In this week’s podcast, Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond and host David Bloom look at the impact of those all-over-the-map BAFTA Awards, which gave Gravity lots of love but handed 12 Years A Slave two important wins.
They also look at what questions are being asked by Fox Searchlight’s Oscar campaign for 12 Years, which declares that “it’s time,” and whether it may also be time for Oscar to hand a statue to Leonardo DiCaprio for The Wolf of Wall Street or to score composer Alexandre Desplat for Philomena.
“You must be sick of me by now — what the hell do you want to hear me say?” Leonardo DiCaprio laughed as we began a phone conversation late last week. He was joking, but it’s not an uncommon thing to hear an actor say that after they’ve been through the promotional ringer of an exhaustive awards season. He was in New York, where he had just participated in a retrospective of his work with Martin Scorsese (he did something similar the week before at the Santa Barbara Film Festival), and would be shortly heading to London for the BAFTA awards, where he was nominated for Best Actor (he lost to 12 Years A Slave‘s Chiwetel Ejiofor). But the fact is since early December and the first screenings of The Wolf Of Wall Street DiCaprio has been very visible — much more than the norm when he’s had a new movie to promote or an Oscar campaign to deal with.
But this one, for which he has already won a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Movie Award (both in comedy) is special to him. He not only stars in Wolf but also was a producer. He has received his fourth and fifth Oscar nominations as a result for the movie that is up for five Academy Awards including Best Picture and the fiercely competitive Best Actor category. He worked for six years to figure out a way to bring to the screen Jordan Belfort’s candid autobiography of his spectacular rise and fall on Wall Street. He wouldn’t give up until Martin Scorsese said yes to directing and until he was convinced they could make the movie their way. It became controversial but it also has now become Scorsese’s most successful movie ever.
DiCaprio previously did a detailed interview with my colleague Mike Fleming for Deadline, and he’s also encountered me a lot on the trail this season. But, with just two weeks to go until the Oscars, he’s still on that trail and very pleased — particularly for Scorsese’s box office milestone. “I am incredibly proud of that. I knew this movie would have to be framed in the right context for the public because, like I’ve said before, it’s punk rock, a major Hollywood epic about hedonism and debauchery and putting this culture up on screen. So I’ve been trying to support it as much as possible, in large part because I want to make movies that take chances like this. I want studios eventually to say ‘Hey, look at what Wolf Of Wall Street was able to do’. Maybe they’ll take a chance on this kind of material in the future even if it doesn’t fit the sort of criteria studios feel is bankable. I really hope if I bring something to a studio or want to develop it in a certain way they will use this as a reference point at the very least,” he said.
OSCARS: On The Scene As Nominees Lunch Brings Out Record Number And EVERYONE Is A Winner In This Room
No question the nominees lunch, which took place today at the Beverly Hilton, is the feel good event of a very long Oscar season — at least as far as the nominees who have made it this far are concerned. If the Governors Awards in November is a great networking opportunity for contenders, this luncheon has become a “must attend” for nominees, who get their certificates, a goodie bag and the chance to meet their fellow nominees in a collegial atmosphere where everyone’s a winner. At least until March 2. Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made a point of telling them a billion people will be watching in more than 225 countries and that the time begins the moment they hit the microphone and they will have only 45 seconds. “But don’t be nervous,” smiled Zadan. “Just prepare”.
‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio & Jonah Hill Plan Re-Team In Story Of Richard Jewell; Labelled Hero, Then Falsely Vilified As Bomber At 1996 Atlanta Olympics
EXCLUSIVE: Fox has closed a deal to acquire rights to Marie Brenner’s 1997 Vanity Fair article “The Ballad Of Richard Jewell”, which will be developed for Jonah Hill to play the title subject. Jewell was the security guard who discovered a backpack in the Olympics compound in Atlanta in 1996. Initially hailed a hero for reporting the suspicious knapsack and then helping clear bystanders from the area before it exploded, Jewell was subsequently vilified just three days later as a potential suspect, his life and reputation torn apart in the advent of the 24 hour news cycle. Leonardo DiCaprio will play a lawyer Jewell knew casually, a Southern attorney who mostly did real estate closings and seemed in over his head, but he guided Jewell through a hellish Twilight Zone that went on even after the FBI officially cleared Jewell’s name three months later.
Brenner, whose VF article was the original source material for the Michael Mann-directed tobacco whistle-blower tale The Insider, accompanied Jewell and his attorney just as it finally became clear he had nothing to do with placing the bomb. The film will be produced by Appian Way’s DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran, Hill and Kevin Misher, the latter of whom brought in the article. Misher Films’ Andy Berman will also have a producing role. Mike Ireland is overseeing for Fox.
This comes as both DiCaprio and Hill are up for Oscars for Best Picture nominee The Wolf Of Wall Street. It is particularly a strong role for Hill, who continues his remarkable transition from comic actor to serious roles that started with an Oscar-nominated turn in Moneyball and continues with the Rupert Goold-directed True Story, in which Hill plays Michael Finkel, a disgraced journalist who got the chance at redemption when a suspected killer (James Franco) took Finkel’s name, and would only talk to that journalist. That project is also at Fox, with New Regency.
Saturday Night Live used two of its favorite routines for guest host Jonah Hill‘s monologue last night: phony questions from the audience, and Hill feigning surprise when his The Wolf Of Wall Street colleague Leonardo DiCaprio made a cameo appearance. More schtick than jokes, of course. Hill also starred in a parody trailer of the movie Her, which SNL envisioned as a gay relationship. This was Hill’s third time hosting the show. Here are the clips:
Years ago when working at the trades, one of the most popular features we did was The Horse’s Mouth, where we collected comments and unusual conversations that we had with people across the film and TV industries and shared them with our readers. We also found some Separated at Births (see below). In a town full of remakes and sequels, we have our own. We hope you enjoy these. We’ll never tell, but you know who you are:
Journalist: Do you know the best way to reach John Hughes?
Deadline: Yes, I would try Theresa Caputo, the Long Island Medium.
Studio exec: If you want a relationship with me, you’re going to have to print everything I say.
Deadline: How can a movie like The Wolf Of Wall Street get an R rating with all the sexual content? I mean, you see a woman going down on a guy while she gets rammed from behind by another guy.
Industry analyst: Well … was the guys’ penis erect or flaccid?
Commenter on Deadline: You think nobody outside of LA or NY is interested in sex or seeing a candle shoved up Leonardo DiCaprio’s ass? … Get some class.
Producer: I can’t believe I was nominated for an Oscar.
Producer: Because I’ve produced such tons of sh*t.
Reporter: Is that the real [budget] number?
Studio exec: What can I tell you? I work for maniacs.
Separated at Birth?
Irving Rosenfeld Len Grossman
William Harper Fast Eddie Felson
OSCARS: Academy Finalizes ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’ Producers Credits – Leo And Marty Back In, Riza Aziz Out
In a rare move since the Producers Guild has been vetting eligible producers for the Oscars, the Producers Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken a different path than the PGA recommendation and awarded director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio additional Oscar nominations as producers of the film along with Emma Tillinger Koskoff (Scorsese’s partner) and Red Granite’s Joey McFarland. The latter two had been nominees for the PGA Award along with McFarland’s partner at Red Granite Riza Aziz. As previously reported on Deadline, Scorsese and DiCaprio were denied nominations by the PGA. Now the tables have been turned somewhat and it is Aziz who is odd man out and Scorsese and DiCaprio back in. DiCaprio, in his capacity as a producer, has worked for six years to bring it to the screen and got Red Granite — which fully financed the $100 million film — involved. Aziz won’t be contesting the Academy’s decision and Red Granite just released a statement to Deadline: “We are thrilled that the Academy has recognized the invaluable contributions of Marty, Leo, Joey and Emma on behalf of The Wolf Of Wall Street. Riza Aziz and Red Granite remain honored to be part of the production.”
On Eve Of MLK Day, Will Adultery Keep Epic Dr. King Movie Off The Big Screen?
By Mike Fleming Jr. – Oliver Stone has run smack into the same wall on a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr biopic that director Paul Greengrass hit when Universal kicked his MLK project Memphis to the curb two years back.
OSCARS: Best Actor Nominee Leonardo DiCaprio On Scorsese, ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’: “I Knew It Would Be Polarizing”
A Best Actor nomination is just one award-season reward this year for Leonardo DiCaprio, who not only stars in Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf Of Wall Street but produced the passion project alongside his mentor and five-time collaborator. The dark biopic based on ex-Wall Streeter Jordan Belfort‘s memoirs has sparked debate among audiences — and DiCaprio, speaking with Deadline after Wolf scored four more noms this morning (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Jonah Hill), says that was his and Scorsese’s goal from the start. “I knew that this film was going to be polarizing in some respect,” he said. “We knew that Jordan’s life was written as a cautionary tale but displayed the hedonistic, flagrant world of Wall Street at that time. We wanted for there to be a dialogue about this attitude — his is a very destructive attitude, and what some people don’t get is that is ultimately not a cautionary tale but an indictment of this world.”
DiCaprio won the rights to Belfort’s story in 2007 and began developing it with Scorsese, with whom he’d by then made Gangs Of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed. “I became obsessed with putting it up on screen, certainly after 2008,” he said. “But what Marty does is he doesn’t judge his characters. He ultimately puts these people onscreen as authentically as he possibly can and lets the audience extract what they can from it.”
Oscars: Ballots Due In Less Than 48 Hours As Contenders Keep The Campaigns Hot And Voters Try To Keep Pace
The clock is ticking, Academy members.
As the deadline looms for the close of Oscar nomination polls at 5 PM Wednesday, I have talked to a large number of potential voters who are still not even close to seeing the key movies, whether in theaters or making a dent in that pile of screeners at home. A more limited voting pool could lead to a surprising outcome, and this year it seems there are many members struggling to check out all the contenders. Last year then-Academy President Hawk Koch boasted to me on the day of nominations that with the help of the (then-controversial) new online voting system, turnout was the largest in recent Academy history. Hoping not to fall off the pace, new President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has been sending recorded messages urging voters who haven’t marked their ballots yet to get them in before the deadline.
Martin Scorsese On ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’: A Happy, Moral Ending To Scandalous Stockbroker Expose Would Have Turned It Into A TV Movie
Until Hugo, I never emerged from a Martin Scorsese film with anything close to the sense of satisfaction that comes from a nice, happy ending. I’ve seen everything he’s done, and movies like Cape Fear and Casino left me feeling fearful such people existed; The King Of Comedy left me laughing nervously after an aspiring comedian gets a TV special after kidnapping his idol, whether it existed in his imagination or not; Taxi Driver left me feeling all kinds of uneasy; and After Hours left me feeling paranoid for days. Every one of his films left me feeling some emotion way short of peaceful — clearly how Scorsese wanted it. By comparison, The Wolf Of Wall Street was a decadent frat house comedy, Goodfellas without the chilling violent undercurrent that made you check your laughter. I laughed loud and often (and felt bad later) at the depiction of an ordinary guy who loses his soul to get rich on Wall Street and indulge every hedonistic urge at the expense of the people who trusted him with money he didn’t care if he lost. I was surprised at the outcry that Scorsese didn’t punish his sinner onscreen. At least Jordan Belfort’s ’90s run of decadence ended with him losing his family and wealth before landing in a minimum security prison. There seemed to be no shortage of guys like him who ran rampant before Wall Street collapsed in 2008 due to unbridled greed; those scoundrels got a government bailout and kept going, even though retirement funds across America might never recover. Here, Scorsese explains why what I just mentioned made it impossible for him to pacify Wolf viewers and critics who wanted to see justice served and charged him with glorifying misdeeds.
DEADLINE: I spoke days ago about the Wolf criticism with Leonardo, who never faced this before. It isn’t your first time at the rodeo, is it?
SCORSESE: Oh, I’ve been through it with Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, and Raging Bull where people were repelled by the character. It happened with Rupert Pupkin in The King Of Comedy, and then all the way through the years and particularly with Goodfellas. Taxi Driver had elements that made it something else, but Goodfellas became a rallying cry against this kind of depiction of characters who do terrible things but enjoy themselves.
Santa Barbara, CA- The Santa Barbara International Film Festival will honor director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio with the Cinema Vanguard Award at the 29th edition of the Fest, which runs January 30 -February 9, 2014, it was announced today by SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling. The award presentation and evening tribute, sponsored by lynda.com, will take place on Thursday, February 6, 2014 at the historic Arlington Theatre.
Scorsese and DiCaprio will be celebrated for their extraordinary film collaboration which has produced five exemplary films including Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Shutter Island, The Departed and their latest, the critically acclaimed hit film The Wolf of Wall Street, which has taken their fearless and uncompromising work together to an even deeper level.
Oscar Mischief? Video Circulates With Leonardo DiCaprio Touting ‘Wolf’ Jordan Belfort’s Motivational Speaking Prowess
It’s that time of year — when awards-season schadenfreude begins to swirl, and rivals begin whispering in our ears about the flaws in everybody else’s offerings. Against that backdrop, a video for a lecture bureau by Leonardo DiCaprio posted last summer has conveniently begun re-circulating on the web just days after the Oscar polls opened (watch it below). It’s a short testimonial extolling the motivational speaking skills of The Wolf Of Wall Street subject Jordan Belfort, whom DiCaprio plays in the movie in all the unapologetic decadence that caused his downfall. DiCaprio qualifies his praise for his screen alter ego by mentioning Belfort’s lawbreaking past, but backing even a reformed bad guy could be a slippery slope during Oscar season; there has been heavy scrutiny over whether Belfort has profited from his book and movie (he claims the money has gone to repay victims), and just days ago the daughter of one of Belfort’s stock-hawking cronies spoke out about the lasting damage created by their collective misdeeds. Critics and audiences already are debating whether Martin Scorsese‘s Oscar contender makes Belfort’s reckless behavior seem too seductive.
‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks
When I emerged from watching The Wolf Of Wall Street, I came away thinking the movie had done for stock brokers what Marathon Man did for dentists. The Martin Scorsese-directed film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as hedonistic drug-addicted stockbroker conman Jordan Belfort, who with dimwitted cohorts plunders his way to such decadence and immorality it’s a wonder he survived long enough to be arrested and sent to prison. The three hours of darkly comic debauchery has in some quarters been met with a “how dare you” reaction, a polarizing response that could be an issue during awards season for the $100 million film financed by indie Red Granite and released domestically by Paramount Pictures. The 71-year old Scorsese has provoked that kind of reaction several times in his career with films ranging from The Last Temptation Of Christ to Goodfellas and Casino, the latter two of which, like Wolf, left behind bitter victims of the mayhem perpetrated by the film’s main characters. The shrapnel is new to DiCaprio, who both starred in and produced the film through his increasingly prolific Appian Way shingle. Here, DiCaprio discusses that fallout and the challenge of trying to uncompromisingly depict bad guys without judging them.
DEADLINE: Appian Way was just building steam when you got involved in producing Jordan Belfort’s memoir Wolf Of Wall Street. Why did Belfort’s story fit into the profile of movies you wanted to make as producer, while sparking you as an actor as well?
DICAPRIO: Coming into it as an actor, I set my entire production company up in order to find material that not only was interesting and out of the box from an actor’s perspective, but that could be developed that way from the original source material. A lot of times, I’d gone through the process of getting a great book or finding a great story, and then too many people get their hands on it and it turns into something entirely different. It is very difficult to reverse that process. When I first picked this up, I found it a cautionary tale written by Jordan. His life is much different now, but he’s looking back and reflecting on a very hedonistic time period where he gave into every possible temptation. Greed was the main motivating factor, and he was unapologetic. He realized he’d completely lost his way, but there was an honesty to it that you rarely find. You rarely find someone willing to vilify themselves so completely and not trying to create false enemies to blame so they don’t have to look inward. Everything Jordan wrote in this book was so raw. The crash of 2008 was a huge motivator for me as well to want to really see what’s going on in our culture that creates people like this. Greed is a timeless virtue. I’ve been talking about greed a lot in interviews, and you can’t pinpoint it to any specific time period, or any civilization or even just human beings. It’s a fundamental characteristic of survival. As we are progressing into the future, things are moving faster and we are way more destructive than we’ve ever been. We have not evolved at all.
At the Golden Globes nomination press conference at the Beverly Hilton this morning, a lot of the talk wasn’t so much about who got nominated but who didn’t. I’m talking about you, Oprah! The star of stars didn’t make the cut and won’t be walking that red carpet (at least as a supporting actress nominee). I thought she was powerful enough just to call in and order one of these things. But Winfrey, along with everyone else associated with Lee Daniels’ The Butler, was snubbed big time. Yesterday, the Weinstein Company’s late summer hit had scored big at the SAG awards with three nominations, including one for Winfrey, and appeared to be on the rebound after being left off the AFI top 10 list Monday. But the awards-season gods giveth and then they taketh away. Conversely, yesterday’s big snubee at SAG, The Wolf Of Wall Street, saw its fortunes improve with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association naming it a nominee for Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical and one for Leonardo DiCaprio, a perennial Globe favorite gaining his 10th nomination (he won in 2004 for The Aviator).
Other than Oprah (unfairly in my opinion) missing out in supporting (Jennifer Lawrence, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong’o, June Squibb and a surprise nod for Blue Jasmine’s Sally Hawkins made the grade there), there weren’t many jaw-dropping surprises in film (TV was another matter entirely – sorry Claire Danes). That is unless you think Ron Howard’s Rush getting a Best Motion Picture Drama slot over the likes of Butler and Saving Mr. Banks (which, as at SAG, received only one nod for star Emma Thompson) is a stunner. Hate to say I TOLDJA , but I predicted that in this column yesterday. I have spoken to several HFPA members over the past few weeks and nearly every one of them brought up that film’s name as a favorite. Although the independently-produced Universal release didn’t do well at the box office in the U.S., it has great international appeal being a European-set film about the 1970′s rivalry between Britain’s James Hunt and Austrian Niki Lauda (played by Daniel Bruhl who grabbed a supporting actor nod today). The HFPA is an organization made up of international journalists, and the film held a special appeal for them.