Clooney's buddy talks about his solid directorial debut
It pays to have powerful friends in Hollywood, but it also pays to have a reputation as a good guy. That's Grant Heslov to a tee. The former and sometimes actor has made his way through the industry at the side of buddy George Clooney as co-writer and producer of "Good Night, and Good Luck" (which netted him two Oscar nominations) and as his producing partner. Most importantly though, all you hear around town are compliments at how humble Heslov is at his success. Yes, it's true moviegoers, you don't have to be a jerk to make it in Hollywood.
Heslov's filmmaking abilities were put the test with his very funny directorial debut, "The Men Who Stare at Goats" which opens nationwide this week. Working of Peter Straughan's adaptation of Jon Ronson's non-fiction book, Heslov and crew had to find a way to make an entertaining film out of Ronson's mostly investigative novel.
Late entry Oscar contender also gets a release date
Boy, that was quick.
One day after showing the new music-themed drama "Crazy Heart" to selected press including your humble prognosticator, Fox Searchlight officially announced the potential Oscar candidate will now open in limited released on December 16. In addition, the studio made two images from the Jeff Bridges showcase available for the first time.
You can read more about Bridges entry into the Best Actor race here, but it will be intriguing to see how "Crazy Heart" affects the overall Best Picture and Actor races. And just as importantly, how it will fare in Best Original Song. For the moment though, enjoy the pics as we await the first official preview.
Hopefully Searchlight will throw a Colin Farrell photo out soon too.
Could 2010 actually be the 'Year of Jeff Bridges' at Oscar?
Should Fox Searchlight be happy I can't get the beautiful final song from the new drama "Crazy Heart" out of my head? That question might answer itself.
The studio had the first of a few preview screenings for selected press on the Fox Lot this morning to gauge reaction to the music-themed drama and this writer was lucky enough to get an invite. Most recently slated for a March release (with an expected Sundance Film Festival premiere), the picture will likely move to mid to late December for an expected awards season push. It's unclear what all the other journalists in attendance thought, but this pundit sees a new Oscar contender on the horizon and an almost sure thing best actor nod for star Jeff Bridges.
Written, produced and directed by Scott Cooper (who has had more success as an actor than filmmaker to this point), "Crazy Heart" is an adaptation of Thomas Cobb's novel that centers on down on his luck country singing star Bad Blake (Bridges) who has escaped into alcohol after his career dramatically falls behind that of his former protege Tommy Sweet (think a dark haired Kenny Chesney played superbly by Colin Farrell). Blake's life seems to turn around when he falls for a small town reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal), but as expected, old habits die hard. How the film rebounds from that arc is what makes it so intriguing.
New dramaedy a depressing pause button for prestige studio
There has been scuttlebutt around Hollywood that the real reason Bob Iger is about to chop Miramax into a sliver of its former self is because of his unhappiness with the development and expensive marketing costs. In the long run he intends to have someone else come in and resurrect the mini-major down the road. Daniel Battsek had a pretty impressive track record with the Oscar-winning "No Country For Old Men" and "The Queen," but the last year found the barely profitable "Doubt," disappointing bombs such as "Adventureland," "Extract," "The Boys are Back" and the mishandled "Cheri." That underachieving trend won't end with the new Robert De Niro dramedy "Everybody's Fine."
Before tonight's premiere at Los Angeles' AFI Film Fest there was hope the tale of a widowed man who travels the country to reconnect with his children could put De Niro back in the Oscar game, but that's a pipe dream now. The movie is a mess in so many ways that neither the legendary actor or the stars who play his children -- Sam Rockwell, Drew Barrymore and Kate Beckinsale -- can save it. In fact, the more the picture goes on you start to wonder "What convinced any of them sign on to this? Let alone, why was it even greenlit?" The storyline is painfully predictable and the subplot regarding the fate of a fourth sibling isn't just unnecessary, it's bogs down the entire proceedings. "Fine" feels like an early-90's road trip comedy that would have done OK in theaters and had a long cable life, but that just doesn't work in 2009. And released back to back with the Clive Owen melodrama "The Boys Are Back" it paints a bleak portrait of development at the studio Harvey and Bob Weinstein once built their fortunes on.
Geez, guess neither figures to be nominated for 'It's Complicated'
Universal Pictures just got the biggest Christmas present ever. Well, maybe their biggest present if their new Nancy Meyers romantic comedy "It's Complicated" was being released in March. Instead, the two men who battle for the heart of Meryl Streep in the holiday comedy will have to work off that cinematic chemistry as they host the 81st Annual Academy Awards on March 7. And in the meantime, Uni will just enjoy all the free publicity.
Let's be honest though. Today's announcement was not that surprising. Martin has hosted twice before, getting strong notices in 2001 and 2003 and has considered jumping back in the ring but clearly didn't want to do it alone. He almost hosted last year's show with Tina Fey, but the "30 Rock" star couldn't get away long enough from New York to make it work. Instead, Martin will team up with another "Rock" star and become the first all-male duo since Donald O'Connor and Fredric March hosted in 1953. The pair also break a twenty year run of solo hosts that dates back to Billy Crystal's inaugural show in 1989. How time flies.
Plus: 'Mother and Child' goes to SPC, Oscar honors presenters and more
To say that "Star Trek" is an underdog to make Oscar's top ten is an major understatement, but that doesn't mean the blockbuster Sci-Fi flick isn't finding awards season love.
Monday night found J.J. Abrams' reboot winning the Artios Award for best casting for a studio feature (drama) to April Webster and Alyssa Weisberg. The 25th Artios Awards are staged by the Casting Society of America in simultaneous ceremonies in both Los Angeles and New York. This isn't a major award towards the road for Oscar except that it shows the casting directors saw "Trek's" ensemble as one of its strong points. That could be a sign the film might sneak into the SAG Award's Best Ensemble race which would be another nice recognition for the rejuvinated franchise. Other winners on the cinema side this year included "Tropic Thunder's" Francine Maisler for studio feature (comedy), "Milk's" Francine Maisler and Nina Henninger for independent feature (drama/comedy), "Sunshine Cleaning's" Avy Kaufman for low budget feature (drama/comedy) and "Up's" Kevin Reher and Natalie Lyon for "Up."
"Star Trek" hits DVD and Blu-ray on Nov. 17.
Lots of questions surround 2010's most dramatic and competitive category
At this stage of the game, the question isn't "who" going to win the best supporting actress statue of 2010. That's easily down to two of the year's best performances: Mo'Nique for her relevatory work in "Precious: Based on Push a Novel by Sapphire" or "Twilgiht" star Anna Kendrick who shines opposite George Clooney in the acclaimed dramedy "Up in the Air." It wouldn't be a careless exaggeration to say that if one or neither of these two actresses weren't nominated it will be one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. The true drama this season surrounds who their competition will be in the remaining three slots. And yes, there are questions aplenty.
Gabourey Sidibe lands role on Showtime pilot 'The C Word'
In the pr battle for an Oscar nomination, every little bit helps and Gabourey Sidibe just landed a very subtle but significant win in her campaign to land a Best Actress nod.
Sidibe is absolutely heartbreaking as the title character in Lee Daniels' "Precious: Based on Push a Novel by Sapphire," but with the role being her professional acting debut some have questioned whether the first-time thespian was actually just playing herself in the drama. This sort of scuttlebutt could diminish Sidibe's standing with SAG members who make up the largest portion of the Academy's membership. No one will know for sure what Sidibe's fellow actors will think until SAG nods are announced in December, but the actress just landed what is believed to be her first post-"Precious" role in the new Showtime pilot "The C Word."
Watch: New trailer confirms Clint Eastwood is back in the awards season game
Considering all the hype, it would have been shocking if Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" didn't turn out to be a true awards season contender. The subject matter, the stars and the filmmaker's resume are an eye-popping combination that is the textbook definition of Oscar bait if there ever was one. After watching the film's brand new trailer, screw the awards perspective. This just looks like one damn good movie.
The true story of a pivotal moment in South Africa's reconciliation movement, "Invictus" chronicles the relationship between new President Nelson Mandela (Morgan Freeman) and star Rugby player Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon) as the nation's team tries to win the 1995 Rugby Cup. The first released footage from the December release debuted today exclusively on Apple. You can watch the trailer here. Or, watch the new trailler embedded below.
Christoph Waltz is a lock, but the remaining four are anyone's guess
When it comes to the acting categories, Best Actor is a horse race, Best Actress is a wash, Best Supporting Actress -- as we'll soon learn -- is the most competitive, but Best Supporting Actor? This field may actually hold the most surprises when the nominations are announced a little over four months from now.
Sure, "Inglourious Basterds'" Christoph Waltz is the presumptive favorite, but the quartet who joins him could provide any number of honest challengers. "An Education's" Alfred Molina, "The Hurt Locker's" Anthony Mackie, "The Messenger's" Woody Harrelson and "Me and Orson Welles'" Christian McKay are all performances Academy members could rally around. Plus, George Clooney is truly great in "The Men Who Stare At Goats." It sounds improbable, but could the Year of the Clooney end with the industry favorite bringing home two acting statues? Stranger things have happened.