OSCAR: Awards Season Shifts Into Gear

Pete Hammond

If you had any doubt that Oscar season is upon us, the flurry of events and openings this week prove it. The AFI Film Fest  opened last night at Mann’s Chinese with Ed Zwick’s Love And Other Drugs and continues all week with a slew of major contenders getting their official (and unofficial) Los Angeles premieres, including Rabbit Hole, Blue Valentine, Black Swan, Barney’s Version, Casino Jack, Made In Dagenham, and Friday night’s red carpet gala for The Weinstein Company’s The King’s Speech. And across town Thursday night at the Hyatt in Century City, Harvey Weinstein and The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper were hearing lots of praise from the Brits gathered for their black tie Brittania Awards, an annual show put on by BAFTA-LA this year honoring Jeff Bridges, Christopher Nolan, Ridley and Tony Scott, Michael Sheen, and Betty White. Receiving the Charlie Chaplin Britannia for Excellence in Comedy, she teased that she’d never slept with Chaplin, then added, “Well, maybe just once.” 

Hooper had appeared at a BAFTA screening of his film the night before which reportedly played like gangbusters with the understandably partial crowd. Weinstein told me he is “fighting” mad about the MPAA decisions to give his Blue Valentine an NC 17 and King’s Speech a PG 13, the latter for one expletive-laden speech in which Colin Firth’s King George VI tries to lose his stutter through a vocal exercise requiring him to recite a series of bad words. As far as the MPAA is concerned, one “fuck” gets you a PG-13 but two “fucks” get you an R. Harvey pledged to take on the MPAA, at least with Valentine, but has no plans to make cuts in either film. Hooper told me he even refused to put bleeps in the airline version. Speech producer Gareth Unwin, also at the Britannias, told me the version of the scene in the finished film is positively tame compared to a couple of other takes where the King’s language really got down and dirty. If they had known the scene was going to get them an R anyway, Unwin said they might have really gone for the jugular. (Bonus extras on the DVD?) 

Read More »

Comments (4)

R.I.P. George Hickenlooper

Mike Fleming

2ND UPDATE: I’m still trying to discover how George Hickenlooper passed away, but I’m told he had been in Colorado campaigning last night for his cousin, John, who is in the final stretch run of … Read More »

Comments 47

Hot Trailer: ‘Casino Jack’

Mike Fleming

Here’s a new and longer trailer for Casino Jack, the George Hickenlooper-directed drama about the rise and fall of lobbyist Jack Abramoff that’s being released December 29 by ATO Pictures to take advantage of a strong performance by Kevin Spacey. Nice to see Jon Lovitz back in a movie.

Comments 24

And In Other Film Deals…

By | Wednesday September 29, 2010 @ 8:26am PDT
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Kennedy/Marshall will try to turn the life of Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger into a feature film. They’ve optioned life rights of the pilot who landed his jumbo jet in the Hudson River after the engines stalled when the plane hit a flock of birds on takeoff. He saved … Read More »

Comments (0)

TORONTO: ATO Rolls Dice On ‘Casino Jack’

By | Thursday September 9, 2010 @ 7:36am PDT
Mike Fleming

Casino Jack, the drama that stars Kevin Spacey as disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, has a new home. ATO Pictures has acquired US theatrical rights to a film which was orphaned when its original distributor, Metropolitan, failed to meet its commitments … Read More »

Comments (18)

Jack Abramoff Pic ‘Casino Jack’ Being Shown To Distributors; Metropolitan Denies It Is Out

Mike Fleming

100106_CasinoJackMainEXCLUSIVE: Is Casino Jack ever going to see the light of day? The feature drama about the rise and fall of D.C. lobbyist Jack Abramoff certainly seems to have a lot going for it. Kevin Spacey in the starring role, cooperation … Read More »

Comments 34