EXCLUSIVE: The Mandelas will be coming to the Oscars.
Although there was plenty of star wattage at the 25th Palm Springs International Film Festival Saturday night there was even more electricity than usual because some genuine rock royalty was in attendance. U2′s Bono and The Edge were on hand to accept the Sonny Bono Visionary Award, which acknowledged their major humanitarian work as well as their iconic musical contributions to the world. The award was well-timed as, like the rest of the honorees, they also have a song that is making waves this awards season. And it’s a very personal one. The band, and particularly Bono, had a long friendship with Nelson Mandela — who died December 5 — and their work in the anti-apartheid movement goes back to their beginnings as a band in the 1970s. And now they have written a song, “Ordinary Love” for the film of his life story, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. The Weinstein Company is hoping it will get the Oscar recognition that has eluded U2 before. They currently have a Golden Globe nomination for it, their sixth, with one win for 2002′s “The Hands That Built America” from Gangs Of New York.
4th UPDATE, 4:31 PM: NBC, ABC and CBS and cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC intend to go early, long and live with the Nelson Mandela memorial tomorrow morning. Broadcasting the NBC Nightly News tonight and Tuesday from Pretoria, Brian Williams will front the network and MSNBC’s coverage of the memorial at Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium starting at 1 AM PT. Among the heads of state in attendance, President Obama, who traveled to South Africa today with the First Lady, is scheduled to speak. Former Presidents Carter, Bush II and Clinton will be there too as will former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Obama will fly back to the U.S. later in the day. ABC’s Good Morning America hosts George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts will anchor their network’s special report coverage at the same time from NYC with Terry Moran and Byron Pitts reporting from South Africa. CBS’ Anne-Marie Green will cover the memorial from New York during the network’s Up To The Minute show in the early hours. All the nets plan to stream the memorial on their websites and platforms.
Related: R.I.P. Nelson Mandela
Global Showbiz Briefs: BBC Two Sets Musical Telepic, British Airways Docu; UK, French Nets Honor Nelson Mandela; More
BBC Two Preps Musical Telefilm, British Airways Docu
BBC Two has a pair of new projects on deck: a musical TV movie and an inside look at national carrier British Airways. Drama Tubby And Enid will star Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton and Olivier Award winner Michael Ball and is an adaptation of Victoria Wood’s stage play, That Day We Sang. Hilary Bevan Jones’ Endor is producing with shooting to start January 6. The story’s roots are found in the recording of Henry Purcell’s Nymphs And Shepherds as sung by the Manchester Children’s Choir in 1929. Jumping ahead 40 years, it focuses on a reunion of the same choir being filmed for a documentary. Wood writes and will direct. Meanwhile, BBC Two has greenlighted an observational documentary series about British Airways. The three-part series will feature unprecedented access to the airline and promises to be the “most in-depth analysis of British Airways in 25 years.” Lion Television is making the doc for BBC Two.
British And French TV Networks Celebrate Nelson Mandela
British and French networks are turning over time to tributes to Nelson Mandela this weekend. BBC One aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Fight For Freedom on Friday night and also will extend its news coverage. Sky1 aired the special Nelson Mandela: The Struggle Is My Life, while the news division will have presenter Jeremy Thompson live in South Africa from Saturday. I’m also told the funeral service for Mandela, who died Thursday, will be aired live. Channel 4 ran Nelson Mandela Superstar, a celebration of his life and legacy on Friday night local, and at the same time, ITV also aired a special program. In France, pubcaster France Télévisions’ France O and Franco-German channel Arte aired specials and documentaries. National network France 2 has scheduled Clint Eastwood’s Invictus, starring Morgan Freeman in an Oscar-nominated turn as Mandela, to air on Saturday night. Eastwood shot part of that movie in France.
Discovery Channel will premiere The Making Of Mandela, a documentary celebrating the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela, on Sunday — coinciding with its premiere on Discovery Channel South Africa and two days after its premiere on Discovery Channel UK tonight. The Making Of Mandela, which will also roll out across 224 territories beginning tomorrow,
is produced for Discovery Channel by DNI and Darlow Smithson Productions, with Sarah T. Davies serving as executive producer for DNI, and Iain Riddick for Darlow Smithson. But the cable network said the film would premiere without credits “as a mark of respect for Mandela.” Mandela died yesterday at age 95. The film premieres Sunday at 12 PM ET/PT.
Refresh for latest …
Hollywood is mourning the loss today of former South Africa President Nelson Mandela. Here are some of the thoughts on his passing:
Idris Elba, portrayed Mandela in Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth; I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now. What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, U.S. distributor of Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom:
“One of the privileges of making movies is having the opportunity to immortalize those who have made a profound impact on humanity. We count ourselves unspeakably fortunate to have been immersed in Nelson Mandela’s story and legacy. It’s been an honor to have been granted such proximity to a man who will go down as one of history’s greatest freedom fighters and advocates for justice. I have had the privilege of spending time with President Mandela and I can say his sense of humor was as great as his optimism. We are deeply saddened by his loss; our hearts go out to his family and the entire South African nation.”
Morgan Freeman, portrayed Mandela in Invictus:
“Today the world lost one of the true giants of the past century. Nelson Mandela was a man of incomparable honor, unconquerable strength, and unyielding resolve—a saint to many, a hero to all who treasure liberty, freedom and the dignity of humankind. As we remember his triumphs, let us, in his memory, not just reflect on how far we’ve come, but on how far we have to go. Madiba may no longer be with us, but his journey continues on with me and with all of us.”