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By Anjelica Oswald
Last year’s Oscar ceremony made history when director Steve McQueen became the first black filmmaker to win for best picture with 12 Years a Slave and Alfonso Cuaron became the first Latin American to win for best director with Gravity. This year’s ceremony could make history as well: Ava DuVernay could become the first black female to be nominated for best director for Selma, and if Angelina Jolie lands a nomination for Unbroken, it will be the first time two women are nominated in the same year.
In 2012, DuVernay became the first black woman to win for best director at the Sundance Film Festival with Middle of Nowhere.
Lee & Low Books found that 99 percent of best director winners are male and 99 percent of best actress winners are white (93 percent of best actor winners are also white).
The lack of diversity at the Oscars does »
- Anjelica Oswald
Dave Chappelle gave "his first in-depth interview in nearly a decade" to GQ this month, and in it he addresses his abrupt "Chappelle's Show" departure, TV binge-watching habits, impressive selfie collection and whatever the hell is going on with D'Angelo's answering machine, among other topics. Check out our full roundup below. 1. Despite all but turning his back on show business for almost ten years, he still clearly enjoys entertaining people. In addition to playing ten sold-out shows at Radio City Music Hall over the summer, GQ interviewer Mark Anthony Green notes that the comedian is driven to put on a show even outside a performance context: "He's also toting around a small, very loud portable speaker that is connected to his phone. And once in a while he'll just press play for a few seconds. The sudden blaring of A Tribe Called Quest makes the guests at the Beverly Hills »
- Chris Eggertsen
Selma, the story of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for African-Americans, has confirmed a 6th February release date for 2015. Next year also marks the historic 50th anniversary of this pivotal moment in the Us Civil Rights Movement.
With a great cast that includes the ever-impressive Brit actor David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr., the film tracks a dangerous and terrifying three month campaign led by Martin Luther King Jr. which culminated in the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. The campaign galvanized American public opinion and persuaded President Johnson to introduce the Voting Rights Act, protecting Africa-Americans’ right to vote.
Directed by the Middle Of Nowhere’s Ava DuVernay, the film co-stars Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson; Carmen Ejogo as Coretta King; Tim Roth as Governor George Wallace; and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper.
Selma’s screenplay was »
- Dan Bullock
“Miles Ahead,” in which the versatile actor portrays the legendary trumpeter, marks the directorial debut of Cheadle, who co-wrote the script. The independently financed production, made for $8.5 million, wrapped a monthlong shoot in Cincinnati in mid-August, capping a lengthy gestation period for a project that began eight years ago with Davis’ posthumous induction into the Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame.
The picture, which has yet to score a U.S. distributor, is among a number of film endeavors centering on iconic black musicians — all of them divisive figures who were considered ahead of their time, with none of the films so far connecting with a wide audience. Most recently, “Jimi: All Is by My Side,” starring Andre Benjamin (aka Outkast’s Andre 3000) as Jimi Hendrix, »
- Steve Chagollan
A two-time Academy Award-winner (with a further four nominations under his belt), Washington has achieved just about all there is to achieve in his glittering Hollywood career. Picking out his five best movies is a tricky job, but we've attempted to do it anyway. Read on to find out which Denzel movies we think are the absolute essentials...
Edward Zwick's American Civil War drama starred Washington as Private Silas Trip, a soldier in the first Union Army unit to be made up entirely of African-American men. Washington stole the movie from its leading man Matthew Broderick, and bagged a Supporting Actor Oscar win for his troubles. He was nominated two years prior for playing activist Steve Biko in Cry Freedom, but this was the movie that »
Two Golden Globes. A Tony. Two Academy Awards. A career on stage and screen which has spanned over thirty years, has seen him play such real-life figures as as Steve Biko, Malcolm X, and Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, and work with celebrated directors like Spike Lee, Tony Scott, and Ridley Scott. A starring role on groundbreaking hospital drama St Elsewhere, in which he starred in all 137 episodes. Denzel Washington’s career makes even his most celebrated Hollywood peer’s look like piffle by comparison, and the guy makes it look easy. And to think of how different it could have been if, at the age of 14, his parents hadn’t broken up and his mother hadn’t sent him to military school in upstate New York.
“That decision changed my life,” Washington later said, “because I wouldn’t have survived in the direction I was going. The guys I »
- Tom Baker
A film like “The Equalizer”, as entertaining as it is, is the kind I never thought I’d see from Denzel Washington. Over the years, Washington has attained a level of general likability and star power that most Hollywood personalities would kill for, as a highly respected, award-winning actor, and a massive box office draw. Whether through dramatic autobiographical roles ("Malcolm X," "Cry Freedom"), assured badass roles ("Training Day," "Inside Man"), and everything in between ("Mo’ Better Blues," "Remember the Titans"), Washington’s name alone is a brand endorsement that’s enough to put meat in seats, and he’s done it all »
- Dylan Green
For this week’s spotlight piece, I wanted to take a look at pretty much one of the definitions of an A-list actor. He’s Denzel Washington, a two time Academy Award winning thespian and giant in the industry. Washington does more than just act of course, he’s an iconic movie star, there’s no doubt about that. If anyone is right for this sort of a spotlight, it’s him. Washington got his start in TV movies, but on the big screen he made his first mark with Cry Freedom, which also got him nominated for Best Supporting Actor, his first nomination of what would become a half dozen (and counting). That established him as an up and comer, leading to his television role on the show St. Elsewhere, which ran for half a decade. That would open up some major film roles, including Glory, where he received »
- Joey Magidson
San Sebastian – At Spain’s 62nd San Sebastian to accept a career-achievement Donostia Award and present, alongside Antoine Fuqua, Sony Pictures’ fest opener, “The Equalizer,” Denzel Washington denied any idea of playing President Barack Obama.
“Barack Obama is a story that hasn’t finished yet. It’s not something I’m thinking about, and he’s busy. said Washinton, dressed casually in a dark grey jacket and looking very young for his 59 years.
But Washington did set something of a roadmap of future plans. He will not topline “Shovel Ready,” a Warner Bros. adaptation of a debut novel by journalist Adam Sterbergh., he said Friday at a San Sebastian press conference.
It’s too early to call, he argued when asked by Variety, if he would star in “The Equalizer” sequel. »
- John Hopewell
In a development that feels more inevitable than surprising, Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are in talks to get back into the Bourne business. The two had sent mixed messages over the years, ever since Jason Bourne disappeared in the murky East River at the end of The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007, with the major roadblock being Damon’s insistence that a reluctant Greenglass direct, while Universal handed the franchise over to writer-turned-director Tony Gilroy. But with Gilroy’s Bourne Legacy, starring Jeremy Renner, failing to live up to the original three Bourne films at the box office, and Damon’s recent non-Bourne projects, »
- Jeff Labrecque
In May, The Academy began the video series “Academy Originals” focusing on the behind the scenes artists and the various creative processes that get a film from page to screen.
Since the launch, AMPAS has released 16 episodes that have covered everything from how Jurassic Park changed the VFX world to an episode about everyday people toiling away at screenplays in coffee shops.
The videos below highlight women filmmakers and how their considerable contributions inspire young girls to become filmmakers.
The independent artist finds that making a low-budget movie like Middle Of Nowhere comes from “being out in the world. It comes from observing people, asking questions – people want to talk.”
- Michelle McCue
A cross, constructed entirely of lightbulbs, shines behind David Oyelowo as he approaches the pulpit of Atlanta’s 145-year-old Wheat Street Baptist Church. It’s a steamy June night, and 500 extras—including U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a key architect of the civil rights movement—eagerly await the British-born actor’s first attempt to preach as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But just as director Ava DuVernay puts on her headphones and does a last sound check, a freak lightning storm threatens the safety of the crew and forces the production to shut down.
Delays are nothing new in the »
- Nicole Sperling
The Toronto International Film Festival (Tiff) is coming up fast, but organizers are still putting final touches on the festival’s impressive lineup. Highlights of today’s newly announced titles include the world premiere of the anticipated Bill Murray starrer St. Vincent, for which the actor is tipped to garner awards buzz, and Palme D’Or winner Winter Sleep‘s North American debut.
Check out all the announcements below…
Denzel Washington is one of the film world’s most prominent leading men, known best for his galvanizing portrayals of both real-life figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster) and fictional characters (Philadelphia, Devil in a Blue Dress, Flight). Washington returns to the Festival starring in The Equalizer, an intense thriller that reunites him with director Antoine Fuqua (Brooklyn’s Finest, Shooter, Olympus Has Fallen) for the first time since their Oscar-winning collaboration on Training Day. »
- Isaac Feldberg
It's just two weeks to go until the Toronto International Film Festival, and organizers are putting the final touches on the lineup. Sorry, still no sign of Terrence Malick. Today comes even more highlights added to the Tiff slate: The hugely buzzed, Bill Murray starring "St. Vincent" will make its world premiere; Palme d'Or winner "Winter Sleep" gets its North American debut; James Franco's "The Sound And The Fury" crosses the pond from Venice; Martin Scorsese's doc "The 50 Year Argument" arrives in Canada; and other movies to keep an eye on include efforts from Ross Katz, Julie Taymor and more. Tiff runs from September 4-14. Additions to the lineup below. Mavericks Conversation With… Denzel Washington and Antoine Fuqua Denzel Washington is one of the film world’s most prominent leading men, known best for his galvanizing portrayals of both real-life figures (Malcolm X, The Hurricane, American Gangster) and fictional. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
Affrm has announced an upcoming Affrm Rebel online panel titled "More Than Meets The Eye," which will feature top behind-the-camera industry professionals in conversation on art and the business. This panel is exclusive to Affrm Rebel membership owners. So if you're not a member, become one! To do so, click here. The online event will take place on Wednesday, August 20th, hosted by Reelblack's Mike Dennis, via Google Hangout. The industry professionals who will make up the panel are: Ruth Carter, Costume Designer | Selma, The Butler, Malcolm X Christian Epps, Lighting Designer | Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Middle Of Nowhere, Belly Aisha Coley, Casting Director »
- Tambay A. Obenson
Madrid – Denzel Washington will receive a career achievement 2014 Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at September’s 62nd San Sebastian Festival, the highest-profile fest in the Spanish-speaking world.
Sony Pictures’ big-screen redo of the ‘80s hit TV show, with Washington playing McCall, a hero who helps the hopelessly helpless, “The Equalizer” is already being talked up as a potential awards contender, though it will not be seen until it world premieres at the Toronto Festival where, on paper at least it weighs in as on of the festival’s highlights and commercial heavyweights.
Oscar talk is a reflection, however, of the kudos trawl for “Training Day,” the first teaming of Fuqua and Washington which earned the U.S. actor his second Academy Award after a supporting actor nod for »
- John Hopewell
It would be difficult to determine in which domain Nat Hentoff, premiere jazz critic and highly controversial First Amendment rights champion, contributed more to the public consciousness. Documentarian David L. Lewis makes no attempt to do so in “The Pleasures of Being Out of Step,” cavalierly swinging back and forth between Hentoff’s musical and political activism, much as Hentoff himself did. Stooped at almost 90 but feisty and humor-filled as ever, Hentoff presides over a film rich in the sounds and occasional sights of legendary cultural figures, from Lenny Bruce and Malcolm X to Bob Dylan and Coleman Hawkins.
Controversy-seeking yet affably mild-mannered, Hentoff thoroughly sticks to his beliefs with an iconoclasm that has nothing to do with political correctness. The fact that he started writing out of a passionate commitment to jazz artists gave his writing an immediacy and engagement that, when coupled with his intellectual acuity, gifted jazz »
- Ronnie Scheib
Cities with active repertory theaters offer options for constructing cross-town do-it-yourself double-features, and a chance this Sunday to follow Malcolm X at BAMcinématek’s Spike Lee retro with Dinesh D’Souza’s America: Imagine the World Without Her seemed too dialectically productive to pass up. The connecting common component turned out to be a compact Malcolm soundbite (“We don’t see any American Dream. We’ve experienced only the American Nightmare!”), recited by Denzel Washington at the end of a longer peroration in Lee’s opening credits and presented as a stand-alone snippet from the real Malcolm in D’Souza’s film. It’s no surprise America ditches the […] »
- Vadim Rizov
Yes, another day, another anniversary. But this one is quite noteworthy. Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" turns 25 on Monday. It is a film I first saw when I was young, but I wasn't at all ready for it. I saw it again in film school and noticed I had grown with it, but it still whipped up complex feelings (as only the best films can). I've revisited it a number of times over the years and come to cherish it as one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever conjured, but the Academy frankly seemed like it was holding its nose just to give it the two nominations it received a quarter century ago. Kim Basinger had the right idea when the night of the Oscars came. "The best film of the year is not even nominated [for Best Picture] and it's 'Do the Right Thing,'" the "Batman" star said, »
- Kristopher Tapley
This life came so close to never happening.
Spike Lee, as prolific as he is, has relatively few of his films on blu-ray. Films older than the medium that aren't bona fide hits/classics like Malcolm X (1992) or Do the Right Thing (1989), are only now being released in two-film sets. The first and ludicrously better-received pair is 25th Hour (2002) and He Got Game (1998). Both films depict characters on the cusp of major, life-altering events struggling to find trust and safety. For those viewers who know Lee from the bombast and socio-political persona would do well to refresh their impressions of the man with these two films. They are deeply thoughtful, socially aware, and emotional stories presented in a fresh manner with a great visual style.
- Jason Ratigan
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