We are still a little more than a month away from the official start of awards season, but for IFC‘s smash-out-of-the-box indie hit, Boyhood, it already began in earnest on Sunday with back-to-back screenings and Q&As for members of the newly chosen 2000-strong Screen Actors Guild Nominating Committee, and later its official Academy screening at the newly re-opened Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at the Acad’s Beverly Hills headquarters. The SAG nom comm is just beginning its long schedule of these kinds of screenings, and Sunday afternoon’s was the first big one in LA, although I am told there were a couple of smaller films for the nom comm early in June just as the randomly-chosen group of actors was formed for this year’s race. They packed the Pacific Design Center’s screening room and after the Q&A with stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and young Ellar Coltrane along with writer/director Richard Linklater, the SAG crowd gave them all a heartfelt standing ovation. I moderated and there was also much applause when I brought each of them on stage for the 40-minute conversation. The making of the film on 36 shooting days over the course of 12 years has been a well-publicized story this summer, and each of them offered detailed answers on various aspects of a film that is unique in motion picture history, particularly from the point of view …
James Garner just made it all look too easy.
That’s the only explanation I can give for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences failing to vote him an Honorary Oscar over these last few years of Governors Awards. More than once I wrote a column of “suggestions” including those egregiously overlooked artists deserving of the industry’s top award, and always near the top was my annual reminder of Garner. But I guess it is just too late now. Garner, who died Saturday night at age 86, probably just would brush off the honor anyway, thinking those more “obvious” choices were more likely to ever get an Oscar. But it is precisely because he made it all seem so effortless that he was annually passed over.
It couldn’t have been because he was also a major television star could it? Nah. Maverick , The Rockford Files, those fine TV movies, and those magical Polaroid commercials he did with Mariette Hartley were all great. And no one can deny the power of those TV movies he did including Promise, Barbarians At The Gate , Breathing Lessons, Decoration Day, The Long Summer Of George Adams and My Name Is Bill W to name a few. These showed off an actor of real range. If it were just a career in television, it would be incredibly impressive but all the obits this morning calling him a TV legend, which he certainly was, missed the point of just what Garner’s remarkable acting achievement …
The 66th annual Primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced this morning at the TV Academy in North Hollywood. Netflix fared well with Best Series nominations in both comedy and drama categories, with Orange Is The New Black in the former and House Of Cards in the latter. HBO fared well with noms for rookie Silicon Valley and Veep on the comedy side and Game Of Thrones and True Detective on the drama side. Both of that series’ stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrleson, received nods in the actor category, as did Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm. The AMC show is back in the drama race with Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey rounding out the category. On the comedy side, the top category includes reigning champ Modern Family, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and FX’s Louie.
Here’s the full list of noms:
Outstanding Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
CBS • Chuck Lorre Productions, Inc. in association with Warner Bros. Television
FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions
ABC • Picador Productions and Steven Levitan Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television
Orange Is The New Black
Netflix • Lionsgate Television for Netflix
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Judgemental Films, Alec Berg, Altschuler Krinsky works, and 3 Arts Entertainment
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Dundee Productions
Outstanding Drama Series
AMC • Sony Pictures Television
PBS • A Carnival Films/Masterpiece Co-Production in association with NBC Universal
Game Of Thrones
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions
House Of Cards
Netflix • Donen/Fincher/Roth and Trigger Street Productions, Inc. in association with Media Rights Capital for Netflix
AMC • Lionsgate Television
HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Neon Black, Anonymous Content, Parliament of Owls and Passenger
As it has dozens of times before, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sued in response to someone trying to make a buck hawking an Oscar. This time the case involves a statuette sold to an unknown buyer for nearly $80,000 just one week ago. In a suit filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), the Academy takes umbrage to Briarbrook Auction Services auctioning off the Oscar awarded to Joseph Wright in 1942 for his color and art direction on My Gal Sal. The Academy’s bylaws strictly spell out that neither the recipients of the awards nor their successors — Wright died in 1985 — can sell the statuettes without first offering them to the Academy. The suit says Academy officials sent a letter explaining its rules to the Rhode Island-based auction house and followed with calls — one of which, it says, ended with the woman who answered hanging up with she learned it was Hollywood calling. The suit says Briarbrook auctioned off the Oscar on June 24 anyway, netting $79,200. Now the Academy is suing for that amount and other damages and seeking a jury trial. Attorneys Gary Gans, Christopher Tayback and William Rollins of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan are representing the Academy.
The new rules that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ Board of Governors approved for the 87th Oscars are minor tweaks to existing rules and won’t greatly affect this year’s race. The most significant change allows producer duos who meet certain criteria to compete as a single producer, which creates the possibility of more producing nominees for Best Picture. Also, if a music group opts to submit a song for Oscar consideration under the group’s name, its members will receive only one statuette rather than one for everyone in the band. And in what sounds like a no-brainer, studios and production companies now have a cap on the number of actors and actresses they can nominate from a single film. This will curb the common practice of simply submitting an alphabetical list of a pic’s entire cast. Here is today’s AMPAS release:
The Oscar organization has unveiled its annual invitees list for 2014. Check out the release below:
LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014. “This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced updated rules and regulations in how contending movies can be promoted and marketed to members, but other than a specific addition to rules concerning the music branch, there wasn’t much new in the announcement except a tweak here and there. Publicists and Academy consultants were invited to a meeting earlier this month led by Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and marketing head Christina Kounelias. As is the case each year following Oscar season, they are given the opportunity to offer feedback on the rules and serve up any improvements that might be needed. But the only real change came about because of the controversy over the Best Song nomination for the obscure, then-unknown “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the film of the same title (which finally was released to theaters this month). As first reported on Deadline just hours after nominations were announced, Former Academy Governor and Music Branch head Bruce Broughton had contacted several members of the branch via email to urge them to give consideration to the song he co-wrote with lyricist Dennis Spiegel. This ran afoul of accepted Oscar campaigning behavior and raised eyebrows within — and outside of — the branch. It led to a near-unprecedented disqualification of the song, despite vigorous protests from Broughton, who previously had hired a music publicist to help with his grass roots campaign before deciding to contact members (at least 70) on his own. Because of his insider connections in the Academy it appeared he had an unfair advantage over other contenders (“Let It Go” from Frozen was the eventual winner). In an obvious, and inevitable, reaction to this, the Academy has now decided to spell out this new rule very clearly:
AN APPRECIATION: It not only was perhaps the most consistently popular and cool restaurant in Beverly Hills, Kate Mantilini which is located at the corner of Wilshire Blvd and Doheny and just two blocks from the headquarters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, has in recent years become a key part of Oscar campaigning. Sadly, due to a dispute over higher rent with a greedy landlord more interested in lining their pockets than in pleasing Hollywood, Kate’s is closing its doors tonight after 27 years in the key BH location. The other Kate’s located in Woodland Hills remains open, but frankly it isn’t the same. This one was special.
The restaurant, founded in 1987 and owned by the Lewis family (Marilyn and Harry who also founded the famed Hamburger Hamlet chain and sons David, and Adam who has been running it since 2010) which is open late unlike just about every other place of its type in the area, became a real watering hole for many Hollywood types like Mel Brooks who has written his own obit for the place, and so many others. It was almost impossible to go in there and not run into someone you know. It was really a hopping place, both at lunch , dinner and late night. And it not only has been host to numerous premiere parties (including several for Matt Weiner and Mad Men, a Marilyn …
(Los Angeles, CA; June 9, 2014) – Cinedigm (NASDAQ: CIDM), the leading independent content distributor in the U.S., has appointed Jeffrey Edell as Chief Financial Officer. The appointment, effective immediately, was announced today by Cinedigm Chairman and CEO Chris McGurk. In addition to his CFO role, Edell will be a part of the Company’s Management Committee.
“I am thrilled that Jeff has joined our team,” said McGurk. “Having worked closely with him at DIC Entertainment while I was a Director there, I know of his clear ability to create and manage a first class financial effort and team at a public company. Holding a CPA and with significant private and public company experience, as well as a deep track record in accounting, reporting, M&A activities and business development, Jeff will be a great asset to Cinedigm as we continue to focus on our ambitious business objectives.”
EMMYS: With Balloting Set To Start Campaign Hits Fever Pitch – But Is It All Worth It? NBC’s Award “Wizard” Richard Licata Says Yes
Emmy balloting starts Monday and continues through June 20, and you would have to be living under a rock — or somewhere other than Los Angeles or New York — not to be aware that we are in the midst of perhaps the most massive, widespread Emmy campaigning ever. Is it me or has this Emmy season even seemed to eclipse the Oscars in terms of the campaign for the golden statuette, even though there is no evidence that winning an Emmy has anywhere near the financial or prestige value of an Oscar.
There are billboards , bus posters, social media, Q&As, online and print ads galore and it doesn’t stop there. On Friday night, FX is throwing a New Orleans-style feast and concert from Stevie Nicks to accompany an episode screening and Q&A of their miniseries hopeful American Horror Story: Coven. It’s just one of many such events Television Academy members have been invited to this season. And this kind of thing just seems to be proliferating year after year. Perhaps it helps that the TV Academy itself plays ball in this game. The group’s official Emmy Magazine, which goes to all 16,000-plus eligible voters, is chock full of ads both inside and outside. Just to get to the actual magazine itself you have to rip off a Good Wife snipe, get past a glossy four-sided fake cover for Big Bang Theory and other Warner Bros shows, and dispense with an elaborate insert and DVD promoting CBS reality shows. Once you hit the “real” cover which features Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, it actually opens immediately into a massive HBO Emmy campaign ad for True Detective followed by nine more pages of ads before even hitting the table of contents. (Oh, and did we mention Sleepy Hollow itself had a big screening event at Hollywood Forever Cemetery on Monday?)
Of course the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences does none of that, but doesn’t prevent campaigning to its members during Oscar season. But, while being even-handed and playing no favorites, the TV Academy does realize some income from all those ads and even hired a new head of ad sales this year, Hollywood trade veteran Rose Einstein (it should be noted Deadline is also chock full of Emmy ads).
Global Showbiz Briefs: Spain Getting Local Version Of Israeli Reality Format ‘The Extra Mile’; Layoffs Loom At BBC News
‘The Extra Mile’ Headed To Spain For First Adaptation Outside Israel
Reality format The Extra Mile is getting its first international adaptation. Created by Ami Glam, CEO of Israel’s Studio Glam, the show challenges divorced couples to work together for prize money for their kid. It will be produced by Endemol Spain for Mediaset Telecinco Channel. The Spanish take will be made in the Canary Islands and is expected to be air in the summer. Spain was one of the 12 territories that bought the right to produce The Extra Mile as a part of a multi-territory deal with Endemol. When the show launched in Israel, it broke records for Channel 10. It is still airing and has an average 24.8% share. The Spanish adaptation will be called Ex, ¿Qué harías por tus hijos?
Efforts to expand California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit Program got a boost today from LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the mayors of the state’s nine other biggest cities. “Extending California’s film and television production tax credit program is a smart, prudent investment in California’s future and economic competitiveness” said Garcetti and the mayors of San Francisco Sacramento, Long Beach, Fresno, San Diego, Bakersfield, Santa Ana, Oakland and San Jose today in a letter (read it here). “In order to once again be competitive, California must put in place a meaningful, expanded credit that will bring back jobs, increase revenue, and support small businesses and vendors all across the state. Too much is at stake for the people of California to let this key industry slip away.”
The desire of the 10 Mayors to curb runaway production was expressed in writing to Assemblymen Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima). The duo are co-authors of the multi-sponsored Film and Television Job Creation and Retention Act. Introduced on February 19, the legislation proposes allowing pics with budgets of more than $75 million and network pilots to now be eligible for state tax incentives, among other measures. In an attempt to make this a statewide issue and not just an LA matter, the act also proposes an additional 5% credit to productions shot outside Southern California. No dollar figure has been attached to the legislation, but figures in the realm of $300 million-$400 million have been advocated by industry leaders. Sources tell me a figure should be named sometime this month. Having been unanimously approved by the state Assembly’s Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, And Internet Media committee on March 25, the proposed act goes today to the Bocanergra-chaired Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee for a hearing. Though he signed the last extension to the current program in 2012, Gov. Jerry Brown has not yet indicated whether he is in favor of expanding the program.
As outrage mounts over the Sultan of Brunei imposing sharia law in his island country, American producers going forward might need to think twice when choosing foreign business partners. The Sultan doesn’t have any known business ties to the entertainment industry, but before his edict, a lot of Hollywood’s elite liked to breakfast and power lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel and its famous Polo Lounge, which he owns along with the Bel-Air Hotel. With film financing a global enterprise and film production often a multinational undertaking, the boycott of the hotel likely will lead to Hollywood taking more care to vet an overseas partner’s politics, background, even beliefs.
American film productions probably won’t be running off to shoot in Brunei anytime soon, but before the uproar, the Sultan was hoping to turn his country into a film location destination. The first feature film ever shot in the country, Yasmine, was released this year. Partially funded by the Brunei government, it tells the story of a young girl who dreams of becoming a martial arts champion. Last year, South Africa’s Mail & Guardian reported that “industry experts have pointed to Brunei’s nascent film scene as a potentially lucrative source of income, with its jungles providing a unique backdrop for action and wilderness films. The Bruneian government backed Yasmine to the tune of about $120,000, telling the Mail & Guardian that it hoped the film would “inspire and encourage more such projects.” That probably won’t be happening now.
Other countries also could be in for more careful scrutiny before Hollywood inks a business deal there.
Beverly Hills, CA – Forty-one students from 23 U.S. colleges and universities as well as 10 students from foreign universities have been selected as finalists in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 41st Student Academy Awards competition. The winning students will be brought to Los Angeles for a week of industry activities and social events that will culminate in the awards ceremony on Saturday, June 7, at 6 p.m., at the DGA Theater in Hollywood.
The finalists are (listed alphabetically by film title):
We’re hearing the Academy is aiming for consistency and has nailed down Craig Zadan and Neil Meron to produce the Oscarcast for a third year running. Here’s how much consistency: the Academy announced the pair was returning for the 86th Oscars almost exactly a year ago (and they announced Ellen DeGeneres as host that August). It’s the first time since 1997-1999 (Gil Cates) that the Oscars has had the same producer three years in a row. In March, Meron, Zadan and DeGeneres together built a show that drew 43.7 million viewers with a 13.1/33 rating in adults 18-49, the most watched Academy Awards since 2000 and the highest-rated in the demo since 2010. The speculation right now is if the Academy wants consistency with the producers then they’d seek it with a host, but nothing has been set. Here’s today’s release:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Motion picture, television and theater producing team Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will return to produce the Oscars for a third consecutive year, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The 87th Oscars will air live on the ABC Television Network on Oscar® Sunday, February 22, 2015.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Craig and Neil back to produce the Oscars again in 2015,” said Boone Isaacs. “Their showmanship has elevated the show to new heights and we are excited to keep the momentum going with this creative partnership.”
Emmy season is revving up already even though the primetime awards show won’t be happening until the end of summer (Monday August 25th on NBC). But if you want to vote, the first major deadline looms tomorrow April 17, the last day to join the Academy, renew your membership or apply for hyphenate ballots in order to cast a ballot in this year’s contest. There is always a surge of interest in joining the Academy around this time of year. In fact, last season there was a substantial increase in membership, primarily in order to cast an Emmy ballot. It’s not uncommon to see applications coming in bulk from staffs of shows that want those nominations, but unless these hopefuls apply by Thursday they will have to wait until next year.
In addition to the deadline, the Television Academy (as it now calls itself – and full disclosure I am on the Board Of Governors representing Writers) just sent out a formal letter this week to the eligible membership (now well over 16,000 and climbing) regarding instructions for online voting, which is being instituted for the first time this season.
The city’s first Film Czar was praised by LA Mayor Eric Garcetti today in his inaugural State of the City address. “With the help of my dear friend the late Tom Sherak and Ken Ziffren, who’s continued the fight, we reignited the movement to expand film tax credits in Sacramento,” said the SAG-AFTRA card carrying politician this evening. A couple of months after Garcetti took office, the former AMPAS president and studio exec was named head of LA’s Film Office late last September in an effort to expand and evolve production in the city after years of decline due to runaway production. After
Sherak passed away on January 28, heavyweight entertainment lawyer Ziffren was appointed LA’s second Film Czar on February 10. “In just nine months, we are changing the landscape—one summer job, one red button, one film production and one balanced budget at a time.”
One production that looks pretty likely not to be coming to LA is CBS’ Late Show when Stephen Colbert takes over from David Letterman next year. Despite personal pitches earlier this week from Garcetti and Ziffren, the late night show seems certain to stay in the Big Apple. Still, Garcetti also made a point in his speech at the California Science …
As a commemoration period begins today on the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, here’s an inspiring story about a country whose film industry we don’t often hear about. U.S. filmmaker Leah Warshawski has helped to create a free online resource to streamline producing films in Rwanda. The outreach project, RwandaFilm.org, was built in partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, nonprofit network Bpeace, and the Rwandan government to connect local filmmakers with one another and with job opportunities. Warshawski embarked on the project after making her documentary, Finding Hillywood (see trailer below). Focused on the pioneers of Rwanda’s film industry, it won the Documentary Feature Audience Award at the Napa Valley Film Festival last November. It previously premiered at the Seattle Film Festival. I caught up with Warshawski recently from Idaho, where Finding Hillywood was playing the Sun Valley Film Festival. She explained that she’d been in Rwanda in 2007 on another project and was told about the Rwandan Film Festival, which brings movies to large audiences around the country on inflatable screens, and how “thousands of people stand in a stadium” to watch them. Warshawski, who has done crew work on TV series including Lost and Survivor and features Along Came Polly and He’s Just Not That Into You, said it was “intriguing enough to make a movie about” and that led in to starting RwandaFilm.org.
Hillywood gets its name thanks to Rwanda’s moniker as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” and movies that have shot there include 1988’s Gorillas In The Mist; 100 Days, produced by Rwanda Film Fest founder Eric Kabera; 2004’s Hotel Rwanda; 2005’s Beyond The Gates; 2007’s Shake Hands With The Devil; 2012 award-winning documentary Rising From Ashes; and HBO Emmy nominee Sometimes In April. As for filmmaking by locals, Rwanda is unlikely to become Nollywood anytime soon, but is creating a boutique industry with more movies traveling to festivals. The first feature film written, directed and produced by a Rwandan, Grey Matter, won a Special Jury Mention in Tribeca in 2011.