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‘Kids Are All Right’ Scribe Stuart Blumberg Makes Comedy Pitch Deal At New Line

By | Wednesday November 20, 2013 @ 9:39am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Stuart Blumberg has sold an original comedy pitch to New Line Cinema with Scott Stuber and Maven Pictures duo Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler producing. The untitled comedy centers around two very different families, one a blue-state liberal, the other a red-state conservative, who discover that they have been raising the other’s son since they were switched by accident 17 years ago.

Blumberg scripted The Kids Are All Right, for which he got an Oscar nom, and he made his directing debut on the sex addiction tale Thanks For Sharing with Mark Ruffalo and Gwyneth Paltrow. Stuber will produce through his Bluegrass Films banner and Styler and Rattray through Maven Pictures. Blumberg’s Class 5 Films cohorts Edward Norton and Bill Migliore are exec producing. This is a reunion between Rattray and Blumberg, who collaborated on The Kids Are All Right. New Line’s Richard Brener and Michael Disco are overseeing for New Line. Stuber’s coming off the hits Identity Thief and Ted, while Maven is coming off the Kristen Wiig-Annette Bening comedy Girl Most Likely and the James McAvoy-starrer Filth, which surprised to become the UK’s second highest grossing R-rated film of the year. Maven’s next, Black Nativity, will be released Thanksgiving by Fox Searchlight. Blumberg is repped by WME.

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HBO Turning ‘The Kids Are All Right’ Into Series Pilot

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: HBO has made a deal to develop  the Oscar-nominated comedy The Kids Are All Right as an hour-long series. Lisa Cholodenko, who co-wrote and directed the Focus Features release, will write the pilot script. I’m told that it will continue the adventures of the five main characters. They were the same-sex partners (played in the film by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore), their son and daughter (played by Josh Hutcherson and Mia Wasikowska) and the biological father of the kids/sperm donor who surfaces and tears the family apart (played by Mark Ruffalo in the film). Deals are still being worked out, but Cholodenko will be exec producer alongside the film’s original producers, Antidote Films’ Jeffrey Levy-Hinte, Gilbert Films’ Gary Gilbert and Maven Pictures’ Celine Rattray. Cholodenko is repped by Cinetic.

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eOne Acquires Australian Film Distributor

By | Sunday April 10, 2011 @ 11:37pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

International company Entertainment One, known primarily for its TV production and distribution business, has acquired Australian independent feature film distributor Hopscotch. Hopscotch released 15 titles theatrically in 2010 and has a library of 300-plus film and television titles. Recent releases include The Wrestler, The Kids Are All Right, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and the upcoming Source Code. In the U.S, eOne is behind such shows as Hung, Haven, Rookie Blue, Skins and the upcoming Hell on Wheels.

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OSCAR: Annette Bening Q&A

Pete Hammond

Few actresses have the chops to alternate between comedy and drama like 52-year-old Annette Bening. Hollywood really took notice of her in The Grifters which resulted in the first of what would be four career Oscar nominations including this year’s Best Actress nod for The Kids Are All Right, a dramedy contender for Best Picture. Deadline’s Awards columnist Pete Hammond interviewed her recently:

DEADLINE: Did you know right away you wanted to do The Kids Are All Right?
ANNETTE BENING: I responded immediately. I had met Lisa Cholodenko, the director, in our neighborhood, and I had also seen her work. So I had that context. I knew it was Julianne Moore playing the other part. There was some time before it got made, and they continued to work on the script. I ended up liking some of the stuff that was in the previous drafts. I thought it was very important that humor was really key. So there was a little bit of tweaking. But basically I just loved it.

DEADLINE: That delicate balance of drama and comedy is so hard to do right.
BENING: Yes, it is and the reason it isn’t done more is because it’s harder! It’s easier to be earnest and it’s harder to find a way to tell the truth and then also keep the sense of humor in a story. So when you can find something that walks that line, and still gets at the … Read More »

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Oscars Add Best Actress Candidate Annette Bening As Presenter

Mike Fleming

Beverly Hills, CA – Academy Award®-nominated actress Annette Bening will be a presenter at the 83rd Academy Awards ceremony, telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer announced today.

Bening, who is an Academy governor, recently received her fourth Oscar® nomination, for her leading role in “The Kids Are All Right.” She received her first nomination for her supporting role in “The Grifters” (1990) and received nominations for her leading roles in “American Beauty” (1999) and “Being Julia” (2004). Her other film credits include “The Women,” “Open Range,” “In Dreams,” “Richard III” and “Regarding Henry.”

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OSCAR: Hammond Analyzes Nominations: Where Does The Race Head Now?

Pete Hammond

Has The King’s Speech, fresh off that Producers Guild win and now leading with 12 Oscar nominations, just gone to the front of the class? My guess is this one could be a squeaker. Presumed Academy Awards co-frontrunner and critics favorite The Social Network trailed with only 8 nominations but they were the right ones: an Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Best Picture winner might expect to have Cinematography and Editing and Sound Mixing and Music plus acting, writing, and directing. And The Fighter also is still in there strongly in key categories (7 noms overall) as well as film editing, an important one since as all pundits know it’s difficult to win Best Picture without at least also gaining an editing nod. The last movie to do that was Ordinary People some 30 years ago. That’s bad news for Best Pic nominees True Grit, which other than its editing snub did spectacularly well with 10 nominations, and most surprisingly Inception which, despite 8 other nominations, also sported an even bigger snub in addition to no editing honor with director Christopher Nolan again being passed over on the Directors honor roll.

It’s déjà vu for Chris who was nominated for a DGA award for The Dark Knight two years ago but found himself left out in the cold by Oscar not only for Director but also Screenplay and Picture. At least Nolan received the latter two nominations today. But with the popularity and critical acclaim he received for Inception, Read More »

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OSCAR: Today’s Nominations By Picture

83RD AWARDS
Feature Films With 2 Or More Nominations
(No Short Films or Documentary Short Subjects.)

The King’s Speech – The Weinstein Company 12
True Grit – Paramount 10
Inception - Warner Bros 8
The Social Network - Sony Pictures Releasing 8
The Fighter – Paramount 7
127 Hours - Fox Searchlight 6
Black Swan – Fox Searchlight 5
Toy Story 3 – Walt Disney 5
The Kids Are All Right – Focus Features 4
Winter’s Bone – Roadside Attractions 4
Alice in Wonderland – Walt Disney 3
Biutiful – Roadside Attractions 2
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 – Warner Bros 2
How to Train Your Dragon – Paramount 2

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83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations: ‘King’s Speech’ Leads With 12; ‘True Grit’ 10, ‘Social Network’ And ‘Inception’ 8 (But Nolan Blanked Again For Best Director)

BEVERLY HILLS: Beverly Hills, CA (January 25, 2011) – Nominations for the 83rd Academy Awards were announced today (Tuesday, January 25) by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak and 2009 Oscar® winner Mo’Nique. Sherak and Mo’Nique, who won an Academy Award® for her supporting performance in “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” announced the nominees in 10 of the 24 Award categories at a 5:38 a.m. PT live news conference attended by more than 400 international media representatives.

Academy members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominate film editors, etc. In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees. Nominations ballots were mailed to the 5,755 voting members in late December and were returned directly to PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the international accounting firm, for tabulation. Official screenings of all motion pictures with one or more nominations will begin for members this weekend at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Screenings also will be held at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood and in London, New York and the San Francisco Bay Area. All active and life members of the Academy are eligible to select the winners in all categories, although in five of them – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only if they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Here are today’s nominations:

BEST PICTURE
127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)
An Hours Production Christian Colson, Danny Boyle and John Smithson, Producers
BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
A Protozoa and Phoenix Pictures Production Mike Medavoy, Brian Oliver and Scott Franklin, Producers
INCEPTION (Warner Bros)
A Warner Bros. UK Services Production Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, Producers
THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
A Relativity Media Production David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman and Mark Wahlberg, Producers
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
An Antidote Films, Mandalay Vision and Gilbert Films Production Gary Gilbert, Jeffrey Levy-Hinte and Celine Rattray, Producers
THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co)
A See-Saw Films and Bedlam Production Iain Canning, Emile Sherman and Gareth Unwin, Producers
THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
A Columbia Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti, Michael De Luca and Ceán Chaffin, Producers
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
A Pixar Production Darla K. Anderson, Producer
TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
A Paramount Pictures Production Scott Rudin, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, Producers
WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
A Winter’s Bone Production Anne Rosellini and Alix Madigan-Yorkin, Producers

BEST ACTOR
JEFF BRIDGES – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
JAVIER BARDEM – BIUTIFUL (Roadside Attractions)
JESSE EISENBERG – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
COLIN FIRTH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
JAMES FRANCO – 127 HOURS (Fox Searchlight)

BEST ACTRESS
ANNETTE BENING – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
NICOLE KIDMAN – RABBIT HOLE (Lionsgate)
JENNIFER LAWRENCE – WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
NATALIE PORTMAN – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
MICHELLE WILLIAMS – BLUE VALENTINE (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
CHRISTIAN BALE – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
JOHN HAWKES – WINTER’S BONE (Roadside Attractions)
JEREMY RENNER – THE TOWN (Warner Bros)
MARK RUFFALO – THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT (Focus Features)
GEOFFREY RUSH – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
AMY ADAMS – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
HELENA BONHAM CARTER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Company)
MELISSA LEO – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)
HAILEE STEINFELD – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
JACKI WEAVER – ANIMAL KINGDOM (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST ANIMATED PICTURE
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON (DreamWorks Animation)
TOY STORY 3 (Walt Disney)
THE ILLUSIONIST (Sony Pictures Classics)

BEST DIRECTOR
DARREN ARONOFSKY – BLACK SWAN (Fox Searchlight)
DAVID FINCHER – THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Sony Pictures)
TOM HOOPER – THE KING’S SPEECH (The Weinstein Co.)
JOEL AND ETHAN COEN – TRUE GRIT (Paramount)
DAVID O. RUSSELL – THE FIGHTER (Paramount)

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
ANOTHER YEAR, Mike Leigh (Sony Pictures Classics)
THE FIGHTER, Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson, Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Paramount)
INCEPTION, Christopher Nolan (Warner Bros)
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT, Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg (Focus Features)
THE KING’S SPEECH, David Seidler (The Weinstein Co)

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 HOURS, Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy (Fox Searchlight)
TOY STORY 3, Michael Arndt, Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Lee Unkrich (Walt Disney)
THE SOCIAL NETWORK, Aaron Sorkin (Sony Pictures)
WINTER’S BONE, Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (Roadside Attractions)
TRUE GRIT, Joel Coen & Ethan Coen (Paramount)

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Algeria, Hors la Loi (Outside the Law) (Cohen Media Group) – A Tassili Films Production
Canada, Incendies (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Micro-Scope Production
Denmark, In a Better World (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Zentropa Production
Greece, Dogtooth (Kino International) – A Boo Production
Mexico, Biutiful (Roadside Attractions) - A Menage Atroz, Mod Producciones and Ikiru Films Production

BEST ACHIEVEMENT IN CINEMATOGRAPHY
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight) – Matthew Libatique
Inception (Warner Bros.) – Wally Pfister
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Company) – Danny Cohen
The Social Network (Sony Pictures Releasing) – Jeff Cronenweth
True Grit (Paramount) – Roger Deakins

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Exit Through The Gift Shop (Producers Distribution Agency) A Paranoid Pictures Production Banksy and Jaimie D’Cruz
Gasland – A Gasland Production Josh Fox and Trish Adlesic
Inside Job (Sony Pictures Classics) – A Representational Pictures Production Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs
Restrepo (National Geographic Entertainment) – An Outpost Films Production Tim Hetherington and Sebastian Junger
Waste Land (Arthouse Films) – An Almega Projects Production Lucy Walker and Angus Aynsley

Read More »

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22nd GLAAD Film/TV Awards Nominations

Los Angeles, Thursday, January 20, 2011 – The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the nation’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, announced today the nominees for its 22nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards.  By recognizing and honoring media for outstanding images of the LGBT community, the GLAAD Media Awards serve as a benchmark for the media industry and complement GLAAD’s work to bring LGBT images and stories to Americans.

Nominees include Glee, True Blood, Modern Family, The Kids Are All Right, Project Runway, The Oprah Winfrey Show and Burlesque. The Awards will be held in New York City on March 19 and in San Francisco on May 9. Los Angeles details to be announced:

22nd ANNUAL GLAAD MEDIA AWARDS NOMINEES

OUTSTANDING FILM – WIDE RELEASE
Burlesque (Screen Gems)
Easy A (Screen Gems)
The Girl Who Played with Fire (Music Box Films)
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (Universal Pictures)

OUTSTANDING FILM – LIMITED RELEASE
Howl (Oscilloscope Pictures)
I Love You Phillip Morris (Roadside Attractions)
La Mission (Screen Media Ventures)
Patrik, Age 1.5 (Regent Releasing)
Undertow (Wolfe Releasing)

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Brothers & Sisters (ABC)
Degrassi (TeenNick)
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family)
True Blood (HBO)

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Glee (Fox)
GREEK (ABC Family)
Modern Family (ABC)
Nurse Jackie (Showtime)
United States of Tara (Showtime)

OUTSTANDING INDIVIDUAL EPISODE (in a series without a regular LGBT character)
“Escape the Castle” Bored to Death (HBO)
“Innocence” Law & Order (NBC)
“Klaus & Greta” 30 Rock (NBC)
“Queen of Mean” Drop Dead Diva (Lifetime)
“Samaritan” Law & Order: UK (BBC America)

OUTSTANDING DOCUMENTARY
8: The Mormon Proposition (Red Flag Releasing)
Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement (Sundance Channel)
Prodigal Sons (First Run Features)
“Sylvester” UnSung (TV One)
Out. The Glenn Burke Story (Comcast SportsNet Bay Area)

OUTSTANDING REALITY PROGRAM
The Fabulous Beekman Boys (Planet Green)
Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys (Sundance Channel)
Project Runway (Lifetime)
Top Chef: Just Desserts (Bravo)
TRANSform Me (VH1)

OUTSTANDING TALK SHOW EPISODE
“Constance McMillen” The Ellen DeGeneres Show  (syndicated)
“Neil Patrick Harris” The Talk (CBS)
“Rebuilding Home After Tragedy: The Seth Walsh Story” The Nate Berkus Show (syndicated)
“Ricky Martin Coming Out as a Gay Man and a New Dad” The Oprah Winfrey Show (syndicated)
“Transgender Kids: Too Young to Decide?” The Dr. Oz Show (syndicated)

OUTSTANDING COMIC BOOK
Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Scott Allie, Brad Meltzer,
Joss Whedon (Dark Horse Comics)
Fogtown by Andersen Gabrych (Vertigo/DC Comics)
Veronica by Dan Parent (Archie Comics)
X-Factor by Peter David (Marvel Comics)
Young Avengers: Children’s Crusade by Allan Heinberg (Marvel)

Read More »

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Golden Globes Winners List: ‘The Social Network,’ Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, David Fincher…

Ricky Gervais Assesses His Golden Globes Performance
Check out Nikki’s live-snarking from the event…
And here are the night’s big winners:

BEST PICTURE, DRAMA
The Social Network

BEST PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
The Kids Are All Right

ACTOR, DRAMA
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech

ACTRESS, DRAMA
Natalie Portman – The Black Swan

ACTRESS, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right

ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Paul Giamatti – Barney’s Version

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Toy Story 3

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
In A Better World (Denmark)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS, MOTION PICTURE
Melissa Leo – The Fighter

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR, MOTION PICTURE
Christian Bale – The Fighter

BEST DIRECTOR, MOTION PICTURE
David Fincher – The Social Network

BEST SCREENPLAY, MOTION PICTURE
Aaron Sorkin – The Social Network

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE, MOTION PICTURE
Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross – The Social Network

BEST ORIGINAL SONG, MOTION PICTURE
“You Haven’t Seen The Last Of Me” – Burlesque

TELEVISION

DRAMA
Boardwalk Empire

COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Glee

ACTRESS, DRAMA
Katey Sagal – Sons Of Anarchy

ACTOR, DRAMA
Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire 

ACTRESS, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Laura Linney – The Big C

ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Jim Parsons – The Big Bang Theory

BEST MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Carlos

ACTRESS IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Claire Danes – Temple Grandin

ACTOR IN A MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Al Pacino – You Don’t Know Jack

SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Jane Lynch – Glee

SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A SERIES, MINI-SERIES OR MOTION PICTURE
Chris Colfer – Glee

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More Films Put On iTunes For SAG Voters

Mike Fleming

UPDATE: Paramount press release for The Fighter on iTunes below. Right below is Focus’ release, issued after Deadline broke the story.

EXCLUSIVE: I’m hearing that Focus Features has made a deal with iTunes that will allow SAG members to view its awards season candidate, The Kids Are All Right through a multitude of viewing devices. This follows last week’s announcement by Fox Searchlight of its accommodation with iTunes so that SAG members could watch 127 Hours, Black Swan and Conviction. Other studios are expected to follow suit quickly, because the acting races are so tight this year and because, unlike the AMPAS voting, SAG polls are open for two more weeks. Focus Features is making the service available today because we’re heading into a four-day weekend with MLK Day, and the Golden Globes. The Kids Are All Right is a triple SAG Award nominee, for Ensemble Cast, Annette Bening for Actress, and Mark Ruffalo for Supporting Actor.

Will the move toward iTunes make DVD screeners obsolete? I’m told the jury’s out. The process allows voters to view films on devices, which adds a convenience factor, and there are safeguards. Viewers get 24 hours to finish watching a film before it goes dead. The system could certainly work for AMPAS members, though it might be more of a challenge to get an older membership to embrace it, as well as Writers Guild and Producers Guild membership. The Directors Guild doesn’t is the sole body that still tries to make voting … Read More »

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OSCAR: Overview Of Best Screenplay Race

Pete Hammond

It’s amazing that any good script ever gets made anymore. If there is one common thread running through most of the contenders for screenplay honors this year, it is what a long, looooong journey it is from page to screen. And another fairly obvious truth: the road to Best Picture starts on the page. In fact, since 1933, only 3 movies have managed to win the Best Picture Oscar without at least having their screenplay nominated and, in the majority of cases, actually winning. One of those movies was Hamlet in 1948 but its credited writer, William Shakespeare, wasn’t around for the rewrites. The other two were The Sound Of Music (1965) and Titanic (1997).

The writers strike in 2007 proved not much gets done without scribes and the effects of that strike, particularly in terms of quality screenplays, is still being felt. Nevertheless 2010 is a rich feast as far as the writers are concerned  but none of it was easy. Among the screenplay contenders, Black Swan, Blue Valentine, Get Low, and Inception were each percolating in the minds of their writers for more than a decade. In the case of The King’s Speech, it was more than 3 decades. The Kids Are All Right and Hereafter were thrown into drawers, unfinished, only to be rescued years later. And to demonstrate just how important  the right words and concept are, it was 11 years between Toy Story 2 and 3. Of course the wait for just the right concept and script paid off when Toy Story 3 not only became the highest grossing film of the year, but also the number one animated film of all time and the best reviewed movie of the year on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the other hand, it doesn’t always have to take years to see a script turned into a movie. Another of 2010’s most critically acclaimed hits, The Social Network, was fast-tracked. The events it depicts happened just six years ago and were still unfolding when Aaron Sorkin wrote his screenplay even as the book it is partially based on was still being written itself. That seems to be an exception as most Oscar caliber scripts languish in development hell, most of them “too good” to get made until fate – and a reasonable budget — intervenes. Of all the branches in the Academy, the writers have been the ones to go off the page as it were and select offbeat and sometimes unexpected and unheralded nominees.

Here is a rundown of the screenplays that completed Hollywood’s obstacle course  and now have a shot at the industry’s highest award:

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Animal Kingdom – David Michod: This tight Australian crime thriller about a 17-year-old trying to survive in a fearsome crime family has so far won lots of notice this awards season for co-star Jacki Weaver but could be recognized by writers for writer/director Michod’s powerfully effective and almost Shakespearean-like tale.

Another Year – Mike Leigh: Leigh’s uniquely original scripts borne out of a long and involved rehearsal period in which his actors all contribute to the final product have won him four previous nominations here (Secrets And Lies, Topsy Turvy, Vera Drake, Happy Go Lucky) and this slice-of-British-life drama could make it five.

Biutiful – Alejandro Gonzalez  Inarritu: After directing such critically acclaimed films as Amores Perros, 21 Grams, and Babel all written by Guillermo Arriaga, Inarritu strikes out on his own to write this very personal, dark, and moving journey about a man whose life is in freefall. He’s been previously Oscar nominated as a director, producer, and for Foreign Language Film. But this could be the first time he is recognized for his writing talents.

Black Swan – Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, John J McLaughlin: This script started out as sort of an All About Eve set in the world of ballet but it morphed into much more than that once it finally got into the hands of Heyman, director Darren Aronofsky’s director of development. After 10 years and almost being permanently shelved just a month before production was to begin, it’s turned into a hit movie and major awards magnet.

Blue Valentine - Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, Cami Delavigne: First written in 1998 and then rewritten more than 60 times, Cianfrance, who also directed, took 12 years to finally see his very personal story of a failing marriage hit the screen. The rawness of the dialogue and intensity of the scenes nearly landed this with an NC-17 until distributor Harvey Weinstein convinced the MPAA to change course and award an “R”.

City Island – Raymond De Felitta: This spring crowd-pleaser about a loud but loving and highly dysfunctional New York family was one of the first to get its screeners out, a good thing since many Academy members missed it and now seem to have a sense of discovery as they have been catching up with it. Whether that translates into a long shot surprise nomination in the writing category is anyone’s guess. But this movie has been full of surprises since winning the audience award at Tribeca two years ago.

Company Men – John Wells: The timeliness of WGA president John Wells’ story of corporate executives being downsized and thrown out of a job could be the thing that gets his fellow writers to give this a whirl in the DVD player. But the Weinstein Company seems to be pushing other higher profile movies in this category like The King’s Speech and Blue Valentine a little more forcefully. Its 76% fresh ranking at Rotten Tomatoes suggests that critics at least have liked what they’ve seen.

Conviction – Pamela Gray: She wrote two films, A Walk On The Moon and Music of the Heart, both released in 1999. But it would be another decade before she earned another big screen credit for this remarkable true story of  Betty Anne Waters who spent 18 years putting herself through school in order to become a lawyer and get her wrongly convicted brother out of prison. Still this might be as much of a long shot as that triumph was.

The Fighter – Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, Keith Dorrington (co-story): Another long in development dream project, this true story of boxer Mickey Ward and his relationship with his crack-addicted brother Dicky was another case of ‘never say never’, thanks in large part to the perseverance of star/co-producer Mark Wahlberg who didn’t stop training even when the Paramount movie looked dead until further rewrites and budget cuts got it a greenlight from Ryan Kavanaugh/Relativity Media. With strong Best Picture prospects, this would seem a shoo-in for a nomination.

Get Low – C. Gaby Mitchell, Chris Provenzano: Mad Men writer Provenzano dreamed up the story of a hermit wanting to throw his own funeral in 2001 but then saw it reworked five years later by Mitchell. The result of this shotgun writers’ marriage was this long-in-development film finally got made and gave Robert Duvall  another major starring role and shot at a second Oscar at age 80.

Hereafter – Peter Morgan: As a writer Morgan tended to do real life stories like The Last King Of Scotland, The Queen and Frost/Nixon, the latter two both winning him Oscar nominations. But the death of a friend led him into very different territory with this very spiritual tale on the tenuous connections between living and dying. With director Clint Eastwood insisting on not changing a word, Morgan got to live the writers dream and could land his third nomination although the film seems to be fading in memory this awards season.

Inception - Christopher Nolan: Shortly after winning his only Oscar nomination to date with his original screenplay Memento 10 years ago, Nolan came up with the concept for this startling and emotional story about dream invaders. It took a couple of enormously successful Batman films but Nolan finally got it made, winning that “dream” combination of rave reviews and blockbuster boxoffice. This would seem a certainty to earn him his next dance with Oscar.

The Kids Are All Right – Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg: Indie filmmaker Cholodenko wanted to go a little more commercial. And commercial filmmaker Blumberg wanted to go a little more indie. So the perfect combination was formed to write this family dramedy about a Lesbian couple with two teen kids whose relationship hits the rocks when their sperm donor suddenly flies in from the past. Winner of a NY Film Critics screenplay award and nominated for Golden Globes and CCMA honors, this is a rare comedy that could break through against its super serious competition.

The King’s Speech – David Seidler: Seidler, who had stuttering problems of his own as a kid, has been waiting 35 years to tell the story of the friendship between King George VI of England and his Australian speech coach, Lionel Logue. It’s been the longest journey of any screenwriter this year, but this WGA nominated writing veteran (Tucker: The Man and His Dream) is suddenly an “overnight” success and an Oscar frontrunner.

Made In Dagenham - William Ivory: A feel-good period piece about a group of feisty female factory workers fighting for equal pay in late 1960s England, Ivory’s deft combination of pathos, humor, and determination would make this an instant contender. But box office has been spotty, and its main chance at Oscar recognition would appear to be in the hands of the writers branch who are often known for championing the little guy – or in this case gal.

Please Give – Nicole Holofcener: This spring comedy was one of the first 2010 films to elicit any awards talk when it was released in April but its memory has faded a bit and another offbeat family comedy The Kids Are All Right may have stolen its thunder. Still, Holofcener’s quirky dialogue and amusing and flawed characters are highly entertaining and could pull a (major) surprise.

Somewhere – Sofia Coppola: This European-style minimalist exercise may be an acquired taste but don’t count out Coppola who won here for her only other original screenplay, Lost In Translation, in 2003. The Grand Prize winner at the Venice Film Festival, this story of a LA actor adrift and trying to forge a relationship with his young daughter actually could strike a few chords and win a few votes from other writers who may see someone they know in this.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

127 Hours – Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy: Adapting Aron Ralston’s book about his 5-day ordeal trapped “between a rock and a hard place” in a canyon he only escaped by cutting off his own arm, would seem to be impossible. Director Boyle had a vision and conquered 2 drafts before bringing in his Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire writer Beaufoy to do clean up. Somehow, they managed to turn this one-man show into a compelling movie and so far have landed Golden Globe and CCMA nominations for this ‘farewell to arm’ tale of man vs. nature with Oscar recognition a good bet at this point.

Fair Game – Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth: This riveting political thriller won top reviews in Cannes but failed to ignite the box office in its November opening stateside. Still, the screenplay crackles as the Butterworth brothers took both books by Valerie Plame and husband Joe Wilson to tell the tale of Plame’s massive CIA identity leak and the ensuing nightmare it caused. Longshot.

The Ghost Writer – Robert Harris, Roman Polanski: With Polanski’s aid, novelist Harris took a crack at his own book about a hired writer helping to craft the memoirs of a shady former British Prime Minister. With Hitchcockian twists and turns, the pair wrote a screenplay dealing with the craft of writing among many other things that should have great appeal in this category and may well win a nomination despite the threat of being forgotten due to its early 2010 release date.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Nikolaj Arcel, Rasmus Heisterberg: Despite its Foreign Language and Swedish origins, this first of Stieg Larsson book adaptations (followed by The Girl Who Played With Fire and The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest) represent perhaps one of the highest profile and most prodigious contenders in the category this year. Writers branch members in their Oscar voting are often receptive to foreign films so this one has a genuine shot of making the grade.

How To Train Your Dragon – William Davies, Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders: Taking Cressida Cowell’s stirring kids book and giving it heart, humor, and action, this writing team could find themselves competing against another toon, Toy Story 3. Writers have never been shy about acknowledging the scribe talents behind animated features in recent years and this one should be no exception. But it would mean seeing two toons going head to head here for the first time.

Love And Other Drugs – Ed Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Charles Randolph: Jamie Reidy’s book Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman proved to be perfect source material to get Zwick off the historical epic beat and back to romantic comedy basics. An underperformer at the box office,  this sexy romp is a long shot but showed there’s still life in the genre. Read More »

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London Critics’ Circle Announces Nominees

The London Critics’ Circle announced its nominees for the 31st Film Awards, to be held February 10. Here are the nominees:

SKY 3D AWARD: FILM OF THE YEAR
Black Swan (Fox Searchlight)
The Kids Are All Right (Focus Features)
The King’s Speech (The Weinstein Co)
The Social Network (Sony Pictures)
Toy Story 3 (Pixar/Disney)

THE ATTENBOROUGH AWARD: BRITISH FILM OF THE YEAR
127 Hours
The Arbor
Another Year
The King’s Speech
Monsters

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Dogtooth
I Am Love
Of Gods and Men
The Secret in Their Eyes
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Jeff Bridges – True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg – The Social Network
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
Ryan Gosling – Blue Valentine
Edgar Ramirez – Carlos

ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Noomi Rapace - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit

BRITISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Riz Ahmed – Four Lions
Christian Bale – The Fighter
Jim Broadbent – Another Year
Colin Firth – The King’s Speech
Andrew Garfield - Never Let Me Go

BRITISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Helena Bonham Carter – The King’s Speech
Lesley Manville - Another Year
Rosamund Pike – Barney’s Version
Ruth Sheen - Another Year
Tilda Swinton – I Am Love

BRITISH ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
David Bradley – Another Year
Pierce Brosnan - The Ghost Writer
Andrew Garfield – The Social Network
Tom Hardy - Inception
Peter Wight – Another Year

BRITISH ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Helena Bonham Carter – Alice in Wonderland
Christine Bottomley – The Arbor
Minnie Driver – Barney’s Version
Rosamund Pike – Made Read More »

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2011 Indie Spirit Awards Nominations

Pete Hammond: Indie Spirit Nominations Could Predict Oscar

LOS ANGELES (November 30, 2010) – Film Independent, the non-profit arts organization that produces the Spirit Awards and the Los Angeles Film Festival, announced nominations this morning for the 2011 Film Independent Spirit Awards.  Eva Mendes and Jeremy Renner served as presenters and 2011 Spirit Awards host Joel McHale was also on hand.  Nominees for Best Feature include 127 Hours, Black Swan, Greenberg, The Kids Are All Right and Winter’s Bone.

Please Give was selected for the Robert Altman Award, which is given to one film’s director, casting director and ensemble cast.

“The artistic side of independent film is stronger than ever, and it’s especially impressive to see the developed craft of extraordinary independent filmmakers who have only gotten better over the years.  Past nominees such as Darren Aronofsky, Noah Baumbach, Danny Boyle, Lisa Cholodenko, Debra Granik, Nicole Holofcener and John Cameron Mitchell continue to create original and compelling films that move and amaze us.” said Film Independent Executive Director Dawn Hudson.

Selected from 220 submissions, this year’s winners will be announced at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, February 26, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. on the beach in Santa Monica.  The 26th annual awards show will air exclusively that night on IFC at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.  Winners of the Filmmaker Grants will be highlighted during the Spirit Awards and announced at the 2011 Spirit Awards

Read More »

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OSCAR: Private Screenings Aplenty & ‘The Kids Are All Right’ Campaign Heats Up

Pete Hammond

Screening rooms all over town are booked solid for the tsunami of Q&A sessions being held for WGA, PGA, DGA, SAG and countless media organizations which host their own sponsored screenings of contenders. One SAG Nominating Committee member I ran into at the Arclight said he was skipping the screenings and just hopscotching from one Q&A to another. Someone was asking me this week if I thought there were more Q&As than usual this season. It seems like it but probably not, even though publicists are running their stars and filmmakers ragged trying to get them from one part of town to the other for two and sometimes three post-screening chat sessions in one day. Wednesday night alone at the Arclight in Hollywood, there seemed to be as many “private screening” notices on the multi-screen electronic box office marquee as there were regular features playing. Paul Giamatti was being shuttled from one house to another to talk up his new Sony Classics film, Barney’s Version. And Jada Pinkett Smith and co-star Michael Vartan were also there doing a session in front of SAG nominating committee members in hopes of gaining attention for their TNT medical drama, Hawthorne. (Pinkett–Smith fielded questions like “How do I get financing for my movie?” to “Would you consider making a sports movie? I have a script.”) Despite having won every imaginable trophy several times over (including two consecutive SAG ensemble awards), Mad Men isn’t giving it a rest and … Read More »

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Golden Globe: Cold Category Is Hot Again

Pete Hammond

Here’s news: awards consultants tell me that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is relaxing its rules slightly this year in order to  encourage distributors to choose the category they feel their movies belong in. But, of course, the HFPA still reserves the ultimate right to make the final decision as they always have. (In other words, don’t inappropriately enter the comedy/musical race just because you might have a better shot there.) Although most movie jockeying now is for Oscar contention, there’s an intense race forming already in the Golden Globe’s Comedy or Musical categories for Best Picture and Best Actor/Actress.

More than ever, studio awards consultants I talk to seem to be specifically targeting these categories once considered also-rans. But now they’re stepping stones toward gaining Oscar traction. Say what you will about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (and many do), it is still one of the few awards-giving organizations to make a distinct split between Drama and Comedy. And Hollywood loves that. Because the Globe pickers have opened up opportunities for campaigns to make a dent in the season and draw significant notice to movies that might not necessarily be on the top of the Best Picture Academy list.

Last year, the ultimate winners in these categories — The Hangover for Best Picture Comedy or Musical, Robert Downey Jr  in Sherlock Holmes for Best Actor Comedy/Musical, and Meryl Streep in Julie and Julia for Best Actress — did not repeat their feats at … Read More »

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Box Office Report On Limited Releases…

SUNDAY AM: Since my weekend box office report puts all its emphasis on the big moneymakers, I want to give smaller movies some love (or hate). Here’s a separate wrapup for limited releases:

Fox Searchlight’s Cyrus finished in the 11th spot this weekend. After 5 weeks in release its per screen average fell to $2,465 with a weekend total of $1.075M from 446 locations and a new cume of $5.06M.

In 12th place, Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right continues strong its 2nd week in release. Playing in just 38 locations, its per screen average is a big $27,285. Its weekend total was $1.025M with a 52% increase from Friday to Satuday indicating strong word-of-mouth. Its new cume is $1.77M.

Rocky Mountain Pictures’ Standing Ovation opened this weekend in 623 locations, making $159K on Friday, $106K on Saturday, for a $361K debut weekend. But its per screen average was only $560.

Also opening was Oscilloscope Pictures’ Kisses in 2 theaters for a $13.9K weekend and $6,950 per screen average.

Opening in one venue, Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Inferno from Flicker Alley made $3.8K for the weekend.

The Girl Who Played With Fire from Music Box Films is still capitalizing on the $100+M big screen success of Stieg Larsson’s worldwide bestselling novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. This  2nd in his crime thriller series expanded into 141 dates and made $640K this weekend for a per screen average of $4,540.

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Mark Ruffalo In Late-Stage Talks To Be Marvel’s New Hulk in ‘The Avengers’


ruffalo

EXCLUSIVE: Imagine the Hollywood actor whom you’d least expect to play The Incredible Hulk in The Avengers, and maybe, just maybe, you’d come up with the name of Mark Ruffalo. He’s always been an actor’s actor and is getting critical raves in Focus Features’ The Kids Are All Right which opened last weekend. But I’ve learned that he’s now in late-stage discussions between Marvel and his brand-new agency United Talent to play this key member of The Avengers ensemble. Like Edward Norton, whom he’d be replacing, Ruffalo would bring real chops to the role. But, unlike Edward Norton, he wouldn’t an on-set asshole.

Meanwhile, let me get out of the way that Thor (May 6, 2011) and Captain America (July 22, 2011) will be in 3D. They were filmed in 2D but the plan has been for the visual effects to be rendered in 3D for Captain America while Thor will undergo more of a traditional conversion. Kevin Feige is going to great lengths to ensure this isn’t just a botched rush job. OK, enough with that.

Back to Hulk. Marvel made a pittance of an offer to Edward Norton to continue in the role. But it caught the actor by surprise that the studio decided to replace him altogether with no advance warning.

Seriously? After everything that went on in 2008 when Marvel and Norton were privately and publicly feuding over the remake of The Incredible Hulk. Eventually they settled their issues after clashing … Read More »

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Mark Ruffalo Signs With UTA

I’ve learned he’ll be repped by a team led by partners Billy Lazarus and Shani Rosenzweig. Ruffalo currently stars in the indie The Kids Are All Right. He recently made his directorial debut on Sympathy For Delicious which won the Sundance Special Jury Prize. He will continue to be repped by managers Aleen Keshishian, Scott Wexler and Margaret Riley at Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

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