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The Black Film Critics Circle has named "12 Years a Slave" the best film of the year. Steve McQueen's drama won five prizes, but the group eschewed the usual bandwagon in the Best Actress field by finding room to recognize "Short Term 12" star Brie Larson. Check out the full list of winners below and remember to stay current with the season's goings-on at The Circuit.
The Alliance of Women Film Journalists has crowned "12 Years a Slave" the years Best Film and given Ridley Scott's "The Counselor" a shellacking. The latter film "won" three awards: the AWFJ Hall Of Shame Award, the Actress Most in Need Of A New Agent award (Cameron Diaz) and the Movie You Wanted To Love But Just Couldn’t Award. Well, then. Check out the nominees here and the full list of winners below. As always, keep track of it all via The Circuit.
Richard Sherman and his late brother Robert wrote some of the most beloved songs in movie musicals, including “Trust in Me” from “The Jungle Book,” “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” from the musical of the same name, the theme to “Winnie The Pooh,” and “Bedknobs & Broomsticks’” “The Age of Not Believing.” But it is for their work on “Mary Poppins” that they are most remembered through such songs as the Oscar-winning “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Feed The Birds.”
“Saving Mr. Banks,” which opens wide Friday (20), tells the true story of how Walt Disney spent 20 years trying to woo “Mary Poppins” book author P.L. Travers into signing over the rights to create a movie about the beloved nanny. More specifically, the film deals with a two-week period in 1961 during which The Sherman Brothers (played by Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak), writer Don DeGradi, and British author Travers struggled to come up with a story line for the film that would meet her approval.
“Those two weeks I would hate to go through again,” Sherman, 85, says. Even though he loved “Mary Poppins,” working with Travers was even worse than it appears in “Saving Mr. Banks,” he says. “Mrs. Travers was very, very difficult.”
He adds that neither he nor his brother knew anything of her backstory that the movie lays out: that she was raised in Australia as Helen Gough and that she spent much of her young life dealing with her charming, yet alcoholic, father.
In addition to handling the taciturn, stubborn Travers, the Shermans, Disney, and DeGradi had to deal with the fact that her book didn’t have much of a plot. “When we first read the books, we thought ‘There’s no story here. We have to tell the story,” he says. “There’s a reason Mary Poppins comes. It’s because it’s an unsettled household. The father’s paying no attention and the mother is off with the suffragette movement. This is stuff we trumped up.”
Disney loved the plot twists that the Shermans help devise, as well as their songs for “Mary Poppins,” but he was often spare with his compliments to their faces. “He never said anything was great,” Sherman says. “Behind our back, he’d say he loved our songs, but [to us], he’d say, ‘That’ll work.’ That was his praise. That’s what he said to everybody.”
Sherman, who worked as a consultant on “Saving Mr. Banks,” told screenwriter Kelly Marcel such nuances, which found their way into the script and then into Tom Hanks’ portrayal of Disney. Of the fact that his brother, Travers, DaGradi, and Disney have all passed, leaving him the only one with first-hand knowledge of the story, Sherman ruefully says, “I’m the last one standing.”
For Sherman and his brother, Disney “was like a second father. We both loved him.” In fact, he quickly rises to Disney’s defense when reminded that Disney’s legacy has been tarnished by accusations of racism and anti-semitism. “Let me tell you something, a lot of people talk about Walt in negative ways. There was nothing negative about Walt Disney,” he says. “He was dedicated to doing great things. He reached for the stars all the time. He was a wonderful, wonderful boss.”
“Mary Poppins” blew the Sherman Brothers’ careers wide open. They became staff writers as Disney and worked on dozens of projects for both the Mouse and other studios over the decades. Sherman continues to write, often feeling his brother’s spirit with him. But he often thinks back to “Mary Poppins.” “It meant so much to us,” he says. “We knew this would be the doorway to our success as songwriters because we had been writing songs and had a couple of hits, but nothing huge. This was a huge thing for us.”
Bryan Fuller and David Slade's "Hannibal" was one of my very favorite series of 2013, an imaginative and visually stunning reboot of Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham that managed to shake off all the dust that had accumulated around the characters over several decades, film adaptations and imitators. But it was also a very low-rated show that was renewed by NBC largely because it's an international co-production that costs less than their other dramas.
After asking "How I Met Your Mother" fans to wait nine seasons for the moment where Ted Mosby comes face-to-face with the woman of his dreams, CBS won't try to stretch that ninth season all the way until May, instead airing the one-hour series finale on March 31.
"How I Met Your Mother's" final episode airs March 31
The long-running CBS comedy is bowing out early with a one-hour finale, followed by the series premiere of "Friends with Better Lives." On April 14, "2 Broke Girls" will assume the 8 o'clock Monday timeslot.
Hawaii to host a 10-year anniversary "Lost" event in 2014
Details are sketchy, but "Lost 2014: The 10-Year Fan Gathering" is scheduled for Sept. 20-22 in Oahu. "Lost" premiered on Sept. 22, 2004.
Hoda & Kathie Lee will host a New Year's Eve special on NBC
"A Toast to 2013" is set for 8 pm on Dec. 31.
Adam Scott promises a "live birth" for the "Parks and Rec" season finale
"It's going to be a lot like 'The Sound of Music' with some sort of mammal or reptile giving birth and/or hatching from a reptile or amphibian or insect egg—we haven't worked out all the details," he says.
Barbara Walters wins the night with her final "Most Fascinating People" special
The special -- which named Hillary Clinton No. 1 "most fascinating" person of 2013 -- also featured the "Duck Dynasty" clan, excluding Phil Robertson, who instead went duck hunting.
Matt Smith will be naked in "Doctor Who" Christmas special
The BBC has released two pics of The Doctor in the buff.
Watch the trailer for "Salem"
WGN America's first scripted series, set in 17th century Massachusetts, is from Brannon Braga and stars Shane West, Ashley Madekewe, Seth Gabel and Xander Berkeley.
Fox renews "MasterChef Junior"
The kids' competition will be back for Season 2.
See Sacha Baron Cohen revive his Ali G character for FXX
Cohen yesterday filmed NSFW intros for FXX's "Ali G: Rezurection" with bikini babes in a hot tub.
"Suburgatory" returns with animated opening credits
Watch the Jan. 15 opening inspired by Etsy paper dolls.
Amber Portwood tells Dr. Phil: I was high the entire time on "Teen Mom"
"This is actually my first time on stage sober, so I'm really nervous," she says. "Every time you see me on that show, I am high."
What's so great about Jennifer Lawrence? Everything, duh. This week, we saw the Oscar winner as her usual unvarnished, unrehearsed self in a sit-down for ABC's "Barbara Walters Presents: The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2013." Because Walters' modus operandi seems to be trying to make celebrities cry or scream, the topic of weight had to be addressed. Guess what? J-Law had some opinions.
"Why is humiliating people funny?" she wondered. "And I get it, I do it too. We all do it."
Have you ever wondered who the power players really are on the awards circuit and how they stack up this time of year? Are you curious to dive deep on the industry side of things to discover just how that element of the Hollywood machinery operates? Then HitFix's inaugural Oscar Power List is right up your alley.
Cybill Shepherd is coming to "Trophy Wife"
She'll play Malin Akerman's "wild mother."
Phil Robertson's "Duck Dynasty" suspension is not a First Amendment issue
A&E is not the government, as James Poniewozik points out: "Losing your job for saying something that embarrasses your private employer–even if that is a media outlet–is not a free speech issue. It is not a First Amendment issue. It may be dumb, it may be justified, but it is not a constitutional violation," he says. PLUS: "IStandwithPhil" website petition drive launches.
"24" adds Judy Davis
She'll play a "fierce German arms dealer" on "24: Live Another Day."
Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" logo recalls "The Honeymooners"
The classic New York sitcom also used the moon as a backdrop.
Michael Buble easily beats Celine Dion in battle of network Christmas specials
Buble's 3rd annual special grabbed five million viewers.
Daft Punk will play the Grammys
The French electronic duo hasn't performed on TV since the 2008 Grammys.
"Sesame Street" meets "Sex and the City"
Watch Kim Cattrall's "fabulous" visit.
Hulu spoofs "House of Cards"
Tyler Labine's "Deadbeat" has created a parody of the Netflix drama's trailer.