Check Out Our New Look

OSCAR MOGULS: Harvey Weinstein Q&A

Mike Fleming

What started as a wide open contest all those months ago remains a still impossible to predict one with just four weeks to go as The King’s Speech has erased The Social Network’s once-thought impenetrable lead. And if a photo finish is needed between these two front runners, could a third movie, a true spoiler, sneak in? The Deadline Team of Nikki Finke, Pete Hammond, and Mike Fleming have spent recent days interviewing the studio moguls to gauge their perspective on this very close Oscar race.

With recent Producers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild wins and a whopping 12 Academy Award nominations (a number that only 11 other films in the Academy’s 83-year history have ever exceeded), The Weinstein Co’s The King’s Speech is gaining momentum after The Social Network became the front runner by dominating critics awards and winning the Golden Globe. And with it, Harvey Weinstein climbs back into a place where he thrives, smack in the middle of a Best Picture Oscar race, his 20th to date. He won with The English Patient (1996) and Shakespeare in Love (1998) and Chicago (2002), but hasn’t been in the winner’s circle since he left Miramax and focused most of his attention on the ups and downs of his successor indie start-up. On a picturesque snowy day at the Stein Erikson in Deer Valley, Weinstein took time away from Sundance Film Festival dealmaking to talk to Deadline’s Mike Fleming about his two contenders, The King’s Speech and also The Fighter (Weinstein Co has foreign):

DEADLINE’s Mike Fleming: Explain why The King’s Speech is a Best Picture candidate?
HARVEY WEINSTEIN: The King’s Speech is a classic movie. To me, Oscar movies are the best achievement in motion picture. You look back years from now and say, ‘How great was that movie? When John Ford, an American director, put a mining town in Wales and won an Oscar for How Green Was My Valley, that was an achievement. Or A Man For All Seasons which is a classic motion picture that isn’t about today, or tomorrow. The King’s Speech will fall into that category. It’s about friendship, inspiration, and courage. I’m so sick of hearing the question of what’s relevant in this campaign. Just focus on what’s good. If you like True Grit, vote for that because it’s the best achievement in motion picture. If it’s Black Swan or The Social Network, do that. But putting tags on these movies, or finding the zeitgeist, is an insult to Academy members. And I’m hearing the backlash and them say, ‘I’m sick of being told what is relevant or what will get ratings for the network special.’ It’s ‘What’s great?’ Oscars are like Major League Baseball: as meaningful as Ty Cobb’s or Babe Ruth’s statistics when we look back. The Oscar is the greatest yardstick for motion pictures. To cheapen it with slogans, I find that horrendous.

DEADLINE: What do you mean, ‘slogans’?
WEINSTEIN: They say, ‘It’s not relevant. True Grit‘s not relevant. The King’s Speech is irrelevant.’ It’s crazy. It reminds me of when people used to say, ‘Let’s make movies in the 1960s because Easy Rider worked’. They made 27 movies like Strawberry Statement about the ’60s, and none of them worked. There’s always this thing, ‘What’s relevant?’ ‘What’s now?’

DEADLINE: By relevant, are you referring to the Facebook hipness of The Social Network versus a movie set on the eve of WWII?
WEINSTEIN: No. But even what you just said, I watch Casablanca and never think of it as a WWII movie. Its love story is as timeless as the song As Time Goes By. When Casablanca won Best Picture in 1940, maybe there was the same thing like The King’s Speech – some hip out-of-the-headlines movie that year that talked about something cool and new. True Grit is a classic movie, a Western for god’s sake. But it’s as contemporary as anything out there because of the way the Coen Brothers made it. It’s all about how Tom Hooper sees that period, and how the Coen Brothers see that period.

DEADLINE: The Social Network was a juggernaut with critics awards and the Golden Globes. How hard is that early momentum to overcome?
WEINSTEIN: We just have to give Academy members permission to vote their heart, as opposed to what somebody else is voting. Just vote for what you believe. That could be Black Swan, or True Grit, or The Fighter. They’re all excellent movies. At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s about what happened before. What happened before is irrelevant. It’s what’s happening at this moment, now, and how you feel. The best thing for educated Academy members is for them to put their movies in the player and watch them again. Vote after the second viewing. The King’s Speech cost $14 million. How can we compete against movies that cost three times what we spent? And, yet, making that movie for $14 million is astonishing, more a Houdini act of conjuring than producing. To me, it’s about the words. Just like when I grew up and it was Robert Bolt’s screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia: ‘Why do you like the desert, Lawrence?’ ‘Because it’s clean.’ These are lines I will never forget in my whole lifetime. The King’s Speech is like that, and I think it will take its place alongside The Man For All Seasons, and some of the great movies that entertained and informed me. John Travolta said it best — I don’t know if he’s allowing me to say this — but he said the reason I’m voting for The King’s Speech is because it inspired me and we need inspiration. I feel the same way right now. We need inspiration.

DEADLINE: You are in a favorable position in one respect: you have a picture building gross at a time when the Oscar race is really building steam. Was this your strategy to wait until the nominations came out?
WEINSTEIN: 100%. I’ve been keeping my powder dry. The first time the movie went even semi-wide was last week when it was on 1,400 screens. This week, it’s on 1,600 screens. And by the weekend, we will gross $57 million. We’ll be higher than The Queen, and we haven’t even gone really wide yet. We will overtake The Social Network. The movie will outgross The Social Network. We’ll go wide, and then very wide, because we believe in the movie.

DEADLINE: When very wide?
WEINSTEIN: Academy week. We’ll be on 2,500 screens Friday, off the nomination. And we’re going to do something special on Valentine’s Day for this movie that we’re still working out.

DEADLINE: You’ve been waging Oscar campaigns for a long time. What’s the biggest challenge now in positioning your film with voters?
WEINSTEIN: Frankly, we don’t have the same amount of money as some of the other studios are spending. When I was at Miramax, we could go toe-to-toe moneywise. Here, we’ll be outspent 4-to-1 by a lot of movies. By The Social Network, certainly. I think The Fighter is spending. When I was at Miramax, we could get in the ring. Now, I’m going to have to get a sling-shot to knock out some of these Goliaths.

DEADLINE: How do you compensate?
WEINSTEIN: Every morning I wake up and say to myself, ‘Think of a good idea today.’ They are outspending us by a huge huge amount. I can only hope it’ll be like those big elections, where guys spent $130 million on a campaign and lost to the guy who spent much less.

DEADLINE: You are positioning yourself as the underdog.
WEINSTEIN: Moneywise? I think anyone who can count can see it. I once asked Warren Beatty to judge between Shakespeare in Love and Saving Private Ryan, because everyone said we were outspending them. He did something phenomenal, counted the ads. And, not by much, but Private Ryan did outspend us. Here, it’s not even close. Anybody can see the amount of ads, leaflets, and books that come to your house.

DEADLINE: You and Scott Rudin are the faces of this Oscar race. How is it you two always end up adversaries?
WEINSTEIN: I’m revealing this to Deadline: Scott and I have worked this whole thing out. I’ve gone to dinner with him three times this week, and I’ve got to tell you, he makes the greatest Baked Tagliolini I’ve ever had, better than Cipriani. We sit around the campfire, me and Scott, and go, ‘How can those writers be such suckers and believe this about us?’ Because we’ve worked it out. I said, ‘Scott, you win the critics’ awards. I’ll win the big one.’ Do you realize the publicity value Scott brought The Reader when he withdrew? I could never have afforded that P&A. We secretly work these things out. And I’m helping him on The Social Network. I’m the classic case of that guy who can’t even figure out the Blackberry standing as a symbol for all those ignorant people.

DEADLINE: There’s a famous story that when you clashed on The Hours over whether to hide Nicole Kidman’s prosthetic nose in the ads, Scott sent you cartons of cigarettes after you’d quit smoking.
WEINSTEIN: The nose thing on The Hours was definitely a source of contention with Scott. But listen, the movie worked. It won. Scott left me out of the Golden Globe acceptance speech that year, but I’m sure that was unintentional. At least, I’d like to think so. I’m hoping. He told me it was. Maybe he got nervous. I guess the implication of the cigarettes was that he wanted me to smoke again after three years or not smoking. But I take it in the spirit in which it was intended. Scott has a great sense of humor. I think he was kidding. He’s a tremendous producer, and I have a lot of respect for him. And a fierce competitor. But we’ve worked it out, like I said. I’m not doing a movie next year, he is, and I will take the following year. We’re going to alternate because this is just too much.

DEADLINE: Scott recently told me that one reason he withdrew from The Reader was that the movie didn’t clarify the point that Kate Winslet’s character committed suicide because she learned to read, and when she absorbed books on the Holocaust, she understood the enormity of the genocide and her part in it, so the guilt was too much. It was clear in Bernhard Schlink’s novel but Scott felt it wasn’t in the movie and, as a Jewish filmmaker, he couldn’t bear that.
WEINSTEIN: He’s the only one who thought that. Everyone else pretty much got it. The movie grossed $120 million, it was nominated for five Oscars, Kate won Best Actress and was celebrated all over the world, including Germany. If Scott missed that point…

DEADLINE: You think that point was clear?
WEINSTEIN: I definitely did, and ironically, that was never one of the points Scott brought up when he was leaving the movie. The first time I read that point was in your piece because Scott had always told me it was about the release date. He said he needed more time on the movie, but it was really that he had a lot of movies on his plate that year, The Reader and Revolutionary Road and Doubt. My deal with Scott was always that we could release the movie at that time, but there were delays on the film. In my mind, nobody was wrong and nobody was right. But it turned out to be a good decision to release The Reader on time, actually, when The Reader does $120 million, and cost $25 million, was a hit on video, sold to TV for a good price. Even though Anthony Minghella had passed away, to me that was an Anthony project. I felt custodial of it because my relationship with Anthony was so strong. I think in a way this movie ignited me, just lit me up. My reemergence in this industry with the kind of enthusiasm I have right now, I owe that to Scott Rudin. Because, when he couldn’t do it anymore, I had to step up to the plate.

DEADLINE: Are we going to see the whispering campaigns and the planted Oscar race badmouthing stories in the final weeks here?
WEINSTEIN: I don’t think so. I think the Academy is so sophisticated that when those kinds of whispers happen, everybody yawns, and moves on. It doesn’t mean anything. When we did The English Patient, they said the guy has Nazi sympathies. We weren’t making a documentary. We had a story that came from a novel. Just have the people see the film. Then they see the movie and think, ‘What in God’s name?’ And it’s clear to them that’s a publicist scraping the bottom of the barrel. And then it just goes away.

DEADLINE: When these things happened in the past, a lot of fingers pointed your way. Is that fair?
WEINSTEIN: No. It’s complete nonsense. And I strongly resent it. I’ve never done it. You’ve known me a million years, have I ever gotten on the phone with you and said, ‘Mike, this movie’s anti-Semitic,’ ‘Mike, this movie’s anti-abortion.’? I’ve never said it. You can produce journalist after journalist, and I keep saying, ‘Who’s the one I called and said it to? Who’s the one my staff called and said it to?’ There have been mistakes, yes, but never with that pointed antagonism. [In the past, when Nikki Finke has reported Oscar badmouthing about rival films coming from his old Miramax, Harvey blamed it on his outside Oscar consultants.]

DEADLINE: How did you come to be involved with The King’s Speech?
WEINSTEIN: Right after I read the script that was classical, emotional, inspirational. It made me cry and I had the same feeling when I read The English Patient, and Shakespeare In Love, and The Aviator. I put up half the money, supervised production. Everybody else was minority partners, a group of them. We put up the biggest stake and all day-to-day decisions on the production side were ours and Tom Hooper’s. We had back and forth input into casting, music, special effects, everything. Our input and advice was asked for.

DEADLINE: How much was the casting of Colin Firth because you’ve worked with him before?
WEINSTEIN: We go back further than that, and that history is a very important piece of the puzzle. In 1993, I cast Colin as a lawyer in Hour of the Pig. He lost the case, but he won my heart. We did The English Patient together, and I fought to get him in the movie. We did Shakespeare in Love, and there I had to go balls out. He had another movie, but I really wanted him to play Lord Wessex because that character couldn’t be standard arch-villain. I really wanted Joe Fiennes to have a mountain to climb, and that mountain was Colin Firth. It made it gray, instead of black and white, and he gave it integrity. Then we did two Bridget Jones movies together, A Single Man, The Importance of Being Earnest. We’ve done 10 movies together in 17 years. He’s part of my family and my life. Read More »

Comments 55

Katherine Heigl Will Celebrate ‘New Year’s Eve’ With Bon Jovi Instead Of Halle Berry

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Katherine Heigl, not Halle Berry,  will be the one smooching Jon Bon Jovi in New Line’s ensemble romantic comedy New Year’s Eve. I’m told Berry has dropped out of the picture, which is just getting underway. Heigl was available because she recently withdrew from Adaline, a film that was supposed to shoot in March from Lakeshore and Sidney Kimmel Entertainment. Her reps said Heigl, who recently adopted her first child, didn’t want to go back to work right away. New Year’s Eve is the perfect job then, because it’s a true ensemble that won’t require a long production commitment from the actress.  Heigl had been in early talks for the original film, the Marshall-directed Valentine’s Day, but a deal was never consummated. Losing Berry is a blow, but Heigl’s certainly a draw in the romantic comedy genre. The Garry Marshall-directed film stars Robert De Niro, Sofia Vergara, Russell Peters, Hilary Swank, Ice Cube, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Josh Duhamel, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel and Til Schweiger. Mike Karz and Wayne Rice are producing.

Comments 38

RATINGS RAT RACE: Betty White Is Sunday Double Winner, Fox Is Tops With Pro Bowl

Nellie Andreeva

On Sunday, it will be one year since Betty White stormed into pop culture with a memorable Super Bowl ad at last year’s Super Bowl, which led to a Saturday Night Live hosting gig, a hit sitcom, awards and more. A year later, the Betty White express is not slowing down. Last night, at age 89, she won her first comedy actress SAG Award for TV Land’s Hot in Cleveland and delivered CBS’ best TV movie ratings in years. The Lost Valentine (2.3/6 in 18-49, 14.5 million viewers) marked a big rebound for The Hallmark Hall of Fame franchise, which has been languishing in the ratings, drawing the largest audience since Jan. 2007 (Valley of Light) and highest 18-49 and 25-54 ratings since Dec. 2008. (Front of the Class). Appropriately, Betty White faced NFL competition, the 2011 NFC-AFC Pro Bowl on Fox (7:30-10:30 PM), which won the night with a 7.7/12 rating in 18-49 and 13.4 million viewers, the franchise’s most watched game in 14 years.

Read More »

Comments (0)

Spike TV Orders Two New Reality Series

By | Monday January 31, 2011 @ 8:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Spike TV has ordered two new unscripted series from producers behind Jersey Shore and The Biggest Loser.

The half-hour Repo Games, from Jersey Shore exec producer Sally Ann Salsano and her 495 Prods., has received a 20-episode order. It is a game-show described as Cops meets Jeopardy and follows a crew of real-life repo men, Josh Lewis and Tom Detone, who give debtors one last chance to keep their cars but only if they’re willing to play for it.  The debtors get five questions and if they get three answers correct, the car will be paid off on the spot.  If not, the car gets taken away. Production on the show starts in February.

The hourlong Bar Rescue, from 3 Ball Pros./Eyeworks, has received a 10-episode order. The project, which was picked up to pilot in May under the title On the Rocks, features top restaurant and bar consultant Jon Taffer giving failing establishments one last chance to succeed. The series begins shooting in April. JD Roth and Todd A. Nelson are exec producing.

Comments (15)

CBS Signs Talent Holding Deal With Young British Actress

By | Monday January 31, 2011 @ 7:30am PST
Nellie Andreeva

Talent holding deals are pretty rare these days, especially with young up-and-comers. CBS and CBS TV Studios have signed such as deal with 24-year-old British actress Lucy Griffiths. Under the pact, the network will cast her in a drama or comedy project. It marks Griffiths’ first U.S. gig. In the U.K., she is best known for doing the first 2 seasons of the BBC drama Robin Hood, on which she played Maid Marian. The actress, who recently starred on the West End in the revival of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, is with U.S.’ Paul Kohner and Principal and U.K.’s Hamilton/Hodell. CBS has been the most active on the talent holding deal front this season, inking pacts with Rob Riggle, Leah Remini and Kristoffer Polaha.

Comments (13)

CW’s ‘Plain Jane’ Goes International

By | Monday January 31, 2011 @ 7:07am PST
Nellie Andreeva

While the CW is yet to make a decision on a second season of its summer makeover reality series Plain Jane, the show’s producer, Sony Pictures TV’s 2waytraffic, is moving ahead with international versions of the show. MTV International has acquired the format rights to Plain Jane and has greenlit an 8-episode English-language version of the reality series with the same title and the same host as the original CW series, Louise Roe, for a fall premiere. The format has also been sold in French Canada to an upcoming specialty channel temporarily named TVA Mode, which has commissioned 16 episodes  under the title Le Tresor en Moi to launch in May. Additionally, MTV International, which is airing the original six-episode CW series in the UK, Europe, Asia, and Australia, has picked it up for a number of additional territories. The U.S. version of Plain Jane has also been sold to Sony’s channels in Latin America.

Plain Jane is a makeover show with a romantic element that features a plain-looking young woman who gets a complete transformation before revealing her true feelings to a guy she’s had a secret crush on. The show got off to a rough ratings start on the CW last summer airing amidst all-reruns but showed week-to-week growth. At TCA in the summer, CW’s entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said the network brass really believed in the show and were “very realistic about the ratings expectations” given the … Read More »

Comments (2)

AOL & Mark Burnett To Develop Comedic Shorts Based On CliffsNotes Books

By | Monday January 31, 2011 @ 7:05am PST
Nellie Andreeva

AOL Inc., Mark Burnett, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. and Coalition Films have entered a digital production agreement to co-develop a series of comedic video shorts based on CliffsNotes Literature Guides, published by Wiley. Showcased on AOL.com this year will be the works of Mark Twain, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and others in humorous, irreverent, animated shorts that still present the plots, characters, and themes.

Comments (0)

Fox Searchlight & UK’s Ingenious Commit To Financing and Distributing British Films

London-based Ingenious Media, the private equity fund which backed Twentieth Century Fox’s Avatar, has struck a deal with Fox Searchlight to make between 2 to 3 movies in the $10M-15M range. Ingenious could inject up to $14 million annually into the deal, providing 20%-30% equity per movie. Fox Searchlight will guarantee U.S. distribution, the Holy Grail for most UK indie producers. Both companies worked together most recently on 127 Hours, Never Let Me Go, and the forthcoming The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which Fox Searchlight will release in the Fall. Ingenious has backed more than 30 Fox movies but until now under a loose arrangement, financing between 5 and 10 of Fox Filmed Entertainment’s movies each year. Recent investments include Gulliver’s Travels, Unstoppable, The A-Team, and Percy Jackson.

James Clayton, CEO of Ingenious Investments, tells me he first approached Fox Searchlight presidents Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley and production president Claudia Lewis back in November about formalising their relationship. “The UK independent sector has been going through a very tough time I told them I think there’s something more ambitious we can do in the UK. Given our position, we get to see pretty much every UK project in development. And Fox Searchlight wanted to make a greater commitment to the UK business.” The new deal, notes Clayton, takes advantage of “Fox Searchlight’s great taste, superb marketing and the economics of global distribution [which] are much more interesting from a financing perspective than … Read More »

Comments (2)

R.I.P. John Barry

By | Monday January 31, 2011 @ 3:34am PST

The film composer whose elegant James Bond soundtracks helped define the 1960s has died of a heart attack in New York. He was 77. Barry won 5 Academy Awards for his work on Born Free, The Lion In Winter, Out of Africa and Dances With Wolves. He was made a BAFTA fellow in 2005 and was given an OBE in 1999 for his services to music. Barry’s hypnotic jazz arrangements, brassy horns, and swooning strings made his sound one of the most easily recognised in the world. His scores for Midnight Cowboy, The Ipcress File and Body Heat told you everything you needed to know within their first few seconds. Barry wrote the soundtracks for 11 James Bond films including Goldfinger and You Only Live Twice.

Born in York in the north of England in 1933, Barry was schooled in church music by the organist of York Minster cathedral. He went on to form his John Barry Seven jazz band, which had several hits before he was hired to arrange Monty Norman’s famous James Bond signature tune in 1962. Don Black, who wrote the lyrics for Thunderball and several other Bond theme tunes, tells me:  “John had his signature on everything he did. You listen to one of his scores and you think, that’s John Barry – just the same as when you hear Sinatra sing. He was a brilliant musical dramatist who could just lock in to the emotion on screen.”

David … Read More »

Comments 37

OWN Pumps Up The Volume Of Original Programming In Pursuit Of Ratings Growth

Nellie Andreeva

On Tuesday, OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network will mark one month on the air. The network, which on Jan.1 replaced Discovery Health amidst a wave of publicity, is still work in progress,  OWN CEO Christina Norman admits, but says it is on track to achieve its first-year ratings goals. To help do that, OWN is doubling the number of new series offerings for February from the planned 2, Our America with Lisa Ling and What Would You Do, an acquisition from ABC News, to 4, including Searching For…, which stars investigative genealogist Pam Slaton and Breaking Down the Bars, which follows eight inmates in a women’s prison in Indiana.

At its launch, OWN introduced 7 new series. Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes, which follows the final season of Winfrey’s syndicated show, has been the most successful one, more than tripling what Discovery Health used to average in the slot. But the other two shows carrying Winfrey’s name, the much-touted Oprah Presents Master Class and Your OWN Show: Oprah’s Search for the Next TV Star, have been disappointments, Norman admits. “Your OWN Show show hasn’t been able to capitalize on its (Oprah Behind the Scenes) lead-in,” Norman said. “There will be a winner who will get their own show, but it’s a drag if something didn’t work.” As for Master Class, which is barely pulling even with Discovery Health’s average, it “is trending in the right direction,” Norman said.

OWN launched on Jan. … Read More »

Comments 25

SAG Awards TV: AFTRA Shows Pull Even With SAG; ‘Boardwalk Empire’, ‘Modern Family’, And Betty White Get First Wins

Nellie Andreeva

For the first time in a long time, both top TV series categories, best drama and comedy ensemble, featured first-time winners, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and ABC’s Modern Family. And for the first time, a winner in one the top categories, Modern Family, was an AFTRA-affiliated show.

Last year, Julianna Margulies’ win for best actress in a drama series marked the first time in recent history that a SAG award had gone to an actor on an AFTRA-represented series, CBS’ The Good Wife. The other 5 series categories were won by SAG shows. Fast-forward to tonight when 3 out of the 6 SAG Awards for series, or 50%, went to AFTRA-designated shows. That included best actress in a drama series, in which Margulies repeated for a second consecutive year, best comedy series ensemble (Modern Family) and best actress in a comedy series (Hot in Cleveland‘s Betty White) Backstage, Margulies supported the ongoing movement to merge the two actors unions, SAG and AFTRA. “I would like us all to be one,” she said. “We’re in an industry where power comes in numbers.” Onstage, Melissa Leo, winner in the best supporting actress in a movie category for The Fighter made an … Read More »

Comments (18)

17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Winners: ‘The King’s Speech’ Entire Cast, Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Christian Bale, Melissa Leo

LOS ANGELES — The 17th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards® for outstanding performances in 2010 are underway tonight. Of the top industry accolades presented to performers, only the Screen Actors Guild Awards are selected solely by actors’ peers. The entire active membership of the Guild across the country, approximately 100,000 actors, voted on all categories:

THEATRICAL MOTION PICTURES

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
ANTHONY ANDREWS / Stanley Baldwin
HELENA BONHAM CARTER / Queen Elizabeth
JENNIFER EHLE / Myrtle Logue
COLIN FIRTH / King George VI
MICHAEL GAMBON / King George V
DEREK JACOBI / Archbishop Cosmo Lang
GUY PEARCE / King Edward VIII
GEOFFREY RUSH / Lionel Logue
TIMOTHY SPALL / Winston Churchill

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

COLIN FIRTH / King George VI – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

NATALIE PORTMAN / Nina Sayers – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

CHRISTIAN BALE / Dicky Eklund – THE FIGHTER (Paramount Pictures)

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

MELISSA LEO / Alice Ward – THE FIGHTER (Paramount Pictures)

PRIMETIME TELEVISION

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
STEVE BUSCEMI / Nucky Thompson
DABNEY COLEMAN / Commodore Louis Kaestner
PAZ DE LA HUERTA / Lucy Danzinger
STEPHEN GRAHAM / Al Capone
ANTHONY LACIURA / Eddie Kessler
KELLY MACDONALD / Margaret Schroeder
GRETCHEN MOL / Gillian Darmody
ALESKA PALLADINO / … Read More »

Comments 63

SAG AWARDS: Tribute To Ernest Borgnine

By | Sunday January 30, 2011 @ 4:34pm PST

Ray Richmond is a contributor to Deadline’s TV awards coverage:

When some months back the Screen Actors Guild called to tell Ernest Borgnine that he would receive their annual Life Achievement Award tonight, he registered shock. Which isn’t necessarily a good thing for a man about to turn 94 years old. “I’m just over the moon about SAG giving me this thing,” he told me. “Heck, I’m just a character actor for God sakes. I’m no big star. It was my mom who told me, ‘Ernie, if you make even one person happy with your smile or a funny thing you did every day, you’ll have accomplished a great deal.’ And that’s all I’ve ever tried to do.” A son of Italian immigrants and a World War II Navy veteran, Borgnine received his big showbiz break (after some minor, local stage roles) relatively late, at age 33, when he was cast as the hospital attendant in a Broadway production of Harvey. That was followed by roles in some 200 films — the most impact: a villain’s villain in the World War II classic From Here to Eternity. He was cast repeatedly as the bad guy until he landed the part of the unconventional leading man in Marty and won the 1956 Best Actor Oscar. It was his first and only Academy Award nomination and, to everyone’s surprise, including his own, Borgnine beat out an all-star roster of Hollywood legends including … Read More »

Comments 36

Javier Bardem Offered Big Bond #23 Role; MGM Leveraging 007 Distribution With Co-Financing Deal To Improve Its Cash Flow: Jockeying Studios “Increasingly Frustrated”

By and | Sunday January 30, 2011 @ 1:44pm PST

EXCLUSIVE: Deadline has just learned that Javier Bardem has been offered a starring role in the upcoming James Bond film recently set for a November 9, 2012, release. Details about the character are being kept under wraps for now. But traditionally the biggest male role opposite 007 is the villain, and Bardem played a truly villainous villain in his Oscar-winning turn in No Country For Old Men two years ago. The EON Productions offer by principals Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli to Bardem to join star Daniel Craig and director Sam Mendes was made last week, at around the same time that  the WME-repped Bardem received his Best Actor nomination for Biutiful and another high-profile offer of a lead role, that of gunslinger Roland Deschain in the Ron Howard-directed trilogy based on Stephen King’s novel series The Dark Tower. (Amidst all this career activity, Bardem and Penelope Cruz welcomed their first son into the world.) But it should be noted that Bardem was offered the high-profile villain role in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and turned it down.

The other Bond #23 news is this: Deadline has learned that MGM’s new leadership is trying to leverage the next Bond pic, and indeed the Bond franchise, to create more cash flow for the post-bankruptcy studio. The new brass, Spyglass Entertainment co-owners Gary Barber and Roger Birnbaum who are now the Co-Chairmen/CEOs of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc, are in the middle of negotiating to make an overall deal for worldwide theatrical and home entertainment distribution of not just Bond but also MGM’s new product as well as its library of films. But what isn’t known is that, as part of that deal, MGM wants whichever studio is chosen to distribute Bond 23 to co-finance a number of films with MGM. ”That would provide MGM quick cash flow,” an insider tells Deadline. “The quick cash flow allows MGM to have revenue which it hasn’t had in a long time. Thereby their books look better, and therefore the possibility of getting more funds for production is increased. So expect whichever studio lands Bond to also announce it is several co-financing deals allowing MGM into other pics that are already shooting.”

There’s no doubt this is a shrewd move by MGM, but Deadline has learned it’s not sitting well with the majors. Top execs at Sony and Fox and Paramount and Warner Bros who are all involved in the negotiations to distribute Bond ”are growing increasingly frustrated with the way that the Spyglass duo are playing one studio off another — and enjoying it,” in the words of one exec involved. One studio even described its strategy to win Bond #23 was reduced recently to ”pleading”. Read More »

Comments 68

Controversial Miniseries ‘The Kennedys’ May Air In Syndication Via Deal With Tribune

Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The Kennedys may take an unconventional route to U.S. television screens, via syndication. The producers of the controversial miniseries, which was dropped by History earlier this month, are in talks with Tribune Broadcasting about picking up the 8-hour project starring Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes. A rep for Tribune confirmed that the company has been in talks for the mini, declining further comment.

I hear that Tribune has made an offer and may actually land the mini, which is being shopped by producers Muse Entertainment and Asylum Entertainment. There are also cable nets in the running, but Tribune might have a leg up as History has a say in who gets the program and may not be willing to have it run on a direct competitor. “I’m not sure if History wants another (basic) cable net to air it so they might take less money to have it in syndication,” a source said.

History has to approve a buyer, as it did early on with premium cable network Showtime, which ultimately passed on the mini. DirecTV, which engaged in talks for The Kennedys but ended up not making a deal, also is not a direct competitor to History.  (Meanwhile, I hear BBC America made a serious play for the mini but, even if History gives its blessing, sourced doubted the cable net could afford the lavish $25-million production as its offers have come too low.)

Read More »

Comments (13)

BREAKING: Henry Cavill Lands Superman; Macho British Actor To Play American Icon; Past Contender For Batman & James Bond

EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have found their new Man of Steel. Deadline had been hearing for the past weeks that British actor Henry Cavill was the frontrunner for the much coveted Clark Kent/Superman role in this much anticipated reboot. But as of last week, Warner Bros film chief Jeff Robinov hadn’t seen Cavill’s or the other screentests and made his decision in recent days. Repped by CAA, Cavill, known for his portrayal of Charles Brandon on Showtime’s The Tudors, just wrapped production on The Cold Light of Day and stars in the upcoming Immortals opening this fall. Directed by Tarsem Singh, Caville in Immortals plays the he-man Greek  warrior Theseus who battles mythological gods including Poseidon, Zeus, Minotaur, and Herecles. Given that set up, Warner Bros clearly has chosen a more macho leading man for Superman than the previous Brandon Routh or even Christopher Reeve. ”He’s got an amazing quality. He doesn’t look too much like Reeve and Routh but he’s big and strong and he has a very modern feel to him,” a Warner Bros exec just told us. “We’re really going to try and make Superman as contemporary as possible.” And just like it did with Christian Bale in the Batman reboot, the studio has gone with a British actor. In fact, Cavill also auditioned for the Batman role but lost out to Bale in 2005. He also was a contender for James Bond but was deemed too young and lost out to Daniel Craig. Clearly, Cavill is a franchise waiting to happen. He also has a past with Superman. Before Bryan Singer came on to direct Superman Returns and cast Brandon Routh, Cavill had been one of the frontrunner choices for directers Brett Ratner and McG when they were going to helm the picture. That Superman was younger, and this time, the intention was to cast an actor near 30. Cavill, who will be 28 this year, was born in the Channel Islands and his film credits include The Count Of Monte Cristo.

The new film from Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures is being produced by Christopher Nolan (It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Chris Nolan! He’ll Mentor Superman 3.0) and directed by Zack Snyder, who made this statement: “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen. I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry. He is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.” Warner Bros, Nolan, and Snyder cast a “wide net” to find the next Man of Steel. Last November, insiders told Deadline that the studio was open to creating a star as it rebooted the Superman franchise: specifically, that the actor would either be a discovery or on TV but likely someone who isn’t well known yet. And he’d be in the age range of 28-to-32. The studio considered hundreds of young actors before making a decision just like Sony Pictures did before choosing Andrew Garfield. There was buzz on actors like Armie Hammer, the strapping 6’5″ actor from The Social Network who was eyed to play Batman in a Justice League movie that Mad Max helmer George Miller was poised to direct, and True Blood’s Joe Manganiello, who claimed during a recent movie junket that he’d been considered, and Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries.

While the Batman films have been populated by established stars Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Clooney, and now Christian Bale, Superman has always lent itself to discoveries. Christopher Reeve was a find in the Salkind franchise, as was Brandon Routh in the Bryan Singer-directed Superman Returns. (Before Routh got the job, Matt Bomer was eyed seriously by almost-directors McG and Brett Ratner.) Even on the small screen, the original Superman TV series star George Reeves and Smallville’s Tom Welling and Lois & Clark‘s Dean Cain were discoveries. The lone exception we can recall was the time that Tim Burton tried to put together a Superman film with Nicolas Cage, an effort that failed because the budget became so high. And then Josh Hartnett was courted during the Ratner version (that got scrapped when Singer took over), but Hartnett didn’t take the role, even though he stood to potentially make $100 million for three pictures if all had been made. Trust us, the new guy is going to get hired on the cheap.

Read More »

Comments 517

Directors Guild Awards: Tom Hooper Wins For ‘The King’s Speech’ On His First Try

LOS ANGELES, CA: The 63rd Annual Directors Guild of America Awards were held tonight at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Los Angeles. Only 6 times has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award for Best Director (1968/Carol Reed for Oliver!; 1972/Bob Fosse for Cabaret; 1985/Sydney Pollack for Out of Africa; 1995/Mel Gibson for Braveheart); 2000/Steven Soderbergh for Traffic; 2002/Roman Polanski for The Pianist) Here are the winners (in progress):

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film for 2010:

TOM HOOPER, The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co.)
Hooper’s Directorial Team:
Production Manager: Erica Bensly
First Assistant Director: Martin Harrison
Second Assistant Director: Chris Stoaling
This is Hooper’s first DGA Feature Film Award Nomination. He was previously nominated for the DGA Award for Movies for Television/Miniseries for John Adams in 2008.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary for 2010:

CHARLES FERGUSON, Inside Job
Representational Pictures, Sony Pictures Classics
This is Ferguson’s first DGA Award nomination.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series for 2010:

MICK JACKSON, Temple Grandin (HBO)
Jackson’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Scott Ferguson
First Assistant Director: Philip Hardage
Second Assistant Director: Shawn Pipkin
Second Second Assistant Director: Kayse Goodell and Richard E. Chapla Jr.
Additional Second Second Assistant Director: Glen Moorman
This is Jackson’s fourth DGA Award nomination. He is a three-time winner of the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series with Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995), Tuesdays With Morrie (1999), and Live From Baghdad (2002).

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series for 2010:

MARTIN SCORSESE, Boardwalk Empire, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Scorsese’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Harvey Waldman
First Assistant Director: Chris Surgent
Second Assistant Director: Takahide Kawakami
Second Second Assistant Director: Patrick McDonald
Additional Second Assistant Director: Sal Sutera DGA Trainee: Jamiyl Ihsaan Campbell
This is Scorsese’s eighth DGA Award nomination. He won the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature film in 2006 for The Departed, and was previously nominated in that category for Taxi Driver (1976), Raging Bull (1980), Goodfellas (1990), The Age of Innocence (1993), Gangs of New York (2002), and The Aviator (2004). In 1999 Scorsese was presented with the Filmmaker Award at the inaugural DGA Honors Gala and he won the DGA’s highest artistic honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award (for distinguished achievement in film direction) in 2003.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series for 2010:

MICHAEL SPILLER, Modern Family, “Halloween” (ABC)
Spiller’s Directorial Team:
Unit Production Manager: Sally Young
First Assistant Director: Alisa Statman
Second Assistant Director: Helena Lamb
Second Second Assistant Director: Matthew Heffernan
This is Spiller’s first DGA Award nomination.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety for 2010:

GLENN WEISS, 64th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Weiss’ Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Gregg Gelfand, Robin Abrams, Ricky Kirshner
Stage Managers: Garry Hood, Peter Epstein, Andrew Feigin, Lynn Finkel, Doug Fogel, Jeffry Gitter, Dean Gordon, Phyllis Digilio Kent, Arthur Lewis, Joey Meade, Tony Mirante, Cyndi Owgang, Jeff Pearl, Elyse Reaves, Lauren Class Schneider
This is Weiss’ seventh DGA Award nomination. He won the Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety in 2007 for The 61st Annual Tony Awards; and was previously nominated in this category in 2008, 2006, 2005, 2002 and 2001 all for the 62nd, 60th, 59th, 56th and 55th Annual Tony Awards.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs for 2010:

EYTAN KELLER, The Next Iron Chef, “Episode #301” (Food Network)
Keller’s Directorial Team:
Segment Director: Stephen Kroopnick
Stage Managers: Tom Borgnine, Seth Mellman
This is Keller’s second DGA Award Nomination. He was previously nominated in this same category in 2009 for episode “201” of The Next Iron Chef.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials for 2010:

LARRY CARPENTER, One Life to Live, “Episode #10,687” (ABC)
Carpenter’s Directorial Team:
Associate Directors: Tracy Casper Lang, Teresa Anne Cicala, Anthony J. Wilkinson, Jen Pepperman
Stage Managers: Alan Needleman, Keith Greer
Production Associates: Nathalie Rodriguez, Kevin Brush
This is Carpenter’s seventh DGA Award nomination and all for his direction of One Life to Live. He won the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials Award for One Life to Live – “Episode #9947″ in 2007, for “Episode #8849″ in 2003, and for “So You Think You Can Be Shane Morasco’s Father” in 2008. He was previously nominated for that series for “Episode #9686″ in 2006, “Episode #9385″ in 2005 and “Episode #8655″ in 2002.

Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children’s Programs for 2010:

ERIC BROSS, The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (Nickelodeon)
This is Bross’ first DGA Award nomination.
Read More »

Comments 77

‘The Rite’ #1, ‘The Mechanic’ #4; Best Picture Nominees Begin Oscar Bumps

SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM: The big news this weekend wasn’t just seeing whether domestic grosses were depressed on the post-blizzard East Coast (they weren’t), but also which movies received Oscar bumps given that the Academy Award nominations were announced this past Tuesday (all of them still in theaters). Some like The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, Blue Valentine (because of Michelle Williams’ Best Actress nom), and Rabbit Hole (due to Nicole Kidman’s), all expanded their runs. True Grit, Black Swan, The Fighter, are still in the thick of their releases and held very well, including Golden Globe Best Drama winner The Social Network in limited release for a return engagement to improve on its $96M domestic cume. (But King’s Speech attendance could soar if The Weinstein Co succeeds in creating a PG-13 version for exhibitors and educators who want the R-rated movie available to a bigger audience.)

As for this weekend’s newcomers, studios hoped that house-bound blizzard victims would dig out and go to the movies on this football-less Sunday. Warner Bros’ exorcism genre pic The Rite starring Anthony Hopkins and playing in 2,985 theaters came in #1 with approximately $15 million. CBS Films released hit man flick The Mechanic with 2,703 runs for #3 Friday. But the Jason Statham starrer fell to 4th Sunday with $11.5M. CBS Films paid $5M for the distribution rights and the pic supposedly will be in profit if its domestic run gets to the mid-$20sM. “It’s coming in where we expected,” one insider tells me. “I’d rather our … Read More »

Comments 97

‘SNL’ COUP: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Joins ‘Social Network’ Jesse Eisenberg

UPDATE: Here is the video:

The Facebook founder and his movie doppelganger joked around and shook hands in tonight’s SNL introduction. There had been a lot of chatter in the past few days that SNL was trying to land Mark Zuckerberg but nothing was confirmed. Here’s what I’m told happened (sorry, I don’t have satellite so no access to the East Coast feed): The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg who’s hosting SNL comes out while Andy Samberg is imitating Zuckerberg. Then the real Zuckerberg is shown backstage standing with Lorne Michaels and asking, “Why can’t I go in there? I am the real Mark Zuckerberg.” A few seconds later, Zuckerberg joins Eisenberg and Samberg onstage. ”What did you think of the movie?” the actor asks the billionaire. “It was interesting,” Zuckerberg responds. The two guys laugh and shake hands. Kinda cool PR stunt for the Oscar contender.

Comments 40
More Deadline | Hollywood »
« Previous Deadline | Hollywood