This hasn't been a good week for Brett Ratner. His first film in four years, "Tower Heist," was both a critical and commercial disappointment after debut on Friday. Ratner complicated matters by responding to a question during a "Tower Heist" Q&A over the weekend by using the phrase "rehearsals are for fags." That set off a firestorm of criticism on Monday which has now lead to Ratner withdrawing from co-producing the 84th Academy Awards.
Update: GLAAD has not sent out an official response yet to Ratner's comments, but here are their initial comments from a blog post this afternoon.
"This apology is a good start, but we're working with Ratner's people for more action, to clearly send a message to Hollywood that the anti-gay slurs used by bullies and bigots have no place in the world of entertainment, or anywhere else."
A GLAAD rep tells HitFix they hope to have a response later this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
More telling, Academy president Tom Sherak tells Deadline he's standing by Ratner, for now. Sherak is quoted saying, "His remarks were inappropriate. He said it best in his apology, that his comments were dumb and insensitive. When you think of our community, it went against all the beliefs of the creative community we represent. He knew it was wrong and he issued that response as quickly as any human being ever has. The bottom line is, this won’t and can’t happen again. It will not happen again. He apologized and we will move forward. How do I know this? I’ve known this man for a very long time. He has many friends who are members of the gay and lesbian community. The apology he gave I truly believe comes from his heart. If it didn’t believe it, I would do something about it. This is about integrity and honoring the Academy Awards, but we all make mistakes and I believe he didn’t mean it.”
More on this story as news breaks.
Original post: 1:24 PM PST
Just when you thought Brett Ratner might make it through co-producing the Academy Awards without causing controversy or embarrassing himself (let alone the Academy), big Brett opens his big mouth and something idiotic comes out.
The first time I met Robert Pattinson it was in a small town outside of Portland Oregon on a dark and dreary night during production of the first "Twilight" film. Not many people knew that Stephenie Meyer's creation was going to take the world by storm later that year and Pattinson and his co-stars Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner were basically unknowns outside of small circles of "Harry Potter" and David Fincher fans. What I remember most about that 45 minutes, however, is chatting outside Pattinson's trailer and how he kept circling the conversation around to his backup plan if this whole "acting thing" didn't work out: heading back to London to focus on the music career. Things obviously worked out and iTunes is still waiting for that debut album from the 25-year-old Brit.
Sometimes lady luck is clearly on your side and sometimes it really isn't. In terms of Oscar, Woody Harrelson has consistently struck out with the mercurial lady twice already and this year it appears he won't even make it to the party. Harrelson gives another impressive and strong performance as Dave Brown, an LAPD cop who can't break his corrupt habits in Owen Moverman's "Rampart." Harrelson's performance has drawn raves since the film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in September (this pundit screened it at the AFI Fest on Saturday night). After Toronto, Millennium Entertainment came on board to give the film a pre-release Oscar qualifying run in December and a platform release in 2012. In hindsight, the Toronto and fall release strategy may not have been the best strategy for "Ramparts" producers.
The first thing I noticed upon my interview with Kristen Stewart for "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Pt. 1" wasn't how stunning she looks with longer, dark hair, but the bandage/apparatus on her right hand. Having likely answered the same "what happened" inquiry all day long, Stewart kindly answered, "I hurt it a few weeks ago. I was scuffling with some dwarfs and I pulled a ligament in this thumb. I have bad luck with thumbs. I broke this thumb in 'Breaking Dawn' actually."
It may surprise viewers of "J. Edgar" to hear this, but J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was actually one of the most feared men of the 20th Century. Many of his tactics while running the FBI, such as the illegal use of wiretapping, destroyed people's lives and reputations. He illegally taped many of his superiors and their families as well as some of the greatest political figures of the day including Martin Luther King. He also had the FBI provide information to Sen. Joseph McCarthy to make the notorious McCarthy Hearings possible, one of the darkest periods in our nation's history.
How do you campaign for the Oscars without actually campaigning? As Billy Crystal found out this summer, throwing yourself out there as a candidate for Hollywood's biggest night isn't seen necessarily as a positive. Even if you're the legendary Billy Crystal. The Academy and the show producers don't want to be pressured into picking a host and believe an element of surprise in picking the emcee actually means something to the general public (I know, they may be over thinking it a tad). After Anne Hathaway and James Franco's disastrous run last February, lots of familiar names were thrown about as potential hosts for the 85th installment of the big show next year. One of those names seriously suggested, for arguably the first time, was none other than Neil Patrick Harris.
Ah, the highs and lows of being the frontrunner. Depending on the particular Oscar season it can either be a blessing or a curse. Two years ago, Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air" was considered the frontrunner (by some) until "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" dominated December and September to make it an afterthought. In 2009, "Slumdog Millionaire" was in the lead from the Toronto Film Festival forward. 2007 arguably had no frontrunner as "The Departed" took the crown from a crowded field. In 2006, "Brokeback Mountain" was the expected best picture winner by many from Toronto onward until "Crash" surprised the public by taking the trophy (although this pundit sadly new "Crash" was in lead before the nominations came out and predicted its win). Still, there are too many "Up in the Air's" along the awards season trail over the past decade to allow publicists to enjoy a frontrunner label. So, with the Gurus of Gold back in full force this week, Fox Searchlight is probably wearing half a smile with Alexander Payne's critically acclaimed dramedy taking the top spot once again.
Gil Cates, longtime Academy Awards producer and governor of the organization's Director's branch, passed away at the age of 77. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the following after the news became public.
"Gil was our colleague, our friend and a former governor of the Academy," said Academy President Tom Sherak. "He was a consummate professional who gave the Academy and the world some of the most memorable moments in Oscar history. His passing is a tremendous loss to the entertainment industry, and our thoughts go out to his family."
Cates produced the show 14 times between 1990 and 2008, more than any other individual producer. He was also responsible for bringing in some of the show's most popular hosts including Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, David Letterman, Steve Martin, Chris Rock and Jon Stewart.
Martin tweeted this morning, "So sorry to hear Gil Cates has died. He helmed two Oscar shows I hosted. He was delightful, wise, canny and unperturbed. A great fellow."
Cates served three consecutive terms as a governor of the Academy's Directors Branch, from 1984 to 1993. He returned to the board for another term beginning in 2002, and held the post of vice president from 2003 to 2005.
Outside of Oscar, Cates directed a number of features including "The Last Married Couple in America" and "Oh God, Book II."