The following list and remarks reflect my personal opinions and do/will not in any way impact my projections or analysis on this site, wherein I strive above all else to correctly forecast what will happen, not what I believe should happen.
Posts Tagged ‘Philip Seymour Hoffman’
Five years ago, I was writing about film in Boston when I had the opportunity to meet for lunch with a few young actors who were in town to promote a little comedy that they had just made and hoped that people would check out. Those young actors were Christopher Mintz-Plasse (a complete unknown making his big screen debut), Michael Cera (best known at the time for his work on TV’s Arrested Development), and Jonah Hill (who was also starring that summer in the hit comedy Knocked Up). Their film, of course, was Superbad, which became a massive hit and turned the three of them into movie stars — at least for a while.
The 15th annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Film Awards, presented by Starz Entertainment, will honor Academy Award nominee Bennett Miller with its 2011 Hollywood Director Award.
Miller is being recognized for his work on the critically acclaimed blockbusterMoneyball, which was adapted fromMichael Lewis’s best-selling novel and stars Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s general managerBilly Beane. Miller will collect his statuette at the Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony, which will take place at the Beverly Hilton on Oct. 24.
50 gala and special presentation screenings for the 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival — the annual awards season kick-off, which will run this year from September 8 through the 18 (and receive full on-the-ground coverage from this site) — were announced earlier today.
As Jeff Wells notes, it’s somewhat surprising that “Carnage” (Sony Pictures Classics, ?/?, ?, ?) and “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” (Focus Features, ?/?, ?, trailer) — both of which will be playing at the Venice Film Festival, which overlaps with Toronto — are not among them. Still, the list includes plenty of riches, based on everything that I’ve seen and heard, thus far, and I just hope that there are enough hours in each day that I’m at the fest to see all of the films that I’d like to see.
At the moment, I’m most looking forward to these 25…
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.”
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.
Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of spending about 45-minutes on the telephone with Michelle Williams, who is not only one of America’s finest actresses — and, at 30, will probably remain one of them for decades to come — but who is also a deeply intelligent woman; a devoted single mother; and a real survivor. (She’s also not bad on the eyes!)
Williams became a star at the tender age of 17 on the hit TV show “Dawson’s Creek” (1998-2003) — I remember when it happened because I’m about the same age as her and often tuned in. She proved that she had the acting chops to match her looks in a number of early films, but especially “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), for which she received a best supporting actress Oscar nod. She attracted the interest of the tabloids when she first began dating her “Brokeback” co-star Heath Ledger, with whom she would eventually have a daughter, Matilda — and again in early 2008, when Ledger died suddenly. After a period of mourning and seclusion, Williams reemerged in a series of roles that brought her widespread acclaim — from the bare-bones indie “Wendy and Lucy” (2008) to the eccentric ensemble piece “Synecdoche, New York” (2008) to the Martin Scorsese-mystery “Shutter Island” (2010) — and, before long, she’ll be seen portraying another movie star who died far too young, Marilyn Monroe, in a biopic entitled “My Week with Marilyn.” Things have never looked better for her in terms of her career, but she’s not ruling out the possibility that she might wake up one day, decide that she’s had enough of it all, and call it quits. There’s more to life than being a movie star, she has learned.
Over the course of our conversation — a full transcript of which follows — Williams and I discussed virtually all of the above. We focused particularly, however, on the pinnacle achievement of her career up to this point: her remarkable performance in Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine” (The Weinstein Company, 12/31, NC-17, trailer), a gritty, honest, adult drama about the complexities of a relationship. (To me, at least, it’s somewhat reminiscent of a play and film that preceded it by half a century, “A Streetcar Named Desire.”) To play the part of a woman who falls in — and, six years later, out of — love with the same man (Ryan Gosling), a lot was asked of Williams — extensive emotional and physical nakedness, a quick weight gain, and even some tap-dancing — and, as anyone who has seen the film can attest, she certainly rose to the occasion.
- indieWIRE: Brian Brooks passes along the news that Annette Bening will be the recipient of the the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s American Riviera Award on January 28, just three days after this year’s Oscar nominations are announced. Bening, who is a best actress contender for her standout performances in both “The Kids Are All Right” and “Mother and Child,” joins an impressive list of recipients of this particular honor. Since it was created in 2004, all but one of the honorees went on to receive an Oscar nod, and three went on to win — Philip Seymour Hoffman for “Capote” (2005), Forest Whitaker for “The Last King of Scotland” (2006), and Sandra Bullock for “The Blind Side” (2009) just last year.
- The Hollywood Reporter: Mimi Turner summarizes the nominations for the British Independent Film Awards, which were announced yesterday. “The King’s Speech” led the field with eight nods — among them were best British independent film, best director (Tom Hooper), best actor (Colin Firth), best supporting actor (Geoffrey Rush), best supporting actress (Helena Bonham Carter), and best screenplay (David Seidler). It was not surprising that “Never Let Me Go” was also among the nominees for best British independent film, but the same cannot be said for the other three selections: “Four Lions,” “Kick Ass,” and “Monsters.” Last year’s big winner at BIFA was “Moon” (2009), which did not go on to receive a single Oscar nod. This year’s winners will be announced on December 5.
- The Awful Truth: Ted Casablanca reports on the latest public criticism of the MPAA for giving an NC-17 rating to Derek Cianfrance’s relationship drama “Blue Valentine” last month. Jamie Patricof, the film’s producer, told the audience at a recent screening that the MPAA’s issue is not only with the nudity and sex in one scene involving stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, but also its “dramatic elements,” which doesn’t really make sense to him or anyone else. Regardless, he made some news by stating unequivocally that “the filmmakers have no intention of changing the film” in order to resubmit it for a lower rating. (No word on how distributor Harvey Weinstein feels about that.) Casablanca asks, “Have the Oscars ever had an NC-17 Best Picture winner?” The answer? For all intents and purposes, yes — the film was “Midnight Cowboy” (1969), which was released before the current ratings system was in place and received an X, which basically meant the same thing.
- New York Times: Karen Durbin celebrates this award season’s “meaty roles for actors to chew on,” singling out Lesley Manville’s fragile alcoholic in “Another Year,” Lena Dunham’s disillusioned college graduate in “Tiny Furniture,” Stephen Dorff’s emotionally-conflicted movie star in “Somewhere,” Paprika Steen’s rehabilitating alcoholic/actress in “Applause,” and Maricel Alvarez’s youthful counterpart to Javier Bardem’s character in “Biutiful.”
- Los Angeles Times: Mark Olsen points that “location, location, location” can really play a central character in a film, as demonstrated by Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere,” which was shot almost entirely within the historic Chateau Marmont hotel in Los Angeles, “the discreetly decadent hotel tucked above Sunset Boulevard that combines the low-key luxury of contemporary Hollywood with the tarnished glamour of Tinseltown’s classic era.” Coppola states, “It’s sort of a rite of passage for an actor to live at the Chateau Marmont… it means you’ve made it, but you’re still ‘down-to-earth.'” Indeed, Stephen Dorff, the film’s star, personally lived there for a brief period early in his career.
- Los Angeles Times: Lisa Rosen takes a closer look at the real events that inspired Nigel Cole’s “Made in Dagenham,” a “cheeky and charming” portrayl of a ’60s strike by the women working in the Ford motor vehicle factory in Dagenham, England, as part of a valiant fight for equal pay for equal work. In the years since the strike, the story of the women who waged it has been largely largely forgotten — indeed, even the veteran British actress Miranda Richardson, who is one of the film’s stars, says that she was unaware of what had transpired before she read the script, and was largely inspired to take it on because “it’s good to know where you come from.”
- The Odds: Steve Pond feels that “the race is getting boring” and “somebody needs to open a big can of crazy.” It’s not that he has a problem with the most likely contenders, he writes, just that he also wants “unruly wild cards, movies that make you wonder how they ever got made, exhilarating experiences that you just know are going to baffle or upset a good chunk of the audience.” His suggestions? A best actor nod for Joaquin Phoenix (“I’m Still Here”), a best supporting actor nod for John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), a best supporting actress nod for Jacki Weaver (“Animal Kingdom”), and a best original screenplay nod for “Four Lions.”
Photo: Annette Bening in “Mother and Child.” Credit: Sony Pictures Classics.
- New York Press: Armond White, always the contrarian, trashes “The Social Network” — the most critically-acclaimed film of the year — for “sanctioning Harvard’s ‘masters of the universe’ mystique,” “[celebrating] moral confusion, social decline and empire building,” and “excusing Hollywood ruthlessness,” among other assorted ridiculous reasons. (Can somebody give this guy some Zoloft?)
- The Hollywood Reporter: Paul Bond reports that publicists for Disney, the studio that will be releasing “Secretariat,” have adopted the same promotional strategy employed by “The Blind Side” last year that led to huge box-office returns and Oscar nods for best picture and best actress: “going after what industry insiders like to call the ‘faith-based audience.'”
- The Playlist: Kevin Jagernauth obtains details about the soundtrack for the upcoming film “Country Strong,” which he refers to as “‘Crazy Heart’ 2.o,” and will feature songs performed by Gwyneth Paltrow, Tim McGraw, and Leighton Meester. CDs will arrive in stores on October 26th, almost two months before the film goes into limited release.
- New York Times: Dave Kehr pays tribute to the director Arthur Penn, who passed on Tuesday (a day after his 88th birthday), and who “transformed the American film industry” through his film “Bonnie and Clyde” (1967), as well as other classics including “The Miracle Worker” (1962), “The Chase” (1966), and “Little Big Man” (1970).
- The Odds: Steve Pond learns that Harrison Ford has been selected as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 2011 recipient of the Kirk Douglas Award for Excellence in Film, which will be presented to the actor at a black-tie gala on November 19 — one week after the film “Morning Glory,” in which Ford stars, opens in theaters. Douglas quipped, “It’s always a pleasure to honor these young actors who do so well.”
- Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil shares the full list of Academy screenings scheduled for September and October, noting that “audience reaction is closely monitored by studio reps and award consultants, who count attendees and the number of walkouts, monitor applause (sudden loud clapping when the name of a director or costume designer appears on screen as the credits roll may mean a nomination is ahead), and eavesdrop on chatter in the lobby afterward.”
- Thompson on Hollywood: Anne Thompson confirms that the Academy’s submission deadline for all foreign language and short films (live action and animated) is 5pm PST this coming Friday, October 1. Each country is invited to enter one foreign language film for consderation, and over 55 have been submitted, thus far.
- Thompson on Hollywood: Sohpia Savage offers her take on the 30 most influential indie films from the past 30 years, as selected by 27 members of the board of directors of the Independent Film & Television Alliance on the occasion of the group’s 30th anniversary. The list includes “My Left Foot” (1989), “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), “Juno” (2007), and even “Twilight” (2008), but inexplicably excludes “Little Miss Sunshine” (2006).
- USA Today: Anthony Breznican describes the plans of Lucasfilm to convert all six “Star Wars” films into 3-D (under the oversight of John Knoll, visual effects supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic) and then begin re-releasing them in theaters in 2012 (in the order in which they take place, as opposed to the order in which they were released).
- The Hollywood Reporter: Carl DiOrio explains the debate within the film industry over whether/how to respond to audiences’ demand for “on-demand” without killing off retailers. One idea: “Those paying $25-$50 to watch a movie on their cable or satellite PPV service would qualify for a coupon redeemable at disc retailers for a free DVD of the same title.”
- Vulture: Ross Kenneth Urken writes that Chris Noth, aka “Mr. Big” in the “Sex and the City” TV show and films, showed up at the premiere of Philip Seymour Hoffman’s “Jack Goes Boating” and responded to a question about “Sex and the City” from New York magazine by saying: “It’s over. The franchise is dead. The press killed it. Your magazine fucking killed it.” To which I say, “Some labels are best left in the closet!”
Photo: Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford in “Morning Glory.” Credit: Paramount.
Philip Seymour Hoffman’s directorial debut “Jack Goes Boating” (Overture, 9/17, trailer) premiered on Sunday at the Isabel Bader Theatre as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. Hoffman told the audience that the project began four years ago at his LAByrinth Theater Company when a group of actors and writers sat down and started bandying about story ideas. Eventually, it was decided that he and three of his closest friends from the acting community—Oscar nominee Amy Ryan (“Gone Baby Gone”), John Ortiz, and Daphne Rubin-Vega—would play the key parts.
By John H. Foote, ScottFeinberg.com contributor
(and former director of the Toronto Film School)
In 2007, four of the five films that were eventually nominated for the best picture Oscar screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, along with numerous other films that went on to score nominations in other categories. “No Country for Old Men” would win the Oscar for best picture over fellow TIFF films “Atonement,” “Juno,” and “Michael Clayton,” as well as “There Will Be Blood” (which was not screened until well after the festival), but to be honest I left nearly every TIFF film that I saw that year with the sense that I had seen one of the year’s best pictures.