The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences just released this dramatic statement tonight constituting major changes to the Academy Awards best picture race. They also announced changes to the best animated picture and visual effects categories.
As print circulation continues to dwindle and online inventory becoming increasingly competitive, networks searching for Academy of Television Arts and Sciences members have found some out of the box ways to reach voters.
After a busy entertainment weekend, Hollywood took some time Monday morning to host the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, at a panel supporting Joining Forces, an initiative to provide support to the nation's military families. Sponsored by all the major industry guilds, AFTRA, DGA, WGA, SAG and the PGA, the event was hosted by Bruce Cohen (Oscar winning producer of "American Beauty"), "Army Wives" creator Katherine Fugate and Dameon Lindelof("Lost"), and also featured active military families and their spouses. Also in attendance were numerous familiar faces including Blair Underwood, Lily Tomlin, Janelle Monae, Adam Scott, Chaz Bono and Michael Chiklis.
This is a little late because of the intense coverage needed to cover the MTV Tween Awards, er, MTV Movie Awards, but considering the events of last awards season it would be shameful not to give it the props it deserves.
"Beginners" is director and screenwriter Mike Mills' love letter to his father, but its also something of a love letter to Los Angeles.
Every couple of years there are a few films that seem to capture LA at that particular time. For those of us live in the City of Angels, these movies break through the Hollywood sheen seen in TV shows or broad studio films that usually shoot here. Think of "Swingers" in 1996, Michael Mann's "Collateral" in 2004, Steve Martin's "Shopgirl" in 2005 or Catherine Hardwicke's "Thirteen" in 2003. And while "Beginners" takes place in the early 2000s, it gives itself away as a movie very much of 2010 from its locations, it's style and the characters that populate Mills' touching story of coming to terms with yourself in order to find love.
The great thing about Friday's movie releases is not only is there a good movie to recommend, if you live in Los Angeles and New York there are three. For a majority of moviegoers, they'll have the chance to enjoy "X-Men: First Class," but at least for one weekend, before they expand, the big city art house scene will get the first taste of Mike Mills' "Beginners" and Richard Ayoade's hilarious "Submarine."
In many ways, "Super 8" is the first film J.J. Abrams has been able to craft that is truly his own. Perhaps it's even a film that might say something about Abrams as an auteur filmmaker? Up until now, his work on television pilots ("Lost," "Undercovers") have been collaborative efforts. And, obviously, "Mission: Impossible III" and "Star Trek" were new reflections of brands created long ago. "Super 8," on the other hand, is the fashioning of two ideas Abrams admittedly married together. The TV spots are finally starting to pull away the curtain, but the film is mostly about a bunch of kids who get too close to a military accident while filming their own super 8 movie in 1979 small town America. Considering the age of the kids, it's got to feature characters influenced by the 44-year-old's own youth, no? Based on my recent conversation with Abrams, it appears not.
If Abrams has a personal connection to the lead character, teenager Joe Lamb (played superbly by newcomer Joel Courtney), he's not admitting to it. What the Hollywood veteran did shed some light on was his reputation as a master marketer of secrets. From "Star Trek" to "Lost" to "Cloverfield" (as a producer), it's common knowledge that Abrams has worked diligently to keep details of any of his projects under wraps. And yet, when asked about the difficulty of keeping a film such as "Super 8" quiet when your primary cast is web-friendly teenagers, Abrams claimed he spends less energy on such efforts than you'd think. Well, perhaps he doesn't, but we're pretty sure his minions do.
Abrams also spends time discussing producer Steven Spielberg's involvement (the title wasn't just for show) and how careful he was to cast Courtney in his first major screen role. It's an intriguing conversation with one of Hollywood's ascendant creators and well worth watching.
For Drew McWeeny's review of "Super 8," click here.
"Super 8" opens nationwide on June 10.
For year round entertainment commentary follow Gregory Ellwood on twitter @HitFixGregory.
June is still two days away, but with the 2011 movie season edging close to the halfway mark, it's becoming painfully apparent Hollywood is in for one humdinger of a competitive awards season. The fireworks won't really begin until the Venice/Telluride/Toronto triumvirate of festivals at the beginning of September, but with studios setting their fourth quarter release dates, hot Cannes titles getting acquired and buzz leaking about what contenders have already been screened it's hard not to see the wheels already in motion. Taking all that into account, here are 10 topics of interest that should hold you over until August. And besides, it's never really to early to talk Oscar, is it?
It might surprise you, but Jessica Chastain and "Thor" star Chris Hemsworth actually have a lot in common. No, Hemsworth didn't attend Juliard and Chastain isn't from Australia, but both actors have waited quite awhile for their big movie breaks to hit theaters. Hemsworth had already completed "The Cabin in the Woods" and "Red Dawn" before even landing his role as the Asgardian god in "Thor." And Chastain? She's had an even longer journey to the public eye.
Osama bin Laden may be dead thanks to the efforts of the CIA, Navy SEALs and President Obama, but Columbia Pictures and Kathryn Bigelow are keeping his story alive. The Sony Pictures division announced today that it had acquired the rights to produce and distribute Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal's untitled thriller about the black ops mission to capture or kill bin Laden.