Boyhood, The Theory Of Everything and The Grand Budapest Hotel were among the big winners at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards on Sunday (08Feb15). Boyhood scored the coveted Best Film prize, while filmmaker Richard Linklater claimed Best Director and Patricia Arquette was named Best Supporting Actress.
Hawke accepted the director award on Linklater's behalf, as the filmmaker had opted to attend the Directors Guild Awards in Los Angeles the previous night (07Feb15) instead. Hawke says, "He was hijacked at the DGAs and sat there losing and is going to be really, frankly, p**sed off, that he’s not here tonight."
Linklater lost the top directing prize at the DGA ceremony to Birdman's Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu.
The Theory of Everything was another triple winner, scoring Outstanding British Film, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Leading Actor for Eddie Redmayne's portrayal of physicist Stephen Hawking.
In his acceptance speech, the star paid tribute to Hawking and his wife Jane, who were in the audience at London's Royal Opera House, saying, "I would like to thank them for their trust in us, their generosity and their kindness and for reminding me of the great strength that comes from having the will to live a full and passionate life."
The Grand Budapest Hotel landed the most prizes of the night with five, but its biggest win was in the Best Original Screenplay category for writer/director Wes Anderson, with the remaining accolades coming in the technical categories, including Costume Design, Production Design and Original Music.
Julianne Moore continued her awards season streak with the Leading Actress honour for Still Alice, while J.K. Simmons won Best Supporting Actor for Whiplash and Unbroken's Jack O'Connell was named the EE Rising Star.
Other winners included Citizenfour for Best Documentary and The Lego Movie, which picked up the Best Animated Film prize, despite being snubbed in the Oscar nominations.
During the ceremony, British royal The Duke of Cambridge and Robert Downey, Jr. paid special tribute to late actor/director Lord Richard Attenborough via video message. Attenborough, who directed Downey, Jr. in 1992 biopic Chaplin and served as BAFTA Chairman for eight years, died in August (14). The Iron Man star said, "I'm sad. I miss you Dicky," before reciting the opening lyrics to Smile by Charlie Chaplin.
The main In Memoriam tribute section honoured a number of late stars including Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall, Harold Ramis and Mickey Rooney.
The full winners list is as follows:
Best Film: Boyhood
Outstanding British Film: The Theory of Everything
Best Director: Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Best Leading Actor: Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything
Best Leading Actress: Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Adapted Screenplay: Anthony McCarten - The Theory of Everything
Best Original Music: Alexandre Desplat - The Grand Budapest Hotel
EE Rising Star Award: Jack O'Connell
Best Animated Film: The Lego Movie
Best Documentary: Citizenfour
Best Film Not in the English Language: Ida
Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer: Stephen Beresford, David Livingstone - Pride
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman
Best Special Visual Effects: Paul Franklin, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter - Interstellar
Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen, Anna Pinnock - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Makeup and Hair: Frances Hannon, Mark Coulier - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Best Sound: Thomas Curley, Ben Wilkins, Craig Mann - Whiplash
Best Editing: Tom Cross - Whiplash
Best Short Film: Boogaloo And Graham
Best Short Animation: The Bigger Picture
BAFTA Fellowship: Mike Leigh
Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema: BBC Films.
Singer Aretha Franklin has slammed author David Ritz's new book about her, insisting the unauthorised biography is "full of lies". Ritz recently released Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, but the Queen of Soul is unhappy with many of the stories he has written in the book, including a teen pregnancy, her parents' separation and her battle with alcohol.
A statement from Franklin reads: "As many of you are aware, there is a very trashy book out there full of lies and more lies about me... (The writer's) actions are obviously vindictive because I edited out some crazy statements he had the gall to try and put in my book written 15 years ago. Evidently, he has been carrying this hatred ever since."
Franklin and Ritz previously worked together on her 1999 biography, Aretha: From These Roots, but he was not allowed to include the stories in that book.
In Respect: The Life of Aretha Franklin, he writes, "The sensitive questions - Aretha's mother leaving family, Aretha having two babies while still in her teens, Aretha being beaten by her first husband... were off-limits.
"In my view, my two years of working on From These Roots resulted in my failure to actualize the great potential in Aretha's narration. I didn't do what I set out to do."
Now Ritz feels he has achieved his goals with the new book.
He tells the Associated Press, "I think the book in the deepest way is an appreciation. And when I say appreciation, it's just not an appreciation of her art; it's an appreciation of the challenges of her life and the appreciation how hard it is to kind of navigate your way through the complexities of show business culture."
He adds, "I call the book Respect because I think it's a respectful book. I tried to be understanding and compassionate and that was my goal... I love her and I love her art, and I tried to honor her story."
Aretha Franklin is threatening to take legal action against the author of a new unauthorized biography over allegations of defamation.
The music legend previously worked with David Ritz on her 1999 memoir From These Roots, but now she has lashed out at the writer for penning what she claims are falsities about her teenage years on the 1950s gospel scene - dubbed the Sex Circus - in his new tome, Respect.
Franklin tells the Detroit News, "There's a very trashy, trashy book on the street... It's lies, lies, lies and then more lies. "I'm talking to a criminal attorney. If this isn't defamation, I don't know what would be."
The book, published by Little, Brown and Company, also details Franklin's struggle as a teenage mother and how she bounced back after her abusive marriage to first husband Ted White. Ritz is standing by the stories told to him by Aretha's friends, family members and associates.
Defending his work, he tells the New York Post, "I spent 25 years researching Respect. I see my book as an homage to Aretha's artistic genius and an empathetic portrait of a woman who has survived and thrived in the complex culture of showbusiness."
Beyonce is to take up a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nearly 20 years before she is eligible for admission as bosses launch an exhibition dedicated to the pop superstar.
The singer's stage costumes from her 2013 Super Bowl performance will be put on display at the institute's museum in Cleveland, Ohio alongside pieces from music legends including Michael Jackson and David Bowie.
The exhibition will also feature the iconic leotard she wore in her Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) video, an outfit from her Crazy in Love promo and a Givenchy gown worn to the 2012 Met Gala in New York City.
Curator Meredith Rutledge-Borger says of the exhibition, "We felt that (Beyonce) really needed to take her rightful place alongside Aretha Franklin and the Supremes and Janis Joplin."
A spokesperson for Beyonce adds, "For an artist to be able to have a presence where all of her idols and mentors live, it is a big deal. It's very meaningful to an artist when you feel like you've accomplished certain levels and to be asked to be part of this before she's eligible, I think that's really special."
Beyonce will first become eligible for a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2022 as a member of Destiny's Child, and as a solo artist in 2027. The Beyonce show will debut at the museum on Tuesday (22Jul14).
British actor Tom Wilkinson is in talks to play U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson in a new civil rights drama, which will feature David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King, Jr. Selma, which will be produced by Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt, among others, chronicles the attempts of African-American activists walking from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, in 1965 in order to gain voting rights.
President Johnson introduced the Voting Rights Act, prohibiting discrimination when voting on federal, state and local levels, as a result of the protests.
Wilkinson previously portrayed Benjamin Franklin in TV mini-series John Adams.
Bryan Cranston is currently portraying President Johnson on Broadway in the play All The Way.
The cast of Edgar Wright's superhero adventure, Ant-Man is growing at an exponential rate, and after the recent additions of Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Michael Pena to the cast, Evangeline Lilly is now being considered to play the female lead.
Lilly is no stranger to genre film, after spending six years battling smoke monsters on Lost, and appearing in Peter Jackson latest The Hobbit movie. While the jury is still out on who the actress will play in the upcoming film, the scuttlebutt over at Variety is hinting that she might be cast as the daughter of Hank Pym (Douglas), and a love interest to Scott Lang (Rudd, Ant-Man himself). Since Lily is taking her first step into comic book filmmaking, we wondered what roles the rest of her Lost castmates could play. We've already heard rumors of Josh Halloway being considered to play Aquaman, or some other DC fixture, in the bizarrely cast Batman vs. Superman. We think his casting as Aquaman could work, given he plays the hook-handed and more roguish version of the character, and not the vintage boy scout of the sea of yesteryear that probably cries a lot after watching Finding Nemo. So now that we're in Lost mode, which superheroes can we match up with the other islanders?
Matthew Fox (Jack)What Character?: The Red HoodWhy: The Red Hood is a former incarnation of Robin who gets blown up by the Joker and feels betrayed that Batman never killed the dastardly clown in retaliation. Those are some Jack-level daddy issues. We've already seen Fox play maniacal in Tyler Perry Presents: Alex Cross, so maybe he could pull it off in a future Batman movie.
Terry O'Quinn (Locke)What Character?: Lex LuthorWhy: Terry O'Quinn is already bald so that's already a mark in his favor, but his period as "Evil Locke" showed that the actor exuded the right mix intelligence, charisma, megalomania to be Superman's greatest foe.
Naveen Andrews (Sayid)What Character?: ArchangelWhy: Archangel or Warren Kenneth Worthington III was a young rich playboy whose mutant powers manifested into a pair of giant wings that allowed him to fly. Several very comic book-like plot developments turned him into a dark and misunderstood anti-hero. Sayid had a similar slide into darkness during Lost and, Naveen Andrews is well-equipped to play a similar character.
Emilie de Ravin (Claire)What Character?: JubileeWhy: Jubilee is a young and feisty member of the X-Men. Actress Emile De Ravin has a lot of the same exuberance and sweetness that has made the character such a popular addition to the X-Men mythos over the years.
Dominic Monaghan (Charlie)What Character?: SpeedyWhy: Green Arrow's troubled sidekick grappled with a crippling drug addiction, and is generally underappreciated in the comics world for being the sidekick of a character whose only ability is to shoot arrows pretty well. Who is better to play Speedy than Dominic Monaghan, who plays a wounded drug addict extremely well in Lost.
Jorge Garcia (Hurley)What Character?: The KingpinWhy: Jorge Garcia has always played the nice guy, but maybe it's time for some career diversity. We want to see the actor take on a role that's really a 180 from anything that he's done before.
Daniel Dae Kim and Yunjin Kim (Jin and Sun)What Character?: The Wonder TwinsWhy: One of Lost's most crushing moments was the demise of Jin and Sun. In fact, we still wonder why Jin didn't leave Sun behind, no matter how painful it would have been, to raise their baby, but that's an Internet rant for another day. Bringing the actors back in roles where they would hardly ever be separated from each other is the only remedy for our post-Lost blues.
Harold Perrineau (Michael)What Character?: The PunisherWhy: Michael lost his only son on the island, and has done some unsavory things in order to find him. Loss has driven him to do some terrible things, but deep down he's still a good guy, just a bit misguided with the methods he uses.
Malcolm David Kelley (Waaaaaaaaaalt)What Character?: Franklin RichardsWhy: Walt seemed like a normal kid in Lost's first season. That is until he started using creepy backwards speak and was revealed to have some sort of mystical connection with the island that had viewers going "What the f**k is up with that kid". He could definitely play Franklin Richards who also seemed normal, before becoming a reality-warping mutant.
Michael Emerson (Ben Linus)What Character?: Doctor OctopusWhy: Michael Emerson played the manipulative and intelligent Ben Linus in Lost, and he'd be perfect to play Dr. Otto Octavius in the new Spider-Man series.
Tribeca Film via Everett Collection
For a film that involves a love triangle, mental illness, a Bohemian colony of free-spirits, an impending war and several important historical figures, the most exciting elements of Summer in February are the stunning shots of the English country and Cornish seaside. The rest of the film never quite lives up to the crashing waves and sun-dappled meadows that are used to bookend the scenes, as the entertaining opening never manages to coalesce into a story that lives up the the cinematography, let alone the lives of the people that inspired it.
Set in an Edwardian artist’s colony in Cornwall, Summer in February tells the story of A.J. Munnings (Dominic Cooper), who went on to become one of the most famous painters of his day and head of the Royal Academy of Art, his best friend, estate agent and part-time soldier Gilbert Evans (Dan Stevens), and the woman whom they both loved, aspiring artist Florence Carter-Wood (Emily Browning). Her marriage to Munnings was an extremely unhappy one, and she attempted suicide on their honeymoon, before killing herself in 1914. According to his journals, Gilbert and Florence were madly in love, although her marriage and his service in the army kept them apart.
When the film begins, Munnings is the center of attention in the Lamorna Artist's Colony, dramatically reciting poetry at parties and charming his way out of his bar tab while everyone around him proclaims him to be a genius. When he’s not drinking or painting, he’s riding horses with Gilbert, who has the relatively thankless task of keeping this group of Bohemians in line. Their idyllic existence is disrupted by the arrival of Florence, who has run away from her overbearing father and the fiancé he had picked out for her in order to become a painter.
Stevens and Browning both start the film solidly, with enough chemistry between them to make their infatuation interesting. He manages to give Gilbert enough dependable charm to win over both Florence and the audience, and she presents Florence as someone with enough spunk and self-possession to go after what she wants. Browning’s scenes with Munnings are equally entertaining in the first third of the film, as she can clearly see straight through all of his bravado and he is intrigued by her and how difficult she is to impress. Unfortunately, while the basis of the love triangle is well-established and entertaining, it takes a sudden turn into nothing with a surprise proposal from Munnings.
Neither the film nor Browning ever make it clear why Florence accepts his proposal, especially when they have both taken great pains to establish that she doesn’t care much for him. But once she does, the films stalls, and both Stevens and Browning spend the rest of the film doing little more than staring moodily and longingly at the people around them. The real-life Florence was plagued by depression and mental instability, but neither the film nor Browning’s performance ever manage to do more than give the subtlest hint at that darkness. On a few occasions, Browning does manage to portray a genuine anguish, but rather than producing any sympathy from the audience, it simply conjures up images of a different film, one that focused more on Florence, and the difficulties of being a woman with a mental illness at a time when both were ignored or misunderstood.
Stevens is fine, and Gilbert starts out with the same kind of good-guy appeal the won the heart of Mary Crawley and Downton Abbey fans the world over. However, once the film stalls, so does his performance, and he quickly drops everything that made the character attractive or interesting in favor of longing looks and long stretches of inactivity. He does portray a convincing amount of adoration for Florence, although that's about the only real emotion that Gilbert expresses for the vast majority of the film, and even during his love scene, he never manages to give him any amount of passion.
Cooper does his best with what he’s given, and tries his hardest to imbue the film with some substance and drama. His Munnings is by turns charming, brash, and brooding, the kind of person who has been told all of their life that they are special, and believes it. He even manages to give the character some depth, and even though he and Browning have very little chemistry, he manages to convey a genuine affection for her. It’s a shame that Munnings becomes such a deeply unlikable character, because Cooper is the only thing giving Summer in February a jolt of life – even if it comes via bursts of thinly-explained hostility. It's hard to watch just how hard he's working to connect with his co-stars and add some excitement to a lifeless script and not wish that he had a better film to show off his talents in.
Unfortunately, by the time Florence and Gilbert are finally spurred into activity, the film has dragged on for so long that you’re no longer invested in the characters, their pain, or their love story, even if you want to be. Which is the real disappointment of Summer in February; underneath the stalled plot and the relatively one-note acting, there are glimmers of a fascinating and compelling story that’s never allowed to come to the forefront.
Summit via Everett Collection
You can imagine that Renny Harlin, director and one quadrant of the writing team for The Legend of Hercules, began his pitch as such: We'll start with a war, because lots of these things start with wars. It feels like this was the principal maxim behind a good deal of the creative choices in this latest update of the Ancient Greek myth. There are always horse riding scenes. There are generally arena battles. There are CGI lions, when you can afford 'em. Oh, and you've got to have a romantic couple canoodling at the base of a waterfall. Weaving them all together cohesively would be a waste of time — just let the common threads take form in a remarkably shouldered Kellan Lutz and action sequences that transubstantiate abjectly to and fro slow-motion.
But pervading through Lutz's shirtless smirks and accent continuity that calls envy from Johnny Depp's Alice in Wonderland performance is the obtrusive lack of thought that went into this picture. A proverbial grab bag of "the basics" of the classic epic genre, The Legend of Hercules boasts familiarity over originality. So much so that the filmmakers didn't stop at Hercules mythology... they barely started with it, in fact. There's more Jesus Christ in the character than there is the Ancient Greek demigod, with no lack of Gladiator to keep things moreover relevant. But even more outrageous than the void of imagination in the construct of Hercules' world is its script — a piece so comically dim, thin, and idiotic that you will laugh. So we can't exactly say this is a totally joyless time at the movies.
Summit via Everett Collection
Surrounding Hercules, a character whose arc takes him from being a nice enough strong dude to a nice enough strong dude who kills people and finally owns up to his fate — "Okay, fine, yes, I guess I'm a god" — are a legion of characters whose makeup and motivations are instituted in their opening scenes and never change thereafter. His de facto stepdad, the teeth-baring King Amphitryon (Scott Adkins), despises the boy for being a living tribute to his supernatural cuckolding; his half-brother Iphicles (Liam Garrigan) is the archetypical scheming, neutered, jealous brother figure right down to the facial scar. The dialogue this family of mongoloids tosses around is stunningly brainless, ditto their character beats. Hercules can't understand how a mystical stranger knows his identity, even though he just moments ago exited a packed coliseum chanting his name. Iphicles defies villainy and menace when he threatens his betrothed Hebe (Gaia Weiss), long in love with Hercules, with the terrible fate of "accepting [him] and loving [their] children equally!" And the dad... jeez, that guy must really be proud of his teeth.
With no artistic feat successfully accomplished (or even braved, really) by this movie, we can at the very least call it inoffensive. There is nothing in The Legend of Hercules with which to take issue beyond its dismal intellect, and in a genre especially prone to regressive activity, this is a noteworthy triumph. But you might not have enough energy by the end to award The Legend of Hercules with this superlative. Either because you'll have laughed yourself into a coma at the film's idiocy, or because you'll have lost all strength trying to fend it off.
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Singer/actress Jennifer Hudson fought back tears while speaking about her late mother as she was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Wednesday (13Nov13). The Oscar winner was surrounded by family and friends when she unveiled the 2,512th star on the iconic Los Angeles sidewalk, but Hudson pointed out that there was one person she wanted by her side for the special moment - her late mum Darnell Donnerson.
Welling up during her acceptance speech, Hudson said, "I knew I would get emotional and I'm sure my mom is in heaven like 'Jenny stop crying' but now's the time to cry mama, it is. This is an amazing honour as we all know and I did not see this coming. I'm so honoured to be here with so many that I love and I feel as though we're all a family."
Donnerson, along with Hudson's nephew and brother, was shot dead by her sister's estranged husband William Balfour in 2008.
During the ceremony, music executive Clive Davis, was also on hand to praise the former American Idol contestant.
He recalled, "I didn't sign her to a recording contract at the very beginning, but when I saw her, I saw her screen test for Dreamgirls, I knew that she was truly a unique original artist whose career would be nothing short of spectacular so I did sign her, then I was stunned by her acting range, she was the real deal... and that voice.
"I had been privileged over the years to work with two of the greatest voices of all time: Aretha Franklin and Whitney Houston. I never thought I'd hear another voice to compare and yet staring me in the face was a new voice that did compare. It literally sent shivers up my spine."
Hudson was also joined by her fiance, David Otunga, their four-year-old son David Daniel Otunga, Jr., R&B star Raphael Saadiq and songwriter Diane Warren at the ceremony.
Aretha Franklin has axed another trio of concerts on medical grounds. The Queen of Soul has already scrapped two upcoming shows this week (begs20May13) on the advice of her doctor, and she has now cancelled another three - one in her native Michigan and two in Canada.
Details of what ails Franklin have not been disclosed, but Catherine O'Grady, the director of the Ottawa Jazz Festival - where the star was set to perform, says, "It's doctor's orders. She's really not well."
Her spokesman David Brokaw adds, "She's going to resume her schedule in July."
It's not the first time she has scrapped gigs due to poor health - she called off a series of shows in 2010 and refused to divulge details about her medical issues for two years, until revealing in early 2012 that she had undergone surgery to remove a tumour.
The 71 year old has also battled health problems with her legs and feet, which forced her to pull out of performing at Whitney Houston's funeral last year (12).
Franklin ignored doctors' orders last week (16May13) to perform on the American Idol finale via satellite. She sang her hits (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Respect with the all-female finalists.