Movie producer Oscar Generale surprised onlookers including John Travolta and Kelly Preston at the amfAR gala in Cannes, France on Thursday (22May14) when he got down on one knee and proposed to his beauty queen girlfriend Denny Mendez. The Pulp Fiction star and his wife congratulated the happy couple and gave them a hug.
Let's face it, celebrity comebacks are about as irresistible as the run-through-the-streets-naked meltdowns that usually precede them. (We've got our eye on you, Bieber!). Movie audiences are very forgiving, after all, especially when stars appear to have learned from their mistakes. Here's our list of the five best comeback roles in recent Hollywood history.
5. Andrew Dice Clay in Blue JasmineWoody Allen's decision to cast the washed-up, foul-mouthed comedian in his latest film, Blue Jasmine, left a lot of people scratching their heads…until they actually saw it. The role was Clay's first in over a decade, and he's now earning Oscar buzz for his lively portrayal of an embittered ex-husband.
Sony Pictures Classics
4. Mickey Rourke in The WrestlerRourke was being heralded as the next Marlon Brando before a sojourn into professional boxing and other oddball side trips had him disappear from the spotlight. But it was his gritty performance as a washed-up wrestler than earned him a 2008 Academy Award nomination, as well as a rare second act as a Hollywood star.
3. Robert Downey Jr. in Iron ManBy the early 2000s, Robert Downey Jr. was all but finished: the latest in a long list of promising young actors overtaken by drugs and alcohol. But after finally getting himself clean, Downey began to slowly rebuild his career, which culminated with his sterling performance as the wisecracking tech genius turned superhero Tony Stark in 2008's Iron Man.
2. Ben Affleck in ArgoA mere nine years after "Bennifer" and Gigli, Ben Affleck proved just about everyone wrong by winning the Best Picture Oscar for Argo. Guess he did have talent all along.
1. John Travolta in Pulp FictionHad Quentin Tarantino not decided to take a chance on the presumably past-his-prime actor back in 1994, classics like Battlefield Earth would never have seen the light of day.
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"Confound it!" groused an embittered Christian Bale the morning after the 85th Annual Academy Awards. "Why wasn't I in Argo?"
It's a sentiment a lot of actors must have endured — resentment on not having been a part of the Hollywood love letter that nabbed the Best Picture Oscar and thrilled audiences nationwide. But Bale seems to have really taken this missed opportunity to heart. So much so that he's kind of actually still trying to be in Argo. That is, a movie that seems remarkably like Argo: Abscam.
The officially untitled David O. Russell project, shooting now in Boston, has a good deal of similarities to Ben Affleck's hit. The plot centers on an FBI sting operation (to Argo's CIA hostage rescue operation) in the late 1970s/early '80s (same as Argo) with the corruption of the American government a thematic forefront (same as Argo) and a whole lot of regrettable haircuts (same as Argo). You can witness one of these haircuts atop the dome of Bale in these new images from the Abscam (which, much like argo, is a short, catchy, but confusing disyllabic non-word starting with the letter a), wherein he kicks up the creep factor in talking to and walking away from costar Amy Adams.
So what do you think, Argo fans? Can Abscam live up to the grandeur of the BP winner? Does Bale have what it takes to rival Affleck's Tony Mendez? Can the suits really get any tackier? Keep watch to find out!
Follow Michael Arbeiter on Twitter @MichaelArbeiter
[Photo Credit: Jayme Oak/INFphoto (2)]
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This is a natural progression if we've ever seen one: Ben Affleck was simply the actor/writer who came into great fame by winning an Oscar with his pal Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting, the tale of a young Bostonian supergenius; next, he jumped into the director's seat to take audiences on well-crafted trips through Boston's criminal underbelly in Gone Baby Gone and The Town. In 2012, he chronicled the life and story of true patriot C.I.A. operative Tony Mendez in Best Picture-winner Argo.
Is it any surprise Warner Bros. is hoping to get Affleck on the first train back to Boston for his next movie? Or that the premise is that of the American Revolution? No, it's not. At all.
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The screen rights for the book Bunker Hill: A City, A Seige, and A Revolution (which doesn't hit shelves until April 30) were just purchased by Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Affleck and his own Pearl Street Films, according to Deadline. Affleck is busy writing, directing, and starring in Live By Night, and adaptation of the Dennis Lane novel, and will likely turn the writing duties over to the man who served as his scribe on Argo, Chris Terrio.
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And with all those pieces in place (patriotism, Bahs-ton, and the Argo writer) could it be that Affleck is coming back for round two with the academy after his major Best Director snub for 2012's Argo? The set-up certainly seems promising.
Follow Kelsea on Twitter @KelseaStahler
[Photo Credit: FayesVision/WENN]
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Despite Ben Affleck's absence from the Best Director race (considered to be one of the 2013 Academy Awards' biggest snubs), the actor-turned-filmmaker's thriller Argo took home the top prize of the night, which was inexplicably doled out by First Lady Michelle Obama: Best Picture.
Argo's win puts it in a rare category of films that have won Best Picture without their directors earning a Best Director nomination. Affleck's now follows Wings (1928), Grand Hotel (1932), and Driving Miss Daisy (1989) in Oscar history books. It also marks the second win for Ben Affleck, who previously picked up a "Best Original Screenplay" Academy Award for his work on Good Will Hunting.
"I was here 15 years ago or something," Affleck said at the podium while accepting for Argo. "And I had no idea what I was doing. I stood out here in front of you all. I was really just a kid. And I went out, and I never thought that I would be back here. And I am, because of so many of you who are here tonight. Because of this Academy. Because of so many wonderful people who extended themselves to me when they had nothing to benefit from it in Hollywood."
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Written by Chris Terrio (winner of the "Best Adapted Screenplay" Oscar), Argo tells the true story of the CIA's mission to rescue a group of embassy workers during the Iranian hostage crisis. To infiltrate the Middle Eastern country and get the group out undetected, agent Tony Mendez (Affleck) faked a movie shoot with the help of real Hollywood producers, claiming the stranded Americans were part of the crew.
Produced by George Clooney and his Smokehouse Pictures production company, Argo started the Oscar season strong with a "Best Picture - Drama" win at the 2013 Golden Globes. As the race continued movie picked up awards from the BAFTAS ("Best Film," "Director," "Editing") Director's Guild ("Best Director"), Writer's Guild ("Best Adapated Screenplay"), American Cinema Editors ("Best Edited Feature Film"), and the Producer's Guild ("Outstanding Producer" aka the group's Best Picture equivalent).
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To date, Argo has grossed $129.79 million at the domestic box office, making it one of the higher grossing Best Picture winners in the 84 years of the Oscars.
As for the First Lady, she is the second White House resident (past or present) to appear at a major awards show during the 2012-2013 season — Bill Clinton introduced Lincoln at the Golden Globes just last month.
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This year's Best Director Oscar race has proven a surprising one, with two of the most-nominated directors at every other awards show being shut out of the big game. We're, of course, talking about Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow for Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively. So hopes were high that vindication would be at their backs, guiding at least one of them to gold. And what a victory it was for winner Affleck, who took home the top feature film honors at the ceremony in Hollywood. Affleck's win is just one of many that he's gained for directing the story of Tony Mendez and the six fugitive Americans embassy workers in 1980. At this point, it seems hard to imagine Affleck will miss the Oscar trophy he could've won, had the Academy not snubbed him during nominations. What's one award amongst friends, right?
But it wasn't just a big night for movies. Big names in television — including Lena Dunham, Louis C.K., Bryan Cranston, and Looper's Rian Johnson — were all up for directoral nods on the small screen. But it was the seemingly-unstoppable Dunham that took home the top prize in comedic television for her HBO series Girls — and on her first nomination, to boot! Welcome to 2013: Year of the Dunham. (And you thought it was 2012, pish posh!) Johnson took home the dramatic prize for his work on the Cranston-fronted Breaking Bad. Cranston himself was up for directing an episode of Modern Family. From meth kingpin to primetime comedy director — there's really nothing that man can't do, huh?
Check out the full list of nominees (and winners; bolded) below!
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film
Argo (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Zero Dark Thirty
Life of Pi
(Twentieth Century Fox)
(DreamWorks Pictures/Twentieth Century Fox)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Mini-Series
Political Animals, “Pilot”
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Hatfields & McCoys
Game Change (HBO)
American Horror Story: Asylum, “Dark Cousin”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series
Homeland, "The Choice"
Mad Men, “A Little Kiss”
LESLI LINKA GLATTER
Breaking Bad, “Fifty-One” (AMC)
The Newsroom, “We Just Decided To” (Pilot)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Comedy Series
Louie, “New Year’s Eve”
The Big Bang Theory, “The Date Night Variable”
Modern Family, “Election Day”
Girls, “Pilot” (HBO)
30 Rock, “Live from Studio 6H”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Musical Variety
12-12-12: The Concert for Sandy Relief
(Multiple Networks/Cable Outlets)
DON ROY KING
Saturday Night Live with Host Mick Jagger
84th Annual Academy Awards
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, "Episode #17153"
66th Annual Tony Awards (CBS)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Reality Programs
America’s Next Top Model, "The Girl Who Becomes America’s Next Top Model"
Face Off, "Scene of the Crime"
Master Chef, “Episode #305” (FOX)
J. RUPERT THOMPSON
Stars Earn Stripes, “Amphibious Assault”
Ink Master, “Pasties and a Cameltoe”
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Daytime Serials
Days of Our Lives, “Trapped”
General Hospital, “Bad Water”
General Hospital, “Magic Milo”
General Hospital, “Shot Through The Heart”
One Life To Live, “Between Heaven and Hell” (ABC)
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs
Girl vs. Monster
Let it Shine (Disney Channel)
SAVAGE STEVE HOLLAND
Big Time Movie
Don’t Divorce Me! Kids’ Rules for Parents on Divorce
Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Documentary
Searching For Sugar Man
The Invisible War
How To Survive A Plague
The Queen of Versailles
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
What do you think of this year's winners? Let us know in the comments!
[Photo Credit: Getty Images]
Follow Alicia on Twitter @alicialutes
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Ancient mythology tells of an incredible soldier named Samson: with shoulders 60 cubits broad and enough strength to tear a lion in twain, Samson reigned as one of his time's most immensely powerful forces — all thanks to his hair.
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As proven by many great men since the rise and fall of Samson — The Beatles, Uncle Jesse, Carrot Top — a vibrant, untamed mane can imbue a mere mortal with boundless superhuman capability, driving him to achieve victories beyond the denizens of his most uninhibited fantasies. Like Oscars!
You might have picked up on the Academy Awards buzz circling Ben Affleck's forthcoming hostage crisis drama Argo, which debuted at the Telluride Film Festival in August and releases nationally on Friday. Oscars chatter has involved Argo nabbing a Best Picture nod, Alan Arkin being a sure shot for the Best Supporting Actor title, and for Affleck himself in the Lead Actor slot. It's easy to see why the star/director might be graced with these premonitions: subdued but passionate CIA Agent Tony Mendez is a leap from the more expressive characters on Affleck's résumé; the high-stakes nature of the politically charged true story make for a moving performance from the actor; and most of all, that hair.
Affleck sprouted a particularly 'brow-raising pelt — both atop his dome and all over his face — for his Argo character. The kind of hair that could effectively remove the man from any "celebrity crush" lists posthaste... but might well place him at the forefront of another, comparably esteemed assembly: Oscar winners.
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Whether Affleck owns the role or flops with a vengeance, he is a surefire bet to take home the Oscar for Best Actor at the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Because of his hair. Hair wins Oscars. "No it doesn't," you scoff (we can hear your scoffs). "Talent wins Oscars." Sure, talent is nice and all, and has probably worked for a few people over the years — Alec Guinness, maybe — but the biggest secret of the trade: it's all in the tresses.
Look back over the past decade at the men who have nabbed the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor Awards, and you'll see what we mean.
Almost ten Oscars ago, Chris Cooper took home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for 2002's Adaptation., a role for which he grew a colossally unflattering mop. Three years later, George Clooney sacrificed his unparalleled allure for a drunk uncle-ian soup strainer in Syriana, earning the same award for this character. In 2007, Javier Bardem's No Country for Old Men bowl-cut guaranteed him Best Supporting... although, admittedly, it could have easily gone to Philip Seymour Hoffman's atrocious Charlie Wilson's War dye job that year. And finally, '08: the late Heath Ledger and his frenzied Joker 'do would take home the Oscar for The Dark Knight.
Now, I know what you're thinking (we can hear your thoughts, too). "These are all Best Supporting Actors. There's absolutely no science that might prove this pattern would transcend into the Lead Actor category. To suggest as such would be crazy!" Crazy, huh? Crazy like a Heart?
In 2009, writer/director Scott Cooper released the intimate character drama Crazy Heart, starring beloved actor Jeff Bridges as washed up country music singer/songwriter Bad Blake. For this role, Bridges nabbed the Best Actor Oscar, beating out the likes of Clooney (Up in the Air), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Morgan Freeman (Invictus), and Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker). Three time-tested Hollywood legends (with Freeman owning the additional edge of playing Nelson Mandela) and a showbiz newcomer at the head of an immensely affecting war film. Bridges' Crazy Heart performance was excellent — no one is here to claim otherwise — but he won because of the hair. He had to... he was the perfect candidate...
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See, Bridges' hair has long flowed free, onscreen and off. His Bad Blake bouffant was barely a stray from his usual shoulder-length 'do. So nobody suspected a thing when the Academy gave Bridges the Oscar. Nobody gave any thought to what might have really been going on behind the scenes.
As far as the public knows, the annual victors are ostensibly chosen by the collective members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an esteemed group of accomplished men and women who have made names for themselves in the following fields: acting, directing, writing, producing, editing, cinematography, animation, art direction, documentary filmmaking, music, a bunch of other stuff, and finally, makeup artistry and hair styling. A group that has made its career on attention to detail, on the grunt work, on secretly pulling the strings on all the forefront players — controlling the masses from behind the curtains.
"But how can this be?" you ask (my, you're vocal today). "How can this single group of people control the entire outcome of the Academy Awards?" Simple, my inquisitive friend: when you control people's hair, you control their minds. Through the venue of brain-altering chemicals, and tonics, and shampoos, the hair styling community of Hollywood has managed to instill their perspectives into the minds of their Academy peers, and (in the rare causes of failure), into those of the actors and actresses slated with announcing the names of the winners at the awards ceremonies.
And of course they have quite the definitive horse in this race. In order to afford their brethren ample work, this dedicated secret society (known as the Folliclists) have elected to award the actors with longer, more elaborate, vividly distinct hairstyles, thus promoting the adoption of these styles for future actors. "Long hair wins awards!" aspiring performers will think. "I've gotta get me some long hair!" And so, the trend begins, and the hair styling industry flourishes.
It was easy to do this with the Supporting Actor category — nobody really cares about that one. But in order to stake a claim for Lead Actors, the Folliclists needed to be strategic: they needed to sneak their way in via the likes of Bridges, whose hair would invite no suspicion. But Bridges is only the seed. Next, it's Affleck. After him, who knows? Benicio del Toro as the Matterhorn Yeti? Martin Freeman for The Hobbit? Josh Gad as Cousin Itt? It could be anyone. And then... it'll be all of us. They'll have the world.
We're onto you, hair stylists of America. Your nefarious plan is a secret no longer. And we'd totally set out to stop you... except we really need a trim before the weekend. Not too short, please.
[Photo Credit: Warner Bros, Miramax]
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