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Robert Osborne: Keeper of OSCAR’s Secrets Gone Now

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Today, a familiar face left the Hollywood landscape as TCM host Robert Osborne, 84, died on Monday Mar.6, 2017. But he was much more than just another talking head about movies and movie stars. Osborne came to Tinsel Town from “off the farm,” as he recounted when we spoke about the Oscars history in 2011. Instead of penning a typical tribute, here’s a real inside look back at a man whose work in show business lives on. Ironically, he leaves us in the most controversial year ever for the Academy Awards as LA LA LAND was erroneously announced as Best Picture, later corrected as MOONLIGHT. In Osborne’s estimation, the only other Oscar controversy happened in 1947, exactly 70 years ago. His opinion on the two controversies, as to which one was more or less impactful — now or 1947 — would have been priceless.

The following in-depth chat is from a FilmFestivals Jan. 17, 2011 interview, when Robert Osborne (1932-2017)  discussed the Oscars history and his own personal journey on the way to becoming one of the most recognized faces to cover the Academy Awards presentation and Hollywood lore on TCM and on the red carpet.

Enjoy this look back at a man, once an actor, who became a different kind of screen legend as the charismatic and lively host of Turner Classic Movies, among other contributions to the entertainment industry as an author and Hollywood insider.

ARCHIVE: When the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences award show premiered in 1928, the industry was barely 31 years old. Known as The Official Biographer of The Academy Awards, as well as the honorary red-carpet greeter for the Academy, the man who refers to himself as “coming to Hollywood off the farm” will unveil insider moments about these films as he unspools some of the greatest pictures ever made.

Recently he gave us a private glimpse into his personal life as well as his professional path leading from his 1965 start chronicling the movies up to his present life as a man inextricably tied to the Golden Statuette.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Since you are the official biographer of the Oscar, how is this year different leading up to the Oscars?

ROBERT OSBORNE: It is certainly a different Oscar game now than in the years when all the stars were well-known to the public. In 1951, they all knew who Humphrey Bogart was, who Marlon Brando was, and Montgomery Clift.

It made the Oscar race very interesting because you had all these stars competing against each other. Today we have a lot of films come out with a lot of different people we’ve never really known before, or seen before. So we’re being introduced to these films [and stars], and it’s a little hard to get people excited about the awards when they don’t know quite who the players are.

For us, with programming at TCM, it is wondeful because it gives us a chance to bring out all these films. Many of which won Oscars and are nominated in categories people are not aware of — so we have this wide mix of films (with history) people are not that aware of.

Not only the famous ones, like the LAWRENCE OF ARABIA’s and CASABLANCA’s, but films that are still worth seeing and fun to see.

For us, it is like a whole month full of desserts. Great movies to resee, if you haven’t seen them before. It also gives us a chance to show films we haven’t shown before.

This year we are showing the LORD OF THE RINGS: RETURN OF THE KING, which won the Academy Award in 2003. And we go all the way back to WINGS, which was the first movie to win an Academy Award back in 1927.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Was that Clara Bow?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Yes, it was Clara Bow and Gary Cooper. We have a whole mix from FORREST GUMP to PRETTY WOMAN to KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: That’s great movie. What are your Top 5 Oscar all-time favorites? I know that’s tough.

ROBERT OSBORNE: My two favorites are movies that never won any Oscars, but were certainly nominated. SUNSET BOULEVARD, and A PLACE IN THE SUN.

But as far as (winning Best Picture), GONE WITH THE WIND would be in there, FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, AN AMERICAN IN PARIS — because it always makes me feel good and lively. GODFATHER would be in there. That’s four. And maybe LAWRENCE OF ARABIA.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Is it true that you first came to Hollywood as an actor, and that Lucille Ball was your mentor?

ROBERT OSBORNE: I was. When I first came out to California, it turned out to be a big break for me. She had 12 people under contract. She got to know us all over a two-year period. She knew I loved to write, and old films. At that point, there was really not a lot of interest in them.

She said “you know, I think we have enough actors. Why don’t you try writing about the business? I know you would be fine as an actor, but I don’t think it will make you happy.”

She said “I think writing and researching about old films will make you happy.”

I did listen to her because there was nothing to gain from giving me advice like that. I think you have to be careful who you get advice from because they may be giving you advice to help them in some way.

She encouraged me to write a book right away, because she said “if you write a book, and you are competing for a job,  a writing job, you’ll be ahead of other people.”
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QUENDRITH JOHNSON: She was so pragmatic, you know?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Very smart, too. She said “If you’ve written a book. They will realize you have the dedication. A lot of people say they want to write a book, but few have the discipline to actually do it. If you do it, you will get the job.” She had great advice like that.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You’ve had so many powerful leading ladies in your life. I think Bette Davis wrote the foreword to your first Academy Award book in 1965?

ROBERT OSBORNE: I learned wonderful things from her. She became a great friend of mine. I went out to California at a great time, at time when people like Bette Davis, and certainly Lucy and others, were available.

They weren’t working as much as they used to. If I had come out 10 or 15 years earlier, they all would have been very busy working on their careers. So they had time to talk to somebody like me, off the farm and coming to Hollywood.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: What’s your favorite Bette Davis story, a personal moment with her?

ROBERT OSBORNE: The biggest thing about Bette Davis was that she was nothing like the character Margo Channing in ALL ABOUT EVE.

She was a homemaker, a very New England lady, a great friend, a cook, she liked other women. So she wasn’t competitive with women.

She could very easily sit in a living-room with a lot of people and she didn’t have to be the center of attention. She liked going to parties, all that stuff.

It got complicated later when she got cancer and wasn’t feeling well. She got very difficult to be around then. But she was such a nice lady when she was in good health, one certainly put up with that. She was great to be around. She was very bright and had good common sense. I liked her very much.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: So far you’ve also had close relationships with the children of stars, like Pia Lindstrom (Ingrid Bergman’s daughter), and I know you are friends with Liza Minnelli —

ROBERT OSBORNE: I knew their mothers too.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: I’m going ask you a Judy Garland story then, may I?

ROBERT OSBORNE: There was a period of one week where there seemed to be a lot of parties going on. I somehow got on this list. At every party, Judy Garland was there, and would eventually move over to the piano and start singing.

I knew she was Judy Garland, and I liked her. But it never occurred to me that — 50 years later — she would be this icon that everyone would still be talking about.

But that night, I was trying to have a conversation in the other room. To me, at this one party, she was singing so loud, I thought “God, I wish she would be quiet.”

I’d heard her singing in the living room two or three times earlier that week.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You should have yelled “Cut!”

ROBERT OSBORNE: What was I thinking, it was Judy Garland. Now I think I should have been at her feet.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Did you tell Liza that, she probably thinks that is hilarious?

ROBERT OSBORNE: No. I’ve never told her that. Actually her mother is somebody I don’t talk to her a lot about because Liza has always been very careful to not in any way tread on her mother’s legacy — or not to have anyone perceive in any way that Liza is cashing in on her mother.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: She’s phenomenally talented, from CABARET on, so she’s got the pipes anyway.

ROBERT OSBORNE: Oh yeah. She is. She’s great. I like her a lot. But again, with people like that, I am very sensitive that sometimes the only thing people talk to her about is Judy Garland.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: With this year’s 31 Days of Oscars, do you also make reference to what also might be in contention, like Natalie Portman and BLACK SWAN, for example?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Not too much, because the nominations haven’t come out yet. What we are talking about here is Oscar’s history. People are coming to watch CASABLANCA, not to talk about Natalie Portman.

We’re really talking about the Academy Awards process, why a certain film won and some interesting stories about those films.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: What are some of the unknown things, you will share?
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ROBERT OSBORNE: You’d have think of a movie…

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: How about BONNIE & CLYDE for example? That year, HEAT OF THE NIGHT won. But we remember BONNIE & CLYDE as a start of a trend. Did that seem like an unusual year?

ROBERT OSBORNE: Yes. And. You have to put that in the context of its times. When BONNIE & CLYDE came out, in 1967/68, it was a very rude picture. That was a very violent film for that time. There were a lot of people who didn’t like that movie.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Pauline Kael (legendary film critic) saved that movie, single-handedly championed that film, rang the bell for BONNIE & CLYDE, didn’t she?

ROBERT OSBORNE: It does have to do with the times. IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT was a very well-made film, with a distinctive actor who had never won an Oscar before. It had great acting in it.

BONNIE AND CLYDE was way too violent to be seriously considered for that time. You still had people in the industry who were making films back in the 1940’s. It was quite a jump for people.

A movie like BONNIE & CLYDE is important because it helped the advance of the screen, the kind of subjects being told.

But it’s like today. There are movies being told that won’t even get an Oscar nomination because they are considered too far out. Someday people will look back and say “why didn’t that get more attention?”

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: What’s the biggest Oscar upset of all time, in your opinion? Biggest shock?

ROBERT OSBORNE: The biggest shock was probably 1947, when Loretta Young won for FARMER’S DAUGHTER.

All the awards that year had gone to Rosalind Russell. So much so, it was such a foregone conclusion, that RKO was giving that movie a big party for Rosalind Russell at Ciro’s.  They even had big banners up saying “RKO Salutes Ros.”

This was before television. Rosalind was actually on her feet adjusting her dress at the Shriner auditorium to walk down the aisle when they opened the envelope and read the name “Loretta Young”

She was the least likely. I think they took a poll and Rosalind Russell was the big favorite, then it was Susan Hayward in SMASH UP; Joan Crawford in POSSESSED.

RKO luckily had produced Loretta Young’s film — so they wiped Rosalind Russell’s name off the cake, took down the banners!

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: In the Modern-ish era, what about MY COUSIN VINNY, that Marisa Tomei was not supposed to win?

ROBERT OSBORNE: There was a rumor went around that Jack Palance, when he read off her name, said it, but it wasn’t the name of the winner.

But that couldn’t be true.

Because they knew, the minute the Academy Awards went on television — that this being live — some mischief could happen. Someone being funny or whatever.

From the time this has been on TV, since 1953, there are two members from the polling house, standing on each side of stage, who know who the winner is beforehand.

If there is a mistake, misread, or some such thing, these two men are instructed to cue the director, walk to the center of the stage, come to the podium and say “there’s been a mistake. The winner in that category is…”

They never embarrass the person coming down the aisle.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: As far as the name “Oscar,” how it got the name, Bette Davis was always famously known for saying that she named it for her first husband? What’s the truth?

ROBERT OSBORNE: The Oscar is a warrior, a nude statue, standing on a reel of film. She always said it looked like her husband when he got out of the shower. That he had the rear-end of Oscar.

There was a woman named Margaret Herrick, a secretary —

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: Right, I know who she was, now there’s the Margaret Herrick Library at the Academy.OsborneR17

ROBERT OSBORNE: Well, she claimed she named it for a cousin of hers. A columnist claimed he named it “Oscar” after an old Vaudeville joke, because he had gotten tired as a writer, writing about “The Golden Statuette of the Academy.”

I’ve talked to Bette about that. Whoever started it, it was around 1935, when Bette Davis won for DANGEROUS. That’s when that word came into play.

It is strange about things, you can have an idea, and once you speak the idea, somehow it gets out in the air and someone can catch it.

QUENDRITH JOHNSON: You are so right!

ROBERT OSBORNE: It’s like story ideas, never speak of it, because someone is liable to get it.

[Visualizations courtesy of www.graphiq.com.]

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When Life Imitates Tart: Shirley MacLaine & Amanda Seyfried Go At It In THE LAST WORD

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Never start a headline with a bad pun, and never write your own obit might be two unwritten rules of journalism, but in new movie THE LAST WORD, starring Shirley MacLaine and Amanda Seyfried, a lot of rules are broken so let’s skip the logline and go straight to the press conference at The Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. The timing is key here because this takes place Friday, Mar. 3, in the wake of MacLaine’s brother Warren Beatty’s epic wrong-picture Oscar controversy and the shock death of Bill Paxton, 61, who was Seyfried’s friend and co-star on the HBO series “Big Love.”

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Selfie from THE LAST WORD cast.

MacLaine, who plays Harriet Lauler a bitter ad exec who hires Amanda Seyfried’s character to pen a loving tribute before she dies, is seated beside Seyfried, with director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road), newcomer Ann’Jewel Lee, 10, and co-star Thomas Sadoski known for the CBS TV series “Life in Pieces.” To further up the stakes, Seyfried and Sadoski met on the set of this film, and are set to become parents shortly. Plus, Amanda has brought her dog Finn to the show, which makes this event even more like a surreal Hollywood family gathering.

Every single journalist in the room has worked up a strategy for addressing the 800 pound story lead in the room. Without being so indelicate as to outright ask about either the Oscars or Paxton without ruffling the stars or overshadowing THE LAST WORD’s release, the questions veer toward the inevitable.

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MacLaine shoots down all comers. “That’s Warren and Jimmy Kimmel’s problem. It was horrific,” she says of the Oscar misidentified Best Picture fracas. “I don’t want to talk about it.” Her firm stance here quashed any other talk of current events in Hollywood. And right there, while she sorts out the room, you see the character she plays in THE LAST WORD in sharp relief. You don’t mess with a legend, and you’re not going to slip a fast one by Shirley MacLaine, who’s a master at shutting down nonsense. The best part is she also steamrolls the “who was your mentor,” and the “Ms. MacLaine you’re a legend” crap too.

“Joan Crawford. She was the first person to give me advice (in Hollywood). I didn’t listen to a word she said.” MacLaine smiles as she says it.

When you get up the courage to ask your not-political-political question, with a Marlon Brando lead-in from one of her memoirs about how Brando actually got her into politics over a death penalty case while she was frying an egg, as the story goes, MacLaine dodges that bullet too.

“You know I was named for Shirley Temple, a Republican? Well, I have to play both sides of the aisle.” The way she turns her gaze directly into your subtext after that moot zinger is a private moment, comical, deft.

Amanda Seyfried, Mark Pellington, and the cast turn their chins in her direction. You can’t help it. This is a woman who has survived Billy Wilder in THE APARTMENT, Hitchcock in THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, and is an Oscar winner, six-time Academy Award nominee, as well as a Cecil B. DeMille Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement honoree. Plus she has privately endured the recent deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, after playing Reynolds’ fictional mother to Fisher’s fictional daughter in POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE. Meryl Streep played Carrie Fisher’s fictional account of herself as Debbie Reynolds’ daughter. The four of them were very close during the filming, now 50 percent of them are gone.ShirlMerylDbCarrieHere’s where, even in this swank Beverly Hills suite years away from the Golden Age of Hollywood that she bridges, Shirley MacLaine melds with THE LAST WORD character Harriet Lauler. As in Madison Avenue and Show Biz, both of them had to break down doors while protecting their inner selves in a world where women were either glamorized, marginalized or downright obstructed from their goals.

Later, when it’s revealed that screenwriter Stuart Ross Fink wrote the script for THE LAST WORD specifically for Shirley MacLaine, about a hard-driving ad exec (Harriet Lauler) turned surrogate mother for Amanda Seyfried’s character (Anne Sherman), this new movie becomes almost poetic and reverential.

In the opening scenes, real-life images from MacLaine’s life slip across the screen and through time in an appreciation of a woman whose career has spanned more than 70 years as an actor, performer, dancer, show pony, and hoofer. “Shirley and I had a 20-minute discussion on the psychology of pajama versus a robe,” Fink explained. “It was at that point I realized Harriet was no longer mine. She had become Shirley’s.”

“There’s no other actress who can portray a combination of bitchiness, vulnerability, humor, and empathy like Shirley.”

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Fink, who brought the project to director Mark Pellington (Arlington Road), is also an ad man, a creative director who worked for Fortune 100 companies. Clearly he built the story around his experience. Harriet Lauler is a once-Teflon advertising veteran in the movie. Now a broken woman, she was kicked out of a company she founded, that still bears her initials in the logo, only to become an aging control freak in a secluded life headed for the bitter end. Instead of accepting her fate as a dethroned pitch maven, MacLaine’s character decides to stage manage her exit, beginning with hiring an exceptional obituary writer to cement her refurbished reputation after she dies.

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Nobody wants to write obits, especially not for a living or the living.

Amanda Seyfried plays the beleaguered essayist with a day job writing obits who is flung into orbit around Lauler’s ego as she re-brands herself for the afterlife. “I adore Amanda,” MacLaine said. “And Harriet in her way adores Anne, but her biggest problem has always been with people who don’t live up to their potential.”

When you realize this is a first movie for Fink, you begin to understand the complexity of molding the material to MacLaine. And that’s what makes this movie the proverbial love letter to MacLaine, now 82, while also carving out a poignant narrative about the inevitable displacement of productive people as they age. “Older people are invisible,” MacLaine will say at the press conference, “that’s what I wanted to use this movie for, to make older people less invisible.”

What makes the movie raw and strange is the interplay between Seyfried, MacLaine and her on-screen daughter played by a disapproving neurologist Anne Heche in one tiny scene, coupled with long sequences where Seyfried and MacLaine go through their personal pitched battles in the presence of new comer Ann’Jewel Lee, a 10-year-old who takes no prisoners.

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Heche slays as a bad daughter.

At the press conference, after the glittering sheen of star power wanes and Ann’Jewel Lee waits to leave, she wants you to know about “the cursing,” the f-word her character uses. “I don’t say that in real life,” she notes. “But it was just a movie. My mother said it was okay because it’s just a movie.” Just a decade in years and she’s got the wisdom to know the difference between what’s on the screen to make a point, and who she is as a young actor. Mark Pellington adds that she ad libbed a crucial scene with MacLaine, where MacLaine asks “what do you want to be” open-ended. Lee says “ya gotta be something.”THE LAST WORD Poster_rgbIn a surreal LA moment, after leaving the press conference and meeting MacLaine, who is so frighteningly gracious and disarmingly elegant in real life, Ari Shapiro’s NPR interview with the screen star for THE LAST WORD comes on the car radio. She’s parrying back and forth, doing her Harriet Lauler impression, “I know you’re looking for a headline, Babe,” she quips. And of course, Shirley MacLaine gets the actual last word.

Make the time to see her go toe-to-toe with Amanda Seyfried in this movie, because it’s really a moment for women, young and old, and the families we build when husbands, partners, boyfriends, children, and even a high-power career aren’t enough.

THE LAST WORD from Bleeker Street and Myriad Pictures, is directed by Mark Pellington, and stars Shirley MacLaine, Amanda Seyfriend, Anne Heche, Ann’Jewel Lee, Philip Baker Hall, Thomas Sadoski, and Tom Everett Scott. See their website for venues and showtimes for the release run, which opened Mar. 3, in a nationwide roll-out.

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Hunnamania: Now He’s King Arthur, With Eric Bana, Jude Law & Led Zep Songs

Do we need another reason to applaud Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”) for giving 50 Shades a miss? Nobody will remember the woulda, coulda, shoulda, as Hunnam takes his place as King Arthur for Warner Bros. Plus, Led Zeppelin plays while he pulls out Excalibur, awesome. Sounds like “Good Times Bad Times,” and sounds like in the days of his youth he “was told what it was to be a man…”ChunArthr1Sht17

Here’s their official word on the May 12th release, which promised to be a Guy Ritchie-fueled reboot:

Acclaimed filmmaker Guy Ritchie brings his dynamic style to the epic fantasy action adventure “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.”  Starring Charlie Hunnam in the title role, the film is an iconoclastic take on the classic Excalibur myth, tracing Arthur’s journey from the streets to the throne.

     When the child Arthur’s father is murdered, Vortigern (Jude Law), Arthur’s uncle, seizes the crown.  Robbed of his birthright and with no idea who he truly is, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city.  But once he pulls the sword from the stone, his life is turned upside down and he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy…whether he likes it or not. 

Here’s your first look:

Again, that’s a May 12 opening date from Warner Bros with Charlie Hunnam, Eric Bana, and Jude Law as the main players, with official details and a killer image gallery.

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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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SPY Director Paul Feig Jumps In to Helm AFI’s Directing Workshop for Women

LOS ANGELES, CA: If you haven’t had enough of Melissa McCarthy’s spoof as White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, you can study with Paul Feig, the director who pulled some amazing performances out of the BRIDESMAIDS’s star. Paul Feig is responsible for that priceless McCarthy CIA training video in his movie SPY, and now Feig will take on The AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW).

This is AFI’s filmmaker training program designed to increase the number of women working as directors and show-runners in film and television.

Paul Feig, also a four-time Emmy® nominee for TV’s THE OFFICE and GHOSTBUSTERS rebooter, will embark on a year of mentorship, collaboration and creation to make a short film or series — all in preparation for professional success in narrative directing for the participants in 2018. (Yes, we think even Jack Nicholson’s daughter Lorraine is one of his upcoming pupils.)

“To meet with this amazingly impassioned group of diverse, talented filmmakers is a dream come true,” said Feig. “I salute the AFI for their strong support of female storytellers. We need their voices more than ever.” The DWW Class of 2018 filmmakers are: Beth de Araújo, Georgia Fu, Milena Govich, Tiffany Johnson, Katrelle Kindred, Nancy Mejía, Gandja Monteiro and Lorraine Nicholson. Full bios are available at AFI’s website.

The 2017 DWW Showcase for this year’s graduating class of participants, who began their work in the program last year, will take place on April 18, 2017, at the DGA Theater in Los Angeles.

A serious champion of female creators through his film and television work, as well as through his production company Feigco Entertainment, Paul fielded questions from the incoming DWW participants in an intimate meet-and-greet on Friday, February 3, on campus. And he probably is having a LOL at McCarthy’s spicier send-up of Trump’s press rep, just a guess. Because comedy works when nothing else lands a glove, ps.

And Here’s Melissa McCarthy In that SNL Footage… Because, Wow!

The 411 on  AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women

Founded in 1974, the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women is a hands-on training program committed to increasing the number of women working professionally in screen directing. The innovative and tuition-free workshop is open to women with three years or more of professional experience in the arts, providing them an immersive opportunity to learn by doing — with each participant required to complete a short film or series by the end of the program. 

DWW participants have gone on to great success, including Pippa Bianco (AFI DWW, Class of 2015), Cannes Cinéfondation Prize winner for her DWW short SHARE; Lesli Linka Glatter (AFI DWW, Class of 1983), Emmy®-winning producer/director of HOMELAND; Sian Heder (AFI DWW, Class of 2006), director of Netflix’s TALLULAH, based on her DWW short MOTHER; and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro (AFI DWW, Class of 2013), co-creator of UNREAL.PaulnMel17

The AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women receives generous support from Twentieth Century Fox, Lifetime’s Broad Focus, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Google, Comcast/NBCUniversal, the Will & Jada Smith Family Foundation, 20th Century Fox, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Indiegogo, Linda Hope, the Jean Picker Firstenberg Endowment, The Nancy Malone Endowment provided by The Bob and Dolores Hope Charitable Foundation and the Estate of Nancy Malone, and the many other individual supporters committed to providing opportunities for women in the media arts.  For more information visit: AFI.com/DWW. Or apply here directly, directors.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies, fans of Melissa McCarthy & Paul Feig, also waiting for that Women’s Strike, “Day Without A Woman,” we’ve heard about to support equal pay.

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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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We’ve All Had Denzel Moments, Now Denzel Just Had a Leonard Maltin Moment

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

On Thursday night, when Denzel Washington is finally presented with his Leonard Maltin Masters Award at Santa Barbara International Film Festival, the award hand-off is done by a little girl from the cast of FENCES, in which he stars and directs. This is the movie that has him Oscar-nominated along with co-star Viola Davis, who gives what can only be called a go-to-God, heart-stopping performance. Saniyya Sidney, age 11, presents the honor with FENCES co-star Stephen McKinley Henderson. Saniyya will say “and he only needs one name, Denzel!”

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The packed Arlington Theater will erupt in applause, this after a night of Denzel Moments from all of his major films dating back to A Soldier’s Story in 1984, directed by Norman Jewison. This clip is from a time when Washington wasn’t even among the top-billed. Leonard Maltin, for whom the Master Award is now named, will sift through the images and introduce the honoree as “One of our greatest living actors.” LeonardDW17

“I discovered him on television in a show called St. Elsewhere,” Maltin begins. “Back in the 80’s, they had something called ‘Appointment Television’ and St. Elsewhere was Appointment Television. There was this young actor, part of the ensemble. Somebody you wanted to watch. Who held his own with all these experienced, much more mature actors. Some of the great ones.”

When he asks Denzel if Sidney Poitier was an influence coming up. The actor’s eyebrows arch, “I just came from Sidney’s house.”

“How is he?,” Maltin asks.

“He’s 90,” Washington says, throwing a laugh line. “But I’ll tell you a Sidney story. I’ve got a Sidney story.” Poitier was “in a book store in Beverly Hills, I got my picture and resume from the car, and it didn’t turn out too well.” Poitier snubbed him completely. “So don’t anybody give me their head shots or resumes, either,” he adds, looking half his age at 62.Denzelfans17
It’s difficult to imagine Denzel Washington the icon of American movies as a young stage actor, but the next story he shares is so poignant, you get a sense of how far he has come. “I started acting in 1975, James Earl Jones was big in theater… we were theatre snobs — Theatre with an “re”.
As Leonard Maltin chips away at the memories on screen, Denzel jokes “This is your life.” And he somehow segues into “commuting to Zimbabwe.” He’s talking about the movie Cry Freedom (1987) in which he plays Steve Biko, an anti-Apartheid activist who died at the hands of the police. “That scene you saw me doing in Cry Freedom, I was so spaced out from jet lag, they had to give me another day. They shot everybody else and shot me last.”
“Again, I have to thank the late great producer Bruce Paltrow (Gwyneth Paltrow’s father) for allowing me to leave [his TV show] to do films.” On becoming famous, he recalls seeing “1000 people trying to get in to see [him]. [He was sitting on a ] Bench across from the federalist theater. All these people lining up. And I’m making 125 dollars a week. I knew there was something about it more than acting, not saying I’m a messenger, but I’ll try.”
That experience was during the run of a play called “When The Chickens Come Home To Roost.” “If I hadn’t done the play, hadn’t got the responses,” Denzel says he wouldn’t have known how to play Malcolm X for director Spike Lee when he got tapped to star. “I knew I could do the part, I had the glasses,” Denzel jokes. “And because it was Spike.”
Washington then actually takes off his shoe, demonstrating how he was so far into the part he could channel extemporaneous dialogue on the spot. “This sneaker is white and the black man is the sock, choked at the neck!” Snapping back into himself, he adds “no disrespect to white people or sneakers.”
His sense of humor is as powerful as his dramatic streak. Denzel confides that his wife of many years has been the solid ground for himself and his four children throughout his long career. “‘My wife would say, who’s coming home today?’ Malcolm X was coming home. And she’d say ‘okay, everything is the white man’s fault,’” with an eyeroll. “Another day it was the guy with trumpet, and she’s like ‘okay.’”ArlingtonDW17
Security is ridiculous on Denzel’s Maltin Masters Award night, about nine guys in black suits with earpieces go by. Denzel himself is wrapped up with fans. But he makes special time for some young reporters. Later in line, one of the budding journalists will say “He Touched My Arm,” in a hysterical whisper. One piece of wisdom to this group of upcomers is “The best advice I can give is this: fall down seven times, get up eight.”
As for his own path, Warren Beaty literally helped teach him how to be a director. “I tried to BS my way through directing, but Warren Beatty helped me understand I could do it.” Beatty told him that “acting is a way in.”
As for his own adventure in becoming a famous person, now up for a potential third Oscar win with FENCES, the Oscar-nominee is circumspect. As his life was “changing” (re: becoming famous), it started to hit him hard that it was kind of a big deal. So he went to see his mother. “She owned a beauty parlor. And she started calling me ‘Superstar.’ ‘Hey Superstar, see that over there? Can you empty the garbage? Hey, Superstar, can you pick up a squeegee and do those windows?’ My mother brought me back to Earth fast.'”
Now one of his sons, also in the business, has expressed concern about the comparisons. “He said ‘ Your shadow is so big.’ I said you ever heard of Kirk Douglas? He said ‘no.’ I said you heard of Michael Douglas? ‘Yeah.’ Well go Google Kirk Douglas, then we’ll talk about a long shadow.”DenzelAwardMM17
The 32nd Santa Barbara International Film Festival is in full swing as Leonard Maltin awarded the Maltin Modern Master Award presented by Dom Perignon to Denzel Washington on Thursday, Feb. 2. SBIFF continues through Feb. 11, 2017.

Stay tuned for more about SBIFF, and get tickets/information at their website.

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Scarlett Johansson’s Super Bowled Over In Her GHOST IN THE SHELL Spot

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

Mostly what we love about the Super Bowl on TV is the ads, right? Well Scarlett Johansson is giving you one better this Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 5, with a custom TV trailer for her graphic-novel movie-adapt, GHOST IN THE SHELL.

The tagline is: “Everything they told her was a lie,” and no small irony she just left her marriage to French actor Roman Dauriac. Maybe it was over their Yummy Pop joint venture of popcorn stores in France, or in further news, the split comes just after working with GHOST director Rupert Sanders, who became notorious for his entanglement with Kristen Stewart on the set of Snow White & The Huntsman. Let’s just say he’s on our Watch List now, ladies.

Luckily ScarJo is a fighter, as she can survive anything in this sci-fi from the future, GHOST IN A SHELL. Here’s an advance look before this spot airs Super Bowl Sunday…

GHOST IN THE SHELL opens in theaters nationwide on March 31, 2017 inREALD 3D and IMAX 3D & Launched in Tokyo to Music

Here’s what Paramount told us officially about the Tokyo events:

In celebration of the upcoming film “GHOST IN THE SHELL”, stars Scarlett Johansson, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano, and director Rupert Sanders joined fans and influencers from across the globe in Tokyo in November for the film’s global launch party. Opening with Taiko drummers, including the legendary anime film composer Kenji Kawai, the event held at TABLOID began with a screening of never-before-seen footage from the film.  ScarJoGhost17

Attendees were given an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the costumes and props from the film, as well as an opportunity to capture their experience in a film-centric experiential photo booth – “Becoming the Major.” The exciting show concluded with Johansson, Kitano, and Sanders debuting thefilm’s global trailer, triggering its worldwide launch.

GHOST IN THE SHELL opens in theaters nationwide on March 31, 2017 inREALD 3D and IMAX 3D

Directed by Rupert Sanders, and the movie stars Scarlett Johansson, Pilou Asbæk, Takeshi Kitano, Michael Pitt & Juliette Binoche. Check out the poster below.

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GHOST IN THE SHELL Goes Social

#GhostInTheShell

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GhostInTheShellMovie
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GhostInShell
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ghostintheshellmovie/
Tumblr: http://ghostintheshell.tumblr.com/

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and side with Team Scarlett Johansson.

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Charlie Hunnam Was Right To Nix 50 Shades, He Nabbed LOST CITY OF Z, First Look

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

No, you’ve probably never heard of explorer Percy Fawcett; he’s the main character of best-seller David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon.” It’s a non-fiction rundown on an Amazonian adventurer who found and lost his soul in the jungle. Now, what if you heard Sons of Anarchy’s Charlie Hunnam is going to come out in a movie as Percy Fawcett? What an exciting choice, especially since Hunnam famously turned down the lead in 50 Shades of Grey and looked like he might regret it later. HunnamC17This is one of those times when Hollywood pays back the great choice of an actor who sticks with material that’s closer to his heart. LOST CITY OF Z, the movie directed by James Gray (The Immigrant), also stars ex-Vampire Robert Pattinson, the often under-rated Sienna Miller, the very excellent Tom Holland, and Angus Macfadyen, a great Scot, who dates all the way back the Braveheart. It looks like quite the adventure, and it realigns Hunnam’s star on the map of Tinseltown.

LOST CITY OF Z bows in a limited release on April 17, then wider on April 21. It’s from Amazon Studios and Bleeker Street. Get a first look at this exciting new Hunnam movie here, and the official description follows…

The Lost City of Z
Release Date: Limited April 14, 2017
Nationwide April 21, 2017

Official Word on LOST CITY OF Z

Based on author David Grann’s nonfiction bestseller, THE LOST CITY OF Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages,” the determined Fawcett – supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland) and aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson) – returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925. An epically scaled tale of courage and obsession, told in James Gray’s classic filmmaking style, THE LOST CITY OF Z is a stirring tribute to the exploratory spirit and those individuals driven to achieve greatness at any cost.

Film Pedigree

Amazon Studios & Bleecker Street
Directed by: James Gray
Based on the Book: “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon” by David Grann
Featuring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland, Angus MacfadyenCharlieH17

Watch for this to come out on April 14, in selected cities, then wider release on April 21, and learn more here.

SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies and dig adventure, travel, and Charlie Hunnam.

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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…

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