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Tom Rothman To Produce Spielberg’s Next For Fox ‘Robopocalypse’; Anne Hathaway In Talks To Join Chris Hemsworth

By | Monday September 24, 2012 @ 6:13pm PDT
Mike Fleming

DreamWorks has set soon-to-be-outgoing Fox chief Tom Rothman to become a producer on Robopocalypse, Steven Spielberg’s next film. Chris Hemsworth is starring and Anne Hathaway is Spielberg’s choice to play the female lead, though the studio was denying this when I asked last week.

Here is the official announcement about Rothman, who stepped up on this film when Spielberg needed a distributor:

Tom RothmanLos Angeles, CA (September 24, 2012) – Tom Rothman will come on board to produce the science fiction epic, “Robopocalypse,” it was announced today by Stacey Snider, Partner and Co-Chairman of DreamWorks Studios. Steven Spielberg is set to also produce and direct the DreamWorks and Twentieth Century Fox co-production.

The film will begin principal photography in early 2013 and will be released on April 25, 2014 day and date worldwide. The Walt Disney Studio’s Touchstone Pictures will distribute the film domestically via its Touchstone Pictures with Twentieth Century Fox handling international distribution.

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UPDATE: Obama Praises Anne Hathaway As “Best Thing” In ‘Dark Knight Rises’; Harvey Weinstein Praises Obama As “The Paul Newman Of Presidents” At Campaign Fundraiser

3RD UPDATE, 5:54 PM: President Barack Obama at a Hollywood-studded fundraiser tonight reviewed The Dark Knight Rises and Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman performance. “She’s spectacular. I got a chance to see Batman, and she was the best thing in it. That’s just my personal opinion.” Obama said. After an intro by Weinstein calling Obama “The Paul Newman of American presidents”, POTUS also praised The Newsroom’s Aaron Sorkin. The fundraiser was hosted by Hathaway, Sorkin, Paul Newman’s widow Joanne Woodward, and Weinstein at the producer’s Connecticut home. Tickets went for $35,800 each. The 60 guests included Vogue editor Anna Wintour and TV talk show host Jerry Springer. Here’s the condensed of the White House Pool Report which includes a description of Harv’s  country estate:

The motorcade departed Stamford at 7:13 p.m. and, after a short trip north on I-95, arrived at 7:33 p.m. at the Westport home of movie producer Harvey Weinstein and his wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman. Along the way in Westport there were clusters of supporters along the road, waving, some holding signs such as “Westport loves Obama.”

Upon arriving at the estate, your pool was led up a long driveway, past the valet parking sign, past the broad lawn dotted with weeping willows and a badminton court, to the home. It’s a two-story, graceful, white home with black shutters, looking like a large, updated classic New England farmhouse (reportedly 8,900 square feet). Poolers eventually were led into a room

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Universal Rolls Out New Footage As Travolta, Theron, Renner, Stewart Hit CinemaCon

Pete Hammond

Universal may have been the last of the seven studios participating here in Las Vegas at CinemaCon but their one-hour-and-forty-minute presentation today at Caesars Palace’s Colisseum theatre was perhaps the starriest of all. Hosted with confidence and self-deprecating humor by the studio’s chairman and 13 year U veteran  Adam Fogelson, the exec made good use of Universal Footage Cineconhis background as the studio’s former marketing head to really sell their summer slate – and beyond – with good old- fashioned star power and well-chosen clips. In addition to extended looks at their summer lineup, the show also featured the first glimpse anywhere of footage from upcoming movies Les Miserables, 47 Ronin, Oblivion which just started shooting with Tom Cruise, next summer’s R.I.P.D., and a specially produced animated piece just for CinemaCon to announce the 2013 arrival of Despicable Me 2. But the clear emphasis was on this summer’s promising-looking lineup as Fogelson opened by saying, “it is a good time for Universal”, especially with the studio’s early 2012 box office success that he noted has made them No. 1 in market share so far this year with such films as Contraband, Safe House which has grossed over $200 million globally (Denzel Washington’s second biggest hit), American Reunion which Fogelson said will also surpass the $200 million global figure before it’s done as well as The Lorax which he noted is one of only three animated films since July 2010 to clear $200 million domestically – and two of them are from the studio’s partnership with Illumination. Read More »

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Britannia Awards Taps Presenters

Robin Williams, Anne Hathaway, Helen Mirren and Jason Isaacs will be among the presenters at BAFTA LA’s 2011 Britannia Awards, set for November 30 at the Beverly Hilton. Alan Cumming is hosting the ceremony, which will air December 4 on TV Guide Network. The already announced 2011 honorees are Warren Beatty (Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film), Helena Bonham Carter (Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year), John Lasseter (Cubby Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Filmed Entertainment), Ben Stiller (Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy), and David Yates (John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing).

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Eddie Redmayne Joins ‘Les Miserables’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Hot off My Week With Marilyn, Eddie Redmayne has been set to play the role of Marius in Les Miserables, the Tom Hooper-directed musical for Universal Pictures that stars Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Inspector Javert and Anne Hathaway as Fantine. Universal has set the Working Title-produced musical for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil.

Redmayne, whose starring role opposite Michelle Williams in My Week With Marilyn has put him in the Oscar discussion, won a Tony Award for Red and he is preparing to star in Richard II, which is Michael Grandage’s farewell production as artistic director of Donmar Warehouse. That play opens December 1. Redmayne, who made a memorable debut in the Robert De Niro-directed The Good Shepherd, recently wrapped the Derick Martini-directed Hick alongside Chloe Moretz and Blake Lively, and the BBC two-part WWI miniseries Birdsong. Redmayne is repped by CAA, manager Gene Parseghian and United Agents in the UK.

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HAMMOND: Oscar Hopefuls Swarm Hollywood Awards Gala

Pete Hammond

Across town, as President Barack Obama was drawing every celebrity not in contention for awards this season, the 15th annual Hollywood Awards Gala was taking place at the Beverly Hilton. All of the Oscar hopefuls who agreed to show up to accept an award were there in their Monday finest as this was a place to be seen if you want an ego boost at this early point in the season.

With 19 above- and below-the-line categories to plow through, this was a surprisingly fun show that, if it didn’t already exist, Hollywood would have to find some way to invent. Billed as the ”official” kickoff to awards season (if you don’t count all those film festivals we’ve just been through), The Hollywood Awards were created — and basically chosen — by executive director Carlos de Abreu, who, with Janice Pennington, founded the gala and accompanying film festival. They are the result of a months-long negotiation between him and the studios and distributors, who are using this early opportunity to get key positioning for the players they hope to advance during the long awards season leading ultimately to Oscar. The only caveat is that to get the award, you have to agree to show up.

This year, de Abreu has his pulse on some real contenders and handed out acting awards to — among many others — Michelle Williams, George Clooney and Christopher Plummer, who all could realistically be considered close to frontrunners in their respective categories.

A real highlight of the show was when Marilyn Monroe’s Oscar-nominated Bus Stop co-star Don Murray showed up to present Hollywood Actress of the Year to Williams, who plays the iconic star in The Weinstein Company’s My Week With Marilyn“I’m the last of the the on-screen lovers of Marilyn Monroe, and I still just happen to have a body that actually works, ” the 82-year-old actor said to much laughter. “Michelle re-created moments I was so intimately familiar with as I spent 14 months working with Marilyn. There’s not one thing in this film that’s not truthful. It was a revelation. Michelle’s performance made me appreciate Marilyn Monroe  so much more.”

Williams, noticeably nervous, said her friends always wanted to see her win a award so she could basically sweat through the experience. She did well though, closing with a touching perception about Monroe. “It seems to me that all Marilyn Monroe wanted was to be taken seriously as an actress, and she studied so hard and never really got there,” she said, adding that it was ironic Williams herself could get this kind of recognition that so eluded the star she played.

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Anne Hathaway Joins Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe In ‘Les Miserables’

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Anne Hathaway has closed a deal to join Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe in Les Miserables, the Universal Pictures and Working Title Films musical adaptation of the stage play and classic novel. Hathaway will play Fantine, and her participation had been rumored for some time. Crowe plays Inspector Javert and Jackman is Jean Valjean. The film’s being directed by Tom Hooper, who helmed the Oscar-winning The King’s Speech.

Universal has set the picture for release in the center of next year’s Oscar race with a December 7, 2012 date. Cameron Mackintosh is producing with Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Debra Hayward. William Nicholson wrote the script and the music is by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil. Hathaway is currently playing Catwoman in the Chris Nolan-directed The Dark Knight Rises for Warner Bros.

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Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures Taps Focus Exec Matthew Plouffe For SVP Post

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures has hired Focus Features executive Matthew Plouffe to be its new SVP Production. Plouffe, who has spent the past six years in the New York headquarters of Focus, will move to Los Angeles and start the job Oct. 1. Plouffe is currently Focus’ Director of Production and has worked on such Focus films as the Sam Mendes-directed Away We Go, Shane Acker’s 9, the Ryan Fleck/Anna Boden-directed It’s Kind of A Funny Story and most recently on the Lone Scherfig-directed adaptation of One Day that stars Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess. Plouffe wanted to move West, and the transition was done with the blessing of Focus Features chief James Schamus, who wrote and produced Maguire’s breakout film as an actor, The Ice Storm. “All of us at Focus have been blessed over the past six years to see Matt grow to become one of the smartest, hardest-working and kindest execs out there, and while we’re sad to see him go, he couldn’t have found a better opportunity than the one Tobey has offered. It’s great to see two of the smartest people in the business teaming up,” Schamus said. Read More »

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Bradley Cooper Back In ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Talks, Robert De Niro Too

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Bradley Cooper is back in talks to star in The Silver Linings Playbook, as it looks like Mark Wahlberg will be leaving the film over what some were saying is a scheduling conflict. And Cooper’s Limitless costar Robert De Niro is also now in the conversation to join the cast. This is The Weinstein Company adaptation of the Matthew Quick novel that David O Russell will direct this fall. Cooper had reportedly been attached to the film last year, but more recently it looked like the star would be Russell’s The Fighter cohort Wahlberg. I’m told that talks are getting underway for Cooper to star with Jennifer Lawrence, who’ll play the female lead role

Wahlberg will exit the movie because the production start was pushed and it now bumps up against another obligation. I’m still digging, but I think the other Wahlberg movie is Broken City, the noir drama that Wahlberg is poised to star in for director Allen Hughes. In that film, Wahlberg is in talks to play a cop-turned-private eye who gets caught up in a corruption scandal involving the city mayor. Russell Crowe has been offered the role of the mayor, so it sounds like that project is crystallizing with funding from Emmett/Furla Films. The scheduling complexity arose when Lawrence won the female lead over a crop of young actresses. Because she’s shooting The Hunger Games, she needed the picture to start later than expected, and that created the conflict for Wahlberg. Read More »

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Jennifer Lawrence Frontrunner For ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Jennifer Lawrence is in pole position for the role in The Silver Linings Playbook, the drama that David O Russell will direct with Mark Wahlberg starring. This was a coveted role that many young actresses wanted.

Among those actresses mentioned as being in the mix have been Rachel McAdams, Blake Lively, Anne Hathaway and Andrea Riseborough (Madonna’s W.E.). If things go the way I’m hearing, Lawrence would shoot the film after she completes the role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games, which Gary Ross is directing for Lionsgate. Production on Silver Linings will begin in the fall. Based on Matthew Quick’s novel, the film revolves around a former high school teacher who was institutionalized for depression and is then released into the care of his mother. He tries to win back his ex-wife but becomes involved with an eccentric neighbor with problems of her own. That is the coveted role.

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Hot Teaser Trailer: ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

Mike Fleming

Warner Bros and Legendary Pictures have released a teaser for The Dark Knight Rises, Chris Nolan’s third and possibly final installment of the Batman franchise. Pic stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway and Marion Cotillard, with Nolan bringing back a lot of the cast of his last film Inception.

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Warner Bros, Legendary Start Shooting ‘The Dark Knight Rises,’ Final Chapter Of Christopher Nolan’s Trilogy

Mike Fleming

BURBANK, CA, May 19, 2011 – Principal photography has begun on Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ “The Dark Knight Rises,” the epic conclusion to filmmaker Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake. Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox.

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James Franco Discusses Oscar Hosting Turn With Letterman

By | Thursday March 31, 2011 @ 2:11pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Two panned Oscar hosts, James Franco and David Letterman, commiserate about the experience on Letterman’s CBS show tomorrow night. After a long soul-searching, Franco says he has a theory why people thought he was under the influence onstage. “I love her, but (co-host) Anne Hathaway is so energetic, I think the Tasmanian Devil would look stoned standing next to Anne Hathaway,” he said. Here is the full clip:

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UPDATE: Oscar Ratings Down From 2010

Nellie Andreeva

UPDATE NOON: ABC’s time zone-adjusted ratings for last night’s 83rd Academy Awards are in, confirming the drop from last year’s telecast. Some 37.6 million viewers tuned in to watch the show from 8:30-11:30 PM, down 9% from last year. In adults 18-49, the Oscars drew an 11.7 rating, down 12%  from last year. With hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco, who are smack in the middle of the 18-34 demo, the ceremony was down even in that category from last year when 50something Alec Baldwin and 60something Steve Martin were the hosts – it slipped 5%. Here is historic data on the Oscars viewership over the past decade, along with the best picture winner that year: Read More »

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Oscars Intro: Franco-Hathaway Dream Tour

I think it was more like a nightmare by the time last night’s Oscars ended:

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Nikki Finke’s Annual Oscars Live-Snarking…



I am live-blogging (more like live-snarking) the 83rd Annual Academy Awards starting at 5:30 PM PT tonight based on the  Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences 2011 nominations last month. Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Add your comment. Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive:

Just as Deadline’s pre-show spoilers predicted, the telecast begins with a lame filmed bit involving hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco with constant mentions and appearances by Alec Baldwin who was last year’s kinda mediocre Academy Awards co-host with the much funnier Steve Martin. The shtick is that Baldwin is in some kind of Inception dream with the young emcees and hopes to host again this year. I’m surprised that the Academy would bring him back at all since the Red States despise Alec and the Blue States love him. It’s as in-your-face polarizing as opening with, say, Sean Penn (liberal) or Jon Voight (conservative). But tonight let’s not waste time wondering if there’ll be the usual Sarah Palin jokes. Let’s hope there’ll be Charlie Sheen jokes.

Because there are no original ideas in Hollywood anymore, Franco and Hathaway reboot Billy Crystal’s nearly trademarked opening which consists of the host/s popping in and out of the 10 Best Picture nominees. It was funny when Franco revealed he’s on a horse in a bear suit. Rest of it was so-so — certainly not nearly as smart as Billy’s physical gags and biting commentary. Oscar telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer picked these two hosts because, as Hathaway quips to Franco, ”You also appeal to a younger demographic.”

Actually, the main reason is that both Franco and Hathaway have hosted Saturday Night Live in front of a live audience and didn’t bomb. That’s why in the past the Academy has gone with so many stand-up comedians. A decision like this to host the Academy Awards is made by committee with your agent, publicist, manager and even studio weighing all the pros and cons. But the truth is that few movie stars want the gig because it can sink a career. The list of viable modern-day candidates can be counted on a single hand: Billy. Whoopi. Steve. They always ask Dave back even if the perception is he bombed. Hugh. Always Tom Hanks, even though he’s never said yes. Hugh again if only he wouldn’t keep saying no. Alec looks to become a regular. Now these two kids who after tonight not only may not want to ever emvee again but more probably won’t get asked to. On the other hand, as SNL head writer Seth Meyers quipped to me when Franco got the gig, “As an added bonus, James also provides lighting, sound, make-up, and valet parking.”

Yes, let’s talk about the multi-talented Franco and his career craziness to co-star in everything from the Spider-Man movie franchise to ABC’s General Hospital. Who isn’t getting tired of him — and his clones. (Unless one of them comes over and cleans my kitchen.) Yesterday he accepted Film Independent Spirit Awards’ Best Male Lead for getting caught between a rock and a hard place in 127 Hours and then made sure the audience knew he was working towards his PhD thesis. At the start of this weekend there was a press release that he had just fashioned two films out of left-on-the-cutting-room-floor footage from director Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho. Two film crews are following him around this Oscars hosting gig presumably to make a film documentary or TV special. He’s just signed to appear in what seems like a gazillion movies. And he keeps showing up in every viral video… Sure, we all admire him for his energy and ambition. But he’s so omnipresent and overexposed right now that a very little of Franco goes a loooong way. On the other hand, he sure is purty.

By the way, in case you were wondering, Franco, who’s nominated for Best Actor, decided to give up his Kodak Theatre seat and just stay onstage and backstage…

All this onstage chatter about lesbians. Sorry, but Joel McHale did it much funnier at yesterday’s Film Independent Spirit Awards, saying to a huge laugh, “2010 in independent cinema will go down in cinematic history as The Year Of Cunnilingus.”

The Mayor Of Hollywood in his own mind, Tom Hanks, is the first presenter, handing out the Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography Oscars. Why is it that there can never be an Academy Awards without Hanks or Spielberg onstage? Nothing like leading off and ending the broadcast with these too-familiar faces, Academy. How about actually using a little imagination.

On the other hand, the supposedly high-concept ‘Scenic Transitions’ to Hollywood’s past landed like a thud. These virtual reality lookbacks (at the very first Oscars, the first televised Academy Awards in black & white, and so on) were yawns.    

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN ART DIRECTION WINNER: Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Production Design: Robert Stromberg, Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara

Robert Stromberg takes the stage: “Why didn’t I lose that 20 pounds?” Shout-outs to “everyone at Disney.. Bob Iger, Rich Ross, and the great Joe Roth. I’m standing here because of the great Ken Ralston and the great Richard Zanuck and the wacky world of Tim Burton. Meet me with a saw because half of this is yours.” I’m still gobsmacked that Alice wasn’t nominated for Best Picture if only because it’s made $1 billion at the worldwide box office. But Burton’s originality has yet to be welcomed into the Best Picture or Director club so the snub was not unexpected.  

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY: Inception (Warner Bros.) – Wally Pfister

“Breathe it in for a second,” Wally Pfister says to calm himself. “None of what I did could have been possible without the incredible vision of my master Christopher Nolan. His work (the audience applauds only to be admonished by Pfister, “You’re taking up my time”) has inspired me for 12 years. He’s a brilliant filmmaker as we all know.” Yes, everyone knows that ecept the green-with-jealousy Directors Branch who again snubbed Nolan for a nomination this year just like they did when he helmed The Dark Knight. Eff them.

Kirk Douglas looked swell. Really, I mean it. But the Academy shouldn’t have done this. Disagree with me, fine, but this is my opinion. Here’s what happened behind-the-scenes: breaking with tradition, neither 2010 winners Mo’Nique nor Christoph Waltz presented the Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories. Mo’Nique refused to be a presenter even though she was repeatedly asked, while Waltz is overseas filming. So Douglas was selected. Unfortunately, it was painful to watch and listen to. It also stopped the show cold for what seemed like eons and even cut into Melissa Leo’s acceptance speech time. And, no, I’m not ageist.

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: MELISSA LEO – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

Really, really, really, WOW,” Melissa Leo said. Sweet that she was speechless. “When I watched, it looked so fucking easy!” That’s right, she said “fucking” on the air and it was bleeped. “It’s the young and hip Oscars,” quipped Anne Hathaway thinking that was a joke. This is why parents increasingly don’t trust Hollywood to babysit their kids. Families watch this broadcast. Across America, I bet a sea of people turned off the Academy Awards out of fear and loathing at Melissa’s potty-mouths even if bleeped.

I would have given this award to Jackie Weaver of Animal Kingdom because of those lame personal ads which Leo personally underwrote and placed in the trades (including on Deadline.com). Not content to let the Paramount and Relativity marketing machine do all the campaign work, she got herself super glammed-up wearing “Faux (not real) Fur” and a glittery evening gown. Above text that simply said “Consider”  and then below that, “Melissa Leo”, and in very tiny fine print off to the side her web address, a photo credit, and a faux fur credit. There was no reference to her movie, The Fighter, or her critically acclaimed and gritty real-life character, Alice Ward. Leo late gave all sorts of excuses after she did it. But it was a classless thing to do. Just like swearing onstage tonight. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass as you leave Hollywood, Melissa.

Justin Timberlake makes a joke that only the Kodak Theatre audience understands: “I am Banksy.”

BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM: The Lost Thing (Nick Batzias for Madman Entertainment) – A Passion Pictures Australia Production Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann

OK, I heard the winners’ Australian accent and stopped listening. Just kidding… (not).

BEST ANIMATED PICTURE: TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)

This was a forgone conclusion for the toon and for director Lee Unkrich, who praised that Pixar “is the most awesome place on the earth to make movies”. But I must say how ridiculous it was for there to only be three slots in this category when there were so many fabulous animated or CGI toons last year. Left out of the nominations were Despicable Me, and My Dog Tulip, and Tangled, and I could go on and on. Because only 15 toons were deemed eligible, and not 16, the toonmakers get screwed. Fix this, people.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Aaron Sorkin (Sony Pictures)

Aaron Sorkin gives a shoutout to his WME agents Ari Emanuel and Jason Spitz “who never blow my cover and reveal that I would happily do this for free”. Yeah, sure, and I have swampland in Arizona to sell you. Sorkin can say this because he knows his screenplay quote just skyrocketed. His speech sounds canned. And he was really arrogant to keep talking over the music which is the Oscars’ equivalent of giving long talkers The Hook.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: THE KING’S SPEECH, David Seidler (The Weinstein Co)

Calling it terrifying, David Seidler got a big laugh noting that “My father always said to me I would be a late bloomer. I believe am the oldest person to win this award. I hope that record is broken quickly and often.” Seidler as a child suffered from a stammer and so drawn to the English King’s story. Which is why he told the Kodak: “We have a voice. We have been heard.” Both Sorkin’s and Seidler’s wins were pre-ordained. But I do think Chris Nolan should have won this category for Inception because of the incredible originality of that picture. (Yes, I am a huge Inception booster. Deal with it.)

OK, I am officially sick of Anne Hathaway tonight, tux or not. And I’m supposed to laugh at James Franco in drag? OK, now we have our obligatory Charlie Sheen joke when James says he just got a text message from the bad boy himself. Is it me or is this show devoid of writing this year, let alone any jokes? Weird because new writers joined head Oscars writer Bruce Vilanch and John Mack this time including Grammy Awards vet David Wilde and Judd Apatow-regular Jordan Rubin. I’d been told in advance that the presenters wouldn’t have to read those lame quips, and they haven’t,. But too much of this show has been placed on Hathaway’s and Franco’s rather narrow shoulders. Sorry, but that can’t carry my attention.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: CHRISTIAN BALE – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

There’d been a lot of last-minute concern that The King’s Speech momentum might sink Christian Bale’s chances in this category even though he’d been the frontrunner for months in favor of Geoffrey Rush. Bale deserved this hands-down. “Bloody hell,” he exclaimed. Wow, what a room full or talented and inspirational people and what the hell am I doing here in the midst of you. It’s such an honor.” Don’t blame Bale for brown-nosing because he had a lot ground to make up lobbying for his award because Hollywood couldn’t stand him after he unloaded on that assistant director in the infamous audio made during the shooting of Terminator: Salvation. Meanwhile, can someone please tell me where he’s appearing in the dinner theater presentation of Fiddler On the Roof since clearly Tevya must be his next role or else why is he wearing that horrible orange beard?

OK, it’s been an hour and 15 minutes, and I want to put an end to this crapfest masquerading as an awards show. Why can’t anyone ever get this right?

By the way, did you know that Academy President Tom Sherak expected to break the news that ABC’s contract to broadcast the Oscars had been extended — but he couldn’t even get that right? High time for this incompetent to step down. You know that Deadline was banned from receiving its backstage press credential to cover the Oscars? All because we revealed a bunch of show spoilers that the Academy gave us. F.U.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SCORE): The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND MIXING: Inception (Warner Bros) – Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick

ACHIEVEMENT IN SOUND EDITING: Inception (Warner Bros) – Richard King

OK, so you’re a bigshot actor and the Academy’s show producers ask you to be a presenter, and you spend hours getting ready, and then you’re onstage at the Kodak for — what, 30 seconds? And say 3 words? And then you’re gone? And yet the Academy wonders why it has such trouble finding people willing to waste an entire weekend doing this? It’s a con. As is anyone who paid this year’s writing staff. WHAT WRITING? I’ve seen none. With all the incredibly funny scribes working in and around Hollywood, I don’t understand why the Oscars are devoid of humor year after year. This is how Bruce Vilanch described the pressure from his POV as head writer: “There’s no job quite like this in the world. You have to entertain this industry crowd, which is distinctly uncomfortable. You have to get dressed up nicer than you’ve ever been and do it early in the day. The lights are blazing down. It’s like 190 degrees. Everyone in the crowd has frayed nerves because their lives could change that night. And for every winner, there are 4 who don’t win. As the evening goes along, the audience fills with losers. Once that starts happening, they’re really not too happy to see the host/s come back out on stage. All you are is an obstacle between them and the rest of their lives.”

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN MAKEUP: The Wolfman (Universal) Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Like this wasn’t obvious? What, you’re going to give the Oscar to Barney’s Version for doing a comb-over on Paul Giamatti’s nonexistent hair? Te- time Oscar nominee and now seven-time winner Rick Baker has worked on 1981′s An American Werewolf In London in 1981 and a huge fan of the original 1941 Wolf Man. So he wanted to turn Benecio del Toro into an amped-up homage to Jack Pierce’s work on Lon Chaney Jr. 

ACHIEVEMENT IN COSTUME DESIGN: Alice in Wonderland (Walt Disney) – Colleen Atwood

Another no-brainer. Though the costumer who had to work with head-case Julie Taymor on The Tempest probably deserves a medal. Back to Colleen Atwood, she’d won two previous Oscars for Chicago and Memoirs of a Geisha and been nominated six times. She made Bozo The Mad Hatter and a teacky trailer park Queen. For Johnny Depp’s hat, she found some laser cut leather in Italy that looked like it had been burned. Then she re-embroidered with gold thread. She also designed a bow tie that Depp could operate himself to convey a mood change. Although they’re not visible, she etched subversive sayings on the Hatter’s  shoes. ”It makes me laugh and it’s part of character building,” she told Deadline.

Uh-oh. President Obama just came onscreen. Hear that loud click? Because half the television sets in America just turned off. How dopey can the Academy be? Astoundingly.

NO, GOD NO, DON’T LET KEVIN SPACEY SING. Didn’t anyone putting on this show have to sit through the excruciatingly bad Bobby Darin biopic Beyond The Sea.

What a suckfest show this is turning out be. Seriously, no one could objectively say this isn’t torturous. Now comes the boring part of the Oscars when you go get something more to eat rather than listen to do-gooders talk about immigrant children, or starvation, or the Holocaust. Hollywood only wants to hear about those problems in the abstract, trust me. Unless it’s a buddy comedy.

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT: Strangers No More – A Simon & Goodman Picture Company Production Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM: God Of Love – A Luke Matheny Production – Luke Matheny

This guy has the night’s Best Hair, hands down.

So Anne Hathaway had something like 5 wardrobe changes so far, and she does the shimmy and thinks that’ll amuse us. At this point, the only thing that’ll amuse me after 2 hours of this tedium is if there’s a public hanging onstage of the show’s producers.

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Representational Pictures Production Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs

Oh, Thank God: It’s Billy Crystal. “Where was I?” I’m running late because people keep phoning me and IM’ing me to say what a borefest this is. ”You know there’s a problem when Bob Hope has the best lines,” one top Hollywood PRman emails. Until Billy showed up, being six feet under sounded like bliss to me. Just watching Crystal, you see a natural showman just like Hope who fills up the stage. This is why not every actor can host the Academy Awards, and after tonight, never Anne Hathaway or James Franco again. They just don’t have the chops.

I’ll give Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law (Sherlock co-stars) at least a B+ for effort for even trying to be witty. At least it was an attempt.

ACHIEVEMENT IN VISUAL EFFECTS: Inception (Warner Bros) – Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb

The Directors Branch may have rejected Chris Nolan, but the membership at large is embracing him with all these technical awards.

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN FILM EDITING: The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

How incredibly inauthentic to have Gwyneth Paltrow, who was raised and schooled in the poshest part of NYC, affect a Nashville twang and belt out a country song. Hollywood, you can’t fool all the people all the time — which is why Country Strong tanked at the box office.

ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC WRITTEN FOR MOTION PICTURES (ORIGINAL SONG): “We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) – Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

If Alan Menken had won for the Tangled ditty, he would have become the most honored composer in Oscar history. As it is, Randy Newman has been nommed 20 times for, basically and famously, continuing to sing off key.

From Kevin Spacey to Gwyneth Paltrow to Celine Dion. MY EARS! MY EARS! They don’t make them like Lena Horne anymore, unfortunately.

So who did the Academy forget in their In Memoriam this year (since they always do)? Tell me…

Do Deadline was spot on with every spoiler it printed about the Oscars. But I’m bummed that Billy Crystal’s segment was so brief. Who isn’t jonesing for a 15-minute standup by him? But nooooooooooooooooooooooo.

So why is Hilary Swank introducing Kathryn Bigelow who’s presenting Best Director? Because the Academy told me that Bigelow refused to say the lines that had been written for her.

BEST DIRECTOR: TOM HOOPER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co.)

This is the only surprise winner so far. Seriously. Everyone explained away HBO’s John Adams miniseries director Tom Hooper’s win at the Directors Guild because of the overwhelming TV membership of that union. The thinking was that, with this movie bunch, The Social Network‘s David Fincher would win in a split decision with Best Picture. But Fincher has been and apparently still is wildly unpopular in Hollywood because of his unmitigated arrogance which people who like him describe as iconoclasm. Someone at Paramount once told me a hilarious anecdote about how David refused to bow down to Oprah just to have her publicize his movie Benjamin Buttons. And everybody was saying to him, ‘But this is so important. You don’t understand,’ and he’s like ‘I don’t give a damn about Oprah’. On that I totally agree with him. But that’s what causes you to lose Oscars because this is first and foremost a popularity contest, folks. Hey, wait a minute, Hooper failed to thank Harvey Weinstein! That guy raging in his seat at the Kodak right now is none other than Harv blaming Scott Rudin for this humiliating oversight.

Speaking of Scott Rudin, he’s a big baby for intending not to show up tonight. Clearly, he’s abandoned The New And Improved Scott Rudin trying to erase his image as the ashtray-throwing abuser and replace it with that of the kindness-embracer. Because he knows full well that the Academy members don’t vote for people they don’t like. It’s one thing to lobby (or pay off) the Hollywood Foreign Press for a win. It’s quite another to swing Academy members. Rudin’s longtime nemesis Harvey, too, kept trying for a niceness makeover in support of his Best Picture Oscar contender The King’s Speech. The last six weeks were ones for the record books as this comedy of manners played out like farce. And insiders told me that Rudin was so dispirited that one-time frontrunner The Social Network lost its mojo, that he couldn’t bring himself to sit in the Kodak Theatre and watch Weinstein’s movie take the ultimate prize.

Yikes, I find these fawning over actress segments just so embarrassing for Hollywood. Normal people wouldn’t even gush like this over someone curing cancer. But Hollywood is so tone deaf when it comes to their constant self-congratulating. What a time-waster this segment is going on and on and on. UGH.

BEST ACTRESS: NATALIE PORTMAN – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)

No surprise here. Although many thought (or was it hoped) that 3-time nominee Annette Bening would stage a last-minute surge and snag Best Actress. Nope. Natalie gives a nice shout-out to her agent, CAA’s Kevin Huvane but otherwise it’s a very unmemorable acceptance speech.

Double yikes, still more fawning only this time it’s over actors. the show has dragged on now for 3 effin’ hours. At least Sandy is injecting some humor into the cringe-worthy lines she has to read. (Impromptu? Or did she force the writers to give her better material?)

BEST ACTOR: COLIN FIRTH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

Deadpans Colin Firth: “I have a feeling my career just peaked. I’m afraid to have to warn you I’m experiencing stirrings in the upper abdominals threatening to form themselves into dance moves. Joyous as they may be to me it will be extremely problematic if they make it to my legs before I get offstage.” Wry. And faithful Firth, who’s done 10 films in 20 years with Weinstein, thanks Harvey “for taking me on when I was a mere child sensation.” Firth had been a shoo-in for this category since Day One of awards season.

BEST MOTION PICTURE: THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co) A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers

So strange that The King’s Speech was used to introduce all 10 Best Picture nominees after its win was a forgone conclusion. Which it was.  This is going to be a controversial move discussed for days, this having the winning film playing under the other nominated pics. What a stupid move. Hmm, I don’t see Harvey Weinstein onstage — and trust me, everyone would notice, even though the stage doesn’t look big enough for all those slim British bodies. Then again, this is very much a UK film through and through. (See Deadline’s Profile: UK Financier Of ‘The King’s Speech’) While in America, The Weinstein Co has received most of the PR bonanza for backing this year’s Oscar-winner, it’s really a British film financing company aptly named Prescience that first recognized the film’s potential.

With an office in Beaconsfield, a quaint market town 20 miles outside of London, Prescience only set up in business 5 years ago — which underscores how far this boutique film financier has come. Prescience has backed 25 films to date with a total production value of $400 million. It’s run by managing director Tim Smith and his co-director Paul Brett who’ve both worked in the movie industry for more than 20 years at British outposts of Hollywood studios. Smith used to work for Fox, while Brett has worked for Miramax, Pathé and Paramount. Both come from a marketing background. The Weinstein Company and Prescience were the first financiers in after UK distributor Momentum. Iain Canning, co-producer of The King’s Speech, had decided to keep the project independent, turning down an offer from Fox Searchlight to fully fund the movie. Instead, The Weinstein Company took North American rights plus a clutch of several other territories including France and Germany. Prescience’s job was to fund the production, lending against pre-sales, tax money, and territories which sales agent FilmNation had yet to sell. The UK Film Council and UK post-production company Molinare rounded out the $12 million budget with some equity. But as co-producer Gareth Unwin told Deadline: “Prescience were a key element of our finance plan. Without their commitment, the film would not have happened.”

So, what was it about The King’s Speech that made Prescience want to get on board a period English drama instead of the 300 to 400 other screenplays a year that comes in? “It was easily the best script I’ve ever read,” says Brett. Yes, the reason is that simple.

Well, the awards are over and Deadline’s many scoops were all dead-on accurate. Cue the finale: the 5th grade student choir from New York City/Staten Island School PS 22 closing the show by singing “Over the Rainbow” from The Wizard Of Oz … A lovely end to the worst snorecast ever. Emails are pouring into me now saying the same thing. So I’m not the only one dissing the Academy tonight.

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James Franco Closing Disney Deal For ‘Oz: The Great And Powerful’

Mike Fleming

While James Franco and Anne Hathaway have been busy pulling it together to host Sunday’s Oscarcast, Franco’s CAA reps and Disney have closed his deal to play the title role in Oz: The Great and Powerful. That puts the film on track to begin production in July, with Franco reuniting with his Spider-Man director Sam Raimi in the prequel to the L. Frank Baum novel that was scripted by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire. Joe Roth is producing.

There had been much discussion around town lately about Disney’s gyrations in trying to pare the budget of the film down to a mere $200 million, but they must have figured it out if they locked in Franco. For Franco, the multi-tasking marvel’s dance card for 2011 now looks like this: he’ll first star in the Noah Baumbach-directed While We’re Young, and then will shoot Oz. That brings him to the late fall/winter, when he’ll star in Sweet Bird of Youth, the David Cromer-directed revival of the Tennessee Williams play that will be produced by Scott Rudin. Kidman will play Alexandra Del Lago, the aging voracious movie star, while Franco will play her gigolo paramour Chance Wayne. While Franco has starred in eclectic indies and is even a recurring soap opera star, he has event film experience from the Spider-Man films with Raimi, and stars this fall in Fox’s Planet of the Apes prequel Rise of the Apes. Still, this is a … Read More »

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OSCAR OUTTAKES: Hosts James Franco & Anne Hathaway Rehearse ‘Grease’

This was just leaked on James Franco’s Twitter feed. Deadline has learned this is an outtake from Sunday’s Oscar show:

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In Other Deals: French Paper Taps Marion Cotillard For Batflick; Javier Bardem Wins Goya; Broadway Spider-Man Gets SNL Parody, More Bad Press

Mike Fleming

French newspaper Le Figaro reported Marion Cotillard is set for Chris Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. We’ll get some clarity today, but the move makes sense given that most everyone in that cast but Anne Hathaway (Catwoman) worked with Nolan on a previous film, including Christian Bale (The Prestige), and Cotillard’s Inception cohorts Tom Hardy and Joseph Gordon-Levitt…

While industry attention on the weekend was mostly on the BAFTA wins by Colin Firth and The King’s Speech, Javier Bardem won Best Actor for his Biutiful performance at the Goya Awards, Spain’s version of the Oscars. The King’s Speech won Best European Film but the big winner was Agusti Villaronga’s Black Bread, which won Best Picture and eight other awards. Bardem seems like a dark horse in this race, but it sure does seem like it’s Firth’s year…

Magnolia Pictures acquired North American rights to Headhunters, the Morten Tyldum-directed adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s novel. Magnolia is likening it to another The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. That is easy hype because of the geographical proximity to Sweden. But nobody in the movie business cared much about fiction that came from this region until Larsson, and it’s possible nobody will care about any of the work written by anyone but Larsson…

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