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Oscar Music Branch Rules Changed In Wake Of ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Controversy Last Year

By | Wednesday June 25, 2014 @ 12:04pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Oscar Music Branch Rules Changed In Wake Of ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ Controversy Last YearThe 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 connectionsalone-yet-not-alone 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: Read More »

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As TV Critics Hand Out Prizes And Emmy Ballots Are Due, The Movie Awards Season Could Face A Major Shakeup

Pete Hammond

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). CriticsChoiceMovieAwardslogoFor 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 … Read More »

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LA Film Festival: Clint Eastwood’s ‘Jersey Boys’ Gets Closing Night Send-Off With Rousing Premiere

By | Friday June 20, 2014 @ 2:27am PDT
Pete Hammond

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 … Read More »

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R.I.P. Kate Mantilini:Beverly Hills Haven For Oscar Voters And So Many Others

By | Saturday June 14, 2014 @ 4:47pm PDT
Pete Hammond

AN APPRECIATION: It not only was perhaps the most consistently popular and cool restaurant in Beverly Hills, Kate Mantilini which is located at mantilinithe 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.

6106528389_87d11b7f81The 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 … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Focus Features’ ‘The Boxtrolls’ Aims To Join DWA’s ‘Dragon’ As Early Animated Oscar Bet (Video)

Pete Hammond

It looks like the 2014 Oscar race for Best Animated Feature is already heating up. Boxtrolls First Official TrailerDreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2 opens today and could be No. 1 for the weekend. At any rate, it is getting such superlative reviews  (especially for a sequel) that it is already looking like a front-runner for that Oscar that was denied to the original in 2010, when it had to compete against the Disney/Pixar juggernaut Toy Story 3, which also benefited from a Best Picture nomination.  That movie of course was a second sequel and it obviously wasn’t hurt by the label. how-to-train-your-dragon-2-trailerDWA has already started its campaign with mailings to various awards groups of the hardcover coffee table book The Art Of  How To Train Your Dragon 2 (I have already gotten two copies including one yesterday that came in a black leather backpack that looked suspiciously like Toothless, the star Dragon of the title).

With a sterling 92% fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes, Dragon 2 is definitely in play and many pundits are already predicting it to win, even though it’s only June and there’s more to come including the latest from Focus Features, The Boxtrolls. Focus started its campaign for their animated film even earlier by sending select media a big toy box container with special slots for the various characters in the film starting with Eggs and Fish and the promise of two more shipments. Yesterday, a second shipment arrived containing Winnie and Shoe. Yes folks, the campaign has started in earnest. Here’s the first full trailer:

Laika, the Portland, OR-based animation studio behind Boxtrolls, received Oscar nominations for its first two animated features ParaNorman and Coraline, and now are hoping the third time is the charm with The Boxtrolls, which opens September 26 as the company’s third stop-motion release with Focus Features. Read More »

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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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Academy Announces Medal Placements At The 2014 Student Oscars

By | Saturday June 7, 2014 @ 7:19pm PDT

oscars 45Fifteen student Oscar winners from colleges and universities across the globe were named tonight by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which unveiled medal placements in the Alternative, Animation, Documentary, Narrative, and Foreign selections. Adrian Grenier, Nate Parker, Demian Bechir, and Frozen directing/producing team Jennifer Lee, Chris Buck, and Peter Del Vecho unveiled the winners at the ceremony held at the DGA:

Alternative
Gold Medal: Person, Drew Brown, The Art Institute of Jacksonville, Florida
Silver Medal: Oscillate, Daniel Sierra, School of Visual Arts, New York

Animation
Gold Medal: Owned, Daniel Clark and Wesley Tippetts, Brigham Young University, Utah
Silver Medal: Higher Sky, Teng Cheng, University of Southern California
Bronze Medal: Yamashita, Hayley Foster, Loyola Marymount University, California

Documentary
Gold Medal: The Apothecary, Helen Hood Scheer, Stanford University
Silver Medal: White Earth, J. Christian Jensen, Stanford University
Bronze Medal: One Child, Zijian Mu, New York University

Narrative
Gold Medal: Above the Sea, Keola Racela, Columbia University, New York
Silver Medal: Door God, Yulin Liu, New York University
Bronze Medal: Interstate, Camille Stochitch, American Film Institute, California

Foreign Film
Gold Medal: Nocebo, Lennart Ruff, University of Television and Film Munich, Germany
Silver Medal: Paris on the Water, Hadas Ayalon, Tel Aviv University, Israel
Bronze Medal: Border Patrol, Peter Baumann, The Northern Film School, United Kingdom

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Jane Fonda: Hollywood Royalty Gets AFI Life Achievement Award And Follows In Father Henry’s Footsteps

Pete Hammond
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Jane Fonda's AFI Life Achievement Award

Studio chiefs and top stars turned out to celebrate the two-time Oscar winner's career Thursday. The busy-again actress is the only daughter of a previous AFI honoree to receive the award. Her 'China Syndrome' co-star -- and fellow AFI Award legacy -- Michael Douglas presented it to her. Deadline's Pete Hammond and Dominic Patten discuss the big night.

It didn’t take long to bring up the controversial side of Jane Fonda during AFI‘s Lifetime Achievement Award tributeafilogo1 Thursday night. AFI Board Of Trustees Chairman Howard Stringer addressed the elephant in the room almost immediately upon taking the Dolby Theatre stage: “What not a lot of people know is that Jane Fonda attended the very first AFI tribute in 1973 to director John Ford. She didn’t actually make it into the ballroom AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute To Jane Fonda - Showthat night because she was out front picketing. That’s right, she was there to protest the appearance of one of that night’s presenters, Richard Nixon. Jane, what are we going to do with you?” he said to much knowing laughter and applause. A little while later, AFI CEO and President Bob Gazzale picked up on the theme. “Yes, Jane picketed the AFI Life Achievement Awards. But it wasn’t the first time that she’d marched on AFI,” he said. “Some years earlier outside the gates of the AFI conservatory there was a protest led by Jane and another Life Achievement recipient, Shirley MacLaine. They were there to draw attention to the lack of women in roles in the AFI Conservatory and they were right. Their effort led to the establishment of  the AFI Directing Workshop for women which this year is celebrating its 40th anniversary. And they also helped to ensure women were admitted to the AFI Conservatory where women have flourished over the years.”

2014 AFI Life Achievement Award Gala Tribute - ArrivalsBut as it became abundantly clear this evening was much more than about Fonda’s well-known activism. It was about a film career that has brought her two Oscars from seven nominations — that started in 1960 with Tall Story and is still going strong all the way up to next September’s This Is Where I Leave You. Both are from Warner Bros and both show the remarkable career journey this daughter of a very famous star, Henry Fonda, and sister of another twice-nominated actor/writer/producer Peter Fonda, has taken. Among studio heads that included 20th’s Jim Gianopulos, Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and Disney’s Alan Horn, Warners’ Kevin Tsujihara was also there. Read More »

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EMMYS: With Balloting Set To Start Campaign Hits Fever Pitch – But Is It All Worth It? NBC’s Award “Wizard” Richard Licata Says Yes

By | Thursday June 5, 2014 @ 4:23pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Emmy balloting starts Monday and continues through June 20, and you would have to be living under a rock — Emmyslogo_new__140311163244or 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.

Related: DeadlineNow: All The Drama Is In Emmy Best Drama Race (Video)

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 Revolutionary True Detective HBO Emmy billboardof 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?)

amc-breakign-bad-emmy-billboard__140519163938Of 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). Read More »

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DeadlineNow: Super Bowl, ‘Breaking Bad’ & Oscars Top Twitter TV Rankings (Video)

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 4:22pm PDT
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Twitter Season TV Rankings Heavy On Sports & Awards Shows

Nielsen's season-ending rankings show that live TV events still rule -- though 'Breaking Bad','The Walking Dead' and 'The Voice' get plenty of social media traction. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten discuss.

Related: Nielsen’s Twitter TV Season Highlights: ‘Breaking Bad’, Football, Oscars

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Nielsen’s Twitter TV Season Highlights: ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Walking Dead’, Football, Oscars, Grammys

By | Monday June 2, 2014 @ 11:10am PDT
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Twitter Season TV Rankings Heavy On Sports & Awards Shows

Nielsen's season-ending rankings show that live TV events still rule -- though 'Breaking Bad','The Walking Dead' and 'The Voice' get plenty of social media traction. Deadline's David Bloom and Dominic Patten discuss.

Twitter-Logo__130513233830-150x150Nielsen just wrapped up the TV season, releasing a set of graphics breaking out the biggest of the big in its new Twitter TV Ratings, including with the highest-rated shows and the season’s record holders in various categories. No surprises here, really. Most of the biggest on Twitter are also the biggest on TV, and people like to talk about them on social media, including millions of Twitter posts reaching millions of followers, talking about such biggies as the series finale of Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, the NFL and college football championships, and the Oscars and Grammy shows. The NFL’s Super Bowl was Twitter king, with 25.3 million tweets reaching an audience of 15.3 million followers. The Oscars generated 11.1 million tweets seen by about 13.9 million audience members. In a couple of words: this is event TV, made for appointment viewing, that thing that most TV viewers don’t do anymore with most shows.

Related: Full 2013-2014 TV Season Series Rankings

TV Season Big Moments on Twitter_Highlights_5_29_14

It’s important to note that the way Nielsen measures Twitter audiences creates something of a tautology (look it up, kids; it’s your word for the day): Nielsen measures only the audience of unduplicated Twitter users who see a post by another Twitter user about a show during its initial broadcast and for the three hours before and after that broadcast. Read More »

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Oscars: How Cannes May Have More Impact Than Ever On The 2014 Race

Pete Hammond

As my French fog lifts in the wake of my return from the Cannes Film Festival it’s a good time to look at how it might havethe-academy-oscars-new-logo-1 impacted the 2014 Oscar race as the calendar turns to June and we have the first big benchmark out of the way. That’s not to say that Cannes is a huge indicator of where this thing will be come Fall when it really heats up, but this is one of the better years I think in terms of Cannes and potential for its ultimate impact on the awards season. Some years are better than others. You might recall in 2011 three films in the official Cannes selection, The Tree Of Life, Midnight In Paris and The Artist all went on to Best Picture nominations with the latter even winning. It’s never too early to speculate.

Related: DeadlineNow: Early Frontrunners In The Oscar Race (Video)

sony-pictures-classics-logoSony Pictures Classics (which had Midnight In Paris)  certainly seems to think 2014 is going to similarly big so they put out a press release earlier this week touting their triumph on the Cote d’Azur . They held the hot hand this year with a flurry of titles they brought and bought to Croisette.  They come out of Cannes very strong with contenders of various stripes across several categories including Best Picture for Foxcatcher and Mr. Turner (with an outside shot for Directors Fortnight entry Whiplash which actually … Read More »

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Cannes: From Chekhov In Turkey To Rampaging Dogs Award Winners Prove This Fest Had It All

Pete Hammond

It’s all over but the re-runs.  The 67th Cannes Film Festival  unofficially ended Saturday night with the crowning of Nuri Bilge Ceylan’sCannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)  endless, but admired, Chekovian epic Winter Sleep being crowned with the coveted Palme d’Or. Because French elections fall on Monday the festival decided to end the key competition a day early and leave Sunday to repeats of movies shown earlier, just as they did on Saturday where fortunately I was able to catch up with Winter Sleep just so I would be prepared for its big victory.  At 3 hours and 16 minutes it was easily the longest movie in the competition and still managed to prove, just as the three-hour Blue Is The Warmest Color did last year, that length doesn’t matter when it comes to impressing juries. At the post – press conference Jury President Jane Campion said she was worried initially. “I was scared when I looked at the running time and it said three hours and fifteen minutes. I thought I might need a toilet break. But it had such a beautiful rhythm and it just took me in. Actually I could have sit there for another two hours. It was all very Chekhovian. I could see myself in all of the characters,” she said.  Another two hours? Don’t encourage him, Jane.  Turkish arthouse fave Ceylan has been coming to Cannes for an ego boost for years and … Read More »

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Cannes: AMFAR’s 21st Cinema Against Aids Event Brings In Record $35 Million Along with Leo, Bieber, Fonda And An Executive Producer Credit For Sale To Highest Bidder

Pete Hammond

The wine and the money were flowing at Cinema Against AIDS 21, the annual fundraising event for amFAR timed to the Cannes Film Festival Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1) and largely hosted by Harvey Weinstein who announced a record-smashing take of $35 million this year. That’s far and away higher than the astronomical $25 million earned last year.  Weinstein told me he was just hoping to make a dollar more than last year, but really had no idea the total could go this big. High rollers from all over Europe made up much of the packed crowd that also included celebrities like Adrien Brody, Adrian Grenier, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Marion Cotillard, Michelle Rodiguez, Rosario Dawnson, John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Jane Fonda, Justin Bieber, Kellan Lutz, Jessica Chastain and Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter was part of the action as, just like last year, a seat for a trip to space on Virgin Galactic in 2015 with DiCaprio was being auctioned off and actually went for $700,000. Last year two others won the auction, but DiCaprio told me tonight that due to technical amfar_logo_tribute_thproblems there has been a 16-month delay in getting it space-bound. He seemed a little nervous about the whole idea but was game to play for the cause. Chief celebrity auctioneer and his The Quick And The Dead co-star Sharon Stone (who ran the auction as usual and took no prisoners in getting cash) effusively praised him for his unstinting support of the event and cause over the years. The lowest item to get a bid were the gloves of Karl Lagerfeld which took only $10,000 despite almost desperate pleas for more from Stone. She was really in her comfort zone in keeping this thing going at a fever clip. Read More »

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Deadline Awards Watch 75 — The Cannes Commander Podcast

By and | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 9:02pm PDT

Deadline Awards Watch ep 75In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom catch up on the latest from the Cannes Film Festival. They discuss Sophia Loren’s new movie, directed by her son; the critical backlash against Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut; the fine performances by Marion Cotillard and Berenice Bejo that humanize their politically minded latest projects; Steve Carell’s “unrecognizable” performance in Bennett Miller’s fine Foxcatcher; Harvey Weinstein’s 2014 slate of would-be Oscar contenders; and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s commanding honor.

Listen to the podcast in your choice of formats here:
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 75 (.MP3 version)
Deadline Awards Watch podcast 75 (.M4A version) 

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Cannes: Sophia Loren Wows Crowd With Glamour, Humor: `I Had A Pretty Good Career’

By | Thursday May 22, 2014 @ 5:05am PDT
Pete Hammond

Cannes got a dose of REAL movie star glamour over the past two days when the legendary Sophia Loren came to town for a specialSophia Loren Presents Cannes Classics: Photocall - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival screening of her new film, The Human Voice Tuesday night at Salle du Soixantieme and a two hour “Master Class” at the Bunuel on Wednesday afternoon. The film, based on the Jean Cocteau play and basically a one woman show finding her running a gamut of emotions while on the phone, is a 25-minute short directed by son Edoardo Ponti that gives the 79-year-old actress one of her meatiest and most emotional roles in years, a real reminder that once a star, always a star. Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)It preceded a stunning 50th anniversary 4K restoration premiere of 1964′s wonderful Marriage Italian Style, one 14 collaborations with director Vittorio De Sica and co-starring 12-time leading man Marcello Mastroianni. The film brought Loren her second (and last) Best Actress Oscar nomination, and it still holds up today. The audience gave her a 5-minute ovation at the end of the short , and again at the end of the feature, moving her, from my vantage point directly across the aisle,  to tears. I asked her how she felt about watching the two performances — performed a half-century apart — and she had20130708_c5_c1_s1_jpg_pagespeed_ce_962QGmKxGA one word: … Read More »

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Cannes: Politics Heats Up Competition Films But It’s Berenice Bejo And Marion Cotillard Who Give Them Humanity

Pete Hammond

Politics came to the Cannes Film Festival (as it often does) in the form of two major movie debuts in the course of 24 hours.Cannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1)

This morning one of the most-awaited films in the Official Competition unspooled for critics at 8:30 AM, and 2 1/2 hours after its start the verdict appeared to be critically mixed for Oscar winner Michel Hazanavicious’ The Search, first feature film since he won Best Director for his 2011 Best Picture winner The Artist. From my vantage point, his new film works on many levels — most importantly, a human one. There was applause at the end but some noticeable boos and I wouldn’t have been surprised if they came from the Russians. They don’t come off well in this story set in the second Chechen War in 1999 as Russians invade,  and a young boy and his new baby "The Search" Photocall - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festivalbrother are separated from their family after his parents are killed. Thus begins an incredible journey — and this film hooked me right in – in this contemporary remake of the post-World War II Fred Zinnemann film The Search (1948), in which a young boy is separated from his parents in a concentration camp and taken in by a caring soldier played by Montgomery Clift (Berenice Bejo has the Clift role this time, a gender change in which she plays a European Union delegation head).

The original Search won a Motion Picture Story Oscar and a special juvenile statuette for its young star, Ivan Jandl. It was also nominated for lead actor, director and screenplay. And deservedly so. Perhaps it is never a good idea to tackle a remake of such an honored film, but in this case using the basic premise to shine a larger light on a forgotten cause seems smart. And the boy’s plight is just one strand here, as there’s also the corresponding story focusing on a tough Russian street kid who is slowly turned into a killing machine when drafted into the army. It’s harrowing stuff to watch, but all of a sudden relevant again, coinciding with another Russian invasion of sorts currently happening in Ukraine. Read More »

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Cannes: Ryan Gosling Faces A Critical Firing Squad After Directing Debut; Steve Carell Talks Oscar

By | Tuesday May 20, 2014 @ 5:29pm PDT
Pete Hammond

There was such interest in the first screening for Ryan Gosling‘s directorial debut, Lost River, in the Un Certain RegardCannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1) section of the Cannes Film Festival that people began lining up Tuesday afternoon much earlier than usual and the Debussy theater was full 15 minutes before showtime for one of the most anticipated films — and directorial debuts — of this year’s lineup in any section. Running at top speed down the Croisette after a Foxcatcher lunch at the Carlton (see below), I raced over there but could only find a fold-out seat in the front row. Worse than that, an equally tardy — and loudly complaining — Un Certain Regard juror almost got tossed out by an overzealous usher until she was saved by two more savvy ushers as the lights were going down and given a seat on the other side of the theater where someone (another juror?) was saving a single spot for her.

"Lost River" Premiere - The 67th Annual Cannes Film FestivalBut after seeing the film, I don’t think this juror would have had much to worry about in missing this thing even if she were thrown out. I have more than a Certain Regard for Gosling’s talent and smart sensibilities as an actor. He’s easily one of the best and biggest risk takers of his generation. The filmography speaks for itself, including his Oscar-nominated turn in Half-Nelson, the inventive Lars And The Real Girl, Blue Valentine, (the wildly underrated) The Place Beyond The Pines and on and on. As a director, however — well, I guess I still admire him as an actor. Here he seems to be just imitating stuff he’s seen on the screen, not in life. Read More »

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Cannes: Hollywood Arrives In Force As American Films And Stars Crash The Competition And Stir Awards Buzz

Pete Hammond

The Hollywood invasion of Cannes began in earnest this weekend and continues big time as the U.S.-set movies get their day in the sun onCannes2014_badge__140417160328-150x150 (1) the Croisette — even as a little rain begins to fall for the first time since this movie smorgasboard got rolling last week. Yesterday, Tommy Lee Jones and Hilary Swank hit the fest with a female-centric Western, The Homesman, that is looking for distribution and should find it with no problem. In fact, I just heard they have had at least three offers and a deal could be imminent. Stay tuned. Despite a mixed bag of reviews (but generally upbeat), there’s awards "The Homesman" Premiere - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festivalpotential there, believe me (more on that one later).

But leading the pack is tonight’s premiere of Bennett Miller’s long-awaited Foxcatcher, which screened for press at 8:30 AM this morning to a wall-to-wall crowd at the Grand Theatre Lumiere (an overflow screening was quickly set up for those who couldn’t get in at the nearby Salle du Soixantieme). And at the press conference that followed, there were loud “bravos” from some journalists as Miller, stars Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, along with producers Megan Ellison and Jon Kilik, entered the room. That is not usually the case at these things — at least in my experience with the jaded press corps here. The accolades are well-deserved. This is 3-for-3 in the short filmography of Miller, whose two previous films – Capote and Moneyball – went on to Best Picture Oscar nominations. Foxcatcher will make it a third and continues to give distributor Sony Pictures Classics a very good Cannes outing so far following near universal praise for the first film seen in competition, Mr. Turner (it releases December 19). I’m also predicting some sort of prize here at Cannes when the Jury hands them out on Saturday. "Foxcatcher" Premiere - The 67th Annual Cannes Film FestivalCertainly Carell is a solid Best Actor contender here for his mind-blowing , slow-burning and completely unexpected turn as wealthy heir John Du Pont, who in 1988 establishes his own stable of world-class American wrestlers at the mammoth DuPont estate engaging in a twisted relationship with two brothers that ended in murder. Sony Classics had intended to release this film last December and even had set an AFI Fest world premiere in early November, but it was abruptly cancelled when Miller decided he needed more time to shape the film, and SPC had to pull it from their 2013 awards-season plans.

Related: Hot Cannes Teaser: ‘Foxcatcher’

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