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'Wild' leads pack among SAG Award noms

21 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Into the Wild, Sean Penn's study of a young man who ditches civilization for a life on the road, dominates the film nominations for the 14th annual SAG Awards, which were announced Thursday morning.

It scored four noms, including shout-outs for its ensemble cast, Emile Hirsch as best actor, Hal Holbrook as best supporting actor and Catherine Keener as best supporting actress.

In the category of outstanding performance by a cast of a motion picture, "Wild" faces off against 3:10 to Yuma, American Gangster, Hairspray and No Country for Old Men. SAG appears to favor films that have spent weeks, if not months, in release, ignoring such titles as Atonement, Sweeney Todd and The Great Debaters, which are just hitting theaters.

On the TV side, 30 Rock, The Sopranos and Ugly Betty lead the pack with three nominations apiece.

30 Rock and "Ugly Betty" were nominated for outstanding performance by an ensemble in a comedy series, where they will compete with "Desperate Housewives", Entourage and The Office. In addition to "The Sopranos", the nominees for best dramatic ensemble are Boston Legal, The Closer, Grey's Anatomy and rookie series Mad Men.

Because the WGA has granted its union ally SAG a waiver to produce the awards show -- which will be broadcast Jan. 27 by TNT and TBS from the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles -- the SAG Awards promise to be one of the few untroubled spots in an embattled awards season.

"Wild", a Paramount Vantage release, was left in the dust when the nominations for Golden Globes were announced last week -- it picked up just two mentions for its score and Eddie Vedder's song "Guaranteed" -- but it roared back to life Thursday as Jeanne Tripplehorn and Terrence Howard announced the SAG picks at a predawn news conference at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

"Wild"'s Hirsch, who appears to starve himself in the film as he confronts a harsh Alaska winter, scored his first SAG nom and will compete for best dramatic film actor with George Clooney, who plays a troubled legal fixer in "Michael Clayton"; Daniel-Day Lewis, a ruthless oil baron in "There Will Be Blood"; Ryan Gosling, who romances a real, not-so-live doll in "Lars and the Real Girl"; and Viggo Mortensen, who goes mano a mano with the Russian mob in "Eastern Promises".

For dramatic film actress, the SAG nominating panel of 2,100 guild members stayed loyal to Cate Blanchett for again presiding over Elizabethan England in the sequel "Elizabeth: The Golden Age". Blanchett, who now has been nominated for SAG Awards 11 times, was first nominated in 1999 for "Elizabeth". She also was nominated this year for supporting actress for making like Bob Dylan in "I'm Not There".

In the best actress heat, Blanchett is surrounded by Julie Christie, who drifts off into Alzheimer's in "Away From Her"; Marion Cotillard, who embodies Edith Piaf in "La Vie en Rose"; Angelina Jolie, who plays another real-life woman, Mariane Pearl, in "A Mighty Heart"; and Ellen Page, who stars as a wisecracking pregnant teen in "Juno".

The best supporting male lineup consists of Holbrook, who appears as a lonely retiree in "Wild"; Javier Bardem and Tommy Lee Jones, who represent opposite sides of the law in the same film, "No Country for Old Men"; Casey Affleck, who has a love-hate relationship with a celebrated outlaw in "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"; and Tom Wilkinson, who suffers a breakdown in "Michael Clayton".

Keener, who teaches Hirsch's character some hard-learned lessons about life on the road in "Wild", is nominated for supporting actress along with Blanchett; Ruby Dee, who plays the crime lord's mom in "American Gangster"; Amy Ryan, who plays another mom caught up in a crisis in "Gone Baby Gone"; and Tilda Swinton, a manipulating corporate attorney in "Michael Clayton".

On the TV side, James Gandolfini and Edie Falco, who each have won two SAG Awards as best dramatic actor and actress for their work in "The Sopranos", are again nominated in those categories for the mob series' cut-to-black final season. »

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Globe nominees speak out

14 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Complete coverage:

'Atonement' out front

Strike curbs enthusiasm

Nominees react

'Massive sweep' for Focus

'Damages' leads TV pack

In a year of topical, often violent films, a period love story like "Atonement" stands out. But the forces behind the most nominated film of the Golden Globes aren't sure it is all that different from other current fare. Director Joe Wright said that while he saw the movie as a "classic love story, it's also about young men at war, and what can be more relevant than that?" Star James McAvoy said the film's universality makes it appealing even in this age of the blockbuster. " 'Atonement' is about basic human issues like redemption and forgiveness," he said. "Its success doesn't depend on timing or on fashion or on fad. It doesn't depend on hitting its target market. I've talked to interviewers who are 'Transformers' kind of people, and having seen the movie they end up coming out moved by it."

*****

John Travolta is not immune to the excitement surrounding nominations and awards: Until he received the phone call with news of his "Hairspray" nom, the actor was up all night staring at the clock in his New York apartment. "You try not to anticipate it happening, but you can't help it," he said. "I had to prove to myself that I could go the distance with this part." Travolta said he wouldn't rule out showcasing his musical talents again. "I'd love to do another musical in the near future," he said, "but it's a special art form -- one that needs to be honored and really cared for."

*****

"I'm in the old section of Paris drinking Edith Piaf's favorite champagne, Bollinger, which has become mine," said exuberant "La Vie en Rose" star Marion Cotillard of her best musical actress nomination. "The first big reaction was when it did well in France, and then the film got recognition all around the world. It's just been a series of surprises, and I hope it never ends." Picturehouse president Bob Berney wasn't surprised by Cotillard's success. "For me, it was expected. I think when people in Los Angeles met her in person, it was shocking to them how different she was from the character."

*****

Sitting in her London home and nine months pregnant, Helena Bonham Carter was more concerned Thursday with begetting a child than a Golden Globe statue. "Right now, I'm trying to have a baby," she said. "When I'm done with the labor and contractions, I can think about award shows -- which I suppose can take longer than the labor and contractions." Bonham Carter also is surprised that she could pull off songs and lyrics. "Pretty much from the womb I wanted to be in a musical, but I never thought I could sing beyond the bathroom," she said.

*****

The morning of the Golden Globe nominations was different for "Grey's Anatomy" creator Shonda Rhimes this year. "I slept through (the announcement)," she said. "Grey's", which won the best drama series Globe last time around, landed two noms: best drama and best supporting actress for Emmy winner Katherine Heigl. Rhimes' other series, the "Grey"'s spinoff "Private Practice", didn't get a nom, but she is OK with that. "It's fine", she said. "We enjoy the work on the show, and hopefully will have the chance of doing more of it on both 'Practice' and 'Grey's.' " Production on both shows has been suspended because of the writers strike. The work stoppage also has modified the way Rhimes celebrates her show's nominations. "Today I'll take my daughter to school, will walk the picket line and will keep reorganizing my closet," she said.

*****

Despite the sometimes nasty nature of her character on FX's "Damages", Glenn Close insisted she really is a nice person. Close learned of her nomination for best TV drama series actress from a friend in Florida while visiting her hometown of Greenwich, Conn. The multiple award-winner, who won a Globe in 2005 for "The Lion in Winter" and was nominated in 2006 for "The Shield", said her character gets noticed because it's rare for a woman her age to get such a role. "She keeps people off balance all the time, and people are intrigued by that," she said.

*****

"Eastern Promises" and "Atonement" producer Paul Webster was in London heading to a massage for his "dingy shoulder" when he learned of the three "Promises" and seven "Atonement" noms. "My masseuse was absolutely unimpressed, and I think she elbowed my shoulder even harder than usual," he said. Webster was especially happy about the noms for David Cronenberg's "Promises". "I think it's belated and deserved recognition for one of the world's greatest filmmakers. Long may it continue," he said. Webster called "Atonement" star Keira Knightley, who was "her usual modest self" and asked whether his wife was coming. "She wants to talk with her about what to wear," he said.

*****

"Woo-hoo!" shouted "The Simpsons Movie" director David Silverman when he learned of the animated feature's Globe nomination. Producer James L. Brooks' reaction was a little less Homeresque at first. "I had the feeling that any human being should have when the phone suddenly rings at 5 a.m. -- that something bad has happened," he said. "It was somebody telling me I was nominated, but by then I had already put five bullets in the wall." Jokes aside, the pair said it was a great feeling to have the movie be recognized in a world of CGI and 3-D animated tales, especially one 18 years in the making. "Anytime that wiggly drawings are acknowledged, it's a true honor," "Simpsons" creator Matt Groening said. Silverman said he'll celebrate the nomination with a haircut, a new shirt and perhaps a doughnut. But for showrunner Brooks, he'll head to the picket line with the rest of the striking writers. "Of course, there's a pall", he said. "We live by diffusing our misery with jokes. This is not a great holiday season in town, and it's painful. The amazing thing is the kind of goodwill on the line every day, and that's sustaining people."

*****

"Hairspray" producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan were once a rare pair in Hollywood pushing traditional movie musicals, but Thursday saw their latest film nominated for best musical or comedy. "A few years ago, there were no musicals nominated in this category," Meron said. "Craig and I made it our mission to bring them back, first on TV ... and then in film. If it wasn't for the success of (our project) 'Chicago, ' there probably wouldn't be a 'Dreamgirls' or 'Sweeney Todd.' What a change." Their track record helped persuade John Travolta to don a dress. "We felt a great burden of responsibility when we talked to John about doing his first musical in nearly 30 years," Zadan said. "We promised him we could take this all the way, so it was wonderful to see him nominated. And just a year ago, (best musical actress nominee) Nikki Blonsky was scooping ice cream."

*****

Tom Wilkinson said he was polishing shoes at his house in the U.K. when he got the call that he was nominated for his supporting role in "Michael Clayton". "It's a great feeling in the sense that even at my great age, I'm still doing decent work which people are interested in," he said. "And I love the Golden Globes. Have I ever won one? No, no, I don't think I have -- but it's always the best time."

*****

Somehow, David Duchovny's manager was able to penetrate the actor's "hotel fortress" in Vancouver to alert him of his Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a TV comedy series. "She said it was an awards-related emergency," Duchovny said. The "Californication" star had been up all night shooting scenes for the new "X-Files" movie. He made sure to turn off all his devices and hang a "do not disturb" sign but nevertheless was thrilled to hear the news. "Awards are nice in the moment, but (a nomination) is wonderful because it brings attention to the show," he said. The multiple-award winner -- he won a best actor Globe in 1997 for TV's "The X-Files" -- planned to celebrate by going back to sleep, dreaming he was never awakened and waking up to live it all over again.

*****

"I'm so excited! It's mother and daughter getting nominated," Nikki Blonsky quipped about her "Hairspray" nom for best performance by an actress in a motion picture, comedy or musical, and that of her co-star John Travolta in the supporting actor category. Blonsky, who heard the news in Toronto, said the moment her name was uttered was as shocking and exciting as the moment she found out she got the part. "It was a huge shock to me, a huge and utter shock. I was crying, jumping and throwing things," she said.

*****

Producer Kathleen Kennedy woke up to see her flight from New York to Los Angeles canceled because of a snowstorm, but at least two of her films were nominated: "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "Persepolis". And they're in an unlikely category for the oft-nominated Hollywood vet: best foreign-language film. "This is exactly what the Academy Awards should be about: promoting films that don't have the resources of some with an $80 million-$100 million marketing budget," she said. "The only frustration is 'Diving Bell' not being qualified for the foreign-language Oscar, which is and will continue to be confusing to people. But the writing and directing nominations are a big help."

*****

Of all the people who were surprised by the best picture drama nomination for the Russian mobster movie "Eastern Promises", perhaps the most surprised was the man who made it. Director David Cronenberg, who had never been nominated for a Golden Globe, had been girding for one major nomination; he never saw the other one coming. "I'd have been surprised if Viggo wasn't nominated, but I really didn't expect the movie to be nominated," he said.

*****

Julie Taymor sat in bed in New York and watched the nominations live. "It's wonderful to be a dark horse because it means people are voting with their heart," the ecstatic "Across the Universe" director said of her film's inclusion in the best musical lineup. Her hope now is that more people will see the film. "It's about tremendous joy and inspiration, and that's what I want to hear -- that people were moved and transformed by the work."

*****

Golden Globe nominations are no stranger to "Charlie Wilson's War" screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, who received noms for the politically themed films "A Few Good Men" (1992) and "The American President" (1995). »

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'Atonement' leads Golden Globe noms

14 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Complete coverage:

List of nominees

Nominees react

'Massive sweep' for Focus

'Damages' leads TV pack

Strike curbs enthusiasm

"Atonement", the tony British drama of love, lies and war, led the pack with seven nominations -- including best drama and acting noms for its two leads, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy -- as the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. on Thursday morning announced its nominations for the 65th annual Golden Globes.

"Charlie Wilson's War", a comic look at the roots of the U.S.' involvement in Afghanistan, followed with five nominations, including best comedy or musical.

On the TV side, the top contenders with four nominations apiece are the FX dramatic series "Damages", which revolves around a lethal legal case, and the HBO telefilm "Longford", which looked at a crime and its punishment in Great Britain. NBC's comedy "30 Rock", HBO's "Entourage" and ABC's freshman entry "Pushing Daisies" both scored three noms, as did the HBO telefilm "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee".

But this year's wide-open film awards season didn't get much narrower as a result of the Globe nominations as the HFPA chose to include a whopping seven films in its best drama category. In addition to "Atonement", the crowded list includes several looks at criminal behavior, "American Gangster", "Eastern Promises" and "No Country for Old Men"; two very different takes on American business, the oil-struck "There Will Be Blood" and "Michael Clayton", with its corporate intrigue; and the inspirational college drama "The Great Debaters". According to the HFPA, the expanded category came about because three films tied for fifth place.

That should make the competition for prime tables even tougher when the Globes ceremony, broadcast live by NBC, is held Jan. 13 at the Beverly Hilton.

In the case of the best comedy or musical category, the HFPA was a little more selective, nominating three musicals -- the Beatles-inspired "Across the Universe", the '60s-inflected "Hairspray" and the bloody "Sweeney Todd" -- along with two comedy-dramas, "Charlie Wilson's War" and "Juno", a wry look at an unexpected teen pregnancy.

With just five nominations in the best directing category, the contest suddenly got fiercer. On the dramatic side, brother filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen were nominated for "No Country" along with Ridley Scott for "Gangster" and Joe Wright for "Atonement". The only director with a film from the musical category is "Sweeney Todd"'s Tim Burton. The fifth nominee is Julian Schnabel for "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly," which also was nominated for best screenplay and best foreign-language film.

Cate Blanchett scored a double-header, picking up a best dramatic actress nom for her regal turn in "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and supporting actress recognition for her Dylanesque performance in "I'm Not There". With best dramatic actor and supporting actor noms for, respectively, "The Savages" and "Charlie Wilson's War", Philip Seymour Hoffman was much in evidence. Clint Eastwood, though he didn't appear on film this year, also earned two nominations for his score and song for "Grace Is Gone", the study of an Iraq War widower.

Still, for all their largesse, the 82 voting members of the HFPA ignored several possible nominees. Sean Penn's "Into the Wild" was left out in the cold, save for score and song nominations. "Knocked Up" and "Superbad", which were both critical and commercial hits, also got the cold shoulder. Laura Linney, who stars with Hoffman in "Savages", wasn't awarded a nomination like her co-star. Tommy Lee Jones, lauded by critics for performances in both "In the Valley of Elah" and "No Country" wasn't mentioned. And the 3-D "Beowulf" didn't make an appearance in the Globe's new animated feature category, which encompasses just "Bee Movie", "Ratatouille" and "The Simpsons Movie".

With co-productions figuring prominently on both the studio and indie fronts, there were plenty of bragging rights to go around. »

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Atonement Leads Golden Globe Nominations

13 December 2007 | IMDb News

Atonement was the dominant movie at this morning's announcement of the Golden Globe nominations with seven nods, including Best Picture (Drama) and three acting nominations. The adaptation of Ian McEwan's acclaimed bestseller also received nominations for directing, screenplay, and score as well as for its two leads, James McAvoy and Keira Knightley, and a supporting actress mention for young Saoirse Ronan. Critical favorite No Country for Old Men received four nominations, including picture, supporting actor (Javier Bardem), and directing and screenplay nominations for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen; legal thriller Michael Clayton also received four nods, including picture and three acting nominations for George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson and Tilda Swinton. Rounding out the dramatic Best Picture nominees -- there were an unprecedented seven in all -- were American Gangster, Eastern Promises, The Great Debaters, and There Will Be Blood. Over on the Comedy/Musical side, Charlie Wilson's War led the pack with five nods, including Best Picture (Comedy/Musical), three acting nominations for stars Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and a screenplay nomination for Aaron Sorkin. Tim Burton's blood-filled adaptation of the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd received four nominations in the Comedy/Musical categories for picutre, Best Actor (Johnny Depp), Best Actress (Helena Bonham Carter), and a directing nod for Burton. Indie hit Juno also scored well, with mentions for star Ellen Page and screenwriter Diablo Cody as well as a best picture nod, and summer musical Hairspray bounced back to life with nominations for picture, lead actress (Nikki Blonsky) and supporting actor (John Travolta). The other nominee for Best Picture (Comedy/Musical) was the Beatles musical Across the Universe. In the television categories, FX newcomer Damages was the leading series contender with four nominations, while the HBO movie Longford also received four nods. Freshman hit Pushing Daisies, returning comedies Entourage and 30 Rock, and miniseries Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee received three nominations each.

Get all of the Golden Globe Nominations in our Road to the Oscars section

»

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Oscars go long with songs

13 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Fifty-nine songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures are being considered in the original song category for the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

The songs, unveiled Wednesday, include four songs from August Rush as well as three each from Dan in Real Life, Enchanted, 56 Drops of Blood, Good Luck Chuck, Into the Wild and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

Films with two eligible songs are Badland, Grace Is Gone, The Hottest State, Music and Lyrics and Once.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will screen clips in random order Jan. 15 featuring each song for voting members of the music branch in Beverly Hills and New York. Following the screenings, members will vote to determine which three, four or five songs become nominees in the category.

The 80th Academy Awards nominations will be announced Jan. 22.

The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are:

"Do You Feel Me" from American Gangster

"At the Edge of the World" from Arctic Tale

"Someday" from August Rush

"This Time" from August Rush

"Raise It Up" from August Rush

"Break" from August Rush

"Nothing's There" from Badland

"The Devil's Lonely Fire" from Badland

"A Hero Comes Home" from Beowulf

"The Stars of Orion" from Berkeley

"Say" from The Bucket List

"To Be Surprised" from Dan in Real Life

"My Hands Are Shaking" from Dan in Real Life

"I'll Be OK" from Dan in Real Life

"December Boys" from December Boys

"So Close" from Enchanted

"That's How You Know" from Enchanted

"Happy Working Song" from Enchanted

"Atkozott Egy Elet" from 56 Drops of Blood

"O, Atyam!" from 56 Drops of Blood

"Eleg!" from 56 Drops of Blood

"A Dream" from Freedom Writers

"Lyra" from The Golden Compass

"Good Luck Chuck" from Good Luck Chuck

"Shut Me Out" from Good Luck Chuck

"I Was Zapped by the Lucky Super Rainbow" from Good Luck Chuck

"Grace Is Gone" from Grace Is Gone

"Lullabye for Wyatt" from Grace Is Gone

"Come So Far (Got So Far to Go)" from Hairspray

"The Tale of the Horny Frog" from The Heartbreak Kid

"China Doll" from Honeydripper

"It Will Stay With Us" from The Hottest State

"Never See You" from The Hottest State

"Society" from Into the Wild

"Guaranteed" from Into the Wild

"Rise" from Into the Wild

"First Amendment Blues" from Larry Flynt: The Right To Be Left Alone

"Hello (I Love You)" from The Last Mimzy

"Despedida" from Love in the Time of Cholera

"Huck's Tune" from Lucky You

"Little Wonders" from Meet the Robinsons

"Another Believer" from Meet the Robinsons

"Way Back into Love" from Music and Lyrics

"PoP! Goes My Heart" from Music and Lyrics

"Ordinary People" from Music Within

"Pretty Much Amazing" from Nancy Drew

"Falling Slowly" from Once

"If You Want Me" from Once

"Le Festin" from Ratatouille

"Land of Quiet Poems" from Resurrecting the Champ

"Love Will Still Be There" from September Dawn

"Royal Pain" from Shrek the Third

"Rule the World" from Stardust

"Before It's Too Late (Sam and Mikaela's Theme)" from Transformers

"Baby Don't You Cry" from Waitress

"Beautiful Ride" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

"Walk Hard" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

"Let's Duet" from Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

"Back Where You Belong" from The Water Horse

»

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'Into the Wild' leads Broadcast Critics' noms

12 December 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

With seven nominations, Sean Penn's Into the Wild, the account of a young man who leaves society behind, led the pack as the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. announced its nominees for its 13th annual Critics' Choice Awards Tuesday morning in New York.

Wild figured in the categories of best picture, best actor for Emile Hirsch, best supporting actor for Hal Holbrook, best supporting actress for Catherine Keener and best song for Eddie Vedder's "Guaranteed" and picked up a double nomination for Penn as both writer and director.

The pregnant comedy Juno followed with six noms, followed by a clutch of films -- Atonement, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, Sweeney Todd and Hairspray -- that scored five noms each.

Several actors received dual recogntion. Newcomer Michael Cera appeared twice among the nominees for best young actor for his performances as a horny teen in Superbad and an unexpected father in Juno. Cate Blanchett was hailed with a best actress nom for Elizabeth: The Golden Age and a supporting actress nom for her Dylanesque appearance in I'm Not There. Amy Adams, who plays a Disneyesque princess in Enchanted was nominated for best actress and made an appearance in the best song category for "That's How I Know" -- in the song category, the group recognizes the performer who performs a song on film.

Made up of nearly 200 TV, radio and online critics from the United States and Canada, the BFCA prides itself on its ability to foreshadow eventual Oscar noms and awards.

However, the BFCA does load up some of its categories with six nominations each to cover its bases. And for best picture, the group nominated ten films that encompassed American Gangster, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, Sweeney Todd and There Will Be Blood.

In addition to Hirsch, the best actor heat includes George Clooney (Michael Clayton), Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), Johnny Depp (Sweeny Todd), Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl) and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises).

For best actress, Adams and Blanchett will face off against Julie Christie (Away from Her), Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose), Angelina Jolie (A Mighty Heart) and Ellen Page (Juno).

Nominated for best supporting actor are Holbrook, Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford), Javier Bardem (Country), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Charlie Wilson's War) and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton).

Seven directors appeared among the BFCA's six nominations for best director, thanks to a shared nomination for brothers Joel and Ethan Coen for Country. Their competition embraces Penn, Tim Burton (Sweeney Todd), Sidney Lumet ("Before the Devil Knows Your Dead"), Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell) and Joe Wright (Atonement).

In the best writer category, the nominees are Penn, Diablo Cody (Juno), the Coens (Country), Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton), Nancy Oliver (Lars) and Aaron Sorkin (Charlie Wilson's War).

Bee Movie, Beowulf, Persepolis, Ratatouille and The Simpsons Movie will all compete as best animated movie. »

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Stars Sign Treaty To Help Teens With Body Issues

3 December 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hairspray star Brittany Snow, Ashlee Simpson and Fergie are among the stars who have signed a new Seventeen magazine Body Peace Project Treaty aimed at changing the way young girls view their bodies. The trio want teenagers to stop obsessing about the shape of their bodies. Editor in Chief Ann Shoket launches the year-long project to help girls with unhealthy body image issues in the new issue of the U.S. teen magazine. She says, "So many girls feel awful about themselves." Snow, who recently revealed she suffered from anorexia and bulimia, is desperate to help young girls who are struggling with the same issues she struggled with as her acting career took off when she was 16. She tells U.S. news show Entertainment Tonight, "I got help when I was 17. It was a process and still is a process, but I am 21 years old now, and I have done a lot of hard work." Snow says, "It is a daily thing, but I am 100 percent better than where I was in just little things, like not hating myself in the morning and wearing jeans, and even if they are tight, being OK with myself." Seventeen magazine is hoping to get one million girls to sign the treaty, but Snow, who reveals she lost two pals to anorexia, just wants to reach one girl: "So many people are going through this. Celebrities included. There is a way to get help and feel better." »

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IPA spins Satellite noms

30 November 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Amid the rush to announce year-end film and TV nominees, the Los Angeles-based International Press Academy has nominated The Lookout, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Away From Her, Eastern Promises, No Country for Old Men and 3:10 to Yuma as best motion picture drama for the group's 12th annual Satellite Awards.

Because the IPA had a voting deadline of Nov. 20, a number of prominent films, which have just begun screening for the media this week, did not figure in its choices. For best comedy or musical, the group nominated Hairspray, Juno, Shoot 'Em Up, Lars and the Real Girl, Knocked Up and Margot at the Wedding.

In all, the IPA offered nominations in 34 film and TV categories, six DVD categories and four game categories.

It announced several special achievement awards, which included Mad Men, best TV ensemble; Before the Devil, best film ensemble; and Julian Schnabel, director of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, auteur award.

Winners will be announced Dec. 16 at awards ceremonies at the InterContinental Hotel in Century City. »

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Jensen's Worry Over Musical 'Betty' Episode

28 November 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Scottish actress Ashley Jensen is panicking over her role in a future episode of TV comedy Ugly Betty - because she will have to sing her lines. An upcoming musical episode of the hit U.S. show will feature the entire cast singing and dancing - but the 38-year-old, who plays stylist Christina, is hoping she won't share a scene with co-star Vanessa Williams' character Wilhelmina, because the actress is also an accomplished singer. Jensen says, "Most people have got a wee (small) voice inside them. It might not be Vanessa Williams' standard. But I think what will be part of the charm is that it will be the characters singing..." The music is being composed by Marc Shaiman, who also wrote the score for the Broadway version of Hairspray. »

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Kounelias off to market at New Line

16 November 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

New Line has promoted Christina Kounelias to executive vp marketing, giving the publicity executive an increased role in the studio's marketing efforts.

Kounelias will work closely with recently hired president of domestic marketing Chris Carlisle to oversee a brand-new marketing department infrastructure as well as continue to oversee the studio's publicity, corporate communications and awards campaigns.

The move comes on the heels of Hairspray's summer success, Carlisle's August hiring and as New Line readies the epic fantasy adventure The Golden Compass for a Dec. 7 release. The company also has an ambitious slate that includes Sex and the City: The Movie as well as the fantasy adventures Inkheart and Journey 3-D.

"In her new role, Christina's responsibilities will expand to include strategic marketing, day-to-day management of special task forces designed to take advantage of long-range marketing opportunities and to act as my proxy when necessary," Carlisle said.

Kounelias is a 12-year veteran of New Line, having served as head of publicity from 1991-97 and then returning in 2001 as executive vp publicity and corporate communications. »

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Mann turning '17' for New Line

24 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Leslie Mann will star opposite Zac Efron in New Line's teen comedy 17, being directed by Burr Steers.

Mann will play Scarlett, the wife of the adult character played by Efron.

Likened to Tom Hanks' character in 1988's Big, the film's story centers on a grown man who finds himself as a 17-year-old trying to navigate high school.

Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, who worked with Efron on Hairspray, are producing through their Offspring Entertainment shingle. Jason Filardi wrote the script.

Jason Barrett is executive producing, while Mark Kaufman and Keith Goldberg are overseeing for the studio.

Mann, whose credits include Universal's Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, is repped by CAA. It's her first project since signing with the agency. »

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Pitt Arrives in Green Style at Awards Show

24 October 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Brad Pitt went green at the Hollywood Awards on Monday night, arriving at the glitzy Los Angeles event in a chauffeur-driven Toyota Prius hybrid. The actor was there to present his The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford co-star, Casey Affleck, with the Breakthrough Actor of The Year prize. Meanwhile, Richard Gere was named Actor of The Year for The Hoax, John Travolta picked up the Supporting Actor of The Year prize for Hairspray and Casey's brother Ben Affleck claimed the Breakthrough Director gong for Gone Baby Gone. Jennifer Connelly was named Supporting Actress of the Year for Reservation Road and French star Marion Cotillard claimed the Breakthrough Actress prize for her portrayal of singer Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose. The Hollywood Awards are part of the annual Hollywood Film Festival. »

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Diversity Awards to fete Ortega

22 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Kenny Ortega, director of High School Musical 2, will be honored as best director, comedy/musical at the 15th annual Diversity Awards, which will be held Nov. 18 at Universal Studios' Globe Theatre.

Other honorees joining the line-up include Brittany Snow and Elijah Kelley, both from Hairspray, who will be recognized as rising stars, and as well as Jon Heder, Idris Elba and Monique. »

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Lifetime uses Starz power

12 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Lifetime Networks has joined with Starz Media to produce original TV movies and distribute them internationally.

The co-production deal kicks off with three titles: True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, starring singer JoJo and Valerie Bertinelli; Queen Sized, featuring Nikki Blonsky in her first starring role since Hairspray; and the previously announced Wisegal, which Jason Gedrick has come aboard to star in opposite Alyssa Milano. All three are set to air in 2008.

This is Lifetime's second major international co-production deal following the April announcement of its partnership with French broadcaster TF1 International. Lifetime president of entertainment Susanne Daniels said the network had learned that Starz executives were looking to do more original productions and decided to approach them about a partnership.

"They really sparked to these projects," Daniels said of the three movies. "So far it's a great working relationship. Hopefully it will lead to other projects together."

She added that the deal is "innovative" for Lifetime because the network will have co-ownership of the movies with Starz -- "It's the beginning of Lifetime building up a movie library" -- and that it's a different model from how Lifetime has produced its original movies in the past (since 1990, the network has produced 184 original movies). »

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'Woman' opens, 'Postal' closes HFF

10 October 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

The U.S. premiere of Petter Naess's Gone With the Woman will kick off the 11th Annual Hollywood Film Festival. Uwe Boll's U.S. premiere of the uncensored cut of Postal will conclude the festival with its U.S. premiere, which runs Oct. 17-22. The festival on Tuesday also announced the nominees for its Hollywood World Awards and the Hollywood Movie of the Year award with nominees in that category including Zack Snyder's 300, The Bourne Ultimatum directed by Paul Greengrass and Hairspray directed by Adam Shankman. »

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'Hairspray' Star Reveals Eating Disorder Battle

28 September 2007 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Hairspray star Brittany Snow has stunned fans by revealing she once lived on pineapple and weighed a skeletal 85 pounds (38.5 kilograms). The 21-year-old actress admits she hasn't always been a bubbly, healthy blonde. She tells MTVu.com, "When I was about 15 my lowest weight was 85 pounds... My hair was falling out but I was more scared that 85 pounds wasn't good enough." Snow knew it was time to get help when she had to start mutilating herself to stop the hunger pains: "My rock bottom came when I started cutting a lot." The actress checked into rehab at 19, as her career was taking off in U.S. TV drama American Dreams. »

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Travolta honored by Hollywood Film Fest

25 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

John Travolta will be honored as Hollywood Supporting Actor of the Year at the 11th annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on Oct. 22 at the Beverly Hilton.

Fest executive director Carlos de Abreu said Travolta's performance as the hefty and all-heart Edna Turnblad in Adam Shankman's Hairspray stood out this year.

"His superb performance should be acknowledged and enjoyed by the established film industry as well as the public at large," de Abreu said.

Travolta, whose career spans three decades, joins Hairspray producers Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, who will be awarded the fest's Hollywood Producers of the Year Award.

They join fellow honorees Ben and Casey Affleck, Jennifer Connelly, Marion Cotillard, screenwriter Christopher Hampton, director Brad Bird and VFX supervisor Scott Farrar.

The 11th annual Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards is presented by Starz Entertainment. »

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Sydney White

21 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Snow White goes to college, emboldens a nerdy group of seven outcasts and vanquishes the evil witch in the plodding Sydney White. Like many Hollywood interpretations of fairy tales, this Amanda Bynes starrer draws its inspiration not from the Oedipal, bloody folk legend recorded by the Brothers Grimm but from the pop-culture Disney version. Cute and cartoonish rule the day, and teens and tweens will be the film's chief audience when it opens wide against R-rated genre pics and the fall's tonier fare.

Chad Gomez Creasey's occasionally clever script is a clunky mix of cartoonish caricature and feel-good message-mongering. Director Joe Nussbaum (George Lucas in Love) brings an affection for outsiders to the material, but the film takes far too long to build momentum.

Despite her real-girl appeal as the title character, Bynes, who was terrific in Hairspray, can't overcome the heavy-handedness of the dialogue. Raised by her widowed plumber Father John Schneider), Sydney is a tomboy who knows her way around a construction site but has no experience on the social scene. She arrives at Florida's Southern Atlantic U. with a scholarship and a suitcase full of comic books and quickly catches the eye of dreamy, clean-cut Tyler Prince (Matt Long). That puts her in the sights of his ex, uber-meanie Rachel Witchburn (Sara Paxton), who rules the sisterhood of bleached blondes known as Kappa Phi Nu. The film's dramatic high points usually involve someone calling Rachel a bitch.

Kappa happens to be the sorority of Sydney's beloved mother, but even with her sparkly eye shadow and borrowed dresses, she has no chance against the conniving Rachel, who soon banishes the frosh pledge. Sydney finds refuge at the Vortex, the dilapidated house of seven socially challenged dorks of the Sneezy/Bashful/Sleepy variety.

This is no Ball of Fire, Bynes no Stanwyck, but her Sydney is a spark of life in the sheltered world of her ridiculous roomies, among them a sweet hypochondriac (Jack Carpenter), a gangly science geek (Jeremy Howard) and a permanently jet-lagged Nigerian transfer student (Donte Bonner). Nussbaum orchestrates some nice comic moments with this bunch -- like their collective awe, to the strains of Strauss, at the sight of Sydney's sports bra drying in the bathroom.

She pushes them to get involved in student politics, challenging the Witchburn oligarchy and turning the film into a tepid lesson in campaign democracy. The Freedom to the Seventh Power ticket reaches out to ROTC and LGBT alike, not to mention Hasidic Jews and the marching band. The need to belong, the value of diversity and the right to stand up to injustice are all folded into the cliched cry of emancipation for everyone's inner dork.

Amid its easy shots at conformism and the creepier aspects of Greek life, Gomez Creasey's script transposes some fairy-tale elements to the digital age in clever, if obvious, ways: The witch's magic mirror becomes Rachel's laptop screen, on which she daily checks her standing as No. 1 in the campus' Hot or Not rankings on MySpace. The poisoned apple, alas, is a virus-infected Mac.

Technical and design contributions are polished, with Orlando locations creating a fittingly idyllic campus setting.

SYDNEY WHITE

Universal Pictures

James G. Robinson presents a Morgan Creek production

Credits:

Director: Joe Nussbaum

Screenwriter: Chad Gomez Creasey

Producers: James G. Robinson, Clifford Werber, David Robinson

Executive producers: Guy McElwaine, Wayne Morris

Director of photography: Mark Irwin

Production designer: Mark Garner

Music: Deborah Lurie

Co-producer: Dara Resnik Creasey

Costumer designer: Beverly Safier

Editor: Danny Saphire

Cast:

Sydney White: Amanda Bynes

Rachel: Sara Paxton

Tyler: Matt Long

Lenny: Jack Carpenter

Terrence: Jeremy Howard

Dinky: Crystal Hunt

Jeremy: Adam Hendershott

Gurkin: Danny Strong

Spanky: Samm Levine

Christy: Libby Mintz

Paul White: John Schneider

George: Arnie Pantoja

Embele: Donte Bonner

Professor Carleton: Brian Patrick Clarke

Katy: Lauren Leech

Running time -- 107 minutes

MPAA rating: PG-13

»

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Steers '17' again for New Line

10 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- Burr Steers is on board to direct 17, a teen comedy from New Line Cinema set to star Zac Efron. Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, who worked with Efron on Hairspray, are producing via their Offspring Entertainment shingle.

The script, written by Jason Filardi, concerns a grown man who finds himself as a 17-year-old trying to navigate high school. The studio picked up the project as a pitch this past winter.

Jason Barrett is exec producing.

Mark Kaufman and Keith Goldberg are overseeing for the studio.

Steers wrote and directed 2002's award-winning young adult drama Igby Goes Down. He also has directed episodes of Weeds, Big Love and The L Word.

Steers is repped by CAA. »

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Van Sant closing in on Milk tale

10 September 2007 | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

TORONTO -- Sean Penn as openly gay '70s politician Harvey Milk and Matt Damon as his assassin? Yes, if Gus Van Sant has his way.

Penn is attached to play Milk and Damon is attached to play Milk's killer, Dan White, in the director's long-gestating Milk biopic.

Producer Michael London and his Groundswell Prods. are financing the film, set to be produced by Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks from a script by Dustin Lance Black (Big Love). The filmmakers are now in talks with a leading specialty division to launch the project. Once a deal is finalized, the team behind the as-yet-untitled feature hopes to begin production in San Francisco as early as December. The uncertain start date may affect Damon's participation.

It's the latest chapter in a long-running race to film the biopic of the first openly gay prominent elected official, which has pitted Van Sant's project against another from fellow openly gay director Bryan Singer.

Producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (Hairspray) have attempted to produce a big-screen version of Randy Shilts' 1982 bio The Mayor of Castro Street for more than 15 years. »

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