Last night’s Saturday Night Live season finale with host Ben Affleck and musical guest Kanye West drew a 4.7/12 in metered-market households and a 2.7/13 among adults 18-49 in the 25 markets with Local People Meters. That was flat in 18-49 vs. last year’s season finale with host/musical guest Mick Jagger and down 10% in total viewers (5.2/13). The show, which marked Bill Hader’s departure, also was in line with SNL‘s delivery this season with any host but Justin Timberlake, including Kristen Wiig (4.6, 2.7), Vince Vaughn (4.6, 2.8), Melissa McCarthy (4.8, 2.7) and Kevin Hart (4.8/12, 2.8/13). Timberlake’s fifth turn as host remains the season’s high mark with 5.9/15 and 3.7/18.
The blogosphere is going wild as Marvel chief Kevin Feige does interviews for Iron Man 3 and acknowledges that Daredevil has returned to the Marvel fold at Disney. We told you this was going to happen last August, when …
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros has just closed a high six-figure against seven-figure deal for screen rights to Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution, a book by Nathaniel Philbrick that will be published April 30 by Viking. The project was acquired for Pearl Street Films as a potential directing vehicle for Argo helmer Ben Affleck, who partners in the company with Matt Damon. Word is that Affleck (who is busy adapting the Dennis Lehane novel Live By Night to direct, star in and produce) will turn the book over to his Argo scribe Chris Terrio, making this a major project.
Philbrick is the author of Mayflower and the National Book Award-winning In The Heart Of The Sea, the real story beyond the white whale that informed Moby Dick, and the struggle of the whalers to survive after the giant whale split their ship in half. That book has long been at Warner Bros and looks like it is finally getting made later this year with Ron Howard directing and Thor’s Chris Hemsworth starring.
Resolution’s Rich Green brokered the movie deal for Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, and Pearl Street president Jennifer Todd moving aggressively to bring the book into the fold, with Sarah Schechter overseeing for the studio.
Affleck, who until Argo had directed movies in the Boston backdrop where he grew up, is going home again as Bunker Hill is hailed as the battle that lit the fuse for the American Revolution in 1775.
UPDATE, 3:51 AM: It turns out that French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, wife and defender of Carlos the Jackal, is not only angling to sue Hollywood over Ben Affleck‘s Oscar-winning Argo, she’s attempting to mount a case against a series of U.S. films that Iran believes have portrayed it in a distorted and unrealistic manner. Coutant-Peyre, according to local media, is looking to bring suit in international court against directors and producers who local officials believe have promoted “Iranophobia,” The Guardian reports today. The attorney is quoted by the semi-official ISNA news agency as saying, “I’ll be defending Iran against films that have been made by Hollywood to distort the country’s image, such as Argo.” Other films that have gotten under the skin of Iranians are understood to include 2006′s 300, 1991′s Sally Field-starrer Not Without My Daughter, and Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar-nominated The Wrestler. An attendee at Monday night’s “Hoax Of Hollywood” conference in Tehran, Mohammad Lesani, is reported to have said the gathering was intended to “unify all cultural communities in Iran against the attacks of the West, particularly Hollywood.” The real possibility of a lawsuit is thought dubious, but if brought, it would not be in the U.S., New York defense attorney Stuart Slotnick tells Deadline. “Perhaps those in power in Iran will decide to bring a lawsuit in another country where the movie received distribution”, he said. Iran and the U.S. severed diplomatic ties after the 1979 hostage crisis which is the focal point of Argo. Warner Bros. had no comment on the matter.
Even as tonight’s Governor’s Ball was winding down, Ben Affleck was still off in a corner of the room celebrating his Argo‘s most unlikely Best Picture victory in becoming only the second film in 80 years to win the top prize without even a nomination for its director. Affleck’s roller coaster ride has been remarkable this season and as he told me earlier this weekend, and tonight after the Best Pic triumph, it has been filled with hills and valleys, but it all came together at the Dolby Theatre when First Lady Michelle Obama (from the White House) opened the envelope and announced his film as the winner.
Related: Nikki Finke’s Oscar Live-Snark
When he was left off the list of Directing nominees on January 10th he said he was really depressed, but that same night he won the Critics Choice Movie Award as Director and Best Picture, then the Golden Globe three days later, then the PGA, SAG, DGA, WGA and BAFTA honors to name a few. Suddenly Argo was the one to beat and it never wavered. Affleck’s emotional acceptance was heartfelt and perfectly described the personal journey of this actor turned first-rate director. And his acknowledgement of Steven Spielberg from the stage was a nice touch. He won, with Matt Damon, for Best Original Screenplay in 1997 for Good Will Hunting, but this was different as Affleck told me and he was going to savor this moment as long as he could before moving on into the night. It was the same for Argo’s winning screenwriter Chris Terrio who also was hanging late at the Govs Ball even though he had to catch a flight back to his New York home where he is currently writing a new script based on the Greengrass story. As he was just exiting the Ball at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom, he told me someone gave him advice that he should just try to enjoy this moment first. He seemed to have a hard time soaking it in, but he was going to give it at least this one night before getting back to work.
Argo, after vitually a clean sweep of awards season since the directing snub (which in retrospect could not have hurt), won a respectable three Oscars (also for Editing and Adapted Screenplay), tying Les Misérables for that number of Oscars. But the big winner of the night (if you can call it that) was 20th’s risky box office success Life Of Pi which nabbed four statuettes including a biggie, Best Director for Ang Lee. Had Affleck been nominated, he likely would have won since Best Picture and Director usually go hand in hand, but for whatever reason in a year with an embarrassment of riches it somehow seems totally appropiate that there was a split and Lee was given this award. If anything, Life Of Pi was a directorial achievement like no other and this Oscar was acknowledgement of that. In fact, right after Affleck was snubbed, I predicted Lee would take it, and in the last couple of weeks it was apparent a tide was building for him among Academy voters. It became one of the easiest calls of the night despite the fact that many pundits were calling it for Lincoln‘s Steven Spielberg. At the Govs Ball, Lee, who has won two previous Oscars (for Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Director for Brokeback Mountain), told me this one means as much or probably more because of the extreme challenges Pi provided. He was clearly thrilled with it and I told him he becomes the first director since George Stevens in the 50s with A Place In The Sun (1951) and Giant (1956) to win two Best Director Oscars for two films that did not win Best Picture, a rare occurence.
BREAKING: Ben Affleck, Jessica Chastain and Jennifer Lawrence all hope they will take the Oscars stage at some point to accept a golden trophy and thank their agents and everybody else they know. But we’re now guaranteed to see them onstage. The trio has joined the lengthy list of Oscar presenters, the Academy has announced. With so much star power milling around backstage, will it blunt host Seth MacFarlane’s ability to make fun of them as he does on Family Guy? It’s so much easier when they are not in proximity to punch you or at least give you the fish eye.
Chastain, who is nominated for her lead performance in the Best Picture nominee “Zero Dark Thirty,” received her first nomination last year for her supporting role in the Best Picture nominee “The Help.”
Lawrence, who received her first nomination in 2010 for her leading role in “Winter’s Bone,” is nominated for her lead performance in the Best Picture nominee “Silver Linings Playbook.”
By all coventional signals, Warner Bros is sitting with a hot hand right now with Argo.
Others include writer-directors Ira Sachs (Keep The Lights On), Julia Loktev (The Loneliest Planet) and Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight). The 12th annual Film Independent Directors Close-Up series will be held on five consecutive Wednesdays beginning February 6 at the Landmark West Los Angeles. Panelists will discuss specific aspects of directing, including sound, writing, cinematography, casting and eliciting compelling performances from actors. Click over for this year’s schedule and topics:
Golden Globes Movies: Winning Films Enjoy The Taste Of Victory, But Does It Really Help Oscar Chances?
If anyone thought the Golden Globes results were going to add any clarity to the topsy-turvy atmosphere that has so far characterized this year’s Oscar race, forget it. In a week that has offered crushing disappointment and major highs …
Critics’ Choice Movie Awards: ‘Argo’ Best Picture, Director; Daniel Day-Lewis, Jessica Chastain Take Acting Honors
Ben Affleck got some consolation tonight when his Argo was named Best Picture and he was honored as Best Director at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Affleck, who was overlooked in the director category at today’s Oscar Nominations, took things in stride tonight as he picked up his award for Argo: “I would like to thank the Academy. I’m kidding, this is the award that really counts”.
The Critics’ Choice Movie Awards took place at the Barker Hangar at Santa Monica Airport. This morning Lincoln dominated Oscar nominations with 12, and Steven Spielberg’s historic film portrait also dominated the broadcast critics contenders with 13. The CW is broadcasting the event from 8 PM to 10 PM Eastern time, tape delayed for the West Coast.
Daniel Day-Lewis, accepting his award for Best Actor, said that Lincoln was “One of the great unforeseen privileges of my life. Each and every day was filled with discovery and the joy of discovery.” Jessica Chastain was voted Best Actress for her work as a driven CIA analyst for Zero Dark Thirty. Jennifer Lawrence nabbed two prizes, one for Best Actress in an Action Movie for The Hunger Games and the other for Best Actress in a Comedy for Silver Linings Playbook.
A complete list of winners follows: