AFI Awards Lunch Brings Out Hollywood’s Heavy Hitters And Contenders For Season’s Ultra-Cool Event

By | Friday January 10, 2014 @ 5:14pm PST
Pete Hammond

AFI Awards 2013“Storytellers, welcome,”  said AFI president and CEO Bob Gazzale as he opened the AFI Awards 2013 luncheon today. “We open each AFI gathering with a single word: ‘Relax’. You have won. Each of you, and more importantly, all of you, because here you are one community of artists gathered in this room for what we hope to be a bit of respite from your job, but not from your work. Gone from this moment are the ratings, and red carpets and box office and all that you have to endure to sell art. Our goal is nothing short of epiphany, that you feel proud when you consider the compendium and see your place in it”. Gazzale’s welcome came before what appeared to be all of the heavy hitters currently running Hollywood as well as 20 tables full of artists repping AFI’s choices for the year’s Top Ten movies (12 Years A Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Fruitvale Station, Gravity, Her, Inside Llewyn Davis,  Nebraska, Saving Mr. Banks, The Wolf Of Wall Street) and Top Ten TV programs (The Americans, Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Good 14th Annual AFI Awards - Cocktail ReceptionWife, House Of Cards,  Mad Men, Masters Of Sex, Orange Is The New Black, Scandal, Veep).

For my money , this is the most relaxing and fun  awards event of the year. There are no losers, no acceptance speeches, only good vibes. And if you want to network, this is the A-list networking opportunity of the season. Where else are you going to find just about every studio head in the same room including Sony’s Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton, Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos, Disney’s Alan Horn, Paramount’s Brad Grey, and Fox Searchlight’s Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula? They were mixing it it up with the TV side including CBS’ Les Moonves (who also was there for CBS Films’ Inside Llewyn Davis), Fox’s Peter Rice and FX’s John Landgraf, and AMC’s Charlie Collier among many others including new kid on the block Netflix’s Ted Sarandos, who had two shows among the Top Ten, House Of Cards and Orange Is The New Black. It was his first time to this party and he was impressed. Oh, and did I mention both directing icons Martin Scorsese (with Wolf Of Wall Street) and Steven Spielberg (repping FX’s The Americans) were there, but quite14th Annual AFI Awards - Cocktail Reception frankly just about everyone in this room at the Four Seasons Hotel was someone. Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was also taking it all in and told me how she’s suddenly getting lots of calls after it was announced earlier today she would be delivering news of Oscar nominations next Thursday with Thor aka Chris Hemsworth. She’s excited to say the least. Read More »

Comments (3)

CBS Unveils This Year’s Kennedy Center Honors List

By | Thursday September 12, 2013 @ 7:17am PDT

The 36th annual Kennedy Center Honors will fete actress Shirley MacLaine, pianist/singer/songwriter Billy Joel, musician/songwriter Carlos Santana, opera singer Martina Arroyo, and pianist/band leader/composer Herbie Hancock, CBS announced this morning. The annual event at Washington’s Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts has been broadcast on CBS every year since its debut 36 years ago; this year’s broadcast will air Sunday, December 29, from 9-11 PM. From today’s announcement: Read More »

Comments (7)

Shirley MacLaine Returning To ‘Downton Abbey’, 6 New Cast Members Join

By | Saturday March 2, 2013 @ 7:45am PST

Shirley MacLaine will be returning to Downton Abbey next season as Martha Levinson and six new cast members will be joining the show as well, Carnival Films and Masterpiece on PBS announced this … Read More »

Comments 34

Shirley MacLaine & Christopher Plummer Join ‘Elsa & Fred’

By | Wednesday October 31, 2012 @ 1:30pm PDT

Oscar winners Christopher Plummer and Shirley MacLaine will star in the English-language remake of Elsa & Fred. Based on the 2005 Spanish-Argentine … Read More »

Comments (0)

‘Downton Abbey’ Season 3 Debut Pulls In More Than 8.6M UK Viewers

By | Monday September 17, 2012 @ 2:38am PDT

Shirley MacLaine rolled up to Downton Abbey last night to trade barbs with Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess in the show’s Season 3 UK premiere. ITV1 drew 8.64M viewers to the 90-minute opener. The hugely-anticipated return of the Crawley … Read More »

Comments (4)

Shirley MacLaine Honored With 40th AFI Life Achievement Award

By | Friday June 8, 2012 @ 4:01am PDT
Pete Hammond

“Welcome to the longest night of Warren Beatty’s life,” said Sony honcho and AFI  Board of Trustees Chair Howard Stringer as he opened the evening for the 40th Annual AFI Life Achievement Award to Shirley MacLaine last night at Sony … Read More »

Comments (13)

Shirley MacLaine, Robin Williams And Oliver Cooper To Star In ‘A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner’

By | Wednesday June 6, 2012 @ 3:55pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Writer/director Andy Bergman has re-teamed with producer Mike Lobell on A Film By Alan Stuart Eisner, an ensemble comedy which so far has Project X‘s Oliver Cooper, Shirley MacLaine and Robin Williams attached, with Rob Reiner making a cameo, Lobell … Read More »

Comments (7)

Meryl Streep To Present Shirley MacLaine With AFI Life Achievement Award

By | Tuesday May 22, 2012 @ 7:23pm PDT

LOS ANGELES, May 22, 2012 — AFI Life Achievement Award honoree Meryl Streep will present Shirley MacLaine with the American Film Institute’s 40th Life Achievement Award – America’s highest honor for a career in film. The private black tie

Read More »

Comments (2)

Shirley MacLaine In ‘Mother Goose’ Talks

By | Tuesday May 8, 2012 @ 7:20pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is in negotiations to play the royal title character in Mother Goose. The Oscar winner, who earlier this year joined the upcoming third season of U.K. costume drama Downton Abbey, would play the Queen … Read More »

Comments (1)

Dimension Films Acquires ‘Wild Oats’

By | Monday April 9, 2012 @ 2:10pm PDT
Mike Fleming

New York, NY, April 9, 2012 – Dimension Films continues its acquisitions streak with the pick up of the road-trip comedy WILD OATS featuring a talented cast including Academy Award® winner Shirley MacLaine, Academy Award® nominee Jacki Weaver and Academy Award® winner Alan Arkin . The film is directed

Read More »

Comments (2)

Shirley MacLaine Joins ‘Downton Abbey’ Cast

By | Monday January 30, 2012 @ 12:08pm PST

Shirley MacLaine Downton AbbeyShirley MacLaine is joining the cast of Downton Abbey, the ITV series that airs in the U.S. on PBS’ Masterpiece Theater and just won the Golden Globe for best miniseries. Our colleagues at TVLine reportRead More »

Comments (10)

Shirley MacLaine In Talks For Fox’s ‘Walter Mitty’

By | Friday January 13, 2012 @ 10:30am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is in negotiations to play the mother of Ben Stiller’s lead character in Fox’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. Stiller also is directing the pic, on which he came aboard after sparking to a new script … Read More »

Comments (5)

Shirley MacLaine To Receive AFI Life Achievement Award On June 7th

By | Sunday October 9, 2011 @ 12:33pm PDT

Shirley MacLaine has been named the 40th recipient of the American Film Institute’s Life Achievement Award. The 77-year-old MacLaine will receive the tribute during a gala ceremony next June 7 that … Read More »

Comments (14)

TOLDJA! Jack Black Pic ‘Bernie’ Acquired By Millennium Entertainment

Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed in July that Millennium Entertainment was buying U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival’s opening film Bernie, the Richard Linklater-directed movie that stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, for a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee and $1 million P&A commitment. Millennium has finally confirmed the deal. Here’s the official announcement: Read More »

Comments (2)

Millennium Buying ‘Bernie’ With Jack Black

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A deal is near for Millennium Entertainment to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival opening-night pic Bernie. I’m told that it will be the first significant grab for former Film Department co-head Mark Gill since … Read More »

Comments (12)

HAMMOND On L.A. Film Festival Opening: Can It Ever Challenge Toronto Or Telluride?

Pete Hammond

Although the Cannes Film Festival just ended three weeks ago, there’s always another film fest around the corner trying to steal its thunder and become part of the cinematic conversation. On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Film Festival, now in its 17th year, opened with the world premiere of the Richard Linklater (School of Rock, Dazed and Confused) comedy Bernie, with stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey joining its writer-director in introducing the film at downtown L.A.’s LA Live Regal Cinemas, where the fest moved last year. Not that it’s easy navigating the Los Angeles freeways at rush hour to get downtown, an off-the-beaten track place to premiere your movie, but the unapologetic black comedy and true-life tale of a small-town undertaker who caters to the much-hated Texas town’s matron until he reaches for a gun was worth the herculean effort navigating the annoying traffic jams and $25 parking fee (I didn’t read the signs carefully) just to see this splendid trio of actors deliver terrific performances backed by a great supporting group of locals who won big laughs throughout.

Bernie is an acquistion title and likely will be snapped up immediately by some enterprising distributor even though it’s not an obvious commercial hit. It is Black’s best work in some time. It could develop a following on the indie circuit though, and it certainly had the crowd (which included well-wishers like Linklater friend Steven Soderbergh and wife Jules Asner) buzzing at the crowded after-party on the L.A. Live parking garage rooftop.

Film Independent (which runs the fest as well as the Spirit Awards) board members I spoke to at the premiere are hopeful Bernie could become the fest’s first big breakout acquisition title, and reps from many indie distribs were in attendance. In fact, the fest delayed announcement of its opening film until after the Cannes festival was over because producers did not want to be inundated with calls about acquiring the film during that market and wanted to wait until it could premiere cold in L.A., a big tribute to the growing clout of LAFF. Read More »

Comments (9)

A 14-Year ‘Gambit’ Finally Provides a Big Payoff For Producer Mike Lobell

Mike Fleming

Production begins today on Gambit, a caper comedy that stars Colin Firth as a London art curator who plans to con England’s richest man into buying a phony Monet painting. To do it, he enlists a Texas steer roper (Cameron … Read More »

Comments 39

CBS Films Acquires Colin Firth-Cameron Diaz Redo ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: CBS Films has acquired U.S. distribution rights to Gambit. The film has a script by Joel and Ethan Coen, and Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz are set … Read More »

Comments (19)

Cameron Diaz Joins Colin Firth In ‘Gambit’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Cameron Diaz is attached to star with Colin Firth in Gambit, the Joel and Ethan Coen-scripted remake that will be directed by The Last Station’s Michael Hoffman. The 1966 original starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Mike Lobell is … Read More »

Comments 33
More Deadline | Hollywood »