17 items from 2014
Gina Prince-Bythewood's last film was 2008's "The Secret Life of Bees"; this year, she's releasing "Beyond the Lights," a fame and stardom romance formerly known as "Blackbird." Gugu Mbatha-Raw ("Belle") stars as Noni Jean, a singer with a brand-new Grammy whose struggles with stardom lead to an attempt on her own life, when she is saved by a young police officer. The two fall in love, but their parents disapprove, counseling them both to focus on their careers rather than on their personal life. Nate Parker stars beside Mbatha-Raw, and Danny Glover and Minnie Driver co-star. "Beyond the Lights" is backed by Relativity Media and Bet in a first-time partnership for the two companies. The film will be released theatrically on November 14, and will later premiere on Bet in the U.S. and South Africa. Take a look at the film's first trailer, below. »
The 271 new Academy member invites are revealing. For the second year in a row there are more of them than usual. Twenty-two leaders of the field are now members of the new Casting Directors branch, long overdue. Of course we expect recent Oscar nominees like June Squib ("Nebraska"), production designer K.K. Barrett ("Her"), Hany Abu-Assad (“Omar,” “Paradise Now”) and "12 Years a Slave" participants Adam Stockhausen, John Ridley, Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o to join this elite club. Clearly, the Academy is still chasing diversity, trying to address its white male senior skew, from 38-year-old Cillian Murphy (“The Dark Knight Rises,” “Inception”) to director Gina Prince-Bythewaite ("The Secret Life of Bees," "Love and Basketball"). I am always amazed at who wasn't already a member of long standing. Japanese animator and Studio Ghibli chief Hayao Miyazaki? You've got to be kidding me. »
- Anne Thompson
The Academy has announced the new class of invited members for 2014 and, as is typical, many of which are among last year's nominees, which includes Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, Sally Hawkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb in the Actors branch not to mention curious additions such as Josh Hutcherson, Rob Riggle and Jason Statham, but, okay. The Directors branch adds Jay and Mark Duplass along with Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve and Thomas Vinterberg. I didn't do an immediate tally of male to female additions or other demographics, but at first glance it seems to be a wide spread batch of new additions on all fronts. The Academy is also clearly attempting to aggressively bump up the demographics as this is the second year in a row where they have added a large number of new members, well over the average of 133 new members from 2004 to 2012. As far as »
- Brad Brevet
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced its list of actors, filmmakers, and others involved in the moviemaking industry that have been invited to join the Academy’s membership. 271 artists made the cut this year, ranging from recent winners and nominees like Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender to more eclectic choices like Rob Riggle, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Josh Hutcherson, and even Jason Statham. Chris Rock also finally gets a ballot years after hosting the ceremony, and Clark Gregg will bring some Marvel pedigree into the fold. On the filmmaking side, brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, David Gordon Green, Denis Villeneuve, and Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Secret Life of Bees) join the directors branch, while Dp Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) has been added to the cinematographers group. Eddie Vedder and Pharrell Williams (sans hat) are also now Academy members should they accept their invitations. The full list is still disappointingly short on females, »
- Adam Chitwood
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.
Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014.
“This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
- Michelle McCue
Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave were two of the 271 artists and industry leaders invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines nominations and winners at the annual Oscars. The entire list of Academy membership—which numbers about 6,000—isn’t public information so the annual invitation list is often the best indication of the artists involved in the prestigious awards process. It’s worth noting that invitations need to be accepted in order for artists to become members; some artists, like two-time Best Actor winner Sean Penn, have declined membership over the years. »
- Jeff Labrecque
Pop quiz: What do Chris Rock, Claire Denis, Eddie Vedder and Josh Hutcherson all have in common? Answer: They could all be Oscar voters very soon. The annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences invitation list always makes for interesting reading, shedding light on just how large and far-reaching the group's membership is -- or could be, depending on who accepts their invitations. This year, 271 individuals have been asked to join AMPAS, meaning every one of them could contribute to next year's Academy Awards balloting -- and it's as diverse a list as they've ever assembled. Think the Academy consists entirely of fusty retired white dudes? Not if recent Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams takes them up on their offer. Think it's all just a Hollywood insiders' game? Not if French arthouse titans Chantal Akerman and Olivier Assayas join the party. It's a list that subverts expectation at every turn. »
- Guy Lodge
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 271 individuals to become members, with the list reflecting the org’s determination to bring more diversity to its ranks.
Every year, the list of invitations includes several recent Oscar nominees. That’s true this year as well, with letters going out Wednesday to a cross-section of people including 2013 contenders Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o, Hayao Miyazaki, Pharrell Williams, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, plus such creatives as Megan Ellison, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Coogan, Jason Statham, William Chang Suk Ping, Joan Sobel, Tracey Seaward, Mads Mikkelsen and Chantal Akerman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Variety Thursday, “This is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. Filmmaking has gotten more diverse, and audiences have been responding. There are terrific filmmakers around the world at the top of their game and we want to recognize them and bring them into the Academy. »
- Tim Gray
“Talent has no gender,” Gina Prince-Bythewood, who wrote and directed the 2008 film The Secret Life of Bees, asserted Saturday at a panel titled “Women Who Call The Shots,” presented by the Los Angeles Film Festival. Photos THR's Cannes Portfolio For the third consecutive year, the festival gathered together writers and directors to discuss their experiences in the film industry. In addition to Prince-Bythewood, the group included Nicole Holofcener, writer/ director of last year’s Enough Said, Debra Granik, writer and director of 2010’s indie feature Winter’s Bone, and Marta Kauffman, the co-creator of Friends. The discussion
- Jenna Robbins
Exclusive: HBO has put in development God Save Texas, a drama series project written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright (The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda And The Road To 9/11) and executive produced by X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner. It centers on an idealistic cowboy who, looking to save his ranch and marriage, tries to get elected to the Texas Legislature, where he becomes the target of the powerful energy lobby and learns how to survive in the crazy, brutal world of Texas politics. Wright, a native Texan and longtime observer of the political scene in Austin, is also a playwright. God Save Texas is based on his 2005 play Sonny’s Last Shot. Tony-winning veteran theater producer Margo Lion (Hairspray), who is working with Shuler Donner on adapting the Shuler Donner-produced feature The Secret Life Of Bees as a Broadway musical, gave her a copy of the play. Both felt Sonny’s »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
The 33 jury members will be split into seven groups, one for each competition category: World Narrative Competition, World Documentary Competition, Best New Narrative Director, Best New Documentary Director, Narrative Short Film, Documentary and the Student Visionary Award. Two other awards, the Bombay Sapphire Award for Transmedia and the Norah Ephron Prize, will also be awarded. Winners of the seven festival categories will receive $150,000 and prizes, and eight of the winners will also get to take home an original artwork. Winner of the second annual Nora Ephron Prize, which recognizes a female writer or director, will receive $25,000.
Seven Juries Will Award Prizes At 2014 Tribeca Film Fest
The Tribeca Film Festival announced its jurors for this year’s event, which runs from April 16-27. The list includes Toni Collette, Lake Bell, Whoopi Goldberg, Catherine Hardwicke, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, Paul Wesley and 26 other leaders of the filmmaking community.
In addition to the Festival’s main competition juries in seven categories, Tribeca named Delia Ephron, Natasha Lyonne, and Gary Ross to select the second annual Nora Ephron Prize, which awards $25,000 to a female writer or director.
Click below for the entire list of jurors, with biographical information courtesy of the Tribeca festival:
World Competition Categories
The jurors for »
- Jeff Labrecque
The book, which debuted in January at No. 1 on the New York Times bestsellers list, centers on the real-life story of two young abolitionist sisters, one of whom is gifted a slave in 19th Century America and who grows up with the girl facing the challenges and injustices of the time together. “Invention of Wings” is the newest selection for Oprah’s Book Club 2.0.
“In her book, Sue Monk Kidd has given us such a rich narrative, compelling characters, and a rare historical perspective that we know will be the ideal foundation for a wonderful film,” Winfrey said in a statement.
- Andrew Stewart
The book, which was published in January and has become the most recent Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection, charts the relationship between a 19th century abolitionist and the slave girl given to her as a gift for her 11th birthday.
“In her book, Sue Monk Kidd has given us such a rich narrative, compelling characters, and a rare historical perspective that we know will be the ideal foundation for a wonderful film,” said Winfrey.
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Harpo Films announced today that it has acquired the film rights to Sue Monk Kidd's The Invention of Wings . The book debuted in January at #1 on the New York Times Bestsellers List and was the latest selection for Oprah's Book Club 2.0. Kidd.s book, which follows the success of her previous novels, "The Secret Life of Bees. and .The Mermaid Chair,. is about two unforgettable women, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world. It tells a remarkable fictionalized story of real-life 19th century abolitionist sisters Angelina and Sarah Grimké. In the novel, for her eleventh birthday, Sarah is gifted with a ten-year-old enslaved girl named Hetty. And while Sarah attempts to reject the gift, ultimately she cannot, nor can she free Hetty or even really »
We've all seen the statistics about the diversity gap at the Oscars before, but they are still shocking and worth repeating. Amazingly, since the Academy Awards began 85 years ago, only one woman of color has ever won the Academy Award for Best Actress (Halle Berry) and only one woman has ever won the Academy Award for Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow). Men of color haven't fared much better with only six of them having ever won the Academy Award for Best Actor and none winning the Academy Award for Best Director. A recent post over at Lee & Low Books addressed the issue with an infographic (below) as well as interviews with independent filmmakers about the state of diversity in film. "The numbers do not surprise me because very few Academy Award level films with non-white leads are being greenlit," independent filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood ("Love and Basketball," "The Secret Life of Bees") told Lee & Low Books. »
- Paula Bernstein
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Writers: Gina Prince-Bythewood
U.S. Distributor: Relativity Media
Sharing the same title (for now) as David Mamet’s next film is director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s latest, her first since 2008’s The Secret Life of Bees. Once again, she’s gathered an interesting cast for what sounds like an excellent character piece. 2014 should be a big year for Gugu Mbatha-Raw, whose 2013 film Belle, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, will also hit theaters. It’s been well over a decade now since Bythewood’s debut, Love and Basketball, and this technically serves as her third feature film (Disappearing Acts was made for HBO), so it’s great to see her with a new project that’s already got distribution and ready to go.
Gist: A talented young musician on »
- Nicholas Bell
17 items from 2014
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