Cannes Film Festival: Could This Year’s Croisette Lineup Of Big Names And Academy Favorites Lead All The Way To Oscar?

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:50pm PDT
Pete Hammond

So what does today’s announcement of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival lineup mean for Oscar?

Who knows except that out of competition entry How To Train Your Dragon 2 will almost certainly be nominated Cannes2014_badgefor Best Animated Feature. Other than that we will have to wait and see until we actually view the films in Cannes next month. But there are good omens in this lineup (which could still see one or two more titles added) if you look at the impressive group of actors represented in these films:  Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones (who directs the competition entry The Homesman), Meryl Streep, Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, and director Michel Hazanivicius are among the prominent names and past nominees like Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Jessica Chastain, Hailee Steinfeld, Berenice Bejo, Ryan Gosling (who is making his directorial debut) are also represented.

31f3755aebf03843615001f677fab8b5My colleague Nancy Tartaglione did a great job predicting who would make — or not make — the cut and wrote an exhaustive overview earlier. Now it’s time to look at the awards implications outside of those that will be handed out May 24th at the Palais. I look at Cannes as a soft start to Hollywood’s awards season. There’s no question of its importance as the granddaddy of all film fests and as a key worldwide launch for a movie that has got the goods, but in the end the May date scares off some distributors who, by launching their fall Oscar hopefuls on the Croisette may feel it ultimately hurts their chances — and more importantly their momentum.

Cannes Lineup 2014 Oscar SeasonThat’s no doubt a key reason Warner Bros chose to hold back past Cannes competitor and favorite Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Fox Searchlight did the same with Alexander Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman even apart from the usual reasons that they may not “be ready.” Last year Paramount decided at the last minute to take Alexander Payne’s Nebraska to Cannes even though he initially favored more postproduction time. Payne had competed once before with About Schmidt, headed the Un Certain Regard jury, and served on the main competition jury so he was a favorite of Cannes’ chief programmer Thierry Fremaux. The film ended up winning Best Actor for Bruce Dern but after Cannes the director “tinkered” with it and made it tighter before hitting the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day with his final cut. It went on to win six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Director and Actor after finally opening November 15 (it didn’t win any Oscars, though). It’s not the first time a filmmaker has made changes after their film was shown to the world’s press and reviewed in Cannes. The growing feeling among distributors is it is best to wait until the movie is really locked before risking exposure at this most visible of all festivals. Read More »

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Tribeca: Film Movement Acquires Italian Thriller ‘Human Capital’

By | Friday April 11, 2014 @ 11:03am PDT

HumanCapitalPaolo Virzi’s thriller Human Capital will hit theaters in early 2015 after Film Movement acquired rights to the Italian pic that stars Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi, Valeria Golino, and Fabrizio Bentivoglio. It  is having its North American premiere April 18 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The movie begins at the end: a cyclist is run off the road by a careening SUV the night before Christmas Eve. As details emerge of the events leading up to the accident, the lives of the well-to-do Bernaschi family, privileged and detached, will intertwine with the Rovellis, struggling to keep their comfortable middle-class life, in ways neither could have expected. The deal was negotiated by Film Movement co-president Adley Gartenstein and Gilles Sousa, Head of International Sales at BAC Films. Read More »

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Tribeca Film Festival Jurors Announced

Tribeca 2014 marqueeThe judges are set for 13th annual edition of the event founded by Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff. The seven competition juries for the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival include 33 filmmakers, writers, producers, actors, journalists and entrepreneurs. The World Narrative Competition judges are Lake Bell, Steve Conrad, Bart Freundlich, Catherine Hardwicke and Ben Younger. Jurors for other categories include Toni Collette, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeff Goldblum, Alfonso Arau, Heather Graham, Anton Yelchin, HBO’s Sheila Nevins and Google’s Regina Dugan. The Nas rap docu Time Is Illmatic will open the fest, which runs April 16-27 in NYC. The recently re-retitled Begin Again closes it. Here is the full list of jurors and categories:

Related:
Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate
MSG Entering Into Strategic Deal With Tribeca Enterprises

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MIPTV: FremantleMedia Selling Steve Buscemi & AOL’s ‘Park Bench’ Web Series

park benchSteve Buscemi is teaming with AOL for unscripted original Park Bench. Set in New York City, the web series is part of the AOL Originals platform which will carry the first season online in the U.S. Production starts this month in NY where Buscemi will interact with everyday denizens of the Big Apple along with his celebrity pals, discussing everything from pop culture to current events. The show is produced by Olive Productions and RadicalMedia, and is intended to convey Buscemi’s relationship with the city of New York and its array of one-of-a-kind characters. “Having lived and worked in New York my whole life, I’m ready to take advantage of all it has to offer,” said Buscemi. “I just need to lay down for five minutes.” FremantleMedia International will shop Park Bench at next week’s Mip-TV. Wren Arthur and Buscemi are executive producing for Olive; Justin Wilkes, Joe Killian and Jon Doran are exec producing for RadicalMedia. Buscemi and Olive are represented by WME, The Gotham Group and attorney George Sheanshang.

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AOL Orders Longform Series ‘Connected’ Based On Israeli Format (Video)

By | Tuesday, 1 April 2014 14:05 UK

connectedAOL has commissioned its first longform video series which is based on the Israeli cable format Mehubarim. Known as Connected in international markets, the observational documentary series will air on premium video platform, AOL On Network. It’s AOL’s first acquisition and adaptation of a new storytelling format which sees the participants film themselves. Created by Ram Landes of Israel’s Koda Communications, the U.S. version of Connected will chronicle the lives of five seemingly disconnected New Yorkers as their parallel stories unfold and eventually come together. Local versions currently air in Israel, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Holland, India, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania and Ukraine. Koda will produce Connected in the U.S. with a debut set for April 29 at AOL’s Digital Content NewFronts. It is then expected to premiere via On Network in January and will be available across a selection of partner sites. Tal Simantov, AOL’s VP of Global Video Strategy, says, “As we expand our original content offerings, and dive into new international markets, it makes sense for us to carry over unique production styles to the United States. Connected has seen major success across the globe, and we are confident that the universal themes and focus on real life will speak just as loudly to American audiences as they have abroad.” Here’s a teaser from AOL that incorporates footage from some international versions:

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Nicole Richie Gets Series Order For ‘#CandidlyNicole’, Development Deal At VH1

By | Monday March 31, 2014 @ 8:37am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

nicolerichieEXCLUSIVE: From Twitter, to the Web to TV. That is the route Nicole Richie has taken with #CandidlyNicole, which, in a competitive situation, has been given a straight-to-series order by VH1 for eight episodes to premiere July 17l. Additionally, the network has signed a first look/development deal with Richie’s Honey Child Prods.

vh1__140313203121-275x132Reality series #CandidlyNicole, produced by Telepictures and World of Wonder, is based on Richie’s popular AOL online series of the same name, which in turn was based on Richie’s irreverent Twitter feed. “Nicole’s sharp, acerbic sense of humor and broad audience appeal make #CandidlyNicole a perfect fit for the VH1 brand,” said Susan Levison, VH1’s EVP Original Programming & Development. “Viewers will enjoy her unique point of view and earnest look at pop culture as well as her fearless exploration of anything and everything taboo.” Read More »

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Film Independent Selects 2014 Docu Lab Fellows

By | Monday March 17, 2014 @ 12:11pm PDT

Film-Independent__121025030534-200x130__130319215113Film Independent has named eight recipients of its 2014 Documentary Lab Fellowship designed to aid filmmakers currently in post-production on feature-length docus. Honorees Esteban Arguello & Xuan Jiang, Jamie Sisley & Mayuran Tiruchelvam, Suzanne Joe Kai, Robyn Symon, Nick Spark, Andrew James, Jonathan Matthews, and Jen Heck will receive feedback and strategic distribution and marketing advice from program mentors Doug Blush (Editor, 20 Feet From Stardom), Laura Gabbert (No Impact Man), Caroline Libresco (Sunset Story), Linda Goldstein-Knowlton (Somewhere Between), Jeff Malmberg (Marwencol) and Chris Shellen (Marwencol) during the seven-week program. Here are the fellows and their films: Read More »

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Nielsen Slashes Estimate Of Mobile Video Viewing As It Measures Actual Usage

By | Thursday March 6, 2014 @ 12:11pm EST

Don’t trust people when they tell you how much time they spend watching video on their smartphones and tablets. Tablet and TVThe ratings company learned that lesson the hard way after it changed the way it measures average monthly viewing from surveys to actual observations. The old numbers were off by a factor of — wait for it — 538%, TV station trade group TVB points out this morning. Using surveys, Nielsen‘s widely followed quarterly Cross-Platform Report last year put the monthly mobile video viewing average in Q4 at 5 hours and 23 minutes. But the new report, out yesterday, quietly restated that to just 1 hour — growing to 1 hour and 23 minutes a month in the last three months of 2013. “This disparity is an important reminder of the dangers inherent in trusting consumers’ claimed behavior and calls into question many recent studies that have proclaimed the demise of traditional media based on self-reported approximations of time spent with digital devices,” TVB Chief Research Officer Stacey Lynn Schulman says. Read More »

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Global Showbiz Watch 28: The Oscars/Cesars Wrap-up Podcast

Global Showbiz Watch ep 28In this week’s podcast, Deadline International Editor Nancy Tartaglione and host David Bloom wrap up the overseas perspective on the last big awards shows of the 2013-14 season, beginning with Foreign-Language Oscar winner The Great Beauty, which lifted spirits throughout home country Italy even as director Paolo Sorrentino called for more investment in Italian cinema.

Related: Italian Exhibitors Blast TV Airing Of ‘The Great Beauty’; More

At France’s Cesar Awards, the big winner was Les Garcons et Guillaume a Table, though the potential scandale around one nominee proved far more muted than the French press or awards show broadcaster Canal Plus might have hoped. Nancy and David also take a look at the potential global bump in box office for Oscar’s two biggest champs, Best Picture 12 Years a Slave and seven-time winner Gravity.

Related: OSCARS: The Complete Winners List

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Tribeca Film Festival Unveils Competition Slate

By | Tuesday March 4, 2014 @ 9:24am PST

tribecaThe 2014 Tribeca Film Festival unveiled 47 of its 89 feature-length films in its lineup today in the World Narrative and Documentary Competition selections as well as the out-of-competition Viewpoints pics. Thursday will see the remainder in the Spotlight, Midnight, and Special sections. The fest kicks off April 16 with the already announced opening-night film, the Nas documentary Time Is IllmaticDior And I will screen opening night for the World Documentary competition, the Rory Culkin-starrer Gabriel from U.S. writer-director Lou Howe will open the World Narrative competition, and Summer Of Blood will open Viewpoints — all world premieres and all to screen April 17. The fest runs through April 27. Here’s the lineups in the three sections: Read More »

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OSCARS: ‘The Great Beauty’ Brings Foreign Language Trophy Back To Italy After 15 Years

By | Monday, 3 March 2014 05:11 UK

Oscar Best Foreign Film 2014In a category that sometimes seemed like a two-horse race between The Great Beauty and The Hunt, with the possible squeaker of The Broken Circle Breakdown, it was ultimately Paolo Sorrentino’s love letter to Rome that triumphed. Great Beauty is the 11th win for Italy at the Oscars and the first time since Roberto Benigni’s 1998 Life Is Beautiful that the boot has kicked up a Foreign Language score. Sorrentino told me in December that he was very honored by just the nomination. 86th Annual Academy Awards - Show“It’s a great responsibility. It’s a case in which I represent Italy and so it’s important in this moment when Italian cinema isn’t having a great time in its life… I hope we go ahead not only for me, but also for Italian cinema,” he said. Go ahead he did tonight and thanked his inspirations who include Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese (in the house at the Dolby Theatre), and Argentinian footballer Diego Maradona. Sorrentino also thanked the cities of Rome and Naples, as well as his family.

Related:
OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
OSCARS: The Complete Winners List
Backstage At The Oscars

The Great Beauty has been compared to the work of Fellini, especially Roma and La Dolce Vita; it’s the story of an aging writer in the Eternal City recollecting his lost youth (see the trailer below). Sorrentino told me late last year that he had long been collecting “little anecdotes” linked to Rome and decided to put them all together into a film so that the lead character would be a witness to that world.

Related:
Oscars Fashion: Who Wore What
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Global Showbiz Briefs: 3 Warner Bros TV Series Headed To Asia; Italian Exhibitors Blast TV Airing Of ‘The Great Beauty’; More

‘Pretty Little Liars’, ‘Gossip Girl’, ‘ER’ Getting Local Versions In Asia
Pretty Little LiarsWarner Bros Television Group series Pretty Little Liars, Gossip Girl and ER have been commissioned and optioned as local versions in the Philippines, Thailand and India, respectively. In the Philippines, ABC Development Corporation is in production on Pretty Little Liars with the 22-episode adaptation to air on TV5 in April. The show ranks as the No. 1 original series of all time on ABC Family, where its 5th season will air this summer. In Thailand, Kantana Public Company Limited is producing an 18-episode local adaptation of Gossip Girl. In India, ER is under option with Gold Television Network. This follows the announcement last month that a Colombian version of the show was going forward. Read More »

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2014 OSCARS PARTY ROUNDUP

By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 6:20pm PST

Oscar Parties 2014Tuesday, February 25

7:00 PM: BVLGARI “Decades of Glamour” Oscar Party hosted by Naomi Watts
Location: Soho House

7:30 PM: Oscar Week – Animated and Live Action Shorts Celebration hosted by Kevin Pollak
Location: Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills

2nd Annual ICON MANN Pre-Oscar POWER 50 Dinner
Location: Peninsula Hotel

Vanity Fair and Fiat Toast “Young Hollywood”
Location: No Vacancy

Wednesday, February 26

10 AM: The Art of Elysium 7Th Annual Pieces Of Heaven Charity Art Auction
Location: Siren Studios, Los Angeles

5:30 PM: LoveGold Celebrates Lupita Nyong’o
Location: Chateau Marmont

6 PM: 7th Annual TOSCARS Awards Show
Location: Egyptian Theater, Hollywood

6:30 PM: Global Green USA Pre-Oscar® Party with performance by Moby and The Crystal Method
Location: The Avalon Hollywood, 1735 Vine Street, Los Angeles Read More »

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VH1 Picks Up Drama ‘Hindsight’ To Series

By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 2:52pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

VH1 logo.jpgVH1 is expanding its scripted portfolio with Hindsight, handing out a 10-episode series pickup to the hourlong scripted drama pilot from writer Emily Fox (Jane By Design) and Timberman-Beverly for a premiere in early 2015. The project, previously developed at NBC, marked the first scripted pilot order for VH1′s new head of development Susan Levison. Now it is her first scripted series pickup and a ramseylaurafollowup to the network’s first hourlong scripted series, the Queen Latifah-produced Single Ladies, and summer breakout Hit the Floor. The network most recently had scripted success with the highly rated TLC biopic and just greenlighted a Drumline sequel with Nick Cannon. 

Related: Primetime Pilot Panic

Hindsight, whose pilot was directed by Michael Trim, is set in 1990s New York and stars Laura Ramsey, Legend Of The Seeker‘s Craig Horner and Sarah Goldberg. Read More »

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El Rey Network Sets Premiere Dates For ‘Matador’, ‘The Director’s Chair’; Inks Licensing Deal With Celestial Pictures For Martial Arts Films

By | Wednesday February 26, 2014 @ 10:52am PST

El-Rey-Network (1)El Rey Network announced today that its original, scripted actions series Matador from Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman will premiere in July following the World Cup soccer tournament. El Rey also confirmed that the network’s founder Robert Rodriguez will direct the first episode of the series. Production gets nickywhelanunderway at the end of March with Nicky Whelan, repped by UTA, Luber/Roklin and attorney Dave Feldman, set for the female lead. Matador is El Rey’s second original series to launch. It was announced earlier that the network’s first scripted project, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series, premieres March 11. El Rey also announced that the first of 10 primetime installments of El Rey Network Presents: The Director’s Chair will premiere in April. The new hourlong series provides a forum for two directors to go one-on-one. El Rey also said it has inked a multi-year licensing deal with Celestial Pictures for martial arts titles from the Shaw Brothers library. Read More »

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Ebersols Aboard To Produce And Script Warner Bros’ ‘Space Jam 2′ As A Starring Vehicle For LeBron James

By | Friday February 21, 2014 @ 4:10pm PST

p-jamlogoEXCLUSIVE: What’s up, doc? A broken nose. Ouch! After he recovers from the injury suffered in last night’s game, NBA MVP LeBron James will be ready for his close-up — with Bugs Bunny.

Broadcasting veteran Dick Ebersol‘s sons have come on board to develop the sequel to 1996 animated/live-action hit Space Jam as a starring vehicle for James. The player is the Miami Heat Miami Heat Media Day - Miamistar who broke his nose during last night’s game against the Oklahoma City when the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka got him in the face after a dunk.

Related:
Here’s The Real ‘Twins’ Sequel: Kevin Hart To Play LeBron James’ Brother In ‘Ballers’

Another Space Jam film? Why not? The first film, which broke ground for Warner Bros and starred then-Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan and a slew of other top NBA players, ended up grossing $230M worldwide for the studio.

Related: Starz Picks Up Basketball Comedy From LeBron James & Mike O’Malley To Series

charlie ebersolCharlie Ebersol, who already has a good relationship with the NFL through his NFL Characters Unite series on USA Network, is about ready to do the same with the NBA. He has been brought on to the produce the picture through his production company, The Company, from a script by his brother Willie Ebersol. The latter won an Emmy for the London Olympics. This is his first screenplay.

Related: Warner Bros Sets ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel For May 2017
Read More »

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BAFTA Awards: ‘12 Years A Slave’ Wins Best Film But ‘Gravity’ Carries Most Weight With Six Total Nods; Chiwetel Ejiofor & Cate Blanchett Take Actor Wins; ‘American Hustle’ Scores 3 Including For Jennifer Lawrence

BAFTA Award WinnersUPDATED WITH FULL LIST OF WINNERS AND REACTIONS: Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave rallied from a slow stat to win the Best Film award tonight at the 62nd BAFTA Film Awards in London. The slave drama from Fox Searchlight had 10 nominations but won just two awards, after Chiwetel Ejiofor took the Leading Actor prize for playing Solomon Northup. Despite the marquee victory in the last major kudofest before the Oscars, it still seemed as though the night belonged to Warner Bros’ Gravity. The space drama picked up a leading six wins from its 11 overall nominations, including for Outstanding British Film — which will keep the debate going about just how British the pic is. Alfonso Cuaron won Best Director and the pic cleaned up in the craft categories, taking Sound, Cinematography and Special Visual Effects in addition to a nod for Steven Price’s Original Score. The BAFTA crowd at the packed Royal Opera House in Covent Garden exploded with each win for the movie, which had a leading 11 nominations going into the night.

Related: BAFTA Shakes Up The Race But Everything Still In Play As Oscar’s Moment Of Truth Nears

EE British Academy Film Awards 2014 - Winners RoomThe EE British Academy Film Awards: Dinner - Red Carpet ArrivalsStill, the 12 Years A Slave victory tonight maintains the film’s front-runner status going into the Oscars on March 2; the film also won the Golden Globe for Motion Picture-Drama. Many feel the Academy will lean the same way, honoring Gravity in the craft categories but not for the Best Picture. The two films have been going head to head all awards season, even scrapping to a rare tie in the PGA Awards contest. “It’s very important,” McQueen said backstage after the victory. “The way the public here — but not just here, in the U.S. — by going to see the picture, means a hell of a lot.” Added producer Brad Pitt: “This is an excuse for us to all get to gather and say job well done. We’re very proud of our work here, and it means a lot to us because of the people we got to work with.” Read More »

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86th Academy Awards Nominees Photo

By | Monday February 10, 2014 @ 4:00pm PST

UPDATE, 7:18 PM: Here’s the group shot from the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton today (with closer looks and caption info after the jump). This is the largest number of nominees yet. Our Awards Columnist Pete Hammond had prime seating and wrote about what it was like to be in the room:

86th Oscars®, Nominees Luncheon, Group Photo

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Berlin: Will Sizzle Reels And Pre-Buys Heat Up Cold Market?

By | Friday February 7, 2014 @ 6:54am PST
Mike Fleming

berlEXCLUSIVE: The European Film Market has been a bit sparse, with things perking up with Open Road’s acquisition of Rock The Kasbah. I’ve heard that pre-buy deal amounted to a $2 million minimum guarantee, a 10% gross deal for Bill Murray and a 1200-screen release commitment. If there is going to be action in Berlin, it might well be through the sizzle reels or other pre-buys.

Berlin2014_200The script stage projects being introduced in Berlin that seem most promising are the Daniel Craig-starrer The Whole Truth, the Jonathan Jakubowicz-directed Roberto Duran biopic Hands Of Stone with Edgar Ramirez playing the legend, Robert De Niro his trainer and Usher his rival Sugar Ray Leonard; the Nima Nourizadeh-directed American Ultra with Jesse Eisenberg and Stewart; the Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Blood Mountain, about an Army ranger who must bring a terrorist to custody after his unit is wiped out in Pakistan; the Oren Moverman-directed Time Out Of Mind with Richard Gere; the Natalie Portman-directed A Tale Of Love And Darkness; Selma, the Ava DuVerney drama that stars David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr; the David Gordon Green-directed The Line with Chris Pine; the Anton Corbjin-directed Life with Robert Pattinson; and the Paolo Sorrentino-directed In The Future with Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. A lot of these are being teased at Berlin, and will lead to sales at Cannes.

As for the sizzle reels, today is a big day with footage screenings of Imitation Game with Cumberbatch, and The Search, which is Michel Hazanavicius’ follow-up to The Artist. Here are the sizzle reels that have buyers hot and bothered: Read More »

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