Moviemaker Mike Leigh is to be feted with a special honour by officials at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). The director will be presented with a BAFTA Fellowship award, which recognises excellence in the entertainment industry, at the annual prizegiving ceremony in London on Sunday (08Feb15).
Leigh says, "What a privilege to be honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship. I'm moved, delighted and surprised."
Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of BAFTA, adds, "Mike Leigh is one of Britain's finest filmmakers, so I am delighted that we will honour him with the Fellowship... He is a true innovator, an artist and an exceptional filmmaker."
Previous recipients of the honour include Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Laurence Olivier, and Dame Judi Dench, and Dame Helen Mirren, who was awarded the fellowship at last year's (14) ceremony.
Dame Maggie Smith received one of Britain's highest honours from Queen Elizabeth II during a ceremony at Windsor Castle in England on Friday (17Oct14).
The Downton Abbey actress was handed the gold medal by the monarch to officially become a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in recognition of her six-decade career on stage and screen. Smith enjoyed a brief chat with the Queen before shaking her hand and curtsying. She follows in the footsteps of previous recipients including Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Judi Dench, physicist Stephen Hawking and artist David Hockney.
Smith was made a dame by the British royal in 1990 for services to the performing arts.
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Dame Maggie Smith is set to receive one of Britain's highest awards as part of Queen Elizabeth II's annual Birthday Honours list.
The Oscar winner is expected to be named as a Companion of Honour when this year's (14) list is unveiled on Saturday (14May14). Smith will join the ranks of previous recipients including Sir Ian McKellen and her close pal and Tea with Mussolini co-star Dame Judi Dench.
Smith was made a dame by the monarch in 1990 for services to the performing arts.
Dame Judi Dench and Daniel Day-Lewis have attended a state dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in England. The banquet on Tuesday (08Apr14) was to mark the first ever state visit to the U.K. by an Irish president, Michael D. Higgins.
New Line Cinema via Everett Collection
Last year alone, films like Blue Jasmine, 12 Years a Slave and Philomena were driven by the brilliant transformations of actresses like Cate Blanchett, Lupita Nyong'o, and Judi Dench. And as we celebrate Women's History Month (looking forward to more exciting performances from these and other great actresses), let's take a look back at just a few of the many, many life changing performances in some of the best biopics and period pieces from recent years.
Q'orianka Kilcher, The New World
You thought you knew the story of Pocahontas until director Terrence Malick introduced us to a whole new world. Kilcher's performance was so awe-inspring it practically re-told and re-wrote history itself.
Kirsten Dunst, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Julia Stiles, Ginnifer Goodwin, Julia Roberts, Mona Lisa Smile
Yes. Pretty much every actress you love is in this movie. Set in the 1950s, this amazing film tells the story of a group of Wellesley students who get their lives shaken up when Julia Roberts shows up as their free-thinking art professor.
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose
When Cotillard won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Lead Role for her role as beloved French singer Edith Piaf, nobody in the world cried foul. Because there aren't enough awards in the world for what she did in La Vie en Rose. A stunning, haunting, fitting tribute from one French star to another.
Viola Davis & Octavia Spencer, The Help
Spencer took home the Academy Award in 2012 for her portrayal of Minny Jackson, a black maid working for a particularly cruel white woman in the '60s, and costar Davis was nominated. As far as the clip above, one YouTuber describes it as "The most satisfying scene in cinematic history." We're inclined to agree.
Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
Blanchett as Katherine Hepburn? Damn near flawless.
Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth
But Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth? EVERYTHING!
Angela Bassett, What's Love Got to Do with It
No offense to Tina Turner, but Angela Bassett was the best Tina Turner of all time.
Laura Linney, Kinsey
It may have been Liam Neeson's flick, but Linney played the wife of the famed scientist and, for many of us, absolutely stole the show.
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
If you've somehow managed to go through life not being in love with Michelle Williams, then you clearly have not seen My Week with Marilyn. Do yourself a favor and make it happen. NOW!
Jennifer Lopez, Selena
If you can make it through J Lo's performance of Selena Quintanilla's life and work without crying, you are a martian robot lacking the full understanding of Selena Quintanilla.
Kate Winslet, The Reader
Granted there are other Kate Winslet movies to choose from. But when you really get down to it... no. No, there aren't.
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Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
Cate Blanchett recently won her second Academy Award for her brilliant performance in Blue Jasmine , which means that a younger generation of moviegoers is becoming familiar with her work for the first time. Prior to this, Blanchett has been relatively absent from the film industry, devoting her time instead to the Sydney Theatre Company which she co-directed with her husband for six years. Moreover, most moviegoers recognize Blanchett for her brief appearances as Galadriel in the beloved The Lord of The Rings trilogy, or for her performances in more mainstream films like The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) and The Aviator (2004), for which she won her first Academy Award as legendary actress Katharine Hepburn. All of this is fine, but Blanchett’s greatest performances can be found in lesser-known, independent films that mainstream audiences tend to overlook. Below is a list of 10 of these performances to remind us once again why Blanchett is one of the most captivating screen actresses of our time.
1. Jude in I’m Not There. (2007)
In Todd Haynes’ wildly inventive “biopic” of Bob Dylan, Blanchett owns the film as a version of the musician during his electric years. Since the film isn’t told in a linear fashion, audiences didn’t bother to see it, but within seconds it becomes clear that Blanchett is the only performer — male or female — who could have played this role.
2. Philippa in Heaven (2002)
Blanchett is a revelation as a woman who is arrested for terrorist acts and subsequently falls in love with the officer (Giovanni Ribisi) who is supposed to look after her while in a holding cell. Heaven begins as a thriller and ends as one of the most romantic films ever made, with Blanchett taking the audience on this riveting journey every step of the way
3. Sheba Hart in Notes on a Scandal (2006)
Blanchett goes toe-to-toe with acting legend Judi Dench in this taut psychological drama about a teacher (Blanchett) who has an affair with a student and is found out by one of the senior teachers (Dench) at the school. Few films are as impeccably acted as this, and during the film’s intense, climactic showdown, Blanchett shows a side of herself that audiences haven’t seen since.
4. Cate and Shelly in Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
Coffee and Cigarettes is an anthology film by Jim Jarmusch, and in one of the vignettes entitled “Cousins,” Blanchett stars opposite herself as both Cate and Shelly, two wildly different cousins who reunite over a cup of coffee. Not much happens here, except that we are shown Blanchett’s incredible range as she inhabits both of these characters with equal skill. Who else can pull something like this off and yet make it so watchable and believable?
5. Tracy in Little Fish (2005)
Blanchett is riveting as a drug addict struggling to rebuild her life in this excellent Australian drama. Those who marveled at Blanchett’s ability to confront addiction head-on in Blue Jasmine might be surprised to find that she’s just as fierce in Little Fish, a film that might have earned her a Best Actress Academy Award if it were more popular in the United States.
6. Charlotte Gray in Charlotte Gray (2001)
Blanchett is lovely as a young Scottish woman who joins the French Resistance during WWII to find her boyfriend who is lost in France. Director Gillian Armstrong is known for her beautiful restraint, and Blanchett matches her with a performance that feels so authentic we almost forget she’s acting at all.
7. Kate Wheeler in Bandits (2001)
Who knew Blanchett could be so funny? Bandits is a ridiculous caper that stars Billy Bob Thornton and Bruce Willis as two bank robbers who kidnap Blanchett and fall in love with her. Unlike Heaven, which is somber and serious, Bandits is a playful romp. For those who admired Jennifer Lawrence’s “Live and Let Die” moment in American Hustle, remember that Blanchett did it years ago while dancing to “I Need a Hero” in this film.
8. Veronica Guerin in Veronica Guerin (2003)
In this true story, Blanchett plays Veronica Guerin, an Irish journalist who was murdered by drug dealers when she exposed their crimes in her articles. This is a heartbreaking tale about an ordinary hero, and Blanchett’s riveting turn pays proper homage to Guerin while simultaneously allowing her legacy to live on in the hearts and minds of those fortunate enough to who watch this courageous film.
9. Petal Barr in The Shipping News (2001)
The Shipping News isn’t a great movie, but it is worth mentioning for Blanchett’s scene-stealing turn as Kevin Spacey’s reckless lover who leaves him in the beginning of the movie. Her part is small, but she makes an undeniable impact, and shows how she can make the most of even the slightest roles. For the few scenes she’s in, Blanchett makes us feel like we’ve been with this character forever.
10. Queen Elizabeth I in Elizabeth (1998)
One of the biggest injustices in Academy Awards history is when Gwyneth Paltrow won the Best Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love in the same year that Blanchett gave us her rendition of a young Queen Elizabeth in Elizabeth, one of the finest lead performances in the history of cinema. Paltrow is fine, but Blanchett’s work in this film is in a class by itself. This is the one that started it all.
Dame Judi Dench is set to skip the Oscars due to her filming schedule, according to reports. The British veteran is nominated for the Best Actress award alongside Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep for her turn as an Irish mother searching for her adopted son in Philomena.
Unlike her competitors, Dench has been missing from the awards season campaign trail after undergoing a knee replacement operation, and now she is reportedly set to miss out on Hollywood's biggest night.
The actress is currently in India filming the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and sources suggest the long-haul trip to Los Angeles for the prizegiving would be too much for the 79 year old.
Her daughter, Flinty Williams, also admits she is unsure about her mother's plans, telling Britain's Daily Telegraph, "Honestly, I don't know. She has been hard at work in India making the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and I am not sure if she is going to fly from there to the States. It has been a few days since we have spoken."
Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose studio produced Philomena, recently admitted Dench's health woes have put her at risk of missing out on awards, saying, "Honestly, it's been tough for her, health-wise, and she hasn't done the kind of campaigning the others have.
"Cate Blanchett has had the luxury of being in a lot of places... Amy Adams has been very visible at awards shows and everything else."
Dench has been nominated for the Best Actress Academy Award four times before, for Mrs. Brown, Iris, Mrs Henderson Presents and Notes on a Scandal, while she won the Best Supporting Actress prize for her appearance as Queen Elizabeth I in 1998's Shakespeare in Love.
Dame Helen Mirren is set to be honoured by Prince William at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) next week (begs10Feb14). The Duke of Cambridge, who is the President of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, will present The Queen star with the Academy Fellowship Award on 16 February (14).
Previous fellows include Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Charlie Chaplin, Dame Elizabeth Taylor, Dame Judi Dench, Vanessa Redgrave and Sir Christopher Lee.
Veteran actress Dame Judi Dench never considered the possibility of winning an Oscar, because she was advised early on in her career to stick to theatre. The British icon is nominated for the Best Actress honour at the 2014 Academy Awards for her role in Philomena after previously scooping a Best Supporting Actress prize in 1999 for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love.
But Dench admits the possibility of landing an Oscar nomination, let alone winning, never crossed her mind as a young actress because an industry boss once advised her against making the transition from the stage to the big screen.
She tells Britain's The Times, "I was told very early on that I would never make films and I settled for that. I was a theatre actor and films didn't come into my thinking or anything. It has all changed very much since Mrs Brown (for which she was nominated for an Oscar in 1998). So now I do more films than I do work in the theatre. So an Oscar is something I never considered."
However, the actress has declined to name and shame the person who had given her the bad advice, adding, "I've never said that, out of respect for the man who said it, who was a very great and respected person."
Dench will learn if she is another Oscar winner on 2 March, when the 86th Academy Awards ceremony takes place at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
The Oscar nominations came out on Thursday morning, and as of now, it's anybody's race. Some say 12 Years a Slave has it in the bag, while others think American Hustle will snatch the Best Picture trophy. There's no one way to know for sure — does the Academy weigh emotional impact? Flashy performances? The film's lasting message?
How about titles? Yes, you can tell a lot about a film by its title, and about its Oscar chances, too. We've compiled some handy data about each Best Picture nominee's title and what it says about the film's chances come time to hand out the awards. (You can also head over to BBC America to check out this fantastic infographic that predicts the Best Picture winner!)
Movies with the word "America" in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 2 (An American in Paris; American Beauty) ...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 2 (America, America; American Graffiti)
Movies whose titles refers to a crime or act of duplicity......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 2 (Mutiny on the Bounty; The Sting)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 11 (The Racket; She Done Him Wrong; Imitation of Life; Libeled Lady; Grand Illusion; The Caine Mutiny; The Hustler; Mutiny on the Bounty; The Killing Fields; The Fugitive; Traffic)
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
Movies with a main character's surname in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 10 (The Great Ziegfeld; Ben-Hur; Tom Jones; Patton; Annie Hall; Kramer vs. Kramer; Gandhi; Schindler’s List; Forrest Gump; Shakespeare in Love)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 45 (Disraeli; Trader Horn; Arrowsmith; The House of Rothschild; Alice Adams; Captain Blood; David Copperfield; Ruggles of Red Gap; Anthony Adverse; Dodsworth; Mr. Deeds Goes to Town; The Story of Louis Pasteur; The Life of Emile Zola; The Adventures of Robin Hood; Goodbye, Mr. Chips; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Kitty Foyle; Citizen Kane; Here Comes Mr. Jordan; Sergeant York; Mrs. Miniver; The Magnificent Ambersons; Madame Curie; Wilson; Mildred Pierce; Johnny Belinda; Julius Caesar; Mister Roberts; The Diary of Anne Frank; Elmer Gantry; Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb; Mary Poppins; Doctor Zhivago; Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?; Doctor Dolittle; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; Barry Lyndon; Prizzi’s Honor; Jerry Maguire; Good Will Hunting; Saving Private Ryan; Erin Brokovich; Capote; Michael Clayton; Lincoln)
Movies whose titles include a military rank......to win a Best Picture Oscar: o...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 6 (The Smiling Lieutenant; Captain Blood; Captains Courageous; Sergeant York; Saving Private Ryan; Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)
DALLAS BUYERS CLUB
Focus Features via Everett Collection
Movies with a city name in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 4 (Cimarron; Casablanca; An American in Paris; Chicago)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 18 (Hollywood Revue; Shanghai Express; San Francisco; In Old Chicago; The Philadelphia Story; Mr. Smith Goes to Washington; Casablanca; Roman Holiday; Peyton Place; Judgment and Nuremberg; Chinatown; Nashville; Fargo; L.A. Confidential; Gangs of New York; Munich; Letters from Iwo Jima; Midnight in Paris)
Movies whose titles seem like they should probably have a possessive apostrophe, but don't......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 0...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 4 (Boys Town; Kings Row; Dead Poets Society; Howards End)
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Movies whose titles are a single intangible noun......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 1 (Crash)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 8 (Alibi; Suspicion; Crossfire; Deliverance; Traffic; Atonement; Inception; Moneyball)
Movies whose titles end in "ity"......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 1 (From Here to Eternity)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 3 (Double Indemnity; Atlantic City; Sense and Sensibility)
Warner Bros via Everett Collection
Movies whose titles are made up three letters or fewer......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 0...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 4 (Z; JFK; Ray; Up)
Movies that have the word "her" in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 1 (Ben-Hur)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 1 (Hannah and Her Sisters)
Paramount via Everett Collection
Movies with U.S. state names in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 0...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 2 (In Old Arizona; Mississippi Burning) *Note: Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and Gangs of New York both refer to cities, not states, and the "Virginia" in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf is a human woman.
We loved Nebraska, but this is really the only one we could think of for it. Sorry, Alexander Payne. Sorry, everybody.
Weinstein Company via Everett Collection
Movies whose titles are just a main character's first name......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 5 (Rebecca; Hamlet; Marty; Gigi; Oliver!)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 20 (Skippy; Cleopatra; Ivanhoe; Shane; Fanny; Cleopatra; Alfie; Lenny; Rocky; Julia; Norma Rae; Tess; Bugsy; Babe; Elizabeth; Seabiscuit; Ray; Juno; Precious; Hugo)
Movies whose titles were mispronounced by Leonardo DiCaprio on live television......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 0...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 0 (There can be only one Philomania.)
12 YEARS A SLAVE
Movies with numbers in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 6 (It Happened One Night; Around the World in 80 Days; The Godfather Part II; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Million Dollar Baby; Slumdog Millionaire)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 36 (Seventh Heaven; Five Star Final; One Hour with You; 42nd Street; The Private Life of Henry VIII; One Night of Love; Broadway Melody of 1936; A Tale of Two Cities; Three Smart Girls; One Hundred Men and a Girl; Four Daughters; One Foot in Heaven; 49th Parallel; Henry V; Miracle on 34th Street; A Letter to Three Wives; Twelve O’Clock High; Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; Three Coins in the Fountain; The Ten Commandments; 12 Angry Men; The Defiant Ones; A Thousand Clowns; Anne of the Thousand Days; Five Easy Pieces; Born on the Fourth of July; The Godfather Part III; Four Weddings and a Funeral; Apollo 13; The Sixth Sense; The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers; District 9; 127 Hours; Toy Story 3; Zero Dark Thirty)
Movies that refer to a unit of time in their titles......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 2 (The Best Years of Our Lives; Around the World in 80 Days) ...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 9 (One Hour with You; Lady for a Day; The Yearling; The Longest Day; Anne of the Thousand Days; Dog Day Afternoon; Remains of the Day; The Hours; 127 Hours)
THE WOLF OF WALL STREET
Paramount via Everett Collection
Movies whose titles include mention of an animal......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 3 (The Deer Hunter; Dances with Wolves; The Silence of the Lambs)...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 17 (Of Mice and Men; The Little Foxes; The Maltese Falcon; The Ox-Bow Incident; The Snake Pit; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Lion in Winter; One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Dog Day Afternoon; The Elephant Man; Raging Bull; Kiss of the Spider Woman; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon; Black Swan; War Horse)
Movies whose titles include the name of a street......to win a Best Picture Oscar: 1 (The Broadway Melody) ...to get nominated for BP, but not win: 5 (42nd Street; The Barretts of Wimpole Street; Broadway Melody of 1936; Miracle on 34th Street; Sunset Boulevard)
Cast your bets, folks. Captain Phillips looks like it has this one locked down.
*Special thanks to Hollywood.com writers Julia Emmanuele and Jordan Smith for helping to compile data and entertaining the madness of this post, and to our CTO Greg Zimerman for recovering hours of work after my Word Doc crashed. You're a hero, Greg.
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