17 items from 2014
A week ago the 86th Academy Awards wrapped up what was one of the closest Best Picture races in history. An awards season full of unexpected distractions, pretenders and results came to an end. Many in Hollywood could finally take a deep breath and exhale. No matter how long you've covered the game there is always something to learn over the course of a season. Here are a few lessons that have been percolating in the back of my mind, something to take into account as we (eventually) segue into the next Oscars campaign. And yes, it's really not that far away. Never doubt the Academy's resolve to do the right thing This past weekend I randomly caught up with two Oscar voters who volunteered that they voted for "Gravity" (although they did expect a "12 Years a Slave" outcome). It was a reminder that the vote was likely still as close as we thought, »
- Gregory Ellwood
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset. Related: Oscars: Pete Hammond’s Absolute Final Predictions That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. »
- MIKE FLEMING JR
It's time to celebrate the Oscars! The festivities were in full swing on Saturday evening in Tinseltown as this year's nominees and many A-listers gathered at some hot-spot celebrations around town. Taylor Swift, clad in an Oscar De La Renta ivory Chantilly lace embroidered dress, posed with 18-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep and Jaime King at the Weinstein Company Pre-Oscar Party at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills. The country superstar was spotted chatting with Harvey Weinstein, a source tells E! News. Weinstein also introduced Jason Alexander to the stage and he performed four songs from the musical Finding Neverland. Other celebs in attendance included Kim Kardashian, Oprah Winfrey, »
The Weinstein Co. is known for its British projects (like this year’s best picture nominee “Philomena”) but its night-before-the-Oscars party at Scarpetta in Beverly Hills seemed to be channeling “Upstairs, Downstairs.”
The upstairs floor of Saturday’s party was packed with Vips like Oprah Winfrey, Michael B. Jordan, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro, while the first-floor was decidedly less fabulous with all the the non-famous guests. A staircase, guarded by four bodyguards, separated these two worlds.
The upstairs gathering started with a seated dinner and there was a special performance by Gary Barlow and other musicians performing several numbers from the new musical “Finding Neverland” with Jason Alexander narrating. The show, based on the 2004 movie released by the Weinsteins, is headed for Broadway next year.
Photos: Oscar Week Parties
By around 11 p.m., a huge crowd of actors, agents and buyers had gathered at the staircase, as they »
- Variety Staff
The star sang a selection of songs from Weinstein's upcoming musical Finding Neverland - which Barlow co-wrote the music and lyrics for.
The movie is up for nine awards at tonight's ceremony (March 2), including 'Best Picture', 'Best Director' and 'Best Actor'.
The 2014 Oscars will be held tonight, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. »
Gabourey Sadibe and the gay mimes, The Muppets sing “We’re Doing a Sequel,” Disney World dumps Boy Scout sponsorship
Matthew Morrison is set to star in Harvey Weinstein’s stage production of Finding Neverland. Because when you think of someone to step into the role Johnny Depp played, you automatically think of Matthew Morrison.
As these Right To Discriminate laws pop up (and hopefully die) all over the country, it’s important to remember that no so long ago, “religious liberty” was also used as an excuse for racism.
Clay Aiken has officially filed the papers to run for Congress in the 2nd District in North Carolina against incumbent Republican Renee Ellmers, assuming he makes it out of a crowded Democratic primary.
- Ed Kennedy
We’ve learned that Matthew Morrison has landed the lead role in Harvey Weinstein‘s musical theater project Finding Neverland. Based on the 2004 film that starred Johnnie Depp, Finding Neverland is the story of the growing bond between playwright J.M. Barrie and a family who inspired him to create Peter Pan. Morrison has been tapped to play Barrie. Weinstein has long invested in Broadway productions, but this is the first major theater project he will shepherd. A developmental workshop of the show is planned for March. If that goes well, it will be followed by the U.S. premiere in late summer at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Ma. Morrison, who appeared on Fox’s Glee, has numerous Broadway credits including the revival of South Pacific in 2008 and a Tony-nominated role in The Light In The Piazza in 2005. »
- THE DEADLINE TEAM
New York -- After a prolonged absence from musical theater during his five-season run on Fox's Glee, Matthew Morrison is slated to return to the stage in Finding Neverland, the first major theater project spearheaded by Harvey Weinstein. According to an unconfirmed report in The New York Times, Morrison has been cast as Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in an upcoming developmental workshop of the musical, adapted from the 2004 Miramax release of the same name that starred Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet. The show traces the story of Barrie's friendship with a woman and four fatherless children who
- David Rooney
The Transcendence trailer may give you a look at a Johnny Depp that you never imagined. The curious sci-fi effort puts Depp in the role of transferred consciousness, and sets him against a group trying to make sure no one ever… does what he already did.
This is a different-looking film, and it showcases the cast awfully well, even if it may have some trouble selling you on what’s going on. One of the coolest parts of the trailer is how it runs toward the weird, possibly starts losing you with the pure oddity of what it shows, and then pulls Morgan Freeman out of the wings, and leaves you thinking, “Oh, well, I guess it’s fine then.”
Whatever your take on the trailer, this is going to be an interesting film.
Check out all the info below, and let me know what you think of this one. »
- Marc Eastman
Peter Pan found himself back in the headlines this week with the news that Warner Bros is launching a nationwide casting search to find a new boy who'll never grow up. The Joe Wright-directed film will explore the origins of Jm Barrie's character with Hugh Jackman as pirate Blackbeard and Garrett Hedlund playing a young James Hook.
Digital Spy takes a look at five other movies that have used Barrie as inspiration to create some movie magic.
Peter Pan (1953)
There had been a Pan movie before (a silent film released in 1924), but this Disney-produced offering proved to be a big hit in the early '50s. Turning Barrie's acclaimed play into an animated musical, the Disney version even spawned a sequel (2002's Return to Neverland) and a spinoff series revolving around pixie Tinker Bell (more on that later).
A continuation of Barrie's story, Steven Spielberg took the helm »
Seth Gordon is racking up the future projects this week. Having just been attached to direct the long-in-the-works Uncharted movie, he's now also developing Queen Of Hearts from the Black List debut screenplay by Stephanie Shannon.The title obviously refers to Lewis Carroll and Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, but Queen Of Hearts is more along the lines of Marc Forster's 2004 film Finding Neverland (centered on Peter Pan's J. M. Barrie) than those of Tim Burton's Alice and its incoming sequel by James Bobin.This story will centre on Lewis Carroll - a pen-name for Charles Dodgson - and the "passionate affair" that leaves him broken-hearted and leads him to write his most famous work.From that description it seems unlikely that the relationship in focus is that of Dodgson and Alice Liddell, so we'd assume his affair in the story is with Alice's mother Lorina, with whom he's known to have been close. »
Just yesterday, Horrible Bosses and Identity Thief director Seth Gordon was said to be heading into a completely different genre by being at the helm of the video game adaptation Uncharted: Drake's Fortune. Now Deadline has word of Gordon taking on another non-comedy project with OddLot Entertainment picking up Queen of Hearts, the script from debut writer Stephanie Shannon which made the Black List last year. Not unlike Finding Neverland or last year's Saving Mr.Banks, the film chronicles a passionate affair that ended in heartbreak, prompting Lewis Carroll to write the book Alice in Wonderland. It's not quite the same as some other revisionist fairytale adaptations like Maleficent and Cinderella coming from Disney soon, and it actually sounds like a very intriguing story. Shannon has been poised to make a splash after winning the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting competition. It's another very different project for Gordon who launched »
- Ethan Anderton
Marc Forster is a somewhat hit-or -miss filmmaker. For every Finding Neverland and Monster’s Ball he does, there’s also a World War Z and, even worse, Quantum of Solace. Despite the mostly negative reactions (from both critics and audiences) to his last adaptation, the aforementioned World War Z, the director will be trying once again to adapt a novel and this time, it’s Pierce Brown’s Red Rising.
Set on a desolate Mars, the film will revolve around “a lower-class protagonist who becomes a revolutionary and sets about upending an oppressive power.” Joe Roth is on board to produce and is looking at two studios for funding. Those studios were not named, but we do know that Paramount isn’t in the mix, though that studio will be proceeding with a sequel to World War Z without Forster attached.
If you’re unfamiliar with Red Rising, you »
- Matt Joseph
Though director Marc Forster won’t be returning for Paramount’s World War Z sequel, he intends to stick with the action/thriller genre for the time-being. Deadline reports that Forster is attached to helm an adaptation of the Pierce Brown novel Red Rising, which takes place on a desolate Mars and revolves around a lower-class protagonist who becomes a revolutionary and sets about upending an oppressive power. Joe Roth is set to produce, and two studios are apparently in the mix to bring the project to fruition—though neither is Paramount, as Forster and the studio didn’t exactly part on good terms following the difficult production and post-production of World War Z. Forster has always been a bit of a genre-hopper, making his action debut on the 2008 Bond film Quantum of Solace after helming lighter or more dramatic fare like Stranger Than Fiction and Finding Neverland. Sci-fi is »
- Adam Chitwood
We reminisce below over the humble Aussie acting beginnings of other Hollywood actors and actresses - and see which soaps spawned the most successful stars:
Chris Hemsworth played Jamie Kane in Neighbours back in 2002 and was in Home and Away as Kim Hyde from 2004 to 2007. The Aussie actor has since appeared in Hollywood blockbusters like Thor and The Avengers, and most recently played the late James Hunt in Ron Howard's Rush.
Films such as Lincoln revitalised the genre by focusing on short periods, but are too many made, too soon?
For a genre that's been dismissed so many times, the biopic is in impertinently rude health. In the past six months in the UK – and only counting the ones about major public figures – we've had Behind the Candelabra, Renoir, Lovelace, Rush, Diana, Hannah Arendt, The Fifth Estate, One Chance, Saving Mr Banks, Kill Your Darlings, and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. The next few weeks alone will grant us audiences with Solomon Northup (12 Years a Slave), Charles Dickens (The Invisible Woman) and Grace of Monaco.
Somewhere down the line, though, the biopic tightened up its act. The Mandela picture's cradle-to-the-grave trudge looks positively old-fashioned now; even 12 Years a Slave is a bit copperplate. The new-school, high-definition biopic goes for the essence, rather than a chronicle of events, focusing on a galvanising »
- Phil Hoad
Awards contenders and strategists are like primitive natives, looking for omens of whether the gods are angry or happy. So every awards result is studied, lamented, debated and celebrated.
The study of these bellwethers is both 100% accurate and 100% off-base.
Starting with the Dec. 3 announcement by the New York Film Critics, through the March 1 Indie Spirit Awards, there are a slew of handouts that are considered important clues to the March 2 Academy Awards. The voting groups include critics (L.A., National Society of Film Critics, etc.), guilds, and other organizations (the AFI Awards, Golden Globes, etc.)
In a year with 250 film releases, these results offer clues about what films are being seen and talked about.
Each award is an honor, and should be appreciated. Based on these early awards, “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska” have reason to celebrate. But these early honors are seen as forecasts. »
- Tim Gray
17 items from 2014
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