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OSCARS: Governors Awards Honor Best Of The Best And Provide Lots Of Opportunity For Schmoozing

Pete Hammond

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 & SciencesAnd 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.

Related: Governors Awards Gallery: Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin

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). Read More »

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Governors Awards: Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin Feted At Honorary Oscars (Gallery)

2013 Governors Awards: Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin

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.

Related: OSCARS: Governors Awards Provide Lots Of Opportunity For Schmoozing

Related: OSCARS: Big Names, Deserving Recipients For Governors Awards Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Maleficent’

By | Wednesday November 13, 2013 @ 6:28am PST

Angelina Jolie stars as the eponymous Maleficent in Disney‘s 3D backstory of the wicked fairy from Sleeping Beauty. Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple and Lesley Manville also star. Robert Stromberg directs and Linda Woolverton wrote the screenplay. Disney will release Maleficent on May 30, 2014.

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Jai Courtney Tapped For Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’, Russell Crowe’s ‘Water Diviner’

By | Thursday October 24, 2013 @ 1:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVEJai 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.

Related: Exclusive: Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken’

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.

Related: Exclusive: Russell Crowe Sets ‘Water Diviner’ For Directing Debut Read More »

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Angelina Jolie Sets Japanese Singer Miyavi As Brutal WWII POW Camp Guard ‘The Bird’ In ‘Unbroken’

By | Friday October 11, 2013 @ 12:00pm PDT
Mike Fleming

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. Read More »

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Kristin Chenoweth & Katrina Bowden Join ‘Hard Sell’, Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ In Talks With Jordan Patrick Smith

By | Thursday October 10, 2013 @ 2:31pm PDT

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.

Related: First Look Photo: ‘Unbroken’s Angelina Jolie & Louis Zamperini Read More »

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First Look Photo: ‘Unbroken’s Angelina Jolie & Louis Zamperini

By | Thursday October 10, 2013 @ 12:21pm PDT

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 in 2010. It’s set for a Christmas 2014 release.

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John Magaro Joins Angelina Jolie’s Louis Zamperini Pic ‘Unbroken’

By | Monday October 7, 2013 @ 11:40am PDT

EXCLUSIVE: John Magaro (Not Fade Away) has been cast in Unbroken, the true story of U.S. Olympian-turned-WWII prisoner of war Louis Zamperini which Angelina Jolie is helming for Universal. Magaro will play Frank A. Tinker, an Air Force dive bomb pilot and opera singer who befriends Zamperini en route to a Japanese POW camp. Jack O’Connell won the role of Zamperini and leads a cast that includes Garrett Hedlund and Domhnall Gleeson. The script, adapted from Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand’s nonfiction bestseller, is by William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese with a rewrite by Joel and Ethan Coen. Filming begins mid-October under DP Roger Deakins ahead of an already-set Christmas 2014 release. Magaro is repped by Abrams Artists and Authentic Talent and Literary Management.

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Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ Adds Garrett Hedlund

By | Wednesday September 18, 2013 @ 10:05am PDT

Garrett Hedlund has joined lead Jack O’Connell in Unbroken, the true story of Olympian-turned-POW Louis Zamperini that Angelina Jolie is directing for Universal. The Inside Llewyn Davis actor will play Fitzgerald in the film based on based on the best-selling Laura Hillenbrand novel. His character is the head of the camp where O’Connell’s Zamperini is being held. Unbroken begins shooting in Australia in next month and Universal has set a Christmas Day 2014 release date. Joel and Ethan Coen have rewritten the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson and Richard LaGravenese. Variety first reported the casting. Hedlund is represented by WME and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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OSCARS: Big Names, Deserving Recipients For Governors Awards

Pete Hammond

With recipients like Angela Lansbury, Steve MartinAngelina Jolie, and legendary Italian costume designer Piero Tosithis 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.

Related: Academy Unveils 2013 Governors Awards
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Academy Unveils 2013 Governors Awards: Honorees Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin, Piero Tosi

Related: Hammond: Big Names, Deserving Recipients For Governors Awards

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.”

Read More »

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Domhnall Gleeson Cast In Lou Zamperini Pic ‘Unbroken’

By | Thursday August 22, 2013 @ 9:30am PDT

Domhnall Gleeson will star opposite lead Jack O’Connell in Unbroken, the incredibly true story of Olympian-turned-POW Louis Zamperini that Angelina Jolie is directing for Universal. The film, based on the best-selling Laura Hillenbrand novel, begins shooting in Australia in October. Universal has set a Christmas Day 2014 release date. UK-born O’Connell nabbed the starring role last month and will play the young Zamperini from the time he was a wunderkind member of the USA track team that competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to his survival of a harrowing plane crash in the Pacific Ocean during WWII through 47 days adrift in a life raft to becoming a POW in a Japanese prison camp. Irishman Gleeson will  Phil, who was also on the raft.  His deal closed after a long slog trying to work out scheduling issues, but now it’s been set, making him the second actor to board the project. Gleeson, repped by Paradigm and Ireland-based The Agency, is next up in Richard Curtis’ comedy About Time opposite Rachel McAdams and Bill Nighy, which Universal releases November 1. He also is just wrapping Universal’s Scott Rudin-produced Ex Machina, which Alex Garland is directing, and also just starred opposite Michael Fassbender the indie Irish pic Frank. UPDATE: Reps have also confirmed that Finn Wittrock is in talks to join the pic. In addition to extensive theater work Wittrock has parts … Read More »

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Jack O’Connell Nabs Louis Zamperini Role In Angelina Jolie Pic ‘Unbroken’

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 12:30pm PDT

Jack O’Connell was one of three young actors who had recently tested for the role of the young Louis Zamperini in Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed biopic that Universal has just dated for Christmas 2014. O’Connell has won the part and will play Zamperini from the time he was a wunderkind member of the USA track team that competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to his survival of a harrowing plane crash in the Pacific Ocean during WWII through 47 days adrift in a life raft to becoming a POW in a Japanese prison camp. The film is based on the New York Times bestseller Unbroken: A World War II Story Of Survival, Resilience, And Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, and production is set to start in September. O’Connell is starring in the sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire that is due out next March, and his credits include This Is England, Eden Lake, Harry Brown and TV’s Skins. He is repped by CAA in the U.S. and Conway van Gelder Grant in the UK.

Related: Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken’

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Universal Dates Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ For December 25, 2014

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 10:19am PDT

Universal has set a Christmas Day 2014 release for Unbroken, the film that tells the incredible story of Olympian and war hero Lou Zamperini based on Lauren Hillenbrand’s best-selling book. This will be Angelina Jolie‘s second turn as director following In The Land Of Blood And Honey. Unbroken is set to begin production in late September. “I’ve had the privilege of spending a great deal of time with Louie Zamperini, who is a hero of mine, and now—I am proud to say—a dear friend,” said Jolie in a statement. “I am deeply honored to be telling his extraordinary story, and I will do my absolute best to give him the film he deserves”. Deadline’s Mike Fleming broke the story last December that Jolie had been tapped to direct the pic, something she had campaigned hard for against several other directors.

Related: Jack O’Connell Nabs Louis Zamperini Role In ‘Unbroken’

Originally published by Random House in 2010, the book follows the incredible life story of Olympian and war hero Zamperini who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp. The project has a long history with Universal, which first acquired the rights to tell the life story of Zamperini in 1957 and optioned the rights to Hillenbrand’s book in December 2010. Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country For Old Men) rewrote the screenplay from earlier drafts by William Nicholson (Les Misérables) and Richard LaGravenese (HBO’s Behind The Candelabra). Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff are producing and Mick Garris and David Crockett serve as executive producers. The full press release follows after the jump.

Related:
Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken’
Angelina Jolie Narrowing Choices For Young Lou Zamperini In ‘Unbroken’ Read More »

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Angelina Jolie Stunt Double Files First U.S. Phone-Hacking Claim Against News Corp.

Eunice Huthart, a former body double for Angelina Jolie, has become the first person to file a phone-hacking lawsuit against News Corp. in the U.S. Huthart, a British national whose most recent credit is as stunt coordinator on Disney’s upcoming Jolie-starrer Maleficent, filed a civil complaint (read it here) against News Corp, and its UK press arm News International, in federal court on June 13 alleging right to privacy violations. Those include “intrusion into, interception of and interference with” voicemail messages left on her phone while she was working as a double for Jolie in the U.S. in 2005. The suit seeks damages for violations of federal and California laws. Read More »

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Angelina Jolie Narrowing Choices For Young Lou Zamperini In ‘Unbroken’

By | Thursday June 13, 2013 @ 1:15pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures, Walden Media and director Angelina Jolie are getting closer to the start line on Unbroken, the incredible story of Louis Zamperini based on Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book. I’m hearing that three young actors — Alexander Dreymon (Blood Ransom), 300: Rise Of An Empire co-star Jack O’Connell and Chronicle and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 star Dane DeHaan — are screen-testing to play Zamperini as a young man. I don’t know that Jolie won’t widen her short list — she has met with reams of young actors already to get to this point — but I do believe this has the potential to be a career-making job. The actor will play Zamperini from the time he was a wunderkind member of the American track team that competed in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, to his survival of a harrowing plane crash on the water, to becoming a POW in a Japanese prison camp during WWII. Zamperini, who has shown an iron will in dealing with adversity, turned 96 in January and the emergence of this short list is good news because it means he hopefully will get to see the film. It is one that Universal first developed in 1956 when it was to star Tony Curtis, right after Spartacus. Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff are producing and Mick Garris is exec producer.

Jolie signed on last December to make this her second film as director after In The Land Of Blood And Honey. She had campaigned hard for the job against other directors who sparked to Hillenbrand’s book. I spoke to her at the time and she was completely dialed into the story and how she wanted to tell it. Since then, Joel and Ethan Coen rewrote a script that had been penned by Gladiator and Les Miserables co-writer William Nicholson, who rewrote an earlier draft by Richard LaGravanese, The book has now been on The New York Times Bestseller List for two and a half years, which is the fifth-longest a book has stayed there. Read More »

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Angelina Jolie Wins Tentative Ruling In ‘Blood And Honey’ Lawsuit

By | Friday March 29, 2013 @ 4:51pm PDT

A federal judge has ruled tentatively in Angelina Jolie‘s favor in a lawsuit that alleged she took key elements of a book on the Bosnian War for her 2011 film In The Land of Blood and Honey. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee today said there were not enough similarities between James Braddock’s book The Soul Shattering and the film to prove violation of copyright. Braddock was therefore ordered to show cause why the action should not be dismissed with prejudice by no later than April 12. Braddock sued the Oscar-winning actress, GK Films and distributor Film District on December 2, 2011 for copyright infringement, three weeks before the film about a love affair during the Bosnian Civil War came out in America.

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ASC Awards: ‘Skyfall’s Roger Deakins Wins Feature Film Honor; TV Winners Include ‘Great Expectations’, ‘Game Of Thrones’, ‘Wilfred’, ‘Hunted’

Skyfall director of photography Roger Deakins won the Feature Film honor tonight at the 27th annual American Society of Cinematographers Awards, two years after he won the society’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Deakins, who didn’t attend because he is working on the Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal movie Prisoners, now becomes a frontrunner for the Oscar in the category, American Society Of Cinematographers Awards 2013 Winnersafter Life Of Pi‘s director of photography Claudio Miranda won the BAFTA earlier in the day in London. (The ASC Awards noms pretty much mirror the Oscar nominees this year, with Deakins, Miranda, Anna Karenina’s Seamus McGarvery and Lincoln’s Janusz Kaminski nominated by both organizations. The only difference: Les Miserables’ Danny Cohen was up for an ASC Award and not an Oscar, and Django Unchained’s Robert Richardson is up for an Oscar but not an ASC.)

It was Deakins’ third win and 11th nomination for an ASC Award, having won previously for Shawshank Redemption and The Man Who Wasn’t There. His wife James accepted the award onstage at the ceremony, held at the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. She read a note he had prepared: “I share this award with everyone who worked on the production…filmmaking is truly a collaborative privilege.”

Deakins’ win for the James Bond pic capped a night in which Angelina Jolie made a surprise appearance to introduce the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Dean Semler, her DP on her 2011 directorial debut In The Land Of Blood And Honey and on Disney’s Maleficent, in which she stars.  “I called him up to help me on a film I was directing, not thinking I’d get him”, she said in her intro. ‘Who can shoot it like you can?’ I asked. He said me, and did it. After the call, I’m not embarrassed to say I danced around the room”. Said Semler: “Angie, you’re amazing and we’re so glad you’re here …. This award has to be the greatest any cinematographer can reach for”. Read More »

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Angelina Jolie To Direct ‘Unbroken’, The Incredible Story Of Lou Zamperini

By | Tuesday December 18, 2012 @ 6:19pm PST
Mike Fleming

Angelina Jolie UnbrokenEXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Walden Media are in final negotiations with Angelina Jolie to direct Unbroken, the unbelievable story of Olympian-turned-WWII POW Louis Zamperini. The project, which Universal has developed for going on 55 years, is closer than ever to becoming a reality. Matthew Baer and Erwin Stoff are producing and Mick Garris is exec producer.

For Jolie, this will mark her second film as director after she made her debut on In The Land Of Blood And Honey. This will be her first directing outing on a major studio film. It’s easy to imagine that the world’s biggest female star gets whatever she wants, but I’m told that she campaigned hard for the film against a number of other directors. Universal execs were very impressed with her sophisticated treatment of difficult subject matter. Her detailed take on Zamperini won her this job.

“In her life and in her work, Angelina has embraced stories and causes involving great struggle and triumph over tremendous odds and the basic human condition,” Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley said in a statement. “She has a real ability to illustrate the strength in human spirit which will be essential in telling Lou’s story of survival and great heroism.”

The film has a new script draft by Gladiator and Les Miserables co-writer William Nicholson, who rewrote an earlier draft by Richard LaGravanese. The script is based on Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption, the book by Seabiscuit author Laura Hillenbrand which has been on The New York Times bestseller list for over 108 straight weeks. Read More »

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