Tom Hanks, Sting, Al Green and actress Lily Tomlin were handed Kennedy Center honours by U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday (07Dec14). The celebrities, alongside ballerina Patricia McBride, received a ceremonial rainbow ribbon from Obama at the White House, for their lifetime contribution to American culture.
The Forrest Gump actor told Reuters, "I couldn't believe it when I was notified that it was going to happen... I feel like, you know, there's an anomaly in the vote-taking process."
Obama said, "It's clear that the group on stage with me tonight understands what President Kennedy understood: that our art is a reflection of us not just as people, but as a nation. It binds us together... Songs and dance and film express our triumphs and our faults, our strengths, our tenderness in ways that sometimes words simply cannot do."
The ceremony was followed by a tribute concert. Usher, Earth, Wind & Fire and Jennifer Hudson sang a string of Al Green's hits, while Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars performed highlights from Sting's career.
Actor and comedian Martin Short lead a musical tribute to Hanks by singing "you're our Yankee Doodle dandy" joined by military choirs and musicians.
U.S. talk show host David Letterman, director George Stevens, Jr. and Steven Spielberg also paid tribute to the actor, with the Saving Private Ryan director calling him "America's favourite son".
Jane Fonda and Glee's Jane Lynch also feted Tomlin.
The concert, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will be broadcast in the U.S. on 30 December (14).
The Weinstein Co.
The Weinstein Co.'s Lee Daniels' The Butler does it again as the true life drama tops the chart for the second straight week taking in an impressive $17 million against a mere 31% second weekend drop as it crosses the $50 million mark at the domestic box office.
The R-rated comedy We're the Millers from Warner Bros. has become a late summer sensation as it continues to build upon great word-of-mouth with $13.5 million in its third weekend and a minuscule 25% drop and a domestic total approaching $100 million.
Third place goes to the debut of Sony's young adult entry The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones with $14 million since its debut last Wednesday and $9.3 million for the weekend. This is pretty much in line with expectations for the film and is the latest attempt to woo the very fickle young adult audience that has made The Hunger Games and Twilight franchises enormously successful.
Focus Features enlisted the Shawn of the Dead crew to make an end of the world pub crawl gone wrong comedy The World's End and the results were solid. With a modest budget and a loyal following for the filmmakers, $8.9 million was a solid result for this R-rated over the top comedy.
Rounding out the Top 5 is Planes from Disney which remains a late summer family favorite as it earns an estimated $8.6 million in its third weekend and nearly $60 million in North America.
Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine from Sony Pictures Classics jumps into the Top 10 as it adds 1,054 theaters this week and earns $4.3 million and takes its cumulative gross to nearly $15 million in its fifth weekend of release.
One more weekend left in the summer movie season as we remain over 10% ahead of last year and remain on pace to beat 2011's $4.4 billion record summer revenue.
Top Movies for Weekend of August 23 - August 25 (Estimates)Rank Movie Gross Theaters Avg.Per YTD Distributor01 Lee Daniels' The Butler $17.01M 3,110 $5,472 $52.27M TWC02 We're the Millers $13.5M 3,445 $3,919 $91.74M Warner Bros.03 Mortal Instruments: City of Bones $9.3M 3,118 $2,983 $14.05M Sony04 The World's End $8.94M 1,549 $5,773 $8.94M Focus Features05 Planes $8.56M 3,378 $2,536 $59.59M Disney06 Elysium $7.1M 2,913 $2,437 $69.0M Sony/Tri-Star07 You're Next $7.05M 2,437 $2,893 $7.05M Lionsgate08 Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $5.2M 2,730 $1,905 $48.3M Fox09 Blue Jasmine $4.3M 1,283 $3,352 $14.8M SPC10 Kick-Ass 2 $4.27M 2,945 $1,450 $22.42M Universal
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College Humor recently posted a list of eight fictional girls from movies and TV who we're really supposed to like but, at heart, actually suck. Girls like Mary Elizabeth Winstead's Ramona Flowers in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World or Andie MacDowell's Rita in Groundhog Day. Or Jennifer Love Hewitt in Can't Hardly Wait or Tiffani Thiessen in Saved by the Bell. And don't even get them started on the creepy awfulness of Robin Wright's sexually predatory Jenny in Forrest Gump.
We here at Hollywood.com have decided to respond in kind, but with a little gender equality. What about Movie & TV guys who really suck? They are a-plenty. Take note of the following eight guys who we're supposed to think are charming or likable but are really just schmucks. Starting with...
1. Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Okay, the only reason anyone likes this character is because his abs "look like they're photoshopped" and because we're all just encouraged to think that Ryan Gosling can do no wrong. As any character. But his Jacob Palmer in the 2011 rom-com is a sociopath. He's taken his broken heart over a bad relationship and has decided to star in his own revenge film in which he derives emotional satisfaction from breaking the hearts of all of womankind. He is to women what Dirty Harry is to punks, and we're not buying it. Of course, he's also a phony because he can't even commit to his sociopathy. All he needs is the love of Emma Stone to heal his psychic wounds. See also: a similar sociopathy on display as the nameless driver in Drive, with some additional paternalistic overtones.
2. Matthew Morrison's Mr. Schuester on Glee
Try hanging out with some people your own age for once, perv.
3. Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man
I know, I know, Sam Raimi really wanted to play up Spider-Man's essential "everyman appeal," but Tobey Maguire comes across more like a lovesick puppydog than a daring webslinger. However, all that aw-shucks pining for Mary Jane masks his true contempt for her when he punches her in the face after sporting Emo bangs.
4. Shia LaBeouf in Transformers 1, 2, & 3
I choose to believe that the whole cars-turning-into-robots thing is just an elaborate fantasy in his mind — which explains why he's always dating porn-chic women in cut-off jeans and bosom-flaunting tank tops — and that he's rocking himself back and forth in a straight-jacket somewhere.
5. Alex Pettyfer in Magic Mike
Sure, wannabe stripper Adam's shirtless presence may result in female strip club patrons having wallets as empty as his head. But isn't charisma more than skin deep? Even if so much of the movie is about Adam's rise and fall, there's a reason Channing Tatum's Magic Mike is the title character.
6. Ryan Reynolds in The Proposal
Really, dude? You not only leave behind a home of palatial splendor in Alaska — and a Granny in Betty White — to earn pennies as the assistant of an icy editrix who barely knows your name, you want to marry her to secure her U.S. residency? Out of some vague notion that it might lead to you getting a promotion? Right. And I bet you can see Russia from your house too, huh?
7. Michael Cera in Juno
Admittedly, this is a tricky one because the backlash against Cera post-Juno has been so extreme that we almost forget there actually was a time we did like him. But fans of the Diablo Cody flick still love Cera's Paulie Bleeker...even though he's a pathetic tool who insists upon wearing head- and wristbands like he's a refugee from a 1985 episode of Miami Vice. He should not be fathering anything. Ever.
8. Orlando Bloom in The Pirates of the Caribbean, Elizabethtown, s**t, Everything.
He is the male Andie MacDowell.
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On the surface, framing the tumultuous civil rights era around the personal drama of a black butler working inside the White House might seem hokey. Folding history lessons in an entertaining package has always proven a difficult balancing act. But Lee Daniels' The Butler stands as a testament to reserved directing, a focused script and strong character-acting for the sake of the larger picture outside the movie house.
The heart and soul of the piece resides firmly in the capable hands of Forest Whitaker who, as titular character Cecil Gaines, balances pathos, pride, and strength with a human dash of regret. The other characters all seem to pass through his life but leave bold marks on him and the film's drama. Oprah Winfrey as Ms. Gloria Gaines, Terrence Howard as the sleazy philandering neighbor who takes advantage of the lonely Gloria, and Cuba Gooding Jr. and Lenny Kravitz as fellow White House help stand out the strongest for their raw abilities to inhabit their roles.
Though you would expect such actors to hold their own, the real delight of the Butler comes from the fact that there are no shortcomings in the film's supporting roles. The dynamic between the brothers of Cecil and Gloria offers a delightful comic relief, which is peppered amongst the drama just enough to keep the struggles of those times bearable. Elijah Kelley delights as the younger, naïve, parent-pleasing Charlie, and David Oyelowo embodies ultra-righteousness as Louis, jumping at every opportunity of civil disobedience to fight for his people's human rights (from protesting Jim Crow laws in the South to joining the Black Panther party). Meanwhile, the presidents — despite being played by high profile actors like Robin Williams (Eisenhower), John Cusack (Nixon), Liev Schreiber (LBJ), Alan Rickman (Reagan), and an unforgettable Jane Fonda as Nancy — never hang around the drama long enough to distract from its main concern of a black man struggling with apathy as the times change around him.
No character ever overshadows Cecil, who encapsulates an array of issues, from escaping an oppressive life on a cotton farm as a child to arriving at a revelation stemming from a simple gesture by taking a seat at a fancy dinner in his twilight years. It's this quiet struggle of a man trying to get by in a rough and tumble world that remains the film's main concern. The 52-year-old Whitaker does a noble job as he ages from a young man to a 90-year-old.
Compared to Daniels' powerful breakout Precious (2009) and the horrible, dull mess of the Paperboy (2012), the film features a reserved sensibility thanks to the director's decision to turn down the histrionics for a change. Throughout his short filmmaking career, Daniels has always shown a keen control over camera placement to keep a film visually dynamic, despite some dramatic failings. The Butler is no exception, as Daniels' artistry appears in the film's first frame. He still, however, leans on slow motion during a few scenes for overkill emphasis. He doesn't need that. His greatest accomplishment in The Butler lies in how he keeps the other characters in check against the quiet but important struggles of Cecil. Despite the film's many stars, no one is distracted as Daniels reveals a strong sense of mise-en-scène when burying the cast's celebrity. Daniels also continues to do raw well with make-up and wardrobe dialed down to keep it real and earthy.
The script deserves singling out as the glue that makes The Butler work as neatly as it does. Written by Danny Strong, the scribe behind another brisk political drama, the acclaimed McCain-Palin exposé Game Change on HBO, it makes for an engaging, well-paced affair despite running over two hours long. Strong based his script on a Washington Post article about a black man who served as a butler to eight presidents between the '50s and '80s. In order to emphasize the history and the tension of the civil rights movement on this family who happened to have close ties to the White House, Strong took liberties with the story. He created composite characters based on other memoirs with intimate access to the White House. It's a matter of convenience to place some of these characters at three or four too many important historical moments that may seem contrived to some. However, I'd forgive the film for teetering close to Forrest Gump cartoonery for the sake of its emphasis on moments in history that can too easily be forgotten as generations pass.
After the Supreme Court's recent decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, The Butler serves as an important role in reminding us that equality and malaise between ethnic groups and classes still festers in this era, even after the election of the first black president. We need a movie that looks back at history and offers a reminder about the long way America has come and the long way it still has to go. That The Butler can do it while remaining entertaining is a bonus many will appreciate.
Follow Hans Morgenstern on Twitter @indieethos| Follow hollywood.com on Twitter @hollywood_com
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The Longest Day and Spies Like Us star Steve Forrest has died, aged 87. The actor, who also played Lt. Dan 'Hondo' Harrelson in 1970s TV action series S.W.A.T., passed away on 18 May (13).
Forrest spent almost six decades on the big and small screen, appearing in TV classics like The Virginian, Bonanza and Gunsmoke.
Born in Huntsville, Texas, he was the youngest of 13 children.
After serving as a sergeant in the Army during World War II, during which he fought at the Battle of the Bulge, Forrest moved to Los Angeles to study at UCLA.
He graduated in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in theatre arts and became a stagehand at the La Jolla Playhouse, where he was discovered by movie legend Gregory Peck, who helped him land a screen test with MGM.
By 1953, the young actor had started to make a name for himself thanks to his acclaimed role opposite Jane Wyman in So Big.
His early films also included Prisoner of War, opposite Wyman's husband Ronald Reagan, Rogue Cop and It Happened to Jane. He also played Elvis Presley's half-brother in 1960's Flaming Star, and then he became a household name when he teamed up with John Wayne in The Longest Day in 1962.
Forrest will also be remembered for roles in the movies North Dallas Forty, Mommie Dearest, and 1985's Spies Like Us, in which he played a villain opposite Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd.
His success was international - Forrest also starred in BBC crime drama The Baron, the first colour series on U.K. TV.
In his final role in 2003, he played a truck driver in the movie remake of his hit TV series S.W.A.T.
Robert Zemeckis is a blockbuster director at heart. Action has never been an issue for the man behind Back to the Future. When he puts aside the high concept adventures for emotional human stories — think Forrest Gump or Cast Away — he still goes big. His latest Flight continues the trend revolving the story of one man's fight with alcoholism around a terrifying plane crash. Zemeckis expertly crafts his roaring centerpiece and while he finds an agile performer in Denzel Washington the hour-and-a-half of Flight after the shocking moment can't sustain the power. The "big" works. The intimate drowns.
Washington stars as Whip Whitaker a reckless airline pilot who balances his days flying jumbo jets with picking up women snorting lines of cocaine and drinking himself to sleep. Although drunk for the flight that will change his life forever that's not the reason the plane goes down — in fact it may be the reason he thinks up his savvy landing solution in the first place. Writer John Gatins follows Whitaker into the aftermath madness: an investigation of what really happened during the flight Whitaker's battle to cap his addictions and budding relationships that if nurtured could save his life.
Zemeckis tops his own plane crash in Cast Away with the heart-pounding tailspin sequence (if you've ever been scared of flying before Flight will push into phobia territory). In the few scenes after the literal destruction Washington is able to convey an equal amount of power in the moments of mental destruction. Whitaker is obviously crushed by the events the bottle silently calling for him in every down moment. Flight strives for that level of introspection throughout eventually pairing Washington with equally distraught junkie Nicole (Kelly Reilly). Their relationship is barely fleshed out with the script time and time again resorting to obvious over-the-top depictions of substance abuse (a la Nic Cage's Leaving Las Vegas) and the bickering that follows. Washington's Whitaker hits is lowest point early sitting there until the climax of the film.
Sharing screentime with the intimate tale is the surprisingly comical attempt by the pilot's airline union buddy (Bruce Greenwood) and the company lawyer (Don Cheadle) to get Whitaker into shape. Prepping him for inquisitions looking into evidence from the wreckage and calling upon Whitaker's dealer Harling (John Goodman) to jump start their "hero" when the time is right the two men do everything they can to keep any blame being placed upon Whitaker by the National Transportation Safety Board investigators. The thread doesn't feel relevant to Whitaker's plight and in turn feels like unnecessary baggage that pads the runtime.
Everything in Fight shoots for the skies — and on purpose. The music is constantly swelling the photography glossy and unnatural and rarely do we breach Washington's wild exterior for a sense of what Whitaker's really grappling with. For Zemeckis Flight is still a spectacle film with Washington's ability to emote as the magical special effect. Instead of using it sparingly he once again goes big. Too big.
Over the next few months, we’ll see new series soar, old series sour, and so much Jersey Shore madness, we’ll want to shower. Let’s face it: The Fall TV season is intimidating. With dozens of new and returning shows hitting our small screens, we know we have some big choices to make. So, to help you determine what to watch, we’re digging deep into the most notable series premiering this season. Where did each show leave off? Where is it headed? And who should you watch it with? Today, we're checking out The New Normal, which — in its premiere season — will determine whether or not Ryan Murphy has the magical television touch that can do no wrong.
Series Name: The New Normal
Premiere Date: Tuesday, Sept.11th at 9:30PM
Catchphrase Everyone Will Be Tweeting: "Abnormal IS the new normal!"
You'll Like It If...: You're a ride-or-die Murphy fan. Fans of Archie Bunker. Vanilla wafer cookie enthusiasts.
You'll Hate It If...: You're easily offended by decidedly un-PC humor.
Cast: Justin Bartha as David Murray, Andrew Rannells as Bryan Collins, Ellen Barkin as Nana aka Jane Forrest, Georgia King as Goldie Clemmons, NeNe Leakes as Rocky, and Bebe Wood as Shania Clemmons.
Synopsis: Set in sunny Los Angeles, the show tells the story of well-heeled gay couple David and Bryan (played by Bartha and Rannells, respectively) whose desire for a baby leads them to surrogate Goldie Clemmons (King), desperate for a life where she's finally in control. Laughs (cheap or no) come in the form of the comedic attempts of Goldie's Nana (aka Jane, played by Barkin) and Bryan's assistant Rocky (Leakes). And just for good measure, a lot of whiz-kid, modernity-laced quips (Twitter! Facebook!) from a wise-beyond-her-years nerdy-type daughter named Shania (Wood).
Star Likely To Out-Fame The Show: Andrew Rannells is a gem — he needs to be on America's TV screen more.
Most Cringeworthy Moment: Almost any scene with Barkin, whose lines seem more fitting for an episode of All in the Family than anything on television in the past 30 years. In the pilot alone, she jabs at gay men, lesbians, Asians, African-Americans, and Jews. The rationale for her quips seem to have no reason behind them, merely shock and awe.
And If Jane Was A Real Housewife: Her catchphrase would be, "I look too good to be a great-grandmother!" with a sassy wink and a hairflip.
Biggest Housewives Similarity: Though Roxy might not be a self-proclaimed "rich b**ch" like NeNe is, she sure will play the part, thanks to gifts her boss doesn't know he's buying her.
High Point: Mini-guest appearances are aplenty just in the pilot alone. Murphy favorites Gwyneth Paltrow and Leslie Grossman do quite well in their brief moments on screen. (We love Mary Cherry forever.)
Who to Watch it With: Your little sister who loves Glee, any Ryan Murphy obsessive you know, grandparents that think bigotry and gay people are JUST HILARIOUS.
Who Not to Watch it With: Pretty much anyone else.
Wine and Cheese Pairing: Straight Velveeta and some Riesling in a baby bottle. Bottoms up!
Most GIF-able Moment: We've got six words for you: midget mom in a Barbie car.
TV Math: (Ryan Murphy - American Horror Story) + Glee's Kurt and Blaine in 15 Years - Singing x √Gay = The New Normal
Is it Worth Watching?: There's always that glimmer of hope one has for a Ryan Murphy show. Keeping with this is not like Glee, which you either hate-watch or tune in for the campy, fun moments that remind you of Murphy's talents. Bartha and Rannells are at least good enough to warrant a viewing of episode two. A Season 2, however...
[Photo Credit: NBC]
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A rootin’, tootin’ moonshine-runnin’ flick hits theaters today. There’s violence, romance, action, and plenty of illegal activity in director John Hillcoat's Lawless, formerly known as The Wettest County in the World and based off the book of the same name, and the film boasts some serious star power for a late summer indie.
Shia LaBeouf headlines the film in one of his better performances, the ubiquitous Jessica Chastain provides the lovely lady presence, and Guy Pearce is the ruthless tormentor. But lurking in a floppy hat on the posters and in a barely visible flash in the latest ads for the Prohibition Era film is formidable screen presence Tom Hardy. And despite his subdued presence in the marketing materials, when the action starts rolling in the film, Hardy is the man holding it all together. As so often seems to be the case with the criminally underutilized actor. Of course, Hardy’s name is hardly one unfamiliar to moviegoing audiences. He was the main villain in the biggest movie of the year for godsakes. From the first whiff of his being cast as the baddie Bane in The Dark Knight Rises back in October 2010, when it was still called Batman 3, Hardy's casting was noteworthy. He rode off the buzz he got as Eames in Christopher Nolan’s last film before TDKR, Inception – which ruled the box office in summer 2010 and in which Hardy has, arguably, the best line – and straight into a role in one of the most talked-about films in the last two years. But even with his role in the record-breaking TDKR, Hardy can't seem to catch a break as a star. In this case, the culprit could be the insurmountable pressure of portraying the unlucky villain to succeed Heath Ledger's transcendent Joker in The Dark Knight and the fact that audiences had a hard time understanding his muffled dialogue overshadowed a great performance.
Hell, by the time he was gearing up for the release of 2011’s critically acclaimed Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Warrior, the actor had gained enough fame to be a frequent gossip topic: Who was he dating? What’s the deal with his “fluid sexuality?” Did you see his spread in Men’s Health? Did anyone see that movie back in 2008 in which he did full frontal? (It was Bronson, and it should be known that the movie has got a lot more to it than that.) But he still wasn't quite The Next Big Thing. He wasn't the outright star of any film – even in Warrior, he was slated as the Christian Bale to Joel Edgerton’s Mark Wahlberg a la The Fighter – but Hardy was and is constantly the name on everyone’s lips whenever he takes on a new project. But why is that? He’s yet to have his own leading man role. We’ve yet to see anything we could truly call “a Tom Hardy movie.” And if that’s so, why are we constantly concerned with his ability to enunciate or if some role will be the role that makes him huge? What is it about Hardy that’s kept him the “always a bridesmaid, never a bride” of handsome, dashing, talented actors? (Even in the otherwise forgettable Valentine’s Day rom-com, This Means War, he loses the lady to hunky bona fide leading man Chris Pine). Well, it’s not for lack of the “whole package.” Freelance film writer and self-proclaimed Tom Hardy aficionado Jenni Miller tells Hollywood.com, “He's charming, he's funny, and he's honest about his screwed-up past. He is very handsome to a wide variety of people, regardless of gender or sexuality.” Not to mention actor has a wide range of ability. He can go from bashing heads in RocknRolla to staring wistfully upon the moors in Wuthering Heights. “He's got this tough guy/soft heart thing going on. I mean, hello, he was in Wuthering Heights! And that video of him rapping with a baby! It makes my brain hurt,” adds Miller. Still, Hardy, who’s enjoyed a similar level of murmured praises to those which Michael Fassbender garnered after he popped up in Inglorious Basterds in 2009, has yet to break out as the clamored-for leading man the way audiences and filmmakers, alike, pine after Fassbender. “It's definitely an interesting comparison, because both he and [Fassbender] can pull off glossy men's magazine photo shoots and physically intense work environments, although I think [Fassbender’s] Hunger probably trumps anything in Warrior or TDKR, for obvious reasons,” says Miller. And it’s true. Like Fassbender, Hardy has clearly been accepted into the Hollywood fold — he's even working with heavyweights Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire on an anti-poaching documentary already. Still, Hardy’s performances in his breakout roles are strong, but only strong enough to get him noticed. They're not mighty enough to propel him into leading man land. We should keep in mind that it wasn’t until 2011 that Fassbender blew away a wide range of audiences from varying genres with back-to-back-to-back performances in Jane Eyre, X-Men: First Class, A Dangerous Method, and his pièce de résistance Shame. It was the perfect set-up for stealing hearts and minds, and he delivered perfectly in each instance. Hardy has yet to experience that rapid fire success and he’s yet to deliver a performance to wide audiences that can match Fassbender's level. And as of now, his only upcoming project is the remake, Mad Max: Fury Road, which is in a way, his tipping point. Hardy has built up significant, and organic, buzz with his progression from “who’s that guy in Inception?” to being the breakout star of Warrior to the super villain we can’t help but talk about ad nauseam in TDKR. His next few films will be the determining factors in his rise or puttering, respectable success. He’ll either pull a Fassbender, or be relegated to respectable, but middling success of his Warrior co-star, Edgerton. The latter fate, however, would be wasteful. Longtime Hardy fan, Willie Mack, tells Hollywood.com that he realizes the difficulty in Hardy’s ability to seize the leading man spotlight. “Kind of like with Idris Elba, you see him and you want him to play a leading role … You’re hoping that once he’ll be a leading man eventually and hopefully the public will start catching on,” he says. And to some extent, he’s almost there in The Dark Knight Rises and Lawless. But not quite. He delivers performances, that while not perfect by any means, are infinitely curious. And for the time being, his roles are, at the very least, keeping audiences talking. But until he actually sinks or swims, that chatter is just about the best thing a potential big star like Hardy can hope for. Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler [Photo Credit: Weinstein Company] More: 'Lawless,' Moonshine, and America's Modern Prohibition New 'Lawless' Trailer: The Other Bad Boys Of Summer Hollywood.com's Review of 'Lawless'
Drama War Witch was named Best Narrative Feature, with Rachel Mwanza taking home the Best Actress award at the prizegiving in Manhattan on Thursday night (26Apr12).
Una Noche director Lucy Molloy was honoured, as were the film's cinematographers Trevor Forrest and Shlomo Godder. Dariel Arrechada and Javier Nunez Florian shared the Best Actor award for their role in the Cuban drama.
The awards were presented by the festival's founders Robert De Niro and producer Jane Rosenthal, and the jury panel, which included Patricia Clarkson, Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon. Winners received a cash prize of up to $25,000 (£13,000).
Other jurors who cast their opinion on the films include Dakota Fanning, Whoopi Goldberg, Kim Cattrall and director Brett Ratner.
Audience Award winners will be announced on Saturday (28Apr12).
Announcing the casting news on her blog on Thursday (12Apr12), Fonda revealed she'll be playing former First Lady Nancy Reagan in the film, which is to be directed by Precious moviemaker Lee Daniels.
Rumours about the casting have been rampant for weeks, but Fonda confirms Whitaker will portray the lead in The Butler and Winfrey will support as his character's wife.
She writes, "It is a beautiful and true story about a black man who grew up in the Jim Crow South and went to work as a much beloved butler in the White House through many administrations, both Republican and Democratic.
"Lee Daniels, the Academy Award nominated director of Precious, and producer of Monsters Ball will direct. The butler will be played by Forrest Whittaker (sic) and his wife will be played by Oprah Winfrey. It is their story. But a number of well-known actors will be playing cameos as the various presidents and first ladies for whom he worked. I will play Nancy Reagan."
Fonda also addresses criticism her casting has stirred up from those who believe the controversial, feminist Oscar winner is the wrong choice to play conservative Ronald Reagan's wife in the film.
The actress adds, "While many of you have expressed positive sentiments, I know that this casting has upset some people - that I, a known progressive, would play this particular first lady, a known conservative. But I am an actor and I have no intention of allowing the political differences between us to color my portrayal of her. I will not be disrespectful.
"This will not be a film that, for political reasons, makes fun of or distorts any of the characters that appear. It is, as I say, a true story and a touching one, in my opinion."