8 items from 2014
Any readers who have been with us since 2011 (when it topped Kris' Top 10 list and nearly did mine) will know that we at In Contention are paid-up members of Team "Margaret" -- the brilliant, troubled Kenneth Lonergan drama that trickled into theaters three years ago, six years after it began production. Critical acclaim (including a Best Actress win from the London Film Critics' Circle), social-media campaigning and the eventual DVD release of Lonergan's own cut marked a tentatively happy ending for a film plagued by post-production disputes. But its legal problems only ended this year, as producer and financier Gary Gilbert made a request for his lawsuit against Lonergan to be dismissed. The Hollywood Reporter offers a fairly detailed breakdown of the misbegotten case's history. In a nutshell, things kicked off when Fox Searchlight billed Gilbert's company, Camelot Pictures, for $6.2 million in 2008, after accepting Lonergan's already long-delayed edit; when Gilbert didn't pay up, »
- Guy Lodge
Fresh from a triumph in New York, one of our most extravagantly talented stars will soon unveil one of her most cherished projects to date, Effie, a film about John Ruskin – lawyers permitting.
Picture gallery here
It was only a matter of time until the BBC broadcast images of Emma Thompson's downstairs lavatory. The combination of her larky sense of humour and love of a theatrical flourish made it somehow inevitable. And so last month it came to pass. The actress, having been overlooked for an Oscar nomination, was televised at her home receiving a "Mark"; a golden statuette in the likeness of the Observer's film critic, which was offered in recognition of her screen portrayal of the author of Mary Poppins, Pamela Travers.
She was, Kermode said, "sheer perfection in the complex role of 'Mrs Pl', never allowing the author to descend into crotchety caricature, constantly suggesting a »
- Vanessa Thorpe
British actor plays Mrs Lovett alongside Bryn Terfel for just five performances at the Avery Fisher Hall
Emma Thompson has made her New York stage debut to critical acclaim but it will be over in a flash – there will be only five performances of her playing London's worst piemaker .
She plays Mrs Lovett and when she began the run on Wednesday she was following in some impressive footsteps. Angela Lansbury won a Tony after originating the role in 1979 and the character has been played in the West End by Sheila Hancock, Julia McKenzie and in 2012, Imelda Staunton.
So how did she do? Writing for the Guardian, Kayla Epstein said Thompson "not only held her own against more experienced vocalists, »
- Mark Brown
Exclusive: Wme has signed Kenneth Lonergan, the screenwriter, director and playwright who was Oscar nominated for You Can Count On Me. Lonergan, who had been with CAA, just took meetings and Wme brought him into the agency fold. Lonergan made his first foray into TV with a miniseries adaptation of the E.M. Forster novel Howards End for BBC. His other credits include co-writing Gangs Of New York, which also got him an Oscar nomination. He continues to be lawyered by Jackoway Tyerman. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks ‘snubbed’: Oscar nominations 2014 (photo: Emma Thompson in ‘Saving Mr. Banks’) The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences uses the preferential voting system to select the nominees in the various Academy Award categories and — pre-1944, post-2009 — the Best Picture Oscar winners. When it comes to the nominations, that means an ardent minority has a good chance of selecting a nominee, whereas a widely popular — but not ardently popular — choice may be left out of the Oscar shortlist. Oscar 2014 non-nominees Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson likely had their names listed on numerous (perhaps even on a wide majority) of ballots; Hanks for Paul Greengrass’ Captain Phillips, Thompson for John Lee Hancock’s Saving Mr. Banks. But if in most instances they weren’t listed at or very near the top, they’d have little chance of earning a nomination, especially if there was an — even »
- Anna Robinson
The bad news from having such a great year at the movies is the inevitable disappointments on Oscar nominations morning–there wasn’t enough room for everybody.
But Thursday morning’s nomination announcement was especially tough on the legends. No Oprah Winfrey for “The Butler”? No Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks”? No Robert Redford in “All Is Lost”? No Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips”? And no posthumous nomination for James Gandolfini in “Enough Said”?
Oscars: Complete List of Nominees
The Academy forgot to nominate some of its most Academy-friendly stars, which speaks to a shifting tide in an organization trying to become younger and hipper. At least Leonardo DiCaprio, for once, wasn’t left off the Oscars list for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And Harvey Weinstein managed to keep his best picture streak alive–he’s been nominated in the category every year since 2008’s “The Reader”–by sneaking in “Philomena. »
- Ramin Setoodeh
With Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine"), Sandra Bullock ("Gravity"), Judi Dench ("Philomena"), Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks") and Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County") currently ranking as our top five contenders here for Best Actress, we could end up seeing the first-ever lineup of nominees in a female acting category consisting solely of previous Oscar champs. Blanchett won for "The Aviator" (2004, Supporting Actress); Bullock prevailed for "The Blind Side" (2009, Actress); Dench for "Shakespeare in Love" (1998, Supporting Actress); Thompson for "Howards End" (1992, Actress) and an additional win in writing for "Sense and Sensibility" (1995, Adapted Screenplay); while Streep has taken home three acting wins: "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979, Supporting A »
Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Actress (photo: Meryl Streep in ‘August: Osage County’) (See also: "Oscar Predictions 2014: Best Actor.") Compared to the vibrant Best Actor field, the 2014 Academy Awards’ Best Actress category looks somewhat anemic. Not in terms of quality, but in terms of quantity. Whereas ten actors could be called strong competitors for the Oscar 2014 shortlist, only five actresses can be considered truly strong candidates for this year’s Best Actress shortlist. Besides these five, there are three unlikely runners-up and a handful of long shots — and we mean "long" as in "light-years-away long." Note: Exact SAG Award and Academy Award matches are actually less common than you might think for the reasons mentioned in our previous Oscar 2014 predictions post (see link in the paragraph above). For instance, last year Marion Cotillard and Helen Mirren were both shortlisted for the Best Actress SAG Awards for, respectively, Jacques Audiard’s »
- Steve Montgomery
8 items from 2014
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