10 items from 2015
This week marks the 10th anniversary of the release of "Crash" (on May 6, 2005), an all-star movie whose controversy came not from its provocative treatment of racial issues but from its Best Picture Oscar victory a few months later, against what many critics felt was a much more deserving movie, "Brokeback Mountain."
The "Crash" vs. "Brokeback" battle is one of those lingering disputes that makes the Academy Awards so fascinating, year after year. Moviegoers and critics who revisit older movies are constantly judging the Academy's judgment. Even decades of hindsight may not always be enough to tell whether the Oscar voters of a particular year got it right or wrong. Whether it's "Birdman" vs. "Boyhood," "The King's Speech" vs. "The Social Network," "Saving Private Ryan" vs. "Shakespeare in Love" or even "An American in Paris" vs. "A Streetcar Named Desire," we're still confirming the Academy's taste or dismissing it as hopelessly off-base years later. »
- Gary Susman
Teresa Wright: Later years (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon.") Teresa Wright and Robert Anderson were divorced in 1978. They would remain friends in the ensuing years. Wright spent most of the last decade of her life in Connecticut, making only sporadic public appearances. In 1998, she could be seen with her grandson, film producer Jonah Smith, at New York's Yankee Stadium, where she threw the ceremonial first pitch. Wright also became involved in the Greater New York chapter of the Als Association. (The Pride of the Yankees subject, Lou Gehrig, died of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in 1941.) The week she turned 82 in October 2000, Wright attended the 20th anniversary celebration of Somewhere in Time, where she posed for pictures with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. In March 2003, she was a guest at the 75th Academy Awards, in the segment showcasing Oscar-winning actors of the past. Two years later, »
- Andre Soares
Teresa Wright and Matt Damon in 'The Rainmaker' Teresa Wright: From Marlon Brando to Matt Damon (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright vs. Samuel Goldwyn: Nasty Falling Out.") "I'd rather have luck than brains!" Teresa Wright was quoted as saying in the early 1950s. That's understandable, considering her post-Samuel Goldwyn choice of movie roles, some of which may have seemed promising on paper. Wright was Marlon Brando's first Hollywood leading lady, but that didn't help her to bounce back following the very public spat with her former boss. After all, The Men was released before Elia Kazan's film version of A Streetcar Named Desire turned Brando into a major international star. Chances are that good film offers were scarce. After Wright's brief 1950 comeback, for the third time in less than a decade she would be gone from the big screen for more than a year. »
- Andre Soares
Teresa Wright-Samuel Goldwyn association comes to a nasty end (See preceding post: "Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock Heroine in His Favorite Film.") Whether or not because she was aware that Enchantment wasn't going to be the hit she needed – or perhaps some other disagreement with Samuel Goldwyn or personal issue with husband Niven Busch – Teresa Wright, claiming illness, refused to go to New York City to promote the film. (Top image: Teresa Wright in a publicity shot for The Men.) Goldwyn had previously announced that Wright, whose contract still had another four and half years to run, was to star in a film version of J.D. Salinger's 1948 short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut." Instead, he unceremoniously – and quite publicly – fired her. The Goldwyn organization issued a statement, explaining that besides refusing the assignment to travel to New York to help generate pre-opening publicity for Enchantment, »
- Andre Soares
Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt': Alfred Hitchcock heroine (image: Joseph Cotten about to strangle Teresa Wright in 'Shadow of a Doubt') (See preceding article: "Teresa Wright Movies: Actress Made Oscar History.") After scoring with The Little Foxes, Mrs. Miniver, and The Pride of the Yankees, Teresa Wright was loaned to Universal – once initial choices Joan Fontaine and Olivia de Havilland became unavailable – to play the small-town heroine in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt. (Check out video below: Teresa Wright reminiscing about the making of Shadow of a Doubt.) Co-written by Thornton Wilder, whose Our Town had provided Wright with her first chance on Broadway and who had suggested her to Hitchcock; Meet Me in St. Louis and Junior Miss author Sally Benson; and Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville, Shadow of a Doubt was based on "Uncle Charlie," a story outline by Gordon McDonell – itself based on actual events. »
- Andre Soares
By Anjelica Oswald
With the DGA Award in hand, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has become a frontrunner in the best director Oscar race for Birdman.
Only seven winners of the DGA Award have not won the best director Oscar in the 66 years that the Directors Guild of America has given the award. The most recent case was two years ago, when Ben Affleck wasn’t even nominated for the best director Oscar for Argo, which won best picture.
No American has won for best director since 2011 and if Inarritu, who is from Mexico, takes the Oscar this year, the trend will continue. Inarritu could become the second Latin American director to win for best director, following Alfonso Cuaron’s win last year.
In the 86 years since the Academy Awards’ inception, 89 Oscars have been given for best director. Twenty-six awards (29 percent) went to non-American born directors.
At the first annual »
- Anjelica Oswald
Sean Penn: Honorary César goes Hollywood – again (photo: Sean Penn in '21 Grams') Sean Penn, 54, will receive the 2015 Honorary César (César d'Honneur), the French Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Crafts has announced. That means the French Academy's powers-that-be are once again trying to make the Prix César ceremony relevant to the American media. Their tactic is to hand out the career award to a widely known and relatively young – i.e., media friendly – Hollywood celebrity. (Scroll down for more such examples.) In the words of the French Academy, Honorary César 2015 recipient Sean Penn is a "living legend" and "a stand-alone icon in American cinema." It has also hailed the two-time Best Actor Oscar winner as a "mythical actor, a politically active personality and an exceptional director." Penn will be honored at the César Awards ceremony on Feb. 20, 2015. Sean Penn movies Sean Penn movies range from the teen comedy »
- Steve Montgomery
By Alex Simon
1. Terrific film, period.
2. Eastwood, like all great filmmakers, takes no specific side in the telling of his story. He simply presents it, and then lets the audience draw their own conclusion.
3. It’s a litmus test movie. This means, if you’re basically an anti-war, peace-loving dove type (my camp), you’ll see it as anti-war. If you’re a bumper sticker thinking simpleton on either extreme of the sociopolitical fence, you’ll view it as “a jingoistic, pro-war, anti-Iraqi, neo-Fascist propaganda film that Leni Riefenstahl would have been proud to call her own,” or…”Yee-ha! Just like playin’ fuckin’ Call Of Duty: Mission Iraq, bubba! Let’s get our .306s together and go kill some ragheads for reals! Oh yeah, and that Lanny Reefenbacher chick woulda had a kitten over this shit. It’s awesome!”
4. Bradley Cooper gives the performance of his career, truly inhabiting the »
- The Hollywood Interview.com
His dad was one of Hollywood’s founding fathers. If there is something that Samuel Goldwyn Jr should be remembered for following his death on Friday night, it’s this, according to Tom Rothman: “For the 20 or so years before Disney put money in Miramax or we started Fox Searchlight with NewsCorp money and other studios got in the game, the independent film business really began with Sam in the late 70s.” Rothman, a lawyer in New York who repped Jim Jarmusch when he made the deal with Goldwyn Jr for Stranger Than Paradise, was hired by Goldwyn Jr to become president of The Goldwyn Company before moving on to Fox where he became the first president of Fox Searchlight.
“People forget what a seminal figure Sam was, and how many filmmakers broke through because of him,” Rothman said. “There was Kenneth Branagh, Anthony Minghella, Ang Lee, David Lynch and John Sayles. »
- Mike Fleming Jr
Samuel Goldwyn Jr., the son of a fiercely independent-minded Hollywood mogul and the producer of many independent films in his own right including “Mystic Pizza” and studio hits including “Master and Commander,” died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 88. His son John Goldwyn told the New York Times he died of congestive heart failure.
Goldwyn Jr. received his final credit as a producer, together with son John and others, on Fox’s long-gestating remake of the Goldwyn Sr.-produced classic “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” starring and directed by Ben Stiller and released in December 2013.
The courtly and soft-spoken scion was known for shepherding independent and foreign films and got his start in documentary filmmaking, in contrast to his brash father, who made his way from a youth of poverty in Poland to a partner in MGM.
“I love it. If you don’t love this business, »
- Carmel Dagan
10 items from 2015
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