It seems Cate Blanchett can do it all. She has played the Queen of England (Elizabeth I in Elizabeth) as well as the Queen of Hollywood (Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator), for which she earned a supporting actress Oscar. But it wasn’t until this year that a cinematic match made in heaven occurred when Woody Allen rang her up and asked her to be in one of his films. Their pairing in Blue Jasmine does not disappoint. As a tragic victim of her own excessive lifestyle, Blanchett is heartbreakingly real and complex, a modern-day Blanche DuBois, but so much more. The role has won her critical raves and she has remained at the top of every Oscar pundit’s best actress list since the movie was released in July. In fact today she won the New York Film Critics Circles Best Actress award for the role. With Allen’s record of directing actors to Oscars and Blanchett’s fiercely sad and funny performance, it’s a good bet she will stay on top on those lists all the way through March.
Related: New York Film Critics Circle Awards Winners
AwardsLine: What was it about the role in Blue Jasmine that clicked for you?
Cate Blanchett: Where to start? When you get the call, you’ve already said yes before you’ve even read the script because of (Woody Allen’s) body of work and his sensibility, the opportunities he provides for actors and ensembles. I was won over by the absurdity and the tragedy that exists in pretty much every scene. It’s a portrait of a breakdown in many ways, but it’s also a story (about) people having relationships based on exteriors rather than what’s going on internally.
Related: Santa Barbara To Honor Cate Blanchett As Performer Of The Year
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The Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s annual holiday party, The Snow Ball, is tomorrow night in Hollywood, and the group has put the finishing touches on its video invite. Hopefully nobody’s inviting the folks in this video to the bash — which by the way excellently benefits the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Check out the video:
After Warner Bros unveiled its first trailer for Spike Jonze‘s unconventional romantic drama in August, the studio made a strategic move to December and took it to the NYFF and Rome fests, collecting kudos for star Scarlett Johansson. But early awards hopes for Johansson’s voice-only performance as a Siri-like operating system that captivates her owner (Joaquin Phoenix) were muted by an HFPA ruling that it’s ineligible for contention at the Golden Globes. Check out a new trailer for Her, which opens December 18 in limited release and expands January 10:
True-story sports saga Kicking Up Dirt is gearing up at Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions-based AFFIRM Films, with Parental Guidance‘s Andy Fickman set to direct. The tale of four-time Women’s Motocross Association champion Ashley Fiolek, deaf since birth, is based on Fiolek’s autobiography, which she co-wrote with Caroline Ryder. Like AFFIRM’s 2011 real-life pic Soul Surfer, Kicking Up Dirt tracks the inspirational journey of a female athlete up against the odds. In this case the Oops Doughnuts production will follow Fiolek’s rise to become the youngest WMA champion at age 18, winner of two consecutive X Games gold medals, and the first female factory rider for Honda Red Bull Racing. Kristin Rusk Robinson and Ian Deichtman (Life As We Know It, TV’s Parenthood) are scripting. Oops Doughnuts’ Fickman and Betsy Sullenger are producing, and Rich Peluso will oversee for AFFIRM Films. Fiolek is repped by WME. Robinson and Deichtman are repped by Verve and Anonymous Content. Fickman and Sullenger are repped by WME, Management 360 and attorney Adam Kaller.
EXCLUSIVE: When Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom had its World Premiere in early September at the Toronto International Film Festival, the critical reaction and audience buzz wasn’t exactly all what distributor The Weinstein Company was hoping for. The epic film, which chronicles the extraordinary life of Nelson Mandela, was overshadowed by many other films including August: Osage County and Philomena from Weinstein itself. What was hoped to be a significant launch that would ignite Oscar talk instead left the prestige film back in the pack, a rare awards-season misstep for the Oscar-savvy company. For director Justin Chadwick it was a clear disappointment, and the Weinsteins now are second-guessing that decision to rush the film, essentially still a rough cut, into a high-profile Toronto slot before it was ready. Now that it is finished and won top notices last weekend from both the Los Angeles Times and NY Times as well as an A+ CinemaScore from first-night audiences, the director and Weinsteins are hoping to turn around the initial impressions out of Toronto (overall, it has a 58% fresh score at Rotten Tomatoes).
‘Mandela’ Breaks South Africa Box Office Record
Hot Trailer: ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’
This all underscores the fact that while festivals can be enormously important, they can also be full of landmines as the opening-night … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Rankin (Breaking Bad) and Virginia Kull (The Following) are set to co-star in Fox‘s event series Gracepoint, a U.S. remake of the UK’s Broadchurch. The project, from Shine America and Kudos, centers on Detective Emmett Carver (David Tennant), the lead male investigator on the case of a shocking murder of 11-year-old Danny that puts a small town under scrutiny. Rankin, repped by Abrams and Evolution, will play Paul Coates, Gracepoint’s well-intentioned but inexperienced local minister who becomes the town’s defacto spokesperson in the wake of the tragedy. Kull, repped by Innovative Artists and Sanders Armstrong Caserta, will play Danny’s mother Beth. Anguished by her loss, Beth is hungry to discover the truth behind her son’s untimely death.
McKaley Miller (Hart Of Dixie) and Daniele Watts (Weeds) have been cast as regulars in Braddock & Jackson, FX/Lionsgate’s 10-episode comedy series starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence as Chicago lawyers from vastly different backgrounds who develop a partnership after they unexpectedly meet in court on the worst day of their lives. Miller, repped by Management 360 and the Osbrink Agency, will play Grammer’s daughter Lizzie. Watts, repped by Luber Roklin and Abrams Artists, will play Lawrence’s daughter Laura.
UPDATE, 4:45 PM: NBC just released a statement in response to Johnny Weir’s comments this morning that he feels “remorse” for insulting protesters during an appearance Monday at Barnard College. “We’re supportive of Johnny’s apology for his choice of words last night in an emotional setting. As we’ve previously stated, NBC will cover all newsworthy issues as they are relevant to the Games, including the LGBT law”, NBC said.
PREVIOUS: Bob Costas will have to up his game to maintain his reputation as the mouth that roars at NBC Sports during the Winter Olympics, since two-time Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir was added to the on-air team. Costas, who’s known for his outspoken commentary, sounded more like a neutered pit bull the other day when he told the Associated Press he won’t comment on Russia’s so-called “gay propaganda” law because he’s hoping to land an interview with what AP called “responsible people” (read: Russian President Vladimir Putin). While the media wonders what happened to the Costas who vowed in 2012 to rip the International Olympic Committee over its refusal to hold a moment of silence honoring Israelis killed at the 1972 Games in Munich, Weir’s out there making headlines even though the Games don’t happen until February. This week, Weir’s “news” took the form of calling those who protested his refusal to boycott the Russian Games “idiots like the ones outside dumping vodka in the street.”
Related: Olympic Skater Johnny Weir Retires To Work For NBC At Games
NBC, meanwhile, hasn’t gotten back to us about Weir, who announced on Today in late October that he was retiring from competition and joining the the network’s team for the Sochi Olympics. Protesters made the connection during Weir’s appearance Monday at Barnard College in New York; some of those those who were there protesting Weir’s assertion that the Games “are not the place to make a political statement” held a banner that read, “Weir: Russian Olympic Clown; NBC: Naïve Bloody Collaborators.”
This morning, Weir was back in the news again, this time writing in the Falls Church [Va.] News-Press: “I felt, and still feel, a great deal of remorse for allowing myself to insult other people, fighting in their own way, and for using insulting words instead of my usual cheerleading antics for one and all.” Read More »
The studio hasn’t made any decisions about the future of Fast & Furious 7 yet in the wake of the death of Paul Walker on November 30. But Universal said today that it will donate some of the proceeds from the upcoming Fast & Furious 6 DVD, Blu-ray and digital release to Walker’s charity Reach Out WorldWide. Here’s the release:
Related: Photos: Paul Walker, 1973-2013
Universal City, CA, December 3, 2013—Universal Pictures today announced that a percentage of proceeds from the upcoming home entertainment release of Fast & Furious 6 will be donated to Paul Walker’s non-profit Reach Out WorldWide, a network of professionals with first responder skill-sets who augment local expertise when natural disasters strike in order to accelerate relief efforts. Walker founded the organization after witnessing deficiencies in local activations following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake, and he remained passionately devoted to the charity.
Related: Reactions To Paul Walker Death: Vin Diesel Honors His “Brother”
“With the passing of Paul, the world has lost a man who spent a great deal of his life in service to others. We share in the deep grief of his family, friends and the countless fans who love him,” said Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures. “We keep Paul’s memory alive and honor his legacy through continued support of Reach Out WorldWide, the non-profit he founded to give hope to those who must rebuild after they have experienced natural disasters.”
Fast & Furious 6 will be available in North America on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital and On Demand on December 10, 2013.
Related: Other Paul Walker Movies Headed To Big Screen Cautious Over How To Proceed: “We Need A Bit Of Time”
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Listen to (and share) episode 17 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, With Nancy Tartaglione.
Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about whether China’s boffo box office can sustain its remarkable growth rates of recent years; a potentially important Sino-British trade accord on film and TV production and what that might mean for U.S. film and TV production; the very warm welcome in South Africa for epic biopic Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom; and whether a U.S. legal settlement for singer Cheryl Cole might pave the way for her return as a judge on the UK version of The X Factor or even on ITV’s newest music competition, Rising Star.
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 17 (.MP3 version)
Global Showbiz Watch podcast 17 (.M4A version) Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Masters Of Sex standout Annaleigh Ashford, who did an arc on the Showtime drama’s first season, is being promoted to regular for Season 2. As a result, Ashford will depart her Tony-nominated role in the hit Broadway musical Kinky Boots sometime in March. On Masters Of Sex, about the pioneers of the science of human sexuality Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), Ashford plays Betty Dimello, the ravenous young prostitute only too happy to get paid to help Dr. Masters in his research (which includes how women fake orgasms). On Kinky Boots, which won the Tony for best musical in June, Ashford plays scrappy factory worker Lauren. Last week, the musical smashed the all-time house record at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre with a gross of $1,912,568. Ashford is with APA and Beth Rosner Management.
EXCLUSIVE: Last week, we scooped that Woody Allen would not attend the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards on January 12 where he will be the recipient of the 2014 Cecil B. DeMille Award. Now we can reveal that his longtime friend and muse Diane Keaton will accept the award on his behalf. I have learned that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association made the decision to honor Allen with the knowledge that the Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning filmmaker would not attend. Keaton was then approached about receiving the award on his behalf. Keaton and Allen met in 1968 when she auditioned and was cast in his Broadway play, Play It Again, Sam. They were a couple for 5 years and are still very good friends today. Keaton appeared in eight Allen films spanning two decades, winning an Oscar and Golden Globe for 1976′s Annie Hall.
Allen is notorious about shunning awards shows. He wasn’t present to receive any of his four Oscars out of 23 nominations and has shied away from the Golden Globes despite 13 nominations and two wins. In fact, the only awards show he ever attended was the 2002 Academy Awards as an ambassador of New York, thanking Hollywood for its support of his beloved city post-9/11. “There is no one more worthy of this … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: History scored big with its blockbuster The Bible miniseries. Now the cable network is exploring another project about Jesus that would portray him in a more controversial light. I’ve learned that the network is finalizing deals for the project, from feature writer Scott Kosar (The Machinist) and producers Eli Roth (the Hostel franchise) and Eric Newman (The Thing). Titled The Lost Years, the drama explores the undocumented years of Jesus’ life as a young adult. There is very little information about Jesus’ life from about the age of 13, following a pilgrimage to Jerusalem he took with his parents, to age 30, when he began his ministry and was baptized by John the Baptist. Because the project is in very early stages, it is unclear whether it would be developed as a regular series or a miniseries.
The Lost Years is based on an original idea by Kosar who developed it with Roth and Newman. All three have strong horror pedigree — Kosar co-wrote The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Amityville Horror and The Crazies, and Roth and Newman jointly produced The Last Exorcism franchise in addition to their other horror credits. That is not a coincidence — nor is Roth and Newman’s exorcism connection. Read More »
The Craig Ferguson-hosted Celebrity Name Game is set to launch on 58 Sinclair stations, four CBS O&Os and others, pushing clearances for the fall 2014 syndicated pop culture game show past 80% of the U.S — up from 40% in less than a month. Tribune Broadcasting previously came aboard, acquiring Celebrity Name Game for all 25 of its stations. The half-hour strip, based on the board game Identity Crisis, was developed by Courteney Cox and David Arquette’s Coquette Prods with Scott St. John (Deal Or No Deal), who will serve as showrunner. The show teams celebrities with contestants to identify famous names, including actors, singers, athletes, pop culture figures, politicians and even cartoon characters. Celebrity Name Game is co-produced and co-financed by FremantleMedia North America and Debmar-Mercury, and is distributed domestically by Debmar-Mercury and internationally by FremantleMedia.
Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden has joined the cast of Universal and Focus Features’ erotic adaptation of EL James‘s Fifty Shades Of Grey. She’ll play Dr. Grace Trevelyan Grey, the adoptive physician mama of emotionally damaged billionaire Christian Grey and his siblings Mia and Elliot. Dr. Grace Grey is the pediatrician who cares for 4-year-old Christian when his birth mother (or “the crack whore,” as Fifty Shades readers may know her) dies. She’s also the one who inadvertently introduces Christian to his cougar lover Elena from whom he learns his BDSM ways. Harden recently wrapped Woody Allen‘s Magic in the Moonlight and stars on HBO’s The Newsroom and ABC’s Trophy Wife. Jamie Dornan has been set to play Christian opposite Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele in the pic directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson, which will now hit theaters February 13, 2015. Read More »
The effort to craft the first major revision of the Communications Act in 18 years could be interesting but probably will end up to be a politically factious mess. House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., said today that he plans hearings and studies for “a multi-year effort to examine our nation’s communications laws and update them for the Internet era.” Upton was joined in a Google Hangout announcement by Communications Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., who says that they “plan to look at the Communications Act and all of the changes that have been made piecemeal over the last 89 years and ask the simple question: ‘Is this working for today’s communications marketplace?’” For example, he says that cable operators complained to him that they have to pay franchise fees but Netflix doesn’t. The GOP leaders didn’t include Rep. John Dingell, D-Mich., who’s also on the Communications subcommittee — and says he helped to write “every major telecommunications statute for the past three decades.” He urged his colleagues to proceed “with great care and attention to detail” and “in a bipartisan manner.” Read More »
The actual “awards” part of awards season is finally off and running with first results out of the East Coast with today’s New York Film Critics Circle choices and last night’s Gotham Awards. And the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences even got into the act earlier today narrowing the intense Documentary Feature competition from 151 entries to a shortlist of 15 finalists. Stuff is happening.
The NYFCC went whole hog for David O. Russell’s American Hustle (Best Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actress) today, while Gotham unexpectedly crowned The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis over heavy favorite 12 Years A Slave. Those results are an early indication (or even confirmation) that this could turn out to be an extremely unpredictable year — one with no frontrunner. The fact that the powerful critical favorite 12 Years, an early favorite to sweep the critics awards and use that to begin its march to Oscar (it leads most pundit polls), was shut out at the Gothams and only took Best Director for Steve McQueen at the NYFCC perhaps means this year won’t turn into a repeat of 2010. That’s when The Social Network swept the numerous critics groups Best Picture honors (and even the Globes) only to be upended by The King’s Speech when the Producers Guild turned the race. The King’s Speech became the industry favorite all the way to the Best Picture Oscar. I think dominance among the critics is important for a picture like 12 Years. That kind of awards pedigree could force reluctant Academy voters (and I know of a few resisting it because they fear it’s too brutal) to see the film and give it a shot. A lack of that kind of consensus could just bust this race wide open and turn it into a free-for-all. Of course there are many, many more of these groups to go, and 12 Years could still dominate, but the initial picture is cloudy. It’s an extremely competitive year and likely to continue to be if today’s results are an indication.
As for American Hustle‘s triumph at the NYFCC, it’s a bit unexpected but completely deserving. Sony Pictures , which releases the film December 13, has had a very good run with the NY Critics Circle — winning Best Pic in 2010 with Social Network and again last year with Zero Dark Thirty only to be stopped cold at the Oscars. Will Hustle be able to ride farther this early wave for the studio? Time will tell. With more Academy friendly-type films like Saving Mr. Banks, Gravity, Nebraska, Philomena and others going unmentioned, there are plenty of places for Oscar voters to drift including the wild card of Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street, which was a last-minute screening for NYFCC.
Related: OSCARS: ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Makes A Raucous Debut Read More »
On the heels of a strong ratings finish of its fall run last night, NBC‘s hit freshman drama The Blacklist has been given an early second season renewal with a 22-episode order. The Sony TV-produced series starring James Spader is the No. 1 drama and the No. 2 scripted series on the Big 4 networks in the 18-49 demo, averaging a 4.9 rating/13 share (most current). It is the No. 1 new show in 18-49 and total viewers and NBC’s most watched new drama in 19 years, since Earth 2 in 1994. In addition to a strong Live showing, The Blacklist is a monster DVR gainer. Its November 4 episode delivered the largest total-viewer increase from Live+Same Day to Live+7 ever, growing by 6.589 million (from 10.337 million to 16.926 million). The Blacklist, which commanded the highest ad price for a new series this fall, now holds the top three L+SD to L+7 rises among total viewers in U.S. TV history. “The success of ‘The Blacklist’ demonstrates that inspired storytelling is alive and well in broadcast television,” NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt said. “With gratitude to both our partners at Sony Pictures Television and our NBC development executives who took a great script and shepherded it into a great series, I hope that Red Reddington never runs out of names to bring down on his list!”
The Blacklist, produced by Davis Entertainment in association with Sony Pictures TV, … Read More »
Fox Business Network announced today it will debut The Independents, a new primetime program hosted by Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, on Monday, December 9. The program, which will appear Monday through Wednesday and Friday nights at 9 PM ET, will feature a roundtable discussion on the news of the day “with a special emphasis on the protection of economic and civil liberties..”
Kennedy will be joined by co-hosts: Reason magazine’s Matt Welch and America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster, as well as a rotating panel of experts. The new program replaces the rerun showing of The Willis Report (FBN’s Stossel, hosted by John Stossel, will continue to appear at 9 PM ET on Thursdays). With the addition of The Independents, FBN will now be live each weekday from 6 AM to 10 PM.
Kennedy joined FBN as a contributor and special correspondent to Stossel in 2012. She is the author of two books: The Kennedy Chronicles: The Golden Age Of MTV Through Rose-Colored Glasses (She got her start in television as an MTV VJ in the early 90′s) and Hey Ladies! Tales And Tips For Curious Girls. She is also the host of Music In The Morning w/ Kennedy on 98.7FM Los Angeles Alternative radio and serves as a contributor to Reason.com.
Just over three months after the Motion Picture Association of America won an important legal victory finding file-sharing service Hotfile and its founder Anton Titov liable for copyright infringement, the site today took a fatal double blow. A federal court in South Florida on Tuesday awarded the studios and the MPAA $80 million in damages and ordered the file-sharing site to shut down unless it puts copyright filtering technologies in place. Coming just days before a trial was to start next week, today’s settlement brings to an end the MPAA and the studios’ nearly three-year legal action against Hotfile, says the Hollywood lobby group. “This judgment by the court is another important step toward protecting an Internet that works for everyone,” MPAA boss Chris Dodd said in a statement Tuesday. “Sites like Hotfile that illegally profit off of the creativity and hard work of others do a serious disservice to audiences, who deserve high-quality, legitimate viewing experiences online.”
With a list of the thousands of TV shows and films that Hotfile allegedly had infringed, the original 2011 complaint had Disney Enterprises, Universal City Studios Productions, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros as its plaintiffs. As other file-sharing sites have tried to do in similar cases, Hotfile employed the safe harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as a defense. It was obviously … Read More »