Headline News: Anthony Jones spreads the news that Tim Palen, Lionsgate’s marketing chief and an award-winning photographer, has shot 35mm “living portraits” of eight of the women who star in Tyler Perry’s upcoming “For Colored Girls,” which his studio will be releasing. Jones notes, “This project marks Palen’s second time working with [cast member] Janet Jackson after directing the music video for her single ‘Nothing.'” (The portraits will be displayed at the Lehman Maupin Gallery in Manhattan from October 24-27; Jackson will be hosting an opening night celebrity.)

Photo: Melissa Leo and Christian Bale in “The Fighter.” Credit: Paramount.