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‘For Colored Girls’, Denzel, Halle, & Tyler Perry Win At NAACP Image Awards

Tyler Perry won bigtime in the movie and TV categories, while Prince was a surprise guest to give Halle Berry the Best Actress award for Frankie & Alice as the 42nd NAACP Image Awards were announced tonight during the live broadcast from LA’s Shrine Auditorium on Fox. The special was hosted by Holly Robinson Peete and Wayne Brady while performers and Presenters included Halle Berry, LL Cool J, Affion Crockett, Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington and Vanessa Williams, Angela Bassett, NAACP Chairwoman Roslyn M. Brock, actress Loretta Devine, singer Jason Derülo, actress/singer Kat Graham, actor Dulé Hill, actor Anthony Mackie, Judge Greg Mathis, actresses Tia and Tamera Mowry, actress Sandra Oh, comedian Russell Peters and actress Anika Noni Rose. The special celebrated the accomplishments of people of color working in the fields of literature, music, television and film. Special honors included the Chairman’s Award recipient Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin and President’s Award recipient General Colin L. Powell.

Winners

Outstanding Motion Picture
“For Colored Girls” (Lionsgate/34th Street Films)

Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Denzel Washington – “The Book of Eli” (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture
Halle Berry – “Frankie & Alice” (Freestyle Releasing)

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Samuel L. Jackson – “Mother and Child” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
Kimberly Elise – “For Colored Girls” (Lionsgate/34th Street Films)

Outstanding Independent Motion Picture
“Frankie & Alice” (Freestyle Releasing)

Outstanding Foreign Motion Picture
“Biutiful” (Roadside Attractions)

Outstanding Documentary (Theatrical or Television)
“For Love of Liberty: The Story of America’s … Read More »

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Hammond At The Oscars & Governors Ball

Pete Hammond

Before I focus on last night’s 83rd Academy Award winners, let me describe my conversations with the “losers”, only some of whom seemed to take the news in stride. Clearly, The Social Network filmmakers were licking their wounds. To the point that hands-on producer Scott Rudin didn’t even make the trip west for the awards. Clearly, they think they were robbed. In fact, as I traversed the Grand Ballroom of the Governor’s Ball, I kept hearing that precise phrase — “You were robbed” — said a few times to everyone involved. Executive Producer Kevin Spacey told me with bitterness, “Yes, I am very disappointed  about Best Picture. But I am just stunned that David Fincher didn’t win, just absolutely stunned. This just proves it is all about campaigning and nothing else. It’s just a popularity contest.” He used some other language, too, that could give Melissa Leo a run for her money. Sony Pictures chairman Amy Pascal, who really invested herself in Oscar season this year, hugged Best Picture presenter Steven Spielberg and thanked him profusely for the consoling words he said before announcing The King’s Speech as the winner. (“If you are one of the other nine movies that don’t win, you will be in the company of The Grapes of Wrath, Citizen Kane, The Graduate, and Raging Bull”, Spielberg reminded everyone.) To add insult to injury, Social Network producer Dana Brunetti told me that the Governors Ball … Read More »

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OSCAR: Javier Bardem Q&A

Pete Hammond

Javier Bardem’s first acting job was at the age of six, but his career has heated up since the mid-1980s not only in a number of notable films in his native Spain for such directors as Pedro Almodovar but now as a full-fledged international star. Nominated twice for Oscars, first in 2000 for Before Night Falls and then winning Best Supporting Actor in 2007 for No Country For Old Men, Bardem has an impressive list of credits including The Sea Inside, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and earlier this year in Eat Pray Love. But his most challenging role to date is as a man whose life is in freefall in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s Biutiful and now has earned him Best Actor nominations for Spain’s Goya, England’s BAFTA, and his third nod for an Oscar. It returns him to Spanish languageIt returns him to Spanish language filmmaking and won him Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. Although the film’s uncompromisingly depressing subject matter scared off potential distributors at first, Roadside Attractions eventually picked up the movie for the U.S. market and released it on January 29:

DEADLINE: This is the first time you worked with Alejandro and it is a challenging role in every way imaginable. What was it that made you want to get involved?
JAVIER BARDEM: First of all, I am a very huge fan of his prior films. But I read it like three times in a row before I said yes. … Read More »

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OSCAR: Today’s Nominations By Picture

83RD AWARDS
Feature Films With 2 Or More Nominations
(No Short Films or Documentary Short Subjects.)

The King’s Speech – The Weinstein Company 12
True Grit – Paramount 10
Inception - Warner Bros 8
The Social Network - Sony Pictures Releasing 8
The Fighter – Paramount 7
127 Hours - Fox Searchlight 6
Black Swan – Fox Searchlight 5
Toy Story 3 – Walt Disney 5
The Kids Are All Right – Focus Features 4
Winter’s Bone – Roadside Attractions 4
Alice in Wonderland – Walt Disney 3
Biutiful – Roadside Attractions 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Warner Bros 2
How to Train Your Dragon – Paramount 2

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OSCAR: Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu Q&A On ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

After Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s electric feature directing debut Amores Perros, the Mexico-born filmmaker became the toast of a specialty film circuit dominated by studios willing to overspend for prestige and Oscars. Top actors lined up to work with Inarritu in 21 Grams and Babel, the latter a picture that personified the excess that would haunt the prestige film business. Paramount paid $25 million to license the U.S. and a handful of other territories and the film was wildly profitable for its makers before Inarritu shot a frame, I’m told. Those days are long gone. Studios fled the prestige game, and survivors are cautious, especially when subtitles are involved. How else to explain why it took four months to get U.S. distribution after a Cannes debut of Biutiful that won Best Actor for Javier Bardem?

Bardem plays a street hustler in Spain who deals in undocumented African street peddlers and Chinese sweat shop workers. Dying of a terminal disease, he can’t face leaving his children to the mean streets, especially since their bipolar mother is too unreliable to care for them. The film is bleak, but behind the darkness, there is light and redemption. Will Oscar voters bother to look? So far, Bardem and Inarritu have been ignored in the critics’ awards, except in the Foreign Film category. Who better to dissect the condition of foreign language films than Inarritu, who worries about the current climate where wary distributors rely on festival … Read More »

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Filmmakers Rally Behind Inarritu’s ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

This Sunday, director Werner Herzog will conduct a Q&A with Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu after a screening at the Directors Guild headquarters on Sunset Blvd at 7:30 PM. Herzog rarely does such things, but was moved  to take part in the DGA members-only-event after seeing the film last month. ”I respect Werner and his films so much, because he takes risks and doesn’t compromise,” Inarritu told me. “This was a surprise and an honor, and it helps in the battle to get this film noticed.” Directors are now rallying behind the prestige film and helping it build slow momentum. Biutiful is Mexico’s submission for Best Foreign Language film, and the picture opened its all-categories Oscar campaign with an event last Saturday, hosted by Guillermo del Toro for Inarritu and his below-the-line collaborators Rodrigo Prieto, Gustavo Santaolalla, and Stephen Mirrione. Julian Schnabel showed his support at a Soho House screening in New York last Tuesday, and Robert Benton quizzed the director at DGA headquarters in New York the following day. Among the upcoming events will be a big screening in December that will be followed by a Q&A with Inarritu and Bardem, who’ll be grilled by Sean Penn. Read More »

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OSCAR: Red Carpets Rolling Out For Contenders In Ultra-Crowded Season

Pete Hammond

The pace of the 2010 awards season seems at this early November juncture to be faster than any I can remember. (I feel like the title of the late and great Jill Clayburgh’s star turn, I’m Dancing As Fast As I Can.) Hopefuls are getting out there earlier, and more forcefully, in order to gain a foothold in the race any way they can. Examples from just two days’ worth of campaigning: Michelle Williams called me from the London set of My Week With Marilyn. Yes, she’s playing the iconic Monroe but couldn’t yet articulate what that means to her and instead wanted to talk about her awards contender, Blue Valentine. So we did before I had to run off to the Four Seasons Hotel to chat with Robert Duvall about his contender, Get Low. It was a summer release he’s now trying to keep in the conversation by doing an exhaustive series of interviews and Q&A sessions. For a guy who is about to turn 80, he could not have been more energized even with the daunting prospect of facing months of the “season” still to go. Javier Bardem called on his cell from a street corner in Madrid to recount for me the intense experience of making Biutiful. Then I had to again race to the Four Seasons for back to back bar chats with two other Best Actor wannabes, Kevin Spacey who talked Casino Jack before Aaron Eckhart arrived 10 minutes later to discuss Rabbit Hole.

With the exception of Get Low, all of the above were spotlighting work in independently made movies that are mid to late December releases. But their stars cannot afford to wait if they are to get on the map in this ultra-crowded season. The ever-busy Spacey was at the Britannias and an MPTVF event  on Thursday night and also turned up Sunday evening at the Pacific Design Center for an actor-centric post-screening Q&A for SAG nominating committee members. Like an episode of Inside The Actors Studio, the packed house gave him a standing ovation. Reliable eyewitness sources tell me  even more impressive standing O happened to Halle Berry two nights in a row at the same place where she Q&A’d her December stealth entry, Frankie & Alice for the NAACP Image Award voters Friday and SAG Nom Comm Saturday. They marked her indie’s first screenings but Berry wasn’t watching. She was out in the lobby doing TV interviews about what the project meant to her as an actress. Meanwhile publicists were frantically cutting film clips for the late-breaking entrant and hoping to have their DVD screeners out well before Thanksgiving. As part of her campaign,  Berry will also be “in conversation” with a career retrospective Tuesday night at the AFI Fest.

Speaking of that, the AFI Film Festival opened with Twentieth Century Fox’s Love And Other Drugs. The glut of AFI galas is because it’s an inexpensive way for distribs to do LA premieres this time of year and still get maximum exposure. They included The Weinstein Co’s Blue Valentine with co-star Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance on the carpet  at the Chinese. While down the street at the Egyptian, Sony Pictures Classics unveiled their comedy Barney’s Version with superlative performances from stars Paul Giamatti, Minnie Driver, and Dustin and Jake Hoffman who were all on hand for the stroll down that red carpet. The film, based on the Mordecai Richler story and previously seen in Venice and Toronto, was a hit at AFI with special praise for absent co-star Rosamund Pike who could find her way into the supporting actress race. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

Roadside Attractions is out with the first trailer for Biutiful, the drama by Amores Perros helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. The film premiered at Cannes, where Javier Bardem won the Best Actor prize for his portrayal of a father facing his own mortality. The film opens December 29 in the U.S.

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‘Biutiful’ Gets Foothold In Oscar Race As Mexico’s Submission

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: While the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful already figured to be an Oscar contender for a performance by Javier Bardem that won Best Actor honors at Cannes, the picture is now a contender for Best Foreign Language film. Biutiful, which was picked up for distribution by Mickey Liddell and Roadside Attractions, has just been selected as Mexico’s official entry for the 2010 Academy Awards. The picture will be released December 29 in New York and Los Angeles to qualify for Oscars and will get a wider release early next year.

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TORONTO Q&A: Guillermo Del Toro About Producing ‘Julia’s Eyes’ And ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE FROM TORONTO: As co-writer of The Hobbit and director of a 3D adaptation of At the Mountains of Madness, Guillermo del Toro plays often in Hollywood’s big budget sandbox. But his heart still beats for foreign film indies. He has two at Toronto: the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful, and Julia’s Eyes. The latter is an old style fright film by newcomer Guillem Morales that’s looking for distribution and stars Belen Rueda as a woman losing her sight to a degenerative disease. As the world disappears, she’s sure there is someone in the shadows, stalking her every step. Who better than del Toro to dissect the state of foreign and specialty cinema, and the need for studios to take risks again? And watch how deft del Toro is when I ask him to confirm what my sources tell me: that he could have resurrected Superman but instead chose HP Lovecraft’s South Pole terror tale he’ll make with James Cameron.

Deadline  New York: What draws you to godfather these films, or Splice, The Orphanage or the others you produce?

Del Toro: I’m the freaky version of that superhero who says, wherever there is injustice, I shall be there. Whenever there is a difficult project, I’d like to be there. Movies that look safe are less interesting. First or second time filmmakers, Alejandro making his  first solo movie [without Guillermo Arriaga], or Alfonso Cuaron’s brother Carlos’ first movie. Producing is gambling on a race … Read More »

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Inarritu’s ‘Biutiful’ Hits Toronto Festival: Director Calls It An “Act Of Resistance”

Pete Hammond

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and I both happened to be waiting for our luggage at LAX after arriving on the charter from the Telluride Film Festival Monday night. He turned to me and said he had been thinking about the interview we did the day before. His powerful  film, Biutiful, was playing all weekend at the fest and we had sat down to talk Sunday about the film, about the sad state of the movie industry, and about why it took so long for a U.S. distributor to pick it up after its Cannes premiere. He told me that because of this conversation, which he said was like “therapy”, he now thinks of Biutiful as an “act of resistance” against everything that is wrong with the movie industry today. The film dealing with a father’s descent into the abyss and journey towards redemption won Best Actor for star Javier Bardem. and now continues on the fest circuit with its official North American premiere tonight in Toronto. Only recently did it finally score a U.S. distribution deal (after several rejections) with Roadside Attractions and will open just in the nick of time for Oscar consideration on December 29th. Some American press in particular have complained that the film was too dark and depressing to find an audience. Others have raved.

Whatever the reaction, Inarritu thinks the festival and awards circuit is crucial for Biutiful’s ultimate success. “For this film literally it’s a matter of life or death,” he said  pointing to the lack of choices he had in even getting the film released this year. “There are very few independent distributors. Very few. It’s getting tough. This film is very fragile, it’s very delicate. One wrong message when we are competing with such big films and… I’m talking about the fact that it was this close to the film not even being distributed at all. Thanks to Roadside, I think they were very brave. The entire world was sold immediately but not the U.S. That was very shocking. Normally it was the U.S. leading the way and the other ones were the followers. Now you open it everywhere and then the U.S. watches what happens. This country is importing fewer foreign films or films that are interested in our society.”

Although it will be eligible in all categories for Oscar, the director is hoping it will also be the official foreign language film nominee from Mexico, even though it was shot in Spain. Read More »

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Telluride Sets Fest Film Program

Mike Fleming

While Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance, Venice and Cannes sets film schedules well in advance, Telluride always springs its fest lineup at the last moment. Here it is:

37th TELLURIDE FILM FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2010 FESTIVAL LINEUP

Telluride, CO – Telluride Film Festival (September 3-6, 2010), presented by the National Film Preserve is proud to announce its 2010 Festival program. Twenty-four new feature films presented by their creators in the Festival’s main program; six programs curated by 2010 Festival Guest Director Michael Ondaatje; twenty-five new short films; plus thirteen documentaries screening in the Backlot program. Celebrating works from over twenty countries, Telluride Film Festival opens Friday, September 3 and runs through Monday, September 6, 2010.

THE ‘SHOW’

37th Telluride Film Festival is pleased to present the following new feature films to play in the ‘SHOW’:

· A LETTER TO ELIA (d. Martin Scorsese and Kent Jones, U.S., 2010)

· ANOTHER YEAR (d. Mike Leigh, U.K., 2010)

· BIUTIFUL (d. Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mexico, 2010)

· CARLOS (d. Olivier Assayas, France, 2010)

· CHICO AND RITA (d. Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal Spain-Cuba, 2010)

· THE FIRST GRADER (d. Justin Chadwick, U.K., 2010)

· THE FIRST MOVIE (d. Mark Cousins, U.K., 2009)

· HAPPY PEOPLE: A YEAR IN THE TAIGA (d. Dmitry Vasyukov with Werner Herzog, Germany, 2010)

·

Read More »

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Jim Carrey Film ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ Finds Buyer And Gets December 3 Release

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment have acquired U.S. and Canadian rights to I Love You Phillip Morris. Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, the fact based film stars Jim Carrey as a married conman who falls in love with his cellmate—Ewan McGregor—and commits all kinds of crazy misdeeds like breaking out of Texas prisons four times, to be with his lover. Roadside Attractions has set a December 3 release date.

The deal closely follows an announcement by Roadside Attractions and Liddell that they completed an acquisition of the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful, which confirmed a story Deadline broke on August 10. Biutiful will also be released in December.

The deal ends a prolonged odyssey for I Love You Phillip Morris to find its way to movie screens here. Financed by Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, the film premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and opened on schedule internationally, grossing around $17 million. Besson’s hopes to see the film get a simultaneous domestic release turned into a nightmare. The film’s original distributor, Consolidated Pictures Group, missed the original February 12 release date, and two other slots–March 26 and April 30–were also scratched.

While the upstart company made a Canadian distribution deal with Alliance and floated in the press a plan to platform the film July 30 and release it wide on August 6, Besson and producers Andrew Lazar and Far Shariat … Read More »

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Roadside Attractions And Liddell Entertainment Acquire ‘Biutiful’

Mike Fleming

What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh, yeah. Tojdja! Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment just announced they’ve acquired U.S. rights to the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Biutiful, which won a Best Actor Award for Javier Bardem at Cannes. Roadside Attractions co-president Howard Cohen and Liddell Entertainment’s Mickey Liddell teamed on the deal and CAA repped the picture.

Deadline broke the news on August 10. The film will be released in December.

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Roadside Attractions Near ‘Biutiful’ Deal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A domestic distribution deal is finally near for Biutiful, the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu-directed Spanish language drama that fell into radio silence after premiering in competition at the Cannes Film Festival and winning Best Actor for Javier Bardem. I’m told that a complicated deal is being ironed  that will see the film acquired by producer Mickey Liddell and get its domestic release through Roadside Attractions.

CAA, which is repping domestic rights on the film, is working out details that include a P&A commitment. The agency declined comment. There is pressure to get the film’s distribution plans ready. Biutiful kicks off its awards season push with a berth at the Toronto International Film Festival next month.

The deal will give Roadside Attractions two films worth talking about in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories. The former is for Bardem, the latter for Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone, the gritty drama that Roadside Attractions acquired at Sundance.

In Biutiful, Bardem plays a family man in Barcelona whose tender relationship with his children is offset by his unsympathetic job. He’s a criminal who traffics in human suffering with businesses that range from drug dealing to slave labor sweatshops. Focus Features International has offshore territories. Gonzalez Inarritu wrote the script with Armando Bo and Nicolás Giacobone, and the director produced with Jon Kilik and Fernando Bovaira. David Linde is executive producer and Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo Del Toro are associate producers.

I expect the deal … Read More »

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