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Foreign-Language Oscar Nominees Make Joint Political Statement

24 February 2017 5:05 PM, PST

In the 2017 Oscar race, politics have informed several Oscar categories, most notably Best Foreign Language Film.

Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who won an Oscar in 2012 for “A Separation” and whose second Oscar-nominated film, “The Salesman” (Cohen Media), is playing on more than 65 screens and has passed the $1 million mark, grabbed a lot of press when he canceled his plans to attend the February 26th Oscars ceremony following Trump’s Muslim travel ban for visitors from seven countries, including Iran. (Farhadi’s full statement is here.) He is currently the favorite to win the Oscar.

Read More: Why Asghar Farhadi’s ‘The Salesman’ Should Win the Foreign Language Oscar — Consider This

Before and just after the Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on February 6, Farhadi communicated with his four fellow foreign directors — Maren Ade of “Toni Erdmann,” Hannes Holm of “A Man Called Ove,” Martin Zandvliet of “Land of Mine” and Bentley Dean and Martin Butler of “Tanna. »


- Anne Thompson

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Rip Entertainment Writer Amy Dawes, Who Spent 30 Years Writing About the Movies

24 February 2017 4:23 PM, PST

After a valiant two-year fight against lung and stomach cancer, entertainment journalist and screenwriter Amy Dawes died at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles Friday morning, according to her husband Billy Vasquez, who was by her side.

Over three decades, Dawes wrote insightfully about movies, television, music, popular culture and the city of Los Angeles. She was the consummate Hollywood insider and contributed frequently to Emmy Magazine and the Director’s Guild Quarterly as well as the Los Angeles Times, IndieWire, L.A. Weekly, Buzz magazine, the Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone and Santa Fe. After working eight years as a film reporter and senior features editor at Daily Variety, she served as the editor of Creative Screenwriting Magazine. She also held staff positions at The Los Angeles Daily News and the L.A. Herald-Examiner.

She wrote several screenplays, including Deborah Attoinese’s indie drama “Zoe” (2001).

Over the years she has »


- Anne Thompson

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Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro’s ‘The Irishman’ Headed to Netflix — Exclusive

21 February 2017 6:11 PM, PST

In a sign of the ongoing power shift in Hollywood, Martin Scorsese’s $100-million gangster movie “The Irishman,” his ninth starring Robert De Niro, has been scooped up by Netflix, which is in the process of closing a deal to release the movie to its 93 million subscribers in 190 countries.

The movie was going to be backed by Paramount Pictures, but with its 12-year chairman Brad Grey heading out the door, Scorsese’s team put together another package. As someone close to the deal put it, “Scorsese’s movie is a risky deal, and Paramount is not in the position to take risks. This way, he can make the project he wants.”

We now live in a world where Netflix is in a better position than any major studio to make a Martin Scorsese-Robert DeNiro gangster movie. Netflix would not comment on the deal.

Steve Zaillian adapted “The Irishman »


- Anne Thompson

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Jon Favreau’s VFX Master: Why ‘The Jungle Book’ Will Win the Only Oscar It Can Get

20 February 2017 3:26 PM, PST

Last year, the Academy rewarded George Miller’s Best-Picture contender “Mad Max: Fury Road” with 10 Oscar nominations and six wins. Jon Favreau’s “The Jungle Book” belongs in the same cinematic groundbreaker category, but partly because Disney marketing wasn’t able to pull the movie out of its family movie ghetto, only the Visual Effects branch of the Academy nominated this wondrous achievement that wowed global moviegoers to the tune of $964 million worldwide.

Favreau and screenwriter Justin Marks took Rudyard Kipling’s classic tales of Mowgli and his brothers and, with help from James Cameron and Martin Scorsese’s go-to VFX master Rob Legato (“Titanic,” “Aviator,” “Hugo”), created a seamlessly natural digital world with many vibrant animal characters — and one live boy (Neel Sethi).

Read More: Why Photographic Realism Makes Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book’ the VFX Oscar Favorite

Finally, “The Jungle Book” will win an Oscar for its only nomination, »


- Anne Thompson

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Trump, Triumph and Speaking Truth to Power: Politics Take a Bow at 2017 Writers Guild Awards

19 February 2017 9:50 PM, PST

When you think about the Writers Guild of America, which hosted two award ceremonies on Sunday night in two Blue cities, New York and Los Angeles, it’s no surprise that the writers spoke out. (Check out videos of some of the best bits below.)

For example, while accepting his life achievement award, filmmaker Oliver Stone got two standing ovations. After conservative James Woods was targeted at the top of the evening by WGA West Awards show host Patton Oswalt, retaliating by going onstage to steal his shoe, Woods presented the WGA award to the ultra liberal Stone, who starred him in “Salvador,” won three Oscars for “Midnight Express,” “Born on the Fourth of July” and “Platoon,” and penned “greed is good.”

Stone thanked mentors Robert Bolt and Ernest Lehman as well as Wma agent Ron Mardigian. He reminded that when he told Billy Wilder about his “Nixon” running time of 3 hours 10 minutes, »


- Anne Thompson and Kate Erbland

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