A report suggests the Brit comedian will be back to roast Hollywood again
Well, no surprise here. It was revealed two months ago that Golden Globe producers had invited cheeky British comedian Ricky Gervais to host their reliably boozy shindig for a third straight year -- keen, one assumes, to reignite the media fuss that greeted his polarizing performance this year, which some found hilariously irreverent and others thought overly disrespectful to the industry being celebrated that night. (I was firmly in the former camp.)
At the time, Gervais claimed he was wary of accepting the offer to three-peat, but one needn't have been a mind-reader to know he'd inevitably relent. And so, it seems, he has: the New York Post is informed by an inside source that the deal has been made. Hurrah.
Assuming Gervais returns, it'll be interesting next year to see how him emceeing compares to that of Eddie Murphy, who, in case you'd forgotten, is running the slightly bigger show that is the Oscars. It's been a while since the Academy opted for a comedian with that level of bite: with Gervais's recent run, the Globes have rather cornered the 'funny' market in the season's endless procession of awards shows, and Murphy will have to be on vintage form to compete.
The film hits theaters nationwide today
It's been a while since I've put up one of these. Sorry about that. It frankly keeps slipping my mind each week, but I'm glad you all have been engaging with what you've seen in the weekend Cinejabber posts. Today, though, a wide release is hitting and I'd love to get your feedback. I actually had a good time with Brett Ratner's "Tower Heist." I don't know what else I can say but that. It's interesting how it's landing just right in the zeitgeist as the Occupy Wall Street movement is at a fever pitch. And it's a nice antidote to the usual awards season flavor. If you happen to catch it this weekend, do come on back here and tell us what you thought.
Also: The 'pop-up' screening strategy and British indie film nods
Welcome to Oscar Talk.
In case you're new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty of things change en route to Oscar's stage and we're here to address it all as it unfolds.
Even though we've been neck deep in Oscat talk for a few months now, the season proper only really starts this week (advertising-wise). It makes sense, then, that we're starting to pile on the screenings and have plenty to discuss today as a result. So, with that in mind, let's see what's on the docket today...
Also: Fox plans Oscar push for Serkis and Mangold reflects on 'Copland'
I wrote up Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," which just premiered at AFI Fest, last night. Anne and I will also be discussing the film in the podcast this morning. But worth pointing to this morning is a Dan Kois piece that offers up the following observation: "Clint Eastwood is overdue for a Razzie!" Well, is he? He seems to get a pass year in and year out, despite some really awful outings amid his otherwise impressive enough post-millennium renaissance. But even in the good ole' days he put out his fair share of doozies. And yet, no Razzie to show for it! Maybe it's mean, but hey, this is the age of snark. (Though I would argue this same piece could be written for Woody Allen. It's the price of being prolific. They can't all be winners, and some are outright losers.) [Grantland]
The actor gives a stellar performance in a troubled film
I find myself coming down a number of different ways on Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar," which saw its world premiere tonight as the opening film of the 25th annual AFI Fest. It's weird, really. There are things to admire. There are things that are maddening. There are the usual caveats of a latter-day Eastwood film, and yet some indications of a departure from recent disappointments. (It's probably my favorite of his films since "Letters from Iwo Jima.")
At the heart of this vacillating, though, is a definitive opinion: Leonardo DiCaprio is exceptional in the title role, digging into an incredibly complex character, committing from frame one to the embodiment and maintaining that course without losing focus. It's at times a broad portrayal of a broad persona, but I thought the actor found ways to dial it down and make the internal machinations of the man count. And I think it could very well carry him to that elusive first Oscar win.
The film itself, though, wasn't as impressive. The problems mostly stem from a somewhat lazy, arbitrarily structured "greatest hits" screenplay from Dustin Lance Black. It's clunky and labored, but it's really only part of the problem.
The film will hit theaters again right in the middle of awards season
The Weinstein Company will have a busy November this year. Recently it was announced that the "My Week with Marilyn" will be released wide later in the month to capitalize on Thanksgiving audiences, while festival sensation "The Artist" finally hits the marketplace in limited release around the same time.
"Marilyn" will certainly give the company plenty to work with in the Best Actress arena, as Michelle Williams's performance as Marilyn Monroe has been high on the buzz meter since the film's New York Film Festival debut. But it seems they want a little more muscle in the category, as plans have been announced to re-release "Sarah's Key" on 300 screens tomorrow in advance of its November 22 DVD/Blu-ray release.
The film features a leading performance from Kristin Scott Thomas that has been lurking on the outside of our Contenders page for the field for a few weeks now. There has always been some rumblings within that she could make a play, but this move certainly seems to indicate an aggressive attempt to re-insinuate it in the conversation, no matter how tight the lead actress field may be.
Other possibilities include 'Captain America,' 'Harry Potter' and 'J. Edgar'
Ah, Best Makeup.
I always say that this is without doubt one of the most difficult categories to predict, year in and year out. While very broad trends can be observed, every year seemingly sure things do not make the bake-off (a list of seven finalists announced before the field is narrowed down to three on nomination morning), and even when they do, there are often shocking snubs among the final nominees. Last year’s omission of “Alice in Wonderland” immediately jumps to mind, for instance.
All that having been said, some titles do seem more plausible than others. The kind of work that tends to find favor here includes extensive prosthetics, effective aging makeup, creation of monsters and transformative effects. Period films take a disproportionate share of the nominations.
Sam Mendes directs golden-anniversary entry in spy franchise
"This is a bit of an odd press conference," director Sam Mendes admitted at this morning's swish London media gathering to cut the ribbon on production of the 23rd and latest James Bond film. "Usually at these things, you have something you can talk about."
He wasn't kidding. With producers Michael J. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, plus stars Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, Juli Dench, Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe, Mendes rocked up at the ballroom of Whitehall’s plush Corinthian Hotel – a venue one suspects Bond himself would choose – to tell us… well, not very much at all. Actors confirmed, but not present, include Ralph Fiennes, Albert Finney and Ben Whishaw: no surprise that Mendes’s Bond movie looks on course to be the luvviest one yet.
One journalist’s question after another was shut down with a slightly sheepish smile and a “maybe, maybe not” response. The one major nugget of information they had intended to reveal today had long been cracked open by the internet: “Introducing the world’s worst-kept secret,” Wilson said rather ruefully, as the film’s confirmed title, “Skyfall,” flashed onto the screen behind him. What does it mean? They can’t tell us, of course. It has “an emotional context,” offered Broccoli, reassuringly.
Also: Profiling Leo at the Gray Lady and the Academy toasts Pierre Étaix
Nathaniel Rogers points out that Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" turns the arbitrary age of 34 this month. On the occasion, he put the ole' Blu-ray in and gave it a first look in a great many years. I, too, recently revisited the film for the first time in a LONG time (as a double feature with "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" at the New Beverly Theater here in Los Angeles). It really is, to my mind, one of the directors top four or five efforts, and I look forward to re-watching most of his stuff soon as we'll be dedicating a December installment of The Lists to the best he's had to offer over the decades. [The Film Experience]
What do good-but-not-great numbers foretell for US release?
Box-office analysis is a funny old business, one I find simultaneously fascinating and alienating: the line between success and failure can be as subjective as it is fine. Which is why it's with some interest that I've been following the reports on the opening numbers for "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" in its first week of UK release: what initially appears to be good news turns out to have rather more mixed signals.
On the one hand, as The Guardian's Charles Gant (the go-to guy for British box-office reporting, for those interested) tells it, the film's a hit. Topping the charts with a first-week total of approximately $10.8 million (hey, we're a small country), it's enjoyed the biggest opening of any animated film this year. However, as Gant explains, when you factor in the money it made in previews, the film is actually tracking behind January opener "Tangled," with the end of the UK half-term school vacation promising something of a drop-off. In other words: sure, it's a hit. But it looks unlikely to be a phenomenon on the scale of Spielberg's Spielbiggest.