It's going to be a busy night at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood Tuesday night. Paramount had initially set a footage presentation for 6pm in tandem with AFI Fest. Then a secret screening was added to the slate following that event. Then, suddenly, Paramount decided to run with a full exhibition of "Selma," while AFI Fest has revealed the title of the secret screening: Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper."
LOS ANGELES — You might not know who Shep Gordon is, but you've certainly felt his impact. As a manager extraordinaire who has shepherded the careers of everyone from Alice Cooper and Teddy Pendergrass to Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck, Gordon has had a wild ride. He was there for the early rock explosion, not just rubbing shoulders with people like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, but working with them, figuring out the business of show with a whole crop of exciting artists as a defining fixture of that bedrock. Naturally, then, someone was going to be interested in trying to capture that presence in a film.
Do the Hollywood Film Awards matter? Ask publicists and film marketers eager to lap up any and all opportunities to position movies and talent this time of year, then yeah, they do. Have they long been a ham-fisted attempt to capitalize on awards season and a scheme to line one ambitious individual's pockets? Ask the same group and you'll get another affirmative. "I don't want to deal with this, but I guess I have to," one deflated publicist told me of the upcoming show, which will be broadcast for the first time ever on CBS Friday.
Ladies and gentlemen, Emma Stone has come out of the "Amazing Spider-Man" fire and survived.
After almost three years of pretty much filming the Sony franchise flicks back to back, she's finally getting to stretch her wings again. The latest reminder of her incredible talent is her performance as Sam, Michael Keaton's big screen daughter in Alejandro González Iñárritu's "Birdman." The drama, centered on a former Hollywood superstar (Riggan Thompson) attempting to revive his career on Broadway, is one of the most acclaimed films of the year. Stone brings an unexpected depth to Sam and she's generated serious Best Supporting Actress buzz for her work.
For awhile, Ava DuVernay’s "Middle of Nowhere" follow-up "Selma" looked like Paramount Pictures’s perpetually-teased-never-shown December holdout, a big question mark for Oscar season. The movie only wrapped production over the summer. Post-production was racing towards a release date. Would it be done in time? Fear not: The Martin Luther King Jr. drama will scrap its plans to screen 30 minutes of exclusive footage at the currently-running AFI Festival and let the entire feature out of the gates.
"Surprise" is the word most often associated with "The Secret of Kells," Tomm Moore’s directorial debut and 2010’s out-of-nowhere Best Animated Feature contender. With a few short films and the animated series "Skunk Fu!" under its belt, Moore’s Irish animation company, Cartoon Saloon, snuck into the category with mystic lore and 2D-animated whimsy. Moore’s film couldn’t top Pixar’s "Up" but it did grab the attention of animation buffs who eagerly awaited his follow-up. Now it’s here, looking just as gorgeous and meticulously crafted as "Kells."
HOLLYWOOD — You'd never guess it from the reviews, but after Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" screened at the New York Film Festival last month, the word on the street wasn't great.
The iconic filmmaker's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel earned immediate respect, but numerous industry attendees spread the word it wasn't Academy friendly and potentially not commercial enough to really be a player for Warner Bros. It even prompted questions on whether the reaction to the uniquely Los Angeles tale would have been better suited for a hometown debut. Following "Vice's" Southern California unveiling at the 2014 AFI Film Fest Saturday night, the answer to that question is still up for debate, but one thing's for sure: it's time to start the "don't forget Josh Brolin in the Best Supporting Actor race" campaign. Yes, a "reminder" campaign usually occurs after a film has at least hit limited release, but with "Vice" not arriving in New York, Toronto and Los Angeles until Dec. 1,2 there might be no time like the present.
Of Saturday night's many wonderful moments at the Academy's 6th annual Governors Awards, near the top would have to be seeing Hayao Miyazaki accept his Honorary Oscar. It was a rare US appearance for the legendary Japanese animator, who was not on hand at the 2003 Academy Awards to accept his competitive prize for "Spirited Away."
HOLLYWOOD — The 6th annual Governors Awards were held in the Ray Dolby Ballroom in the middle of Hollywood Saturday night. Previously announced honorees Maureen O'Hara, Hayao Miyazaki, Jean-Claude Carrière and Harry Belafonte were of course on hand as the room teemed with familiar faces from this year's Oscar race. Jessica Chastain, Benedict Cumberbatch, Richard Linklater, Logan Lerman, Michael Keaton, Jennifer Aniston, Patricia Arquette, Jean-Marc Vallée, Tilda Swinton, Oscar Isaac and Eddie Redmayne were just a few of the circuit's fixtures working the room, as the show has become a perennial stop on the Oscar campaign trail.
HOLLYWOOD — At the 6th annual Governors Awards Saturday night, Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award recipient Harry Belafonte brought things to a sober, classy close with a lengthy speech detailing some of Hollywood's history with social rights issues. It was a pretty powerful send-off (Michael Keaton seemed particularly knocked out from my vantage point).