Disney is ramping up its fairy tale pic Maleficent with the latest trailer for the Angelina Jolie-starrer, which provides more of a look at the interaction between the evil sorceress and the object of her scorn Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning). The pic’s last trailer debuted during …
OSCARS: A Selfie-Important Academy Awards Honors Our Past And Our Future And Hits Just The Right Notes
In the end the Academy Awards fell right into place with every other awards show this season. Gravity got LOTS of love but it ended with 12 Years A Slave‘s Steve McQueen making the big acceptance speech of the night for Best Picture — just like it went at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards, BAFTA, PGA and others. It’s a weird year when a blockbuster picture like Gravity can win seven Oscars including Best Director yet lose the big one. But science fiction is not a category the Oscars have ever embraced in that way, and this year was no exception. In 1977 Star Wars also won seven Oscars yet lost in the end to Best Pic winner Annie Hall, which only picked up four awards overall much like Slave’s haul of three nods this year. The record still stands though with 1972′s Cabaret winning eight Oscars but losing ultimately to The Godfather which won only three including Best Picture.
How do you explain it? It’s called spreading the wealth but wanting to save your most important award for a movie that has real gravitas, one that breaks barriers over what the Academy has ever done before. A movie directed by a black person has never before won nor has a film that so harrowingly details one aspect of the black experience. 12 Years A Slave may have depicted the dark side of this country in a way Oscar had never before recognized, but the Academy wanted to spotlight that and reward it with its highest prize in a year of great films about the black experience. In fact the whole show was full of diversity including numerous black presenters and the Best Director award to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron.
Angelina Jolie‘s Unbroken got a first-look tease today during the Olympics in an extended preview profiling Louis Zamperini, the Olympian-turned-WWII POW whose life story gets the big screen treatment this Christmas. Jack O’Connell plays the younger Zamperini with Japan’s Miyavi, Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, and Jai …
The actress and director of the upcoming Unbroken is now on board as one of the EPs of the Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Dramatic Competition film Difret. The announcement that Angelina Jolie has joined the Ethiopian pic comes just days before its January 18 world premiere in Park City. The Oscar-winning actress also will be taking a presentation credit on the film. No word yet if that will change the title of the film. From first-time feature director Zeresenay Berhane Mehari, Difret tells the tale of a girl and a female lawyer who take on the Ethiopian tradition of “telefa”, or marriage by abduction. “This film is a strong moment for art in Ethiopia”, said Jolie in a statement today. “It is inspiring to see such an important story so beautifully illustrated with such creative talent. It draws out the richness of Ethiopian culture and shows how important legal advances can be made while respecting local culture. It is a story that gives hope for Ethiopia’s future, and for other countries where countless girls grow up without the protection of laws that shield them and their bodies, and shows how the courage of brave individuals can awaken the conscience of a society.”
Captain Phillips newcomer and Oscar-buzzed Barkhad Abdi, who plays the lead Somalian pirate in the film, told me he thought the Governors Awards meant prizes actually handed out by the Governor and he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the whole occasion. Of course these honorary awards bestowed on Saturday night at the Hollywood & Highland Grand Ballroom are not presented by Jerry Brown, but rather voted on by the Board of Governors of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. And in addition to the formal duty of putting a shiny new Oscar statuette in the hands of Jean Hersholt Humanitarian winner Angelina Jolie, Steve Martin, Angela Lansbury and Claudia Cardinale (standing in for absent Costume Designer Piero Tosi who couldn’t make the trip from Italy), this signature awards season event now in its fifth year also has become the official “must schmooze” event of the entire six month awards corridor, a place where Oscar nominee hopefuls can jump from table to table full of Academy members. As presenter Martin Short put it, “the Governors Awards are the highest honor an actor can receive in mid-November.” And there can be no question the timing of the event is extremely important for those out on the campaign trail.
But ultimately this event is about honoring those the Academy feels are worthy of career recognition, generally a lifetime achievement award. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, new president of the Academy, welcomed each of the honorees and noted the importance of the honor. “Congratulations to all of you. Your work on screen and off captivates and invigorates society. You challenge us to see each other and the world in different ways. We are all richer for your brilliance,” she said before breaking for dinner.
Once the 90-minute show began, Jolie’s In The Land Of Blood And Honey cast, actress Gena Rowlands, and George Lucas presented Jolie, the youngest winner of the Hersholt award, with her Oscar. A detailed film package clearly explained why this tireless global humanitarian is getting the award but she seemed overcome by it, saluting her late mother for the inspiration (father Jon Voight was in the audience).
The Academy‘s fifth annual Governors Awards kick off tonight at 8 PM at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland, hosted by Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, CEO Dawn Hudson and the Academy’s Board of Governors. Receiving honorary Oscars tonight are three-time Oscar nominee Angela Lansbury, three-time Oscars host Steve Martin, and costume designer Piero Tosi (The Leopard, Death in Venice), a five-time Oscar nominee. (Tosi will not be in attendance.) The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award will be awarded to Angelina Jolie. Paula Wagner is producing tonight’s event. Hit the jump for the photo gallery and check back tonight for Pete Hammond’s coverage.
EXCLUSIVE: Jai Courtney is in high demand with Oscar-winning actors-turned-directors; he has signed to co-star in the films directed by Angelina Jolie and Russell Crowe. He’ll start with Unbroken, the film Jolie is directing for Universal based on the unbreakable spirit of Louis Zamperini, the former Olympic track prodigy who endured unimaginable hardship as a WWII POW at the hands of Japanese prison guards. Courtney will play Hugh ‘Cup’ Cuppernell, a WWII veteran pilot who gets caught in tenacious midair gunfight alongside Zamperini, who’s played by Jack O’Connell.
Courtney will then move to The Water Diviner, Crowe’s feature directorial debut about an Australian man who travels to Turkey to attempt to locate the bodies of his three sons, who were killed there during WWI. Courtney portrays Lt-Col Cecil Hilton, the smart, efficient soldier tasked with organizing the effort to identify the tens of thousands of soldiers killed at Gallipoli. He reluctantly allows Connors to stay and look for his sons’ bodies. Crowe and Olga Kurylenko are also starring.
EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and director Angelina Jolie have found their villain for the Lou Zamperini tale Unbroken. Jolie has set Japanese guitarist and singer Miyavi to play the role of Mutsushiro Watanabe, known as “The Bird.” That is the guard who made it his mission to break the spirit of Zamperini, and who haunted the athlete-turned-POW’s every step after he was captured in WWII. I’m told by individuals close to the project that it was no easy task to cast this role. After a long search for the perfect actor, the filmmakers continually found themselves returning to Miyavi’s captivating audition, one that mixed grace, ferocity, sensitivity and sophistication. That audition got Miyavi his first lead role in a Hollywood film. Jolie begins production in Australia in two weeks, and Universal releases the film December 25, 2014.
Miyavi might be a new face onscreen, but he is well known in international music circles for his unconventional guitar and singing skills and music that incorporates period-authentic guitars and playing styles from the 1940s. Now he’s going back to that volatile wartime era in Unbroken. Miyavi will have to reschedule part of an upcoming Asia tour to perform the role.
“As a musician, I questioned whether I should take a break from my craft to pursue this role,” Miyavi said in a statement. “After meeting Angie, it became clear to me that an underlying theme to this story is forgiveness. This resonated with me because that is exactly what I want express through my music. I look forward to taking on this challenge whole-heartedly.”
I must say, I have been fixated on The Bird since I first saw a wonderful short segment broadcast during the Nagano Olympics, where Zamperini returned to Japan in 1998. After running so compellingly in the final lap of his distance race in the 1936 Munich Olympics that Hitler asked to shake his hand, Zamperini was expected to bring home the gold with four more years of seasoning. The 1940 Olympics were scheduled to be held in Japan but all that fell apart in war. Zamperini instead arrived as a bombardier fighting in WWII. Sent on a rescue mission aboard a faulty aircraft, Zamperini and two other crewmen were the only survivors of a crash in the Pacific Ocean. After surviving in a raft for 47 days, the near-dead men were caught by the Japanese navy. And so began a POW ordeal that would have broken most men. In that CBS segment, Zamperini found the grace to forgive his captor, and offered to do it in person. The Bird was interviewed on camera, but he refused to meet with the hero he tormented for so many years.
Kristin Chenoweth & Katrina Bowden Join ‘Hard Sell’, Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ In Talks With Jordan Patrick Smith
EXCLUSIVE: 30 Rock’s Katrina Bowden is going from spoiled girl to bad girl. The actress will play Bo, a tough-as-nails but directionless stripper, in the teen pic Hard Sell. Kristin Chenoweth will join her in the Long Island-based indie playing Lorna Buchanan, the mother of science geek Hardy (The Three Stooges‘ Skyler Gisondo). Necessary Roughness’ Hannah Marks plays Hardy’s love interest Lake. Sean Nalaboff is directing the pic, which just began production. Bowden is repped by UTA and Management 360, Chenoweth by CAA and Untitled Entertainment.
The Angelina Jolie-directed Unbroken tells the true story of U.S. Olympian-turned-WWII prisoner of war Louis Zamperini. Universal today released the first photo of Jolie alongside Zamperini, played by Jack O’Connell in this big-time project adapted from Lauren Hillenbrand’s nonfiction bestseller. Universal optioned the rights to the book …
With recipients like Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Angelina Jolie, and legendary Italian costume designer Piero Tosi, this November 16th Governors Awards promises to be the starriest of all four held to date. One new Governor who had received the briefing book on those being considered told me last week that the list ran from big stars to names they had never heard of. Looks like the Academy’s Board of Governors decided to go with the “big names”. But as Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs just told me, “it’s a wide range of talent from many different aspects of filmmaking”.
Jolie’s Hersholt award is richly deserved. Some might be surprised to see her getting this honor at such a young age, and at 38 she is the youngest recipient of this award and the youngest recipient of a Governors Award since their inception. Her tireless globetrotting humanitarian efforts are a remarkable example for other actors of her generation and it’s nice the Academy decided to recognize them.
Academy Unveils 2013 Governors Awards: Honorees Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Piero Tosi
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present Honorary Awards to Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and Piero Tosi, and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to Angelina Jolie. All four awards will be presented at the Academy’s 5th Annual Governors Awards on Saturday, November 16, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.
“The Governors Awards pay tribute to individuals who’ve made indelible contributions in their respective fields,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “We couldn’t be more excited for this year’s honorees and look forward to bringing their peers and colleagues together to celebrate their extraordinary achievements.”
Lansbury has received three Academy Award® nominations for her supporting performances on film – the first in her 1944 feature debut in “Gaslight,” followed by “The Picture of Dorian Gray” (1945) and “The Manchurian Candidate” (1962). Her numerous other credits include “The Long, Hot Summer,” “Blue Hawaii,” “The World of Henry Orient,” “Bedknobs and Broomsticks,” “Death on the Nile” and “Mr. Popper’s Penguins,” as well as voice work for the first animated feature to receive a Best Picture nomination, “Beauty and the Beast.”
Martin, who got his start in television, is a versatile actor, writer, comedian and musician who began to display the breadth of his big-screen talent as the screenwriter and star of the 1977 Oscar®-nominated short film “The Absent-Minded Waiter.” He wrote and starred in “The Jerk,” “Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid,” “Three Amigos,” “Roxanne,” “L.A. Story,” “The Pink Panther” series and “Shopgirl,” which he adapted from his critically acclaimed book of the same name. His other acting credits include “All of Me,” “Parenthood,” “Father of the Bride” and “It’s Complicated.” He also is a three-time host of the Oscars®, most recently in 2010 with Alec Baldwin.
Tosi rose to prominence through his collaborations with Italian director Luchino Visconti on such films as “White Nights” and “Rocco and His Brothers,” and continued to work with him on several other features, including the Costume Design nominees “The Leopard,” “Death in Venice” and “Ludwig.” Tosi received two more nominations for his designs for “La Cage aux Folles” and “La Traviata.” His other notable credits include “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” a Foreign Language Film winner, and “Marriage Italian Style,” a Foreign Language Film nominee, both directed by Vittorio De Sica.
Jolie, who won an Oscar for her supporting performance in “Girl, Interrupted,” has been an impassioned advocate for humanitarian causes, traveling widely to promote organizations and social justice efforts such as the Prevent Sexual Violence Initiative. Staking out a career at the nexus of entertainment and philanthropy, Jolie has worked for a number of global advocacy groups including the Council on Foreign Relations and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), for which she was appointed Special Envoy of High Commissioner António Guterres in 2012 after twelve years of service. Her dedication to these causes has also shaped her work in films that tackle global humanitarian issues including “A Mighty Heart” and her feature film directorial debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey.”