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OSCARS: Past Winners Berry, Bullock, Kidman & Witherspoon Set As Presenters

By | Wednesday February 13, 2013 @ 7:58am PST

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Academy Award® winners Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will present on the Oscar telecast, show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron announced today. All four have previously won the award for Best Actress.

Berry won the award for her performance in “Monster’s Ball” (2001), Bullock for “The Blind Side” (2009), Kidman for “The Hours” (2002) and Witherspoon for “Walk the Line” (2005).

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Sandra Bullock To Voice Super-Villain In ‘Minions’ Spinoff For Illumination/Universal

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Playing against her America’s Sweetheart status, Sandra Bullock has been set to provide the lead villain voice in Minions, the Universal Pictures/Illumination Entertainment spinoff of the Despicable Me franchise. Bullock will voice Scarlet Overkill, a stylish bad-ass super-villain who is (what else?) bent on world domination. The 3D CG animated comedy has been set for release December 19, 2014.

The adorable yellow henchmen, who got their start in 2010′s Despicable Me, will be back this summer in the sequel. This spinoff establishes that Minions have existed since the beginning of time, in service of history’s most ambitiously evil villains. Through their lovable ineptitude, Minions have managed to thwart and ultimately destroy all of those bad guys. This story picks up in the 1960s, before they hench-ed for Gru. With no more super-villains  to serve, the Minions fall into a collective depression and three of them set out to seek a new evil master. They wind up at a villain convention, where they compete for the right to be henchmen for Scarlet Overkill, whose Audrey Hepburn-like high style appearance belies her world domination ambition and her aspirations to become the world’s first female super-villain. Read More »

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Warner Bros Dates Sandra Bullock Pic ‘Gravity’ – Again

By | Tuesday January 15, 2013 @ 5:14pm PST

The Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity will be released wide October 4, 2013 in 3D and IMAX. The space pic had a November 2012 release date before Warner Bros pushed it forward last spring to give it more room amid a crowded fourth-quarter slate that at the time included Argo, Gangster Squad, The Hobbit and The Great Gatsby (Gatsby has since been shifted to May 10, 2013). George Clooney co-stars and the two play astronauts whose characters are stranded in space after their space shuttle crashes; the brunt of the story surrounds Bullock’s medical engineer. The October 4 release puts the pic against Weinstein/Dimension’s Sin City sequel, Relativity’s Paranoia and Disney’s Vince Vaughn-starrer The Delivery Man.

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Hot Red Band Trailer: ‘The Heat’

By | Wednesday December 19, 2012 @ 8:15pm PST

This one provides a little more graphic look at Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy as reluctant partners in The Heat, written by Katie Dippold (Parks And Recreation) and directed by Bridesmaids‘ Paul Feig:

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Hot Trailer: Bullock & McCarthy In ‘The Heat’

By | Friday November 16, 2012 @ 7:55pm PST

Think this will work? Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy play mismatched officers of the law who are forced together as partners to go after a drug lord. The Heat is directed by BridesmaidsPaul Feig and written by Katie Dippold (Parks & Recreation). The 20th Century Fox release from Chernin Entertainment opens April 5th, 2013:

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‘Mad TV’s Michael McDonald Joins Paul Feig’s ‘The Heat’

By | Wednesday August 1, 2012 @ 8:19am PDT
Mike Fleming

Michael McDonald, a standout performer for a decade on the Fox series Mad TV, has joined the cast of the 20th Century Fox Paul Feig-directed buddy comedy The Heat, which stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. He will play a villain. Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Dylan Clark are producing. This comes after McDonald signed a new blind script deal to develop a one hour show with ABC Studios. After his Mad TV run, McDonald has been working behind the scenes, creating and exec producing the hourlong drama spec script pilot Beautiful People for NBC last season. McDonald worked as a director, co-executive producer and writer on ABC’s Cougar Town and will continue directing episodes of the show this season after it moved to TBS. He will also helm episodes of the new ABC sitcoms Family Tools and How To Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life. He’s repped by UTA.

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Demian Bichir Takes ‘The Heat’

By | Monday July 30, 2012 @ 4:26pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Demian Bichir has joined The Heat, the Paul Feig-directed comedy that stars Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. It is the first studio comedy for Bichir, who was Oscar nominated for A Better Life. He was last seen in the Oliver Stone-directed Savages. In The Heat, he will play an FBI agent. Bichir, who just wrapped the Robert Rodriguez-directed Machete Kills, is repped by CAA and managed by Sekka Scher.

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Paul Feig’s ‘The Heat’ Adds Online Comic Spoken Reasons

By | Thursday June 28, 2012 @ 1:16pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Leaping from YouTube to the big screen, Spoken Reasons has been added to the cast of The Heat. The online comedy star joins Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy in the Paul Feig-directed film. Specifics are sketchy but Reasons will play a lead character called “Terrell Rojas.” The Fox distributed cop buddy movie, where Bullock’s FBI agent and McCarthy’s Boston cop team up against the Russian mob, starts filming next month. The Heat is the feature film debut for the 23-year old Spoken Reasons, whose real name is John Baker. However it is far from his first time in front of the camera. Producing, directing, writing and starring in skits and music videos on his own YouTube channel, Spoken Reasons has garnered more than 125 million views online. He has more than 1 million subscribers. A recent collaboration with producer Brian Robbins’ new YouTube-financed channel AwesomenessTV helped put Reasons in front of Feig, who quickly cast him in The Heat, Deadline has learned. Feig is executive producing The Heat. Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Dylan Clark will produce. Spoken Reasons is repped by UTA and managed by Steve Rifkind.

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Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy Play Cop With Paul Feig

By | Saturday May 19, 2012 @ 11:52am PDT

Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are going to be packing heat. The duo have signed up to do a cop buddy movie. Bridesmaids Paul Feig will direct the as yet untitled project. Katie Dippold of Parks and Recreation acclaim is writing the screenplay. The movie details the strained working relationship between an uptight FBI agent, played by Oscar winner Bullock, and an unconventional Boston cop, played by Oscar nominee McCarthy. The movie is bit of a reunion for Feig and McCarthy, who worked together on 2011 comedy hit Bridesmaids. Feig will executive produce. Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping and Dylan Clark will produce the Fox distributed film. Dippold is repped by WME and 3 Arts. Feig, McCarthy and Bullock are all repped by CAA.

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Oscar Q&A: Sandra Bullock, Max Von Sydow & Thomas Horn On ‘Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close’

Warner Bros’ year-end release Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close faced a challenge of being too late and too early — simultaneously. Its late December release and tight post-production schedule meant it wasn’t out in time for many year-end best-of lists, and as a result other films have taken the spotlight during the past month on the awards circuit. At the same time, for some it might be too early for a film that explores the horrors of the 9/11 tragedy. Still, the drama starring Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, Thomas Horn and Max von Sydow did show up on the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Best Picture nominees list. (Warner Bros is promoting von Sydow’s performance with a new featurette that includes new sound bites, behind-the-scenes footage and clips; see it below). Bullock, von Sydow and Horn sat down with Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond for an AwardsLine Q&A following the first industry screening of the film in early December.

On what drew Sandra Bullock to this 9/11 themed feature:
BULLOCK: The way the story was written through Thomas (Horn’s) character Oskar’s eyes, really inspired me, because it allowed you to feel things as an innocent, rather than as an adult. Knowing everything that we knew about the (9/11) events and how much pain it caused everyone and this child’s desire just to understand, “Why?” And there is no answer. It also shows a healing — how it bonded people together that you would never expect to come together. I was in New York that day and you saw every person reaching out to someone else. … There is a great line that Oskar has: “We’re all bonded by loss. If you have a good life, you’re going to experience loss. It connects us all. It makes us all the same.” There’s a healing in that which says, “You’re not alone. You’re not different.” Read More »

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Hammond: Incredibly Late, Can ‘Extremely Loud’ Catch Up In Best Picture Race?

Pete Hammond

Coming into December Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, producer Scott Rudin’s third Oscar hopeful this Fall (after Moneyball and December 21 release The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), was expected to become an immediate major player in the Oscar game, but several problems crept up including some last-minute shoots, a new music score and a rushed series of screenings to play catch-up, particularly with SAG whose ballots were in the hands of voters already a few days before the film’s first screening, and well over a week before Warner Bros. could send SAG nominating committee members the DVD screener — a necessity to put it on an even playing field with most other hopefuls which had weeks or months to get their message and movies in front of voters. A SAG nominating committee member who greatly admired the film told me she thinks many ballots were already sent in before members had a chance to see this movie, which she admits she had never heard of.

The film is finally opening Christmas Day on a limited basis in New York and Los Angeles and will go wide on January 20, four days before Oscar nominations are announced. But will it get any, or has all the last-minute catch-up taken its toll?

Although it received four major nominations including Best Picture last week from the Critics Choice Movie Awards (which often mirror Academy tastes) it was completely snubbed for any Golden Globe attention by members of the … Read More »

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Hammond: Supporting Actress Hopefuls Might Wish For Oscar Absence Of ‘The Help’

Pete Hammond

Could one movie dominate this year’s best supporting actress Oscar lineup? Certainly an argument could be made for any number of actresses in the ensemble hit, The Help and in fact two of them were nominated for Critics Choice Movie Awards today. But it is more likely Oscar voters will want to spread the wealth rather than repeat what they did for 1963’s Tom Jones, when three ladies won the lion’s share of nominations in the category. The competition among supporting thesps is just too strong this year to go in that direction. Here is a look at the way this highly competitive category is shaping up.

FRONTRUNNERS:
OCTAVIA SPENCER, THE HELP
As Minny Jackson, a civil rights-era maid, Spencer made a very memorable pie and got the bulk of the laughs among a large ensemble. She is a sure thing nominee, not only for her comic ability but her dramatic scenes too, making her a formidable contender and crowd favorite.

BÉRÉNICE BEJO, THE ARTIST
Taking on the challenge not only of playing the lead female role in a black and white silent film, Bejo also had to learn to tap dance and sing in addition to being a believable budding superstar of the silver screen. In other words she does it all except talk. But it’s more than enough.

SHAILENE WOODLEY, THE DESCENDANTS
Breaking out of the cable TV teen comedy ghetto, Woodley showed she … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’

New trailer for director Stephen Daldry and screenwriter Eric Roth’s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s novel reveals a bit more of Tom Hanks, Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock and Max Von Sydow. The Warner Bros movie opens in limited release Christmas Day and expands January 20.

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NY Critics Delay Awards A Day To See David Fincher’s ‘Girl With The Dragon Tattoo’

The New York Film Critics Circle has delayed by one day the group’s annual movie awards to allow its 33 members to see David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo from Sony. Instead of Monday November 28 the New York critics will announce their verdicts on the year’s best cinema work on Tuesday November 29. The group raised eyebrows earlier this year with the announcement that they would reveal their awards two weeks earlier than in the past in order to be the first of the numerous critics awards.  That still gives them a one-day jump on the National Board of Review, which in the past has been first. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will reveal its choices December 11. The New Yorkers won’t, however, wait for Warner Bros to show them the Tom Hanks-Sandra Bullock vehicle Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. Studio executives said the completed movie directed by Stephen Daldry would not be available for viewing until December 2. Dragon Tattoo opens December 21; Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close debuts December 25.

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Clint Eastwood Stars In ‘Trouble With The Curve’; Malpaso’s Robert Lorenz Directing

By | Wednesday October 5, 2011 @ 6:30pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: While Clint Eastwood was expected to follow directing J Edgar by directing A Star Is Born with Beyonce, her pregnancy has put that project off. Instead, I hear he’s seriously looking at starring in Trouble With The Curve, a project at Warner Bros that will mark the feature directorial debut of his Malpaso partner Robert Lorenz. The Randy Brown-scripted film is about an aging baseball scout, who’s losing his sight, and heads on a last road trip to Atlanta with his daughter to scout a hotshot prospect. They will lock Eastwood and Lorenz’s deals before setting an actress to play the daughter. Malpaso will produce.

Aside from being Eastwood’s longtime business partner, Lorenz has been assistant director on many of Eastwood’s films, including Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River and Blood Work.

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Hot Trailer: ‘Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close’

Warner Bros’ Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, about a precocious boy whose father is killed on Sept. 11, hits theaters in limited release on a crowded Christmas Day. Stephen Daldry’s adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer’s 2005 novel stars Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, James Gandolfini and Viola Davis. Newcomer Thomas Horn plays 9-year-old Oskar Schell.

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John Goodman Boards Paramount’s ‘Flight’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: John Goodman has joined the cast of the Robert Zemeckis-directed Flight, which stars Denzel Washington as an airline pilot who averts a plane crash, only to come under a cloud for possible substance abuse problems. Goodman will play a friend of the pilot who helps him come to terms with his problems. Goodman, who stars in the Michel Hazanavicius-directed silent film The Artist, is shooting the Ben Affleck-directed Argo and most recently wrapped the Stephen Daldry-directed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock. Goodman’s repped by Gersh.

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Ryan Reynolds & Sandra Bullock Plot TV Reunion: Co-Starring In Fox Animated Comedy Written By Reynolds & Allan Loeb

By | Friday August 26, 2011 @ 3:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

EXCLUSIVE: The Proposal co-stars and good friends Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock are teaming again, this time in television. Reynolds and Bullock are expected to lead the voice cast of And Then There Was Gordon, an animated comedy from Reynolds and Allan Loeb’s recently launched TV company DarkFire, which has received a presentation order from Fox. Reynolds and Allan Loeb will co-write the script together, with Reynolds also voicing a character. Bullock is in talks to join the project as an executive producer and a lead cast member. And Then There Was Gordon centers on an ordinary child surrounded by his prodigy siblings and brilliant, but neurotic mother, a role I hear Bullock is eyed for. 20th Century Fox TV, where DarkFire has a first-look deal, is producing. Bullock would executive produce alongside DarkFire principals Reynolds, Loeb, Steven Pearl and Jonathon Komack Martin, all repped by CAA. And Then There Was Gordon seems to be the polar opposite to Fox/20th TV’s upcoming animated series Allen Gregory, which centers on a boy prodigy surrounded by average kids. This marks the writing debut for Reynolds, while Loeb’s writing credits include features Just Go With It and Wall Street 2. Read More »

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HAMMOND: Clooney, Clint, And Spielberg Put Major Studios Back Into Oscar Race

Pete Hammond

Last week we looked at potential Oscar contenders released in the first eight months of 2011 (see Woody Allen, Brad Pitt, ‘The Help’ And Cast Among Early 2011 Oscar Contenders; Can They Hang On?), but as any pundit worth their prognosticator card will tell you, the game is really played out in the final four months, where the lion’s share of major eventual nominees will open and flourish on their way to the playoffs at the guilds, Globes and critics awards and the finals at the Kodak Theatre on Feb. 26.

So with the all-important official start of awards season kicking off next week in Venice and Telluride, followed closely by the Toronto International Film Festival beginning Sept. 8, here is the next installment of my early preseason primer for the likely contenders. Just keep in mind most of these films are still largely unseen, so take it all with a grain of salt. Once the movies actually are viewed, the landscape can change dramatically, and of course there is always that possibility of a real sleeper coming out of nowhere, landing a distribution deal and opening before the end of the year.

First up, a look at what the major studios have in store.

In recent years, the majors have been largely upstaged in the final vote by those upstart indies. Last year, The Weinstein Co’s The King’s Speech rode a surprise victory at the Producers Guild Awards all the way to a Best Pic Oscar win over the majors’ strong money bets The Social Network (Sony), The Fighter and True Grit (Paramount) and Toy Story 3 (Disney). In 2009, Summit’s little-war-film-that-could, The Hurt Locker, had the smallest gross of any Best Picture winner ever but still ran over the biggest entry ever from a major, 20th Century Fox’s Avatar, the most successful film of all time. Nevertheless, the rule of 10 nominees in effect for both those years certainly benefitted the majors in landing them four of the Best Pic slots in 2010 and five the previous year. Even though the Academy has now tweaked that rule to create a scenario in which anywhere from five to 10 pics can be nominated, the majors for the most part have an exceptionally strong fall slate and should remain a factor as one of them tries to reclaim the crown last given to a pure major studio release in 2006 to Warner Bros’ The Departed. And though major studios seem more obsessed in creating money-minting tentpoles these days than bathing in Oscar glory, the ego still flies on the lots and majors would like those front-row seats at the Kodak just as much as Harvey Weinstein.

Note: Independents owned by majors like Fox Searchlight, Sony Pictures Classics and Focus will be included in the next installment looking at indie contenders. This one is just for the big boys.

Warner Bros

Kicking off Warners’ fall season Sept. 9 and before that at the Venice Film Festival is  Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh’s Contagion, a serious thriller looking at the fight to stop a major virus outbreak killing millions around the world. Although Warners is just hoping it grabs the grown-up audience and makes some nice change, it could move up in the pantheon of studio Oscar hopefuls if it makes a big impact and gets editorial interest off the entertainment pages.

Warners’ two biggest bets for a fall awards splash are the Nov. 9 release J. Edgar and Dec. 25 biggie Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. The latter is a post-9/11 drama with serious Oscar cred in stars Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock and director Stephen Daldry, whose first three films – Billy Elliot, The Hours and The Reader — each landed him a Best Director Oscar nod, a nearly unprecedented perfect track record. As for J. Edgar, it stars three-time Best Actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, was written by Milk’s Oscar-winning scripter Dustin Lance Black and directed by four-time winner Clint Eastwood, who with Unforgiven and Million Dollar Baby has two previous Warner Bros Best Pictures under his belt. Couple that with subject matter revolving around a biographical portrait of the controversial FBI director and you have the stuff Oscar voters usually eat up — on paper at least.  After weak Academy showings with Gran Torino, Invictus and Hereafter, the prolific Clint could be due for another dance with Oscar.

The studio also hopes to be back in the animation race this year with the sequel to its 2006 winner Happy Feet Two, which bows Nov. 18. Read More »

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