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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Goldwyn’

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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Monday November 22nd, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 11/22/10

  • 60 Minutes: Lara Logan profiles the actor/producer Mark Wahlberg, who she says “has made a career of reinventing himself like no one else in show business,” just a few weeks before the release of “The Fighter,” a film that he produced and stars in as his childhood hero. He takes her back to Boston and opens up about his “reckless youth,” including an assault that he committed at the age of 16 that left a man blind and resulted in him serving 45 days in jail. That harrowing experience, he says, gave him the drive to make something more of his life — first as a rapper, then as a model, and now as an Oscar-nominated actor and producer who is on the brink of unveiling his “proudest achievement” yet.
  • Gold Derby: Tom O’Neil claims that certain members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association “absolutely love” the recent blockbuster thriller “Red” and says that we should “expect it to bag noms for best comedy/musical picture, actor (Bruce Willis) and maybe even supporting actor (John Malkovich as a conspiracy-minded LSD tripper) and supporting actress (Helen Mirren as a machine-gun-toting Rambo).”
  • New York Times: Brooks Barnes adds to the mounting expectations of “Tangled,” the 50th animated film from Disney, which reportedly cost $175 million to make and “will carry global marketing costs in excess of $100 million.” Disney’s chief creative officer John Lasseter, who has spent over three years working on the film since the 2006 Disney-Pixar merger left him in charge of the studio, tells Barnes: ““This film is as good as a Pixar film, but it’s classic Disney, and I love that: heart, humor, beauty, music, wonderment, the love story.”
  • The Big Picture: Patrick Goldstein highlights one of the most glaring omissions from the recently released list of films eligible for this year’s best documentary feature Oscar: Werner Herzog’s visually stunning 3-D doc “Cave of Forgotten Dreams.” He was previously snubbed five years ago for his critically-acclaimed doc “Grizzly Man” (2005), but was nominated three years ago for “Encounters at the End of the World” (2007).
  • Awards Tracker: Susan King reports that best actress hopeful Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”) will receive the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s 2011 Vanguard Award following a career tribute on February 5. According to the festival, the award was created to annually recognize “an actor who has forged his/her own path, taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.” Previous recipients have included Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Christoph Waltz.
  • Imageworks: As part of the no-holds-barred Oscar campaign for “Alice in Wonderland,” the special effects firm Sony Pictures Imageworks has invited select journalists to have tea with the visual effects and animation team responsible for the film, as well as to have “an individual opportunity to sit at an Avid at Sony Pictures Imageworks with one of our editors and a member of the visual effects and animation production team” for a demonstration of some of the work that went into the production of the film’s “nearly 2500 visual effects and animation shots.”
  • Los Angeles Times: Mark Olsen profiles the 24-year-old writer/director/actress Lena Dunham, who has made a big impression with “Tiny Furniture,” her debut film, and is now being “courted by Hollywood.” As Dunham puts it, her story could be succinctly described as: “girl makes movie about being a loser and then gets un-loserly things to happen to her.”
  • Hollywood-Elsewhere: Jeff Wells confirms that director Steven Spielberg will indeed adapt a still-to-be-written Tony Kushner script about Abraham Lincoln into a feature film, and that the 16th president will be played not by the Irish actor Liam Neeson, who was the rumored frontrunner for the part, but rather by the British actor Daniel Day-Lewis. Cinephiles largely cheered the casting of the two time best actor Oscar winner (who traveled on Friday to Springfield, Illinois and received a tour of relevant historical sites from Lincoln historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.) The film is due out in 2012.
  • The Film Experience: Nathaniel Rogers chats with the 37-year-old actress Juliette Lewis, who was nominated for the best supporting actress Oscar nearly two decades ago for “Cape Fear” (1991) and is hoping to be nominated for it again for this year’s Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction.” She has only two brief scenes in the film, but, as Rogers writes, audiences can’t take their eyes of her when she’s on screen, and it seems likely that they will lead to other, more substantial acting roles for her in the near future.

Photo: Mark Wahlberg in “The Fighter.” Credit: Paramount.

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.

Wednesday October 6th, 2010

YOUR DAILY FIX OF OSCAR: 10/6/10

  • The Playlist: Kevin Jagernauth reports that the organizers of the Academy Awards are exploring the possibility of moving up the 2012 ceremony to January as part of “a continuing effort to boost flagging viewership.” It would, however, face “considerable competition from the last weeks of the NFL season” and “the window to get out screeners” would become very condensed (which has prompted discussion about a secure Web site through which members could instantly access films online).
  • CNN: Larry King announces that he will devote the full hour of tonight’s “Larry King Live” to the new film “Conviction,” another huge coup for the folks at Fox Searchlight. Guests will include the film’s director Tony Goldwyn; stars Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, and Minnie Driver; and real-life inspirations Betty Anne Waters, Abra Rice, and Barry Scheck. Also appearing will be 12 individuals from across the country who were convicted of crimes they did not commit, and who were eventually exonerated thanks to the efforts of The Innocence Project.
  • IFC News: Allison Willmore offers a great rebuttal to Rebecca Davis O’Brien’s complaints about the portrayal of women in “The Social Network,” asserting that the film doesn’t have a problem with women, but rather its characters do. “It’s a story about guys,” she writes. “Desperate, socially inept guys. It’s a cinematic sausage fest!”
  • In Contention: Kris Tapley, who has championed Peter Weir’s “The Way Back” since seeing it at Telluride, is pleased to report that the newly-formed shingle Wrekin Hill Entertainment, in partnership with Newmarket Films, will provide the film with a one-week Oscar qualifying run in December prior to releasing in in select theaters on January 21, 2011.
  • Los Angeles Times: Patrick Goldstein describes “The Social Network” as “an old-fashioned writer’s picture, a quintessential Aaron Sorkin story crammed full of dazzling dialogue, audacious characters and a rich smorgasbord of moral issues worthy of prolonged debate,” and argues that the reason there are so few other films like it is because television is now a much more welcoming medium for writers. Sorkin concurs, telling Goldstein, “If Herman Mankiewicz, Billy Wilder, Preston Sturges, and Budd Schulberg were alive today, they’d be writing on TV.”
  • Los Angeles Times: Steven Zeitchik recounts “The Social Network” screenwriter Aaron Sorkin’s controversial remarks on the debut episode of CNN’s “Parker Spitzer” — “Sarah Palin is an idiot… a remarkably, stunningly, jaw-droppingly incompetent, mean woman… the Democrats have moved to the center, but the Republicans have moved into a mental institution”  — and wonders if it will impact the film’s performance  at the box-office.
  • TV Hunter: Hunter Walker learns that the cable network FX has purchased the broadcast rights to two recently released films, “The Social Network” and “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps,” adding them to a stable of recent acquisitions that also includes “The A-Team,” “Date Night,” “The Karate Kid,” and “Salt.”
  • The New Republic: Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor, calls “The Social Network” a “deeply, deeply flawed film,” but his gripe actually seems to be more with the shortcomings of the American legal system and the things that the film does not address than with the film itself.

Photo: Minnie Driver and Hilary Swank in “Conviction.” Credit: Fox Searchlight.

Tuesday September 28th, 2010

VIDEO: PRISON EXONEREES ENDORSE “CONVICTION” DURING MOVING Q&A

Last night, following a special screening of “Conviction” (Fox Searchlight, 10/15, trailer) in Boston that was put together for The New England Innocence Project, I moderated a Q&A with the film’s director, Tony Goldwyn, a class act who I know through our common alma mater; one of its stars, Sam Rockwell, who plays Kenny Waters, a man who was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he did not commit; and the woman who inspired it in the first place, Betty Anne Waters, Kenny’s sister, who spent 18 years of her life fighting to exonerate him.

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Tuesday September 28th, 2010

“CONVICTION,” ROCKWELL, AND LEO WIN BIG AT BOSTON FILM FESTIVAL

Tony Goldwyn’s “Conviction” (Fox Searchlight, 10/15, trailer), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month and will open nationwide in a few weeks, was named the best film of the 2010 Boston Film Festival a few days ago. Two of the film’s stars, Sam Rockwell and Melissa Leo, were also honored — Rockwell was named best actor (even though he is being pushed for a best supporting actor Oscar nod) and Leo was named best supporting actress (even though castmate Juliette Lewis is much more likely to snag an Oscar nod in the category; the festival said Leo was being recognized for “Conviction” as well as “Welcome to the Rileys” and “The Fighter,” which strikes me as odd because nobody has even seen “The Fighter” yet).

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Wednesday September 1st, 2010

THE FATE OF THE MULTI-HYPHENATE

Michael Cieply‘s profile of Ben Affleck in yesterday’s New York Times notes that an unusually high number of films directed by actors will be playing at next weeks’s Toronto International Film Festival:

  • Ben Affleck‘s “The Town” (Warner Brothers, 9/17, trailer)
  • Clint Eastwood‘s “Hereafter” (Warner Brothers, 10/22, no trailer yet)
  • Emilio Estevez‘s “The Way” (still seeking domestic distribution)
  • Tony Goldwyn‘s “Conviction” (Fox Searchlight, 10/15, trailer)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s “Jack Goes Boating” (Overture, 9/17, trailer)
  • Robert Redford‘s “The Conspirator” (still seeking domestic distribution)
  • David Schwimmer‘s “Trust” (still seeking domestic distribution)

This, naturally, got me thinking about the Oscar track record of films directed by actors in the best picture race and actors directing films in the best director race…

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Tuesday August 24th, 2010

ROLLIN’ THE DEIS IN HOLLYWOOD

With kids heading back to school this week, my thoughts turned to my alma mater, Brandeis University, and something fairly striking dawned on me: this little east-coast liberal arts college, which has never had an undergraduate enrollment of more than 3,000 or so since its founding in 1948, has produced no fewer than three of this year’s awards season contenders…

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