The final eight films in Deadline’s Most Valuable Blockbuster movie tournament face off today. This is the first of our quarterfinal matchups and for the first time we reveal our numbers behind the numbers that show just …
2013 Most Valuable Blockbuster Tournament Tip-Off – #1 ‘Iron Man 3′ Vs. #16 ‘The Conjuring’; #8 ‘Gravity’ Vs. #9 ‘Man Of Steel’
Oscar crowned a Best Picture winner two weeks ago, but which 2013 film deserves to be called the profitability champ? This is hard to ascertain. We can reliably track box office grosses domestic and offshore, but …
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in, and Sony Pictures and New Regency are out of The Juliet, an adaptation of the Alfred Bester short story that was developed by Charles Roven’s Atlas Entertainment. The film has a script by Henry Bean that is being rewritten by Paul Haggis, and Snow White And The Huntsman helmer Rupert Sanders is attached to direct. At one point it looked like Sony would make it this spring. Atlas’s Roven and Alex Gartner are producing with Frank Beddor of Automatic Pictures.
It makes me wonder, what is going on in Hollywood? I have been around long enough that I actually broke the story of when Warner Bros, clashing with John Hughes over $2 million in budget, allowed Fox to grab Home Alone and turn the $18 million film into a $477 million worldwide gross blockbuster. After that, studios used to never let projects go for fear of being embarrassed, a possibility that was reinforced when Paramount inexplicably let the option lapse on the Twilight Saga, the billion-dollar franchise that built Summit Entertainment. Studios used to keep everything, or heap on overhead costs that made them prohibitively expensive, or attach first-dollar-gross obligations, like the 5 percent that Harvey Weinstein got on The Lord Of The Rings and is trying to enforce on The Hobbit.
‘Midnight Rider’ Victim Sarah Jones Memorialized At Camera Operators Awards; ‘Gravity’ And ‘Mad Men’ Land Wins
The Society of Camera Operators held an in memoriam tribute to assistant camerawoman Sarah Jones as part of its annual awards ceremony tonight at the Skirball Cultural Center. The tribute was the second to be held for the 27-year-old this weekend following Friday’s Sunset Boulevard candlelight walk and vigil in her honor, which counted nearly 1,000 local union members. Attending both events were Jones’ parents Richard and Elizabeth from South Carolina. Jones was killed in an on-set train accident during the production of the Gregg Allman biopic Midnight Rider on February 20 in Jesup, GA. Jones’ death has spurred an industrywide outcry for improved safety standards.
As part of the ceremony, her parents were presented with a plaque accepting her as an honorary member of the SOC. Former SOC president Dan Kneece, who cut together the moving tribute video of Jones as the Hall & Oates song “Sara Smile” played, said he was crying as he put together the presentation. Although he didn’t know Jones personally, he was friends with her on Facebook because of a mutual friend, Amanda Etheridge, who spoke at Friday night’s memorial about her friend and mentor. The tribute was part of the SOC’s annual awards ceremony tonight in which Gravity‘s Peter Taylor won the Camera Operator of the Year-Feature Film award and Mad Men‘s Don Devine the Camera Operator of the Year-TV award. The event took place before an audience of 500, including Society of Camera Operators and International Cinematographer Guild members. (See the full list of winners an honorees below.)
After months of speculation, maneuvering, campaigning, champagning, Q&Aing and ever so much more, the 2013-14 awards season is done, done, done, and in this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom wrap up the winners and notable moments from this years Academy Awards ceremony. They’ll look at which studios (hint, the initials are W and B) and stars were big winners, why 12 Years a Slave is a lot like The Godfather, and why The Hammond Rule proved so durable throughout the season.
Pete and David also review the Oscar Lite ceremony that was Saturday’s Independent Spirit Awards, with winners in nearly every award exactly tracking the Oscar wins.
OSCARS: A Selfie-Important Academy Awards Honors Our Past And Our Future And Hits Just The Right Notes
In the end the Academy Awards fell right into place with every other awards show this season. Gravity got LOTS of love but it ended with 12 Years A Slave‘s Steve McQueen making the big acceptance speech of the night for Best Picture — just like it went at the Golden Globes, Critics Choice Movie Awards, BAFTA, PGA and others. It’s a weird year when a blockbuster picture like Gravity can win seven Oscars including Best Director yet lose the big one. But science fiction is not a category the Oscars have ever embraced in that way, and this year was no exception. In 1977 Star Wars also won seven Oscars yet lost in the end to Best Pic winner Annie Hall, which only picked up four awards overall much like Slave’s haul of three nods this year. The record still stands though with 1972′s Cabaret winning eight Oscars but losing ultimately to The Godfather which won only three including Best Picture.
How do you explain it? It’s called spreading the wealth but wanting to save your most important award for a movie that has real gravitas, one that breaks barriers over what the Academy has ever done before. A movie directed by a black person has never before won nor has a film that so harrowingly details one aspect of the black experience. 12 Years A Slave may have depicted the dark side of this country in a way Oscar had never before recognized, but the Academy wanted to spotlight that and reward it with its highest prize in a year of great films about the black experience. In fact the whole show was full of diversity including numerous black presenters and the Best Director award to Mexican filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron.
Warner Bros’ Gravity took home the most hardware at Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards and 12 Years A Slave won Best Picture, but everyone was all smiles backstage in the winners’ circle. Check out Deadline’s gallery of photos with the night’s big Oscar winners, including Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong’o, Jared Leto, Alfonso Cuaron, those peppy Frozen songwriters, and more:
Here we are again after the Golden Globes, Mike Fleming and Anita Busch taking on the task of play by play during the most wide-open Oscar race we can remember. Even on the party circuit, industry insiders who usually have a grasp of who’ll walk away with Oscars were evenly torn between Alfonso Cuaron’s 3D masterpiece Gravity and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave. Then again, there were so many terrific films that got Best Picture nominations, and all of them have at least a puncher’s chance at an upset.
That includes American Hustle, where David O Russell co-wrote the Best Original Script nominee with Eric Warren Singer and got tour de force performances and nominations for Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. Perfs so strong there was no room on the nomination roster for perennial Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner. The film is up for 10 awards, and has grossed over $240 million on a $40 million budget.
Then there is The Wolf Of Wall Street, with Leonardo DiCaprio giving the most emphatic and complete performance of a great career, and Jonah Hill right there with him as his crazy con man sidekick. The film is up for five nominations, including Martin Scorsese for directing a terrific adaptation from The Sopranos and Boardwalk Empire vet Terence Winter.
Anna Lisa Raya, Diane Haithman, and Anthony D’Alessandro are contributing to Deadline’s Oscar coverage.
Related: OSCARS: Deadline’s Live Blog
So did the 12 Years A Slave team contemplate a potential best pic loss tonight? According to producer and co-star Brad Pitt — it didn’t matter if they won or lost. 12 Years A Slave in and of itself is a benchmark in cinematic history, unlike many films being made today. Asserted Pitt, “I love this story. It’s a historical story of man in an inhumane situation finding freedom. It’s an important film because it deals with our history that hasn’t been shown on screen. It’s important that we understand this era as it explains who we were, so we can better understand who we are now. The film is a gentle reminder that we’re all equal and want dignity for ourselves and for our families.” Fielding a question about how 12 Years A Slave has evolved cinema about African-Americans in the south since Gone With The Wind 75 years ago, McQueen exclaimed, “It’s obviously a progression. The background characters are now in the foreground and now they’re being recognized. It’s indicative of what’s going on; how people are ready for this narrative and how they want to look at this history. It’s like Brad said, ‘If you don’t know your past, we don’t know our future.’” Speaking about 12 Years‘ momentum around the world, producer Dede Gardner pointed out how Solomon Northup’s book is now available in high school libraries throughout the country after being out of print, while producer Jeremy Kleiner said, “the universality of the film’s story has broken down ideological concepts of what is a domestic and what is an international story.”
Related: OSCARS: The Complete Winners List
The robocalls and emails apparently did the trick. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson reports the 86th Oscar contest is responsible for another significant high mark in the Academy’s efforts to turn out the vote.”As we head toward Oscar Sunday, I am thrilled to report how engaged our members have been this voting season. Your efforts resulted in another record turnout. And we are so happy to see that members have embraced our online voting system, and are voting from all over the world easily and securely. Thank you for participating in this historic year – when all members were able to vote in all categories – and for honoring the brilliant artists in our community,” she wrote in an internal Friday memo. The Academy doesn’t reveal actual numbers but I was told by reliable sources that the turnout for the nominating phase was over 90%, and with a huge last-minute surge (and that effort to get members engaged in the process) the total for the final voting phase which ended last Tuesday may have exceeded that number. But what does it all mean? It’s been said before, but I will say it again, this is one of the tightest and most unpredictable Best Picture races I can remember and I am not sure what the massive turnout of the Acad’s 6028 eligible voters says other than there was obviously a lot of interest within Oscar’s ranks. I have talked to numerous members over the past few days at various Oscar-related events, and while the results vary, it is clear this has all finally turned into a real seesaw race between 12 Years A Slave and Gravity. It appears to be a divide so sharp between those two that Sony’s American Hustle has a fighting chance to be the real beneficiary in what has been widely acknowledged the past few weeks to be a three-way contest.
The best holds going into the Oscar weekend in the Top 20 at the box office are, as expected, those films nominated for Best Picture. There are two things that traditionally happen at the box office right before the …
The campaign teams from Warner Bros’ Gravity and FX’s American Horror Story: Coven came away with the respective Maxwell Weinberg Publicist Showmanship Award for Motion Pictures and Television at today’s 51st annual ICG Publicists Awards. Michael Singer received the Les Mason Lifetime Achievement Award. Other winners announced at the Beverly Hilton luncheon ceremony were Access Hollywood‘s Scott Mantz (American Press Award), former HFPA President Philip Berk (International Media Award). Peter Fountain (Excellence in Still Photography, Motion Pictures) and Michael Yarish (Excellence in Still Photography). Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairs Rob Friedman and Patrick Wachsberger were presented with the Motion Picture Showmanship Award by the Divergent duo of Shailene Woodley and Theo James, and Shonda Rhimes received the Television Showmanship Award from her Scandal actor Tony Goldwyn. Jerry Lewis also was on hand to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award. A complete list of winners follows.
In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom do their annual Oscar preview ahead of the weekend’s festivities, to help you fill out that Oscar ballot with Pete’s choices and dark-horse candidates in all the major categories. David and Pete also preview Hollywood’s favorite beach party, the Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday. This year, nominees for the Spirit Awards don’t feel that independent with all the familiar names also up for Sunday’s kudos. Finally, David and Pete discuss the weekend’s notable movie debuts, led by the airplane thriller Non-Stop and the very Russian war movie Stalingrad.
Last chance Academy members — and you know who you are.
Voting for the 86th Annual Academy Awards closes today at 5 PM PT, but because of the Academy’s 2-year-old venture into online voting, members who opted in for that option actually have the luxury of time today getting their ballots in. Of course, if you are one of those members who chose the old-fashioned paper ballot and still haven’t voted for this year’s Oscars, you have only one alternative: It must be hand-delivered to the LA offices of PricewaterhouseCoopers at 601 S. Figueroa Street by that 5 PM cutoff.
There are no hard figures on just how many voters wait until the last day, but they are probably the same people seen dropping off their taxes at 11:59 PM on April 15th. I do know of a number of members who waited until this weekend to vote, particularly since this is the first year all 24 categories are open to everyone and the Academy sent out an elaborate 13-disc set of DVDs of Documentary Features, Foreign Language Film nominees and the Shorts. That’s a lot to get through. One consultant told me they estimate that anywhere from 5%-10% of the voters waited until the last 24 hours, even surmising that Monday may have been the single biggest day based on anecdotal evidence and past history. “Several members I spoke with thanked me for reminding them. They had forgotten believe it or not,” this person said. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson have continued to work diligently to turn out the vote. “I voted. We’ve gotten voicemails, emails etc. They are doing a terrific job of making sure everyone does it by the deadline this week and I credit Cheryl for that, ” said one member in an email to me after they finally cast their ballot Sunday.
OSCARS: ‘Gravity’s Special Effects Wizard Tim Webber’s Unforgettable Epic, A Blend of Physics and Art
Tim Webber, who is Oscar-nominated for Best Achievement in Visual Effects on the Alfonso Cuaron-directed space epic Gravity, received his education in math, physics and art – and all were all put to good use on film. “I got to use my physics education. It helped me understand the way things move in zero gravity. It gave me a good, theoretical understanding,” said Webber, who added that from his art education, he learned how to look at things differently. “Physics taught me how the way things work, how energy doesn’t dissipate but changes, and that was useful in getting it real and have a feeling of reality.” And looking at things differently was a necessity for Gravity’s success.
This was a movie, he said, where the normal filmmaking process had to be put aside. Gravity, which required a significant amount of planning and preproduction, was a project like no other. “Everything about this film was a different filmmaking process. The way people had to work together was different,” said Webber. “We actually lit the film before we went to shoot it. The set dresser, when she did it, she was doing it next to a visual effects artist who was moving props around with a mouse on a computer screen. The language was different.” The reasons behind the differences was that Gravity was made almost entirely in CG and, of course, there were those notable long shots. For instance, the opening scene was 12-minute single-take. “You couldn’t talk about continuity in the normal way,” he said. “If you were talking about a moment in the film, we had to divide the film up in completely different ways to a normal film. We had to find new ways of working together because each department couldn’t work on its own.