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Amazon Stock Plummets After Q2 Earnings Miss

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:34pm PDT

Amazon Stock Plummets After Q2 Earnings MissShares are down 10.2% in post market trading after the e-retailer reported a far bigger Q2 loss than investors expected. Amazon lost $126M, up from a $7M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $19.3B, +23.2%. The top line was right on target with analysts’ consensus forecast. But the loss at 27 cents a share far exceeded the 15 cent loss the Street anticipated. What’s more, Amazon warns that it could lose as much as $810M on an operating basis in Q3, up from last year’s $25M loss.

The shortfall comes from Amazon’s big investments in new products and services, including video. The company says it plans to spend $100M on original video content in the current quarter, far more than last year or in Q2. Funds also are going to build fulfillment centers, a subscription book service, the Kindle Fire TV streaming box, and its Fire smartphone.

“We continue working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better,” CEO Jeff Bezos says in the earnings release.

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‘Crossbones’ Final Episodes To Air On Saturday

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 3:22pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

‘Crossbones’ Final Episodes To Air On SaturdayNBC has shipped pirate drama Crossbones to Saturday for its last two airings, with this Friday’s episode the last to air in the series’ regular Friday 10 PM slot. The John Malkovich starrer will then be replaced by an NBC News special and Dateline for the following two weeks. Crossbones, which had been in the works for a long time, having been announced at NBC’s 2012 May upfront, started slow and has since lost half of its premiere rating, most recently drawing a 0.5 in 18-49 and 2.7 million viewers last Friday. NBC often sends underperforming dramas to end their runs on the low-trafficked Saturday night, something it previously did with Smash and Crisis.

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Comic-Con: Stan Lee’s Voice Fails Him, So He’s Staying Home

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 2:16pm PDT

Comic-Con: Stan Lee’s Voice Fails Him, So He’s Staying HomeThe comics legend’s reps say he was hit with a bout of laryngitis and isn’t making the trip to San Diego after all. Twitter was abuzz about Stan Lee‘s sudden pullout today, with folks speculating about the 91-year-old Spider-Man and X-Men co-creator’s health. But a spokesman tells Deadline that Lee simply lost his voice and otherwise is “well and healthy”. He was set for a meet-and-greet and DVD signing on Friday afternoon to promote his Stan Lee’s Mighty 7 franchise. It’s definitely a bummer, but on with the Con.

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BSkyB Deal To Create Sky Europe Said Nearing

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 11:16am PDT

BSkyB Deal To Create Sky Europe Said NearingWhen BSkyB reports its full-year results tomorrow, it is expected to announce a deal to acquire 57% of Sky Deutschland and 100% of Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox. Speculation has swirled that this deal is near since it emerged that Rupert Murdoch’s behemoth had bid $80B bid for Time Warner. In May, UK pay-TV giant BSkyB confirmed it had initiated preliminary discussions with Fox to evaluate a potential acquisition of the latter’s pay-TV assets in Germany and Italy. Fox also owns 39.1% of BSkyB. A combination of the businesses would have about 20M subscribers, and could also provide a payday to Fox of an estimated $13B. I’ve been cautioned that these funds are not necessary for Fox to be able to up its bid for TW, but it would put extra money in the coffers while creating a huge pan-European group. “It could just be that 21st Century Fox sees it as a useful way of generating funds and eases management time to concentrate on other things. But the reason for doing it would exist on its own merits,” Enders Analysis’ Toby Syfret tells me. It’s worth remembering that English Premier League soccer rights are coming to auction again in 2015 and extra cash could certainly come in handy. Read More »

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Bradley Cooper’s Chef Pic Whips Up New Title, Adds Uma Thurman

By | Thursday July 24, 2014 @ 10:38am PDT

Bradley Cooper’s Chef Pic Whips Up New Title, Adds Uma ThurmanThe Weinstein Company has kicked off production today on Adam Jones, the culinary pic that stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller about a bad-boy Michelin chef who must turn it around. The project was originally titled The Chef until Jon Favreau’s food truck pic Chef came along; there was confusion among buyers that led to a cease-and-desist order and eventually a resolution.

Adam Jones has added Uma Thurman as the final ingredient in an ensemble that includes Daniel Bruhl, Riccardo Scarmacio, Emma Thompson, Lily James, Omar Sy, Jamie Dornan, Sam Keeley, Sarah Greene and Alicia Vikander. The plot: Chef Adam Jones (Cooper) had it all – and lost it. A two-star Michelin rockstar with the bad habits to match, the former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene did everything different every time out, and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive Michelin star though, he’ll need the best of the best on his side, including the beautiful Helene (Miller). Read More »

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Comic-Con 2014: What You Can’t Afford To Miss

Comic-Con 2014: What You Can’t Afford To MissComic-Con 2014 officially opens today and tens of thousands are descending on San Diego to pick up their passes and prepare for four days of special screenings, studio and network panels, and previews. Having already hit the ground running, Deadline is here with Mike Fleming Jr leading our film coverage along with Jen, while Dominic and Anthony D’Alessandro handle the TV side. (Dominic will also be moderating FX’s Archer panel this year.)

Comic-Con 2014 Announces Full ScheduleOf course, veteran heavyweights like HBO’s Game Of Thrones and AMC’s The Walking Dead will be packing the mammoth Hall H on the TV side. HBO’s True Blood, a longtime fave in its final season, is set to make its Comic-Con bow Saturday in Ballroom 20, as is Showtime’s Penny Dreadful, which just wrapped its first season and has its panel this evening. Repping the big screen side, studios are putting their tentpole wares out there with presentations by Marvel and Warner Bros with The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies and Mad Max: Fury Road among others.

Below we spotlight a few special events on the schedule that you don’t want to miss. (For the full TV and film lineups, go here and here.) Read More »

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Fox Not Going Forward With ‘Jump Of The Century’ Live Special

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 12:13pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Fox Not Going Forward With ‘Jump Of The Century’ Live SpecialFox has pulled the plug on its planned live special that was going to feature professional stuntman Eddie Braun and daredevil Big Ed Beckley trying to jump across Idaho’s Snake River Canyon to mark the 40th anniversary of Evel Knievel’s failed attempt to leap over the 2,300-foot-deep canyon. Jump Of The Century was supposed to feature the two rivals re-creating the 1974 stunt — one on a rocket and one on a rocket-powered motorcycle. The special, announced at Fox’s upfront presentation in May, was on a tight schedule as the anniversary of Knievel’s stunt is September 8. I hear preparations were moving slow, with some of the contraptions taking a long time to design and build, and the budget was poised to go significantly above the original estimate due to growing production expenses.

The target date for the special FOX tv logowas October 27, when the days are shorter and weather often is  unpredictable, making lighting and other logistics for a primetime special difficult and expensive to pull off. Some of that was built into the premise — setting such dangerous stunts safely live on TV is hard and expensive. Word is Discovery lost millions and millions of dollars on its Mount Everest jump special, which was cancelled after a deadly avalanche at the summit.

Related: Discovery Cancels Everest Jump In Wake Of Avalanche Deaths

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California Lost Over $1B To Runaway Production Last Year, Film Commission Says

California Lost Over $1B To Runaway Production Last Year, Film Commission SaysThe Golden State saw a loss of production spending to other states and countries more than double last year from the year before, the California Film Commission said today. According to the CFC’s annual Progress Report (read it here), more than 40 projects that applied for but did not receive a piece of California’s $100 million Film and TV Tax Credit program last year ended up spending $1.062 billion outside the state in territories that offered incentives. That’s a record loss to the state since the tax credit program was introduced in 2009 and a $722 million leap over the $370 million spent outside California in 2012-2013 on projects that missed being picked in the tax credit lottery. And here’s the thing: that $1 billion plus figure doesn’t take into account projects that didn’t even apply for the incentive last year – like tentpoles with budgets over $75 million, which are ineligible for the current program.

ca-film-commission__140602221837Still the report wasn’t all bad news — though there was a lot of that within its pages. With $700 million in tax credits allocated since California introduced its incentive program, today’s report estimates that has led to $5.39 billion in total aggregate direct spending. The CFC document adds that includes about $1.72 billion in below-the-line wages. But as anyone in the industry who has seen a friend or family member relocate to Georgia or up to B.C. for five months, it is not stopping the flood. Read More »

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Jon Stewart Launches Kickstarter Campaign To Buy CNN: Video

Jon Stewart Launches Kickstarter Campaign To Buy CNN: VideoBecause Rupert Murdoch wants to buy Time Warner, and journalists have reported Murdoch would sell off Time Warner‘s cable news network CNN, Jon Stewart last night launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $10 billion in order to buy the network “and do…something with it. Not quite sure what yet.” ”CNN, America’s first 24-hour cable news network, has been terrible for many, many years. Does it have to be that way? Who knows, maybe it does,” The Daily Show host’s campaign explains. “So let’s find out for ourselves! This $10 billion, all-cash bid for CNN would secure control of a massive television network reaching over 100 million homes in the US alone, which we could then use to rebuild a news organization befitting this proud land. Or more likely we’d use it to make a lot more poop jokes. Either way, you get to watch!”

A mere $10 contribution gets your photo in an on-screen “21 box” of  talking heads. For $15,000 it’ll be just you and Carol Costello in a “2 box”, with 5 minutes of freestyling. And for $5 million, CNN will initiate a 24-hour, 2-week hunt for your lost car keys. Watch here:

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Steady, ‘Food Fighters’ Debuts Soft, ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ Falls

By | Wednesday July 23, 2014 @ 8:46am PDT

RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘America’s Got Talent’ Steady, ‘Food Fighters’ Debuts Soft, ‘Celebrity Wife Swap’ FallsLittle person, big voice. The vocal gymnastics of 11-year old Mara Justine on a Whitney Houston tune proved to be a big success with the judges on America’s Got Talent (2.4/8) last night. While the Garden State native isn’t America’s next sweetheart yet, making it as one of the contestants to get through Judgment Week on the 2-hour NBC competition show on Tuesday certainly moved her a step towards that goal. Her next stop is of course the live shows at Radio City Music Hall where things will really heat up on AGT. Not that things weren’t hot last night with candidates in six categories like kid singers, magic and comedy competed to progress to those live shows. And that was OK for AGT. Back after weeks of repeats and recap specials, the show dipped 8% from it last original on July 1. On a night of scant original competition, the 2-hour AGT was the top rated and most watched show of the night with 10.3 million viewers.

Leading into AGT last night, NBC had the debut of Food Fighters (1.0/4) at 8 PM. Unlike his now postponed new Travel Channel series, this Adam Richman-hosted show went ahead despite the controversy over some of his comments on social media. Maybe that wasn’t the best idea as the cook-off game show was down 23% from the premiere of the comparable Hollywood Game Night on July 11 last year on NBC.

The only other originals on last … Read More »

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‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers’ Safety Claims A “Lie”, Says Former Crew Member

By and | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 11:20am PDT

‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers’ Safety Claims A “Lie”, Says Former Crew MemberIn an exclusive interview with Deadline, a crew member who suffered serious injuries on an earlier film by Midnight Rider director-producers Randall Miller and Jody Savin has called their “safety first” claims “a lie.”

Katie Dover, a costumer who was hurt on the set of Miller and Savin’s 2013 film CBGB during pre-production, says Miller and Savin’s recent statements regarding safety on their films don’t jibe with her experience.

Katie Dover_FotorDays ago, Midnight Rider director Miller and his wife-producer Savin — two of the three filmmakers charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of 27-year-old camera assistant Sarah Jones — went on the record stating that since they began in the business in 1990, “We have always emphasized the safety of the crew. In all those years we have never had a significant injury or accident of any kind.”

“That’s a lie,” said Dover, who is going on the record about the injury for the first time. “My injury was significant. I lost 6 months of work because of it.” After a table sliced the back of her hand open from little finger across to her forefinger, Dover underwent two surgeries, was in a cast and had to endure months of physical therapy. “I’d call that significant,” she said.

Related: ‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Enter Not Guilty Plea, Say “This Was Not A Crime”

Read More »

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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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Toronto Film Fest Will Close With World Premiere of ‘A Little Chaos’; No Opener Yet; Jon Stewart, Chris Rock Get Perches

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 8:40am PDT

Toronto Film Fest Will Close With World Premiere of ‘A Little Chaos’; No Opener Yet; Jon Stewart, Chris Rock Get PerchesUPDATED, 8:40 AM: The 39th Toronto Film Festival, running September 4-14, will close with the world premiere of Alan Rickman’s A Little Chaos with Kate Winslet, Rickman, Matthias Schoenaerts and Stanley Tucci. The opening-night film was not announced at this morning’s press conference.

Alan Rickman Kate WinsletA Little Chaos is the perfect closing-night film – it transports audiences to another time, another place, full of beauty, complexity, rivalry, politics and romance,” said Toronto artistic director Cameron Bailey. “Alan Rickman’s film will wind audiences up just as our festival is winding down.”

In this sumptuous historical drama Sabine De Barra (Winslet)  —  a landscaper with a taste for the unconventional — is invited to design one of the fountains at the Palace of Versailles. As she battles with the weather, the perilous rivalries at the court of Louis XIV and her own private demons, she finds herself drawn inescapably closer to the formality and enigma of the architect who hired her.

Of the 13 Galas and 46 Special Presentations announced, the initial lineup includes 37 world premieres from directors including Noah Baumbach, Susanne Bier, Peter Ho-Sun Chan, David Dobkin, Philippe Falardeau, Mia Hansen-Løve, Ning Hao, François Ozon, Christian Petzold, Lone Scherfig and Chris Rock. Here’s the list: Read More »

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Comcast Reports Mixed Q2 Financials As NBCU Films Slip, Offsetting TV Strength

By | Tuesday July 22, 2014 @ 4:13am PDT

Comcast Reports Mixed Q2 Financials As NBCU Films Slip, Offsetting TV StrengthComcast has become so big and complex that its earnings are almost always mixed — and Q2 was no exception, although the combination of soft revenue growth with strong profits sent shares up 2.1% in pre-market trading. The cable giant reported net income of $2.03B, +16.1% vs the period last year, on revenues of $16.84B, +3.5%. Analysts expected the top line to come in a little higher, at $16.95B. But earnings at 76 cents a share handily beat the consensus forecast of 72 cents.

NBCUniversal also seemed to have a split personality with operating cash flow +20.4% to $1.43B while revenues were +0.3% to $6.02B. The main Cable Networks operation saw sales grow 2.6% to $2.48B with affiliate fees +4.2% while ad sales fell 2.2%. Still, by controlling costs, the unit’s operating cash flow rose 6.3% to $914M. The Broadcast Television unit told a similar story: With rising retransmission consent fees, its revenues increased 4.9% to $1.8B. Image (4) the-voice-judges__140601175730-275x183.jpg for post 738728But ad sales fell 1.7%, which the network partly attributes to having fewer hours of The Voice than it had last year. Still, broadcast operating cash flow increased 16.2% to $240M reflecting, the company says, “a slight increase in operating costs and expenses.” Theme Parks proved to be NBCU’s most consistent performer despite the increased costs for Orlando’s The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter-Diagon Alley attraction which opened this month. Attendance and spending were both up, resulting in a 12.8% increase in revenues to $615M with … Read More »

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TCA: How Violent Is Too Violent For Kurt Sutter On ‘Sons Of Anarchy’?

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 5:29pm PDT

TCA: How Violent Is Too Violent For Kurt Sutter On ‘Sons Of Anarchy’?SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of the Season 6 finale and other episodes of Sons Of Anarchy.

For some of the reporters at the TCA panel for Sons Of Anarchylast season’s ending exceeded their expectations for violence with Eli being shot in the back by Juice and Gemma’s forking of Tara. For Sons creator Sutter, it’s just all part of the process when you’re producing a pulp novel every week.

“I don’t have a filter,” said Sutter, “I rely on (FX CEO) John Landgraf for that.”

Related: TCA: FX’s “Revolting” ‘The Strain’ Bucks Romantic GQ Vampire Trend

Sons of Anarchy Season 6 finale“It’s not so much, ‘How do I outdo myself?’, but within the circumstance of a scene between two characters, (I ask myself), ‘What is the most interesting way for things to happen?’ I can say fairly confidently that I don’t think we’ve ever done anything inorganically in a heightened season. It was a fork (as a weapon) in that scene, because it was there,” Sutter said.

Related: TCA: Throwing The Serial Killer Premise Off ‘The Bridge’ In Season 2

In the wake of that scene, Sutter mentioned that people have approached his wife on the street asking for their forks to be autographed. Read More »

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Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations; Streaming Service Tops 50M Subs

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 1:13pm PDT

Netflix Touts ‘Orange Is The New Black’ As Q2 Earnings Meet Expectations; Streaming Service Tops 50M SubsShares are up about 2% in early post-market trading, though probably mostly due to subscriber gains — topping 50M streaming customers worldwide for the first time — rather than the financial results for Q2. Netflix generated $71M in net income, up from $29.5M in the period last year, on revenues of $1.34B, +25.4%. While the growth is impressive, it was also expected: Revenues came in just a little ahead of the $1.33B that analysts anticipated. Earnings at $1.15 a share were a penny shy of the consensus forecast.

Related: CBS Drama ‘The Zoo’ To Be Available On Netflix In 2015

Jodie Foster earns first Emmy directing nomination with Orange Is The New BlackBut the company says it had 36.24M domestic streaming customers at the end of the quarter, up 570,000 from March, which it attributes to “our ever-improving content offering, including Orange Is The New Black Season 2.” Netflix expects an additional 1.33M in Q3. On the international side, streaming customers increased by 1.12M over the three-month period to 13.8M. But the company lost 342,000 DVD-by-mail customers, ending the quarter with 6.17M.

Related: Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

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Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?

By | Monday July 21, 2014 @ 11:39am PDT
Pete Hammond

Oscar-Nominated Film Now Aiming To WIN An Emmy For Netflix – How Is It Eligible For Both?The Squarea harrowing documentary about the Egyptian revolution as seen through the eyes of six of its participants, was Oscar-nominated in the 2013 Best Feature Documentary race. So how come it is suddenly a major contender at the Emmys too? Inquiries have come to our attention, including one calling for its withdrawal from Emmy competition, so I decided to check it out.

Daytime Emmy Awards WinnersThe film, which accounts for four of the impressive 31 Emmy nominations Netflix received this year, was picked up by the streaming service and qualified last year for the Oscar race with a seven-day run, according to the Television Academy, which has assured me they thoroughly examined this one. “The Square was not in general release prior to it TV appearance; rather, it qualified for the Oscars under the ‘one week NY-LA limited screening rule’ which would not have affected Emmy eligibility. Please know that we and the documentary peer group vetted the hell out of this one, and it’s good to Emmy go,” according to John Leverence, SVP Awards for the TV Academy. Read More »

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Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain’s ‘Capture The Flag’, ‘Tad’ Sequel

Paramount Takes Worldwide Distribution On Spain’s ‘Capture The Flag’, ‘Tad’ SequelParamount Pictures has boarded worldwide distribution on two upcoming animated features hailing from Spanish director Enrique Gato. The studio has entered a landmark deal with Telecinco Cinema, Telefónica Studios and Los Rockets AIE on space race adventure Capture The Flag and Tad Jones: The Hero Returns, the sequel to 2012′s Tad, The Lost Explorer. Gato won the Best New Director Goya for The Lost Explorer, a wink to the Indiana Jones series, and the movie also took the screenplay honors last year. It is the highest grossing Spanish animated film of all time with a worldwide haul of about $45M. That film went through Paramount in Spain and this new deal sees the studio look more broadly at international where the movie did strong business with releases throughout Latin America and Europe. The sequel will roll out in 2016. The pact for both films is significant in that it’s the first studio deal on two upcoming Spanish toons. Latin American moviegoers are growing in importance at the international box office, notably in places like Mexico and Brazil, while animation can be smoothly translated for wider audiences. Last year’s Argentine and Spanish 3D football picture Metegol (aka Foosball 3D) was a big hit for Universal.

capture the flagCapture The Flag is inspired by the 1960s space race and sees a ruthless billionaire bent on exploiting the source of … Read More »

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James Garner: An Appreciation Of A Great Acting Legend Who Never Looked Like He Was Acting

By | Sunday July 20, 2014 @ 12:47pm PDT
Pete Hammond

James Garner: An Appreciation Of A Great Acting Legend Who Never Looked Like He Was ActingJames 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.

Brett_Maverick_-_James_GarnerIt 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 … Read More »

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