‘Interstellar’ Looks to Join a Short List of Space-Related Films to Garner Best Picture Oscar Noms ... Comedic Foreign Language Films Rarely Receive Oscar Nominations ... IDA Nominations: Doc Community Gets Behind ‘Citizenfour,’ ‘Finding Vivian Maier’ (Analysis) ... Jessica Chastain’s Incredible Rise ... Oscar Contender and New Marvel Superhero Chadwick Boseman on His Journey to Stardom ... ‘Mr. Turner’ Could Lead Timothy Spall to An Oscar Nomination ... Christopher Nolan’s ‘Interstellar’ May Not Be the Awards Juggernaut Everyone Expected ... Few Women-Centric Films Have Garnered Best Picture Nominations ...
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Posts Tagged ‘Roman Polanski’

Wednesday February 16th, 2011

TRIVIA QUESTION: WIN THE NOVEL AND DVD OF “THE GHOST WRITER”

Question: This year, the animated films “Tangled” and “Toy Story 3” received nominations for best animated film (feature) and best original song. What was the first animated film to receive a nomination for best original?

Prize: The first person to correctly answer this question in the comments section below will win Robert Harris’s novel “The Ghost Writer” and Roman Polanski’s film of the same title. (Be sure to provide your email address so that we can contact you for your mailing address in the event that you win!)

CONTEST OVER: The first person to identify “Gulliver’s Travels” (1939) was Mikhael Tarigan, who will be contacted shortly — congratulations!

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Monday January 10th, 2011

FLASH: ACADEMY MEMBER “DEEP VOTE” SHARES HIS NOMINATION BALLOT!

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 in order to help to peel back the curtain on the Oscar voting process. 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); 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); column eight about 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); column nine about The Ghost Writer” (Summit, 2/19, PG-13, trailer), The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company, 11/26, R, trailer), and “The Town” (Warner Brothers, 9/17, R, trailer); and column ten about Black Swan” (Fox Searchlight, 12/3, R, trailer), “Conviction” (Fox Searchlight, 10/15, R, trailer), and “I Am Love” (Magnolia, 6/18, R, trailer).

This week, he saw three more contenders (about which he will write next week) — “All Good Things” (Magnolia, 12/3, R, trailer), “Animal Kingdom” (Sony Pictures Classics, 8/13, R, trailer), and “The Way Back” (Newmarket, 12/29, PG-13, trailer) — and shares with us the films that he has listed on his Oscar nominations ballots (in order of preference, as is required). As a member of the writing branch of the Academy, he is eligible to vote in the best picture, best adapted screenplay, and best original screenplay categories during this phase (but opted not vote for the maximum number of films in any of those categories). Here are his selections, along with a bit of commentary explaining each of them…

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Monday January 10th, 2011

FINAL DGA NOMINATIONS FORECAST

Tomorrow, the Directors Guild of America will announce its five nominees for the 2010 DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film. I believe that they will be (in alphabetical order)…

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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.

Wednesday December 29th, 2010

“DEEP VOTE” ON “THE GHOST WRITER,” “THE KING’S SPEECH,” AND “THE TOWN”

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); 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); and column eight about 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).

This week, he assesses three more awards hopefuls: “The Ghost Writer” (Summit, 2/19, PG-13, trailer), The King’s Speech” (The Weinstein Company, 11/26, R, trailer), and “The Town” (Warner Brothers, 9/17, R, trailer)

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Monday December 6th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 12/6/10

  • The Hollywood Reporter: Stephen Galloway interviews Michael Douglas, a best actor hopeful for “Solitary Man” and a best supporting actor hopeful for “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” about his rollercoaster of a year. The 66-year-old, “looking surprisingly well” and “nothing whatsoever like the haggard figure that graces the National Enquirer and its kin,” tells him, “After all the adversity I’ve had this year with my health and my son’s incarceration, my ex-wife and the lawsuit — to be able to sit here and talk to you, I’m so happy.”
  • New York Times: Dennis Lim chats for 45 minutes with Christian Bale, a best supporting actor hopeful for “The Fighter,” during which Bale restates his aversion to interviews. “There’s only one reason to talk about a movie ahead of time, and that’s to let people know it’s coming out,” Bale says. “I want people to go see movies that I make. If I knew they’d go see them anyway, if I knew that I’d keep working, I’d never do another interview in my life.” Upon being asked about awards campaigning, Bale adds, “I’ll campaign for the movie, but I won’t campaign for myself.”
  • Inside Movies: Adam Markovitz shares a letter that Rooney Mara, a best supporting actress hopeful for “The Social Network,” sent to Entertainment Weekly from the Stockholm, Sweden set of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” In it, the 25-year-old up-and-comer pokes poking fun at the tendency of David Fincher, her director in both of the aforementioned films, to demand dozens of takes from his actors. “It’s -9 degrees Celsius. 37 takes down, only about 42 more to go,” she writes. “Every time he says, ‘Okay, last one,’ I fall for it. Every. Single. Time. If only I could get this damn shrug right, then maybe I could go inside and my nipple ring would have time to thaw out.”
  • Deadline Hollywood: Nikki Finke confirms that The Weinstein Co. has moved the theatrical release date of John Wells’s “The Company Men” from December 10 to January 21, apparently due to December’s overcrowded lineup of big releases. Finke notes, however, that the studio still plans on giving the film an Oscar-qualifying run, meaning that it will play for one week at one theater in New York and one theater in Los Angeles before the end of the year.
  • Celebuzz: Jamie Patricof, one of the producers of “Blue Valentine,” posts a picture of the full-page ad that The Weinstein Co. took out in last Friday’s Los Angeles Times on behalf of the film in advance of the MPAA’s decision on whether or not to reduce its rating of the film from NC-17 to R. The ad reads: “Before the MPAA makes their decision, MAKE YOURS.”

Photo: Michael Douglas in “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Monday November 8th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/8/10

  • indieWIRE: Peter Knegt reports that Roman Polanski’s dramatic thriller “The Ghost Writer” garnered a field-leading seven nominations for the 2010 European Film Awards including one for best film. “The most notable aspect of the nominations,” he writes, “was the fairly remarkable batch of films absent from the awards’ top category,” including Mike Leigh’s “Another Year,” Luca Guadagnino’s “I Am Love,” Olivier Assayas’s “Carlos,” Abbas Kiarostami’s “Certified Copy,” and Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist.” Knegt adds, though, that “some of those films picked up nominations in other categories.” Winners will be announced at a ceremony on December 4 in Tallinn, Estonia.
  • New York Times: A.O. Scott visits with his great uncle, the legendary character actor Eli Wallach, less than a week before the Academy presents the 94-year-old with an honorary Oscar at its second annual Governors Awards ceremony.
  • Virgin Media: An unattributed report features quotes from the actress Mila Kunis about her portrayal of Natalie Portman’s nemesis in the soon-to-be-released thriller “Black Swan.” Regarding her lesbian sex scene with Portman, Kunis acknowledged, “It is slightly uncomfortable to have to be intimate with a good friend. The scene’s important for the character, but we went in going, ‘This is going to be a little different,’ yeah.” Kunis added, “She’s the strangest character I’ve ever played.”
  • New York Times: Manohla Dargis dissects director Tyler Perry (“For Colored Girls”), a film industry phenomenon who “has been led out to critical slaughter so many times, it might seem a wonder that he continues to make movies,” but who has found “enormous commercial success with a mainly black audience.” As Dargis puts it, “Whether you like Mr. Perry’s work may depend on your color or sex or love of boiling melodrama, ribald comedy, abrupt tonal shifts, blunt social messages, unforced talk about God, and flourishes of camp, sometimes whipped together in one scene.”
  • indieWIRE: Peter Knegt breaks down the impressive box-office numbers generated this weekend by “127 Hours,” which played in just four theaters in New York and Los Angeles but raked in $265,925 revenue from — or, in other words, “a whopping $66,481 per-theater-average.” That number comes close to but does not surpass 2010’s record, which is held by “The Kids Are All Right,” which brought in $70,282-per-seven screens this past July, but it is “now the clear runner-up, beating out ‘The Ghost Writer‘ and ‘Cyrus,’ which each had debut averages around $45,000.”
  • The Observer: Sean O’Hagan chats about cinema’s “digital revolution” with Hussain Currimbhoy, curator of Britain’s Sheffield Doc/Fest. The duo specifically focus on the unprecedented access to “affordable high-end digital camera and laptop technology,” and Lucy Walker, the young director of two of this year’s top docs — “Countdown to Zero” and “Waste Land” — insists that this low-budget technologyis responsible for “a golden age of documentary filmmaking” that is now upon us.
  • 24 Frames: Amy Kaufman sits down with three of Hollywood’s hottest young stars — Jesse Eisenberg, 27, Andrew Garfield, 27, and Carey Mulligan, 25 — to discuss the ways in which they handle “the challenges of global stardom as twentysomethings,” as well the perks of the job (including private jets, which Eisenberg tells her he enjoys because they are bigger than his New York City apartment.) This year, Eisenberg and Garfield co-starred in “The Social Network” and Garfield and Mulligan co-starred in “Never Let Me Go.”
  • Vanity Fair: Kate Reardon profiles the up-and-coming French actress Clemence Poesy, who American audiences will soon come to know as the ex-girlfriend of Aron Ralston (James Franco) in Danny Boyle’s heart-pounding “127 Hours.” The 27-year-old, described as “polite, enthusiastic, and well educated,” will subsequently star in the title role of a new adaptation of the Joan of Arc story.
  • 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik wonders what exactly propelled Bruce Beresford’s “Mao’s Last Dancer,” an Australian-produced film that “features no big-name stars, drew mediocre reviews, and traffics in the esoterica of Chinese ballet,” to become one of the most acclaimed art-house hits of the year. “Despite a tough climate for specialty films,” Zeitchik writes, “the largely English-language movie is nearing the $5 million mark in U.S. box office ($4.5 million coming into this weekend) — an impressive run that’s lasted nearly three months.”
  • New York Times: Margalit Fox mourns the passing of actress Jill Clayburgh, who died on Friday at the age of 66 following a 21-year battle with chronic leukemia. Clayburgh, who was best known for her strong feminist roles — especially those in “An Unmarried Woman” (1978) and “Starting Over” (1979), both of which brought her best actress Oscar nods — and whose final performance can be seen in the upcoming “Love and Other Drugs,” in which she portrays the mother of Jake Gyllenhaal’s character.
  • Movieline: Dixon Gaines reports that Oscar show producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer asked Hugh Jackman, who hosted the 81st Academy Awards in 2009, to host the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27, 2011, but were turned down by the actor. Gaines, therefore, offers a few “humble suggestions” for others to whom the producers could turn: among them, Neil Patrick Harris, Steve Martin, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Joan Rivers. (Other reports suggest that 88-year-old Betty White is being seriously considered for the job!)

Photo: Ewan McGregor in “The Ghost Writer.” Credit: Summit.

Thursday November 4th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/4/10

  • The Rundown: James Rocchi talks with Lane Kneedler, associate director of programming for the AFI Film Festival, about the decision to host the Los Angeles event free of charge throughout its span from Nov. 4 through the 11. Kneedler explained, “From a programming perspective, it was very liberating and encouraging… We found that audiences would go see more challenging films, would take more risks, and were more adventurous in their choices if tickets were free.” The fest kicks off at 7:30pm PST tonight with the world premiere of “Love and Other Drugs.”
  • 24 Frames: Steven Zeitchik believes that studios with politically-themed flicks this year made a calculated decision to wait until after the midterm elections that took place on Tuesday — consider “Fair Game” and “Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer” (this Friday), “The King’s Speech” (11/26), “The Company Men” (12/10), and “Casino Jack” (12/17) — because “it was better to steer clear of the election traffic than to try to navigate it.” He wonders, however, if “Hollywood might have tapped into a growing interest by coming out earlier.”
  • Rope of Silicon: Bred Brevet monitors the best animated feature film race as it enters its homestretch — the public has already seen “Toy Story 3” and “How to Train Your Dragon,” and will be introduced to DreamWorks’s “Megamind” this weekend and Disney’s “Tangled” over Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The last yet-to-be-released animated contender? Sony Pictures Classics’s “The Illusionist,” which won’t hit theaters until Christmas Day.
  • Movie Line: S.T. VanAirsdale looks over The Weinstein Company’s newly-released poster for “The King’s Speech” and mutters, “Looks like someone needs needs more than just speech therapy.” Why does VanAirsdale feel that it’s “terrible”? He points to incorrect spelling and grammar in the tagline; poor selection and photoshopping of the image; and the absence of any mention of the fact two of the film’s three stars are previous Oscar nominees (Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter) and the other is a previous Oscar winner (Geoffrey Rush).
  • USA Today: Claudia Puig provides her annual list of films and performances that came out prior to the awards season rush but, she feels, “should not be forgotten by Oscar.” Among those name-checked: “Nowhere Boy,” the tale of John Lennon’s teenage years in Liverpool; “The Ghost Writer,” Roman Polanski’s comeback thriller; and best supporting actor long-shot John Hawkes (“Winter’s Bone”), of whom Puig writes, “Of all the year’s performances, his keeps the viewer most on edge and off balance.”
  • WaxWords: Sharon Waxman believes that few of this year’s Oscar contenders have “female characters of any great consequence,” singling out “127 Hours,” “Biutiful,” “The Fighter,” “Inception,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Social Network,” and “True Grit” as particularly egregious offenders. Waxman’s complaint is off the mark, though: female characters are central to “Biutiful” (Maricel Alvarez’s), “The Fighter” (Amy Adams’s and Melissa Leo’s) and “True Grit” (Hailee Steinfeld’s); are absent from “127 Hours” and “The Social Network” because they were largely absent from the true stories on which those films are based; and are more prevalent in awards films this year than any other in recent memory (no fewer than two dozen are in serious contention for a best actress nod).
  • Awards Tracker: Tom O’Neil warns audiences not to rule out Clint Eastwood’s “Hereafter” because of its initial lukewarm critical reception, noting that Jerry Zucker’s “Ghost” (1990), another film about the afterlife, was greeted similarly but still managed to snag five Oscar nods (including one for best picture) and win two (best supporting actress for Whoopi Goldberg and best original screenplay). A key difference that Tom neglects to mention, though, is that “Ghost” was a blockbuster (it took second place at the box-office the weekend that it opened and went on to gross over $200 million internationally) whereas “Hereafter” has been a flop (it has been in wide-release for two weeks, and was in limited release before that, but has still earned back only $23 million of its $50 million budget).
  • The Wrap: Jeff Sneider finds that the MPAA — on the heels of issuing surprisingly harsh ratings to “Blue Valentine” (NC-17) and “The King’s Speech” (R) — is at it again, this time slapping James L. Brooks’s upcoming rom-com “How Do You Know” with an unexpected R for “some language.” “Individuals familiar with the project have confirmed that producers are planning to appeal the rating,” Sneider reports, but no official statement has been released yet.
  • The Odds: Steve Pond compliments the unconventional, simplistic creativity of Fox Searchlight’s most recent promotional mailing, two feathers, one black and one white, inside a black envelope sent from a “Nina Sayers” — the name of the character portrayed by Natalie Portman in the upcoming dramatic-thriller “Black Swan.”
  • The Hollywood Reporter: Gregg Kilday previews the first Museum of Tolerance International Film Festival, which will run from November 13-22 at the Los Angeles Museum of Toleranceopen, and will open with Peter Weir’s “The Way Back,” a film about “a small group prisoners who escaped a Siberian gulag in 1940 and made their way across five countries.” Fellow awards hopeful “Made in Dagenham,” a film inspired by the true story of female factory workers in England who went on strike in the sixties seeking equal pay for equal work, will also play the festival.

Photo: Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway in a promotional photo for “Love and Other Drugs.” Credit: 20th Century Fox.

Wednesday September 29th, 2010

R.I.P. OSCAR NOMINEE JOE MANTELL, 94, ONE OF THE GREAT CHARACTER ACTORS

Joe Mantell, one of Hollywood’s most prolific character actors for over half a century, has passed away at the age of 94, his family informed me this evening. Mantell is probably best remembered for “Marty” — both the landmark live television version that aired on “The Philco Television Playhouse” in 1953, with Rod Steiger, and the best picture winning film version in 1955, with Ernest Borgnine — in which he portrayed the title character’s best friend Angie, who famously asks him over and over again, “Well, what do you feel like doin’ tonight?” (He was nominated for the best supporting actor Oscar for the latter.)

Mantell seemed to pop up in at least one classic television show or motion picture every decade. After appearing on stage in New York and studying at the famed Actors Lab in Hollywood, he made his big screen debut as a newsboy in Joseph H. Lewis’s “The Undercover Man” (1949). In the 1950s, he played the lead in “Guilty Witness” (1955), a memorable installment of Alfred Hitchcock’s popular television series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” and worked with Jerry Lewis in the film “The Sad Sack” (1957). In the 1960s, he had a recurring part on the CBS series “Pete and Gladys” (1960-1962), and starred in two of the most celebrated episodes of Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone,” playing a small-time criminal with a guilty conscience in “Nervous Man in a Four Dollar Room” (1960) and a promoter representing a mechanic boxer in “Steel” (1963). (In “Nervous Man,” he lectured a mirror — “You talkin’ to me? You talkin’ to me? Oh yeah. Yeah, sure you are.” — years before Robert De Niro did the same in “Taxi Driver.”) He also appeared in Hitchcock’s “The Birds” (1963), playing a traveling salesman who tells an elderly ornithologist defending the birds that the town should “Kill ’em all!” In the 1970s, he played the partner of Jack Nicholson’s private eye in Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” (1974) and delivered one of the most famous lines of dialogue in film history, closing the film by saying, “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.” Mantell and Nicholson became close during the making of the film and reunited 16 years later for its sequel, “The Two Jakes” (1990).

Mantell, who was born on December 21, 1915 in New York, died today at the Providence Tarzana Medical Center in Tarzana, California, with his family by his side, following a long illness. He had lived in nearby Encino since 1961, and is survived by his wife Mary, daughters Jeannie and Cathy, son Robert, daughter-in-law Glei, and grandchildren Liam and Kyler. He will be laid to rest at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in California. A private funeral service is planned for Sunday.

UPDATE: I just got off the phone with 93-year-old Borgnine, who won the best actor Oscar for his performance opposite Mantell in “Marty,” and who was terribly saddened to learn of Mantell’s death: “Since the time we made the picture, we’ve never seen each other. I don’t know why — we live close by and everything else, and I’ve often wondered about Joe, and what he’s doing, and everything else — but we never got together again. But I’ll tell you one thing: he was a wonderful actor, and he made me look good, God bless him. He was just that kind of a wonderful partner who’s right there in the midst of it, you know what I mean? And he made it real, you know?” He added, “I can’t say enough about Joe, by golly. He was a heck of a good guy, and a wonderful actor, and unassuming as hell.”

Photo: Ernest Borgnine and Joe Mantell in the film version of “Marty” (1955). Credit:United Artists.

Friday September 24th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 9/24/10

  • The Hollywood Reporter: Paul Bond reviews Forbes magazine’s newly updated list of the 400 Richest People in America and finds that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($6.9 billion), the focus of the upcoming film “The Social Network,” is ranked ahead of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the primary stakeholder in Pixar, for the first time.
  • The Wrap: Dylan Stableford questions the timing and motivation of the $100 million donation to Newark, New Jersey public schools that Zuckerberg plans to announce today on “Oprah.” Is it just an attempt to bury the critical attention that “The Social Network,” which also premieres today at the New York Film Festival, is likely to bring him and his company?
  • Yahoo! Movies: The Weinstein Company has finally released a trailer for Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech,” which won the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and is likely to be one of the biggest Oscar contenders of the season.
  • Hollywood News: Linny Lum reports on the announcement by Don Mischer and Bruce Cohen, who were recently named co-producers for the telecast of the 83rd Academy Awards, that Emmy winner Steve Bass will be serving as the show’s production designer.
  • The Guardian: Peter Walker recaps Joaquin Phoenix’s return to the set of David Letterman’s “The Late Show” 18 months after his bizarre appearance that we now know was part of a performance for the recently-released documentary “I’m Still Here.” Phoenix told Dave, “I apologize” and “I hope I didn’t offend you in any way.”
  • Hitfix: Greg Ellwood smells “Oscar bait” as Roman Polanski announces that he will be directing a film adaptation of the Tony winning Broadway play “God of Carnage” with Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, and Matt Dillon, who have collectively earned 12 nominations and four statuettes.
  • Awards Daily: Sasha Stone asks, “Is it finally time for the AMPAS to recognize the ‘Harry Potter‘ series?” In a word… no.

Photo: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: ?