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Michael Douglas Got Booted & Suited Up for TCM 2017, Like You Were There

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

While he has nothing on the elder Douglas, Golden Era Legend Kirk Douglas at almost 101 years old, TCM celebrated the life and career of Hollywood youngster Michael Douglas during a taping of “Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival” on April 8 at the famous Montalban Theatre during the eighth annual festival. MichaelD17

Host Ben Mankiewicz said beforehand, “Michael Douglas has been part of our collective Hollywood consciousness his entire life. From chasing bad guys through the streets of San Francisco to playing an iconic bad guy in Gordon Gekko, Michael has stayed not only relevant, but vital. To say that I’m looking forward to discussing the career of an actor who played Liberace 38 years after producing One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a huge understatement.”

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Just take a scroll through these absolutely iconic Michael Douglas portraits and think back on the guy behind the red rows of seats in A CHORUS LINE, and all the other movie credits on this legendary resume, being the life’s work of Michael Douglas, to date of course. MikeArrivesTCM17Like the old man, he will likely last a century, hopefully. Congratulations to the actor, producer, director, and Academy, as well as audience, favorite Michael Douglas.MikeFitting17

There’s great footage of their chat on TCM’s website, but we’ve got these photos — truly works of art — that really set the tone for a classic time had by all at the recent Turner gala celebration. MikeShowTCM17

You’ll learn more about that from TCM’s post-dated official news announcement below.

MikeTCMExec17Left to right: Charlie Tabesh, Senior Vice President Programming and Production; Turner Classic Movies; Pola Changnon, Senior Vice President, Creative, Brand and Marketing, Turner Classic Movies; Ben Mankiewicz. Host, Turner Classic Movies; Jennifer Dorian, General Manger, Turner Classic Movies; Michael Douglas; Genevieve McGillicuddy, Director, TCM Classic Film Festival

Here’s Official Rundown from TCM

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) previously announced that legendary actor Michael Douglas would attend the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival for a pair of major events. On April 8, Douglas sat down with TCM host Ben Mankiewicz for an in-depth interview about his career at the legendary The Ricardo Montalbán Theatre as part of the annual Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival series. In addition, the Oscar®-winning icon participated in a discussion following a screening of the 1979 thriller The China Syndrome, which he produced and starred in opposite Jane Fonda and Jack Lemmon.

TCM added screen legends and beloved icons to its impressive lineup for the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, which took place April 6 – April 9 in Hollywood, including:

·        Best in Show (2000) – cast members from Christopher Guest’s acclaimed mockumentary – Fred Willard, John Michael Higgins, Jim Piddock and Bob Balaban – were on hand to discuss the hilarious comedy about the eccentric characters competing at a national dog show.

·        Bob Newhart – the Golden Globe® and Emmy® winner was selected to introduce a screening of Hell Is For Heroes (1962).

·        John Landis, Jim Abrahams, David Zucker and Jerry Zucker – attended a 40th Anniversary screening of their irreverent sketch comedy The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977) and participated in a conversation about the film.

·        Dick Cavett –Emmy-winning television personality was set to introduce screenings of Monkey Business (1931), the first original film production from the Marx Brothers, Way Out West (1937) and sit down for a conversation in Club TCM.

In addition, the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival presented a number of rare screening events that celebrate cinema’s ability to immerse viewers in the film experience, including:

·        Nitrate Films – this years festival showcased the history of cinema and highlight the institutions that work hard to protect original nitrate prints for contemporary audiences to experience, including Academy Film Archive, George Eastman Museum and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Lineup included: Black Narcissus (1947), The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), Laura (1944), and Lady in the Dark (1944) all shown at the Egyptian Theatre. Nitrate projection made possible through support of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Turner Classic Movies and The Film Foundation in partnership with the American Cinematheque and the Academy Film Archive.

·        Cinerama – a screeing of the very first film made for the ultra-widescreen process – the aptly titled This is Cinerama (1952) – in its original format presented at ArcLight Cinemas’ Cinerama Dome.

·        Speedy Accompanied by the Alloy Orchestra – a screening of the Harold Lloyd comedy Speedy (1928), with original music by the famed Alloy Orchestra.

·        Those Redheads from Seattle in 3D – the world-premiere restoration of the rarely-seen musical Those Redheads from Seattle (1953), presented in its original 3D format.

Previously announced events and appearances include Oscar® winner Sidney Poitier for the 50th anniversary opening-night screening of In the Heat of the Night (1967); Mel Brooks for the 40th anniversary screening of his Hitchcock spoof High Anxiety (1977); actress Lee Grant for screenings of Detective Story (1951) and The Landlord (1970); and actor-director Peter Bogdanovich for screenings of The Last Picture Show (1971) and What’s Up, Doc? (1972). Grant and Bogdanovich were interviewed in the Festival’s central gathering point, Club TCM. And legendary father and son filmmakers Carl Reiner and Rob Reiner were honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theater IMAX®.

Complete bios for each of the artists appearing at the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival and for film descriptions, please visit the festival’s website: filmfestival.tcm.com

The 411 on 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival

For the eighth consecutive year, thousands of movie lovers from around the globe descended upon Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival. The 2017 festival that took place Thursday, April 6 – Sunday, April 9, 2017. Over four packed days and nights, attendees were treated to an extensive lineup of great movies, appearances by legendary stars and filmmakers, fascinating presentations and panel discussions, special events and more.

TCM host Ben Mankiewicz served as official host of the TCM Classic Film Festival, with TCM’s Tiffany Vazquez introducing various events. The festival’s official hotel and central gathering point for the eighth consecutive year was The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, which has a longstanding role in movie history and was the site of the first Academy Awards® ceremony. Screenings and events during the festival were held at the TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX, the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres and the Egyptian Theatre, as well as other Hollywood venues.

This year’s festival theme? Make ‘Em Laugh: Comedy In The Movies. From lowbrow to high, slapstick to sophisticated comedies of manners, the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival showcased the greatest cinematic achievements of lone clowns, comedic duos and madcap ensembles.

Why We Love Turner Classic Movies (TCM)

Turner Classic Movies (TCM) is a two-time Peabody Award-winning network that presents great films, uncut and commercial-free, from the largest film libraries in the world highlighting the entire spectrum of film history. TCM features the insights from Primetime host Ben Mankiewicz and Saturday daytime host Tiffany Vazquez, plus interviews with a wide range of special guests and serves as the ultimate movie lover destination. Currently in its 22nd year as a leading authority in classic film, TCM offers critically acclaimed series like The Essentials, along with annual programming events like 31 Days of Oscar® in February and Summer Under the Stars in August. TCM also directly connects with movie fans through events as the annual TCM Classic Film Festival in Hollywood and the TCM Classic Cruise, as well as through the TCM Classic Film Tour in New York City and Los Angeles. In addition, TCM produces a wide range of media about classic film, including books and DVDs, and hosts a wealth of material online at tcm.com and through the Watch TCM mobile app.

TCM is a division of Turner, a Time Warner company, Turner creates and programs branded news, entertainment, sports, animation and young adult multi-platform content for consumers around the world. Turner brands and businesses include CNN/U.S., HLN, CNN International and CNN.com, TBS, TNT, TCM, truTV, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Adult Swim, Turner Sports, Bleacher Report, FilmStruck, Super Deluxe, iStreamPlanet and ELEAGUE.

Connect with TCM for Next Year’s TCM Event & Right Now via App on iOS and Android
Website: www.tcm.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tcmtv
Twitter: twitter.com/tcm | twitter.com/tcmpr
TCM Store: shop.tcm.com

Download TCM app to watch now; available for iOS and Android Platforms (Google Play).

Bonus Feature – Graphiq Visualization of Michael Douglas Movies

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Academy Goes 70mm INTERSTELLAR: Nolan’s Nod to Librarians, Yes, Film Librarians

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When the Academy gets something wrong, well, over a billion people remember. Even if it really only happened once, during the live telecast for Oscars 2017. While we can’t erase the past, we can preserve Oscar 89 as a moment in time insofar as even this year marked an important once-in-a-lifetime snafu in Hollywood history. Next time, we may hear the phrase “The Other Envelope, Please.”

The Academy Is Back, Folks

Time to get over all that, because AMPAS is back to its old glory this month. Beginning April 26 through May 1, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host public screenings in support of the 2017 Film Librarians Conference and International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). Yes, they even tapped genius director Chris Nolan to host a 70 MM version of his space epic INTERSTELLAR.NolanFIFA17 Plus there’s Spanish-language vintage cinema classics too, hosted by director Daisy von Scherler Mayer and Actor Guillermo Díaz.

Events like these rare openings for the public should make us all remember how important the Academy is in highlighting film gems.

Here’s the official word from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences…

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LOS ANGELES, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced special public programing, from April 26-May 1, in conjunction with the 2017 Film Librarians Conference – Documenting Cinema: Film Librarianship in the 21st Century and the 2017 FIAF Conference. Screenings will include a preview of the new documentary “Harold and Lillian: A Hollywood Love Story,” “Party Girl” in 35mm, a Spanish-language double feature, and “Interstellar” in 70mm with three-time Oscar® nominee Christopher Nolan.

What to Watch, When & Where:

2017 Film Librarians Conference – Documenting Cinema: Film Librarianship in the 21st Century

HAROLD & LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY (2017)

Wednesday, April 26, 7:00 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater

The inspiring love story between storyboard artist Harold Michelson and film research librarian Lillian Michelson spanned more than 60 years, during which they contributed to some of Hollywood’s most iconic examples of visual storytelling.

PARTY GIRL (1995)

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 7:30 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater

Presented in 35mm. With Director Daisy von Scherler Mayer and Actor Guillermo Díaz

Mary, a NYC club girl with a distinct sense of fashion, begins working at a library after she gets busted for illegally charging admission to one of her parties. Bored with her new job, she soon discovers the joys of mastering the Dewey Decimal system and begins to realize becoming a librarian is her life’s calling.

International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) Congress

Hollywood Goes Latin: Spanish-Language Cinema in Los Angeles (Double Feature)

¡ASEGURE A SU MUJER! (INSURE YOUR WIFE!) (1935)

CASTILLOS EN EL AIRE (CASTLES IN THE AIR) (1938)

Sunday, April 30, 7:30pm at the Linwood Dunn Theater

In the early days of sound cinema, Hollywood made an attempt to reach the Spanish-language market by producing movies in Spanish. Many of these films have been lost, and those that remain are rarely seen or studied. These two films are an excellent introduction to this fascinating period of early sound production in Hollywood. Presented by The 2017 FIAF Congress, the Academy and the UCLA Film & Television Archive. Both films are presented in Spanish with English subtitles.

INTERSTELLAR

Monday, May 1, 7:30pm at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater

Presented in 70mm with Director Christopher Nolan. In conjunction with The International Federation of Film Archives who has honored Nolan with their annual FIAF Award.

In the not-too-distant future when planet Earth has become nearly uninhabitable, a team of scientists must figure out a way to travel through space and time to alternate galaxies in order to save humanity. Nominated for five Oscars, and winning an Oscar for Visual Effects, “Interstellar” was directed by Christopher Nolan and written by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan.

Your ACADEMY

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 7,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles.

Follow ACADEMY on Social Media

www.oscars.org
www.facebook.com/TheAcademy
www.youtube.com/Oscars
www.twitter.com/TheAcademy

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That’s Not Just Our Opinion, Man: Jeff Bridges Aced American Riviera Award Night

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When the Lebowski Fest comes to Los Angeles on March 3, you’ll see why Jeff Bridges is so linked to The Dude from that movie, but last night for the American Riviera Award in Santa Barbara, folks got to see for themselves. At the Arlington Theater, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s Scott Feinberg, it was practically a Love-In. JeffScottThe honoree showed up with his wife of 40 years, “my sweetheart” Susan Geston, and his two children. HELL OR HIGH WATER producer Julie Yorn attended with actor Gil Birmingham from their film, who also presented Jeff with the award.

Feinberg, who is a pro at moderating star events like this, opened with “The Dude” questions which segued into Bridges admitting  “what kid wants to do what their parents do?” In alluding to father Lloyd Bridges, the son of this acting dynasty (that includes brother Beau), revealed that early success with an Oscar nod for Peter Bogdanovich’s game-changer movie THE LAST PICTURE SHOW did not assuage his personal doubts about being in the profession.

He said the issues came from “caring how you’re perceived.” But finally he came to the revelation that “the feeling of being scared never goes away, and that it’s all about changing your relationship with that feeling.”
In the sit-down with Feinberg, the Oscar winner also revealed that it was in 1975’s RANCHO DELUXE that future-wife Susan Geston rejected his early advances, but that he persisted and later got her to dance with him at her then boyfriend’s concert. Perfect move for The Dude, and four decades later, it’s still very much on.JeffWife17
Hollywood Reporter’s star moderator then waded into legendary film history territory on the topic of case-study Hollywood box office bomb, HEAVEN’S GATE. This line of questioning is more than timely, considering Bridges’ main female co-star in that picture is none other than fellow Oscar nominee for 2017, Isabelle Huppert. Huppert was also honored this year in Santa Barbara. So this year has capped a lot of full circles in the life of both actors, and certainly in their star-crossed paths in Award Season.

When Michael Cimino’s highly touted GATE opened to crickets at the box office, both critically and financially, Top 10 Lists began to sprout up everywhere for the next several decades about what went wrong with the production. Den of Geek, a fan site for excruciatingly pithy lists and sublists, has the best round-up to this day (see link below). The bullet points include “Cimino made everybody wait for the clouds to roll by,” and “The Cast Spent Six Weeks Learning How To Roller Skate.” Jeff Bridges is seen losing his lunch while roller skating, part of this storied film. Bridges recalled that the day after it opened, when reviewers flambé prose scorched the film down to its credits, his most memorable critic reaction was: “If you shave [director Michael] Cimino’s head, you would find three sixes.”
Then it was back to THE BIG LEBOWSKI, which was panned early to low box office in the US. Bridges related that it had to hit in Europe before it became today’s beloved cult hit. And of course, no surprise, Jeff Bridges has a favorite line too: “well that’s just, your opinion, man.”JeffJohnLBemem17

From there is was talk about his Oscar winning turn in CRAZY HEART, how he passed on the script initially because “the script was pretty good, but there was no music.” Luckily, doing a proverbial “film about music” was a “dream” for him. “When it’s in the dream state, you’re kinda safe, but when you try to really do it, there’s that chance of failure.” Producer T Bone Burnett, his longtime fellow musician and friend, gave him the script a second time, and said “I’ll do it if you do it.”

Then he delved into the remake of John Wayne classic “True Grit.” If it hadn’t been for the Coen Bros, also directors of Lebowski, and their unique twist on that script, Jeff might not have done it.

Finally the conversation caught up to Award Season 2017, his nominated performance in HELL OR HIGH WATER, which was originally titled “Comancheria” when it opened at the Cannes Film Festival last year. JeffScott17With a nod to his presenter of the evening, Gil Birmingham, Bridges confided that they bonded so well because Gil also is passionate about music. So they spent a fair amount of time trading guitar licks during the filming. On a heavy note, Jeff saluted Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson, now deceased, who was his consultant on HELL OR HIGH WATER.

JeffGilIn closing, and on a high note for the evening, Jeff Bridges shared his 30 year commitment to feeding hungry children as a personal mission, and said, in Dude-like fashion, “We’re all in this together,” man.

For more information about HELL OR HIGH WATER, how to view it, see the Oscar-nominated film’s official website. Jeff Bridges Diehard Dude fans can find more about the Lebowski Fest from this link. (Editor’s Note: Den of Geek priceless Heaven’s Gate list is here, ps.)

More about SBIFF, which hands out the American Riviera Award among other tributes, can be found at sbiff.org.

The American Riviera Award was established to recognize actors who have made a significant contribution to American Cinema. Bridges will join a prestigious group of past recipients, including last year’s honorees Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, and Mark Ruffalo (2016), Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke (2015), Robert Redford (2014), Quentin Tarantino (2013) and Martin Scorsese (2012), Annette Bening (2011), Sandra Bullock (2010), Mickey Rourke (2009), Tommy Lee Jones (2008), Forrest Whitaker (2007), Philip Seymour Hoffman (2006), Kevin Bacon (2005) and Diane Lane (2004).

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No Shut Up And Dance Here, Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone Win Outstanding Performers

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Something Emma Stone says in an off-hand way when she and Ryan Gosling pick up the Outstanding Performers of the Year from Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) on Friday night really sticks. Seated beside Gosling, her co-star and co-nominee for the acting Oscars in LA LA LAND, Stone plays with the 20’s fringe on her dress, then offers this insight: “movies make us feel less alone, I guess, that’s what they did for me.”RyanEmma17 In that small statement, you can see her whole career encapsulated. How she watched Steve Martin’s THE JERK from 1979. “I love The Jerk. It’s my dad’s favorite movie.” How she built her own world of characters. “We laughed at that movie over and over. EmmalaughsIt was a very important bonding moment. Should I be on the couch?” Ryan Gosling, who is known for not being flashy about his secret good-guy deeds like privately playing music for children in hospitals, looks at Stone with a rapt expression. But when asked about his own experiences growing up to be an actor, he deflects it with “at 15, I was all about the scratch. Making the paper.” “And he’s still like that,” Stone quips, “all about the money.”

Their chemistry is fun to watch. Emma adds that her “favorite characters have a wide-eyed nature to them.” “As a viewer I’m drawn to comedy with a hopefulness to it. It’s about being uplifted in a way by film. That’s what comedy did for me. I escaped into those characters — I can’t brush them off as just funny. Gilda Radner, John Candy, Bill Murray… Shirley MacLaine shaped me,” Ryan’s co-star from CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE shares.RyanEmmaCouch

“The films that I love the most have a combination of both – someone that can break your heart and make you laugh, and a story that can break your heart and make you laugh, at the same time.”RyanLaughs

Gosling throws a curveball in the conversation, but he’s actually serious and unapologetic. “It’s crazy that Eddie Murphy can sit at a table and play nine characters and that’s not rewarded.”

This affirmation of comedy’s power comes after he says, “as a comedian you kind of start by making your Mom laugh. Right?”

Gosling, who got his start out of Canada as a Disney Channel song and dance import before crossing over into mainstream films, reveals his far-flung odds for making it in Hollywood. “My mom had a membership to the library movie thing, because they were free. I saw Abbott and Costello, any duo film, Martin and Lewis and Danny Kaye, all of them.” He recalls that he liked teams because the action was shared and it felt real. “I’d like to do that with Emma or Steve Carell [reteam]. Anytime you can do that, it’s fun.”

He will call Emma, “Emsies” to prod her.

“Emsies? I’ve never called him Rysies,” she retorts. “Ryan can be infuriating to work with, I’m kidding.”

A flash of paparazzi lights whizz across Ryan and Emma at various moments during the evening.

“Every time I change positions, these guys take a million pictures,” Ryan notes.

And then it’s back to LA LA LAND, the realities of getting a musical made, including three months of jazz piano lessons for Ryan, two hours, almost every day. Director Damien Chazelle, already famous for Oscar-winner WHIPLASH, is on hand. Ryan singles him out.RyanEmmaDamien

“Damien, can I tell the story about how we first met?” After a wary nod, Gosling lets it slip.

“When I first met Damien, we first met at a restaurant. I tapped him on the shoulder, and he gave me this look like motherf@#%. ‘Who’s this guy to put their hands on me?’ I thought, he’s got a fight in him, that I respect, and I thought this could come in  handy later.”

On a serious note, the DRIVE actor says “I think he remembers the moment he fell in love with cinema. Damien can make you feel that.”

On Gene Kelly as an influence, Gosling nails his importance. “I liked the masculinity about him, he could dance and kick your ass. Tough and graceful. A balance.”

It wasn’t until recently in his career Gosling found out Gene Kelly was involved in every facet of show business. “I didn’t know he wasn’t just a dancer, he was a choreographer, producer, and more.” Both actors actually visited the home of Gene Kelly’s widow before making LA LA LAND. “She let us look at his archive, sort of gave us her blessing.”DamienEmma16

Damien Chazelle takes over, like a true director who has so far made the most inventive hits to come out of Hollywood in a long time. The story he tells is as awesome as the dreamer plot in LA LA LAND, now nominated for a record 14 Oscars. When he first had the idea for the musical, he told people “our dream is Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. People said ‘yeah good luck with that.’ I guess no one is more shocked than I that they agreed to do it. That they poured so much into these roles. That Ryan learned jazz piano in three months to become a virtuoso. Emma did so much.” The movie is “effervescent and heart breaking and again they make it seem effortless. I still pinch myself that any of it happened. Really the reason I wanted you in the movie is because I think you are two of the best performers working right now.”RyanEmmaTouche

LA LA LAND will take its place in movie history at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, but it’s already taken so many awards that Ryan Gosling says “I thought making it was enough, then the next thing happened, and that was enough. All the awards are just icing on the cake.”

For more information about Santa Barbara International Film Festival, which runs through Feb. 11, visit sbiff.org.

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Screenmancer’s Annotated 89th OSCAR Nominee Scorecard

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

If you didn’t wake up at 5:18 am Pacific Time, or 8:18 Eastern Time, to see the first live-streamed Oscar Nominations Announcement, we’ve got you covered.

By now, every major news outlet has run down the minutiae on the implication of the noms. But have they told you the whole story? And who can keep track without a scorecard. Below you can watch the actual footage courtesy of AMPAS, and then follow along with the annotations we’ve added on where the excitement looms for this Awards Season. Oscars2017If you print this out, you even have your own Oscar Scorecard for beer pong on Sunday, Feb. 26, for the live broadcast of the 89th Academy Awards presentation from The Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts & Sciences as hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. We’ve included every possible way to connect with the Academy too, as part of the Oscar Fan Experience, now you can comment in real-time during the show.

89th Oscar Nominees & Sneak Peek at 2017

Performance by an actor in a leading role

•Casey Affleck in “Manchester by the Sea” <—— Do the Affleck Bros have a direct line to the Globes and the Academy, or what? Cogito Argo Sum, Ergo…

•Andrew Garfield in “Hacksaw Ridge” <——The redemption of Spiderman gone AWOL. Nice to see him back.

•Ryan Gosling in “La La Land” <——Should have nommed and won for DRIVE. Academy might just make it up to you, Ryan.

•Viggo Mortensen in “Captain Fantastic” <——Real actors get noms, enough said, or sorry to the pretenders.

•Denzel Washington in “Fences”<——OMG, yes they did, and of course they should have.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role

•Mahershala Ali in “Moonlight” <——Also awesome in HIDDEN FIGURES, thus he may just pull it off here.

•Jeff Bridges in “Hell or High Water”<——When do we not want to see The Dude nominated? Crazyheart was not a fluke!

•Lucas Hedges in “Manchester by the Sea”<——For the fans of anything Affleck.

•Dev Patel in “Lion”<——Yes, this is an important and poignant nomination, well-deserved, Dev.

•Michael Shannon in “Nocturnal Animals”<——See Viggo note, real actors get Oscar noms.

French language poster had the most awesome look at Cannes.

French language poster had the most awesome look at Cannes.

Performance by an actress in a leading role

•Isabelle Huppert in “Elle”<—-France wants this in a big way, after all, they’re pro women and just ousted Roman Polanski off the Cesar committee as President (French Oscars).

•Ruth Negga in “Loving”<—-Shot across the bow nomination, cements Ruth as a real force to be reckoned with, well done.

•Natalie Portman in “Jackie”<—- Two legged race with Emma Stone, ouch.

•Emma Stone in “La La Land”<——Wins the two legged race with Natalie?

•Meryl Streep in “Florence Foster Jenkins”<—-Spoiler Alert, she doesn’t win this time, but black eye for President Trump, as her not-overrated 20th nom sets records, so there. And she won the Golden Globe for this, anyway.

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Performance by an actress in a supporting role

•Viola Davis in “Fences”<—-Winner, just has to be, everybody loves you, Viola!

•Naomie Harris in “Moonlight”<—Don’t make me choose, excellent chance.

•Nicole Kidman in “Lion”<—We love Nicole, and now the press can stop beating up on her for alleged pro-Trump sentiments taken out of context, ps.

•Octavia Spencer in “Hidden Figures”<—-Can there be a TIE with Viola, please?

•Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea”<—-Your turn will come, not now.

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Best animated feature film of the year

•”Kubo and the Two Strings” Travis Knight and Arianne Sutner<—-Surprise winner?

•”Moana” John Musker, Ron Clements and Osnat Shurer

•”My Life as a Zucchini” Claude Barras and Max Karli

•”The Red Turtle” Michael Dudok de Wit and Toshio Suzuki

•”Zootopia” Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Clark Spencer

Achievement in cinematography

•”Arrival” Bradford Young

•”La La Land” Linus Sandgren<——Needs this for sweep to beat TITANIC with 11.

•”Lion” Greig Fraser

•”Moonlight” James Laxton

•”Silence” Rodrigo Prieto<—- Could clock a win because what else can it show for noms?

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Achievement in costume design

•”Allied” Joanna Johnston

•”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Colleen Atwood

•”Florence Foster Jenkins” Consolata Boyle

•”Jackie” Madeline Fontaine

•”La La Land” Mary Zophres<—-Mary now needs to ask more money from the Coen Bros her frequent collaborators for decades, because, drum roll, she will win?

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Achievement in directing

•”Arrival” Denis Villeneuve

•”Hacksaw Ridge” Mel Gibson<—-Welcome back Mel, and please remain silent!

•”La La Land” Damien Chazelle<—-Don’t say we didn’t tell you how exceptional you are, Damien, and congrats on your win (we hope).

•”Manchester by the Sea” Kenneth Lonergan<—-Insiders love this guy, but…

•”Moonlight” Barry Jenkins<—-This would be a shock upset win, if it happened.

 

Best documentary feature

•”Fire at Sea” Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo

•”I Am Not Your Negro” Raoul Peck, Rémi Grellety and Hébert Peck

•”Life, Animated” Roger Ross Williams and Julie Goldman

•”O.J.: Made in America” Ezra Edelman and Caroline Waterlow<—-Could happen.

•”13th” Ava DuVernay, Spencer Averick and Howard Barish<—-Yes, she should have been nominated for SELMA, and now she wins for Documentary. That’s called wishful thinking, but watch!

 

Best documentary short subject no idea what will happen in this category, truth be told.

•”Extremis” Dan Krauss

•”4.1 Miles” Daphne Matziaraki

•”Joe’s Violin” Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen

•”Watani: My Homeland” Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis

•”The White Helmets” Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara

 

Achievement in film editing

•”Arrival”Joe Walker

•”Hacksaw Ridge” John Gilbert

•”Hell or High Water” Jake Roberts

•”La La Land” Tom Cross<——Needs this for sweep, and deserves it, too.

•”Moonlight” Nat Sanders and Joi McMillon

 

Best foreign language film of the year

•”Land of Mine” Denmark

•”A Man Called Ove” Sweden

•”The Salesman” Iran<—-There are many reasons this should win.

•”Tanna” Australia

•”Toni Erdmann” Germany

 

Achievement in makeup and hairstyling

•”A Man Called Ove” Eva von Bahr and Love Larson

•”Star Trek Beyond” Joel Harlow and Richard Alonzo

•”Suicide Squad” Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini and Christopher Nelson<—-Just a guess, for the win?

 

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)

•”Jackie” Mica Levi

•”La La Land” Justin Hurwitz<——Keep those wins coming for a sweep?

•”Lion” Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka

•”Moonlight” Nicholas Britell

•”Passengers” Thomas Newman<—Is there ever a year when Newman isn’t here?

Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)

•”Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” from “La La Land” – Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul<—-Heart and soul of why Emma Stone wins the Oscar!

•”Can’t Stop The Feeling” from “Trolls” – Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster<—-Everybody just wants to see Justin Timberlake do a number with Ryan Gosling, from their Disney Channel kids days together.

•”City Of Stars” from “La La Land” – Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul<—- If this doesn’t win, a lot of hat-eating in this Town.

•”The Empty Chair” from “Jim: The James Foley Story” – Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting

•”How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” – Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda<—-Hamilton’s Broadway Whiz Kid Lin-Manuel officially on the map in Hollywood, make note of it.

 

Best motion picture of the year

•”Arrival” Shawn Levy, Dan Levine, Aaron Ryder and David Linde, Producers

•”Fences” Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black, Producers

•”Hacksaw Ridge” Bill Mechanic and David Permut, Producers

•”Hell or High Water” Carla Hacken and Julie Yorn, Producers

•”Hidden Figures” Donna Gigliotti, Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Pharrell Williams and Theodore Melfi, Producers<—-Total shock upset win possible!

•”La La Land” Fred Berger, Jordan Horowitz and Marc Platt, Producers<—-A lot of money is changing hands on this one with bookmakers no doubt.

•”Lion” Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Angie Fielder, Producers

•”Manchester by the Sea” Matt Damon, Kimberly Steward, Chris Moore, Lauren Beck and Kevin J. Walsh, Producers

•”Moonlight” Adele Romanski, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, Producers

HF-228 - Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

HF-228 – Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Achievement in production design

•”Arrival” Production Design: Patrice Vermette; Set Decoration: Paul Hotte

•”Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” Production Design: Stuart Craig; Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock

•”Hail, Caesar!” Production Design: Jess Gonchor; Set Decoration: Nancy Haigh<—-Yes, this should be the winner, but will it?

•”La La Land” Production Design: David Wasco; Set Decoration: Sandy Reynolds-Wasco<—-It was set in LA, about LA, and looks like LA, even though it needs this to KO Cameron’s TITANIC.

•”Passengers” Production Design: Guy Hendrix Dyas; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena<—Don’t say you didn’t get a second nomination, okay?

 

Best animated short filmabsolutely no idea in this category, yikes.

•”Blind Vaysha” Theodore Ushev

•”Borrowed Time” Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj

•”Pear Cider and Cigarettes” Robert Valley and Cara Speller

•”Pearl” Patrick Osborne

•”Piper” Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer

 

Best live action short film

•”Ennemis Intérieurs” Sélim Azzazi

•”La Femme et le TGV” Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff

•”Silent Nights” Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson

•”Sing” Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy

•”Timecode” Juanjo Giménez<—-Rooting for TIMECODE, but who knows?

 

Achievement in sound editing

•”Arrival” Sylvain Bellemare<—-They overlook Amy Adams, but like the sound editing, sigh…

•”Deepwater Horizon” Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli<—-You’re welcome, there’s your nomination Mark Wahlberg.

•”Hacksaw Ridge” Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright

•”La La Land” Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan<—-Sound is a huge factor, c’mon sweep.

•”Sully” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman<—-Because this movie, and beloved star Tom Hanks, deserve some recognition, whether they win or not, and or not in this case?

 

Achievement in sound mixing

•”Arrival” Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye

•”Hacksaw Ridge” Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace

•”La La Land” Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow<—-Sweep-stakes!

•”Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson<—-This is not the nomination you were searching for, and we miss you Princess Carrie Fisher. (Debbie Reynolds, too, ps.)

•”13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth<—-Trump voters in Academy, you bet!

 

Achievement in visual effects

•”Deepwater Horizon” Craig Hammack, Jason Snell, Jason Billington and Burt Dalton<—-Yeah, well, now it’s two noms for Marky Mark’s movie.

•”Doctor Strange” Stephane Ceretti, Richard Bluff, Vincent Cirelli and Paul Corbould<—-Benedict, you can stop worrying, it really is a great (and now nominated) film.

•”The Jungle Book” Robert Legato, Adam Valdez, Andrew R. Jones and Dan Lemmon<—-Sweet, but sour chance to win.

•”Kubo and the Two Strings” Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean and Brad Schiff<—-Great animation, but is it great enough?

•”Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” John Knoll, Mohen Leo, Hal Hickel and Neil Corbould<—-This may be the best shot, at the Oscar.

 

Adapted screenplay

•”Arrival” Screenplay by Eric Heisserer

•”Fences” Screenplay by August Wilson<—Even Wilson knew playwriting is not the same as written for the screen, but amazing to see the honor.

•”Hidden Figures” Screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi<—-Call us crazy, but this is where the magic is.

•”Lion” Screenplay by Luke Davies

•”Moonlight” Screenplay by Barry Jenkins; Story by Tarell Alvin McCraney

 

Original screenplay

•”Hell or High Water” Written by Taylor Sheridan

•”La La Land” Written by Damien Chazelle<——Do you need to ask?

•”The Lobster” Written by Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou<—-Nice job on one of the strangest and most unsettling movies made recently, seriously.

•”Manchester by the Sea” Written by Kenneth Lonergan<—-Veteran writer/director honored with a nom here.

•”20th Century Women” Written by Mike Mills<—-The only one that could unseat Chazelle’s sweep stakes?

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 ABOUT THAT ACADEMY…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is a global community of more than 7,000 of the most accomplished artists, filmmakers and executives working in film. In addition to celebrating and recognizing excellence in filmmaking through the Oscars, the Academy supports a wide range of initiatives to promote the art and science of the movies, including public programming, educational outreach and the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is under construction in Los Angeles. (A Museum, from the Academy, did you catch that? You can join now. And help donate too.)

FOLLOW THE ACADEMY, AND YOUR DREAMS

www.oscars.org

www.facebook.com/TheAcademy

www.youtube.com/Oscars

www.twitter.com/TheAcademy

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LOL LOL Land: Hidden Gems Show #OscarSoRight, Tough Matchups & How Noms React

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

When the Oscars streamed the announcements for the first time in their history this morning, anybody in the world got a glimpse at who AMPAS deemed Oscar-worthy for the 89th Academy Awards. The net result? You get emails from everybody and your mother about how right, or wrong your predictions were — maybe not the result the Academy expected, but announcing online is here to stay.

Meanwhile, what a line-up, and let’s create the hashtag #OscarSoRight, right now. DamienEmma16 That eliminates the need for hand-wringing over the past. To those who cry foul at the diverse mix of nominees this year? One question? Have you seen the movies?  Because LA LA Land with a record-smashing 14 nominations for a musical, matching TITANIC (1997) and Bette Davis’ insider anthem ALL ABOUT EVE (1950), is a gem, a pure unpolished gem. And HIDDEN FIGURES, FENCES, LION? Absolute movie risks that paid off. (Now we can all stop bashing Nicole Kidman (LION) for her political nod to Trump, okay? She’s an actor, not a politician.)

So here are the magic numbers that make this 89th Oscars tough to predict. For HIDDEN FIGURES, Octavia Spencer sits opposite Viola Davis for FENCES in the Best Supporting Actress category.

If this isn’t heart-stopping, you haven’t seen both movies. Viola Davis is magnificent in the August Wilson adaptation, you can see that in the trailer, frankly. Octavia Spencer is magnificent for different reasons in HIDDEN FIGURES, powerful even when she holds up a Fortran book and monologues about computer programming being the future. Sigh. IBMOct17
You want both to win, you want a tie. But when was the last time the Academy gave a tie for Best Supporting Actress or any award? Back in 1932, Frederick March and Wallace Beery, and then on April 14, 1969, Best Actress with allegedly the same number (3,030) of votes for Katharine Hepburn and Barbra Streisand. You don’t have to be a Hollywood insider to guess The Great Kate might have had a thumb on the scale. But this is 2017, and the number of members combined with the odds for a tie are close to impossible.

LA LA LAND, in order to beat TITANIC in actual wins, has to pull off all the major categories: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, but also pull off some unusual wins. Right now this movie is nominated twice in the Best Song category, and this may make the difference in unseating the “I’m The King of The World” filmmaker James Cameron for TITANIC.

On March 23, 1998, James Cameron’s sunk-ship epic won 11 Academy Awards. LALA1sht16In the Billy Crystal-hosted ceremony, that’s when Cameron made the “King of the World” proclamation mocked around the town. In all fairness, he wasn’t wrong, and backed it up with all-time BO headbanger AVATAR.

So what happens next? Stay tuned, folks. LA LA LAND is poised to tip the scales. Now imagine for a moment, just a hypothetical, that HIDDEN FIGURES wins Best Picture. The math changes quite a bit.

Is it irresponsible to pose what-ifs? Well, this is what makes Oscar and Award Season exciting. And the major stars have all made some kind of statement to the press, to fans around the globe, and of course to their publicists first. What do those statements look like hot off the wires?

Well, you saw it first here, so take a look at these reactions. Michael Shannon is one of the best actors of his generation, bar none.  Ruth Negga is a newcomer, but turned in a performance by a studied veteran in LOVING.

RUTH NEGGA – “LOVING” (Focus Features) – Nominee, Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Academy Awards 

“I am truly humbled by the news this morning, and I thank the Academy for this recognition, which I share with my co-collaborators Jeff Nichols and Joel Edgerton. It has been such an honor to have been given the opportunity to tell the incredible story of Richard and Mildred Loving, who serve as an inspiration that ordinary people can do extraordinary things. The Lovings fought quietly yet tirelessly, and changed the course of American legal history. Today, to be among such extraordinary women – my fellow nominees, my peers with films this year, and the legendary performers whose work of years past has long inspired me…this means a great deal to me.” – Ruth Negga, Academy Award nominee for Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role (LOVING)

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MICHAEL SHANNON – “NOCTURNAL ANIMALS” (Focus Features) – Nominee, Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Academy Awards

“I am thrilled! Loved making this film. I would work with Tom Ford anytime, anywhere. Jake Gyllenhaal and Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Karl Glusman made it easy for me. Nice to get some good news in the midst of all the carnage, so to speak.” – Michael Shannon, Academy Award nominee for Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (NOCTURNAL ANIMALS)ShannonNA17

In the Animated category, fine film KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS will be “the first time an animated film has been nominated in the visual effects category since THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS in 1994,” according to their reps.

“KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS” (Focus Features) – Nominee, Best Animated Feature Film – Academy Awards

Travis Knight: “I’m over the moon!  An Academy Award nomination is an extraordinary and cherished gift.  Two nominations is more than anyone could hope for.  Every filmmaker dreams of a moment like this.  But the truth is, I already lived my dream by making this film. Movies have always given me great joy. They enriched my life.  They inspired me to dream.  That’s the kind of film our team at LAIKA sought to make with KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.  A film is a slice of a hundred souls.  In this case many more.  An incredible, immense community of artists gave ceaselessly and selflessly to breathe life into this story.  I’m so thankful for their talents and efforts and so proud of what we’ve done together.  I’m profoundly grateful to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who somehow saw fit to include us among the finest storytellers in film.  It is a tremendous honor to stand alongside them.”

– Travis Knight, Academy Award nominee as director and producer of KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS, Best Animated Feature Film Kubo17

STEVE EMERSON, OLIVER JONES, BRIAN MCLEAN & BRAD SCHIFF – “KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS” (Focus Features) – Nominees, Achievement in Visual Effects – Academy Awards 

“As much as Kubo and the Two Strings is an homage to Japanese culture and to woodblock artists including Kiyoshi Saito, it is also a tribute to special effects pioneers Ray Harryhausen, Willis O’Brien, Jim Danforth, and the many innovative FX artists who tell stories using in-camera effects, puppets, and human hands. We’re thrilled for the artists at LAIKA who put years into realizing Kubo. For all of us at the studio, being recognized alongside such distinguished and talented members of the VFX community is truly an honor.”

– Steve Emerson, Oliver Jones, Brian McLean & Brad Schiff, Academy Award nominees for Achievement in Visual Effects (KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS)

The 89th Academy Award presentation will be broadcast live on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, and we’ve got you covered. In the meantime, view all the nominees (and future winners) at the Oscars.Oscars2017

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and Oscar predictions.

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A24 & 20TH CENTURY WOMEN Won’t Keep The Party Polite, So See Their Film

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Okay, so that headline lyric is actually from Frank Sinatra about Luck being a Lady, and frankly that’s just one misconception about women that the movie 20TH CENTURY WOMEN hopes to debunk. That and every notion of gender from conception to girl power to the male gaze to reproduction. AnnetteB17This movie is not a “chick flick,” shall we say, but it is a flick about chicks/women/girls, and every other representation of — stealing from the novelist Raymond Carver here – what we think about when we think about Women. Plus there’s skateboarding in it, a huge nostalgic bonus. Yeah, but what’s the movie about?

Here’s the official rundown: “With 20th Century Women, acclaimed filmmaker Mike Mills (the Academy Award® winner for Beginners) brings us a multilayered, funny, heart-stirring celebration of the complexities of women, family, time, and the connections we search for our whole lives. Set in Santa Barbara, the film follows Dorothea Fields (Annette Bening), a determined single mother in her mid-50s who is raising her adolescent son, Jamie (newcomer Lucas Jade Zumann, in a breakout performance) at a moment brimming with cultural change and rebellion. Dorothea enlists the help of two younger women in Jamie’s upbringing: Abbie (Greta Gerwig), a free-spirited punk artist living as a boarder in the Fields’ home; and Julie (Elle Fanning), a savvy and provocative teenage neighbor. 20th Century Women is a poignant love letter to the people who raise us—and the times that form us—as this makeshift family forges fragile connections that will mystify and inspire them through their lives. GretaG17As if this film itself is not enough of a power statement for the cause, A24 has just announced it will make a donation to Planned Parenthood to honor every single person who sees the film this weekend, men and women. Meanwhile, filmmaker Mike Mills has just unveiled a clip of Greta Gerwig, Elle Fanning, and Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, being interviewed about what matters. Besides kicking asses and taking names, to use the ‘parlance of our time,’ Planned Parenthood is still recovering from brand bashing during the election. So, watch the clip below, and remember – you can either plan your parenthood or all hell breaks loose.

Here’s A24’s official word on this featurette:

[Writer/director Mike Mills, and stars Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning, reflect on those who raise us and the times that shape us in latest video ‘Modern Women’, featuring an exclusive interview with Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. Planned Parenthood consulted on the film and Planned Parenthood California Central Coast shared information and resources about Planned Parenthood health centers in the ’70s. Planned Parenthood also plays a crucial part in the lives of two of the main characters in the film.]

Of his fierce support of the project, writer/director Mike Mills says, “The people at Planned Parenthood were so helpful to me with the writing and pre-production of 20th Century Women. They connected me with people who worked in PP offices in the ’70s to make sure every aspect of my scenes was correct, from the language counselors used to the very particular decor and dress of the people in those offices, to the overarching philosophy and attitude of the women who worked there. It was very important to me that we capture this moment in women’s reproductive rights accurately and they were so generous and helpful to me.”20C1sht17

Mike Mills’ Golden-Globe® nominated 20TH CENTURY WOMEN opened 12/25/2016, and is showing now in a run up to the Oscar® ceremony, to broadcast live on Sunday, Feb. 26. The film stars Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann, and Billy Crudup. Mike Mills is the writer director. Find out how to see it here and A24 has some other awesome projects on their website.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and plan to reproduce.

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How to Factor the Oscars: Hidden Figures, Stats on Women Revealed

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Who knew NASA and IBM would be the corporate darlings of this year’s Oscar race? Or, translated into Award Season trivia for 2017, who knew HIDDEN FIGURES from 20th Century Fox, about three NASA human “Computers,” would run up unexpected numbers at the box office and put stars Kevin Costner, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe on the Oscar radar?

HF-228 - Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Octavia Spencer stars as Dorothy Vaughan in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

The graph looks like this according to The Numbers, an insider box-office tracking service: Dec. 25, 2016 (release date) $515,499; Dec. 26, $831,571. Not impressed? By Dec. 27, the picture barely tops $1 M USD. However, in a five-day period between Jan. 5 and Jan. 10, 2017, in a run up to the Golden Globes, HIDDEN FIGURES goes from $2.5 M USD to $30 M USD. From Jan. 10 to Jan. 15, the picture tops $54 M USD and counting.

While the film took a backseat to singing-dancing LA LA LAND on Jan. 8 at the Golden Globes ceremony, nobody can deny that the film’s bump from being included in that awards show made a huge difference as far as audience awareness, and in turn box office totals.

You may not be a big fan of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, or the checkered history of their Golden Globes presentation, but this year the GG’s hit it out of the park for a film that may have stayed hidden had not this show (among others) shined a spot on three remarkable African-American women who helped ushered in a win in the US-Russian Space Race back in the 60’s. The film picked up two nominations, for Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, and Ben Wallfisch for Best Score, and for Octavia Spencer as Best Supporting Actress in a motion picture.

HF-207 - Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Taraji P. Henson as Katherine G. Johnson and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

And now a brief moment to shine a spot on the man of the hour, here, because his star-power helped get this funded by Peter Chernin and other execs at 20th who always need “a name.” From Dances with Wolves to McFarland USA (see it), and now Hidden Figures, Costner is one of the only past or present A-List leading men with an eye on the prize for under-represented groups, including women. McFarland director Niki Caro (Whale Rider) singled him out for this Disney film because he is such a likable barrier breaker and that story is about a Mexican-American community track team that defies all odds.

DF-06401_R - Kevin Costner stars as NASA official Al Harrison, in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

Kevin Costner stars as NASA official Al Harrison, in HIDDEN FIGURES. Photo Credit: Hopper Stone.

But enough about Kevin Costner, he won’t get a nomination because Best Actor is a tough field this year, although there may be an honorary Oscar someday for his efforts. So let’s recognize him here and now for helping get some tough-to-fund projects made.

Now back to HIDDEN FIGURES, and why this movie may slip out from behind the pack and take Best Picture at the 2017 Academy Awards presentation on Sunday, Feb. 26. (Yes, Best Picture.) This movie is adapted from the novel by Margot Lee Shetterley from Harper Collins, and the real title is “The American Dream and Untold Story of The Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win The Space Race.” Written by an actual native of Hampton, Virginia, the book casts a kind light on John Glenn (Glen Powell) whose performance here is noteworthy as he seems both gender-blind and color-blind. Shetterley herself, as described in her bio is an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow, as well as “recipient of a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant for her research on women in computing.”IBMOct17

Along with gritty but elegant performances by actors Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan), and Janelle Monáe (Mary Jackson), the film is a visual essay on the power of STEM in changing lives. STEM stands for Science, Math, Engineering, and Technology. It’s a plank in shoring up the American education system that is badly outdated. The notion that back in the 1960’s these real-life women of science (and of color) could have better chances than some women today is not lost on audiences. Hidden figures is a triple pun, their physical figures, math figures, and today’s still-grim stats for women in significant scientific jobs. Plus, the climate of learning in America right now is so consumer-oriented, most people barely know how to balance a checkbook anymore (much less figure payloads to the moon), as most of us live by the random swipe of plastic in a virtual ETF economy that circles the globe.

Melissa McCarthy hosted a Special Screening of this film earlier in the year, meaning it needed word-of-mouth among Hollywood’s creative community too. HIDDEN FIGURES has had music events. Pharrell Williams has a music credit and did a concert in Toronto for TIFF. It has inspired girl-empowerment events, screenings in Atlanta, all over North America, as a sleeper success story during this Award Season.

But back to the actual story. Vaughan just had a building named after her at NASA to commemorate her work, and Octavia Spencer pays off her legacy on her work getting us to the stars with a stellar performance. When was the last time you saw anyone hold up a Fortran programming book on screen and make it look like a way out of poverty. Spencer absolutely inhabits this real-life role as more than credible, but lovable. However, she is stuck in a very tough category for 2017, up against the formidable Viola Davis, who all but owns this supporting awards category for FENCES, the August Wilson screen adaptation of his literary playwriting masterpiece. Let’s just say there will be no Winner and Nominees in that category this year, it’s a win-win all the way around, no matter who takes home the statuette. TarajiHF17Taraji P. Henson, who slays in her role as Cookie Lyon as part of HBO’s urban epic Empire, did not even pick up a Golden Globe nom in the TV category on Jan. 8, but her performance in HIDDEN FIGURES is masterful in a different way. While she appears at times hysterical and high-strung as Katherine Johnson in HIDDEN, the reality her character touches is everything about all women in the workplace – from the bathroom to the Boardroom. And this is where the movie really spills out into the actual industry itself. It’s not just about women of color, it’s about all women, because no matter how you slice the stats, the stats are always lumped together as the percentages of females in key roles.

Take a look at the 2015 stats here, released in Feb. of 2016, known as the Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity in Entertainment (CARD) from USC’s Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA). This excerpt here includes only few major statistical breakdowns on women in general for feature films. USCGenDir17Did you know 96.6% of all directors are men, with 3.4% women? Now factor women of color and that 3.4 percent divides again. Out of a pool of 6,421 writers, more than 71% are men, 28.9% are women. And, according to the study, an apologia of sorts, as in “it may also be the case, however, that executives feel more comfortable hiring women directors and screenwriters when the story pulls female.”

How many “executives” are women, you may wonder, to pull off this double miracle of generating more female-driven stories helmed by female-driven hands? Under the heading Top Corporate Executives by Gender and Position, this study reveals fully 81% of Board positions are held by men, while 79% are C-Suite (meaning C-level titles such as CEO, COO, CIO), and even in the ranks of Executive Management, another 81% are men. So we’re looking at a 1-in-5 chance changes will be coming anytime soon, as approximately 20% of the behind-the-scenes decision makers are women. USCCover17

HIDDEN FIGURES is that 1-in-5 project that got through the system. Directed by Theordore Melfi (St. Vincent (Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy)), he shares a screenplay credit with Allison Schroeder. Schroeder is the writer of Mean Girls 2, and credited on Pineapple Express, but she also has a BA from Stanford, and a went to the Producing Program at USC. Her own story is one of education and advancement, another hidden stat rolled up in this remarkable movie.

The box office for HIDDEN FIGURES continues to climb on a sharp curve upward, and this film ranked #1 in the US in popularity this week for a reason. Not because it’s diverse, not because it’s about women, not because it’s about women of color, math, science, space, or technology… because it’s beyond awesome. These three life stories, based on actual scientists from NASA who excelled and were recognized despite segregation in America, have such poignant arcs that the connection to the audience is palpable in the theater. Now let’s see if Oscar voters feel the same pull, not toward the heavens, but toward the real issue facing people here on earth.

HIDDEN FIGURES official story, full cast credits, and featurette trailers can be found on this link. And now we even send women into space, see these NASA stats from Graphiq.

Stay tuned for more Oscar predictions… and peruse USC’s CARD study here. Mostly add up HIDDEN FIGURES Oscar chances for yourself, see it now.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and go out on a limb handicapping the Oscars.

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Award Season 2017: And The Nominees Are… Split & No Director-ess?

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

During Award Season when Hollywood has the limelight, and this includes every major guild and member-based award show up until the 89th Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, there is a shopworn practice of splitting the Nominations announcements in the news, setting up anticipation for several different dates for the same organization. DGAlogo17For example, today Jan. 11, the Directors Guild of America (DGA) announced its TV, Commercial and Documentary Nominees, with Feature Film category to be announced later in the week. That’s a minor inconvenience if you’re covering this major award show, but events such as this year’s 22nd Critics Choice Awards announced their TV Nominations on Nov. 17, 2016, followed by Film Nominations on Dec. 1. However vast the Critics Choice Awards audience may or may not be, the bisection of news announcements cuts into coverage for higher profile shows right in this key period during award season. WGAlogo

The Writers Guild of America (WGA) splits screenplay and new media nominees on different dates as well, with TV, New Media, Radio, News, Promo Writing as well as Graphic Animation nominations on Dec. 5, 2016, with WGA features film and documentary screenplay noms on Jan. 4, 2017.  While this almost makes sense for the WGA to highlight the inherent pay and status difference between full blown Hollywood films as opposed to New Media webisodes, the bifurcation distracts from other breaking news.

Morgan Freeman feted at PGA Produced by Event (credit: Mark Gordon)

Morgan Freeman feted at PGA Produced by Event (credit: Mark Gordon)

The Producers Guild of America (PGA) announced nominations for Documentary on Nov. 22, 2016, with TV and Digital Media on Jan. 5, followed by headliner PGA suite of awards for feature films on Jan. 10. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) on the other hand, made only one major announcement on Dec. 14, 2016.

During the official start of award season in November through the official end with the Oscars in February, the slate of news items include – roughly in order of nominations announcements – Critics Choice Awards, the Gotham Awards, British Independent Film Awards (BIFA), European Film Awards, AMPAS Governors Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Annie Awards, National Board of Review, New York Critics Circle Awards, WGA Awards, SAG Awards, DGA Awards, PGA Awards.

Vintage Golden Globes signage.

Vintage Golden Globes signage.

Add the Art Directors Guild Awards, Visual Effects Society Awards, Eddie Awards, also for make-up and costume, along with other regional critics award shows. It’s exhausting.

When you divide up Nominations Announcements for the various organizations as they break down the press releases for certain categories, an already packed agenda becomes almost unmanageable.

So why all the split news releases? Especially when the window for world news, post-election news, and general global events is so crowded right now? The positive spin is extra media attention for lesser known categories. A negative spin is that this fragmentation of press alerts drags down the entire award show season, which results in award show fatigue.

How did this practice get started? Look to the Academy with its Oscar presentation and various life achievement awards. Without exception, all on-the-map events during award season follow the AMPAS leader here. But let’s be realistic, the Academy Awards presentation is a singular and storied event unmatched by any other ceremony in Hollywood history.

Oscar for Hattie McDaniel (Gone With The Wind) in 1940 ceremony, just a few years after Supporting category established.

[Oscar for Hattie McDaniel (GWTW) in 1940, after Supporting category est. 1937.]

After 1928 when the Oscar was known as The Award of Merit, presented in only 12 categories as decided by only a seven-member committee, the first Academy Award ceremony happened May 16, 1929 with a 270-person audience in the Blossom Room of the Roosevelt Hotel. It wasn’t until 1930’s that the show was broadcast on radio. In 1935, Film Editing, Music Scoring and Song as a category was added, even before Best Supporting Actor and Actress in 1937.

Visual Effects was added to the statuette column in 1939 with 20th Century Fox as the first winner. The Thalberg Award was created the previous year, 1938. Foreign Language Film as an accolade debuted in 1947, with Italy the first country to win this Oscar.

The picture that emerges here is the scope of the Academy Awards and the necessity of splitting the news as it details the history of Hollywood’s film industry itself. The same can not be said for the plethora of award shows that followed. LeoAcademyMemeSo, during award season 2017, maybe we’ve reached critical saturation of the so-called breaking news snippets. Additionally, not to harp on it, but when the incoming US President career-shamed legend Meryl Streep as an “overrated actress” it became clear that this issue of gender in nomination categories needs to be addressed once and for all, by the Academy on down. We don’t say “director-ess” or “producer-ess” — so we might as well call everyone Actor. The new categories should be established as Best Lead Actor (Female); Best Lead Actor (Male); Best Supporting Actor (Female), and on throughout the acting categories.

Consider this putting the shows on notice, in the nicest way, on the heels of a very contentious award season in 2016, hoping for better things from 2017 and beyond.

[Editor’s Note: (More history of the Academy Awards can be found on http://www.oscars.org/academy-story.]

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and write about movies, TV, New Media, and announce it all only once.

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25 Clues Meryl Streep Is Not Overrated: Out of the “Sandra Dee Box” & Into A Twitter War

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

So, here’s the story, as they say in the movies… Sunday night Jan. 8, at the Golden Globes hosted by Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), award-winning actor/legend Meryl Streep stepped in it by “calling out” the new US President-Elect with a pointed speech on bullying as an undesirable trait. Long story, short, the soon-to-be-installed President Donald J. Trump, ignited a Twitter firefight in which he dubbed Streep as among the most “overrated” actors in Hollywood.

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Well, in this tiny press window before the 89th Oscar ceremony on Sunday, Feb. 26, let’s get one thing straight: there are many overrated actors in Hollywood, but New Jersey-native Streep is not one of them. Without naming names, those actors know who they are – but do we really know who Meryl Streep is?

Just look at the interwebs traffic spikes since the Trump Twitter war started, then scroll below for the real deal on America’s (Elder) Sweetheart.

25 reasons Streep isn’t just hype… some obscure & just plain fun ones

1. Was inspired mostly by Mary, her mother, “who lit up a room” and was of Irish extraction. Also wished “my mother and father were alive to hear” the news of her Kennedy Center honor.

2. Streep’s Aunt Jane apparently didn’t think Meryl was an attractive child, also too bossy. It took years, but Meryl finally won her over. Family first focused Streep strikes again.

3. Wanted to be an opera singer, thought better of it, but fell in love with Ethel Merman, Carol Channing and Georgia Brown, iconic crooners on Broadway.

4. Claims she never wanted to be inside the “Sandra Dee Box,” meaning Streep always looked at widening acting for women in strong lead roles.

5. Even though she was Homecoming Queen – and a cheerleader – Meryl still wanted to be the female Spencer Tracy acting-wise.

6. Thumbed her way out of her small Jersey town, hitchhiking with a total stranger at age 21.

7. The legendary Joe Papp, of New York theater world fame, pegged Yale graduate Streep as  a “pure actor.” Going on the record with the quote “There are only a few people I would call pure actors. Meryl is one.”

8. Her first TV screen appearances included a part in breakthrough mini-series Holocaust in 1978, which by its overseas air date in 1979, was said to have “captured the imagination of Germans” in translation. Meryl’s later role in Sophia’s Choice, also translated into German, came with a built-in audience.

9. When TIME magazine published a cheeky article entitled “What Makes Meryl Magic” on Sept. 7, 1981, she confounded the hype by actually pulling off the magic trick of being one of the most nominated actors in Hollywood History.

10. Although “Meryl Streep: A Critical Biography” was published by Eugene E. Pfaff and Mark Emerson in 1987, she managed to build a remarkable career for the next three decades that defied all expectations.Streep17

11. When Newsweek Editor Jack Kroll died in 2000, he was still being credited as one of the first to recognize Meryl Streep’s considerable talents with a full-blown cover story photo and headline of the newcomer that read: “A Star for the ’80’s.” Little did he know this trend would continue today.

12. Has had her share of career disappointments. Meryl even got jealous of Jessica Lange when she landed the part in Sweet Dreams, Patsy Cline’s biopic, but never held it against Lange.

13. Calls the thinspiration sexy ingenue craze in Hollywood the “Victoria Secret Syndrome.”

14. Survived the nadir of her career when she played the Australian woman heard around the world with the phrase “dingo got my baby” in A Cry in the Dark (1988). Incidentally, the “Dingo Baby” cold case was revisited 24 years later because of this film.

15. Nicked the part of Italian lover to Clint Eastwood’s character in Bridges of Madison County from Sophia Loren by accident, but balances that out by the fact her husband was dumb-struck as a young man by Sophia Loren emerging from the sea in 1957’s campy flick Boy on A Dolphin. They’re great friends now.

16. Has stayed substance abuse free, and according to one magazine writer, Meryl Streep orders drinks for friends as “two waters, please.”

17. Wanted her daughter Mamie to study nuclear physics rather than acting, but later admitted she was kidding about the nuclear physics part – though initially seriously against acting.

18. Told Esquire magazine’s writer in 1984 that the problem with baby strollers in Manhattan is that they are at the level of car exhaust pipes, cementing her status as a truly caring mother.

19. Meryl Streep claims she does not have a favorite director. Implying many things about her diplomacy skills.

20. Has encouraged Martin Scorsese to feature a balanced, strong female lead character but doubts he will do it during her lifetime.

21. Admitted she was a below average cook while playing Julia Child in Julie & Julia.

22. Inspired a young Brittany Murphy with her performance in “Crayon versus Crayon” – before Murphy could pronounce the title. Sadly Murphy didn’t live to see her mentor continue to flourish.

23. Though inexplicably disliked by Katharine Hepburn, who may actually have sensed a threat to her own legacy in Hollywood, Streep didn’t let it phase her.

24. In 2003, when the reasons for Katharine Hepburn’s dislike of Streep were made public in the Scott Berg book “Kate Remembered,” the deceased Grand Dame labeled Meryl too technical as an actor and too cerebral — two traits Hepburn was famous for in the industry. Uh, Hepburn was also revealed to be a huge fan of John Travolta and enchanted with Michael Jackson. Streep: 1, Hepburn: 0.

25. Mary Louise “Meryl” Streep championed Patricia Arquette at the 2015 Oscar ceremony when Arquette demanded “equal pay for equal work” about women’s compensation in the industry. Not just talk, Streep has always championed the word “actor” for women instead of the throwback term “actress,” and in 2015 began funding a Women over 40 Screenwriting Program through New York Women in Film & Television to give unsung mature women a chance to shine in writing.

BONUS Points: As of Jan. 9, 2017, Meryl Streep, 67 years wise, refuses to respond to a Trump Twitter war slamming her speech denouncing bullying at the 2017 Golden Globes, held Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017.

So there’s 25 clues for Streep fans, as well as Mr. President-elect. While there is no Oscar for The Peaceful Transfer of Power in a Democracy, let’s all act accordingly. With Meryl Streep as a shining example of grace under pressure.

[Editor’s Note: Sources for this list include GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, TIME, Newsweek, book references as indicated, and archival interviews. Visualization from GRAPHIQ. The views expressed here are not designed to start a Twitter war with the incoming US President, God Bless America.]

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies, and are patriotic supporters of Meryl Streep.

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