BEVERLY HILLS — It's that time of year, when studios reunite cast and crew from some of their earlier releases to attract a little awards season spotlight. Today, 20th Century Fox had a swanky afternoon lunch at Craft to celebrate "The Fault in Our Stars." The film's premier awards player in the Best Actress race, Shailene Woodley, was on hand as was Ansel Elgort, screenwriters Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, Laura Dern, producer Wyck Godfrey and the novel's author John Green. Most notably, you realize how important this film is to the studio and how proud they are of it when Jim Gianopulos, the Chairman and CEO, takes time out of his busy day to sit down for lunch with the cast and press on hand.
BEVERLY HILLS — It's been over two months since Jean-Marc Vallée's "Wild" premiered at the 2014 Telluride Film Festival, but the adaptation of Cheryl Strayed's best-selling memoir finally arrived in Los Angeles, and just in time for the heart of awards season.
As awards contenders rise and fall in the last-minute deluge of film premieres and screenings that is November, one movie that continues to stick with this particular writer is J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year." Sure, that seems silly considering the picture only debuted two weeks ago, but context is everything. We'll spare the names of the three other contenders I've seen since, that I need to remind myself I've actually seen. That's how impressive Chandor's period thriller is.
Chadwick Boseman is looking at me with a huge grin on his face.
On the one hand, the "Get on Up" star is no doubt in a great mood after being celebrated by well-wishers for his performance as the legendary James Brown in last summer's well-received biopic. The late love is thanks to Universal Pictures, who has organized a Sunday brunch at SoHo House West Hollywood to help remind voters about Boseman's critically acclaimed portrayal. Director Tate Taylor ("The Help"), producer Brian Grazer and co-star Craig Robinson are all on hand, but Boseman is the center of the attention.
It should have been bad. It should have been terrible. A live broadcast of the Hollywood Film Awards with Queen "People's Choice" Latifah as host? A network spotlight on the most fake awards show of them all? Even with low expectations, how could talent go on stage and pick up these, cough, "awards" in front of a national audience? An award given to them because they were available to show up and their studios lobbied for it? (At least fans vote for some of the Teen Choice Awards!) Well, watch out Critics Choice Awards because CBS and Dick Clark Productions figured out a way to fashion a much more entertaining two hours than you've delivered the past few years.
It's the awards show that isn't really an awards show, but that didn't stop almost every major contender in town for stopping by to pick up their awards or present one to someone else. Yes, the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards brought out some big names, even if we'll all forget this event happened tomorrow.
Director Bennett Miller has waited for "Foxcatcher" to hit theaters longer than you might have thought. He was actually hoping to shoot the film before 2011's "Moneyball," but got sidetracked stepping in for Steven Soderbergh on what eventually became a Best Picture-nominated smash. In fact, "Foxcatcher" has been in the works for so long that it was actually the first project Annapurna Pictures was prepared to fund before they found success with such films as "The Master" and "Zero Dark Thirty." After earning critical acclaim at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Miller has had to wait another six months for his passion project to finally hit theaters. Which brings us to today.
HOLLYWOOD — It was an emotional evening at the Egyptian Theatre Wednesday night as "Still Alice" finally came "home."
Co-directors and husbands Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland are longtime Los Angelinos and the latter remarked how both men had spent many nights watching films in this same venue, which is the Hollywood home of the American Cinematheque. More importantly, this AFI Fest screening afforded Glatzer, who is in advance stages of ALS, to finally see the movie on the big screen with an audience. He missed the amazing reception at the Toronto Film Festival. He missed the Rome Film Festival. He missed the Hamptons Film Festival. He was not going to miss seeing "Still Alice" in his hometown.
Like a number of actors still in the awards season mix, Hilary Swank has been talking about her contender along with films from Sundance or Cannes for a long time. In fact, she's been promoting Tommy Lee Jones' "The Homesman" from one film festival to another across the country for the past six months. Sitting in a Beverly Hills Hotel room the morning before its last stop, AFI Fest, the two-time Oscar winner admits she's happy to have something so good to talk about.
Often we put our heroes on pedestals. Yet, even the greatest men in history have made mistakes, suffered because of their personal vices and doubted themselves at the most critical junctures of their lives. Ava DuVernay's powerful new drama "Selma" tells the tale of the Selma to Montgomery marches that spearheaded the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but at its center is one historically prominent hero who finds himself at a crossroads, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.