Authors Joshua Ferris and Karen Joy Fowler have made literary history by becoming two of the first four American writers ever to make it onto the Booker Prize list. The 2014 'longlist' was announced on Wednesday (23Jul14) - the first time Americans have been eligible for the coveted best fiction award in the 46-year-old history of the prize.
The literary honour has previously only been handed to citizens of Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.
In announcing this year's list, members of the prize committee revealed 154 books had been entered for the 2014 Booker Prize.
The list, which includes fellow Americans Siri Hustvedt and Richard Powers, now stands at 13 and a shortlist of six books will be announced on 9 September (14). The winner will be named in mid-October (14).
The books on the long list are:
Joshua Ferris' To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler's We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Siri Hustvedt's The Blazing World
Howard Jacobson's J
Paul Kingsnorth's The Wake
David Mitchell's The Bone Clocks
Neel Mukherjee's The Lives of Others
David Nicholls' Us
Joseph O'Neill's The Dog
Richard Powers' Orfeo
Ali Smith's How to be Both
Niall Williams' History of the Rain.
For the bulk of every Rocky and Bullwinkle episode, moose and squirrel would engage in high concept escapades that satirized geopolitics, contemporary cinema, and the very fabrics of the human condition. With all of that to work with, there's no excuse for why the pair and their Soviet nemeses haven't gotten a decent movie adaptation. But the ingenious Mr. Peabody and his faithful boy Sherman are another story, intercut between Rocky and Bullwinkle segments to teach kids brief history lessons and toss in a nearly lethal dose of puns. Their stories and relationship were much simpler, which means that bringing their shtick to the big screen would entail a lot more invention — always risky when you're dealing with precious material.
For the most part, Mr. Peabody & Sherman handles the regeneration of its heroes aptly, allowing for emotionally substance in their unique father-son relationship and all the difficulties inherent therein. The story is no subtle metaphor for the difficulties surrounding gay adoption, with society decreeing that a dog, no matter how hyper-intelligent, cannot be a suitable father. The central plot has Peabody hosting a party for a disapproving child services agent and the parents of a young girl with whom 7-year-old Sherman had a schoolyard spat, all in order to prove himself a suitable dad. Of course, the WABAC comes into play when the tots take it for a spin, forcing Peabody to rush to their rescue.
Getting down to personals, we also see the left brain-heavy Peabody struggle with being father Sherman deserves. The bulk of the emotional marks are hit as we learn just how much Peabody cares for Sherman, and just how hard it has been to accept that his only family is growing up and changing.
But more successful than the new is the film's handling of the old — the material that Peabody and Sherman purists will adore. They travel back in time via the WABAC Machine to Ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and the Trojan War, and 18th Century France, explaining the cultural backdrop and historical significance of the settings and characters they happen upon, all with that irreverent (but no longer racist) flare that the old cartoons enjoyed. And oh... the puns.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a f**king treasure trove of some of the most amazingly bad puns in recent cinema. This effort alone will leave you in awe.
The film does unravel in its final act, bringing the science-fiction of time travel a little too close to the forefront and dropping the ball on a good deal of its emotional groundwork. What seemed to be substantial building blocks do not pay off in the way we might, as scholars of animated family cinema, have anticipated, leaving the movie with an unfinished feeling.
But all in all, it's a bright, compassionate, reasonably educational, and occasionally funny if not altogether worthy tribute to an old favorite. And since we don't have our own WABAC machine to return to a time of regularly scheduled Peabody and Sherman cartoons, this will do okay for now.
If nothing else, it's worth your time for the puns.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Composers behind the scores for Academy Award-nominated movies Gravity, Her, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks and The Book Thief were given their chance to shine on Thursday (27Feb14) at the first ever Oscar Concert. Best Original Score nominees William Butler and Owen Pallett (Her), Alexandre Desplat (Philomena), Thomas Newman (Saving Mr. Banks), Steven Price (Gravity), and John Williams (The Book Thief) were invited to take to the stage at the University of California, Los Angeles' Royce Hall, three days before Hollywood's big night, to conduct and direct their works in full.
During the special show, which was hosted by rapper/actor Common, five-time Oscar winner Williams was given a round of applause as he declared, "(Movies) wouldn't be what they are and couldn't be made without the service of a great orchestra."
The Best Original Song nominees were also performed, with Jill Scott taking on Pharrell Williams' Happy from Despicable 2, and composer Kristen Anderson-Lopez taking on Idina Menzel's vocals on Frozen's Let It Go.
The Wolf of Wall Street actress Cristin Milioti covered Karen O's The Moon Song from Her, while former The Voice contestant Matt Carmanski belted out U2's Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Each of the artists behind the nominations for Best Original Song will take to the stage at Sunday's (02Mar14) Oscars in Hollywood.
Bette Midler will be performing at the Oscars for the first time next month (Mar14). Details of her song are being kept under wraps but producers have hinted it will be "especially moving". Yeah Yeah Yeahs' frontwoman Karen O, U2, Pharrell Williams and Idina Menzel will also take to the stage.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O is among the artists who will take the stage at the Oscars next month (Mar14). She will perform her nominated song from Spike Jonze's Her. Other Best Original Song nominees announced as performers include U2, Pharrell Williams and Idina Menzel.
Bruce Broughton's Oscar nomination for Best Original Song has been rescinded after Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences officials discovered their former governor had e-mailed members to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period. As a result, Alone Yet Not Alone, which Broughton wrote with Dennis Spiegel for the 2013 period movie of the same name, has been disqualified just two weeks after it became a surprise nominee.
Announcing the Academy's decision, president Cheryl Boone Isaacs says, "No matter how well-intentioned the communication, using one’s position as a former governor and current executive committee member to personally promote one’s own Oscar submission creates the appearance of an unfair advantage."
Stunned Broughton, tells The Hollywood Reporter, "I'm devastated. I indulged in the simplest grassroots campaign and it went against me when the song started getting attention."
The Board determined that Broughton’s actions were inconsistent with the Academy’s promotional regulations.
The nomination will not be replaced, so only four songs will now compete for the Oscar on 2 March (14) - Pharrell Williams' Happy from Despicable Me 2, Frozen's Let It Go, Karen O's The Moon Song from Her, and U2's Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Broughton, who was nominated for a Best Original Score Oscar for Silverado 28 years ago, served on the Academy's board from 2003 to 2012.
Only a few Oscar nominees have been disqualified before the Academy Awards - these include a screenplay nod for Hondo in 1953 when it was deemed an unoriginal work; and a Best Original Score nomination for The Godfather in 1972 when Academy bosses determined that it featured portions of a composition for 1958 film Fortunella (1958); it was replaced on the ballot by the score for Sleuth.
Rocker Karen O has thanked Her director Spike Jonze for forcing her to face her public speaking fears following her Best Original Song Oscar nomination on Thursday (16Jan14). The Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman earned her first Academy Award nod for The Moon Song, the track she wrote for Jonze's acclaimed film.
While she wasn't expecting the recognition, Karen O is grateful to Jonze for prompting her to tackle her on stage speaking fears.
She tells Rolling Stone, "To say this was unexpected is an understatement... The song was 10 years in the making according to Spike and testament to a beautiful friendship and creative chemistry we've shared over the years... Thanks Spike for making my very real phobia of ever having to be in a position to give an acceptance speech at a major award show a reality."
Karen O, who previously collaborated with Jonze for the soundtrack to his 2009 adaptation of children's book Where the Wild Things Are, is up against a number of big names including Pharrell Williams, who is nominated for his Despicable Me 2 theme Happy, and Irish rockers U2 for Ordinary Love from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.
The Best Original Song prize will be handed out at the Oscars ceremony on 2 March (14).
American Hustle, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave look set to dominate the 2014 Academy Awards. The movies will go head-to-head for Best Picture along with Captain Phillips, Nebraska, Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club, Her and The Wolf of Wall Street.
British stars Christian Bale (American Hustle) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years A Slave) both scored a mention for Best Actor, while American Hustle's Amy Adams will go head-to-head with Gravity's Sandra Bullock for Best Actress.
Other actresses nominated in the category are Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Judi Dench (Philomena) and Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).
Last year's (13) winner of the Best Actress trophy, Jennifer Lawrence, will compete for Best Supporting Actress for her role in American Hustle, while Bradley Cooper landed a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role in the crime caper.
12 Years A Slave co-stars Lupita Nyong'o and Michael Fassbender also picked up nods for their supporting roles, while the film's director Steve McQueen and American Hustle's David. O. Russell both landed nominations for Best Director along with Gravity's Alfonso Cuaron.
Speaking shortly after the nominations were announced, British moviemaker McQueen told the BBC, "(I am) just very excited - nine nominations. A lot of them (the Oscar nominees are) British. I am just so excited. We worked very hard and are very privileged to receive these nominations."
While O. Russell admits he is thrilled that all four of his film's main actors picked up nods, adding, "It's all four actors... you always worry as sort of the captain... that one of your great performers is not going to get recognised... they all put so much into it and they did it together so it's nice that none of them got left out."
American Hustle and Gravity both scored 10 nominations, while 12 Years A Slave landed nine.
The nominations were announced by actor Chris Hemsworth and Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Thursday (16Jan14), and the winners will be unveiled during the Los Angeles prizegiving on 2 March (14).
The full list of nominees is as follows:
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years A Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
David O. Russell - American Hustle
Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
Alexander Payne - Nebraska
Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese - The Wolf of Wall Street
Actor in a Leading Role:
Christian Bale - American Hustle
Bruce Dern - Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Actress in a Leading Role:
Amy Adams - American Hustle
Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock - Gravity
Judi Dench - Philomena
Meryl Streep - August: Osage County
Actor in a Supporting Role:
Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years A Slave
Jonah Hill - The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
Actress in a Supporting Role:
Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Lupita Nyong'o - 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts - August: Osage County
June Squibb - Nebraska
Before Midnight - Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
Captain Phillips - Billy Ray
Philomena - Steve Coogan, Jeff Pope
12 Years A Slave - John Ridley
The Wolf of Wall Street - Terence Winter
American Hustle - Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell
Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen
Dallas Buyers Club - Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Her - Spike Jonze
Nebraska - Bob Nelson
Animated Feature Film:
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises
The Grandmaster - Philippe Le Sourd
Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki
Inside Llewyn Davis - Bruno Delbonnel
Nebraska - Phedon Papamichael
Prisoners - Roger A. Deakins
American Hustle - Michael Wilkinson
The Grandmaster - William Chang Suk Ping
The Great Gatsby - Catherine Martin
The Invisible Woman - Michael O'Connor
12 Years A Slave - Patricia Norris
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
20 Feet from Stardom
Documentary Short Subject:
Karama Has No Walls
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
American Hustle - Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers, Alan Baumgarten
Captain Phillips - Christopher Rouse
Dallas Buyers Club - John Mac McMurphy, Martin Pensa
Gravity - Alfonso Cuaron, Mark Sanger
12 Years A Slave - Joe Walker
Foreign Language Film:
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Missing Picture
Makeup And Hairstyling:
Dallas Buyers Club
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
The Lone Ranger
Music - Original Score:
The Book Thief
Saving Mr. Banks
Music - Original Song:
Alone Yet Not Alone by Bruce Broughton and Dennis Spiegel, from Alone Yet Not Alone
Happy by Pharrell Williams, from Despicable Me 2
Let it Go by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, from Frozen
The Moon Song by Karen O, from Her
Ordinary Love by U2, from Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom
The Great Gatsby
12 Years A Slave
All Is Lost
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
The Lone Ranger
Star Trek Into Darkness.
Lions Gate via Everett Collection
When we last left our heroes, they had conquered all opponents in the 74th Annual Hunger Games, returned home to their newly refurbished living quarters in District 12, and fallen haplessly to the cannibalism of PTSD. And now we're back! Hitching our wagons once again to laconic Katniss Everdeen and her sweet-natured, just-for-the-camera boyfriend Peeta Mellark as they gear up for a second go at the Capitol's killing fields.
But hold your horses — there's a good hour and a half before we step back into the arena. However, the time spent with Katniss and Peeta before the announcement that they'll be competing again for the ceremonial Quarter Quell does not drag. In fact, it's got some of the film franchise's most interesting commentary about celebrity, reality television, and the media so far, well outweighing the merit of The Hunger Games' satire on the subject matter by having Katniss struggle with her responsibilities as Panem's idol. Does she abide by the command of status quo, delighting in the public's applause for her and keeping them complacently saturated with her smiles and curtsies? Or does Katniss hold three fingers high in opposition to the machine into which she has been thrown? It's a quarrel that the real Jennifer Lawrence would handle with a castigation of the media and a joke about sandwiches, or something... but her stakes are, admittedly, much lower. Harvey Weinstein isn't threatening to kill her secret boyfriend.
Through this chapter, Katniss also grapples with a more personal warfare: her devotion to Gale (despite her inability to commit to the idea of love) and her family, her complicated, moralistic affection for Peeta, her remorse over losing Rue, and her agonizing desire to flee the eye of the public and the Capitol. Oftentimes, Katniss' depression and guilty conscience transcends the bounds of sappy. Her soap opera scenes with a soot-covered Gale really push the limits, saved if only by the undeniable grace and charisma of star Lawrence at every step along the way of this film. So it's sappy, but never too sappy.
In fact, Catching Fire is a masterpiece of pushing limits as far as they'll extend before the point of diminishing returns. Director Francis Lawrence maintains an ambiance that lends to emotional investment but never imposes too much realism as to drip into territories of grit. All of Catching Fire lives in a dreamlike state, a stark contrast to Hunger Games' guttural, grimacing quality that robbed it of the life force Suzanne Collins pumped into her first novel.
Once we get to the thunderdome, our engines are effectively revved for the "fun part." Katniss, Peeta, and their array of allies and enemies traverse a nightmare course that seems perfectly suited for a videogame spin-off. At this point, we've spent just enough time with the secondary characters to grow a bit fond of them — deliberately obnoxious Finnick, jarringly provocative Johanna, offbeat geeks Beedee and Wiress — but not quite enough to dissolve the mystery surrounding any of them or their true intentions (which become more and more enigmatic as the film progresses). We only need adhere to Katniss and Peeta once tossed in the pit of doom that is the 75th Hunger Games arena, but finding real characters in the other tributes makes for a far more fun round of extreme manhunt.
But Catching Fire doesn't vie for anything particularly grand. It entertains and engages, having fun with and anchoring weight to its characters and circumstances, but stays within the expected confines of what a Hunger Games movie can be. It's a good one, but without shooting for succinctly interesting or surprising work with Katniss and her relationships or taking a stab at anything but the obvious in terms of sending up the militant tyrannical autocracy, it never even closes in on the possibility of being a great one.
Follow @Michael Arbeiter
| Follow @Hollywood_com
Musician Patti Smith surprised a star-studded crowd at an environmental benefit dinner in Los Angeles on Friday (31May13) by taking to the stage for a duet with Yeah Yeah Yeahs rocker Karen O. Tobey Maguire, Cindy Crawford, Rachel Bilson and Emma Roberts were among the A-list guests at the Chanel event in aid of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which was held at the home of art dealer Larry Gagosian in the Holmby Hills area of the city.
As cocktails were served, guests were surprised with a performance by Smith and Karen O, before being treated to another set by rapper Pharrell Williams during dinner.
Smith also addressed the crowd during the event and urged supporters to keep fighting for conservation issues, saying, "We must as activists not always be ready to win - we always want to win - but we also have to be ready to lose, and lose, and lose, and lose, and keep on fighting. We must be a thorn in their side, and sooner or later, they will bleed."
The Natural Resources Defense Council is one of America's biggest environmental groups and fights to address issues such as climate change and wildlife preservation.