Cannes Film Festival: Could This Year’s Croisette Lineup Of Big Names And Academy Favorites Lead All The Way To Oscar?

By | Thursday April 17, 2014 @ 12:50pm PDT
Pete Hammond

So what does today’s announcement of the 2014 Cannes Film Festival lineup mean for Oscar?

Who knows except that out of competition entry How To Train Your Dragon 2 will almost certainly be nominated Cannes2014_badgefor Best Animated Feature. Other than that we will have to wait and see until we actually view the films in Cannes next month. But there are good omens in this lineup (which could still see one or two more titles added) if you look at the impressive group of actors represented in these films:  Oscar winners Tommy Lee Jones (who directs the competition entry The Homesman), Meryl Streep, Juliette Binoche, Marion Cotillard, Nicole Kidman, and director Michel Hazanivicius are among the prominent names and past nominees like Julianne Moore, Annette Bening, Jessica Chastain, Hailee Steinfeld, Berenice Bejo, Ryan Gosling (who is making his directorial debut) are also represented.

31f3755aebf03843615001f677fab8b5My colleague Nancy Tartaglione did a great job predicting who would make — or not make — the cut and wrote an exhaustive overview earlier. Now it’s time to look at the awards implications outside of those that will be handed out May 24th at the Palais. I look at Cannes as a soft start to Hollywood’s awards season. There’s no question of its importance as the granddaddy of all film fests and as a key worldwide launch for a movie that has got the goods, but in the end the May date scares off some distributors who, by launching their fall Oscar hopefuls on the Croisette may feel it ultimately hurts their chances — and more importantly their momentum.

Cannes Lineup 2014 Oscar SeasonThat’s no doubt a key reason Warner Bros chose to hold back past Cannes competitor and favorite Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Fox Searchlight did the same with Alexander Gonzalez Inarritu’s Birdman even apart from the usual reasons that they may not “be ready.” Last year Paramount decided at the last minute to take Alexander Payne’s Nebraska to Cannes even though he initially favored more postproduction time. Payne had competed once before with About Schmidt, headed the Un Certain Regard jury, and served on the main competition jury so he was a favorite of Cannes’ chief programmer Thierry Fremaux. The film ended up winning Best Actor for Bruce Dern but after Cannes the director “tinkered” with it and made it tighter before hitting the Telluride Film Festival over Labor Day with his final cut. It went on to win six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Director and Actor after finally opening November 15 (it didn’t win any Oscars, though). It’s not the first time a filmmaker has made changes after their film was shown to the world’s press and reviewed in Cannes. The growing feeling among distributors is it is best to wait until the movie is really locked before risking exposure at this most visible of all festivals. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: Tommy Lee Jones’ Western ‘The Homesman’ And Its Haunting Score

By | Monday April 14, 2014 @ 5:45pm PDT

There have been whispers that Tommy Lee Jones‘ The Homesman is heading to Cannes. That’s not a bad projection to make, considering that his previous directorial oater The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada — which, like Homesmen was produced by Luc Besson‘s EuropaCorp — debuted on the Croisette … Read More »

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Tommy Lee Jones To Write And Direct ‘The Cowboys’ Remake For Warners

By | Thursday September 5, 2013 @ 6:43pm PDT

The Oscar winner is updating the 1972 western that starred John Wayne, Bruce Dern and a pack of young’uns who are tasked with handling a long cattle drive. Tommy Lee Jones will write and direct … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Family’

By | Tuesday June 4, 2013 @ 5:20pm PDT

Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Tommy Lee Jones, Dianna Agron and John D’Leo star in the dark action comedy The Family (formerly Malavita). Directed by Luc Besson, The Family follows a mafia boss (De Niro) and his family as they are relocated to a sleepy town … Read More »

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Hailee Steinfeld Joins Tommy Lee Jones Frontier Pic ‘The Homesman’

By | Wednesday April 10, 2013 @ 4:14pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Hailee Steinfeld held her own among a cast of grizzled veterans in True Grit and earned an Oscar nod for it. Now she’s set to return to the frontier in The Homesman, opposite Tommy Lee Jones who is director, co-writer, producer and star on the period project. Steinfeld joins Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank, James Spader, John Lithgow, and Tim Blake Nelson in the pic, about a man (Jones) who teams up with a pioneer woman (Swank) to escort three insane women across the prairie back to civilization. The 16-year-old will play a poor, simple, and barefooted teenager named Tabitha Hutchinson. Read More »

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Paramount Wins Legal Round In ‘No Country For Old Men’ Bonus Dispute

By | Tuesday March 5, 2013 @ 10:32am PST

Paramount scored another win this week in the latest court battle stemming from the 2006 contracting mistake that nabbed Tommy Lee Jones a $17.5 million bonus for No Country For Old Men. Marathon Funding, … Read More »

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SAG Awards Film: ‘Argo’ On A Roll; Is It Unstoppable?

Pete Hammond

Though the media often refer to Outstanding Cast In A Motion Picture award as the Screen Actors  Guild’s version of Best Picture, SAG balks at the comparison. The actors say their winners don’t always match up and in fact are … Read More »

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WME Ends $1.95M Tommy Lee Jones Legal Face-Off

By | Thursday January 24, 2013 @ 3:33pm PST

Maybe the movie should have been called ‘No Courtroom For Old Men’. WME has pulled the plug on its legal efforts to get Tommy Lee Jones to pay up nearly $2 million in owed … Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Emperor’

By | Thursday January 17, 2013 @ 4:28pm PST

Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox star in Emperor, directed by Peter Webber. Jones plays General Douglas MacArthur in the film that’s set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II. It’s based on a … Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: Tommy Lee Jones

By | Wednesday December 12, 2012 @ 9:00pm PST
Pete Hammond

This year’s most anticipated Tommy Lee Jones performance was expected to be in his long-awaited return to the Men In Black franchise, but that actually turned out to be his least interesting part. The reliable veteran star, who won his one and only Oscar nearly two decades ago for chasing Harrison Ford in The Fugitive, has enjoyed a year full of unexpected acting pleasures. After MIB3, he starred in a rare summer adult comedy opposite Meryl Streep and won praise in Hope Springs as a long-married man whose wife wants to add sexual sparks to their relationship. He could earn a Golden Globe nom for best actor in a comedy or musical for that film, plus a second supporting actor nom for his sensationally entertaining turn as Senator Thaddeus Stevens in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. That one has also brought him back as a frontrunner in the Oscar race, too. These are good times for Jones, who as usual is focused on the work and rather blasé about all the awards buzz.

Related: OSCARS: The Supporting Actor Race

AwardsLine: What appealed to you about playing Thaddeus Stevens?
Tommy Lee Jones: Steven (Spielberg) sent me the screenplay, asked if I would read it and consider the part of Thaddeus Stevens. I read the screenplay, loved it, and was fascinated with Stevens. I called him back and said, “This is a very fine undertaking, and it would be my good luck if I had a chance to work on it.”

Related: OSCARS: The Supporting Actress Race Read More »

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Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’ Closes AFI Fest, Marches Into Oscar Season

Pete Hammond

“It has all been leading up to this night,”  AFI CEO and President Bob Gazzale told me at the Hollywood Roosevelt pre-screening reception for the AFI Fest closing film, the official World Premiere of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. It was actually first presented in “unfinished” form at the New York Film Festival, a fact that didn’t bother Gazzale. “We ask the studios ‘how can we help you with your movie? We were thrilled to get it as our closing’,”  he said and felt this was a very big deal. It made nice bookends for the festival that opened with Hitchcock and now was closing with Lincoln.

It was indeed a big deal with virtually the entire principal cast turning out. Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones as well as Spielberg, screenwriter Tony Kushner and most of the key crew were there. DreamWorks chief Stacey Snider, Participant’s Jim Berk and Jeff Skoll and Disney’s Bob Iger also attended, along with many others.

Spielberg was excited to see the long gestating project finally premiere at the Chinese Theatre. The film, which details Lincoln’s battle with Congress to pass the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, is ironically relevant to today’s fractured Congressional fights and the director thinks the post-election timing is perfect, especially with looming debates about several hot button issues. “I didn’t want to see this released in front of the election or see it politicized”, Spielberg told me. “I think now it can almost be a kind of cleansing for the country”. Read More »

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WME Petitions Court For $1.95M From Tommy Lee Jones

By | Wednesday October 31, 2012 @ 6:19pm PDT

William Morris Endeavor today filed a petition to get Tommy Lee Jones to pay the $1.95 million in commissions the state Labor Commissioner recently ruled the No Country For Old Men actor owes the agency. WME’s filing today (read it here) with the California Superior Court arises out of the appeal the Oscar winner filed on October 10, with an amendment on October 19, against the Labor Commissioner’s October 1 ruling. WME says it can still push for its money now because Jones did not follow procedure. “A prevailing party in a Labor Commission proceeding may enforce an award where the opposing party has appealed the award but has failed to post the requisite bond,” WME’s action today noted. “To date, Jones has not posted a bond…Absent a satisfactory bond, an award issued by the Labor Commissioner is not stayed and may be confirmed by the Superior Court,” it added. Today’s petition requests a hearing date from the court for a ruling on its request. Read More »

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WME Wins $1.95M From Tommy Lee Jones; Actor Appeals

By | Thursday October 11, 2012 @ 7:42pm PDT

The No Country For Old Men actor today filed an appeal (read it here) of the state Labor Commissioner’s recent ruling in favor of his former agency William Morris Endeavor. On October 1, the California State Labor Commissioner rejected Tommy Lee Jones’ request to bar the agency’s recovery of $1.95 million in commissions from his role as Sheriff Ed Tom Bell in the 2007 film. The recent ruling also said the agency did support the actor in his multi-million-dollar battle with Paramount over his NCFOM back-end compensation. Jones was awarded $15 million in that action. This case arises from WME seeking 10% of that award. The October 1 ruling also found that subsequent actions by WME did not prevent Jones from getting a role in the 2010 remake of True Grit (although the role eventually went to Jeff Bridges). “Everyone did their job here, including WME albeit with a few bumps along the way. And in the end, Jones received every dollar he was entitled to,” said the ruling from commissioner Julie A. Su. Jones first filed his petition in January 2010, with an amendment in February 2011.
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Meryl Streep And Her Surprising Loose Lips

By | Sunday August 12, 2012 @ 10:52am PDT

These days stars will do just about anything to publicize their movies. Still it was a surprise that triple Oscar winner Meryl Streep on behalf of Hope Springs would agree to appear on Bravo embarrassment Andy Cohen‘s … Read More »

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Sony Banks On Meryl Streep As ‘Hope’ Springs Into Theatres & 2012 Awards Race

By | Wednesday August 8, 2012 @ 10:01am PDT
Pete Hammond

Today Sony Pictures is doing the unthinkable. It is breaking, on a wide release of 2500+ screens, a dialogueHope Springs-driven adult comedy/drama about the sex life (or lack of it) of a long-married couple both in their 60′s. And in the middle of August no less!

Sure it stars Meryl Streep, a bona fide box office draw even at her age, but  it’s highly unusual and somewhat risky business to go this wide with a movie that is clearly aimed at the much older audience who is slow to show up no matter what the attraction. The studio is opening on a Wednesday in order to build some good word of mouth and reviews for its first weekend where it must face more typical summer flicks like Universal’s The Bourne Legacy  and Warner Bros. The Campaign. Currently it stands at a decent 77% fresh for reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, a good sign for a movie that would seem like it would be more indie-oriented fodder than summertime major studio fare.

With the August release though Sony is also getting a jump on awards season as this cast  includes such Oscar favorites as 17- time nominee and 3- time winner Streep (most recently in February for The Iron Lady) as well as Supporting Actor winner Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive), along with a deadpan Steve Carell as their couples therapist who counsels them at a week-long retreat on how to put the sexual spark back into their marriage. Of course Streep tends to get Oscar noms for just showing up on the set, while Jones was last nominated for Best Actor for 2007′s In The Valley Of Elah, a bit of a surprise then since his film was a boxoffice non-starter that had largely been written off at that point indicating the Academy likes him, they really like him. Both stars are getting strong reviews so far. Whether the strategy works at the boxoffice for this very Academy-friendly fare (official Los Angeles Academy member screening is Sunday night at the Goldwyn) remains to be seen but producers Todd Black and Guymon Casady told me they are just hoping the audience turns out, and happy they decided to go the studio route even though that wasn’t initially the plan. Read More »

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Tommy Lee Jones Plays Gen. Douglas MacArthur In ‘Emperor’

By | Tuesday January 17, 2012 @ 12:09pm PST
Mike Fleming

Tommy Lee Jones will join Matthew Fox in Emperor, a drama directed by Peter Webber. Jones will portray General Douglas MacArthur in the film based on a screenplay by David … Read More »

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Jackie Earle Haley To Spielberg’s ‘Lincoln’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jackie Earle Haley is set for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, playing the role of Alexander Stephens. Stephens was vice president of the Confederate States during the Civil War and a nemesis of Lincoln’s slavery reform agenda. He is remembered for … Read More »

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Tommy Lee Jones Squares Off With Meryl Streep In ‘Great Hope Springs’

Mike Fleming

Deadline told you back in March that Tommy Lee Jones was looking good to star as Meryl Streep’s husband in the David Frankel-directed Great Hope Springs, and now Mandate has confirmed it. Steve Carell also stars. It has shaped up as a strong cast and was one of the hot titles at the Cannes Film Festival market. Deadline revealed last Saturday that Sony Pictures took it off the table for North American distribution with a huge offer. Here is the official announcement:

 

Los Angeles, CA (May 19, 2011) – Tommy Lee Jones has closed a deal to star in GREAT HOPE SPRINGS, to be directed by David Frankel. The comedy also stars Meryl Streep and Steve Carell. Sony Pictures holds North American distribution rights to the film which will be released in the 4th quarter of 2012. The screenplay by Vanessa Taylor and featured on the prestigious Black List, follows a middle-aged couple who after thirty years of marriage attend an intense counseling weekend to examine the intimacy issues that are threatening their marriage.

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Cannes: Sony Pictures Closing Deal For Meryl Streep Comedy ‘Great Hope Springs’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The majority of deal buzz at the Cannes Film Festival market is where the Megan Ellison-financed Wettest County in the World will be dealt for distribution, I’m told the next big deal to come together will be a Sony … Read More »

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