Fans of the Oscars should be in hog heaven over TCM‘s terrific new 95-minute documentary chronicling the Academy Awards from their inception 86 years ago to the present. The film, And The Oscar Goes To…, premieres Saturday and is perhaps the most thorough and detailed look at the Oscars yet done — at least anything actually sanctioned on this scale by the Academy. To do something like this requires the complete cooperation of the Oscar gods, and filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (Common Threads: Stories From The Quill, The Celluloid Closet) got it. There is tons of rare footage, both onstage and back at most of the past Oscar ceremonies reaching all the way to the first when it was held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
According to Epstein, it was then-Academy President Tom Sherak who was their knight in shining armor in getting the docu project off the ground. As I was interviewing him on Tuesday, news broke that Sherak had died. Epstein, who also serves as an Academy Governor in the Documentary Branch, wanted to make sure Sherak got due credit. “I just want to say that for me personally there is no greater tribute to Tom than having worked on this film, because if it weren’t for him it wouldn’t be. I went to him with the idea and five minutes of footage and he said, ‘We are going to make this happen,’ and he did. That was three years ago. He got it right away, he embraced it, he said you’re the guy to do it. He said he was going to take it to the board, and he presented that trailer I showed him to the board, and everyone agreed that this was the kind of thing we should support,” he said. Read More »
Ted Turner may no longer be in the CNN business but the cable news network is still in the Ted Turner game. In another look to the past like the resuscitated Crossfire, the now Jeff Zucker-run … Read More »
Continuing their tradition of turning the AFI‘s signature awards event into a real family affair, the American Film Institute announced today that Jane Fonda will become the 42nd recipient of the prestigious AFI Life Achievement Award on June 5, 2014. The organization said the event will take place in Los Angeles but has not yet disclosed the venue. It will be taped for later airing that month on TNT, followed by encores on Turner Classic Movies.
Henry Fonda was the 6th recipient of the honor in 1978 making the Fondas the first father/daughter to win the prize. In other familial pairings AFI has similarly honored both Kirk (1991) and Michael Douglas (2009) as the only father/son combo and Warren Beatty (2008) and Shirley MacLaine (2012) as the only brother/sister to be named in the history of the award.
For my money Jane Fonda is an inspired choice. A two-time Oscar winner (Klute, Coming Home) and 7-time nominee, she has proven she can do it all, and even after a self-imposed 15-year retirement has come back with a vengeance most recently earning an Emmy nomination for her recurring role in HBO’s The Newsroom. But following in the footsteps of her iconic father and matching him as not only a major film star but adding producer to her credits too, Fonda’s varied — and sometimes controversial — career has truly met the AFI benchmark of “standing the test of time”. The award would be deserved if only for one of her signature achievements in producing and co-starring in the film version of On Golden Pond, the vehicle for which her father won a long overdue Best Actor Oscar (along with Best Actress Katharine Hepburn) shortly before he died. But she also has a great string of classics in addition to her Oscar winners including Cat Ballou, They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Julia and The China Syndrome. Her most recent Oscar nomination in 1986 was for the wildly underrated Sidney Lumet film The Morning After, one of my favorite Fonda performances. She’s also equally great in comedy, something many people forget, but consider Barefoot In The Park opposite Robert Redford in 1967, 1980′s Nine To Five and even her comeback role opposite Jennifer Lopez in 2005′s Monster-In-Law which turned into a sizable hit.
And don’t even get me started on Barbarella. In terms of AFI Life Achievement, she’s done it all. Here’s the release: Read More »
“I thought it would be fun to play her,” says Jane Fonda of her turn as Nancy Reagan in Lee Daniels’ The Butler, glimpsed in a new clip from the Weinstein Co. pic. The casting sparked plenty of controversy last year when it was … Read More »
Paula Bernstein is an AwardsLine contributor.
A look at the leading Emmys contenders for drama guest roles this season.
WHAT: The Good Wife
WHY: “Why would I joke?” asks Nathan Lane’s Clarke Hayden, the trustee brought in to oversee Lockhart/Gardner and get the firm back on track. It’s a fitting question for Lane, who is better known for his comic delivery than for his dramatic chops. But, as the levelheaded Hayden, Lane forgoes the over-the-top theatrics and delivers a quiet performance that could earn him his first Emmy nom in a drama category (he’s been nominated previously for comedy guest roles on Frasier, Mad About You and Modern Family).
ONE-LINER: “I don’t like people who quit.” Read More »
A first look at The Butler and the staff that Lee Daniels assembled including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey in her first film since 1998′s Beloved, and Jane Fonda as Nancy Reagan which raised plenty of eyebrows and rankles last year. The film tells the story of Eugene Allen (Whitaker), who served … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Jane Fonda is in negotiations to join Tina Fey and Jason Bateman in This Is Where I Leave You. The two-time Oscar winner will play the newly widowed Hillary Foxman in the adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s comic … Read More »
Oscarcast producers Craig Zadan and Neil Maron have already enlisted Barbra Streisand and Shirley Bassey for show duties, and now have added another nod to that generation with seven-time nominee and two-time winner Jane Fonda. Here’s the release that just went out:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Academy Award® winner Jane Fonda will join Jennifer Garner, Kristen Stewart and Kerry Washington to present on the Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today.
Fonda earned seven nominations and won Academy Awards for her roles in “Klute” and “Coming Home.” Garner was seen in this year’s “The Odd Life of Timothy Green” and will be seen next in “Dallas Buyers Club.” Stewart is best known for her role as Bella Swan in the “Twilight” saga and also starred in 2012′s “On the Road” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.” Washington starred in the Best Picture Nominee “Django Unchained” and was seen in “A Thousand Words.” Washington is also the star of ABC’s hit drama “Scandal.”
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Joaquin Phoenix and Anthony Hopkins may not approve, but Oscar season campaigning on the party circuit has been at fever pitch.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re exhausted. We are out every night it seems and the invitations keep coming,” one Oscar-winning Academy member told me recently. He was referring to the glut of invites to parties, lunches, screenings with Q&As and everything else for which Oscar season campaigning has come to be known. He pointedly added that none of it has ever influenced his vote but he is not turning down the elaborate food spreads and the chance to mingle with contenders. “Just don’t tell anyone who invites me to these things, but it doesn’t really have much impact on the way I fill out my ballot,” he added with a smile.
That won’t stop Oscar strategists from trying and the campaign activity this season seems like it pushed into high gear much earlier than normal and hasn’t let up, even as the Christmas break quickly approaches and the town starts to shut down. Don’t tell that to the relentless Weinstein Company who will still have some of their contenders out on the stump even over this holiday weekend. Quentin Tarantino who, despite seeing his Los Angeles premiere for Django Unchained cancelled Tuesday night out of sensitivity to the Newtown tragedy, was out doing a Q&A and reception for a packed screening at the Academy last night and will be doing the same thing for BAFTA-LA Friday night. Read More »
After fielding a slew of pilot orders over the years and recently doing a guest arc on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama The Newsroom, Oscar winner Jane Fonda has attached herself to a comedy in … Read More »
Here’s a first look at the unlikely casting but uncanny resemblance of Jane Fonda as former First Lady Nancy Reagan. Alan Rickman plays President Ronald Reagan in The Butler, currently filming in New Orleans. Fonda reportedly appears … Read More »
Specialty releases can clean up at the box office if they’re seen as serious awards contenders, but the majority of limited rollouts never make it to the awards big leagues in a given year. Two of this week’s new specialty openers are admittedly not in play for any golden statuettes according to their insiders (unless this is some sort of reverse-psychology campaign?). First off, Jane Fonda and Catherine Keener starrer Peace, Love & Misunderstanding will open in 25 cities this weekend. Its high-profile stars along with some now high-profile newcomers might be just the thing for moviegoers looking for a summer escape. China Lion’s Double Trouble will have a smaller indie platform release, hoping to cash in on the first film of Hong Kong star Jackie Chan’s son, Jaycee. Also hitting screens is FilmDistrict’s Safety Not Guaranteed, which concerns a magazine crew that sets out in search of the person who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time-travel. Then there’s Daryl Wein’s Lola Versus with star Greta Gerwig courtesy of Fox Searchlight and doc Paul Williams Still Alive is taking its story about the Oscar and Grammy award-winning star via a more DIY approach.
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EXCLUSIVE: Jane Fonda, in Cannes to make an appearance for L’Oreal, has just joined the cast of the comedy Better Living Through Chemistry. She joins Sam Rockwell, Olivia Wilde, Michelle Monaghan, Ray Liotta, Ben … Read More »
Catherine Keener and Jane Fonda play alienated daughter and mother in this comedy directed by Bruce Beresford in which uptight Manhattan lawyer Diane (Keener) drives her teenage son (Nat Wolff) and adult daughter (Elizabeth Olsen) to meet their grandmother (Fonda) for the first time. Written by Christina … Read More »
In her first major TV series gig, Oscar winner Jane Fonda is joining Aaron Sorkin’s upcoming HBO drama series in a recurring role. The series, set behind the scenes at a fictional cable news network, stars Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, … Read More »
IFC Films has acquired North American rights to Bruce Beresford’s dramatic comedy Peace, Love & Misunderstanding, which stars Jane Fonda, Catherine Keener, Chace Crawford, Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Elizabeth Olsen and first screened at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. The … Read More »
Fox Seachlight’s annual party at the Thompson Hotel for the Toronto International Film Festival seemed especially ebullient Saturday after its growing Oscar contender, The Descendants, premiered to a standing ovation. Exactly a week earlier, the film received a similar enthusiastic response in Telluride. On top of that, Searchlight’s co-presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula had just won rights over The Weinstein Company and Sony Pictures Classics to the controversial Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which missed out Saturday on the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival but did nab star Michael Fassbender the Best Actor prize for his raw, let-it-all-hang-out performance as a sexually addicted man in freefall.
Utley confirmed that Searchlight will release Shame this year in time for the Oscar race, possibly December. Although they have not dated it, they do want enough time to put a campaign together. She was thrilled that Fassbender got the Venice prize for the film, which premieres in Toronto tomorrow night, after Read More »
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and … Read More »