Between 1974 when he won Best Supporting Actor for his turn as the young Don Corleone in The Godfather Part II and 1991 when he was contending for Best Actor in Cape Fear, Robert De Niro was nominated six times and won two Oscars (1980′s Raging Bull was the other one) in a span of 17 years. But remarkably it has now been 21 years since that last Academy Award shout-out in ’91, a long Oscar dry spell for the man many consider our greatest living film actor. With the release in November of David O. Russell’s critically acclaimed Silver Linings Playbook, De Niro is genuinely contending for his first Oscar nomination in over two decades as the obsessive compulsive, sports-betting Philadelphia Eagles fan, and father Pat Sr.
Related: OSCARS Q&A: David O. Russell
Already nominated for Critics Choice Movie Awards and SAG Best Supporting Actor honors, De Niro is favored to repeat the feat on January 10th when Oscar nominations are announced, and although he is pleased about the buzz for his performance, he isn’t getting his hopes up as he told me when we spoke over the weekend in a rare interview. “Of course I am happy about it all and the reception, but I don’t want to expect much because I don’t want to be disappointed. I have had a lot of experience over the years and then you expect and you think and it never happens. So all I try to do is be even-keeled about stuff,” he says. Read More »
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
Remember the 1971 movie Shaft? Ben Affleck doesn’t want you to—at least, not while you are watching his 2012 movie Argo, set in the turbulent 1979-80 era of the Iranian revolution and the Iran hostage crisis.
In creating the look of Argo — the stranger-than-fiction true story of a covert mission to help six Americans flee Iran by posing as a Canadian movie crew — director/star Affleck was adamant that the design team create an authentic ’70s look without falling into disco-era extremes of fashion and style.
“Costume designer Jacqueline West shared with me the goal of not having the ’70s thing upstage the movie,” Affleck explains. “I didn’t want to have just fur coats and bell bottoms — Shaft —to communicate the period. It’s a period that could very easily be exploited for comedy, so have you to be really ginger about what you do. There’s a laugh waiting behind every haircut.”
Related: ‘Argo’s’ Real-Life People Speak Out: Video Read More »
Thomas McLean is an AwardsLine contributor.
Nearly 10 years after The Lord Of The Rings trilogy wrapped its record-breaking run with a best picture Oscar and more than $3 billion in worldwide ticket sales, director Peter Jackson has done the last thing he expected: He got the band back together for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. “I came away from Lord Of The Rings with 266 days of shooting three movies and thought I’d never do that again in my life,” says Jackson. “Then we sat down at the first production meeting on The Hobbit, and I flipped to the last page of the schedule, and it was 266 days! It was exactly the same length of time! And I just said, ‘I cannot believe I find myself back at this place again.’ ”
The first in a new trilogy adapting the first book in J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic Middle Earth mythology, Jackson and his crew’s steady hand on The Hobbit offers reassuring creative continuity while pushing the technical envelope by adding stereoscopic 3D and, most controversially, shooting at 48 frames per second.
Related: OSCARS: The Directors Read More »
The new agreement is with the National Cable Television Cooperative, which negotiates programming deals for more than 950 small to mid-sized cable systems. The announcement is similar to ones that NBCUniversal recently made for agreements with companies including … Read More »
The biggest media industry bankruptcy ever will end today after four years with Tribune’s chief creditors — Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo, Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co – empowered to run the Chicago based broadcasting and newspaper power. … Read More »
Oscar-winning sound editor Mike Hopkins drowned in an accident while he and friends were rafting in the Tararua Range in northern New Zealand. Hopkins, 53, was found dead by a helicoptor rescue team after an inflatable … Read More »
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.
“I think she had to be in there for 20 minutes before I yelled action.” Quentin Tarantino is referring to the time that Kerry Washington spent in the “hotbox” — a hole in the ground on a plantation where slaves were sent when they tried to escape. It’s where Washington’s character Broomhilda is locked up when her husband, Django (Jamie Foxx), arrives at Candyland — the vast Southern estate owned by her owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Her voice parched from screaming and her body weakened, Broomhilda doesn’t know that Django has come to rescue her with the help of dentist-cum-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).
“Kerry is very game to make things as real as possible,” says Tarantino, who as Waltz points out, can often inspire actors with their characters’ back stories, “Leaving her in the box for 30 seconds and then yelling action wouldn’t work. Nor would sticking her in the box for hours. But 10 minutes in the box could feel like 30. The idea was for Kerry to become disoriented, lose track of time in there, and contemplate what eight hours in the box would feel like. She could yell or scream.”
“But there was a safe word,” adds Washington, “so that the crew knew when I was panicking as a person, and not as an actor. This is how a lot of the film went — taking the reality as far as we could.” Read More »
Moonrise Kingdom amounted to Wes Anderson at his best. It was a relate-able story of first love, injected with Anderson’s playful wit, his sense of the absurd, and his singular visual style. The result was a $66 million worldwide gross … Read More »
David Mermelstein is an AwardsLine contributor.
When we think of Anthony Hopkins, psychopaths may spring to mind. After all, the Welsh actor won an Oscar in 1992 for playing Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, a career-defining role. But of course there’s much more to Hopkins than playing brilliant fictional villains. He’s also displayed a knack for portraying complicated historical figures. In addition to playing Hitler (on TV) and William Bligh, the actor has earned Oscar nominations for playing the lead in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995) and John Quincy Adams in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad (1997). Now, Hopkins has assumed the role of Alfred Hitchcock in Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock, which chronicles the development and making of Psycho.
AwardsLine: What attracted you to playing Alfred Hitchcock?
Anthony Hopkins: The project originally came to me eight years ago. I met the two producers and thought, Yes, it’s interesting. But who wants to see a film about Alfred Hitchcock? Plus, I didn’t want to put on weight, having just gotten fit. So it never happened. But then it came back around. Sacha Gervasi now had it, and he had such passion and blatant enthusiasm for it. He had no experience directing actors, and I thought that would be a challenge. So I decided to just jump in.
Read More »
Sony Pictures-MGM’s 23rd James Bond pic Skyfall became the 14th film ever to reach $1 billion globally, with a domestic cume of $289.6 million and $710.6 million internationally. Sony, which a month ago posted the studio’s best-ever performance … Read More »
Defiant CNN host Piers Morgan added more fire to his public fight with gun supporters in a column published in the Daily Mail.
Morgan has been at odds with gun advocates since the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook massacre, which prompted the British journalist to launch an aggressive pro-gun control campaign on his show, clashing with gun lobbyists, including his verbal spat with Gun Owners of America head Larry Pratt whom Morgan told on the air, “You are an unbelievably stupid man.” Morgan’s gun control crusade led to a White House petition by gun advocates asking for Morgan’s deportation because of his “hostile attack against the U.S. Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment.” The petition has garnered more than 91,000 signatures to date, prompting Morgan to quip on Twitter, “Still only 90,000 Americans have signed the White House petition to deport me. That leaves 310,910,00 who presumably want me to stay.”
He went further in his column. ”I will not stop in my own efforts to keep the gun-control debate firmly in people’s minds, however much abuse I’m subjected to,” he wrote. Read More »
Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
Sony/Columbia Pictures’ limited-run engagement of Zero Dark Thirty showed impressive stamina, and the studio’s specialty market distributor Sony Pictures Classics also had great news for Amour but not so great news for newcommer West Of Memphis in three-day estimates for the pre-New Year’s weekend, while Focus Features debut Promised Land bowed modestly. Columbia Pictures’ Zero Dark Thirty averaged a muscular $65K per location in its sophomore weekend in 5 theaters compared with $82K per cinema last weekend. Sony Classics’ Palme d’Or winner and Oscar short-listed foreign-language hopeful Amour held steady in three theaters in its second weekend, averaging a very strong $20K vs. its $23,554 average debut. Specialty market newcomers Promised Land, starring Matt Damon, John Krasinski and Frances McDormand headed into 25 theaters, averaging $7,606, while Sony Classics’ doc West Of Memphis managed a slender $2,771 per run in 5 cinemas. SPC’s other non-fiction offering Searching For Sugar Man, now in its 23rd weekend of release, passed the $3 million milestone this weekend. An additional newcomer, Adopt Films’ Tabu, took in $5,300 in one theater. Read More »
Academy award winning filmmaker Irving Saraf died December 26 at his home in San Francisco. Saraf, 80, succumbed to ALS, which he battled for the last three years. He is the father of Peter Saraf, producer of such films as … Read More »
SUNDAY 1:30 AM, 2ND UPDATE: It’s a big holiday weekend, up from last year. Full analysis later today as the holiday box office reveals blockbuster successes and epic fails. For now MGM/New Line/Warner Bros’ The … Read More »
Hugh Jackman has carved out an image as a major movie star who can easily switch gears from action to drama to comedy and all things in between. But until now the man who made Wolverine a household name has never done a movie musical. That’s a bit surprising since Jackman also happens to be a classically trained musical star outside of movies. He’s starred in stage classics like Oklahoma!, won a Tony on Broadway as Peter Allen in The Boy From Oz, an Emmy for hosting the Tonys, and worldwide recognition for his singing and dancing as host of the Oscars. He recently did a one-man musical show on Broadway, and that’s one of the reasons he says he is even in Les Misérables and making his long-overdue debut as star of a musical on the big screen.
AwardsLine: Would you consider this to be one of the toughest screen roles you’ve done?
Jackman: For sure. There is not an element that really wasn’t the toughest. One of the reasons I did the Broadway show was to make sure I was vocally fit to not only sing it, but sing it all day long, wake up the next day, and have another 12 hours of it. I put on 29 pounds from beginning to end. Tom (Hooper) told me, “I want people to worry, I want your friends to think you’re sick.” The physicality, the emotional (aspect) acting-wise, was tough.
AwardsLine: You rarely see musicals of this size anymore.
Jackman: That’s true. It’s a big risk. I’m not surprised it’s taken 27 years to get there. Read More »
Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.
It’s not likely that any of the 60 million theatergoers who saw the musical Les Misérables would have thought the stage production limiting, but they weren’t charged with taking the longest-running musical, set in 1800s France, and blowing it out to larger-than-life size. In what was described by Working Title producers as a “deceptively difficult” adaptation, director Tom Hooper assembled a team that included his longtime production designer Eve Stewart and veteran costume designer Paco Delgado to create a factually accurate world, sprinkled with the magic and fantasy of the beloved musical.
But what no one on the team knew going in was that all singing (and the film is 99% singing) would be shot live. This posed interesting challenges for determining locations, given sound considerations and the desire to use very little CGI. “But,” says Stewart, who was nominated for an Oscar for Hooper’s The King’s Speech, as well as 1999’s Topsy-Turvy, “new ideas are usually the best ones,” so the constraints didn’t narrow her scope as she scouted locations for 20 weeks. She eventually settled on a pristine mountain range in the south of France; the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in England (where the HMS Victory is moored); an 18th-century rope factory in Kent (the timbers of which were so old that the crew was barred from lighting candles, so imitation flickering lights had to be used); the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich; the River Avon in Bath; as well as a set crafted at Pinewood Studios in London. In each location, Stewart’s crew had to eliminate squeaky floorboards and door hinges, and horses had to be fitted with rubberized hooves. The only location Stewart didn’t have to adapt was Boughton House in Northamptonshire, which dates back to the 17th century and is dubbed the “English Versailles,” where the wedding scene was filmed.
Related: OSCARS Q&A: Tom Hooper Read More »
Veteran character actor Harry Carey Jr., who appeared in numerous TV shows and movies including nine of director John Ford’s classic Hollywood Westerns, died December 27 at age 91 in Santa Barbara, Reuters reported. A frequent … Read More »