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Posts Tagged ‘Julian Schnabel’

Friday January 7th, 2011

INTERVIEW: SAM ROCKWELL, AN ACTOR WITH CHARACTER (AND “CONVICTION”)

On Tuesday afternoon, I had the opportunity to chat by phone for about 30 minutes with the veteran character actor Sam Rockwell, who has generated some of the best reviews of his career — and not inconsiderable buzz for a best supporting actor Oscar nod, which would be his first in any category — for his performance in Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction.”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO AUDIO OF OUR CONVERSATION!

Rockwell, 42, portrays Kenny Waters, a real person with a checkered background who was sentenced to life in prison for a murder that he — and, to an even greater degree, his sister (Hilary Swank) — insisted he did not commit. (It’s a part, he tells me, that Eric Bana, Colin Farrell, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and John C. Reilly all passed on!) Though some have argued that the film plays like a Lifetime TV movie or an extended episode of “Law & Order,” precious few have had anything but kind things to say about Rockwell, who convincingly portrays Waters as both a young and carefree rabble-rouser and 18 years later as an aged and hardened convict whose will to live is slipping away.

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Thursday December 2nd, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/2/10

  • The Envelope: Reed Johnson nabs a rare interview with best actress hopeful Annette Bening, one of the two female leads in “The Kids Are All Right,” as well as Lisa Cholodenko, the film’s co-screenwriter/director. Cholodenko says that when it came to casting the part of Nic — “who in many ways is the film’s dramatic fulcrum, just as she is her family’s emotional anchor — mostly for the better, though not without the usual quotient of occasional slammed doors and raised voices” — she thought of only Bening. Fortunately, it turned out that a mutual-admiration existed between the two — Cholodenko thought of Bening because of one particularly special scene of hers from “American Beauty” (1999), and Bening always remembered enjoying Cholodenko’s earlier film “Laurel Canyon” (2002).
  • 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik scans the newly-released slate of films that will play at January’s Sundance Film Festival, and points out some potential “critical darlings” for which we should probably keep an eye out. Among them are “Higher Ground,” the Oscar nominated actress Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut, and “Pariah,” a Bronx-set film that many are likening to last year’s Sundance breakout-hit “Precious.”
  • The Film Stage: Jordan Raup passes along a letter from “Adaptation” (2002) director Spike Jonze to online film critic Peter Sciretta in which he emphasizes how much he loves David O. Russell’s “The Fighter.” Jonze wrote, “Hey Peter — Spike here. I’m writing on behalf of my friend David Russell, regarding his new movie The Fighter. Did you get a chance to see it yet? How insanely great is Christian Bale? Can you do me a favor and post this 2 minute trailer called ‘Pressure’ on your site? The trailer that they put out originally makes the film feel a little generic and I just want to help David get the word out. I got to see it a few weeks ago, and I loved it, and if all you saw is the trailer that’s out, you might not know that it’s as interesting and strong as it is. Thanks for your help! Spike”
  • The Contenders: Brad Brevet has, through a variety of means, gathered the scripts of 23 of this year’s top awards contenders and posted them on his site for anyone who would like to read them. His most recent acquisitions? “I Love You Phillip Morris” and “Winter’s Bone.”

Photo: Mia Waskinowska, Lisa Cholodenko, and Julianne Moore on the set of “The Kids Are All Right.” Credit: Columbia University.

Tuesday November 16th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/16/10

  • Hollywood-Elsewhere and Awards Daily: Jeff Wells and Sasha Stone post the latest edition of their podcast “Oscar Poker,” and their guests this week are box office analyst Phil Contrino and our very own Scott Feinberg. The quartet discuss possibilities for the “tenth slot” in the best picture race; the tight race for best actress and the wide open race for best supporting actress; and the prospects for performances that have not been widely seen but have passionate supporters, like Tilda Swinton in “I Am Love,” who Sasha and Scott believe should be talking up her explicit sex scenes in the film in order to court attention (as has been done already by the folks behind “Blue Valentine”).
  • Deadline New York: Mike Fleming confirms reports that producer Scott Rudin — whose 2010 credits includes “The Social Network,” “True Grit,” and “The Way Back” — will receive the Producers Guild of America’s 2011 David O. Selznick Achievement Award, which seeks to recognize the producer for his “outstanding body of work in motion pictures,” which includes “The Firm” (1993), “Nobody’s Fool” (1994), “The Truman Show” (1998), “Wonder Boys” (2000), “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “The Hours” (2002), “Closer” (2004), “Notes on a Scandal” (2006), “The Queen” (2006), “No Country for Old Men” (2007), “There Will Be Blood” (2007), “Doubt” (2008), and “Julie & Julia” (2009), among many others. The 22nd annual Producers Guild of America Awards will take place on January 22nd.
  • indieWIRE: Peter Knegt passes along the Independent Filmmaker Project’s announcement that actor Stanley Tucci (“Easy A”) and actress Patricia Clarkson (“Cairo Time”) will host the 20th anniversary Gotham Independent Film Awards on on November 29th. The two thespians, who worked together in Tucci’s directorial debut “Blind Date” (2007), said in a joint-statement, “We took the job with the understanding that every time either of us says the word ‘independent,’ everyone at home watching or attending the awards themselves must take a shot. Here’s to a fun evening for all.”
  • Awards Tracker: Nicole Sperling points out several parallels between Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours” and Julian Schnabel’s “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (2007), most notably that both recount the true life struggles of men after sudden tragedies forever change their lives. These types of struggles, she explains, often turn off moviegoers: “It’s just fascinating to watch these two incredibly visual directors tackle subject matter that most perceive as completely lacking in both color and life.” (One noteworthy difference between the two films: “Diving Bell” earned only $6 million domestically and $20 million worldwide, whereas Fox Searchlight expects “127 Hours” to generate much bigger numbers.)
  • The Guardian: Charlotte Higgins writes about Mary (best actress contender Lesley Manville), the central character in Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” whom she describes as “a bogeywoman for middle-aged females.” She goes on to describe her as, “a spectre of wine-soaked, self-regarding, middle-aged femininity that is all the more horrendous for its recognisability,” asking, “Who among us hasn’t known a Mary weeping into the lees of her wine, bemoaning singledom/heartbreak/bad luck? Who among us hasn’t — at one point or another — been dangerously close to being Mary? My most fervent atheistic prayer on watching ‘Another Year’ was ‘Don’t let me ever, ever become like her (again).'”
  • Coming Soon: Ed Douglas offers his annual comprehensive preview of the Oscar race, noting that there are three films “that are pretty much on everyone’s top 10 list already and therefore fairly guaranteed to end up in the ten nominations for best picture,” while cautioning that there is still a “small list of movies that no one has seen yet” that could make a splash, namely “True Grit” and “How Do You Know.”
  • Movieline: Chris Rosen writes up another edition of Movieline’s “patented Screen Time Check,” this time tallying the screen time of the “veritable cavalcade of recognizable actresses” who can be seen opposite James Franco in “127 Hours” — if you’re careful not to blink too often. They include Kate Mara (12 minutes), Amber Tamblyn (11 minutes), Clemence Poesy (9 minutes), Kate Burton (5 minutes), Lizzy Caplan (30 seconds), and Jessica Ralston (12 seconds), the real-life wife of Aron Ralston, whose story inspired the film.
  • From the Front Row: Matthew Lucas reprints the Academy’s just-released list of the 15 films that will be eligible for this year’s best animated feature Oscar. As Matthew explains, “Since there are only 15 eligible films, only 3 can be nominated, lessening the chances of a ‘Secret of Kells’ type surprise nominee.” He expects the final three to be “How to Train Your Dragon,” “The Illusionist,” and “Toy Story 3.”

Photo: Tilda Swinton in “I Am Love.” Credit: Magnolia.

Wednesday October 20th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/20/10

  • NPR: Terry Gross spends 37 minutes of “Fresh Air” discussing “Toy Story 3” (which will be released on DVD on November 2), much of it with the film’s director Lee Unkrich, who has worked at Pixar since 1994, and screenwriter Michael Arndt, who won the best original screenplay Oscar for “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006). “We wanted to treat this third film like the completion of a saga, as if we had been telling one grand story of the course of the three films,” Unkrich tells her, so “it was vital to have Andy grown up and be at that transition where the toys were no longer being needed or wanted or loved.”
  • Deadline Hollywood: Pete Hammond writes up what many of us have been hearing off-the-record for weeks and what Scott indicated on his most recent projections chart — namely, that the ailing Michael Douglas, who won the best actor Oscar for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street” (1987), will probably be pushed by 20th Century Fox for best supporting actor Oscar for his reprisal of the character in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” The studio is “heavily leaning” towards the shift because, despite being top-billed and the perceived star of the film, Douglas has much less screen time than his co-star Shia LaBeouf; Anchor Bay is already pushing him in the lead category for “Solitary Man“; and he himself “feels that Gekko is really a supporting role this time around.”
  • Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil believes that Disney’s awards season campaign for “Alice in Wonderland” will include a push for Johnny Depp’s performance as the Mad Hatter. Though comedic roles of this sort rarely register during the awards season, O’Neil thinks that it stands a strong shot at a Golden Globes nod in the category of best actor in a musical or comedy, and could even snag an Oscar nod if the studio can then pivot and convince Academy members that (a) it actually belongs in the supporting category, and (b) they owe Depp, whom they have nominated three times but never made a winner.
  • New York Post: Lou Lumenick learns that Disney has decided to indefinitely delay the release of John Madden’s “The Debt,” a remake of an Israeli film about Mossad agents (Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington) that was to hit theaters on December 29, just in time to qualify for awards consideration. Now, it — like Julian Schnabel’s “Miral,” which The Weinstein Company recently delayed, as well — will be lucky just to get a token release sometime next year.
  • USA Today: Anthony Breznican interviews 13-year-old Hailee Steinfeld, who will soon be seen as “a pigtailed, angel-faced frontier girl who recruits Jeff Bridges’ one-eyed bounty hunter for bloody vengeance” in Ethan Coen and Joel Coen‘s “True Grit,” which also stars Josh Brolin and Matt Damon. “I actually started what I called the Bad Boy Jar,” Steinfeld says. “If they were to curse, they had to pay… they did that pretty often… the f-word was $5 and every other word was $1… they would say the f-word, and then realize they’d said it, and then they would say the s-word. So I’d be like, ‘OK, that’s $6!'” Steinfeld, however, was charged 50 cents every time she said the word “like.”
  • New York Times: Michael Cieply believes that “truly memorable” lines of dialogue, which “were everywhere as recently as the 1990s,” are sorely lacking in recent films. This, I’m sorry to say, is nonsense — Daniel Day-Lewis’s “I drink your milkshake” from “There Will Be Blood” (2007) and Christoph Waltz’s “That’s a bingo!” from “Inglourious Basterds” (2009), which he only passingly acknowledges, are instant classics, as are — per Scott — Paul Giamatti’s “I am not drinking any fucking Merlot!” from “Sideways” (2004), Javier Bardem’s “What business is it of yours where I’m from, friendo?” from “No Country for Old Men” (2007), Rainn Wilson’s “That ain’t no etch-a-sketch; this is one doodle that can’t be un-did, homeskillet” from “Juno” (2007), and George Clooney’s “How much does your life weigh?” and/or “Anybody who ever built an empire…” from “Up in the Air” (2009), to name just a few.
  • FX Guide: Mike Seymour speaks with Edson Williams, the visual effects supervisor at Lola (a firm that is “arguably the world’s leader in human face and body manipulation”), to learn how Williams’s team was able to convincingly make the face of one actor (Armie Hammer) appear on the tops of two bodies (Cameron Winklevoss and Tyler Winklevoss) in David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” He also explains the differences between the technology employed for this film and for Fincher’s previous film, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008).
  • The Envelope: Ben Fritz analyzes the box-office receipts of Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” and Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction,” both of which opened in limited release last weekend, and finds that “moviegoers preferred a tale of the afterlife over one about a man saved from it” by a more than 2-to-1 margin ($231,000 to $110,000 margin) even though the former played in just six theaters while the latter played in 11.
  • Movie Crazy: Leonard Maltin interviews the jaw-droppingly beautiful 24-year-old British actress Gemma Arterton about her latest film, Stephen Frears’s “Tamara Drewe,” for which many believe she might score a Golden Globes nod for best actress in a musical or comedy, if not a best actress Oscar nod itself. Though you may not have seen Arterton in that film yet, chances are you saw her as a Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig in the franchise’s most recent installment, “Quantum of Solace” (2008). It turns out she’s got the chops to match the looks!

Photo: A scene from “Toy Story 3.” Credit: Pixar.

Thursday October 14th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/14/10

  • Variety: Andrew Stewart notes that Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” isn’t the only film from The Weinstein Company with a release date change this week. According to the studio, Ben Affleck’s “The Company Men” has also been pushed back — but, unlike “Miral,” not out of this year’s race — from October 22 to December 10. No reason for the move was provided.
  • Deadline Hollywood: Nikki Finke passes along the Academy’s announcement that it has chosen eight short subject documentaries (from a list of thirty that were eligible) for its short list of contenders for a 2011 Academy Award, three to five of which will receive actual nominations and one of which will take home a statuette.
  • New York Times: Maureen Dowd calls “Fair Game” — the story of Valerie Plame Wilson (Naomi Watts) and Joe Wilson (Sean Penn) — “a vivid reminder of one of the most egregious abuses of power in history,” noting, “They were the Girl and Boy Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, and we should all remember what flew out.”
  • The Film Experience: Nathaniel Rogers spots the fun stat that Jesse Eisenberg would bump Matt Damon off the list of the top 10 youngest nominees for the best actor Oscar if — as he is widely expected to — he receives a best actor nomination for “The Social Network.” Eisenberg would be 27 years old, as was Damon when he was nominated for “Good Will Hunting” (1997), but 14 days younger.
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells writes that Rosamund Pike “easily gives the most arresting performance” in both “Made in Dagenham” and “Barney’s World,” portraying “elegant, well-educated wives of character and principle” in both, and urges Academy members to look beyond those films’ flaws and nominate one of her performances for best supporting actress. (Scott agrees.)
  • The Washington Post: Tim Craig and Bull Turque report that Michelle Rhee, the no-nonsense chancellor of Washington, D.C. public schools (who is featured prominently in Davis Guggenheim’s doc “Waiting for ‘Superman’”), has resigned from her post after 3.5 years. The city’s “presumptive mayor-elect” (who, in a recent primary, ousted the mayor who appointed Rhee) said it was a “mutual decision” to part ways, but Rhee described it as “heartbreaking.”
  • The Wrap: Steve Pond reports that Bruce Davis, the Academy’s executive director and “highest-ranking salaried employee,” will be retiring after 30 years spent overseeing some of the most monumental shifts within AMPAS. In an email to his staff, Davis wrote, “Organizations and individuals both benefit from periodic shifts in perspective.”
  • The Playlist: Oli Lyttelton believes there are “plenty of viral Internet comedy shows out there competing for your procrastination time,” but “none of them have managed to be as consistently funny and generally excellent” as Zach Galifianakis’s “Between Two Ferns” on the Funny or Die site. In the latest installment, Galifianakis sits down with “Red” star Bruce Willis, and hilarity quickly ensues.

Photo: Tommy Lee Jones and Ben Affleck in “The Company Men.” Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Tuesday October 12th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/12/10

  • Hitfix: Greg Ellwood congratulates the Paramount publicity/awards folks (and we second that) for their masterful promotion of Davis Guggenheim’s education doc “Waiting for ‘Superman’,” which led them — or at least Guggenheim and the five young subjects of his film — all the way to an Oval Office meeting with President Barack Obama yesterday. Obama previously screened the film and described it as “heartbreaking” and “powerful.”
  • The Playlist: Ed Davis recounts the saga of Julian Schnabel’s “Miral,” which entered the awards season with a great deal of hype, then flopped at Venice, and has now had its release date pushed into 2011 by The Weinstein Company. Davis speculates that the poor response to the film was only one of two reasons for the announcement, the other being the financially-struggling studio’s limited budget for a campaign.
  • Salon: Salon.com film critic Andrew O’Hehir’s review of Disney’s “Secretariat,” in which he essentially calls the film a Tea Party fantasy, provoked a harsh rebuke from Roger Ebert last week. Yesterday, it found an even bigger-name critic when conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh spent 10 minutes of his program tearing into it and using it to illustrate the media’s alleged bias towards conservatives. Salon.com provides a link to the audio.
  • Fishbowl LA: Rick Horgan reports that Aaron Sorkin, the screenwriter of “The Social Network,” posted a comment on the blog of veteran writer-director-producer Ken Levine on Saturday night in response to another reader’s allegation that the film presents a misogynistic view of women. Horgan concludes that his “willingness to share himself so candidly and interactively is just the latest example of the way blogging, tweeting and status updating is changing the rules of the Hollywood PR game.
  • Deadline Hollywood: Mike Speier reports that “True Grit” lenser Roger Deakins will receive the 2011 American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award on February 13. Over the course of his illustrious career, Deakins has received eight Oscar nominations, spanning “The Shawshank Redemption” (1994) through “The Reader” (2008), but has yet to win.
  • New York Times: Op-ed columnist Maureen Dowd believes that “The Social Network” illustrates just “how little human drama changes through the ages,” since its premise, she argues and illustrates, is essentially the same as Richard Wagner’s “Das Rheingold” (1869) and J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” (1954-1955). (I’ll note one thing that the piece does not: Dowd used to date Aaron Sorkin, who wrote “The Social Network.”)
  • Oscar Watch: Dave Karger shares a list of the 10 films that he believes will be nominated for best picture. He has “The King’s Speech” in the top spot, and then “True Grit” (even though nobody has seen it yet) ahead of “The Social Network” (even though virtually everyone has seen it and loved it). Other interesting choices: the rom-com “How Do You Know” (another that nobody has seen yet) and Clint Eastwood‘s “Hereafter” (which generated very mixed responses at the Venice Film Festival).
  • Just Jared: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the enigmatic subject of “The Social Network,” is now being followed by some new “friends” that he might like to untag: the paparazzi. “Zuck” and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan were photographed on Sunday afternoon as they visited a local farmers market, attended a Jewish festival, and stopped at a gas station. (Ah, the exciting life of the world’s youngest billionaire!)
  • Deadline Hollywood: Mike Speier passes along the first details about a 2013 sequel to the 2010 best animated feature contender “How to Train Your Dragon.” Voice actors Jay Baruchel, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, and Kristen Wiig will all be back; there’s no word on yet on whether or not Gerard Butler will be returning; and Dean Deblois will be the lone writer and director, while Chris Sanders, who shared those duties with him on the first film, will serve as executive producer.
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells is quite a character, and you never know what you’re going to find when you visit his “stream-of-consciousness” blog, so perhaps we shouldn’t have been as surprised as we were to visit on Monday morning and read a detailed account of his run-in with the law on Sunday evening — handcuffs, bail, and all — following a party at the Hamptons International Film Festival. He writes that because of the episode his “spirit slowly withered and died.”

Photo: President Obama and the young subjects of “Waiting for ‘Superman’” visit in the Oval Office yesterday. Credit: The White House.