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Toronto: What Oscar Clues Are Wrapped In Today’s Massive Announcement Of TIFF Films?

Pete Hammond

Toronto: What Oscar Clues Are Wrapped In Today’s Massive Announcement Of TIFF Films?Well, they are coming hot and heavy now. With Toronto International Film Festival announcing 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations this morning in what is really just the first wave of their upcoming lineup, and  on top on New York Film Festival’s confirmation of their Opening (Gone Girl), Centerpiece (Inherent Viceand Closing (Birdman), BFI London’s opener of The Imitation Game and Venice Film Festival’s opener (also Birdman)  the awards season landscape is starting to fill in a bit more significantly. Venice in fact will announce their entire lineup tomorrow but today’s TIFF list gives us some further clues as to how the Oscar game is being played on the fest circuit. Of course Telluride is another factor, but they won’t officially announce anything until their fest begins just before Labor Day weekend.

Robert-Downey-Jr_-and-Robert-Duvall-in-The-Judge-2014-Movie-Image-2-750x499One player that I hear won’t be going to Telluride this year,  or it seems Venice, is Warner Bros which has used both fests significantly in the past (Warners had Oscar winners Argo and Gravity at the past two Tellurides and Gravity opened Venice last year). But, as predicted here, they are going to Toronto in a BIG way with World Premieres of three of their Fall films, The JudgeThis Is Where I Leave You and The Good Lie. Will TIFF mean the launch of an Oscar campaign for the trio, or is it just an effective way of getting the most media bang for your buck in releasing these early Fall titles? Certainly The Judge would seem to have acting potential for … Read More »

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Dermot Mulroney To Guest Star In Season-Long Arc On ‘Shameless’

By | Wednesday July 16, 2014 @ 2:13pm PDT

Dermot Mulroney To Guest Star In Season-Long Arc On ‘Shameless’Dermot Mulroney will guest star in Season 5 of Showtime‘s series Shameless in a season-long story arc. Mulroney will play ex-bad boy and recovering addict Sean Pierce, Fiona’s (Emmy Rossum) new manager at Patsy’s Pies. Mulroney most recently appeared with Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in John Wells’ adaptation of Tracy Letts’ award-winning August: Osage County. He also starred as a series regular in Crisis. Currently, Mulroney is in production on his first horror genre movie, Insidious 3: Into The Further. Read More »

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Sam Keeley To Join Bradley Cooper In Weinstein Co.’s ‘Chef’

By | Wednesday July 2, 2014 @ 4:33pm PDT

Sam Keeley To Join Bradley Cooper In Weinstein Co.’s ‘Chef’EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Co.‘s culinary pic Chef is looking to add Sam Keeley to its kitchen. The Irish thesp, who’s also got a role in Ron Howard’s In The Heart Of The Sea, is in negotiations to join star Bradley Cooper, Omar Sy, and Sienna Miller in the story of a Paris chef whose career is tanked by a hard-partying lifestyle. Sober, he returns determined to redeem himself by heading a restaurant that can earn a coveted three-star Michelin rating. Read More »

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Movie Academy Invites 271 New Members

Movie Academy Invites 271 New MembersThe 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:

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Dermot Mulroney Tapped For ‘Insidious 3′

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 3:04pm PDT

Dermot Mulroney Tapped For ‘Insidious 3′Writer-director Leigh Whannell just announced on Twitter that Dermot Mulroney will star in Insidious: Chapter 3, the latest pic in the franchise produced by Jason Blum’s Blumhouse, Oren Peli and James Wan. Plot and character details are being kept under wraps but the threequel also stars Jem and the Holograms‘ Stefanie Scott, who was cast earlier this month. Focus Features has set an April 3, 2015 release date in the U.S. Shooting begins July 7. Mulroney, repped by WME, was most recently in August: Osage County and the Steve Jobs biopic Jobs.

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George Clooney & Grant Heslov’s Smokehouse Pictures Inks Overall Deal With Sony Pictures TV

By | Monday June 9, 2014 @ 4:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

clooneyheslovGeorge Clooney and Grant Heslov‘s company Smokehouse Pictures, which was behind best picture Oscar winner Argo, is making a move in television with an overall deal at Sony Pictures TV. Under the pact, the company will develop and produce comedy and drama series for all platforms: broadcasSony_Pictures_Television_p__121119113410t, cable and digital. Since launching Smokehouse in 2006, Clooney and Heslov have been focused primarily on features, developing and producing films that the two directed, like Leatherheads, The Ides Of March and The Monuments Men (Clooney) and The Men Who Stare At Goats (Heslov) as well as features directed by others, most recently Argo, helmed by Ben Affleck and last year’s August: Osage County, directed by John Wells. Clooney comes from a strong TV background, having started in television as an actor and then producer. CAA-repped Smokehouse has a history at Sony  — the company moved its feature deal from Warner Bros. to Sony in 2009.

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Tony Awards Show Sings Hollywood’s Praises While Oscar Producers Return The Favor At PGA’s Produced By Conference

Pete Hammond

Presenting the two directing prizes on Sunday night’s Tony Awards, Clint Eastwood, who was on the show because he has2014 Tony Awards - Show directed the film version of the Tony winning Broadway musical Jersey Boys (6/20), summed it all up for me. “It seems like producers and directors from the stage and from movies are always looking for good new material, and sometimes they don’t find it. Sometimes they have to take it from one another with The Bridges Of Madison Country (Eastwood starred in and directed the film) or Bullets Over Broadway going to musical plays, and I’m proud to say that we’re bringing Jersey Boys to the movies and that will be after nine successful years on Broadway,” he said in introductory remarks. It was an understatement as most of the evening’s winners, spread among a larger number of shows than usual, have deep ties to movies-jersey-boys-stillHollywood and that included Bridges which picked up a couple of key Tonys for its composer Jason Robert Brown, despite closing last month. There’s also Rocky (Best Scenic Design of a Musical), Aladdin (Best Featured Actor in a Musical), as well as the two big musical winners of the evening (each with four victories), A Gentlemen’s Guide To Love And Murder (winner of Best Musical and which is derived from the 1949 Alec Guiness film  Kind Hearts And Coronets), and Read More »

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Marvel Starts ‘Doctor Strange’ Search: Tom Hardy, Benedict Cumberbatch Early Wish-Listers

By | Friday June 6, 2014 @ 5:38pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Here’s some hot superhero dish to take into the weekend. There are reports tonight that Peyton Reed and David Wain are being considered for Ant-Man, but man, we are progressing down the comedy director food chain, and this is starting to feel stale. So how about Doctor Strange? Marvel is BenedictCumberbatchtom-hardy__121217174314putting together its cast list, and I’m hearing that Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch are on it. While Marvel has teased this property with mentions in films including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the film solidified and felt urgent when Scott Derrickson tweeted this week that he will direct the script by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer.

Related: ‘Sinister’s Scott Derrickson To Direct ‘Doctor Strange’

doctor-strange__140603221036-275x154The character has been around since the early 1960s, during that crazy period where just about all the spandex-clad heroes in all the Hollywood blockbusters were hatched at Marvel Comics headquarters (that might be a movie). Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created the character in 1963 as a neurosurgeon who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing. These two guys aren’t the only ones in the mix, but let’s face it, they are both poised to become major stars. Read More »

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Josh Radnor & Robert Morse Sign On For Powerhouse Presentation

By | Wednesday May 21, 2014 @ 2:37pm PDT

Screen Shot 2014-05-21 at 5.33.30 PMAMC Celebrates The Season 7 Premiere Of "Mad Men" - Red CarpetThe How I Met Your Mother star and Broadway and Mad Men regular will be among the players at New York Stage And Film’s Powerhouse Theater presentations this summer at Vassar College. Josh Radnor will appear opposite Leslie Bibb (Neil LaBute’s Reasons To Be Happy) in Richard Greenberg’s The Babylon Line (June 25-July 6), directed by Steppenwolf veteran Terry Kinney. That cast includes Tony winners Randy Graff (City Of Angels, Les Miserables) and Frank Wood (Clybourne Park, August: Osage County) plus Maddie Corman (Next Fall), Julie Halston (Hairspray), and Michael Oberholtzer. Tony winners Morse (for the original production of Frank Loesser’s How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying) and Debbie Gravitte (Jerome Robbins’ Broadway) are set for In Your Arms (July 5-13) along with Ryan Steele (Matilda) and the great Carole Shelley (Billy Elliot).  Read More »

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Gotham Casting: Annette Bening Joins Central Park ‘Lear’; ‘Curious Dog’ Bets On Juilliard Grad

marianneScreen Shot 2014-05-21 at 11.42.59 AMUPDATED: Annette Bening will play Goneril opposite John Lithgow’s addled monarch in the Public Theater’s upcoming Shakespeare In The Park production of King Lear, the Public announced this morning. The production will run July 22-August 17 at the Delacorte Theater, following Much Ado About Nothing, running June 3-July 6. Additional casting includes Jessica Collins as Cordelia, Jessica Hecht as Regan, Jay O. Sanders as Kent, Stephen Boyer as Fool, Chukwudi Iwuji as Edgar, and Eric Sheffer Stevens as Edmund. Daniel Sullivan directs.

Casting was also announced this morning for the fall 2014 Broadway premiere of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, the Olivier Award-winning Best New Play from the UK’s National Theatre. The Simon Stephens drama, adapted from Mark Haddon’s 2003 bestseller and staged by Marianne Elliott (with movement by Steven Hoggett), will star tyro actor Alexander Sharp, a soon-to-be Juilliard grad, in his Broadway debut. He plays brainy but odd 15-year old Christopher, suspected of killing his neighbor’s dog. His search for the real killer has consequences for lots of people (and, presumably, dogs). The show is slated to begin performances at the Barrymore Theatre on September 10, with an official opening October 5. Producers announced that 50-plus tickets at each performance will sell for $27. Read More »

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‘Jem And The Holograms’ Adds Juliette Lewis In Mystery Role

By | Monday May 19, 2014 @ 6:47pm PDT

Juliette Lewis Jem and the HologramsEXCLUSIVE: The live-action Jem And The Holograms movie is getting a little more truly outrageous with the addition of Oscar-nominated actress and rocker Juliette Lewis. Production is already underway in Los Angeles on the music-driven film, based on Hasbro’s 1980s animated series about a young woman who transforms into a pop star with the help of her besties and a pair of high-tech earrings.

Related: Jason Blum, Scooter Braun Prods & Jon M. Chu Team With Hasbro On ‘Jem And The Holograms’: Video

Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2, G.I. Joe: Retaliation) is directing the modern Jem for Universal and the main cast has been set, with Aubrey Peeples as Starlight Music owner/manager Jerrica Benton aka Jem, Stefanie Scott as Kimber, Aurora Perrineau as Shana, Hayley Kiyoko as Aja, and Ryan Guzman as Rio.

Plot of the Universal pic sends online music sensation Jem and her Holograms on a musical adventure across Los Angeles. Lewis’s supporting role is being kept under wraps, so fans can speculate away on who she’ll play. Suffice it to say Lewis has singing chops and rock star experience, having fronted her band Juliette and the Licks until 2009 before going solo. Read More »

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CANNES UPDATE: Weinstein Co To Unspool Footage From Host Of Fall Films On Friday

the-weinstein-company-logo-1__140502172505-275x153UPDATE, FRIDAY AM: I’ve just gotten word that added to the below will be a new promo for Macbeth. Justin Kurzel’s version of the Shakespeare tale stars Michael Fassbender as the iconic eponymous antihero and Marion Cotillard as his scheming Lady.

EARLIER EXCLUSIVE: In what’s become a highly anticipated annual event, The Weinstein Co is gearing up for tomorrow’s screening of first-look footage from its upcoming films. Two years ago, TWC first rented a plush room in the Majestic Hotel to show about 20 Cannes2014_badgeminutes of three of its 2012 awards contenders: Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook and The Master. It was a prescient move that got the awards conversation started. Last year, the reel was bumped up to 40 minutes and included clips from such pics as The Butler, The Grandmaster, One Chance, Fruitvale Station, August: Osage County and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Harvey Weinstein has increasingly used this invite-only Cannes reception as a platform to tout the company’s slate and whet the appetite for releases later in the year. He’s also trotted out talent from the movies. This year’s event, co-hosted by Worldview Entertainment, goes down tomorrow at the Majestic replete with cocktails and a special press conference.

Related: Cannes: Matthew McConaughey Talks First Movie Since Oscar Win

begin againAmong those set for the preview reel are Toronto sensation Begin Again, the John Carney-directed pic starring Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Steinfeld and Adam Levine. Ivanhoe Pictures and Beijing Galloping Horse just acquired the Chinese theatrical and all platform rights. It opens in North America and Europe this summer. Also due is a new trailer from The Giver, the feature adaptation of Lois Lowry’s dystopian young-adult novel that stars Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Brenton Thwaites, Alexander Skarsgard, the disappearance of eleanor rigbyKatie Holmes and Taylor Swift. It releases in August. Also with an August release, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For is getting a teaser trailer, and animated soccer movie Underdogs is screening a new trailer. Un Certain Regard title The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby is unspooling a new trailer. The movie screens in UCR on Saturday in the third version to appear at a festival after two versions played Toronto, one titled Him and the other Her. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain star as a married couple whose relationship disintegrates.

Related: How New Version Of  ‘Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby’ Found Its Way To Cannes

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Sony Classics To Release ‘Foxcatcher’ On November 14

By | Tuesday April 22, 2014 @ 11:47am PDT

Foxcatcher-Steve-Carell-Channing-TatumThe long road of Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher to the big screen finally has a finish line. Sony Pictures Classics has set a November 14 release date for the pic starring Steve Carell and Channing Tatum, which last week landed a competition berth at the Cannes Film Festival. It’s a prime awards-season spot for the drama, which tells the true story of Olympic wrestling champion brothers Mark Schultz (Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) and their relationship with the eccentric John du Pont (Carell), heir to the DuPont Chemical fortune, that led to murder. Right now it will share the spc logoNovember 14 date with Universal’s Dumb And Dumber To, Sony/Columbia’s Brad Pitt war drama Fury and Relativity’s Blackbird.

Foxcatcher was being primed for a big AFI Fest bow and an Oscar-season splash last fall before pulling out at the last minute. SPC said the move was so filmmakers “can have more time to finish the film.” It had been set for a December 2013 release. AFI Fest later set August: Osage County for the gala premiere spot. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Scarlett Johansson Reigns With Sci-Fier ‘Under The Skin’

By | Sunday April 6, 2014 @ 9:51am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeUPDATED: Boasting a bankable Hollywood star in a decidedly unconventional narrative, Jonathan Glazer’s stunning Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson (who also stars in this weekend’s fellow opener Captain America 2) proved a winning mix in the Specialty Box Office for distributor A24 in its opening weekend. The film, Glazer’s first in 10 years, grossed a robust $140K in four L.A. and NYC theaters. That comes in at a $35K screen average, easily the biggest since the The Grand Budapest Hotel‘s bombshell $202K PTA when it opened March 9. Scarlett Johansson Under the SkinUnder The Skin‘s initial numbers also bode well for A24, which opened in 2012 and had a streak of box office successes over last year, including Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers, which had an $87,667 PTA when it opened last March ($14.1M cume), The Spectacular Now ($49,354 PTA in 4 theaters last August and a $6.85M cume), The Bling Ring ($42,879 PTA in 5 theaters last June and a $5.8M cume) and Ginger & Rosa ($14,279 PTA in 3 theaters in March 2012, $1M cume).

Said A24 this weekend: “[Under The Skin] opened to rave reviews and sold out shows in New York and Los Angeles this weekend. This unique cinematic event is second only to The Grand Budapest Hotel as the highest limited specialized film opening of the year. Scarlett Johannson, who stars in both Under The Skin and the Captain America sequel, was a box office star this weekend dominating the box office with Captain America and Under The Skin having the highest per screen average in the country.”

A24 noted that the title, which it acquired out of Toronto last year, is “an art movie that people are embracing.” A spokesperson told me Sunday that they “couldn’t sell more tickets” at its showing in New York’s Union Square. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest’ Extends Reign In Expansion; ‘Nymphomaniac’ Bows So-So Theatrically

Specialty Box OfficeThe Grand Budapest Hotel maintained its box office magic over in its third weekend following an expansion, even as a slew of newcomers bowed with mixed results.

Lars von Trier’s much ballyhooed and anticipated Nymphomaniac: Vol. I culminated with a 25 theater bow this weekend, grossing a so-so $175K for a $7K theater average. Magnolia noted the film, the first part of two Nymphomaniac films (the next opens in theaters April 4) has already been available via VOD and digital platforms, so conceivably a sizable portion of audiences may have wanted to experience the romp in the privacy of home.

On a straight theatrical comparison, Magnolia opened LVT’s previous film Melancholia in 19 theaters, grossing over $257K for a $13,535 PTA in November 2011. nymphomaniacMelancholia went on to cume just over $3.03M domestically. Still, his 2009 release Antichrist opened in just 6 theaters in October 2009, averaging $11,900 ($404,122 domestic cume). Magnolia noted Sunday reporting its Nymphomaniac numbers: “The first volume of Nymphomaniac finally opened after months of buildup and anticipation – from audiences and from us. It did well across the country and lived up to our expectations for it. Combined with a really great VOD take so far, it’s a winner. We’re excited about Volume II, which is on VOD now and in theaters April 4.” On the other end of the spectrum, Freestyle Releasing’s God’s Not Dead blitzed the box office with $8.9M in 780 theaters; read more on that in Anita Busch’s mainstream b.o. report. Read More »

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Sam Shepard To Co-Star In Netflix Drama Series From ‘Damages’ Creators

By | Wednesday March 19, 2014 @ 6:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Sam Shepard (August: Osage County) samshepardhas joined the cast of Netflix‘s untitled psychological thriller drama from Sony Pictures TV. Written and executive produced by Damages creators Todd A. Kessler, Daniel Zelman and Glenn Kessler (KZK), the 13-episode series centers on a close-knit family of four adult siblings (Kyle Chandler, Ben Mendelsohn, Linda Cardellini, Norbert Leo Butz) whose secrets and scars are revealed when their black sheep brother (Mendelsohn) returns home. Shepard will play the patriarch of the family, with Sissy Spacek previously cast as his wife.

Related: Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin To Topline Netflix Comedy Series

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Lofty $55K PTA In Expansion; Bateman’s ‘Bad Words’ Solid

By | Sunday March 16, 2014 @ 11:11am PDT

Specialty Box OfficeThe Grand Budapest Hotel continued to charm audiences as it expanded, cashing in. The Fox Searchlight powerhouse moved into 66 theaters in its second weekend, grossing a cool $3.64M for a still dazzling $55,152 per-theater average. The Wes Anderson film shattered a slew of records last weekend when it opened in four theaters with a $200K screen average. It is still a must-see in its second round and even surpassed Anderson’s last film Moonrise Kingdom in the b.o. in its second week. That film played in 16 theaters in its second weekend after a record-breaking opener $130K-plus average back in May 2012. In its second weekend, Moonrise averaged $53,043 and went on to cume over $45.5M.

Related: Box Office: ‘Mr. Peabody & Sherman’ Looks To Take No. 1 Spot; ‘Need For Speed’ Stalling; Tyler Perry’s ‘Mom’s Club’ Lackluster, ‘Budapest Hotel’ Exceptional … Again

grand-budapest_2813768bBudapest placed 8th in the overall box office. Noted Searchlight Sunday reporting the numbers: “The film is reaching a wide audience beyond the core Wes Anderson fans. While moviegoers have been visiting Art houses and Specialty venues in record breaking fashion this weekend, there have also been great results in the few mainstream multiplexes that we opened as well. It appears that the film has as opportunity to cross over to an audience who may not have seen his films before, but are now ready to check into The Grand Budapest Hotel.” Searchlight will take Budapest to an additional 40 markets next week and will expand in existing cities, taking the feature to 275 – 325 theaters. And it will expand further later in the month and into April. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Newcomers Overshadowed By ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Opener

By | Sunday March 9, 2014 @ 1:26pm PDT

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)After spending most of 2014 gushing over the Oscar nominees and relatively few others, the specialty box office biz got a massive jolt this weekend with the arrival of Wes Anderson‘s Berlin opener The Grand Budapest Hotel. The Fox Searchlight film broke records for a live-action opener, grossing a massive $800K in four theaters (the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood, the Landmark in West LA, the Regal Union Square in NY, and the AMC Lincoln Square in NY) for a stunning $200K per-theater average. Other openers braved opening alongside Budapest this weekend with various results.

Related: Box Office: ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’ Checks In With Record Debut

Three of the bigger openings this weekend had not reported numbers as of this afternoon. Magnolia Pictures opened the Elijah Wood-starring thriller Grand Piano in one theater each in New York, L.A. and Austin. The distrib’s genre label Magnet Releasing is behind the North American rollout of China blockbuster Journey To The West: Conquering The Demons, which grossed $205 million in its home territory alone last year. It opened Friday in 10 markets ahead of a broader U.S. rollout. Another pic, the Italian drama Miele (Honey), opened in a single NY theater before expanding to LA next week. We’ll update with those numbers when they arrive.

Related: Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, ‘Grand Piano’, ‘Journey To The West, More

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Is Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar Selfie A Game-Changer For Trophy Show Product Placement?

selfie2Awards ceremony broadcasts may have been changed forever at last night’s Oscars when Ellen DeGeneres took a selfie of herself and a dozen A-listers in the theater. She broke the record for most retweets – 3 million-plus and counting — causing a brief service issue with Twitter. “We just broke Twitter,” DeGeneres announced during ABC’s broadcast of the Oscars after word got out.

Related: Ellen Gets Mixed Reviews For Oscars

“The envelope please … to @TheEllenShow — this is now the most retweeted tweet with over 1 million RTs. Congrats!” chimed in Twitter when DeGeneres’ selfie hit that retweeting threshold. (According to Poptip, a platform that analyzes and synthesizes social conversation in real time, among last night’s Oscar highlights, four of the top 15 phrases about the Oscars were about the Samsung selfie.)

Related: OSCARS: A Selfie-Important Academy Awards Honors Past And Future

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