This Sunday will be Neil Patrick Harris’ first time hosting the Oscars. Can you believe it? He’s practically hosted every other awards show (from the Tonys to the Emmys), but now he’s in the big leagues – among such iconic hosts as Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, and…Donald Duck? Yep, that’s right. The animated cartoon character actually co-hosted the ceremony back in 1958. We’re just glad we weren’t alive to witness that. But we’ve witnessed our fair share of other hosts, from bad to good. Allow us to rank them for you.
10. Anne Hathway & James Franco (2011)
Everyone was left scratching their heads when this hosting duo was announced, and Anne and James didn’t do much to allay people’s concerns. Anne tried way too hard, and James just didn’t try enough, resulting in a disastrous show that likely solidified the notion that producers should stick to comedians for the job.
9. Hugh Jackman (2009)
Sorry, Jackman. You’re a lovely singer and dancer, but this ain’t the Tonys. It was too much Broadway flair and not enough jokes.
8. David Letterman (1995)
It was the “Oprah, Uma” gag that did him in. It just went on for way too long, and Hollywood was not amused.
7. Seth MacFarlane (2013)
The Family Guy creator was an odd choice simply because we don’t see him in front of the camera much. He took risks with some edgier jokes (Such as: "['Django Unchained'] is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who's been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.") and received a mixed response from critics.
6. Billy Crystal (1990 - 1993, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2004, 2012)
He’s hosted a TON of times (9 to be exact), with varying degrees of success. The best part is whenever he inserts himself into the Oscar-nominated films. But when they brought him back to host the 2012 awards after Eddie Murphy dropped out, we sort of felt like he was the “safe” choice. He did play it safe, and in effect, the show was a bit boring.
5. Whoopi Goldberg (1994, 1996, 1999, 2002)
Remember when she appeared on stage in full Queen Elizabeth I regalia? She really went for it and nailed it.
4. Chris Rock (2005)
When he hosted, they had the telecast run on a 7-second delay – just in case. We know at least one person wasn’t a fan. After Chris made a joke about Jude Law, a humorless Sean Penn took the stage to criticize the comedian, calling Jude one of the industry’s “finest actors.” At least Chris stayed true to his own boisterous style.
3. Steve Martin & Alec Baldwin (2010)
Ok, so the pairing may have just been because they had recently starred in a movie together (It’s Complicated), but these two proved to complement each other quite nicely. Steve is a veteran host and knows how to work the room, and Alec is just naturally funny. They're no Tina and Amy, though...
2. Jon Stewart (2002, 2006)
The things about Jon Stewart is that he’s smart. Very smart. He deftly balanced the political jokes with his hilarious insights on Hollywood and we were thoroughly entertained. Maybe now that he's retiring from The Daily Show, it'll free him up to host more awards shows.
1. Ellen DeGeneres (2007, 2014)
Nevermind the fact that she took that epic celebrity selfie, she brought PIZZA for everyone last year. Hands down the best.
Who was YOUR favorite Oscar host? Tell us on Twitter!
Ted Danson is going from crime scene investigation expert to small town sheriff after signing on to star in the second season of the Fargo TV adaptation. Last month (Dec14), Kirsten Dunst was cast in a leading role as a beautician in season two, opposite former Breaking Bad star Jesse Plemons, who will play her husband.
Now producers have revealed CSI: Crime Scene Investigation star Danson and the Watchmen's Patrick Wilson will also take on major parts, with the Cheers veteran playing Hank Larsson, the Sheriff of Rock County, Minnesota and Wilson portraying his son-in-law, former Vietnam War veteran and State Police Officer Lou Solverson.
The upcoming 10-episode season will be set in 1979 and serve as a back story for Solverson, the character 65-year-old Keith Carradine portrayed in season one.
Frasier's Jean Smart, Parks and Recreation's Nick Offerman, Brad Garrett, Kieran Culkin and Jeffrey Donovan will also be among the new Fargo cast.
Screenwriter Noah Hawley will return to pen the second season and executive produce with Joel and Ethan Coen, who wrote and directed the hit 1996 film the series is adapted from.
Production is due to begin in Calgary, Canada later this month (Jan15).
The acclaimed first season featured Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks and Martin Freeman.
Robert Redford has added his tribute to revered newsman Ben Bradlee, following the news of the former Washington Post editor's death. The movie star, who portrayed Post reporter Bob Woodward - opposite Jason Robards' Bradlee - in 1976 thriller All The President's Men, has issued a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, calling the acclaimed editor-in-chief "unique in a world of so much conventional wisdom".
Alongside Dustin Hoffman, Redford and Robards chronicled the events leading up to the Watergate scandal that led to President Nixon's resignation.
Redford writes, "Ben Bradlee was an intriguing man. Bold, strong willed, and smart with a wicked and sometimes perverse sense of humor. He was unique in a world of so much conventional wisdom. With a sailor’s swagger and a tart tongue to match, he forged a new type of character as Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper in a time of change.
"It was a world I never expected was possible from just a newspaper. It was 1974, and Watergate was about to happen. To Bradlee combat was sport and he was a very good sport. His favorite line in challenging his journalists was: 'Where's the story? There has got to be a story - without that we don’t print'. He made contest fun."
Bradlee died on Tuesday (21Oct14), aged 93.
Columbia Pictures via Everett Collection
A host of stars including Lena Dunham, Mel Brooks and Sandra Bernhard have spoken out to pay their respects to director Paul Mazursky following his death on Monday (30Jun14).
The five-times Oscar nominated director passed away after suffering a pulmonary cardiac arrest. He was 84. Following his death, famous fans and friends took to Twitter.com to share their respect for the Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice filmmaker.
Girls creator Dunham heaped praise on Mazursky for his attitude to women in his films, writing, "Paul Mazursky created the most complex female characters and the most human cinematic moments. He will be missed, he will be emulated."
Blazing Saddles director Brooks shared his fond memories of his peer, adding, "Paul Mazursky- one of the most talented writer/dir.'s to ever make movies- died today. He was our American (Italian director Federico) Fellini. I will miss him dearly."
Comic Bernhard wrote, "The great director #paulmazursky sent me this note "your smart beautiful & talented, what more can a girl ask for. a role in a #paulmazursky film? we'll miss him."
Guardians of the Galaxy screenwriter James Gunn mused, "RIP Paul Mazursky. Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is one of my top 10 favorite films. An amazing underrated talent."
It wasn't just Hollywood insiders who mourned Mazursky's passing - record producer Quincy Jones, who penned the score to Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, tweeted, "Rest In Peace to a great director and writer, my friend and collaborator Paul Mazursky. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. Love."
Mark Ronson wrote, "Paul Mazursky & I once had a nice exchange right here on Twitter. He also directed Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, one of my favourite films ever."
Mazursky's other films include An Unmarried Woman, Blume in Love, and Harry and Tonto.
Much to the dismay of Trekkers everywhere, Roberto Orci will be making his directorial debut with Star Trek 3. According to Variety, Orci, who wrote and produced the first two installments of the franchise with his business partner Alex Kurtzman, has been the frontrunner for some time now, although the names of the other directors being considered haven't been revealed. Orci's name has been in contention for the job since he and Kurtzman announced their split, so the news doesn't come as too much of a surprise. He's also been working on the script with J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, while J.J. Abrams will serve as producer.
Star Trek is just the latest franchise to take a chance on a new director, as studios have recently made it a habit of picking independent or first-timer directors to helm blockbusters like The Amazing Spider Man 2 or Godzilla. In fact, many of the most expensive films ever made were headed by directors making their feature film debut. Considering Star Trek Into Darkness had a budget of $185 million, it seems as if Orci will soon join the ranks of first-time directors taking on a big-budget franchise. In honor of the major challenge that Orci has ahead of him, we've rounded up the six most expensive directorial debuts and how those directors handled them. That way, Trekkies can try and manage their expectations.
Robert Stromberg, Maleficent - $180 millionWalt Disney Studios
Though fantasy fixtures like David Yates and Tim Burton were rumored to helm the Disney prequel, the studio instead handed the reins to Stromberg, an Oscar-winning production designer. We'll have to wait until the film's May 30 release in order to see how well he handled the material, but from the trailers it's clear that the director's previous experience has resulted in visually stunning movie.
Bob Peterson, Up - $175 millionWalt Disney Co. via Everett Collection
Before he took the helm for Up, Peterson was best known for providing voices for some of Pixar's most icoinc characters. However, his directorial debut blew his other projects away, earning five Academy Award nominations — including Best Picture, making it only the second animated film to be nominated in that category — a win for Best Animated Feature, and opening the Cannes Film Festival. Oh, and it grossed over $700 million at the box office.
Carl Erik Rinsch, 47 Ronin - $175 millionUniversal Pictures via Everett Collection
Loosely based on the fictional account of 47 samurai who avenged their master's death, the big budget film was entrusted to Rinsch by Universal, despite his lack of feature film experience. Unfortunately for the studio, it wasn't a gamble that paid off, as the film's release date was pushed back several times, it received largely negative reviews and it failed to break even at the box office. Hopefully Paramount won't find themselves in the same situation with Star Trek.
Rupert Sanders, Snow White and the Huntsman - $170 millionUniversal Pictures via Everett Collection
Prior to Snow White and the Hunstman, Sanders had primarily directed commercials, although that didn't stop Universal from trusting him with this fantasy epic. The resulting film did well at the box office even though it received mostly mixed reviews, and was rumored to be getting a sequel, with Sanders taking the helm once again. However, both films were overshadowed by the tabloid frenzy that resulted from Sanders' affair with his leading lady, Kristen Stewart, so it doesn't look like that will be happening any time soon.
Joseph Kosinski, Tron: Legacy - $170 million Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
When Disney decided to make a sequel to Tron almost thirty years after the first film was released, they turned to Kosinski, who had become known for his work with computer generated effects in the commercials he directed. Though Tron: Legacy received mixed reviews, choosing Kosinski turned out to be a smart choice in the long run, as the film grossed over $400 million during its run in theaters.
Rich Moore, Wreck-It Ralph - $165 million Walt Disney Studios via Everett Collection
Before taking on Wreck-It Ralph, Moore made his name directing episodes of The Simpsons and Futurama, which made him a perfect fit for the goofy, self-referential film. It was a major hit for Disney, grossing over $400 million at the box office, winning the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature and earning an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Picture. Unfortunately, it lost the award to Brave, because nobody loves a Pixar movie more than the Academy.
Sony Pictures via Everett Collection
For a second there, Better Call Saul was looking like a big excuse for a Breaking Bad reunion.
The upcoming spin-off to the smash television drama has done well to fill its ranks with already familiar faces, but we had yet to see what Better Call Saul has to offer in terms of original characters. Both Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks are set to reprise their roles for the show, and even Aaron Paul has announced he was in serious talks with creator Vince Gilligan about returning for a guest appearance.
While another season of Breaking Bad wouldn’t be entirely unwelcome, we were eager to see some new faces fill out the free spaces in Saul Goodman’s skeezy legal drama. Thankfully, actor Michael McKean has just been tapped to add some new blood to the cast. The actor, famous for playing David St. Hubbins in the classic mockumentary This is Spinal Tap, and a role on the classic sitcom Laverne and Shirley, is set to co-star as Dr. Thurber, a talented lawyer who is hampered by a debilitating medical condition.
If McKean’s role gives you a faint sense of déjà vu, you’re not alone. Dr. Thurber’s story, from the scant few details we know about the character, sounds suspiciously similar to a certain meth kingpin's. Thurber is a gifted lawyer who becomes sick with a strange ailment, while Breaking Bad's Walter White is a gifted chemist who learns that he has lung cancer. Both stories are about smart men whose lives are permanently altered by disease, and in the same way that Walt’s lung cancer sparked a desperate need for recognition inside Walt, whatever affliction is affecting Thurber will likely spark similar feelings of desperation.
There’s narrative power in desperation. It’s a strong, base, human desire, and it fueled some of Breaking Bad’s best stories. You could even make the case that desperation was the most resonant theme in the entire series. Walt’s burgeoning career as a drug dealer started in a desperate attempt to provide for his family before the cancer withered him away, a feat he couldn't possibly manage with the humble earnings of a high school chemistry teacher. Even when Walt's motives changed, and creating meth stopped being a sacrificial act for his family and twisted itself something more prideful, greedy, selfish, and ugly, he was a man still driven by desperation. Walt became a man with a desperate need to be the best, to eliminate his competition, and to create the best product the world had ever seen. He not only wanted fame, but infamy. He was desperate to be somebody after an eternity of feeling like the world's most gifted doormat.
Since McKean's character will likely have similar circumstances surrounding his character, we hope that Vince Gilligan is able to mine the same amounts of depth from this new character of his. November can't come soon enough.
FOX Broadcasting Co.
Every hero needs his villain, and Bob Belcher of Bob's Burgers wouldn't be as lovable without the grimy, slimy Jimmy Pesto of Jimmy Pesto's Pizzeria. He's handsome (just look at that butt-chin), smart, and his restaurant is hella classy. Poor Bob spends half his time just trying to keep up. Jimmy's pulled a lot of fast ones during his time on Bob's Burgers, and we can't help but love him for it. Here are some of the best and worst moments, brought to us by the incomparable Jimmy Pesto.
Bob was devastated when Jimmy beat his Burgerboss video score, but the nail in the coffin was the moment when Jimmy entered his name in as "BOB SUX." This was definitely Jimmy Pesto at his worst, but it also inspired one of the best episodes, in which Aziz Ansari as the voice of Darryl (AKA DRL) ultimately came through and saved the day. "Burgerboss" was nominated for a 2012 Emmy, and we think Jimmy Pesto deserves some credit for being the spark that created all that hilarious gamer drama.
When Jimmy Pesto and family won that damn minivan on the Family Fracas! game show under hella "suspicious circumstances" and got away with it, something in you probably died a little bit. But at least we still have this awesome clip of Tina saying, "Your ass is grass... and I'm gonna mow it."
Pesto Tries Burgers
Jimmy tried to destroy Bob's business in "Burger Wars," and does the unthinkable when he starts selling... burgers?! A serious burger war ensued and Bob (once again) fought for his lease on the restaurant as Jimmy did everything in his power to outsell him. This was definitely Jimmy at his worst, but in the end he was no match for Bob's Meatsiah burger and Linda's hilarious voodoo dabblings.
"Sheesh! Cab, Bob?" was easily one of the most unforgettable episodes ever. All of the drama centered around Tina's birthday party got out of control when Bob had to get a second job as a taxi driver, and ended up meeting transsexual prostitutes Glitter, Marbles, and Cha-Cha, who reveal the single-most hilarious fact about Jimmy Pesto. As it turns out, he's got a serious diaper fetish and is well known around a little spot called Desire Dungeon, where he goes by the name of Baby Num-Nums. EPIC.
Jimmy Pesto, Jr.
The truth is that Jimmy Pesto is pretty much the worst. But if there was no Jimmy Pesto, there'd be no Jimmy Pesto Jr., and no reason for Tina to get all super awkward! And we love it when Tina gets super awkward.
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After becoming the highest-grossing Disney film since The Lion King, positioning itself as the front-runner for the Best Original Song Oscar, and taking home a Golden Globe for Best Animated feature, Frozen could next conquer the Great White Way. Disney CEO and Chairman Bob Iger confirmed that the studio is turning its latest film into a stage musical. But don't rush to purchase your tickets just yet; according to Iger, they are still in the very beginning stages, and its likely to be some time before the finished show opens (if on Broadway at all). He's also hoping that a lack of time frame will help the show's creative team transform the movie into a full-on spectacle, saying, "We're not demanding speed, we're demanding excellence."
The news doesn't come as much of a surprise, considering the massive success that Frozen has enjoyed. The fact that the film has managed to entice audiences of all ages will be an asset to the stage show, as will its ability to appeal to boys as well as girls. Typically, studios have worried about princess films isolating male audiences, but between the story's universal message about the bond of family and the combination of a wise-cracking snowman and a charming mountain man sidekick, the film has avoided that problem. This means that the stage show should have little trouble selling tickets, as parents will be less hesitant about paying the higher Broadway prices if they know that their children are guaranteed to be entertained. The musical's profile will also be boosted by new songs from the film's composers, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, as Lopez is well-regarded in theater circles for his work on the hit shows Avenue Q and Book of Mormon, which will help the show gain attention from theater fans who would normally avoid a Disney show.
Which means the only real issue that the team behind Frozen has to worry about, then, is the recent influx of princess-based musicals, which may steal some of the attention and audiences that they're hoping for. Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella has been running for almost a year now, and despite not being a Disney production, has cornered the princess musical market quite well. However, it is about to get some competition from Aladdin, which will open in March, and between the Disney name, the charming male protagonist and the smart, sassy Princess Jasmine, it will likely be the main attraction for anyone coming to New York in search of fairy tale magic. Aladdin will be able to appeal to boys in a way that Cinderella does not, which means that as long as the reviews are positive, the show should run for quite some time, and make things difficult for shows attempting to appeal to the same audience.
In addition to Aladdin, there's an upcoming musical adaptation of the 1998 film Ever After, which is another retelling of the Cinderella story. Although it was originally planned to open in the 2013-2014 season, the show is still currently in the workshop stages, which means it could still pose a threat to Frozen, depending on when each team decides to mount their respective production. Kathleen Marshall is attached to direct Ever After, which gives it some legitimacy in the theater circles, which could hurt Frozen, even though it has the more recognizable name.
There's also competition coming from underneath the Disney umbrella as well. The studio has acquired the rights to transform William Goldman's novel The Princess Bride into a stage show, which is also currently in the early stages of development. This means that the two could be ready to open around the same time, and since their audiences are bound to overlap, as both stories appeal to multiple generations and have enough action and excitement to appeal to both genders, they would be in direct competition with one another. It's not unusual for Disney to have multiple productions running on Broadway at the same time - Aladdin will join The Lion King and Newsies, both of which have proven to be extremely popular - but they are always different enough to stand out from one another. However, mounting two princess musicals at the same time would place Frozen and The Princess Bride in direct competition with one another, which would be bad for Disney. Of course, there is the possibility that The Princess Bride will be a straight play rather than a musical, which would swing things in Frozen's favor, but it still doesn't cancel out the similarities.
All of which means that even though it was only a matter of time before Frozen made its way to Broadway, that doesn't guarantee it automatic success. Despite being one of Disney's most bankable titles, The Little Mermaid closed after only a year, and didn't manage to recoup its investment during that time, and Frozen could be in danger of the same fate. With the additional competition from so many other princess-focused musicals, Disney will have to have the right mix of time, talent and luck that has helped make its other shows such a big success. Might we suggest they consider getting Josh Gad to reprise his role as Olaf the Snowman?
New Line Cinema via Everett Collection
The mid-aughts comedy Just Friends has become a staple on Comedy Central's holiday schedule. Still, it's never reached the level of respect it deserves as a reliable Christmas classic. Most of its marketing may have centered around former Sexiest Man Alive Ryan Reynolds donning a fatsuit, but I promise, that's not the end of its appeal.
Reynolds plays Chris Brander, a former fat kid who escaped New Jersey for LA, lost a few hundred pounds, and reinvented himself as a skinny and suave record exec. ("This town's full of losers and I'm pullin' out to win!") While flying to Paris with unhinged pop star Samantha James (Anna Faris, brilliant), the plane makes an emergency landing in his hometown. Chris is back at the same bar, sleeping in his same room, and crushing on the same girl -- his former best friend Jamie (Amy Smart) -- who still makes him feel totally awkward. Also, it's Christmas!
Just Friends fills the first and foremost criteria for a holiday classic: it passes the rewatch test. Clever lines like "You're Chris Brander. You're Hollywood, you date models. He's Jersey, he skis in his jeans." just improve over time. Faris commits to the part of a Britney Spears-style pop tart who's careening towards the eventual breakdown with total relish. Reynolds could always play a convincing loser, even with those looks. And his mom is the mom from What About Bob?, so what else is there to know? ("Be yourself! Be yourself!")
Plus, anyone who has ever felt desperately uncool can identify with Chris's instant regression. We never truly leave high school, so we better just get comfortable there and make it our own.
Miramax via Everett Collection
Monday morning saw a heap of news involving the Weinstein brothers and their former golden goose Miramax. Deadline reports that, in short, Hollywood kingpins Harvey and Bob have signed a deal that will allow them to dig up old properties and revive them in new forms. This means sequels, reboots, and reimaginings for a lot of their past Miramax hits. In ascending order of madness, we have mention of...
- Rounders 2 — a follow-up to the Matt Damon poker flick that is reaching for Robert De Niro as the central villain.- A "series transfer" for Flirting with Disaster, an early David O. Russell movie that saw Ben Stiller on a quest to find his biological parents. This could easily be transformed into an episodic comedy (though we're not saying it should).- A Shakespeare in Love sequel, which, we guess, would involve the Bard's continued forays with romance as he explores the creative folds of his mind.- And finally, the most bewildering announcement that the showbiz news circuit has coughed up lately, another series adaptation: this one of the movie Good Will Hunting.
...That's pretty weird. For the three Americans who haven't seen Good Will Hunting, it tells the story of (once again) Matt Damon, as a 20-year-old orphan, impoverished Bostonian, and all-around dillhole with a genius intellect, most notably for complex mathematics. He spends most of his time causing mayhem with fellow dillholes (of the non-genius variety) Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, and Cole Hauser, until his mental stamina is discovered by a haughty MIT professor (Stellan Skarsgaard) who insists that his old pal (Robin Williams) refurbish the troubled young Damon's psychological state of being so that he can put his intelligence to good use. In the end, everything works out rather neatly. The poor-but-smart Mr. Hunting finds an outlet for his talents, gets in touch with his latent childhood traumas, and even meets a nice lady in the process (Minnie Driver). The sort of self-contained story that made for the bread and butter of '90s cinema.
So how on Earth are they going to turn this picture into a series? Some hefty bastardization is in order...
The Session-by-Session Route: Each week, we'll examine the psychological progress achieved by young William Hunting as he undertakes regular therapy sessions with Dr. Robin Williams. I mean Sean. Kind of like The Sopranos, with a different (albeit similarly egregious) mistreatment of the letter "R". Potential episodes: "Will Hunting's Daddy Issues," "Will Hunting and the Naked-in-High-School Nightmare," "Will Hunting vs. the Rorshach."
The On-the-Road-to-Skyler Route: At the end of the movie, we see Will take off out of Boston in the new car just bequeathed unto him by three friends who, unlike himself, actually don't have high paying jobs lined up. Without so much as a goodbye, he zooms down the road to "see about a girl" ... in other words, to reunite with Skyler, who at this point resides in California. Maybe we'll see the sequel as a series of sorts, with Will taking on a cross country journey to make amends with his lost love, getting himself mixed up in goofy adventures along the way. Potential episodes: "Will Hunting Takes Manhattan," "Will Hunting in the Bayou," "Will Hunting's Sheboygan Adventure."
The Just-Hangin'-'round-with-Chuckie-and-the-Fellas Route: This is probably the worst idea of the bunch... and yet, so many a film and TV program has been made of it. In this incarnation, Will and his Southie pals would spend their time drinking, cursing, watching little league games, beating up other kids in the park, going down to the bowling alley. Think of it as an even more nihilistic Seinfeld, with less money and a good deal more maim. Potential episodes: "Will and Chuckie Rob the Shaw's," "Morgan's Get Rich Quick Scheme," "Cole Hauser's Sheboygan Adventure."
The Original Thriller-esque Route: For those of you who have read up on the story behind the production of Good Will Hunting, for whatever unfounded reason, you might know that the script was originally a thriller about G-men who pursued Will for his mathematic gift. So, maybe something like that would work as a series, and we'd see Will taking on Jason Bourne-like adventures as he avoids the long arm of the American government. Potential episodes: "Will Goes Incognito," "Will Meets Carrie Mathison," "Will Finally Realizes It's Time to Serve His Country and Sells Out Entirely."
Which of these Good Will Huntings would you most like to see?
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