Breaking Bad may have finished its run a year ago but, as far as Emmys are concerned, it has all the heat now – and then some. It recently won Best Drama Series from the Critics Choice Television Awards, Program Of The Year from the Television Critics Association and even finally the Golden Globe last January for the show and star Bryan Cranston after essentially being ignored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for the length of its 6-year run. The show has really come into its own and continues to be talked about and debated, and has taken a kind of victory tour at all the Guild shows as well since finally winning its first Best Drama Series Emmy in 2013. And it is nominated again, for the last time, for those final eight episodes that ran last summer just as Emmy voting for the previous season was in full force. Some think voters gave it the Emmy then as much for the new shows, that were unspooling as they had ballots in hand, as much they did for the eligible 8 shows from the first half of the sixth and final season. It begs the question whether the Academy is ready to go there one more time even though BB long ago finished its first-run episodes on AMC. But despite three lead actor Emmys in 2008, 2009 and 2010 for Cranston as well as a pair for …
EMMYS: A Year After Its Finale Bryan Cranston Still Hopes ‘Breaking Bad’ Has Awards Mojo On Its Side
With still exactly a month to go before the big (Monday) event, the Emmy party season kicked off in style last night on the 3rd floor outdoor deck of the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills with a bash for performer nominees. Showing up to meet and greet potential voters as well as press and other Academy members were Modern Family’s Ty Burrell and Jesse Tyler Ferguson; Minnie Driver, nominated for the Lifetime movie Return To Zero; Veep’s pair of 2013 winners and nominees again, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tony Hale; double nominee for Mom and Masters Of Sex, Allison Janney; Scandal’s bad guy Joe Morton; House Of Cards‘ Kevin Spacey; and Fargo’s Billy Bob Thornton. Presiding over it all were actors branch Governors Bob Bergen and Lily Tomlin. Academy chairman Bruce Rosenblum and new president Maury McIntyre also made the scene.
Now this was just the first round. There will be an even bigger bash for performers two nights before the Emmys at the Pacific Design Center. Between now and then there will be another 21 of these peer group parties representing every branch of the Academy from Costume Designers (who actually were the first group to party a few days ago) to Make Up and Hairstylists to Writers (I am on the Board Of Governors repping that branch, which will celebrate its nominees August 21). That’s almost one a night. Putting all this together is the indefatigable Barbara Chase and the Academy staff.
Also happening during this period will be the Creative Arts Emmys and Ball on Saturday, August 16 where 94 categories will be presented (up from 80 last year). Just a measly 26 categories will be presented on the NBC telecast August 25th.Whew. August is usually the dog days for the TV industry, but this year it is where all the heat is — at least as far as Emmys go. Voting, which is done by individual volunteers from each peer group , also got underway this week with the first round of ballots due back August 6 (for Creative Arts) and the final round the next week.
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 Vice) and 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.
One 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 Judge, This 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 …
The Square, a 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.
The 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.
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 …
Though it is still only July – and the summer movie blockbuster season is still in full force – all eyes are turning to awards season as much-awaited announcements of the four big Fall movie festivals that signal the beginning of the Oscar race are starting to drop. Following last week’s news that Fox Searchlight and New Regency’s Birdman would be launching the Venice Film Festival on August 27th, comes official word today from the Film Society Of Lincoln Center that David Fincher’s Gone Girl from Searchlight’s parent 20th Century Fox and New Regency will be launching the 52nd New York Film Festival on September 26th. This selection was absolutely no surprise as the NYFF is very Fincher-friendly and most recently opened their fest in 2010 with the director’s The Social Network. Also, 20th has a strong recent relationship with the NYFF as both last year’s Oscar flameout, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty and 2012′s Life Of Pi also had major showcases there. This continues the trend. In what might be counted as the first review of the much-anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best seller starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, NYFF Director and Selection Committee Chair Kent Jones said: “Gone Girl is so many things at once: sharp as a razor about many aspects of American life that have been untouched by movies, very tough and just as funny, brilliantly acted, and 100% entertaining – a wild ride from start to finish. In short, a great …
EMMYS: Producer Don Mischer’s Show Nightmare – And Why The Golden Globes Can Thank ‘SNL’ For Its Emmy Love
After this morning’s announcement of the Emmy nominations, Don Mischer, the veteran (and much awarded himself) executive producer of this year’s 66th annual Emmy Awards jokingly suggested to me that maybe there should be an awards show that only honors other award shows! God help us. We almost have that now. At the Emmys, the only awards show not eligible to win one of the golden winged statuettes is Emmy herself.
And what’s significant awards-show wise in this year’s lineup is how far the Golden Globes, of all shows, have come into industry respectability. Not only did it grab an Outstanding Special Class Program nomination against the Tonys and the Oscars this morning, but it also landed a nod for Outstanding Writing For A Variety Special. It will compete there again with the Tonys there but – OUCH – not perennial writing nominee Academy Awards; Ellen DeGeneres and her crew of writers who so memorably sent out for pizza and took selfies this year were snubbed this time out.
Of course the Globes have really smartened up in the writing department in the past couple of years with strong SNL influence and participation from hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as well as Seth Meyers among other members of the Lorne Michaels wolf pack. Meyers may not have been nominated for his own new NBC late-night talk show, but this year’s Emmy host has a chance to win one for his Globes writing gig, and that category WILL be presented this year on the primetime broadcast. Still in sheer numbers of nominations today, The Oscars lead the Tonys 8-7, with the Globes grabbing the aforementioned two. Impressively, Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be returning for a third consecutive stint on next year’s show, are competing directly against themselves in the Special Class category with their NBC musical special The Sound Of Music Live! And they also nabbed a nomination for their Lifetime miniseries, Bonnie And Clyde. Big day for that busy pair, who got Emmy love for all of their TV projects last season, even if critical reaction was mixed. Who’s laughing now?
EMMYS: Online Voting Raises Turnout, Possibly Altering Race – And What Do Matthew McConaughey And George C. Scott Have In Common?
History has a chance to repeat itself at the Emmy Awards on August 25th if Matthew McConaughey wins Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. He would become the first – and only other male — to pull off an Oscar win and Emmy win in the same year since George C. Scott did it 43 years ago in 1971. Scott, who famously didn’t attend either ceremony, won the Best Actor Oscar for Patton on April 15th of that year and then less than a month later on May 9th pulled off the Emmy for Single Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for the “The Price” episode of ITV Saturday Night Theatre. Of course, McConaughey won the Oscar in March for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers Club. Both also won Golden Globes in their respective years too.
As everyone knows, Scott actually refused the Oscar and called the ceremony a “meat parade.” Goldie Hawn announced him as the winner by saying “Oh my God, it’s George C. Scott!” As I recall, when presenter Suzanne Pleshette opened the Emmy envelope that year she parodied that moment by saying, “Oh my God, it’s George C. Scott!” It should be noted that, unlike his unwanted Academy Award, Scott never turned down the Emmy. He just didn’t show up for it and it was accepted instead on his behalf by Jack Cassidy.
This promises to be one of the most exciting categories at the Emmys this year, with the list of nominees announced this morning not producing a ton of surprises but offering a rich group of nominees featuring the TRIED (Downton Abbey, Mad Men, etc), the TRUE (Detective) along with the NEW (Orange Is The New Black, Silicon Valley, etc). The most astounding thing to me was to see Netflix really break through big-time with 31 nominations and within shouting distance of the traditional three networks (ABC, NBC, CBS) and ahead of Fox.
Oscars: Controversy Erupts Over New Documentary Branch Rules – Are Smaller, More Serious Films Being Pushed Out Of Race?
The June 27th announcement by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences regarding new and tweaked rules for the 87th Academy Awards seemed pretty much by-the-numbers at the time, but in the days since has engendered controversy over a new requirement in the Documentary Feature category that now requires even stiffer regulations for a film’s seven-day qualifying run. Instead of the previous requirement of two shows a day without specifying times, the new rule calls for a minimum of four shows per day at theatres in LA and NY with screenings beginning between noon-10 PM including at least one “prime” show beginning between 6-10 PM. Sources at the Academy tell me this is an effort to get the films seen by the public in a theatrical setting.
“The main reason was to get those documentaries to be seen by paying audiences,” an Academy executive told me. “As you know a lot of those (qualifying runs ) movies are basically four-walled at 11 AM and nobody sees them in a theatre. So by allowing four showings daily for a week it allows so much greater access for the consumer and the public to see these movies.” I am told the docu branch leadership was passionate about the change because “it really allows the movie fan to see documentaries with so much more opportunity.” It also reinforces the idea that these Oscar-qualifying films are indeed theatrical experiences, something the Academy has always been rightfully concerned about emphasizing in their annual competition.
Starting their bid for a Best Song Oscar nomination early, The Weinstein Company is releasing Adam Levine‘s video for the Greg Alexander-penned song, “Lost Stars” from Begin Again which expands to over 45 markets tomorrow. Taking a cue from director John Carney’s Once which won the Best Song Oscar for “Falling Slowly” in 2007, “Lost Stars” could be a breakout hit, particularly considering the current popularity of Levine who makes his acting debut in the film opposite stars, Keira Knightley (who also has her own version of the tune on the soundtrack and in the film) and Mark Ruffalo. Here’s the video:
Before the screening began at last night’s Hollywood premiere of director Steve James’ Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself, Ebert’s remarkable wife Chaz shared something with the packed crowd of industry notables that her late husband told her as they were embarking on the shooting of the film. “Roger said, ‘Make sure Steve doesn’t make a movie I don’t want to see’,” she laughed. Mission accomplished, but in a cruel stroke of irony for the world’s most famous film critic, he didn’t live to see it completed.
James, best known for his 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams, has made a tough, entertaining, unsentimental and enormously moving film that everyone should want to see. It’s not just about a blue-collar kid from Chicago, who turned into a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie critic. It’s mostly an unflinching and unapologetic account of a man determined to keep on keepin’ on after devastating cancer robbed him of his speech and ability to eat but not his mind, his love for movies or, most of all, his love for Chaz, his wife of 20 years who stood by him and kept him going long after others would have given up. “Roger lived his life out loud, even when he lost his physical voice,” she said. Of the movie, which is brutally honest about his illness and never looks away, my wife said, “It’s the greatest love story I have ever seen”. It is that too. Just before rolling the film, Chaz noted that she had an empty chair in the front row at the Arclight that said simply, ‘Reserved for Roger’ because “he told me I’ll always be in the front row cheering you on”.
Magnolia will release the film next week, and though the Academy’s documentary branch often ignores movies about the movies, this one is irresistible. Wouldn’t it be ironic if a movie about a film critic who wrote books called I Hated Hated HATED This Movie and Your Movie Sucks (among many others more positive to the medium) were to win an Oscar? I spotted plenty of Academy voters in the audience last night, including Acad President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.
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:
I like the fact that Turner Classic Movies announced today a special 11-hour tribute to the now-late and always-great Eli Wallach, who died last night at age 98. He was such a magnificent actor, particularly onstage, where he won a Tony in The Rose Tattoo or on TV in countless performances including his Emmy-winning turn in 1966′s Poppies Are Also Flowers. His movie roles were memorable too, but he never quite got that truly great moment onscreen that could have ignited his film career and sent it in a different direction. It’s true he was terrific as the evil Calvera in 1960′s The Magnificent Seven (which Denzel Washington is threatening to remake) and as the bandit Tuco in the 1966 Sergio Leone classic, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. His 1956 film debut in Baby Doll was a great way to start in cinema for this born stage actor, a disciple of the Actors Studio. There were other turns over the years in the underrated 1958 film The Lineup, the film adaptation of stage hit The Tiger Makes Out co-starring his wife of 66 years Anne Jackson, How To Steal A Million, The Misfits (opposite Gable, Monroe and Clift in 1961), Cinderella Liberty, The Godfather Part III all the way up to his small but amusing role in 2010′s Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.
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:
As TV Critics Hand Out Prizes And Emmy Ballots Are Due, The Movie Awards Season Could Face A Major Shakeup
EXCLUSIVE: With last night’s Broadcast Television Journalists Association’s 4th Annual Critics Choice Television Awards now out of the way, and Emmy ballots due by 10 tonight, there is lots of news on the TV awards front. But I have learned there also is news on the nascent movie awards season that could mean a radical shake up for the BFJA’s kissing cousins’ Critics Choice Movie Awards.
A meeting will be held today to discuss moving the CCMAs up in the season by as much as a month to mid-December. Yikes! (Full Disclosure: I vote in those awards). For the last two years they have been held on Oscar nomination day (January 17th earlier this year), drawing a big star-and-industry turnout as well as lots of attention due to the fact that newly minted Oscar nominees hit the CCMA red carpet just hours after getting the big news. But I am told BFCA officials are frustrated by the forced proximity not only to the higher profile Golden Globes show on NBC, but also the glut of other pre-Oscar events and guild nomination announcements. Also factoring in is a new broadcast partner as The CW, which has carried the show for the past two years (after previous stints with VH1 and E) is no longer going to be involved. Last night’s TV awards was also the first — and apparently last — broadcast for that show as well on The CW. The BFCA/BFJA (same group of …
The Los Angeles Film Festival ended Thursday night on a high note (a really high note, in fact) at LA Live with the premiere of Clint Eastwood‘s movie version of the smash Broadway jukebox musical, Jersey Boys which has been running nearly a decade — and with no end in sight. The film, which I thought was terrific but very different from what I saw on stage, will almost certainly goose the sales of the play. The conventional wisdom used to be that when a movie came out, the live show was toast. But in recent years Chicago, The Phantom Of The Opera, Mamma Mia!, and even Rock Of Ages have flourished on Broadway long after their film counterparts have come and gone. I expect no different from Jersey Boys; in this case there might even be more interest since both are really different animals telling the same story. And what a story it is. So far, critical reaction has been divided down the middle, but I guess it all depends on your life experience. Eastwood isn’t exactly known for doing musicals (and let’s not remember his acting role in 1970′s flop Broadway transfer Paint Your Wagon, where he sang “to the trees”). But he has a strong musical sense (having directed the Charlie Parker biopic, Bird and scored many of his own films as well as being a well-known jazz aficionado). This story of the rise to stardom of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the tough neighborhoods of Jersey has been given grit and …
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 …