Today’s eagerly awaited DGA nominations are out and there are no surprises in the bunch. Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron, Captain Phillips’ Paul Greengrass, 12 Years A Slave’s Steve McQueen, American Hustle’s David O. Russell and The Wolf Of Wall Street‘s Martin Scorsese were all odds-on favorites to make the five — and they did. Some might have questioned Scorsese’s chances since the film has become a lightning rod for controversy and was the last major release of the year, meaning the 15,000-member guild voters would have to see it in time to cast their ballot. But c’mon, he’s Martin Scorsese. There would be no denying this achievement among his fellow directors. He has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the guild and 10 other nominations with 3 wins in 3 different categories (The Departed in film, Boardwalk Empire in TV and George Harrison: Living In The Material World in documentary). He’s a god to this guild. Greengrass, McQueen and Cuaron are all first-timers here, while Russell was nominated for 2010′s The Fighter. However, Russell was passed over for a nomination last year for Silver Linings Playbook but went on to receive an Oscar nod for that film anyway.
Generally there is a strong correlation between the DGA and the Oscars. Only seven times has the winner of the DGA Award not gone on to win the Oscar . But the most recent time, last year, was also among the most infamous: Ben Affleck still went on to win the DGA Best Director award for Argo even after the Academy’s much smaller — and quirkier — Directors Branch threw a monkey wrench into the proceedings and snubbed Affleck in its nominations. Life Of Pi’s Ang Lee went on to win the Oscar after losing to Affleck at the DGA, while Argo took Best Picture. In addition to Lee the only agreement the Academy’s Directors Branch had with the DGA was Steven Spielberg’s nomination for Lincoln. It was one of the worst years ever since the DGA Awards were founded in 1948 in terms of a match-up between the guild’s list and Oscar (which also nominated Behn Zeitlin of Beasts Of The Southern Wild and Amour’s Michael Haneke in addition to Russell). I don’t expect the same thing to happen this year. This is a very strong lineup that includes all the likely frontrunners to grab an Academy Directorial nod as well. But as we all learned last year Oscar often has surprises up its sleeve. We’ll see. Read More »
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.
Related: ‘Wolf Of Wall Street’s Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks
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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.
Related: Leonardo DiCaprio On Creating Fact-Based Black Comedy Without Glorifying Crooks
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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. Read More »
In what now looks like a prescient move, silent screen legend Mary Pickford paid for the preservation of her films, ensuring that most of them endured. The effort spared 40 of her movies from being among the casualties of time and neglect that are represented in a new survey by the Library of Congress. The report, The Survivial Of American Silent Films: 1912-1929, has found that 70% of feature-length silent films made in America have been completely lost. During the period the study covers, 10,919 silent feature films of U.S. origin were released and only 14% of those still exist in their original 35mm format. Of those, 5% are incomplete and 11% are only available in foreign versions or lower-quality formats. Librarian of Congress James H. Billington called the state of America’s silent film heritage an “alarming and irretrievable loss to our nation’s cultural record.” Martin Scorsese weighed in about the findings, saying the report was “invaluable because the artistry of silent film is essential to our culture.” Scorsese’s Hugo was a tribute to the silent era, incorporating Georges Méliès’ Le Voyage Dans La Lune, which the Cannes Film Festival screened in an impressively restored version a few years back. It was also at Cannes that eventual Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist began its career, a throwback to the time before the talkies.
Contributing factors to the staggering loss of silent films are the vulnerability of nitrate film stock to fire and deterioration, and the industry’s practice of neglecting or destroying prints and negatives, the Library of Congress says. Among some of the notable films considered lost in their complete form are Lon Chaney’s London After Midnight (1927); The Patriot (1928); Cleopatra (1917); The Great Gatsby (1926), and all four of Clara Bow’s feature films produced in 1928, including Ladies Of The Mob. Meanwhile, only five of Will Rogers’ 16 silent features survive and 85% of films by Hollywood’s first cowboy star, Tom Mix, are lost. Read More »
The last shoe to drop in the 2013 awards race hit Saturday as Martin Scorsese‘s much-awaited The Wolf Of Wall Street was unveiled to SAG voters at a couple of screenings at the WGA theatre in Beverly Hills. I caught the film earlier at a small 10 AM screening for some of the cast members on the Paramount lot and then moderated the Q&A following the 6:30 PM screening of the 3 hour film. To say it was rapturously received would be an understatement. Leonardo DiCaprio received a standing ovation when I introduced him, and co-star Jonah Hill also won huge applause from the packed-to-the-rafters house who also enthusiastically cheered co-stars Rob Reiner (who plays DiCaprio’s dad and stole the show at the Q&A), Jon Favreau, P.J. Byrne, Ken Choi and Cristin Milioti. I heard the film also received the same kind of enthusiastic response at the earlier screening too. Paramount also threw a party to kick things off in style. Celebration was in order since Paramount at one time wasn’t even sure the film would be ready as Scorsese has been editing to make a 2013 date. Originally it was scheduled for a November 15 release but moved to Christmas bumping Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit into January to make room for Wolf‘s wide release awards run.
Formal reviews are embargoed but as an initial observation I would label the movie ”Scorsese’s Satyricon,” a wild ride full of contemporary debauchery to say the least (DiCaprio compared some of it to Caligula), with a fine ensemble and a frenetic pace that belies its three hour running time. Even at that length it never lags. It is the perfect companion piece to Goodfellas and puts Scorsese right back in the thick of the Oscar race, if Academy members, particularly older ones, can deal with the almost non-stop parade of sex, drugs, nudity and rock and roll. Violence, a Scorsese staple in this type of film, is missing but there are a number of remarkable set pieces including a storm-driven yacht voyage that has to be seen to be believed (Rob Legato supervised the special effects team). An NC-17 was avoided by some reported judicious cutting but it’s hard to imagine the stuff that didn’t make it in considering the edgy material that did. Read More »
A day after Paramount finally sealed a Christmas Day opening, it has released the new trailer for Martin Scorsese‘s latest drama starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The Wolf Of Wall Street co-stars Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie and Jon Bernthal. It’s based on the memoir of Jordan Belfort, the hard-partying “boiler room” stockbroker who scammed $200 million from investors and was indicted for securities fraud in 1998:
The latest teaming of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will hit theaters just in time for an Oscar run. Paramount‘s The Wolf Of Wall Street is opening December 25. It originally was scheduled for November 15. The studio cleared the Christmas Day slot last week when it moved the Chris Pine starrer Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit to January 17. It’ll be a busy holiday at the megaplex, with Wall Street going up against openers including Universal’s Keanu Reeves actioner 47 Ronin, Warner Bros’ aging-boxer comedy Grudge Match, Ben Stiller’s take of The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty for Fox, Open Road’s Justin Bieber docu Believe and the Weinstein Company’s August: Osage County.
Related: ‘Foxcatcher’ Is Latest Film To Drop Out Of Oscar Race
The Supreme Court has answered the bell in the fight over early works based on the story of boxer Jake LaMotta – the subject of MGM‘s 1980 Best Picture nominee Raging Bull. The justices today agreed to hear the case brought by Paula Petrella, whose father Frank Petrella penned the two screenplays and a book that inspired the Martin Scorsese film and was given an acting credit under the name Peter Savage. When he died in 1981, the copyrights reverted to his daughter. In 2009, she sued Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. for copyright infringement for creating and distributing copies of the movie that earned Robert De Niro a Best Actor Oscar. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last year that she waited too long to file the suit. In August, Paula Petrella asked the courts to reinstate the case, saying the Appeals Court dismissal was wrong based on recent copyright cases. Now the high court will determine the fate of the suit after the justices return to the bench October 7. It’s the final round of a grudge match decades in the making — not unlike De Niro’s upcoming film in which he and Sylvester Stallone play aged boxers who face off in the ring 30 years after their last fight.
Related: MGM Settles ‘Raging Bull II’ Lawsuit
Wellington Residents Can’t Access Town Hall During ‘Smaug’ Recording
New Zealand website Stuff reports that the people of Wellington have “essentially lost access” to the Town Hall while the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra records the score for the The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug. Last month, the orchestra cancelled a planned tour so it could work on music for the film. In a public notice this week, the Wellington City Council said “strict security” was in place at the Town Hall until the end of October and that there would be no public access during this time. Anyone with meeting with the mayor’s office will have to be escorted in after checking in at another location, the report said.
Martin Scorsese Set As President of Marrakech Film Fest Jury
Martin Scorsese will be president of the jury for the 13th edition of the Marrakech Film Festival, organizers said today. Scorsese has a long history with Morocco having shot parts of The Last Temptation Of Christ and Kundun in the Atlas Film Studios in Ouarzazate. In 2005, he was honored by the Marrakech Festival with the Al Kafaa al Fikrya Award, acknowledging intellectual merit. Scorsese has also previously attended the festival to present films and give a masterclass. The festival runs November 29-December 7.
‘S.H.I.E.L.D.’ To Bow In UK Three Days After U.S. … Read More »
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Three documentary sections — Applied Sciences, Motion Portraits and How Democracy Works Now — and a Revivals lineup will help fill out the main slate of the 2013 New York Film Festival, which runs September 27-October 13. Among the recently restored works in the later sidebar, previously known as Masterworks, include Martin Scorsese‘s The Age Of Innocence (1993), Nicholas Ray’s They Live By Night (1948) and The Lusty Men (1952), and Alain Resnais’ English-language Providence (1977). The fest opens September 27 with Captain Phillips and will hold tributes to Cate Blanchett and Ralph Fiennes before closing with Spike Jonze’s Her. Here are the full docu and revival lineups: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese is lending his support to the upcoming Weinstein Company release of The Grandmaster, the film directed by Wong Kar Wai. Scorsese will lend his name in presentation of the kung fu film, and above the line it will read Martin Scorsese Presents The Grandmaster when TWC releases the film theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and nationwide on August 30. Wong has directed such films as Chungking Express, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights, and The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Chang Chen and is executive produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. The film opened the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. “Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said.
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The Writers Guild Of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences held a tribute Monday night for Fay Kanin, past Academy and WGA Screen Branch President among many other accomplishments. Kanin died in March at the age of 95. How fitting that the tribute was held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on a day when the Academy announced a record 14 women are now serving on the Board Of Governors. When she became only the 2nd female President in Academy history in 1979 (Bette Davis served for two weeks in 1941 but enraged committee members and had to resign), Kanin was the sole woman on the entire Board. The 4-term Acad Pres was a true groundbreaker and a real giver as was clearly evident in the many speeches praising her life and career Monday night for an audience that included several past and present Academy Presidents and Board members. Read More »
Martin Scorsese reteams with Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street, their biographical crime pic based on the memoir by Jordan Belfort, the hard partying “boiler room” stockbroker who scammed $200M from investors and was indicted for securities fraud in 1998. Matthew McConaughey, Jonah Hill, Jean Dujardin, Rob Reiner, Kyle Chandler, Margot Robbie and The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal co-star. Paramount is planning an award-season release November 15. Check out the first trailer, punctuated by the new Kanye:
Watch this video on YouTube.
Ray Liotta has joined Revenge Of The Green Dragons, the thriller helmed by Andrew Lau and Andrew Loo, with production beginning in New York. The triad thriller is executive produced by Martin Scorsese and is fully financed by IM Global’s prolific genre label Octane. Scorsese’s Best Picture Oscar-winning The Departed was a remake of Lau’s Hong Kong gangster film Infernal Affairs. Liotta will play the lead New York detective responsible for investigating the brutal gang and bringing them to justice. He is coming off The Iceman, The Place Beyond The Pines and Killing Them Softly. Also joining the cast are Justin Chon and Harry Shum. The film’s based on Fredric Dannen’s New Yorker article about the terror spree inflicted by the Green Dragons, the gang of Asian youths in Chinatown.
It was completely appropriate that AFI‘s 41st Life Achievement Award honoree Mel Brooks made his entrance at the Dolby Theatre to the Steven Sondheim song, “Comedy Tonight”. It set the tone immediately for a very different evening than any that had come before at this annual event. Look at the list of the 40 previous AFI honorees, and there’s not a single solely comedic filmmaker or actor in the whole bunch. Yes, there are some — like Billy Wilder, Mike Nichols, Shirley MacLaine and Tom Hanks — who have made a few classic comedies but no one whose whole screen career is built on laughs. The AFI finally corrected that glaring omission Thursday night.
“Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the American Film Institute honors the art — and the farts — of American film,” said AFI Board Of Trustees Chair Sir Howard Stringer in welcoming the star-studded crowd. “When I telephoned Mel to tell him the AFI had voted him in as the 2013 recipient, he responded instantly, ‘What took you so long?’ Fair enough. Comedy is routinely short-changed at many awards ceremonies , particularly the Oscars. It is often said comedy is harder than drama because funny is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle. That makes Mel, without question, Hollywood’s principal lightning conductor.” Read More »
Boardwalk Empire executive producers Martin Scorsese and Terence Winter are recruiting the series’ Season 3 star Bobby Cannavale for their next project at HBO. Emmy winner Cannavale is in negotiations to star in an untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll series, which Scorsese and Winter created with Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger. The project, which has been in the works at HBO since 2010, has not been greenlighted yet but we’ve learned that it is gearing up for an early 2014 shoot with Scorsese directing the pilot that was written by Winter. Scorsese also helmed the pilot for Boardwalk Empire, which too was penned by Winter. Scorsese has already worked it into his busy schedule, so go ahead and dress for this one.
The untitled Rock ‘n’ Roll Project follows the exploits of Richie (Cannavale), a cocaine-fueled record exec in NYC circa 1977, when punk, disco and a new form of music called hip-hop collided. Richie is a talented A&R guy who is elevated to run a big label, even though he thinks he’s better suited to focusing on day-to-day music matters. Scorsese and Jagger, who worked together on the superb Rolling Stones documentary Shine A Light, began this project as a feature after Jagger told Scorsese they ought to make a movie like Casino in the world of the music biz. Read More »